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Don’t Be Fooled by Counterfeit Water Filters

NSF’s Stefan Buck offers tips for avoiding counterfeit water filters and finding genuine certified products.

More homes are using water filters to meet the needs of families, and the popularity of these products has allowed more water filter brands to penetrate the market.

On the one hand, this vigorous competition offers an advantage to consumers, who now have a wider range of choices and can get higher-quality products at lower prices.

However, users still need to be careful. A number of water filter manufacturers are taking advantage of the popularity of these products by marketing filters that do not meet quality standards at very low prices.

Creating Awareness

According to quality certification organization NSF, counterfeit or substandard water filter products have the same appearance as other water filters but do not use the same technology as certified products.

This leaves consumers exposed to risks, such as contamination from lead, mercury, herbicides, pesticides, asbestos and pharmaceuticals. The water is also potentially contaminated with other dissolved substances due to poor-quality filters. These contaminants cannot be detected through taste and smell, so consumers are often unaware that they are using contaminated water.

NSF’s Stefan Buck, Senior Manager of the Global Filtration Division, said that awareness of counterfeit water filters is important and recommends that consumers go through an authorized vendor and avoid online transactions with suspicious sellers.

“Once you receive the product or purchase it in person, there are a few things you can look for to check if the filter is legitimate.

“First, look for incorrect symbols on the packaging or the absence of a certification mark. Second, feel the weight of the filter. Counterfeits tend to weigh less than a real filter.

“When in doubt, check if the filter is certified by NSF on our website,” he said.

Look for the Certification Mark

According to NSF, there are five key advantages to water filter products that receive NSF certification, namely:

  • Assurance that a product was impartially reviewed to established standards or guidelines
  • Confirmation that a trusted third party has objectively verified product labeling and claims
  • Illustration of an organization’s commitment to quality, compliance and safety
  • Evidence that a product is backed by a team of professionals dedicated to public health and safety, operating in more than 180 countries

Differentiation from the competition, offering a market advantage for manufacturers with certified products

NSF certification is also not a one-time event. It involves on-site inspections of manufacturing facilities and routine retesting of products to confirm that they continue to meet the same high standards required to maintain certification over time.

“If a product fails to meet one or more of the certification criteria during a routine retest, NSF will take action to protect the consumer. These actions include a product recall, public notification or decertification.

"Products bearing an NSF certification mark meet all standard requirements, including product testing and regular inspections to verify that products continue to comply with the standard," he said.

This article has been translated into English from its original publication.

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