CREDIT: Getty images
The state of California swears that most of its water is safe for drinking, but I have no way of knowing if I’m one of those with uranium or lead contaminated water. This is why filter my water, and buy replacements for my fridge frequently. It is also why my ears pricked up when I discovered that California had adopted a new law regulating water filters sold in the state, and requiring that they be certified by the Department of Public Health.
Whether due to long-standing droughts, rationing, or wildfires, water has become a staple of California news. Having the Water Board check that our filters did what they said they would was one less thing for me to worry about, until my recent replacement filter, Icepure arrived from Amazon. I had tried it because I now do most of my shopping online. When I didn’t find the usual California decal I was used to seeing on water filters sold in California, I did some checking and was surprised that on the official 2018 list of approved devices from the California Water Board, Icepure was nowhere to be found. There are however still multiple listings available on Amazon for Icepure, shippable to California as of September 19. I know about this list now due to my research, but I wonder how many people are using unverified filters.
CREDIT: Getty images
It is concerning that unknown manufacturers can circumvent safeguards installed to protect our health. Many manufacturers make bogus claims about the ability of their filters to remove contaminants like arsenic, lead, viruses, and chemicals. If I use a filter that makes dubious claims, isn’t that as bad as taking my chances with plain water? Amazon apparently has made some efforts to require that filters sold on its platform have a basic level of certification. But with the problem of counterfeits, often imported, which Amazon has still been unable to curb, there is no way of verifying the claims that any seller makes on its platform. I think Amazon really has to do more to protect the millions of those who now rely on it for their basic needs.
People only want to protect their health and that of their family members. I think the laws put in place to protect Californians through rigorous testing to obtain certification, are good and must be used. Is Amazon ready to follow the law in California? It should be a simple matter to ensure that all filters shipped in the state are on the annual list. This list is publicly available. After all, I found it. More awareness is needed around this because an untold number of people may be using these potentially dangerous products. It does seem like everyone piles onto Amazon and its practices but because of its global supply chain, there’s a need to ensure that they meet local standards. It should be an easy change for Amazon to make, and we do not need to wait until someone gets hurt. Amazon has shown that it can comply with local directives, like it did with sales tax. This is just one accidental discovery, but it boggles my mind to imagine how many more unregulated products are being shipped directly to buyers. It is time for Amazon to step up and safeguard the health of its consumers and if it does not, for our regulators to do so. It will help us all sleep better.
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