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You may have heard that people use filters to protect their families from lead in the water. But, not all filters remove lead.

In-home drinking water treatment products can provide a reliable final barrier to protect your family against harmful contaminants like arsenic, lead, and nitrates that can find their way into our drinking water. Products are even available to protect against emerging contaminants such as per- and polyfluorinatedalkyl substances (PFAS), or pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs).

But, not all products are created equal, and it can difficult for consumers to differentiate the products which will properly address the water quality issues in their home. You may have heard in the news that many people are using filters to protect their families from lead in the water. But, did you know that not all filters remove lead?

You may have also heard recommendations to use an under-counter Reverse Osmosis (RO) treatment unit to remove arsenic. But, did you know that not all RO units remove arsenic, and even those that do can only remove one form of arsenic? And how do you know if that is the form of arsenic present in your water?

Luckily there are local water treatment professionals who can help consumers navigate through all the options.

5 Misleading  Sales Tactics

Watch for any of the following tactics that may be used to try to get you to buy a water treatment product:

1. "I'm from the Water Quality Association and I'm here to test your water." WQA does not go door-to-door and does not sell products.

2. The Electrode Test and TDS Meters. When the sales representative performs this test in the home, hard water will turn dark brown or blackish when the electrodes are turned on. It does not mean the water is unsafe.

3. The Low TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) Tactic. Consumers should be wary of sales representative who use scare tactics to suggest that drinking low TDS water is harmful.

4. Claims that water softeners cause corrosion (in order to push an alternative product). Several research studies have looked at the effects of cation exchange softened water on corrosion, and the science indicates that softeners do not cause corrosion.

5. False Certification Claims. There are six third-party certification bodies which are accredited to certify drinking water treatment products in North America: Water Quality Association (WQA), NSF International, Underwriter Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Truesdail Laboratories, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO).

What to do in the event of a scam?

Unethical and misleading sales practices should always be reported to your local consumer protection agency. Consumers can use this website to find their local consumer protection department.

Consumers who believe they have been the target of misleading or unethical sales practices perpetrated by a WQA member, should report that member to WQA. Send an email to (or call 630-505-0160), identify yourself as a consumer and explain the incident. Any evidence which you can attach such as pictures, documentation or emails will be extremely helpful.

Better Business Bureau (BBB):

The BBB principally handles complaints directed at business misconduct in the marketplace, for example, misleading advertising, improper selling practices, non-delivery of goods or services, misrepresentation, dishonored guarantees or warranties and unsatisfactory service.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

A person may complain to the FTC that another business’ false advertising or unfair or deceptive acts or practices violate the FTC Act. The FTC will not mediate disputes between parties, but they may decide to investigate the complaint and proceed against the offending party. Filing a complaint with the FTC does not impose an obligation upon the FTC to pursue the matter further, but for substantial meritorious claims, it can bring federal law enforcement resources to bear on the problem.

How to find an ethical water treatment provider

Hiring a water treatment professional is the easiest way to ensure your family has a safe and appealing supply of drinking water. First, the water treatment professional will have your water tested to identify any harmful or aesthetically unpleasing contaminants, and then he or she will match up the test results with appropriate treatment solutions.

Water treatment professionals, who are members of WQA, have agreed to follow the highest principles of honesty, integrity, fair dealing and professionalism when dealing with customers. WQA members are equally dedicated to preserving the public's right to quality water.

WQA Code of Ethics

To this end, the WQA Code of Ethics establishes standards of conduct for industry members in their dealings with their customers, among themselves, with members of related industries, and the public at large.

You can locate one of these water treatment professionals in your area by clicking the button below. This search tool returns only companies that have agreed to follow WQA’s strict Code of Ethics.

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