Contact: Jill Notini
202.872.5955 x318
jnotini@aham.org

TROUBLED WATER: FEDERAL SEIZURE HIGHLIGHTS HEALTH THREAT OF COUNTERFEIT REFRIGERATOR WATER FILTERS

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s recent seizure of more than 5,200 counterfeit refrigerator water filters at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport is a stark reminder that serious health and safety risks can lurk in even routine household purchases.

Given that filters typically filter 400 gallons before they are replaced, the 5,200 counterfeit filters seized represent more than 33 million glasses of water. Counterfeit filters have flooded online marketplaces in recent years, attracting customers with discount prices. Last year, seizures netted more than 65,000 counterfeit filters.

While it can be difficult to distinguish counterfeit filters from genuine models, the difference in quality and performance could not be more critical. Counterfeit water filters are built with cheap, subpar materials and do not effectively remove contaminants. AHAM conducted testing on counterfeit filters and found that the counterfeits consistently failed to remove harmful substances like lead and cysts. In some cases, the counterfeit filters even added contaminants to the water. Furthermore, counterfeit filters create the risk for leaks and resulting property damage, as they are not designed to fit the specific model of refrigerator.

Consumers can protect themselves from purchasing counterfeit filters by purchasing replacements only from reputable sources. A list of credible sources is available at www.filteritout.org.

Besides a lower-than-normal cost, other signs that a filter may be counterfeit are:
• Weight: Counterfeit and deceptively labeled filters often weigh less than genuine filters because they lack the amount of carbon and other filtration products needed to filter water properly.
• Certification Symbol: Many counterfeit and deceptively labeled products do not contain an authentic certification symbol on the packaging. Those that do may feature a small certification logo that is designed to trick consumers into thinking the product has been tested.
• Glossy Packaging: Many counterfeits are designed to look more expensive – and therefore more trusted – using a glossy or shiny finish on the box.

More information on the health and safety threat of counterfeit water filters, including how consumers can protect themselves, is available at www.filteritout.org. AHAM leads Filter it Out, a public education campaign to inform consumers of the risks of counterfeit and deceptively labeled refrigerator water filters.

U.S. CBP Official News Release and Photos
 

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The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) is the trade association representing manufacturers of major, portable and floor care home appliances and suppliers to the industry. AHAM is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and maintains an office in Ottawa. AHAM is the single voice providing the home appliance industry and its customers leadership, advocacy and a forum for action — developing and implementing credible solutions for public policy, standards and business decisions. You can visit AHAM’s web site at http://www.aham.org