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Hydroviv’s Water Filter Donation Program with Little Miss Flint

Analies Dyjak @ Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 10:50 am -0400

Hydroviv's Water Nerds

Little Miss Flint (Mari Copeny) has partnered with Hydroviv to help donate water filters to low-income families across the country. As of July 14, 2020, the Little Miss Flint Clean Water Fund has raised over $320,000. Mari even inspired us to provide these filters at our break-even cost, which translates to almost one million dollars worth of product. Many families impacted by poor water quality will now have access to an effective solution. 

About Our Charitable Partner: Little Miss Flint

You may remember Little Miss Flint or Mari Copeny, as the face of the Flint Lead Crisis back in 2014. Mari was just 8 years old when she became one of the most prominent activists for the city of Flint, Michigan. After thousands of children in her community were exposed to unsafe levels of lead, Mari knew she needed to do something to help. Mari donated over one million bottles of water to families in Flint impacted by the high lead levels. At the beginning of the crisis, bottled water was the only resource for drinking water that the community of Flint could trust. After Hydroviv’s Scientific Founder, Dr. Eric Roy, heard about the situation in Flint, he began developing and donating high-capacity lead water filters to child-centric organizations and families in Flint, Michigan. This is where we met Mari, and decided to form a partnership to address water quality issues together.

Cost of Impact:

Sustainability: Our filter donation program has a significant environmental impact by eliminating the need for bottled water. While plastic water bottles may be a short-term solution, they end up in landfills and the ocean, causing a host of other environmental problems.

Time: Most bottled water donation programs require physically going to a location and standing in line for hours just to receive a week's worth of water. Installing a Hydroviv water filter allows for tap water on demand, and eliminates the need to take time off work just to receive a basic human right. 

Why Are Hydroviv Filters Different?

Not all water filters are designed to effectively remove high concentrations of contaminants found in tap water, and not all tap water is the same. Our scientific founder had this in mind when creating water filters for Flint, Michigan, and it still holds true today. Hydroviv Water Filters, including those being donated, are optimized to remove contaminants specific to any particular zip code. 

Some communities have “free filtration programs” that are often created a significant amount of time after the problem has been identified. Most city officials choose the cheapest option on the market, and the water filters inevitably end up failing to remove contaminants. Newark, New Jersey had a lead crisis similar to Flint, Michigan throughout 2018 and 2019. In response, the city provided free Pur water filters to eligible Newark residents. Unfortunately, the filters distributed by the city did not perform to the levels that Newark residents were led to believe. 

Hydroviv Specifications

Hydroviv Undersink Water Filters are NSF/ANSI 53 certified to remove lead. Hydroviv was included in a Duke University/NC State study that examined the effectiveness of residential water filters and their ability to remove PFAS. According to the study, water with PFAS present in the unfiltered samples had undetectable (below the Method Detection Limit (<MDL)) levels of PFAS after the water was filtered through a Hydroviv filter. The results from the Duke/NC State study were consistent with a previous study that looked at PFAS removal rates, including GenX. Additional studies show that Hydroviv filters remove Arsenic, Uranium, Chromium 6, and many other contaminants. Hydroviv is not in any way affiliated with or endorsed by Duke University, NC State University, or any of the researchers involved in the study.

How Can I Donate?

Click here to donate or learn more about the Little Miss Flint Clean Water Fund. We will be posting updates to our blogs in the upcoming weeks!

EPA’s New PFAS Rule Does Not Address Drinking Water

Analies Dyjak @ Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 9:13 am -0400

Analies Dyjak, M.A.  |  Policy Nerd

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced a new rule regarding a category of common drinking water contaminants called Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. The proposed final rule does not ban the production and distribution of PFAS chemicals, but provides an brief check for chemical manufacturers. 

Why Is Chemical Pollution Problematic in the United States? 

The United States has historically pushed products and chemicals to market without any sort of environmental or public health due diligence. Further, chemical manufacturers are not required to study how their products may impact human health before becoming available to the public. This includes a plethora of chemicals used in things like household cleaning products, solvents, fire suppressants, pesticides, and more. Typically a chemical manufacturing company gets served a lawsuit years after people become seriously ill after using or being exposed to their chemicals. In short, there are few barriers to entry when introducing a new product or chemical to market. The United States does not follow the “precautionary principle,” which is a commonly used method in European countries. The precautionary principle is a preventative check used to ensure the safety of a product before entering the market.

How Does This Affect Drinking Water?

Industrial and chemical pollution threaten drinking water more than almost any other type of pollution in the United States. You cannot see, taste, or smell most industrial pollutants - and most are so small that traditional municipal water treatment facilities are not able to remove them. Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are believed to be one of the largest threats to drinking water in the United States. PFAS are a category of man-made contaminants that are believed to be ubiquitous in tap water. They are associated with the production of Scotch-Guard, Teflon, stain-repellent products, non-stick products, and more. This rule only puts a small barrier between PFAS pollution and contaminated drinking water, rather than an outright ban. 

