How Tap Water Can Ruin Your Energy Levels And How To Fix It – with Igor Milevskiy

Content By: Ari Whitten

How tap water can ruin your energy levels with Igor Milevskiy - cover Image Were you aware that the regular tap water you drink is filled with various chemicals and drugs?

This week I am talking to the owner of Pure Effect Filters, Igor Milevskiy. He is an expert on water filters and he will share with you a lot of details on how the different water filtering systems are working and why his filtering system is top of the line.

In this podcast, we will cover:

  • Why fluoride is a big problem in our tap water
  • How we are not considering the effects multiple chemicals in the water can have
  • Why reverse osmosis filtering systems are not good for the environment
  • How we are getting radioactive compounds in our water supply
  • Why ionizing your water is not a good idea

(Note: Scroll to the bottom of this page for my list of top filters that DO work to filter out the widest range of toxins.)

Download or listen on iTunes

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(note: Igor’s webcam wasn’t working properly, so we don’t have video of him).

How Tap Water Can Ruin Your Energy Levels And How To Fix It. Show notes

What the factors were that caused Igor to be dissatisfied with the tap water filters out there.
Fluoride is a big problem in regular tap water filters
Radiation in tap water cannot be filtered through conventional means
What you can typically find in your own tap water
The effects of chlorine disinfection byproducts on your tap water
How radioactive substances end up in US tap water
What chloramine is and how it cannot get out of your tap water
How to find out what is in your tap water
How we can protect ourselves by filtering our tap water
The pros and cons of reverse osmosis tap water filtering
What the healthiest water PH is
How reverse osmosis alters the water PH
The pros and cons of using distillation to filter your tap water
How plastic leach into water and make it toxic
Why ionizers should not be used to purify your tap water
The pros and cons of using gravity filters to filter tap water
Why pitcher and faucet filters are not a preferred method
Why Pure Effect Filters are good for filtering your tap water
Why the Ultra UC is one of the best filters on the market
What the weakness of using a whole house filter is
Which filter remove virtually 100% of the fluoride content in your tap water
How to remove radioactive contaminants and heavy metals in your water
Comparing the Pure Effect and reverse osmosis filters


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How Tap Water Can Ruin Your Energy Levels And How To Fix It – with Igor Milevskiy

Ari Whitten: Hi Igor. Thank you very much for joining me. I appreciate this and I’m very much looking forward to you sharing your wisdom around water filtration with us.

Igor: It’s good to be here with you Ari.

Ari Whitten: I would love it if you could just get started about telling us a bit about your background and how you got into being interested in water and learning about water chemistry and all of that.

Igor: Water is such an obvious thing that people often overlook that when they’re thinking about their health. I got into it because I was always interested in nature. I was always a very inquisitive person and biology was a favorite subject of mine. Naturally, I had animals and pets and also aquariums. I took a lot of care to raise fish and to take care of the aquarium, which is obviously a lot of water chemistry is involved.

That taught me many years of experience with that. Taught me about water chemistry and how if the water is not just right a lot of fish will get sick and die. That really got me into thinking about my own tap water quality.

What the factors were that caused Igor to be dissatisfied with the tap water filters out there.

So, I started researching a lot of different tap water filters on the market and I couldn’t find one that did everything it had to do that fit my needs. Whereas it removes the chemicals, did it intelligently, didn’t strip the minerals out of the water, didn’t waste any water and filtered the widest range of contaminants possible. I had to make one.

Ari Whitten: Very interesting. What were the big factors as far as why those filters didn’t do what you wanted them to do? Maybe I should say what did you want them to do that went beyond what you could find out there?

Fluoride is a big problem in regular tap water filters

Igor: One of the biggest factors was fluoride. There was no, as far as I was aware at that point, there was no technology that could remove fluoride without causing other problems for the tap water like, without denaturing it by removing the minerals. That was a big one.

Radiation in tap water cannot be filtered through conventional means

Also, the company was started right around when Fukushima occurred, with the radiation fallout. That led me to realize there is no filter for radiation also, that could address those issues adequately. It, kind of, all came together and there was some innovation involved and we got to work.

Ari Whitten: Very interesting. We’ll talk more about the specifics of your filters a little bit later in this, but I would love also if we could just start by giving a broad overview of what kind of things are in our tap water? If we’re people living in the western world, especially the United States where you and I live, what kinds of things are in the municipal, city tap water supply, that most of us are on?

What you can typically find in your own tap water

Igor: There’s quite a bit. First of all, there are contaminants that are leaching into the tap water or could be leaching into the water from aging infrastructure, old pipes, lead pipes. There could be things leaching from agricultural areas.

If you’re living by a farm you could have pesticides leaching in there, you could have nitrates. You could have bacteria, coliform, things like that.

