Is Your Refrigerator Water Filter Really Good Enough?

Is Your Refrigerator Filter Really Good Enough?

One of our readers wanted to know if refrigerator water filters were adequate or if they would be better off with an under counter water filter. It’s a question that many people struggle with.

Is your refrigerator water filter good enough to produce clean drinking water for you and your family?

Of course, there’s no simple answer because the answer depends on the following:

  • the contaminants you want to remove
  • the quality of the refrigerator water filter

Limitations of Refrigerator Water Filters


If you want to remove the most contaminants possible including Arsenic, Fluoride, Nitrate and Nitrite, Barium, Selenium, and Radium, even the best refrigerator filters aren’t able to remove these contaminants.

Why?

Because refrigerator filters use only a carbon filter and carbon filters have limitations on contaminant removal. So, if you want maximum contaminant removal, then you’ll need to opt for a carbon filter with a reverse osmosis filter or a carbon filter combined with another media. Although many carbon filters are highly effective, there’s a limit to the type of contaminants these filters can remove.

If you’re not worried about the contaminants listed above, then you might be fine with a refrigerator filter. But, you need to gather information about the filter. We recommend buying filters that are NSF certified. NSF certification means that a trusted third-party lab has verified the manufacturers’ claims.

Why are testing and certification important?

Many water filter manufacturers make claims of being the best, but not all take the next step to prove their filter’s performance. If a manufacturer really believes in their product, they get it tested and certified by NSF. And, they make those test results available on their website for your review.

If their product is not tested and performance results aren’t available, you’ve got to ask yourself why.


You Must Find & Read the Fine Print


For refrigerator water filters, the two relevant certifications are NSF 42-Aesthetic Effects and NSF 53-Health Effects. You’ll want to choose one that has both certifications. Here’s the catch, though. It’s not enough to just check for certifications, you need to read the results.

Yes, it’s a lot of fine print!

But even with NSF certification, the quality of the filters can vary widely. For instance, some filters may only be certified to remove 6 or 7 contaminants while others are certified to remove over 50. You’ll also want to pay attention to the level of contaminant reduction. Once again, there can be wide variations. Some may only reduce a contaminant by 50% and others may reduce it by 95%.


The Typical Water Filter Disclosure is Inadequate


Here’s a typical refrigerator water filter effectiveness disclosure:

  • This filter is NSF-certified to reduce lead, asbestos, chlorine taste and odor, sediment and trace pharmaceuticals.*
  • *Contaminant reduction certified by NSF.
  • Reduces lead, asbestos, chlorine taste, and odor, sediment, and pharmaceuticals
  • NSF Certified

It’s really not enough information, right?

Although, it’s good to know it reduces lead and chlorine, but it doesn’t say how much. And, you’d probably like to know if it’s going to reduce 50% of lead or 99%.

It’s great that it is NSF certified, but you don’t have the report outlining the results. Plus, there’s another issue here. If your water department uses chloramines as a water disinfectant instead of chlorine, then this filter won’t reduce the water disinfectant. And, about 20% of water departments use chloramines as a water disinfectant rather than chlorine.

What you really need is a copy of the third-party testing results. Here’s an example of a test report below from an Austin Springs’ filter.

Refrigerator Water Filters NSF Report

With this report, you’ll know exactly what kind of filtration you are getting.

To summarize, a refrigerator water filter may work for you depending on the contaminants you want to remove as well as the quality of the filter. But, you’ve got some work to do!

Need help? Contact us.

Or, use our Water Filter Selector App to determine which water filter is best for you. You may also want to read How to Know if You’re Buying the Best Water Filter.

The Ultimate Guide to Safe Paints

The Ultimate Guide to Safe Paints

Did you know that even after paint dries, it can continue to emit VOCs? That’s right. According to the CPSC, formaldehyde can be detected 1-3 months after painting. So, it makes sense to use safe paints and stains that don’t emit harmful VOCs.

Get a new perspective on safe paints and learn why paint fumes are dangerous and how to shop for the safest alternatives. You may be surprised to learn that many of these safe paints are available at your local hardware store.

