Why are Berkey Water Filters Banned in California?

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Why are Berkey Water Filters Banned in California?

Berkey water filters effectively remove contaminants from water, making them a popular choice for people looking for a safe and reliable way to drink water. However, Berkey filters are currently banned in California due to removing lead from water.

Lead is a toxic metal that can cause health problems if ingested at high levels. It is hazardous for children and pregnant women, who can suffer from developmental delays, learning disabilities, and other health issues due to exposure.

California has strict laws regulating the amount of lead that can be present in drinking water, and Berkey filters can remove up to 99% of lead from water. This makes them an attractive choice for people looking to reduce their exposure to lead, but California has decided that they must be banned.

State law forbids the addition of new devices to the state’s list of approved water filters unless they are first granted a variance by the Department of Public Health (DPH), which is the department responsible for reviewing and approving or denying requests for variances. Berkey did apply for a variance in September 2016, so its products could be sold legally in California, but DPH rejected their request on January 3rd 2017, without explanation. The only clue was an obscure line in their rejection letter stating that “The Director does not find the requester submits sufficient information at this time to demonstrate that conditions in California make compliance with Title 27 necessary.” Read more to know why are Berkey filters illegal in California?

What Does the Law Entail?

No “end-user device intended to convey or dispense water for human consumption through drinking or cooking” may be sold in California until it has been third-party certified by an ANSI/NSF-approved, independent firm to verify that it is “lead-free.”

The law covers water purification systems and water filtering products of all types and replacement parts and those that do not contain any metal alloys. To be sold in California, a system must be certified by a third-party ANSI/NSF-approved organization to meet the requirements established by the state.

Why Won’t Berkey Get a Certification?

So, why doesn’t Berkey do third-party testing on its water filters and replacement parts to establish their conformity to NSF/ANSI standards and make them available in the state of California?

The answer is straightforward: Berkey does not want to reveal its manufacturing secrets. The Berkey brand has a lot going for it, given that it is one of the top water filters on the market.

Any other water filter company has never matched Berkey’s Black Berkey elements. And if this were to happen, Berkey would face a significant competitor, which might significantly affect the brand’s sales.

According to Berkey, manufacturers of water purification or filtering devices would be required to provide “proprietary information” about their systems, including details on their manufacturing processes, sales, and suppliers.

However, despite California law stating that this information is to be kept private, Berkey does not want to take the chance. So we know that Berkey isn’t refusing third-party certification because its countertop filtering systems secretly include lead, as some conspiracy theories have it.

The refusal to sell its products in California is just one of several ways that Berkey has sought to preserve its trade secrets and maintain complete market exclusivity, even if it means being unable to offer consumers in California.

How to Get a Berkey in California?

There is still hope! If you live in California and want to purchase a Berkey product, you may do so – keep in mind that there will only be a few options available.

As per California’s laws, Berkey can legally make sales of the following:

  • Berkey Light
  • Travel Berkey

California may grant an exception for these Berkey filter systems because, since the initial legislation was passed, it has been more precisely defined.

The California Department of Public Health ruled that the Travel Berkey and the Berkey light do not fall within its jurisdiction, which means they are not required to obtain lead-free certification.

According to the Berkey website, because California does not prohibit “outdoor drinking water purification systems,” you may lawfully purchase an indoor Berkey system. This implies that while you can’t buy an indoor Berkey machine because the Berkey Light and Travel Berkey filters are classified as “outdoor filters,” these items are legal in the state of California.

What to Know About Berkey’s California-friendly Systems

The Berkey Light and Travel Berkey systems are nearly identical to standard Berkey water filters despite not needing the lead-free certification as per California’s rules. Here’s a little background on each one.

Berkey Light

The Berkey Light is Berkey’s portable, lightweight outdoor drinking water filtering system. It’s composed of BPA-free plastic and includes two filter elements from Berkey. This system is one of the finest for small budgets because no rules are stating that you must use it outside, and it costs less than other Berkey water filter systems. It can reduce a wide range of pollutants, including pathogenic germs in addition to well and city water. You may also use it with well or city drinking water.

Travel Berkey

The Travel Berkey, made of stainless steel, is a somewhat more robust, hefty outdoor water filter system. This product costs a bit more and holds up to 5.7 liters of water. The Travel Berkey can also purify both excellent and city water, removing everything from chlorine to lead and harmful germs.

How to Get Berkey Water Filters in California

Is it possible to ship a Berkey filter out of California? What if you’re looking for an indoor Berkey system? Is there any way to get around the state’s ban on shipping Berkey filters into your house?

This is not entirely correct. Berkey suggests purchasing the system and having a friend in another state ship it to their house for you to save money. You’ll then need to have the Berkey filter shipped to you via mail or in-person by your buddy. According to Berkey, this technique is “legal.”

What happens if you need replacement parts for these systems?

If you want to send them out of state, you’d have to order them from a friend in another state. Replacement filters are not an issue because all Berkey systems, whether classified as indoor or outdoor under the state’s standards, include the same purification components.

Sum Up!

There’s no getting around the fact that Berkey needs a lead-free certification to sell its indoor systems in California. 10 years after the state ban on the use of water filters was first implemented, it’s apparent that little has changed over time, and it’s unlikely to any time soon.

Manufacturers like Berkey will need third-party testing on all the systems they plan to sell in California, regardless of any new standards or modifications to California’s current rules.

It’s doubtful that Berkey will back down anytime soon, so you may as well accept that to obtain your hands on a Big Berkey or another conventional indoor Berkey product, you’ll need to be sneaky.

If you want to receive it delivered to your own house, technically, you’re violating the law, so look for a buddy who lives outside of California if you wish to get around the state rules.

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