If you’re living by an industrial area you may have volatile organic chemicals like VOCs. Also, drug residues have been found across the whole United States. Associated Press did a study on that, various painkillers and medications people take actually end up in trace amounts back in the tap water supply.

Ari Whitten: Yeah, shocking numbers of prescription drug residues.

Igor: Right, yeah. Water is a universal solvent, so it’ll absorb everything that society is using, and then give it right back to us. Those are the contaminants that get in there. Then you have another issue when the city actually has to process the water to make it drinkable, or at least we’d like to think so, they have to add more chemicals to it.

They have to add disinfectants, like chlorine, ammonia. They have to add PH stabilizers. They have to add fluoride according to the law, which is supposedly good for the teeth which I don’t agree with.

This is adding all into the cocktail, all of the different chemicals. They are mixing together, alright, and they’re creating potentially other unknown chemicals as a result because you have this fusion, you have this mixture of different things. That’s another risk right there as well.

Ari Whitten: If I can jump in here for a second, I had a really interesting conversation the other day. We just moved to a new house. I don’t mean a new in the sense that it was just built, but a different house that is a new place for us. It’s actually quite an old house. It was built in the 1940s.

We’re renting it and I was talking to the landlord the other day. The landlord is actually, he’s an older gentleman. He’s probably in his mid-80s, maybe early 90s and he’s actually the original owner of the house. He bought it in the 1940s.

Interestingly enough, he actually worked for Collagen, the water filter, water softener company for about 40 years. He had a water softener installed in the house. My wife and I really didn’t like the feel of the water, so he happened to be here one day and I was talking to him about that.

I told him that I was interested in doing a whole house water filter. Just getting that installed to filter some of these chemicals out of the water. He chuckled at me and he said, “You can do that if you want, but it’s your money, you’re wasting your money if you want to do that.” I said, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “The city already treats the tap water and they make it safe.”

I’m like, “Well… They add stuff to the water to make it safe and disinfect it and they’re disinfecting some viruses and bacteria and certain things, parasites and stuff like that that are potentially harmful. That’s very true, but there’s also potential consequences of the stuff they’re putting in to process.”

He just chuckled at me. He thought I was crazy because in his mind, what the city is doing to treat the tap water is they’re protecting us. They’re making us safe. They’re purifying the water and doing all that.

Igor: He trusts them.

Ari Whitten: Exactly. I’m just trying to point out that there is almost an old-school view of what the city is doing to our tap water supply in terms of the things they’re adding, chlorine and fluoride and so on. It’s to help our teeth, our dental health and to disinfect the waters to make it safe for us.

Then there is the new school understanding I would say. The recognition that not all the chemicals that are being added to the water supply are good for us and so on. I just thought that was an interesting aside as far as how people understand what the city is doing to our water.

Igor: It’s interesting he thinks like that even though he was in the water industry, water filtration industry. I’ll tell you if you want to look at some examples of how there are problems with our water supply even when the city’s involved. Look at Flint, Michigan. Look at what happened with the lead situation there.

There was recently chromium six found in a lot of the different water supplies. You’ve just got to look at the news and that tells you … Whether you feel comfortable or not, that is up to you with that type of water, but I personally like to take care of my own water and not depend on someone else to do it for me. This way I know I’m doing it right, you know, and I feel more comfortable at night that way.

The effects of chlorine disinfection byproducts on your tap water

Ari Whitten: Likewise, I feel the same. Is there anything else of note as far as what’s in our tap water? You mentioned some of the VOCs and some heavy metals and fluoride and chlorine. What about chlorine disinfection byproducts?

Igor: There is certainly that issue, the trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, all these types of chemicals, chloroform. These are all formed as a byproduct of chloramine. As I was mentioning before, when chemicals mix together they create other things, other byproducts. They’re being discovered, new ones are coming out all the time. The more you look, the more you will find. Radioactive contaminants is another issue too now.

Ari Whitten: Talk to me about that, because as far as I can tell you are one of the very few people who are even aware of that or talking about it because most people seem to not ever mention anything about radioactive substances in the water.

How radioactive substances end up in US tap water

Igor: Because you are assuming that where would it come from? Because there are no nuclear meltdowns in the US, everything should be fine. There’s a lot of research that shows that as many as 80% of the nuclear power plants in the US, and there is as many as 100 I believe, or a little more than 100 of them, are leaking because they’re old and they’re not well-maintained. They’re leaking into the environment which can eventually end up in the water supply.

You can also have naturally occurring radioactive contaminants, if you’re on well water, like radon or uranium for example. Those are naturally occurring in the earth. That can come from the ground.

