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Current IssueOctober 22, 2014
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Ask The Expert: What’s the best?
01/01/2002 
 
Question: I wanted to know which home water purification system is better and safer. Most water purifiers use activated carbon for deodorizing and cleaning impurities. For bacteria is where they differ. Some use:
1. UV radiation to inactivate the bacteria
2. Iodine to kill the bacteria
3. Reverse osmosis to clear the salts which are harmful to the body

What is a better system? Is there a comparison available. I could not find this information and am therefore writing to you for help.

Bhavik Khera
Sameer Linkages Pvt. Ltd.
India
 

Answer: Your inquiry regarding the best home water purification system is not easily answered. The issue is to identify which class of contaminants must be reduced, as different technologies are required for different contaminants. Activated carbon is fine for removing certain odors, chlorine, and certain organic compounds. For bacteria and other microorganisms, halogen chemicals (chlorine, iodine, bromine) are among the best; and, whereas UV radiation is effective in killing bacteria and most viruses, it leaves no residual for long-term disinfection. Reverse osmosis, while quite effective in removing most microorganisms, is not the best for bacterial reduction. This technology is most effective for reducing salts, as you mentioned. What it all boils down to is the best system depends upon your needs (as reflected in the quality of your water now), desires and ability to afford a particular system. In general, a multi-barrier approach that combines different aspects of various technologies is the most effective at removing contaminants and ensuring residual disinfection to prevent recontamination. For more specifics, you might refer to third party testing and certification agencies such as NSF, WQA and UL, which all post systems that have passed water treatment device standards on their websites.

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