The U.S. EPA is attempting to label the popular Berkey Water Filters a pesticide in order to regulate the product under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
Over the last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been pursuing a case against the owner of the Berkey Water Systems which produces the popular Berkey filters. The EPA is attempting to classify the Berkey filters as pesticides because they incorporate silver in their design, a feature which the EPA claims qualifies the filters as a pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The move has already lead to one authorized dealer of the Berkey Water Systems being forced to shut down.
On August 9, New Millennium Concepts, Ltd. (NMCL) and the James B. Shepherd Trust, the owners of the Berkey Water Systems, filed a lawsuit against EPA, suing for violations of the Administrative Procedures Act and due process for their attempts to regulate the water filters. The NMCL said the EPA is labeling the filters a pesticide because of the use of silver to prevent biological growth inside the filters, a feature shared by many water filtration systems. NMCL says the silver does not leach into the water itself and thus the filters should not be regulated as a pesticide. Silver is currently a registered pesticide with the EPA.
NMCL notes that the EPA has not utilized this new re-interpretation to stop the sale of any other outdoor water filter. They go on to state that the “real issue” is that the EPA does not like that Berkey filters have been advertised as capable of removing the COVID-19 virus from your water.
In November, the case was dismissed after the judge claimed that the company doesn’t have standing in their claims. This means that Berkey Water Systems will likely face regulation as a pesticide unless appeals are successful.
“We are now in appeal because, amazingly, the district court ruled that New Millennium had not been harmed by the EPA issuing Stop-Sale orders to its dealers, its manufacturing facility and other vendors, and therefore had no standing in that court,” they wrote in a blog response.
In October, U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan regarding the agency’s new ruling classifying the Berkey Water Systems as pesticides. Gaetz’s letter highlights the EPA’s unprecedented attempt to put Berkey out of business. Gaetz requested the EPA provide specific documents to his office showing the process the EPA used to determine its actions.
“At a time when Americans are increasingly unhealthy and their water filled with contaminants, such as endocrine disrupters, heavy metals, and ‘forever’ chemicals, such as PFAS, the EPA should be pursuing policies within its regulatory authority that incentivize increased use of water-filtration systems, not less,” the letter states.
“The EPA must end its attack on Berkey Water Systems immediately and focus on the job it was created to do – keep Americans safe – a job Berkey Water Systems has arguably done more effectively.”
Berkey Dealer Forced to Shut Down
In mid-December, BerkeyFilters.com, an official distributor of the Berkey water filter, announced that they would be going out of business as a result of the lawsuit against the EPA. BerkeyFilters.com is owned by James Enterprise Inc. (JEI). The company said they were the first Berkey dealer to receive a Stop-Sale Order from the EPA.
In a now deleted blog post on BerkeyFilters.com, the company explained their side of the story. They say the whole fiasco began in November 2022 with an “unannounced, unscheduled inspection of JEI facilities.” The blog notes that an EPA inspector also told JEI that the EPA is “cracking down” on virus claims because of COVID-19, and that “the EPA had stepped up its enforcement efforts, particularly in regard to anti-microbial devices.”
In January 2023, JEI says they removed all references and statements relating to the filters removing waterborne pathogens, or pests. The company spent “hundreds of hours” deleting content on websites, social media accounts, and packaging. However, the Stop-Sale Order has not been lifted and, according to JEI, their business has been negatively impacted. They say have been forced to fire employees, cease certain services, and pause third-party parternships.
In the end, JEI was forced to close their doors as an official dealer of the Berkey Water Systems.
The official Berkey Water Systems posted a blog making it clear that although BerkeyFilters.com is no longer an official dealer of the Berkey Filter, the company is still producing the filters and not closing down.
They acknowledge that BerkeyFilters.com was the first dealer to receive the Stop-Sale Order and that both parties attempted to work with the EPA. Berkey Filters said they worked with the EPA for eight months but could not reach a resolution.
“It became apparent that the EPA would accept nothing less than the bankruptcy of New Millennium, its dealers, and more importantly preventing you the public from being self sufficient in terms of cleaning difficult to remove contaminants from your drinking water,” Berkey Water wrote.
“Unfortunately, over the course of the past year the folks at BerkeyFilters.com have fallen victim to this overreach by the EPA. We wish them the best.”
NMCL says they are committed to “fighting the EPA’s overreach” and its attempts to “control and prevent the public from purifying their drinking water.”
While Americans are exposed to water filled with fluoride, PFAS, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and other toxins, the federal government is doing their best to destroy, or at the least weaken, a company which has been providing clean water to millions of people in America. If the EPA had done their job and kept the water supply clean, Americans would not need to seek out filters like the Berkey Water System.
Source: The Last American Vagabond
Derrick Broze, a staff writer for The Last American Vagabond, is a journalist, author, public speaker, and activist. He is the co-host of Free Thinker Radio on 90.1 Houston, as well as the founder of The Conscious Resistance Network & The Houston Free Thinkers.
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