To Drink or Not to Drink… That is the Question. :)

Water, water everywhere. And not a drop to drink.

Choosing the best water purification system.

That’s what this post is about.

Something that should be simple.

Safe water.

I have spent more time than I wanted, looking for a reliable alternative to my AQUASANA Counter Water Filter; which, underneath their cloudy claims, is not NSF certified. They are California certified but that certification shows they remove very few contaminants, about the same # as a cheap $20 faucet water filter would. Namely Aquasana doesn’t remove Mercury, and Fluoride.

Now, Some people want fluoride in their water, and that is fine… more power to you, I personally don’t want it in my water. (To preemptively ward-off the fluoride lovers/cult who always pops up when people dare question not having fluoride in their water, if you want my stance on fluoride, do a search on my blog and you’ll find a post I wrote specifically on fluoride).

Anyhow so I’ve been looking at a ton of choices in the last 24 hours. I’m compulsive that way. It really is staggering, how difficult it is to find a certified product that does something as simple as remove Mercury and Fluoride as well as bacteria, and other contaminants.

I’ve learned enough in the last 24 hours, to earn my PHD in the subject. And the main thing I’ve learned… is there is no really good alternative. Well let me correct that there is one good alternative theoretically, but not practically.

A reverse Osmosis system with a Solid carbon Block filtration stage. That’s it, over all the other systems… loose carbon filter, ultraviolet systems, gravity systems, and just reverse osmosis systems… the solid block RO is the holy grail.

But before pulling the trigger I like reading the comments of people who didn’t like a product, so I surf the review sites. Specifically for reviews of A Solid Carbon, Reverse Osmosis water filtration system.

Most of the time you can discount consumer placed online/shopping reviews, particularly the negative ones. They are typically posted by idiots (usually with only one comment or only negative comments) complaining about slow shipping, or the fact they didn’t read the description correctly and want to blame the product for their illiteracy. Reading a lot of reviews I would say 90% of the time… negative posters are not the sharpest knives in the draw.

However you occasionally get the other 10%. An informed, consumer/fan written review.

Specifically I stumbled across just such a negative review in regards to the water filter ($330+) I was considering buying. His review was well written, straight to the point, and clear on the reason he didn’t like it. Basically he stated that his RO tank that held the freshly purified water… was actually a plastic that was leaching into the water.

That was his guess.

But is it accurate? Well since I’m in my compulsive mode I decided to find out. The short answer is yes.

The container that virtually all ROs (Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Machines) utilize is an internal plastic liner. Now that’s not as horrible as it sounds because in the better tanks, the lining is made out of a type 5 plastic called Polypropylene. It’s the best plastic and the only one that does not significantly leach into water over time. (for your information most bottled water uses the cheaper plastic that breaks down 1/in sunlight and 2/overtime. So that water you’ve been storing in plastic jugs for the apocalypse, either move it to glass quickly or toss it out).

So that’s the good news. It is possible to get a tank with a relatively safe liner.

Here’s the bad news. Inside of that liner is a bladder that the water is held in and comes in contact with. It’s made out of Butyl. A component of something you don’t want in your water , which is MTBE, basically a fossil derivative, not much different then what they use to make dolls and tires out of. Now MTBE in no way shape or form should be anywhere near water.

So the question is: how safe is Butyl by itself to house water and act as a container for your expensive filtration system? The answer: There is no documentation, I could find regarding water and over time exposure leaching with Butyl.

However if that’s what is in the tank that was negatively reviewed, and most peoples’ RO tank, that could explain that stale/plastic taste that some RO users report. The plastic of your very water filter, is contaminating the water you’ve just filtered.

It’s so disheartening, here I am not a scientist, but with just a cursory look and cursory research, I can determine that someone spending good money for the quality of their water, perhaps would not want that compromised by plastic and petrol byproducts, that are going to leach over time, into the very water they’ve spent a good sum to purify.

From $40 faucet system to $500 Ro/Solid Carbon systems it’s almost laughable how each one is designed with a point of failure, to ultimately defeat the very reason you’re getting it. These companies, should all be ashamed.

So what does that leave us?

Well, unless you know someone who can design you a safe tank, to more than likely include the filter containers, everything solid stainless steel, inside and out, a bladder-less system, or a bladder made of something that won’t leach into the water, well until that happens you’re spending a lot of money on a flawed system.

Distillation would be a good alternative, but even the Distillers that say ‘American made’ are made in China. And China’s quality control being what it is, the distiller will probably have an aluminum interior and add more contaminants than it removes. In addition almost none of the distillers are certified in any way, so you have only the manufacturers word it’s even effective.

Getting water devoid of additives you don’t want, in a supposedly developed nation, should not be this difficult. It shouldn’t be impossible, and 24 hours of research later… all I can say is… it largely is.

Unless you have the filter built to your specifications by a company you trust, or you are handy enough to build it yourself… you are relegated to drinking little better than tap water, regardless of your choice of filter.

Well, following my own advice I’m going to look for that certified stainless steel Distiller and or RO/Solid Carbon filter, or make it.

It can be a project for my next 24 hours. 🙂 (unless someone here has discovered the holy grail of filters, and if that’s the case drop me a line).