Then you also have fallout radiation from nuclear weapons testing or things like Fukushima in Japan. Winds blow that over here. There’s certainly a concern for that and there’s a need to have the water filter address that.

Ari Whitten: Very interesting. Anything else in our water? Or does that pretty much cover it?

Igor: I think for the most part those are the main things. Heavy metals, that’s also an issue. I think I mentioned chromium and lead. I think those are the main ones though.

What chloramine is and how it cannot get out of your tap water

Ari Whitten: What about chloramine. Can you explain what chloramine is?

Igor: Sure, yeah. That’s one of the disinfectants that more places are starting to use now because they’ve been using chlorine so long that it’s starting to become ineffective. In other words, the microbes have developed a resistance to the disinfection.

Now they’re adding ammonia mixed with chlorine which is creating this more persistent chemicals called chloramine which is a lot harder to remove because it stays in the water longer. It doesn’t evaporate as easily as chlorine.

They solved the problem or they’re trying to solve the problem with the resistant bacterias, but they’re creating this harder to remove chemicals now as a result.

Ari Whitten: Chloramine is harder for us to filter out of the water compared to just plain chlorine?

Igor: It’s a lot more difficult. You need special catalytic carbon for that, which our filters have. Regular activated carbon won’t cut it. You have to break that bond with catalytic activity. It’s a lot more difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing.

How to find out what is in your tap water

Ari Whitten: Actually one thing that I should mention here before we get into the specific types of water filtration is how does one know what’s in their water? I already know the answer to this because you walked me through this over the phone and we went through it for my area in San Diego, California and the part of San Diego I’m in and you can actually get a report for figuring out what’s in your water supply in your area. Can you just talk people through that?

Igor: By law, each municipality has to release a what’s called a consumer confidence report free of charge once a year. This report is sometimes called annual water quality report. This report shows you what the city has tested for, what they’re adding into the tap water and if any contaminants are above the limit, the EPA limit.

Those are reports are a general picture. They don’t test for every possible contaminant in there. They’re not required to by law. There is a lot of new emerging contaminants they’re not looking at yet. That’s just somewhere to start. That’s a place to start.

If you really want to get more in depth, the best thing to do is do your own water quality test with a lab. There are various labs out there that have packages you can purchase and they test for a bunch of different things. That’ll give you more concrete results based on your water supply.

However, that being said, even sometimes the report can come back fine and a week or a month from that point something happens and there is a new contaminant that gets into the water supply. That’s not definite as well. That just gives you an idea, but it doesn’t protect you moving forward. It doesn’t guarantee you that the water quality will stay that way. Filtration is like an insurance as well. Even if the tap water seems fine it’s insurance in case it’s not at some point.

How we can protect ourselves by filtering our tap water

Ari Whitten: Understanding all of that, how can we protect ourselves? What are the different types of filtration that are available to us? Let’s go through each one, one by one, and talk about the pros and cons of each type of filtration as far as what they remove, what they don’t, maybe how they alter the tap water in unintended ways and so on. Can you give an overview of what are the different types of filtration?

The pros and cons of reverse osmosis tap water filtering

Igor: Sure, I’ll start with the most common one which is most people are aware, it’s reverse osmosis. That is a technology that’s been around for a long time. Initially, it was designed to be used in industrial applications where you had to have water stripped of everything, like circuit board manufacturing for electronics or pharmaceutical manufacturing where any types of minerals or anything in the water would interfere.

However, that’s not good when it comes to drinking water because it denatures it. It takes out all the beneficial minerals, electrolytes and leaves your water acidic. Acidic water is corrosive and it’s been shown to pull minerals from the body because it doesn’t have any when you drink it, so it pulls them out.

Reverse osmosis also wastes a lot of tap water, especially if you’re in areas where water droughts occur and you need to conserve water.

Reverse osmosis wastes three to four times the amount that it filters. Every gallon that you filter you’re going to waste about three.

Ari Whitten: Wow!

Igor: It’s very wasteful. It’s got it drawbacks. The membrane itself is thin and it can break and leak in pure water without your knowledge. You have to constantly test the water to make sure the membrane’s not defective. It’s got a storage tank which is called the bladder tank that the water goes into after it’s filtered. Those tanks tend to go stale and they tend to have bacteria develop inside. You really can’t open them to get in there and clean it. It poses some problems, that technology. That’s the most common one I wanted to address and the problems with it.

Ari Whitten: A couple little questions there. One is, on the subject of, you use the word denaturing the water. Are you using that term loosely, because I haven’t really seen so much evidence to support water denaturing, but are you using it just to say that the water’s being stripped of minerals and the PH is being altered?

Igor: Correct, stripping of its natural nutrients that are normally found in natural waters like electrolytes and minerals.

