Letter Re: California’s Water Filter Ban

Mr. Rawles,

My name is Christian and I live in California. I have been reading SurvivalBlog for some time now. I am currently serving in the National Guard. I was wondering if you knew why California does not allow Big Berkey filters and most ceramic filters to be shipped to California. Do you have recommendations for another one?

As you well know, California is in a grave financial situation–one that could have catastrophic consequences. Prepping in California has been a way of life because of earthquakes, and recently wildfires. Thank You. Sincerely, – Christian R.

JWR Replies: Your question went beyond my expertise, so I consulted the owner of Directive 21 (A British Berkfeld water filter distributor), and this was his response;

The “no lead law” basically stipulates that any device used for water filtration/purification for the intent of human consumption, and any and all of its components, must undergo testing by an independent lab in order to certify that the device and all of its components and raw materials are lead-free, especially if it reduces lead. Research conducted independently by the manufacturer (New Millennium Concepts- NMC), regarding the two acceptable certification standards, indicates that the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has not reached a conclusion upon the protocols which will need to be followed in gaining certification status. DTSC is responsible for product review and certification. NMC has taken a proactive role in working to discover the path which will allow them to resume offering the product within California, while maintaining the privacy of proprietary production and prices within the reach of the public. NMC attempted to gain clarity to meet the January 1st, 2010 deadline, but were not provided the necessary information, as a result, “strict-compliance” was recommended and pursued. Essentially, the “no-lead law” places significant financial burden on the manufacturer, creates areas of unnecessary compliance, and offers no protection of proprietary practices, nor does it guarantee that the “inspector” will be accountable for any violation of privacy, potentially exposing the most sensitive parts of a manufacturer’s business to all of their competitors!

The preceding is an independent summary of content posted by the NMC, and the following is the statement issued by NMC: “Therefore, we have reluctantly decided that until clarification is given [by the bodies imposing certification on manufacturers] on a whole host of unanswered questions, as of January 1, 2010, we suspended sales of all Berkey® water filtration and purification products in the state of California. This also means that our dealers worldwide will not be able to ship Berkey® water filtration and purification systems to California residents. “We will continue to monitor the situation and as we get clarification on the issues for which we currently are unable to obtain answers, we will be able to make a determination as to whether it will be practical to pursue the matter further….”

Your request for a recommendation of another water purification system other than Berkey® is unusual because Berkey® Products are unique in function and category. The degree of water purification offered by the gravity-fed Berkey® Systems and the Sport Berkey® On-Demand purification, is unmatched, although we recommend that the consumer look for certain aspects of functionality when choosing a device other than Berkey® for providing clean water for consumption. Some of the characteristics to consider include:

· Physical filtering of particulates and sediments.
· Any chemical treatment of microorganisms or the method of capturing pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, & other harmful pathogens
· Does it address heavy metals, potential carcinogens, nitrites & nitrates, Radon 222, VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, organic solvents, & other contaminants?
· Addresses treated & untreated raw water from lakes, streams, stagnant ponds, & other water supplies?
· Affordability
· Low-expense of energy to operate (ease of operation)
· Does the system remove beneficial minerals from the water?
· Ease of replacement (cost)
· Durability, compactness, lightweight

There are other aspects to consider but this list only reflects the Black Berkey® elements. It is a trustworthy and proven system of water purification. Its use as a reference would provide beneficial to any consumer looking to become educated in making a sound and responsible choice.

Although we do not ship products directly to California nor to Iowa, we do ship to other states as those states appear to be “business-friendly” in application of protections and support of options to a public in need of daily/emergency water purification systems. The Berkey Official Statement can be found in full here. [End quote]

I agree that the Berkey filters are some of the best available. Just as with the MTBE groundwater contamination fiasco, the career politicians and bureaucrats that govern California have a sad track record of both incompetence and heavy-handedness. It is best to circumvent such inept meddling. The best way of course would be to move from California to a free State! But of course having a friend that lives in another State take delivery for you also works. (The preceding should not be construed as legal advice–see my Provisos page for details.)