Let’s start with the basics about paint fumes.


Are Paint Fumes Dangerous?


Paints can release chemicals that are carcinogens, reproductive toxins, or ozone depleting compounds.

Conventional paints give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs released into the air can cause immediate problems like eye and throat or lung irritation, headaches, dizziness, and vision problems.

And, the chemicals can cause longer term problems. Some chemicals cause cancer or reproductive and developmental effects in laboratory animals.

It’s a troubling thought, isn’t it?


Are Safe Paints Available?


Safe paints are available. You just need to know which ones to buy.

You can find safe interior and exterior paints, primers, and stains without too much effort. But, first, you should understand some facts about paint and VOCs.


Three Quick Facts About Paint & VOCs


It’s pretty simple.

You only need to know three facts to keep yourself safe.

1. Low VOC paints actually have a lot of VOCs.

<<< Don’t buy low VOC paints.>>>

2. Zero VOC paints have 5 grams/liter or less of VOCs, but these paints may include other chemicals that simply aren’t good for you.

<<< Look for Zero VOC and the Green Seal 11 -2008 certification.>>>

3. It’s not just about the odor.

<<< Paint releases VOCs long after the paint is dry and you can no longer smell the odor.>>>

What’s so important about the Green Seal 11 certification?

The Green Seal certification will make sure that your paint has none of the following bad guys that can still be found in some Zero VOC paints.

  • carcinogens
  • reproductive toxins
  • mutagens
  • hazardous air pollutants
  • ozone depleting compounds

The Best Zero VOC Paints


If you want to buy Zero VOC paint locally, you’re in luck. Many hardware stores carry Benjamin Moore Natura™ and Aura™. These paints are Zero VOC as well as Green Seal 11 certified. If you need to do touch up painting over conventional paints, it isn’t a problem to match the color.

Another option is to use paints made from natural raw ingredients like water, plant oils, plant dyes, clay, milk protein, bees’ wax, earth and mineral dyes. These types of paints are some of the safest you can use. Try the websites listed below to order these paints.

Look into ECOS Paints – ecospaints.net. While not green seal certified, they publish their testing documents on their website, and they are a leader in VOC-free, organic paints.


What if you Need an Oil-Based Paint?


If you need to paint over oil-based or alkyd paint, you’ll have to opt for a Low VOC paint. Try Benjamin Moore  ADVANCE® Waterborne Interior Alkyd line of waterborne alkyd paints. While it is not a Zero VOC paint, it is Low VOC (less than 50 g/l  compared to Zero VOC of 5 g/l).

Unfortunately, you cannot find Zero VOC alkyd paints, so if you must paint over oil-based enamel paint, then you’ll have to focus on good ventilation or the use of an air purifier equipped with a carbon filter.


Zero VOC Stains & Polyurethane


Conventional wood stains and polyurethane should also be avoided when possible. Ecos Paints offers Zero VOC wood stains as well as non-toxic polyurethane.

One last tip!

Remember to opt for Zero VOC primer.


So, now you’re informed with the facts about safe paints. You can paint your nursery, children’s rooms or any room in your house confidently knowing that you’re using the best non-toxic, zero VOC paints.

 

The Easiest Ever Ratatouille, 50+ Ways to Eat Zucchini & More

Easy Ratatouille, 50 Ways to Eat Zucchini and More

Does your meal plan need a little help? Are you making the same dishes every week and need something new? Problem solved! Learn how to make the easiest ever ratatouille, 50+ delicious zucchini recipes, and homemade garlic dill pickles. Plus, learn how simple it is to make your own healthy cashew butter and kefir.


Easy Ratatouille


Strapped for time? Try this simple Ratatouille recipe from Healthy Green Savvy

Ratatouille is a traditional French peasant stew. You’ll love its versatility. Serve it over pasta, couscous, or other grain, or simply eat it on its own. Try flavoring with herbs or with a good parmesan cheese.

 

Easy Ratatouille

Cook time for this recipe is about 15 minutes and includes zucchini, peppers, onion, eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and spinach or Swiss chard.


