What’s inside that expensive water purifier?

 Posted by on January 9, 2010 at 10:49 am
Jan 092010
The GE membrane in General Water's RO585 model reverse osmosis water purification system contains a GE

The GE membrane in General Water’s model 585 reverse osmosis water purification system is impregnated with an unknown antifreeze and “preservative solution”.

Most people who pursue an “alternative”  or natural approach to health will be familiar with the importance of drinking plenty of clean, pure water.  Of course, we’re told, tap water in most cities isn’t really that pure.

While Kansas City boasts of having some of the best treated water in the country, what comes out of the tap literally reeks of chlorine and other chemicals.  After traveling several miles through century old plumbing, it doesn’t taste that great either.

For more than a year now I’ve been using a fairly high-end reverse osmosis system, which is considered one of the best ways to purify drinking water.  Such a system filters water particles as small as .001 microns, or about a tenth the size of most viruses.

The only thing purer is distilled water, which may not be good for your health, and definitely lacks any taste at all.

I recently changed all five filters tonight.  As I was ripping the plastic cover off of the actual RO membrane—that’s the “ultra” filter in the system—I almost missed reading this warning notice:  “CAUTION:  CONTAINS PRESERVATIVE SOLUTION. This membrane element contains a preservative solution to prevent microbiological growth and freezing.”

Let’s see now.  I’m concerned about the chemicals, solvents, preservatives and additives in my drinking water, so I buy a reverse osmosis unit to purify my drinking water, only to find out the final stage is impregnated with a dangerous and toxic antifreeze/antimicrobial.


If the space under my sink freezes, I will have bigger problems than a busted water filter.  This system also uses a UV light, which “ozonoates” the water going into the filter, supposedly killing any microbes, which aren’t even supposed to be in our water supply in the first place, at least according to the Kansas City Water Department.

This filter is manufactured by GE Infrastructure Water & Process Technologies.  GE is a huge corporation—number five in the Fortune 500 rankings—so forgive me if I’m not suspicious about how their technology is marketed to consumers.  To be fair, the company is also ranked #2 among the top ten most ‘accountable’ big companies by Fortune Magazine.

There is irony in holding a philosophy that many of our health woes are at least partly due to modern practices in agriculture and food processing. We strive to go back in time to a better time… a better way of living without additives, preservatives and synthetic food, only to have to rely on this same sort of technology for clean water?

What did Laura Ingalls and her family drink when they lived in their little house on the prairie?  How in the world did Ayla survive in her primitive world of glaciers?

I’ll probably go ahead and continue to use this system (after a good soak and flush), because I really can taste a difference in the taste, compared to water out of the tap.

I’m also going to continue to ponder—at least for awhile—about how we come to think in certain ways and to believe (or disbelieve) the various possibilities for life on this planet.

  2 Responses to “What’s inside that expensive water purifier?”


    Good points all around. However, allow me to correct something that has largely been a myth. Distilled water is not bad for you. If you are maintaining a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables, you are getting plenty of vitamins and minerals.
    That is the myth about distilled water, that is it void of minerals your body needs. The part about it being void of minerals is true. But water is not the only source of vitamins and minerals. In the first place, water does not have as much minerals as people realize not when compared to good food.
    Bottom line? You are not missing much by using distilled water…


      Your observations are duly noted. I felt it needed to noted that some concerns exist about it. Those concerns have always puzzled me, because rain water is essentially distilled water, and that is the ultimate source for all of our water. Thanks for clarifying.

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