How To Know If Your Water Filter Is Any Good

How to Know if Your Water Filter is Any Good

Many people think that water filters perform equally, so they grab a water pitcher filter at their big box store without thinking. Or, they install a Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filter system and assume they’re getting the purest water available. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Why? Because water filter effectiveness varies significantly.

Water Filter Effectiveness – Performance Varies


Even among the same type of filters, the effectiveness can vary. You might assume that a water pitcher filter performs the same across brands. But, it’s not true. Take the Brita water pitcher filter for example. It removes Chlorine and a handful of other contaminants. While another pitcher removes over 200 contaminants. That’s a huge difference in the purity of your water.

For RO systems, you can also have a difference in effectiveness. One RO system might remove 50% of a contaminant like arsenic, while another may reduce 99.9%. If you have arsenic in your drinking water, you’d obviously want the one with the better performance.

With this wide variation in effectiveness, how do you know if your water filter is any good? You can assess your water filter effectiveness by following these steps.


1. Find & Read the Test Reports


The worthwhile water filter manufacturers have their water filters tested by certified third-party labs. These labs confirm the manufacturer’s claims. It’s not difficult for filter makers to test their products, and short of testing your water yourself, it is the only way you’ll know whether your filter is performing to your expectations.

Most water filter companies publish the lab test reports on their websites. If the reports aren’t published, call the company to request a report. Some companies don’t bother to test and you’ve got to wonder why. You should never buy a water filter that hasn’t been tested by a certified third-party lab. Period.

The next step is to analyze the report. Below is a portion of a report from a brand name water pitcher filter. As you can see, it is limited to removing Chlorine and a handful of other substances. Notice that it doesn’t even reduce lead!

Compare that to a report on a high-performing pitcher, the Propur Water Pitcher. There’s a big difference in the number of water pollutants that the pitcher filters remove. The report is just one page out of a six-page report.

On the surface, it may seem that all water pitchers are the same, but when you look more closely, you can see the meaningful differences. It’s always good to read the lab test reports.


2. Verify the Third-Party Lab


Step 2 is to verify that the lab that performed the tests is certified. Filters certified by NSF are by definition certified. If your filter is not certified by NSF, then you should do an online search for the lab and look for proof that they are certified to test water filters. You can typically find this proof in the “about us” section of the website.

Some water filter manufacturers post their in-house test results, cherry-picking their best numbers to compare to other filters. Don’t fall for this approach. It’s always best to compare performance by analyzing the full reports side-by-side from certified labs.


3. Get to Know Your Water


The last step is to gather information about your water quality. Start by doing a search for your city’s water quality report. Enter your city name followed by “water department report” to see the latest posted water report for your municipality.

As you read the report, start by understanding whether your water department uses chlorine or chloramines to disinfect your water. If you see chloramine in the report, then you’ll know that your water filter needs to remove chloramine. This is a key point. Most brand name water pitcher filters remove chlorine and not chloramine. In fact, the brand name water pitcher’s report above clearly shows it removes only chlorine.

Scan the rest of the report. Look for areas where your water department is failing to meet the MCLG which is the stricter standard. Maybe your water department detected arsenic in your water. According to the EPA, no amount of arsenic is safe, but some arsenic is allowed due to the cost of removing it. If this were the case for your water, you’d want a water filter that removed 99.9% of arsenic to do the job your water department can’t do because of the expense.

When you read the water quality reports, keep in mind that not all harmful contaminants are regulated. For example, PFOAs are not yet regulated but are harmful to your health. So, even if your city’s report looks squeaky clean, your water may have pollutants you’d rather not consume.

After getting to know your water and analyzing your water filter effectiveness based on the certified lab results, you’ll know whether your filter is meeting your expectations.


How to Make it Easier


If this all seems overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! At PureLivingSpace.com, you can rely on our water filter recommendations and have quick and easy access to the third-party lab results.

Questions? We love to help. Please contact us.

How to Know if Your Water Filter is Any Good

The Rice Debate: What is the Best Choice for Your Health?

The Rice Debate

By Niti Shah

Thousands of rice varieties are enjoyed as part of the staple diet by millions of people across the world. But which is the healthiest? And, how do you avoid arsenic in rice?

What is the Best Rice Choice for Your Health?


Learn the pros and cons of white, brown and parboiled rice, so you can make a healthy choice.


What is Brown Rice and How is it Made?


Brown rice or un-milled rice is whole grain rice. When only the outermost layer of a grain of rice (the husk or hull) is removed, brown rice is produced. It has a mild, nutty flavor and is chewier and more nutritious than white rice. One cup of cooked brown rice contains 84 mg of magnesium compared to 19 mg in white rice.