50+ Delicious Zucchini Recipes


Zucchini is a deliciously versatile vegetable. If you’re just using it as a simple side dish, you’re really missing out! You can use Zucchini as the main ingredient in everything from soup to brownies.

Here are some of my favorites from Healthy Green Savvy’s list of over 50 Zucchini Recipes.

Garlic and Herb Zucchini Chips

 

GarlicHerbZucchiniChips1

Dehydrated zucchini chips make a crunchy, no-guilt snack.

Six Zucchini Noodle Recipes – Zoodles

If you’ve never tried Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles), then it’s time to see what you’ve been missing. Here are six great ways to enjoy Zoodles. It’s a great way to get extra vegetables.

Six Zucchini Noodle Recipes - Zoodles


How to Make Garlic Dill Pickles


It’s actually pretty simple to make your own pickles. If you love garlic and dill, then you’ll love these Garlic Dill Pickles. This recipe from Good Mama Gracie calls for just a few simple ingredients. You can make whole pickles or sliced. You choose!

Combine the ingredients into a mason jar and after six days, you’ll have delicious pickles that will keep in the fridge up to three months.

How to Make Garlic Dill Pickles

Don’t these look great?


How to Make Cashew Butter


Cashew Butter makes a great replacement for peanut butter. You’ll be surprised to learn how simple it is to make your own Cashew Butter. Check out Whole Natural Life’s recipe with good step-by-step instructions. All you need is a food processor and a lot of cashews–no oil required.

How to Make Cashew Butter

 


How to Make Kefir


Kefir is a fermented dairy product like yogurt but with a thinner consistency. You make Kefir using Kefir grains which are colonies of yeast and bacteria that feed on lactose, creating a fermented drink that’s great for your body.

How to Make Kefir

According to Whole Natural Life, you shouldn’t be intimidated by making your own Kefir! Read how to make Kefir and get started today with this healthy drink.

Now you’ve got so many new recipes to try. Which one you try first?

Amazing Benefits of Cinnamon, Banana Candy and Other Things You’ll Love

Isn’t summer great? It gives us all time to slow down and enjoy life. One way I love to enjoy life is to learn new things. I’m an avid reader of novels, articles and blog posts. I love to share what I’ve learned.

In this post, I’m sharing five articles with interesting tidbits. You’ll learn all sorts of ways to use Blackcurrants, some special tomatoes you should grow, how to make dried bananas candy, the benefits of cinnamon, and how to make a tasty, healthier fudge with coconut oil.


Seven Ways to Use Blackcurrants


Kris from Growing Wild Roots shares Seven Ways to Use Blackcurrants. In North America, blackcurrants are not commonly used but are very popular in the UK.

Learn some typical and unexpected ways to use this fruit. The blackcurrant ice cream looks marvelous, but you should really try the Blackcurrant cordial. It is simple to make.

And, the Blackcurrant tea looks like the perfect way to enjoy some quiet time with a good tea. Learn how to make Blackcurrant tea.

How to Make Blackcurrant Tea

 


Five Tomatoes You Should Grow


Are you a rookie tomato plant grower? You Should Grow has some proven tips to make your tomato growing season even more productive. Tomatoes are easy to grow, but the trick is to pick out the right varieties to grow.

Laura from You Should Grow and her husband should know which varieties are best to grow because they are experienced tomato growers. Every year, they grow more than 100 varieties and raise thousands of tomato plants.

They picked some favorites for the beginner gardener who wants something different but doesn’t have the time or space to try out thousands of varieties.

How to Select Tomato Varieties

 


How to Make Dried Banana Candy


Have you ever tried making candy out of bananas? This one is so simple and delivers a great tasting snack.

Thanks to Healthy Green Savvy for this recipe. When you take the water out of fruit, something magical happens. These are not banana “chips” that you find in some trail mixes with additives. This recipe for dried bananas candy is chewy and intensely sweet (without sweeteners).

You’ll need a dehydrator or you can try to use your oven on a low setting. Learn how to make bananas candy.

