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.


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 – 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



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?