What the healthiest water PH  is

Ari Whitten: Are you aware of, as far as the PH issue, there’s a lot of discussions right now about alkaline water and every people talking about the benefits of alkaline water and so on? Are you aware of any I guess parameters in terms of PH that humans should be drinking water at or what maybe natural waters tend to be at in terms of PH range?

Igor: Natural water ranges from about 6.5 to about 8.5 as far as I’m aware. Most commonly it’s over seven. I feel like it’s best to pattern the water chemistry that’s found in nature, for us, because we evolved with this type of water, so I think our bodies are better suited to handle water like that and it probably gives it more benefit as a result.

Water somewhere I would say between 7.5 and 8.5 would be my preference. But it has to be natural alkaline. It can’t be artificial because artificial alkaline is like the ionizer machines.

Ari Whitten: Maybe we can keep that as a separate topic.

Igor: Absolutely.

How reverse osmosis alters the water PH

Ari Whitten: Then reverse osmosis tends to alter the PH down to, what, about 5.5?

Igor: It takes it under seven. Depends on the membrane type, but it can take it under seven. I’ve seen six, it could be 5.5, it depends on the type of system you have.

Ari Whitten: In general it’s moving it towards a more acidic range.

Igor: Exactly.

Ari Whitten: Then the other cons are mainly wasting water, potential membrane rupture, stripping it of minerals and the holding tank issue.

Igor: The holding tank issue with the stagnation, yeah.

Ari Whitten: In terms of actual removal of chemicals, how good is reverse osmosis?

Igor: For the most part it’s quite good because it indiscriminately just blocks about everything expect the water molecule. Some chemicals that are as small as water molecules, some gasses can still get through, but it’s pretty up there as far as the range that it can remove.

The pros and cons of using distillation to filter your tap water

Ari Whitten: As far as removal of contaminants. Where do you want to go next? Distillation, ionizers?

Igor: Whatever you’d like.

Ari Whitten: Let’s go into distillation.

Igor: That technology also denatures the water because minerals don’t evaporate. When the water vapor comes up it doesn’t evaporate. The minerals stay behind. You have water again, without minerals which mean it’s acidic. The problem with distillation is it uses electricity. It’s going to be wasteful on the energy. If you don’t have electricity you’re out of luck. You’re not going to have clean water if you have a power outage or whatnot. Plus it takes time. It’s not instant. Those are the main drawbacks of that.

Ari Whitten: What about as far as removal of contaminants? How does distillation compare to reverse osmosis for example?

Igor: Certain contaminants could evaporate. Certain VOCs, the volatile organics, they evaporate with the water vapor. If your distiller doesn’t have a carbon filter then those VOCs will go right into the distilled water chamber. You need to have some kind of carbon filter that water anyway.

Ari Whitten: I’ve read that whatever chemicals have a higher boiling point than water will actually stay in the evaporated water.

Igor: It’ll rise up with the vapor.

Ari Whitten: You have to run distillation and then the distilled water has to be sent through a carbon block.

Igor: Or before, you can do it before that. Before or after. I’d probably do it before when the water is still cold.

How plastic leach into water and make it toxic

Ari Whitten: Is there any concern with the heated water contacting plastics, because I know a lot of these distillers, I used to have one myself … They collect the vapor, the hot vapor and then it gets sent to plastic components often. I just wonder if maybe the heated water itself will actually leech more from the plastics?

Igor: That’s a great point, yeah, actually it will. Because they did a study in Germany and all plastic can leach, even the BPA free one under the certain circumstances. There are a couple of criteria that determines how much plastic will leach.

One, the temperature of the water. The hotter the water the more it will leach from the plastic. Two is if the water’s acidic or not. If the water’s acidic it’s more corrosive, it’ll react more with whatever it touches. It’ll leach more as well.

Again, distilled water is acidic and hot. Then the third thing is contact time. How long that water is in contact with a particular plastic. Again, that’s a check for distilled. You have three of those elements if your distilled system has a plastic chamber it’s going to be leeching quite a bit of plastic from that.

Ari Whitten: Yeah, interesting. This is such a tricky area because you can buy a type of filtration that is actually very effective in purifying that water of contaminants, yet at the same time in the process of running the water through that filter, it may actually collect new contaminants.

Igor: That’s what I meant when I said I couldn’t find something that did it right. It took one thing out and it created another problem and there’s always something that’s creating a discord. That’s what I meant.

Why ionizers should not be used to purify your tap water

Ari Whitten: What next? Maybe go to ionizers next and talk about what those are doing, what they’re not doing and so on.

