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potential health risks with using "hollow fiber" microfilter products
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bob smith
(bs4857) - F
potential health risks with using "hollow fiber" microfilter products on 07/25/2009 02:05:11 MDT Print View

I would like to advise that there could be potential health risks with using "hollow fiber" microfilter products related to efficacy.

Hollow fiber manufacturers (that actually produce hollow fiber filter modules used by end product manufacturers) may have issues shipping significant numbers (percentages)of faulty filters. If the secondary manufacturer even knows about it, they are having to do some sort of good/bad sorting process. There are issues with air particle and bubble point testing reliability. Secondary sampling and testing is necessary to validate air particle or bubble point testing reliability, such as with the use of microbiological testing. If microbiological testing is being used, live "bugs" may be used to test actual filters for failures that make it through to the clean water side. If microbiological testing should be used only for testing and then filters should be properly disposed of as bio waste.

Anyone that believes they have been made ill after using a "hollow fiber" filter should contact the place of purchase and manufacturer, as well as EPA/FDA/CPSC.

It is recommended that users of "hollow fiber" microfilters add a purifier of some sort to filtered water, or do not use.

Here are some questions users should ask manufacturers and retailers on behalf of their vendors:

1. Are they having to sort good/bad filters from vendors upon arrival?

2. If so, what sorting process is used (air particle, bubble point, microbio)?

3. What standards certification do they have for these sorting processes?

4. Have there been any unofficial recalls or other problems with this product?

5. Is microbiological testing being used?

6. If so, what bacteria or viruses are being used?

7. Are filters that have been microbiologically tested being sold to the public?

industry insider.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: potential health risks with using "hollow fiber" microfilter products on 07/25/2009 20:26:41 MDT Print View

"Bob"

Thanks for the heads up.

I was ready to pull the trigger, but now maybe I'll wait a bit.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Spambots on 07/26/2009 14:32:48 MDT Print View

"Bob" is almost certainly a spambot. Disregard him.

If he isn't a spambot he'll reply and we can ask him his sources.

Edited by acrosome on 07/26/2009 14:33:54 MDT.

bj bretzke
(lilorphanbilly) - F

Locale: Montana, MT (Stealth Mode)
Mmmm, spambots with gravy! on 07/26/2009 15:39:14 MDT Print View

lol!! I actually thought a spambot was a new backpacking delicacy. You have to give 'bob' credit for dedication though, a post that long and technical at 2AM. Bravo.

Hike Hard. Hike often.

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
I call FUD on 07/26/2009 16:50:45 MDT Print View

If 'bob smith' is in fact an 'industry insider' as he claims and hasn't indicated what company he's affiliated with and hasn't provided any facts or results of studies, then this appears to be just astrofudding.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Health risks? on 07/26/2009 23:26:33 MDT Print View

Maybe 'Bob Smith' should have signed off his 'insider knowledge' with just his initials?

Michael Williams
(qldhike)

Locale: Queensland
Anti hollow fibre spam on 07/27/2009 23:27:48 MDT Print View

Who spams about hollow fibre microfilters? Honestly.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
spambots on 07/29/2009 02:48:02 MDT Print View

He was probably either:

A) a spambot created by a manufacturer of a competing filter system, or...

B) just someone trying to stir up panic and trouble, and doing an exceptionally pathetic job of it, or..

C) some nut who did not understand and thus was offended by microbiological testing.

Whatever he is, he has wasted too much of my time already.

Edited by acrosome on 07/29/2009 02:48:43 MDT.

bob smith
(bs.4857) - F
Hollow Fiber Microfilter Potential Health Concerns on 08/02/2009 19:04:56 MDT Print View

FYI - Would an industry insider be stupid enough to put their real name or their company? As far as a SPAMBOT, sounds like something from new Transformers movie.

I respect others opinions as to their expertise and opinions of pertinent industry facts, including micro challenging.

