Not So Rock 'n' Roll

At first glance, this issue of Water Quality Products might seem to have a rock ‘n’ roll theme, with phrases like “rock on” and “heavy metal” peppering the article titles — but unfortunately the issue at hand is anything but rock ‘n’ roll.

The focus of these articles is heavy metals, contaminants that lately have been making more waves than usual within the industry. Between the quickly approaching deadline for the new federal low-lead law and the recent release of California’s proposed chromium-6 limit, it is one that will continue to be a concern.

Heavy metals are not just an industry issue — they are hot button topics amongst the public as well. Talk to the average homeowner using municipal water about total dissolved solids or Giardia, and they might give you a quizzical look. But mention arsenic, lead or chromium, and you will get a nod in agreement that, yes, these evils must be removed from our water.

It is no big mystery that heavy metals are at the forefront of public consciousness — many are well known as toxins outside of their context as drinking water contaminants. People know that arsenic can be used as a poison and a pesticide, and have been well warned not to let their children eat any of that chipped lead paint. These metals more often show up in popular culture — who hasn’t seen “Erin Brockovich” by now, and who can forget that episode of “Law & Order: SVU” about the man who had brain damage from eating the lead paint off his toy cars as a kid? ... OK, maybe I’ve just watched too many SVU marathons, but it is true that these contaminants show up more often in movies, TV shows and the news—not to mention consumer advertisements for home filtration devices.

Dealers can use this prevalence to their advantage — knowledge about these contaminants can spur homeowners’ interest in water treatment systems, especially as new regulations like California’s proposed chromium-6 limit are introduced.

Dealers also can play an important role in educating consumers about heavy metals in drinking water. Although they may hear about them on the news, it is important for consumers to know that these contaminants do not necessarily plague water in their area. Dealers can help homeowners consider what type of contaminants they may need to treat for with water quality testing. Another component to this education is informing customers about any water quality issues they may be facing that are not making headlines.

The more regulations are introduced to govern levels of heavy metals in drinking water, the more potential there is for misinformation among consumers about contaminants and treatment methods. Dealers will have great opportunities to not only sell systems, but also to help educate consumers about what is fact and what is fiction.

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About the author

Kate Cline is managing editor of Water Quality Products. Cline can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1007.