Igor: Ionizers are generally not very good filters. Their main purpose is to raise that PH artificially because it’s using electricity and metal plates to generate that PH. It’s not actually using the real minerals to do that. I’ve heard, I haven’t personally tested one, but I’ve heard some of my customers say that if you leave a cup of water that’s from an ionizer and you leave it long enough on the counter and you test that PH it actually drops over time. It’s like it fizzles out. It doesn’t sustain it. I haven’t verified it, but this is what I’m being told.

However, when you have natural calcium or magnesium, those stay in the water. That’s real, that’s true alkaline PH. The ionizers create artificial PH and then also they generally don’t have a very wide filtration range. They may not remove fluoride or radiation and they also require electricity to function. If you have a power outage you’re out of luck with that. Also, they’re very expensive. They’re very expensive. I think there are better ways to do that.

Ari Whitten: From my understanding primarily it’s running electricity through the water with two metal plates. Does it even remove any contaminants?

Igor: It depends on which filter they have in there because they generally have a small pre-filter or two that the water goes through.

Ari Whitten: Carbon block or something like that.

Igor: Pretty much that’s the most common thing they have.

Ari Whitten: That’s the actual part that’s removing contaminants. It’s mainly the carbon block.

Igor: The carbon block, right.

Ari Whitten: Expensive, not very effective filters, artificial alteration of the PH. Anything else that’s worth mentioning as far as ionizers.

Igor: It could potential leach the metal from the plates that it electrolyzes the water with. Basically, if it’s titanium coated plates, there is a chance it can leach into the processed water as well.

Ari Whitten: I’ve also read something on the subject of ionizers that said that the plates lose effectiveness quite fast.

Igor: I wonder how that happens? Do they get worn out? Does the metal leach off the plates?

Ari Whitten: This is a little out of my expertise, so I don’t want to speak beyond my knowledge on this subject, but yeah, I can’t remember the exact mechanism that I think that they were suggesting. There’s some kind of reaction that’s taking place on the surface of those metal plates. I think after a certain time they basically just get worn out and lose a lot of their effectiveness.

Igor: Logically thinking, if they’re getting worn out where is that wear going into? If they’re wearing off, where is that byproduct going into? Is it going into your processed water? It has to go somewhere.

Ari Whitten: I don’t know. Me personally, as someone who studies the science around health very, very intensively, I’ve never been compelled to get an ionizer because I’ve never found the research particularly compelling, showing that they really truly have health benefits.

Igor: There’s an interesting article on Google that I think if you put in the keywords true alkaline versus artificial alkaline water, there is a doctor that makes a pretty interesting case on why the artificial water is not healthy.

The pros and cons of using gravity filters to filter tap water

Ari Whitten: What’s left? What other types of filtration are there?

Igor: You have gravity based systems that work by, when you pour the water into a top chamber it drips down into the bottom chamber. Those are good for emergencies or camping or where you really have to pour water in from an external source where you can’t hook it up to a plumbing.

But, those tend to get stagnant more often because you’re always opening and closing them or touching them. Air gets in there, so bacteria tends to proliferate a lot quicker in those type of systems.

That goes for the pitcher units as well, smaller pitcher units you put in the fridge. They’re not as convenient because you have to wait for the water to filter. For everyday use, it’s not that convenient and you’re limited to how much water you can get because of the reservoir, however much fits in that chamber, that’s all you’ve got until you refill it. For emergencies, I think they’re good if you have no way to get the water out of your faucet or plumbing system.

How the gravity filters often are of a poor quality

Ari Whitten: Have you seen lab reports as far as testing the removal of contaminants with those kinds of filtration? I know, I have quite a bit of experience with gravity filters, so I know that there are big differences in terms of the quality of the filter elements. Maybe the standard filter elements that come with the systems, the cheaper ones, aren’t necessarily effective in removing that wide of a range of chemicals. My understanding from looking at some of the lab reports is that maybe some of the high-quality filter elements are quite effective in removing contaminants.

Igor: Generally with gravity filters, it should be pretty thorough because it’s a very slow process. The water has a lot of time to go through the media and for the contaminants to get absorbed. Really, I guess you have to find the best one out there.

I’ve personally looked at a couple, I just don’t want to specifically mention any companies. Some of them aren’t as effective as they say. A lot of them don’t disclose how many gallons were actually run through the system for the particular test. They may show 99% removal for a lot of contaminants, but they’re not actually telling you how many gallons that’s good for. They may run only five or 10 gallons for the test. When you actually start using it in real life and you’re pouring several hundred gallons of 500 gallons over a six month period through that it’s going to have a different result.

Ari Whitten: That’s interesting. I’m glad you brought that up because it adds another layer of complexity to this discussion because now it’s not just a matter of testing the filters one time with one batch of water initially when the filters are new and saying, “Do these filters work?” There’s also this other question of, “Well, do the filters still work very, very effectively two months or four months into it or does their effectiveness drop off dramatically very quickly?”

