There is a great deal of misinformation floating around the marketplace for home drinking water filters. This is to be expected of any major industry. The problem is that many consumers have insufficient scientific education to see through the lies and falsehood spread by health gurus as well as the sales and marketing teams of companies making and selling home water filtration systems.

Let's look at the first of these lies - chlorine was so poisonous it was used in chemical warfare, now it is being put into our drinking water, how can it possibly be good for us? Well, it's true that chlorine was used in WW1 as a chemical weapon, and it is also true that municipal water treatment plants use chlorine to kill the germs in our water supply. However, it has been proven to be a cheap and safe way to treat water for many decades, used in dozens of First World and Third World countries.

The process of chlorinating our drinking water does not use enough chlorine to harm people, only germs. However, chlorine and the chemicals actually used to produce chlorine in water do sometimes react with organic compounds that have leaked into our water pipes after leaving the water treatment plant. Some of these reactions compounds that are carcinogenic, e.g. trihalomethanes. There have also been cases where the chemicals used in chlorination cause heavy metals to leach into our water supply from the water pipes.

These are the real reasons why you might want to install a suitable drinking water filtration system in your home. However, such accidents are rare, and there are government regulations which force public utility companies to put monitoring systems in place to regularly test the safety of the water that is supplied to our homes.

A second lie that is frequently told is that reverse osmosis is the most expensive and least effective home water filter to remove chlorine. It's true that RO is the most expensive technology used for purification of drinking water in the home. It is also true that reverse osmosis is really overkill if all you want to remove is chlorine and/or sediment. And RO home water filters have one further flaw - today, at least, the materials used to make the filter rot in the presence of chlorine. That is not to say it will not remove chlorine - just that it is not the most effective means of doing so. That is why a good reverse osmosis home water filter will have a carbon pre-filter to get rid of the chlorine and coarser sediment.

The problem with this lie is because it is told by salesmen who do not stock reverse osmosis drinking water filters. RO is the most effective means of decontaminating water. It is just as effective as distillation, but more economical ... exactly as it was designed to be. Reverse osmosis filtration is a catch-all. When you know that your drinking water can become contaminated at any time, when you cannot identify the contaminants, reverse osmosis water purification is the only thing that will serve your needs. And this lie may stop you from getting an RO home water filter when it is the most suitable form of drinking water purification for your family.

So under what circumstances would you need RO? When you don't know which particular heavy metal may contaminate your drinking water, when you don't know whether or not some terrorist may have sabotaged your municipal water treatment plant to contaminate your water with bacteria, when you don't know whether or not your drinking water has been polluted with agricultural run-off containing nitrites and nitrates ... that's when reverse osmosis water purification comes into its own. However, for most families, a reverse osmosis home water filter is overkill.

A third lie that is often heard is that the best home water filters will balance the mineral content in your drinking water. You will frequently hear this from salesmen pushing home water filters that have resin ion exchange systems. "Balancing mineral content in water" is just marketing-speak. It does not mean anything real. What is true is that a high-end carbon-based home water filter may include an ion exchange system to remove heavy metals, nitrites and nitrates from water. How they work is by exchanging benign ions in a resin matrix with the free (and toxic) ions in the water. Balance or imbalance of mineral content has nothing to do with the process. One problem of ion exchange resins (compared to RO) is that they are very specific in their actions. If designed to remove lead, that is all they will do and nothing else. If designed to remove mercury, then that is what will be removed. Only if designed to remove both lead and mercury will the exchange remove both.

When you go shopping for a home water filter, these are just three of many pieces of misinformation floating around the marketplace. However, forewarned is forearmed. Never take the information given to you by the salesman for granted. Always verify it with trustworthy sources like NSF.