How to Make Bananas Candy

 


14 Amazing Benefits of Cinnamon


Thyme to Embrace Herbs shares 14 benefits of cinnamon. Did you know that cinnamon may help with easing muscle spasms, treating vomiting, combating colds, and helping with weight loss? Learn all the benefits of cinnamon.

And, as with all good things, you can have too much! Get the facts.

14 Amazing Benefits of Cinnamon

 


How to Make Coconut Oil Fudge


You’ll want to try this recipe for Coconut Oil Fudge from the Whole Natural Life. If you’re looking for a dairy-free, healthier fudge recipe, this one’s for you especially if you’re a coconut lover too!

Not a fan of coconut but still want the coconut health benefits? Try using refined coconut oil instead of virgin coconut oil. Go ahead and make a double batch of this fudge because it keeps well in the freezer.

 

 

How to Make Coconut Oil Fudge

 


Enjoy your magical summer!

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”
—Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

Killer Ice Cream, Genius Food Prep & More Goodness

Killer Ice cream, genius food prep, and more goodness

It’s summer. My favorite season. Life just seems simpler and less rushed. And, even though it’s really hot and the mosquitoes are biting, I still love summer’s freedom.

This probably comes from my childhood when we were free to spend the entire summer day out with friends–all we needed was a bike, swimsuit, and towel. And, even though I no longer get around on a bike and I have a job that requires at least 8 hours of my summer day, I always feel freer in the summer.

So, speaking of freedom, I’ve got five ways that will help you enjoy this summer, and feel freer.


#1 Killer Ice Cream


You’ve got to try this Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream by Whole Natural Life. It’s simple to make. Only takes 4 ingredients: coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Since it’s made without sugar and dairy, it’s a lot healthier than your typical ice cream. Get the recipe for Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream.

Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream

You’ll want to make a larger batch than the recipe calls for or risk being disappointed when this disappears before you’ve had seconds! It’s perfect on its own or with baked apple or maybe even apple pie. Always pairs well with pumpkin pie, so you can have a little summer during winter.


#2 Genius Food Prep Trick – Chicken Still Frozen? Try this!


Oops! You forgot to thaw the chicken…again! Instead of running to the grocery store for the Plan B dinner or doing take-out, try this approach to roast a whole frozen chicken.

How to Roast a Frozen Chicken

A Modern Homestead outlines each step (it’s pretty simple) and provides a great recipe for roasted (frozen) chicken with potatoes, carrots, onions, and of course garlic!

And, remember, save some leftovers to enjoy cold on your summer picnic.


#3 Genius Food Prep Tip – How to Meal Prep Like a Boss


To be honest, I had never heard of Meal Prep until I discovered Pinterest a few years ago. I was always one of those people who started planning dinner pretty close to dinner time. Of course, this means a lot of trips to the grocery store at the last minute. It also means more night’s punting by going out to dinner or doing take-out.

6 Tips to Meal Prep like a Boss

But, I found this post with 6 tips about how to meal prep like a boss. It’s smart and will free up a lot of time, so you can enjoy more of your summer. You start by taking an hour or two to plan. Small Bites Wellness lays out the plan and gives you loads of ideas for every type of planner.

Very smart.


#4 How to Make Almond Milk


Since summer time is a bit slower, you’ve got time to make your own almond milk. I promise you that once you’ve made your own milk, you’ll have a hard time going back to your store-bought version. I switched to homemade because I wanted to avoid some of the thickeners like carrageenan that I’ve heard may cause gut inflammation.

At first, I thought it was too time-consuming, but now I can get it made in just five minutes and it’s perfectly spiced with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and turmeric.

Try A Modern Homestead’s recipe for Almond Milk. You’ll be happy you did.


#5 More Goodness to  Share – How to Make Turmeric Capsules


How to Make Turmeric Capsules

You need to keep your healthy summer look as long as possible, right? You might want to try Turmeric. After all, The Not So Perfect Housewife describes it as the coconut oil of supplements.

Turmeric helps reduce pain and boosts the immune system. Learn how to make Turmeric capsules using organic Turmeric and a secret ingredient that releases Turmeric’s goodness.


Please share these tips with your friends to help them make the most of the summer!