Igor: Exactly. That’s often overlooked and not mentioned in a lot of those reports. That’s a very important factor. It’s not only how much it removes, but for how long, for how many gallons.

Ari Whitten: Interesting. Is there any I guess way of getting insight into that or is it based on purely the size of, the amount of carbon that’s in a particular filter element, meaning if it’s a small filter element then it will get overloaded very quickly and lose effectiveness very quickly?

Igor: That’s reasonable, yeah. I will say that’s one sign, is the amount of media that’s in the filter. If it’s a small amount of media you can’t expect it to last a long time. Also the type of media. I am always cautious when somebody doesn’t mention what they’re using in a filter. When they just say, “It removes all this,” but they don’t actually tell you what kind of carbon it is or what kind of minerals they’re using. You’ve got to wonder.

Also is it an independent lab that did the test or is it something they’ve put together on their own? It looks like a lab test, but there’s really no lab there. All these things have to be considered. There’s a lot of funny stuff going on in the water industry.

Why pitcher and faucet filters are not a preferred method

Ari Whitten: What about the pitcher water filters in terms of pros and cons?

Igor: It would be the same as the gravity fed. If we’re talking about some of the mainstream companies, the smaller pitchers you just put in the fridge, not those big ones you put on the counter, those tend to be the worst because they’re very, very small. They barely have enough filtration media in there.

Then you have the water sitting in a plastic container after that. Those things … It’s not going to filter very much because they only have so much room. It usually is just some kind of basic carbon media. Sometimes they have a resin, but again, capacity is going to be very limited on that.

Ari Whitten: Fairly small range of chemicals that it’s going to filter out and then also going to lose effectiveness quite fast.

Igor: Absolutely. Also, they are prone to bacteria as well because you’re always opening, touching it, closing it. There’s a lot of contact with the filter media and the water chamber. Those tend to get [inaudible] up quick. Same goes for those bottled water filters. Those are, the tiny little filters in the bottle, you ever saw those?

Ari Whitten: Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of those.

Igor: Those are even worse as far as that goes.

Ari Whitten: Any other type of filtration that we haven’t covered? That’s pretty much what I’m aware of. I’m trying to think of-

Igor: I guess the little faucet mount filters I would say, those are also-

Ari Whitten: The ones that hook to the faucet in the kitchen.

Igor: Those are also entry level filters. That’s the thing you buy when you first think, “I’ve got to do something about my tap water,” you just grab it off the shelf in the store.

Once you start researching more and more you start to realize it’s not adequate. It doesn’t filter very much and you start to look at something more advanced.

Why Pure Effect Filters are good for filtering your tap water

Ari Whitten: I think that pretty much covers most of it. What are your filters, because you have a company called Pure Effect Filters. What are your filters, what type of filtration is it and what distinguishes your types of filters and filtration methods from some of these other methods that we just discussed?

Igor: As I mentioned in the beginning, I was looking for something that would address all the drawbacks that these other technologies I mentioned have.

This company was born from that desire. I created a filter that filled in all the drawbacks. In other words, it does not denature the water by removing the minerals, it does not waste any water. It has sufficient amounts of media to sustain higher levels of contaminant removal for a long time.

It’s also made in the USA. We don’t use any cheap parts. We don’t use any parts out of China because there are quality control problems and contamination issues that are prevalent there. All the cartridges are made in the USA. There are different models that we offer, but they’re really designed to intelligently filter the water. You have the bad stuff removed, but the good things remain.

Ari Whitten: Tell me about I guess, probably the most popular models that you sell I would imagine are the under-counter, for the kitchen models, which are the same look and style, comparable to the reverse osmosis units, the way that most people would use those.

Why the Ultra UC is one of the best filters on the market

Igor: Those chambers are pretty standard. You have those three chambers. It’s called the Ultra UC which stands for under-counter. That’s our most popular model. It does not have any storage tank. The water is instantly filtered. It freshly goes through the filtration media and comes right out of the faucet.

It’s a lot smaller, so it takes up less room than a reverse osmosis because there’s no tank and no membrane. It doesn’t use any electricity. It’ll work when you have no power as well. In emergencies, you still have clean water, as long as you have water pressure, but usually, we don’t lose water, we use electricity. It maintains the mineral integrity of the water as well.

Ari Whitten: What’s actually in that? What is the type of filtration that’s going on there? Because we talked about things like distillation and ionization and reverse osmosis. What you’re using is a different type of technology, correct?

Igor: It’s a mixed media system. I guess you could say a multi media system because it combines different types of very effective natural media, like minerals, differently advanced carbons called catalytic carbons, minerals like zeolite. We have phosphate, calcium in there. It’s a combination of different natural substances that have been proven very effective at absorbing contaminants.

