Water Taste and Odor – Your Nemesis – Industry Flim Flam

If you know anything about me you know that I have little respect for entities like the Water Quality Association (WQA), NSF, IAPMO and similar “experts” who provide water advice. One of my reasons for this is that these groups are generally the minor league thinkers when it comes to water chemistry and solving water problems.

Indeed, in 30 years of solving water problems and serving some of the world’s most prestigious water technology companies, nobody in my circles ever looked to the conferences or publications of these guys for direction, advice or wisdom. In general, water doctors are chemical engineers and life science professionals who solve water problems with solid textbook knowledge and hands-on work.

The aforementioned groups look to laboratory work to provide leadership. Conversely, a water doctor enslaves the lab to provide him with the exact research he needs to deliver the proper solution. Labs work for the application engineer, they do not teach or drive him.

One of the most egregious sins of these organizations, unforgivable, in my opinion, is their decades-long mantra of promising customers clear and odorless water. As a result, many consumers believe if their water is crystal clear and odorless, then it is safe to drink. Nothing could be further from the truth because these is very little correlation between odor of water and safety of water.

For sure, there are tell tale contaminants like Benzene, Gasoline, and Sulphur compounds that stink, and are dead giveaways. But many organic compounds are not aromatic, and have no detectable taste or smell. Countless organics such as methane, carbon monoxide, ethylene glycol and strychnine have no odor, and many have no detectable taste. Arsenic, Lead and Chromium likewise have no odor.

When people are led to believe that water that has no odor is free of contaminants and is safe to drink, in my opinion they are the victim of criminal activity.

As I have said before, these organizations will boast about their products being NSF, WQA, IAPMO or otherwise certified, but will never deter a customer from believing that these designation guarantee safe drinking water. Be attentive, because these designations do not guarantee safe drinking water. They only guarantee that under certain lab testing situations, the filter is safe, and will remove an unspecified amount of various contaminants.

Some of these certifications only require manufacturers to retest as infrequently as every three to five years, and in the case of the NSF 61 designation, water is tested for contaminants only after the product has been soaked for three hours at three different steps, In other words, the water filtering through these products is only tested after nine hours of soaking. How do we know that the first ounce passing through this filter is safe? Well, we don’t, but at least we have the guarantee on the box.

When someone asks me if the water coming out of my system, design, or product is safe to drink, my answer is always yes. My answer is never, “well we carry the (fill in the blank)  certification.

Don’t ask if your filter is safe. Ask if the water it produces is safe. Do that and then tell me how safe NSF, WQA and IAPMO makes you feel.


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