The Singling Out of Berkey Water Filters

by Thomas Buckley at

For more than two decades, Berkey Water Filters were sold across the world (California excepted – more on that below) without a hint of an issue.  The brand built up a good name and hundreds of thousands were sold to satisfied customers.

And then the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in.

For some reason, towards the tail end of 2022, the Agency decided that the water filter was actually a pesticide and thud: Berkey cannot be sold as currently labelled unless registered.

Why?  Why, after so long with Berkey making exactly zero changes to their product or advertising, did the EPA roll out the “it’s a pesticide” claim?

When asked, the EPA did not give an actual response beyond – paraphrasing – “it’s a pesticide and we regulate pesticides,” an answer that seems to be as circular as a Berkey water filter itself.

If anything, the agency seems to be relying on a 2007 rule concerning silver and ions regarding electrode-equipped ion-generating devices, asserting that the use of silver in Berkey filters makes the filters into ion-generating devices, even though the 2007 notice specifically excepts that interpretation, Berkey says.

Citing pending litigation, the EPA declined to comment on the matter. 

At issue, it seems, is the claim that Berkey filters eliminate viruses and pathogens. 

By saying this – and by incorporating physical silver, a listed pesticide, into the filter (though Berkey says not to filter water but to protect the filter itself) – the EPA claims it has the right to declare the whole thing a pesticide and went ahead and sent “cease and desist” letters to a number of filter re-sellers (that’s why it’s hard to find new filters right now.)