But they’re not very effective at removing minerals. The minerals pass through, but contaminants are intelligently targeted by this. We’ve purposely selected it this way. I consider it like an intelligent filter I guess, smart filter.

Ari Whitten: Talk to me about what kinds of medias are actually in that filter and what they do.

Igor: there is three different catalytic carbon. By different I mean they’re from different sources. There is carbon from wood, coconut, and coal. The reason we’re using three different carbon is because there are different pore structures. Some carbons have really tiny pores, some have medium sized and some have larger pores. That’s what determines the type of chemicals it’ll better absorb.

Ari Whitten: Just to jump in real quick there. I’m under the impression that most other filters only use one type of carbon, is that correct?

Igor: Usually yes and it’s regular activated carbon, it’s not catalytic. If they do have catalytic it’s going to be usually just one type, either coconut shell catalytic or something else.

What we’ve done is we’ve taken three and put them in one system to give you a much wider range of the chemicals. That applies to VOCs, drug residues, pesticides, herbicides, disinfectants, chlorine, chloramine. By the way, the filter has been independently tested to remove chloramine up to 1,000 gallons actually, up to 99%. That’s a really tough one to remove. That’s the effectiveness of the catalytic carbons in the unit.

We also have natural carbon, calcium and phosphate media which reacts with fluoride. It’s actually something we developed over five years of research, trial, and error because we wanted to get rid of as much fluoride as possible. We’ve created a cartridge that independently tested removed it to non-detectable levels. That was down to below 0.05 milligrams per liter, which is extremely low, and it couldn’t detect it even at that level.

Very effective on fluoride and it’s natural. It’s not using the synthetic aluminum which is called activated alumina which a lot of companies use. It’s a cheaper media.

Ari Whitten: I’ve seen that the fluoride removal medias that many people use are that activated alumina. Is the problem there that it could potentially leach aluminum into the water?

Igor: It’s aluminum based, but it’s not the actual heavy metal aluminum. It’s the oxidized form. It’s like ceramic. It’s like rust is oxidized iron. Alumina is oxidized aluminum. It’s lost it’s I think heavy metal concerns. That’s why it’s approved for use in the water supply. It is very PH sensitive. It prefers a low PH, acidic PH.

Ari Whitten: That’s where it actually works effectively to remove fluoride?

Igor: Yeah. That’s where it works the best. The capacity is also very limited. It needs to have a very slow flow. You have to be at a tenth of a gallon a minute or something like that, which is prohibitively annoying for everyday use.

What the weakness of using a whole house filter is

Ari Whitten: Because if you’re actually using the water in your house, for example, if you’ve got the kitchen faucet on and your kids taking a shower and somebody’s outside with the garden hose watering the yard or not even necessarily that extreme. You have a lot of water that’s being used. It’s increasing the rate of water moving through that filter which you’re saying is going to decrease the effectiveness of actually, of that media removing the contaminant.

Igor: Right. Just to clarify, when I said 100% or virtually 100% removal on the filter, that applies to our kitchen units, the ones that go under the sink or above the counter. For the whole house, it’s not going to be quite as high because of what you just said. Still, with our system even, high flow rate makes it difficult to remove the fluoride. It’s going to be less than 100% in the whole house.

Ari Whitten: Those are the problems with the activated alumina, that it requires a low PH, it requires a very slow movement of water through the filter and it loses its effectiveness relatively fast.

Igor: Correct, yeah.

How the Pure Effect Filter formulations can remove virtually 100% of the fluoride content in your tap water

Ari Whitten: You’re using a non-activated alumina fluoride removal technology?

Igor: Yeah, it’s a combination of carbon, calcium, and phosphate in a unique formulation.

Ari Whitten: This is a specific type of media that’s sold for this purpose and proven to be effective in fluoride removal?

Igor: We formulated this cartridge, it’s called the Florizorb Max. We formulated it and we’ve tested it as well.

Ari Whitten: You said it’s more than 99% effective?

Igor: No fluoride was detected down to 500th of a milligram per liter. That’s why I say virtually 100%, because maybe part per trillion, maybe there is a little ion or something, who knows.

Ari Whitten: No filter technology removes every last trace of every last thing, is that correct?

Igor: Yeah, I have to assume that’s … You may have an atom or two or something left, still. Even if you have the best filter you could still have an atom or two, but I think that’s really so negligible that it’s not worth really being concerned about.

How the Pure Effect Filter is effective at removing radioactive contaminants and heavy metals in your water

Ari Whitten: What else is in that filter unit?