Health Effects Associated with PFAS Exposure:

All major U.S. health agencies agree that exposure to PFAS chemicals causes various negative health effects. This includes; The Environmental Protection Agency, The Centers for Disease Control, and The Food and Drug Administration. Health impacts identified by these agencies include:
  1. Increased risk of miscarriages 
  2. Increased risk of cancer
  3. Lowered immune function
  4. Thyroid hormone disruptions
  5. Low infant birth weight

Did EPA Go Far Enough?

Under the proposed rule, EPA will be required to review and approve the use of products that contain PFAS chemicals. This rule is being proposed under the Toxic Substance and Control Act (TSCA), which regulates the use of new and existing chemicals. It’s important that we are crystal clear in the breakdown of this rule: PFAS are still being manufactured and distributed in the United States, and will continue to be manufactured and distributed as a result of this proposed rule. 

Why This Rule is Flawed:

The proposed rule still allows the manufacturing and distribution of new PFAS in the United States. This is a particularly important regulatory flaw because federal or state governments have not been able to implement a plan that addresses existing PFAS in the environment. Even worse, the proposed rule does not acknowledge drinking water as a potential exposure route. Although other rules and proposed rules acknowledge the problem, none provided by EPA present a clear protocol as to how to remove them from tap water. 

Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
Why Do Military Bases Show High Levels of PFAS?
Yale: PFAS Associated With Increased Risk of Miscarriages
CDC: Possible Intersection Between PFAS and COVID-19

How Well Do Hydroviv Water Filters Remove Arsenic and Uranium?

Analies Dyjak @ Monday, June 22, 2020 at 8:41 am -0400

Analies Dyjak, M.A.  |  Policy Nerd

Maine Well Water Case Study: 

A prospective customer reached out to us about a year ago with concerns about his well water. After sending the well water test results from an EPA accredited lab to our science team, we were able to determine that his well water water was well above EPA regulatory standards for both arsenic and uranium. This meant that the levels in his well water were above what EPA considers to be safe for human consumption. Private well owners are on their own for determining the safety of their well water.

How Well Did Hydroviv Remove Arsenic and Uranium?

Hydroviv’s Undersink Water Filter brought his arsenic levels down from 23.9 parts per billion to undetectable. For a bit of perspective, his pre-filtered levels were over twice as high as the EPA federal standard for arsenic. Hydroviv filters also brought his uranium levels down from 235 parts per billion to undetectable. His pre-filtered levels were over 7 times higher than the EPA federal standard for uranium. The graph below shows the uranium and arsenic levels, before and after installing a Hydroviv Undersink Water Filter. 

Uranium and arsenic levels before and after Hydroviv

Arsenic in Drinking Water:

Arsenic is a naturally occurring heavy metal found in bedrock throughout the United States. Arsenic leaches from bedrock into well water overtime through a process known as natural weathering. The presence of arsenic is entirely dependent on your area’s geology. This means that arsenic may be present in seemingly pristine well water located far away from factories and other sources of pollution. Arsenic can cause various types of cancers, including bladder, lung, liver, and prostate. Some states with the highest rates of bladder cancer also have the highest levels of arsenic in groundwater.

Uranium in Drinking Water:

Uranium is a naturally occurring radionuclide typically found in groundwater. Similar to arsenic, the presence of uranium in well water is dependent on your area’s geology. Long term exposure to uranium in drinking water increases the risk of kidney cancer in humans. The current EPA federal standard for uranium in drinking water is 30 parts per billion. Most standard pitcher and refrigerator pitchers do not include the necessary filtration media to remove uranium from drinking water.

How Do I Know if Arsenic and Uranium are in My Well Water?

Our team of Water Nerds analyzes every order based on the zip code provided at check out. If you live on a private well, we use publicly available USGS data, State Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP) data, municipal Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR), and other internal well water test results. Using these data, we are able to determine the contaminants that are likely present in your well water. 

Other Articles Recommended For You: 
5 Things That Most People Don't Realize About Well Water
Home Water Testing: What You Should Know
How is EPA Responding to COVID-19?

New Statement from CDC on "Possible Intersection" Between PFAS Exposure and COVID-19

Analies Dyjak @ Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 8:45 am -0400

Analies Dyjak, M.A.  |  Policy Nerd

Editor’s Note: We wanted to inform the public of the recent statement made by CDC about a “possible intersection” between PFAS and COVID-19. The full statement from CDC can be read here.