How is White Rice Made?


White rice is produced when the next layers underneath the husk — the bran and the germ are removed leaving mostly the starchy endosperm.Whole Grains Explained

Several vitamins and dietary minerals are lost in this polishing process like when making long grain Basmati rice. Hence, many manufacturers fortify it with vitamins and minerals to make up for the lost ones. Although one mineral that is not added back to white rice is magnesium.

After reading this you might say, “I am switching to brown rice today”. But, wait there is more to learn before you switch.

Ever heard of parboiled rice? It may be the perfect rice for you.


What Exactly is Parboiled Rice and How is it Made?


Parboiled rice is also known as converted rice and is steamed under pressure or partially boiled before removing the hull and bran. The four steps of parboiling include soaking, steaming, and drying, and then removing the rice husk. This process enhances the nutrition density by driving nutrients from the bran into the endosperm, making it about 80% nutritionally similar to brown rice.

Parboiled rice is a better source of fiber, B vitamins, and magnesium than regular white rice. Parboiled rice might sound like it’s pre-cooked, but it is not. It’s just processed differently from other types of rice.


Have You Heard About Arsenic in Rice?


Arsenic is an element found in nature, but is a cause of concern these days because the levels of arsenic found in our soil and water is increasing. Arsenic has been released into the environment through the use of excess pesticides. And, rice tends to absorb arsenic more readily than other plants.

Arsenic accumulates in the grains outer layers so brown rice tends to have more arsenic in it. Brown rice has 80% more arsenic on average than white rice of the same type. Brown rice has more nutrients though, so you shouldn’t switch entirely to white rice.

All types of rice made in the U.S. particularly in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas tested high in arsenic in a study conducted by Consumer Reports. White Basmati rice from California and India had on average half the amount of arsenic.


Tip to Reduce Arsenic in Rice


You can cut the exposure to arsenic in any type of rice by rinsing raw rice thoroughly before cooking using a ratio of six cups of water to one cup of rice. Drain excess water afterward.

For more information on arsenic in your rice, check out these links – Consumer Reports: Arsenic in Rice and EWG report.


Pros & Cons of Brown, White & Parboiled Rice


Brown Rice

Pros: Highly nutritious

Cons: Comes with risk of high arsenic depending on where it was grown. You have to develop a taste for it.

White Rice

Pros: Low risk of arsenic because the outer layers are removed in manufacturing.

Cons: Low nutrient content similar to white flour. High in starch/high glycemic score.

Parboiled Rice

Pros: Nutritious. Double the fiber compared to white rice. Excellent source of niacin, thiamine, and magnesium, and a moderate source of protein, iron and zinc.

Low glycemic score of 38, even lower than brown rice at 47 and white rice at 89 (source: Harvard Health Publications). A low glycemic score indicates that the carbohydrates in parboiled rice do not cause a large spike in blood sugar.

More resistant starch which helps lower blood glucose levels. Improves insulin sensitivity.

Less arsenic compared to brown rice.

Cons: 20% less nutritious compared to brown rice.

After learning the pros and cons of brown, white and parboiled, I selected the middle ground with healthy parboiled rice. The nutritional value, low glycemic value and lower risk of arsenic convinced me.


Where to Buy Parboiled Rice


Given rice grown in India has lower amounts of arsenic compared to the rice grown in the southern U.S., I prefer to buy my parboiled rice from an Indian grocery store. My favorite brand is Laxmi. If you prefer long grain rice, buy the parboiled Basmati by Laxmi. Otherwise, opt for the smaller grain ponni boiled. Ponni boiled is similar in processing to parboiled but with smaller grain. If you’re local store doesn’t carry it, try Amazon.


Healthy Tip – Add Protein to Your Carbs Using this Simple Tip


To add protein to your daily carbs, mix 1/3 cup of quinoa to one cup of rice. Rinse thoroughly and soak for 30 minutes before cooking. Adding quinoa does not change the taste and works like a charm even with picky eaters!

What’s your favorite rice? Had you ever heard of parboiled rice? Are you considering trying it?

 

 


About the Author:

Niti Shah is a Physical Therapist turned into a Wellness Blogger/Writer with a keen interest in her family’s health. Her blog is her shot at creating awareness for common diet and lifestyle inaccuracies that get missed in the daily hustle. Her hope is that you apply these functional and practical recommendations that she learned the hard way for superior health! Check out her blog at Family Health SOS and follow her on Facebook