Good buys, better living: H20 helpers

By Lisa Neff

Water is life.

And we’re going into 2017 resolved to continue standing with the water protectors at Standing Rock, battle government efforts to sell public water to Wall Street, challenge the proposed leasing of public land and take over of private land for fracking operations and champion regulations aimed at keeping pollutants out of our waterways and removing contaminants from our water supplies.

Many of us also are going into 2017 with personal resolutions aimed at improving and protecting our health and the wellness of our families.

Throughout the new year, WiG will be browsing the marketplace, testing items and recommending products and services we think are good buys for better living. The first products to catch our attention? Two H20 helpers — a water purifier for the home or office and a water purifier for on-the-go.

  • ZeroWater pitchers feature a pour-through filtration system that is certified by the NSF to reduce chromium and lead in tap water.

ZeroWater might sound familiar because the company in 2016 partnered with United Way on the Filters for Flint program, providing purification pitchers and filters in the Michigan community, particularly in homes with children, who are most susceptible to high lead levels.

ZeroWater pitchers feature a pour-through filtration system that is certified by the NSF to reduce chromium and lead in tap water. PHOTO: Courtesy
ZeroWater pitchers feature a pour-through filtration system that is certified by the NSF to reduce chromium and lead in tap water. PHOTO: Courtesy

Most traditional pitchers use carbon filtration and only two stages to remove water impurities — and they may not remove harsh chemicals and solids such as Chromium-6 from tap water. ZeroWater five-stage filters use an ion exchange technology to deionize tap water, which has proven to be an effective method of reducing heavy metals like Chromium-6, as well as lead.

WiG tested two ZeroWater BPA-free pitchers — a futuristic-blue 23-cup dispenser with a spigot kept in the fridge and a 10-cup pitcher/dispenser for the counter — for 60 days.

The Zerowater system includes a filter, the pitcher with a tank and reservoir and a meter that looks like a digital thermometer and detects “total dissolved solids” that may have entered the water supply through old pipes, run-off from road salts, pesticides, fertilizers and other sources.

First, WiG found the filtered water to taste crisp and refreshing with each pour. The water meets the FDA definition for purified water — without generating all the plastic bottles.

Second, and more importantly, we found the ZeroWater filters remove considerably more impurities than other filters, which is why tap water takes longer to pass from the reservoir into the tank.

Third, we love the simplicity of using the meter to show water quality and also indicate when a recyclable filter should be replaced.

A filter, on average, lasts for 15 gallons but this is dependent on water quality — the cleaner the tap water, the longer the filter lasts.

A note: Zerowater filters and pitchers are for use with tap water and the systems do not remove bacteria.

But this next product does…

  • The SteriPEN traveler water purifier uses ultra violent light to destroy more than 99.9 percent of disease-causing microbes — 99.9999 percent of bacteria, 99.99 percent of viruses and 99.9 percent of protozoa — in a liter of water in about 90 seconds.
The SteriPEN traveler water purifier uses ultra violent light to destroy more than 99.9 percent of disease-causing microbes — 99.9999 percent of bacteria, 99.99 percent of viruses and 99.9 percent of protozoa — in a liter of water in about 90 seconds. PHOTO: Courtesy
The SteriPEN traveler water purifier uses ultra violent light to destroy more than 99.9 percent of disease-causing microbes — 99.9999 percent of bacteria, 99.99 percent of viruses and 99.9 percent of protozoa — in a liter of water in about 90 seconds. PHOTO: Courtesy

The promotional materials from the manufacturer, Hydro-Photon Inc., promise “safe drinking water. Anywhere. Anytime.” And the makers of the hand-held device promise about 3,000 treatments — which is a lot of water on a lot of camping trips to Devil’s Lake or hiking around Lake Geneva.

Operation is simple: Fill a container with water, push the button on the SteriPEN, place the device’s lamp into the water and stir until the LED turns green.

WiG tested the SteriPEN traveler over a 30-day period. We took the SteriPEN on outdoor adventures – a camping trip in the Florida Everglades and hikes through two state parks. We also used the SteriPEN on urban and suburban adventures — drawing curious glances as we purified the tap water at one shopping mall and regrettably offending the parents while purifying the tap water in their condo.

We found the SteriPEN — recently named one of the best gifts for adventurers in a USA Today survey — convenient, reliable, simple to use. It never failed to work and was simple to keep clean with dish soap and a cloth. Our test product was provided by CureUV.com.

You’ll want to be sure to use lithium or rechargeable nickel metal AA batteries — not alkaline. And you’ll want to make sure you memorize— or take a phone photo — of the LED indicator guide.

A note: This device is not certified effective against parasites and their eggs, in part because of restrictions on animal testing.

The cost for the SteriPen? About $50.

The ZeroWater 23-cup dispenser retails for about $40 and the 10-cup dispenser costs about