It is difficult to cite specific sources, as my information is first hand, experential at the heart and center. I tried to act responsibly in stating "potential" health risks, as well as not "out" any specific companies or products. If someone with specific disputive knowledge that would like to debate the objective pros and cons of my arguments and the integrity of hollow fiber manufacturing processes, I am quite willing.

I just want to advise people of the issues and equip users who may not be "industry experts" with such out requisite knowledge of such things as "micro challenging" to make a more informed buying decision. With my own knowledge and experience I have advised of the questions that I feel are helpful and pertinent.

I believe strongly enough in my concerns to inform appropriate oversight venues of them with hopes that they will investigate. Of course, in such venues, it is necessary to state facts and specifics that are not appropriate for message boards.

I am definitely not a Spambot or other misrepresentations. However, I wonder as to the those that are opposed, what their industry connections might be and what if any are their motivations for attempting to cast doubt on something as serious as protecting someone's wellness?

"bob smith"

MIchael MacCormac
(mmacc)
hollow fibers on 08/02/2009 19:11:53 MDT Print View

sounds almost as serious as the bpa scare and alar scam- those were not serious problems for the vast majority of people

bob smith
(bs.4857) - F
Hollow Fiber Microfilter Seriousness on 08/02/2009 19:37:11 MDT Print View

True, not likely to be more than 10% filters shipped with defective membranes due to original manufacturing defects or secondary manufacturing damage/defects. But, some things to consider are, if the new product manufacturing process has issues to begin with, and we are what, a few years into the life cycle -- time will tell as to durability; i.e. drop/vibration damage to fibers, system pressure damage potential, and other systemic damage.

Bottom line, if you are purchasing a water filter for field use (back country, emergency, military) and want to count on it, then just know that if there were 10% failed units that you are choosing from, do you care?

Or better yet, how can you be sure the filter does it's job even if it has a new product defect or subsequent use damage? Use a purifier solution maybe?

From my original post, I was quite clear to say that we are talking a percentage of defects in original manufacturing processes, not "most" or "all" or even "majority". But, if filter claims are EPA guide standard of 99.9999 protoza and bacteria, are you planning on factoring that with a probability calculation of known failures? What does 99.9999% become then for a failed filter? ZERO% efficacy.

Good newz is there should be at least 90% good potentially!

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
bob on 08/05/2009 05:00:03 MDT Print View

I'm actually glad you responded, "bob". It restores my faith in humanity...

Plus, I think we all have a MUCH better idea about what you were trying to say. Your original post was a tad hard to follow.

But defining yourself as an "industry insider", and then trying to cast doubt on the rest of us by implying that we all work for Sawyer (or whomever) is a bit irrational. Obviousy, by your own admission, YOU are the one working in the water purification industry. For all we know you work for Aquamira!

All that said, if you really can shed some light on this supposed 10% failure rate of microfiber filters BELEIVE ME all of us here want to hear about it. Does anyone disagree?

I'm certain that some of the other regulars here (who are more interested in this stuff than I am) are already researching this. But in the meantime if you can produce any documentation, brother, it would be appreciated.

And to be sure I understand, you seem to be saying:

1. The primary manufacturer of microfiber filters actualy suffers from a high rate of faulty filters.

2. Secondary manufacturers (like Sawyer) thus test the filters they get using live organisms, to weed out the faulty ones.

3. Well... I'm not sure what you're saying after that.

Are you implying that some of these faulty filters are STILL getting sold to consumers? I don't think you are. So if Sawyer et al are weeding out the faultty filters via in-house testing, what exactly are you warning us about? Or are you implying that the filters that were tested are dangerous, because live organisms were used to test them? (I would dispute that, if that is the case, and place you in my category #3, a few posts above.) Or are you just trying to create FUD about microfiber filters for some reason? Your "90% of the filters are good!" statement is disingenuous. It REALLY sounds like FUD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

Pardon me if I'm a little skeptical. But a little skepticism is a good thing, eh? If you work in a scientific or engineering field then you almost must agree with that. Please show us something we can believe. We, as consumers, truly would appreciate your efforts if you blew the whistle on something as egregious as a company selling 10% faulty products that are potentially a health hazard. But I'm far from convinced that you are who you say you are. I know- that is one of the classic problems with being a whistleblower, but it is something you've got to deal with.

