Why Are Berkey Water Filters Banned in California?

    Water filters are a popular choice for ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water, especially in areas where water quality may be a concern. One such popular brand of water filters is Berkey, known for its high-quality filtration systems that can remove a wide range of contaminants.

    Why Are Berkey Water Filters Banned in California?
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    However, despite being widely used in households across the United States, Berkey water filters are banned in California. This article delves into the reasons behind this ban and explores the implications for Californian residents who seek to use Berkey water filters to ensure the purity of their drinking water.

    The No-Lead Law: The Basis of the Ban

    In 2009, California enacted a law known as “AB 1953, SB 1395 & HSC Section 116875,” commonly referred to as the “no-lead law.” This legislation applies to any water filtration system or device intended for human consumption through drinking or cooking.

    According to this law, these systems, along with their individual parts, must be certified by a third-party ANSI/NSF-approved company to confirm that they are “lead-free” before they can be legally sold in California. This certification is essential to ensure that water filters do not contain harmful levels of lead, which can pose severe health risks, especially to children.

    Importance of Independent Certification

    Independent certification plays a crucial role in allowing consumers to make informed decisions about the products they purchase and use. Certification by reputable organizations like ANSI/NSF ensures that the product’s claims are accurate and that it meets stringent safety and performance standards.

    The certification process holds manufacturers accountable and provides consumers with confidence in the product’s effectiveness. In the case of Berkey water filters, independent testing revealed discrepancies in their claims, raising concerns about their efficacy in removing certain contaminants like chloroform.

    The absence of independent certification in California creates doubts about the water filters’ ability to deliver reliable results.

    Public Health Concerns

    The ban on Berkey water filters is rooted in California’s commitment to public health and ensuring the safety of its residents. Lead exposure, even at low levels, can have severe and long-lasting impacts on human health, especially in children.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has associated lead exposure in children with adverse effects on the nervous system, sensory issues, behavioral and academic challenges, and slowed development and growth. Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) links lead exposure to various diseases, including cardiovascular illness, chronic kidney ailments, and intellectual disabilities.

    By enforcing strict regulations, California aims to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals like lead, promoting the health and well-being of its residents.

    Berkey’s Perspective: Reasons for Non-Compliance

    Berkey’s refusal to pursue independent third-party certification has been a major obstacle in complying with California’s no-lead law. The company has expressed concerns about revealing proprietary information, including details about their manufacturing processes, sales, and suppliers, as part of the certification process.

    Additionally, Berkey has indicated that obtaining and maintaining ANSI accreditation is costly and time-consuming, leading them to believe that it is not worth the effort, especially for a single state. The company’s reluctance to submit its water filters for testing and certification has resulted in their prohibition in California.

    However, some critics argue that Berkey’s reluctance may be linked to concerns about protecting its intellectual property and maintaining a competitive edge in the market.

    NSF/ANSI Certification: Ensuring Water Filter Safety

    The NSF/ANSI certification is a gold standard in the water filtration industry. Products that carry this certification have undergone rigorous testing and meet specific safety and performance criteria. For Californian residents seeking water filters that provide reliable protection against contaminants, choosing products with this certification ensures the filters’ effectiveness in removing harmful substances.

    Investing in water filters with NSF/ANSI certification not only helps safeguard health but also instills confidence in the product’s ability to deliver on its promises of clean and safe drinking water.

    Alternatives for California Residents

    While Berkey water filters remain unavailable in California due to the ban, residents still have a range of other water filtration options to choose from. Many water filter manufacturers offer products with NSF/ANSI certification that comply with California‘s strict regulations.

    These filters are designed to remove various contaminants, providing residents with a diverse selection of reliable options to suit their specific needs and preferences. Investing in NSF/ANSI-certified filters ensures that Californians can enjoy clean and safe drinking water while adhering to state regulations.

    Importance of Water Filtration During Water Crises

    Water filters, whether Berkey or certified alternatives, play a vital role during water crises and emergencies. During incidents like storms or chemical leaks, water quality can be compromised, posing health risks to the population.

    Home water filters become essential in such situations, providing a last line of defense against contaminants. The ability of water filters to remove modern contaminants, including pharmaceutical drugs and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, becomes particularly crucial in safeguarding public health during such events. Therefore, having access to reliable and certified water filters is crucial in ensuring access to safe drinking water during emergencies.


    In conclusion, the ban on Berkey water filters in California is rooted in the state’s commitment to public health and ensuring the safety of its residents. The no-lead law requires water filtration systems and devices to undergo third-party ANSI/NSF-approved certification to confirm they are “lead-free” before being sold in California. Berkey’s non-compliance with this certification process has resulted in the prohibition of its water filters in the state.

    However, residents have several NSF/ANSI-certified alternatives to choose from, ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water. Water filters, whether Berkey or certified alternatives, remain essential during water crises and emergencies, providing a crucial safeguard against contaminants and protecting public health.

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