Well hope all this has helped, at least save you some running around, and maybe clarify your choices. Till later, be well.



I consider myself a pretty savvy shopper. I do my homework. But that said we can’t catch everything. There are only so many hours in the day and sometimes that means buying products (particularly on-line) on hype rather than intrinsic merit.

And sometimes that means buying a product that is lacking in merit, while overflowing in hype. So this new segment is for me to remember my shopping missteps, and for you hopefully to be informed by them, and perhaps even profit from my mistakes.

So, I’ll list my shopping disappointments, but in addition (I never want my posts to be just rant-fests or cursing the darkness, too many people both off and on-line do that) I’ll also present shopping success stories. Products that were well worth the money and earned the hype.

So that’s what this reoccurring segment will be about. So without further ado…


So CASCADIAN FARM RAISIN BRAN cereal has been my cereal of choice since getting back on the cereal bandwagon; that I haven’t been on since a kid. Now I like bacon (turkey bacon naturally. You know what they say— you are what you eat! Ha!Ha!Ha! Look at all you little piggies out there! Ha!Ha! Ha! H– wait! So does that make me a jive Turkey?!! Anyway—) and eggs, but when you’re pressed for time, nothing beats the ease of cereal and milk (SILK brand Almond Dark Chocalate milk. Both the Soy and Coconut are pretty darn unpalatable).

And while not a tree hugger, I do like to eat healthy food that won’t make me sick. I know crazy talk, I must be insane to actually read labels and be careful about what additives I accept in my food!!

I know, total lunacy, right? And come to think of it, I do like hugging the occasional tree, it’s just those splinters you have to watch out for. 🙂

Can you say digression?

So yeah I landed on CASCADIAN FARM RAISIN BRAN not only because it avoided most of the additives on my ‘you have to pay me to eat this’ list (including high-fructose corn syrup and MSG/modified corn starch), but because it actually tastes good.

Firm flakes, that maintain their crunchiness and consistency in milk, and large, fresh raisins, so yeah CASCADIAN FARM RAISIN BRAN has earned its place as my cereal of choice.

I can’t say that for most of what I’ve tried from CASCADIAN FARM. You know that negative stereotype a lot of people have when they hear organic,…umm not such a stereotype on much of what I tried.

That CASCADIAN FARM ‘clusters’ cereal? Just plain awful. Better used to remove paint from walls. However their RAISIN BRAN… gets a spoon up. It’s a winner. I’ve been a devoted patron of it for some while now.

However, I recently went to the super-market, and they had no CASCADIAN FARM RAISIN BRAN (I’m going to call that CFRB from now on, my typing hand will thank me) so I picked up what I thought was a commensurate replacement in POST RAISIN BRAN. The ingredient list read relatively additive free.

Well it may have been free of additives, but it was definitely free of good taste.

Man that is some awful stuff! How do you mess up such a simple concept as Raisin Bran?? I mean is that brain surgery? Evidently it is because everything you could do wrong with this cereal, POST RAISIN BRAN has done wrong.

It instantly at the first sign of liquid became a soggy mess. I poured a little milk onto the thing, and could have sworn I entered cartoon land, the whole cereal kinda deflated in on itself with a ‘sad trombone’ like musical que. I started looking around for Tom & Jerry, because I knew I had to be in a cartoon, and any second now the raisins were going to jump out of the bowl and start singing “Mammy” or “Ragtime gal”.

Horrifying I say! Horrifying!


Okay, I may be exaggerating a tad, but on the serious, two bites of the soggy mess and I was done. I returned the one unopened box I had, and threw away the other (and I hate to toss away any food, but I don’t know anybody in this day and age, including shelters that are going to accept open food of any kind. So garbage it went).

So the lesson of our story girls and boys is, all Raisin Bran is not the same. CASCADIAN FARM RAISIN BRAN gets a YAY rating, and POST RAISIN BRAN gets a NAY/Avoid rating.

Well see that wasn’t too painful.

We’ve come to the end of our first installment of SHOPPING YAYS and NAYS!! Come back next time for more true tales of me purchasing things… I shouldn’t have, as well as tales of me purchasing things I’m glad I found.

And a brief aside on MSG.

You can, contrary to labels, still find MSG in foods, however these days it is strategically hidden under the name modified corn starch. Why hide MSG inclusion in food if it is safe? Well that’s a good question citizen, let’s go to my FDA hand puppet.

Wait…Did i say that out loud?

Anyhow, the reason is manufacturers had noted consumers were starting to get wise to MSG being a bad thing (the same reason behind MONSANTO changing their name, to try an avoid negative brand recognition). And quite right manufacturers are to hide MSG under the label modified corn starch.

Goddamn it who do you people think you are, resisting what we want to put in your bodies??!! And why?!! You bleeding hearts, Why???! Just because the additives have negative effects on useless human past-times like— oh let me think— oh yeah reproduction and learning. You citizens are so touchy about your sperm count.

Yeah I really want food laced with additives that negatively effect those two things. You go FDA! Let’s increase your budget because you’re doing such a bangup job.

Sarcasm. I’ve been known to practice it occasionally.

And next time I will have my FDA handpuppet ready to speak to you.

Till later folks. 🙂