If you are unwilling to produce any evidence then I'll change your status from "spambot" to "troll", since you do at least appear to be a real person. (Hopefully you are neither, and can provide some supporting documents- redacted, if you like.) It is pretty easy to leak documents anonymously. There is even a website dedicated to it. But for now I'm still filing you under FUD.

If I utterly misunderstood what you were saying, disregard the above, and please restate.

Edited by acrosome on 08/05/2009 05:12:14 MDT.

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
Sawyers Input on 08/07/2009 13:11:20 MDT Print View

This discussion interested me since I own two "hollow fiber" products....MSR & SAWYER. I emailed John Smith, SAWYER'S water specialist and put forth the questions that BOB SMITH had put forth on 7/29/09 concerning "hollow fiber" microfilter products related to efficacy and have his reply below.

Here are some questions I hope you will answer concerning your Hollow Fiber Membrane you use in your filter or purifier:

1. Do you sort good/bad filters from vendors upon arrival? >>>All filters are 100% inspected.

2. If so, what sorting process is used (air particle, bubble point, microbio)?
>>>Spheres are blow into the filters. If any come through, the filter is rejected.

3. What standards certification do they have for these sorting processes?
>>>All filters are 100% inspected.

4. Have there been any unofficial recalls or other problems with this product?
>>>No

5. Is microbiological testing being used?
>>>No

6. If so, what bacteria or viruses are being used?
>>>None

7. Are filters that have been microbiologically tested being sold to the public?
>>>They are not.

8. Do you recommended or is there a need for users of "hollow fiber" micro filters add a purifier of some sort to filtered water, or do not use?
>>>We offer 2 types of HFM filters. One is at 0.1 micron and the other is at 0.02 micron. If you are using the 0.1 micron and viruses are suspected, then you will need to add a disinfectant to the water to kill them. This is not needed if you are using the 0.02 micron filter.

These facts speak for themselves.

bob smith
(bs.4857) - F
Mr. Larson, You are getting warm on 08/08/2009 02:28:12 MDT Print View

Kudos to Mr. Larson. I appreciate Mr. Fellabaum's circumspect approach as well as sound critical thinking. I appreciate Mr. Larson's method in outcome based fact gathering.

It sounds like his findings substantiate that inspection is a necessity and substantiates that original hollow fiber manufacturers are shipping defects that must be sorted. I'm ok with that, given a robust and reliable sorting process.

I am assuming that the 100% inspection method is employed to leave no doubt that no faulty filters will be shipped as completed secondary manufacturer products. I believe that this also indicates that sampling is not effective possibly due to an uncontrollable process, wide variation in hollow fiber module lot defect rates, and possibly secondary manufacturing damage/defect issues.

It is also established that they are not using microchallenge for shipped product, as they shouldn't be, though probably doing production lot sampling with microchallenge.

Mr. John Smith's supposed transparent, thorough and honest reply is commendable, and in my mind sufficient.

Mr. Larson is getting warm with his approach and sounds like a great path to continue pursuing. As our initial respondent, Mr. Smith's response could be considered a good baseline for other hollow fiber microfilter vendors, could it not?

Please continue to post individual vendor responses - or lack of timely responses...

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
MSR (Cascade Designs Inc) input on 08/12/2009 10:29:19 MDT Print View

I have posted below the email reply from Nathan Hamm, MSR (Cascade Designs Inc) water specialist concerning Bob Smith questions he had put forth on 7/29/09 concerning "hollow fiber" microfilter products efficacy.

1. Do you sort good/bad filters from vendors upon arrival?
>>>Yes

2. If so, what sorting process is used (air particle, bubble point, microbial)?
>>>That is proprietary info but we have developed our own process b/c all of the commonly used processes did not meet out performance requirements.