Igor: We have a natural zeolite mineral which is very effective for certain types of radioactive contaminants, particularly strontium and cesium, which have a very long half-life. It’s a natural mineral that traps the radioactive ions by a process called ion exchange.

Whereas when a radioactive cesium, for example, passes through this zeolite, the zeolite releases a non-radioactive sodium ion or atom. In exchange, it absorbs the higher preferred strontium. It has a higher preference for radiation, but it releases a non-radioactive in exchange. Very unique process. This is actually how minerals get exchanged in nature, in the earth, in the soil, in the lakes and rivers. It’s a very unique process.

Ari Whitten: Is there anything else in there?

Igor: Yeah, we have some natural calcium, a small layer of natural calcium which helps to adjust the PH if your water is acidic. It naturally helps to raise it. We also have something called KDF55 media which is a purified copper and zinc and it works like a magnet.

In other words, it attracts heavy metals to itself as the water passes through. Because copper and zinc are opposites. One is a positive and one is a negative. Together they create a charge that allows the heavy metals to adhere to the media. That’s pretty much it for the best-selling system that we have, the three chamber unit.

Comparing the Pure Effect and reverse osmosis filters

Ari Whitten: As far as removal of contaminants, how would you compare and contrast the range of removal of different contaminants and the efficiency that it removes these contaminants to distillation and reverse osmosis?

Igor: For the most part I believe it’s comparable. If you’re concerned about things like microbes, like viruses and bacteria and living organisms then I would recommend our most advanced unit that has ultraviolet light and a special .05 micron cartridge that traps them. That would be the next level up. If we compared that system I think it’s very comparable, except without the drawbacks.

Ari Whitten: You’re getting all the same removal of contaminants as a reverse osmosis system?

Igor: As far as I looked in the contaminants in question, some of the most difficult ones, yes, like fluoride, chloramine, maybe even better because I’ve seen reverse osmosis get about 95% of the fluoride out, whereas our system, it was not detected. Maybe even better in some regard.

The potential drawbacks of the Pure Effect Filter

Ari Whitten: That’s an important one to remove. What about drawbacks? Does your system have any significant drawbacks? Obviously, you have a vested interest in that, but can you maybe explain as in an unbiased way as possible if your system has drawbacks and compare that to the drawbacks that you talked about with reverse osmosis and distillation.

Igor: You got me thinking now because I made the system not to have … or at least to have as least drawbacks as possible. The disinfection unit that disinfects the water, it tends to heat the water up because the UV light in the UV chamber is always on. It gives off heat. That’s something we’re working on fixing though. We’re doing a flow switch that will automatically turn the water off, turn the UV light off when you’re not using the system. We’re always working to improve. Drawbacks? It’s hard to say. We’ve tried to do everything we can with this to make it as perfect as possible.

Ari Whitten: If you’re perfect just say you’re perfect.

Igor: I admit there’s always room to improve, but as far as I’m aware now with the contaminant situation, to the best of my knowledge I think we’re covering as much as possible.

Ari Whitten: The main drawbacks that we talked about with distillation, potential leaching of plastics, it’s making the water more acidic, removal of minerals. None of those drawbacks are present with your system?

Igor: I don’t believe so. Leaching of the plastic is pretty much, the risk is almost not there because the water is cold going through our filter. It’s going right through the filtration media, so it’s freshly filtered, so it has no time to really absorb anything. It’s going through the media that takes out the plastics. The water is not acidic.

The main risk factors for leaching are eliminated with the system, even though the housings are plastic. That’s to keep the costs reasonable because if we do stainless steel it’s going to make it less affordable for a lot of people. Really there is no need because of the things I mentioned. I don’t believe there’s any risk of leaching there.

Ari Whitten: Very cool. I think that pretty much covers it. This has pretty much been a comprehensive guide to understanding what’s in your water and how to get it out effectively packed into 45 minutes or so.

Igor: I hope your audience finds it useful and helpful.

Ari Whitten: I’m sure they will. Thank you very much, Igor, it’s been an absolute pleasure and I really appreciate taking the time to share your wisdom with my audience.

Igor: Thank you, thank you for having me.

Ari Whitten: Take care.

Igor: Bye, bye.


My Top Filter Recommendations:

#1 choice: The Pure Effect ULTRA Under Counter or Counter-Top Filter

I recommend their “ULTRA” model — either the countertop or under the counter model.

You can get that at the store here! (Note: They do ship internationally).

#2 choice: The APEC Reverse Osmosis system

#3 choice: Big Berkey with Black filter elements plus fluoride filters.

(Note: If you go for a gravity filter, you MUST get the top-of-the line filter elements and fluoride filters. Otherwise, it is NOT adequate to filter out many of the most harmful toxins in the water).

#4 choice: Megahome water distiller

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