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Is there a risk of bacteria growing in your water filter?

It turns out that not all water filters inhibit the growth of bacteria, so if you’re looking into purchasing a water purification system, you will want to make sure that it’s bacteriostatic.

Bacteria are the most abundant life form on earth, and whilst some are good for us others are not. Water can contain pathogenic, disease-causing bacteria (such as E. coli, legionella and salmonella) as well as non-pathogenic forms.

To safeguard us from these pathogens South African municipal water is treated with chemicals such as chlorine or chloramines, but many people don’t like the smell and taste that these chemicals cause or the possible harmful effects, such as: the production of free radicals in the body (via consumption), dry skin, rashes and eczema (via skin absorption) and respiratory issues (via inhalation).

Those looking at investing in quality water filters may have come across the term “bacteriostatic” and others of us may never have heard the term before, but what is “bacteriostatic” and why is it important?

“Bacteriostatic filters prevent the growth of bacteria within the water filter and are used extensively in filters for the medical fields, food industry and in top-of-the-range home water purification systems,” says Tony Marchesini, Managing Director of H2O International.

The good news is that there are a variety of bacteriostatic filters to look out for – some rely on silver to create an environment that inhibits the growth of bacteria; others rely on KDF®55 treatment mediums. In South Africa, only H2O International offers a purification systems that contain both of the above.

Issa Al-Kharusy, CEO of KDF Fluid Treatment Inc. in Michigan, USA says: “KDF® (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) is a patented product that has revolutionised the water filtration industry. It encompasses a wide range of properties to effectively deal with a correspondingly wide range of current water pollution problems around the world and improves the taste of the water. In fact, independent testing of the KDF®55 Process Medium shows that it removes up to 98% of inorganic water-soluble heavy metals, reduces lime scale, controls microorganisms and stops bacteria from growing in the filter. The units also last far longer than carbon-only ones and remove a much wider range of inorganic matter, as well as free chlorine.”

KDF® filters are more cost effective than other treatment systems because they don’t require frequet cartridge changes. They can last up to four times longer than average carbon filters. In addition, they do not waste water and are efficient at most water temperatures and pressures.

Ultra-violet (UV) light systems are  bacteriosidal , which means they kill the bacteria that come into contact with the UV rays. They perform the same function as chlorine. The UV systems are normally installed after your carbon-only or carbon / KDF® systems, so they are ineffective at making the media beds bacteriostatic.

How do you decide which system is best for you? Let someone in the know assist you.

Marchesini recommends a five-step process: “First you need to establish what the water is to be used for. Then find out exactly what is in your water and decide what you need removed. At that point, we can advise on the various technologies available and recommend the most cost-effective solution to meet your needs. This is not something that should be rushed. You need the full picture to be able to decide what system you prefer.”

The bottom line for consumers who intend to purchase water purifiers is that not all water filters are created equal. “Investing in a water-purification system is a personal choice. Those looking for the assurance that their families are drinking the best quality water with the best taste, should investigate carefully,” says Marchesini. “Naturally, I would recommend H2O International because our range covers the full gamut of advanced purification systems and we are the preferred suppliers of the KDF®55 Process Medium in South Africa because of our longstanding relationship with KDF Fluid Treatment Inc. over 24 years.”

For more information please visit www.h2o.co.za or call (021) 702 3262.