3. What standards certification do they have for these sorting processes?
>>>Not sure what this means but they are pass/fail.

4. Have there been any unofficial recalls or other problems with this product?
>>>No.

5. Is microbiological testing being used?
>>>We have an in house lab that periodically tests our filters.

6. If so, what bacteria or viruses are being used?
>>>We use Type II water to specifications outlined in NSF P231 without any microbiological additions.

7. Are filters that have been microbiologically tested being sold to the public?
>>>No.

8. Do you recommended or is there a need for users of "hollow fiber" micro filters add a purifier of some sort to filtered water, or do not use? (NOTE: You had sent me a btl of SweetWater® Purifier Solution the last time you sent an updated filter and I have been using it.)
>>>The HyperFlow microfilter will work in most circumstances alone but if you are going to be filtering in areas where there are possible viruses then you will want to use a chemical solution after filtering.

The two vendor responses concerning this issue should provide information and a level of confidence to all that own their products. If not....

Edited by KENLARSON on 08/12/2009 10:31:18 MDT.

bob smith
(bs.4857) - F
Consumer Protection on 08/13/2009 01:16:23 MDT Print View

Mr. Larson,

Would you be willing to provide your email to specific government agency investigators to weigh the veracity of the responses against evidence? I think we have gone as far as we can go, unless there are users out there who have experienced or will experience any ill health effects.

Your work is much appreciated, and I hope users will recognize the contribution.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Consumer Protection on 08/13/2009 01:40:52 MDT Print View

Huh?

OK, call me dense but I don't get it. It seems to me that "Bob Smith" has implied that faulty filters are being sold to consumers.

But the manufacturers are saying that they are checking and sorting their filters for duds before selling them on.

So Bob are you saying that the MSR response is BS and they are not actually checking the filters like they say they are? It seems to me that is what you are implying, but I don't know why you don't just come out and say it if that's what the situation is.

And who would the email be forwarded to, and on what basis? It doesn't seem to suggest anything shady, so we are back to relying on the suggestion of 'Bob Smith'.

Why all the cloak and dagger? If you think MSR or whoever is doing the wrong thing why not approach the relevant government agency yourself. Or post the full details here or elsewhere online. Or send someone here a PM with the details and let them post the information so that you can stay out of it.

I'm not sure what the purpose is of hinting about wrongdoing but not actually stating it. If you're concerned about remaining anonymous just upload the information from a public library where it cannot be traced back to you or something.

If I've got the wrong end of the stick please feel free to correct me, because I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Edited by ashleyb on 08/13/2009 01:42:16 MDT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Consumer Protection on 08/13/2009 04:08:24 MDT Print View

Yeah, no kidding, "bob". Ken got the answers we were looking for. I think that you are playing games or FUDing, and you made the mistake of doing it on a forum full of VERY savvy people. (I.e. not a bunch of ignorant doodz.)

Just say what you are trying to say; stop playing games with innuendo and other such puerile stuff. If you have proof of wrongdoing then post it here (or even better on Wikileaks) from a public terminal, or something. Otherwise, stop wasting our time.

bj bretzke
(lilorphanbilly) - F

Locale: Montana, MT (Stealth Mode)
wasting time on 08/13/2009 15:02:08 MDT Print View

I still wish a spambot was a new backpack recipe:)

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Spambot Recipe on 08/14/2009 00:39:23 MDT Print View

Ok, if it makes you happy...

SPAMBOT

Ingredients:
1 Spam slice
2 slices bread (any variety, but preferably Wonder)
2 pats Butter (or would margarine be more artificial?)
1 slice cheese (let's go full-tilt and specify Velveeta...)
1 can TAB soda, for apertif...

Brown the spam in butter, then place between the slices of bread with the cheeze, and continue grilling. After the cheese melts, pry off the non-cheese bread slice to add condiments of choice (preferably the neon-yellow artificial mustard. Don't forget the TAB.

There, I have officially christened the SPAMBOT as a variant of sandwich. Enjoy.