CDC’s Statement on COVID-19 and PFAS Exposure:

“CDC/ATSDR understands that many of the communities we are engaged with are concerned about how PFAS exposure may affect their risk of COVID-19 infection. We agree that this is an important question.
CDC/ATSDR recognizes that exposure to high levels of PFAS may impact the immune system. There is evidence from human and animal studies that PFAS exposure may reduce antibody responses to vaccines (Grandjean et al., 2017, Looker et al., 2014), and may reduce infectious disease resistance (NTP, 2016). Because COVID-19 is a new public health concern, there is still much we don’t know. More research is needed to understand how PFAS exposure may affect illness from COVID-19.”

Where Are PFAS Found in the United States?

Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) threaten drinking water across the entire country. They've been detected in drinking water in 49 states, including large cities like San Jose, California, Richmond, Virginia, and Durham, North Carolina. Because PFAS are not federally regulated, public water suppliers are not required to test for PFAS or notify residents if it's been detected in drinking water. Check out this map created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to see if PFAS have been detected in your tap water. EWG did not test every municipality in the country. For that reason, PFAS may still be present in your drinking water even if your municipality is not highlighted on the map.

What To Do:

  1. Find out if your municipality is testing for PFAS in drinking water. 
  2. If you plan on purchasing a water filter, make sure that it’s been third-party tested to remove PFAS. Most standard pitcher and refrigerator filters DO NOT remove PFAS. This Duke University study tested various filters and their ability to remove it. Check it out before purchasing! Click here
  3. Reach out to your elected officials to ensure that they understand PFAS is a serious threat to public health.
Other Articles Recommended For You:
How Did Hydroviv Filters Perform in a Duke University PFAS Study?
Why We Can't Fix The Water Crisis in the United States
EPA Threatens States' Ability to Protect Drinking Water

Why We Can't Fix The Drinking Water Crisis in The United States

Analies Dyjak @ Friday, June 12, 2020 at 8:29 am -0400

Analies Dyjak, M.A.  |  Policy Nerd

As communities across the United States continue to deal with contaminated drinking water, the public is beginning to realize that lawmakers might not be the ones standing in the way of regulation. Municipal and public water utility providers are not equipped to deal with new drinking water standards, and have historically lobbied against them. 

Why Are Public Water Utilities Against PFAS Regulation?

According to a report by Bloomberg Law, water utilities are the most vocal opponents of PFAS regulation. Regulating PFAS would mean that water utilities would be legally required to reduce PFAS levels to meet state or federal standards. Most of the recently proposed PFAS legislation requires public water utilities to pay for this. Removing PFAS is expensive, and requires treatment equipment that most municipalities do not currently own. A water board or utility provider has the less-than-desirable task of telling the public that because of this, that their taxes are going to increase. They will also be to blame for allowing PFAS and other contaminants in drinking water without notifying the public.

Municipal Water Utilities and the Race Against Time 

Municipal water utilities have the most to lose when it comes to new drinking water regulations. When the public retroactively finds out that they’ve been drinking contaminated water for years, municipal water providers take a majority of the blame. This results in a complete loss of trust by an entire tax base. As the public become aware of PFAS in tap water, the number of lawsuits against public utilities will continue to increase. Publicly owned utilities fail when both of these factors come to fruition.

Aging infrastructure is the top priority for most municipal water utilities in the United States. This includes replacing lead-containing pipes, water main leaks, and tackling already difficult-to-remove contaminants like lead, disinfection byproducts, and more. Many municipalities allocate a majority of their resources to replacing lead-containing infrastructure. For example, Newark, New Jersey, is currently in the midst of a $115 million lead service line replacement program. This program doesn’t even remove all lead pipes from the city, just the line that connects to your homes plumbing. The city of Chicago has historically had problems with lead Water commissioner for the city of Chicago estimates that a lead line replacement would cost anywhere between $4 billion and $8 billion. In short, public water utilities are not currently prioritizing PFAS and other contaminants in drinking water.

Who Is To Blame to Water Pollution?

Major companies such as 3M, DuPont, and Chemours took advantage of the lack of water quality regulations for decades. Now that pollution has made its way into drinking water across the United States, it’s time to figure out who pays. Public water utilities are set up to fail. They're underfunded, and given the impossible task of distributing clean drinking water on a tight budget. Additionally, laws such as Superfund/CERCLA, put a large financial burden on municipalities. 

Our Take:

More often than not, municipality water departments are not responsible for contaminating the drinking water. Chemical polluters and the Governments lack of proactive lawmaking have allowed tap water to become so contaminated. We believe that municipalities should notify residents as soon as they become of water contamination, whether it's in their best interest of not. 

Other Article You Might Enjoy:
How Did Hydroviv Filters Perform in a Duke University PFAS Study?
Yale University: PFAS Exposures Increases Risk of Miscarriage
How Do I Know If My Home Has Lead Plumbing?