Home Appliance Industry Launches Campaign to Stop Sale of Counterfeit Water Filters

WASHINGTON, DC (October 28, 2016) - The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), in partnership with the manufacturers of 17 leading refrigerator brands, has announced a campaign to educate consumers on the growing risk of unknowingly buying counterfeit and deceptively labeled water filters for refrigerators. The campaign, aptly titled Filter It Out, provides information and resources to assist consumers in their search for replacement filters that are reliable and can be trusted to filter out impurities in their drinking water.

“Counterfeit and deceptively labeled filters are sold every day through various online channels,” says AHAM President and CEO, Joseph M. McGuire. “In many cases, the filters appear identical to brand-name products, but do not meet the safety and structural standards that consumers, manufacturers and regulators expect.”

According to McGuire, a significant percent of replacement filters are purchased on the internet, making efforts to seize counterfeit and deceptively labeled products very difficult. “Manufacturers are working directly with online retailers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to remove counterfeit and deceptive filters from circulation. However, there’s a growing need for consumers to understand the problem and help take action to address it.”

Drinking water in the United States contains numerous contaminants – including lead, asbestos, and pesticides – and not all water filters are created equal. Consumers understand the need for periodic replacement of filters, but may regard the choice as inconsequential.

With new awareness comes a search for information, almost exclusively online – where trustworthiness of products presents real challenges, says Jill Notini, AHAM Vice President of Communications & Marketing. “Working with manufacturers from across the industry, we’re designing Filter It Out with the busy consumer in mind and including an educational website and targeted outreach program that grows over time. Our work continues a long-held tradition at AHAM – and across the home appliance industry – of investing in consumer education and product safety.”

“The coalition supporting this campaign underscores the value and potential it brings,” Notini adds, noting that participating AHAM member company brands include: Amana, Beko, Blomberg, Bosch, Electrolux, Frigidaire, Gaggenau, GE, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, LG, Maytag, Miele, Samsung, Sub-Zero Wolf, Thermador and Whirlpool. “All agree that the risks to consumers posed by counterfeit and deceptive water filters must be better understood so consumers can avoid bringing potential harm to their appliances, homes, and most importantly, their families.”

Independent testing, as well as testing by manufacturers, shows that installing counterfeit or deceptively labeled water filters into refrigerators can result in failure to remove contaminants from consumers’ drinking water. In addition, poor fit for individual refrigerators may damage the refrigerator and the kitchen, if leaks occur. Counterfeit and deceptively labeled water filters do not contain the same technologies as devices certified by refrigerator manufacturers and often fail to include key filter components needed to keep water clean. Most are not tested to specific industry standards – NSF/ANSI 42 and NSF/ANSI 53- and may not properly fit the appliance as claimed.

“With so much uncertainty about the safety of our drinking water and the quality of replacement filters bought online, consumers should choose filters that are trusted and certified by the manufacturer who produced the appliance and stand behind their products. That’s what this campaign is all about.” McGuire says.

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About The Campaign
Filter it Out is a public education campaign to inform consumers about the significant problem of counterfeit and deceptively labeled water filters for refrigerators. The campaign is led by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), a not-for-profit trade association representing manufacturers of major, portable and floor care home appliances and suppliers to the industry. As a leading voice for consumer product safety in the United States and Canada, AHAM provides information, advocacy and a forum for action in public policy and business. For more information, visit www.filteritout.org.

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