Why Are Berkey Filters Banned in California?

In today’s health-conscious world, access to clean and safe drinking water is not just a luxury, but a necessity. One of the most popular choices for many households worldwide is Berkey Water Filters. Yet, if you’re a resident of California, you may have found that purchasing a Berkey filter in your state is unexpectedly challenging. Why are Berkey filters banned in California?

Understanding Berkey Water Filters

Berkey filters are reputed for their high-performance gravity-fed water purification systems.

  • They can remove over 200 contaminants, including viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, and pesticides.
  • Berkey filters are durable, long-lasting, and economical over time.

Despite these benefits, Berkey water filters are not available for purchase in the state of California.

The Lead and Phthalates Controversy

In 1986, California passed Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.

  • This law mandates that any product sold in California must carry a warning label if it contains any of the 800+ chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
  • Two such chemicals of concern are lead and phthalates.

This isn’t to say that Berkey filters contain these harmful chemicals, but the law is applicable to any product with even trace amounts of these substances, including those in the materials used for packaging or housing the product.

Why Berkey Filters Are Not Sold in California

So, why has Berkey chosen not to sell their products in California despite the popularity and proven effectiveness of their filters?

  • Berkey made a business decision not to label their products with the Proposition 65 warning.
  • The company believes the warning could potentially mislead customers into thinking their filters are unsafe.

Instead of going through the costly and time-consuming process of proving that the trace amounts of these substances pose no significant risk, Berkey has opted not to sell their products in California.

Are Berkey Filters Unsafe?

Berkey Water Filters are known for their high standards of water purification, and their products are used and trusted by millions around the world.

  • Their filters have been independently tested and confirmed to significantly exceed EPA and NSF standards for water filtration.
  • The components of Berkey water filters that come in contact with water are BPA-free and constructed from high-quality, food-grade materials.

Thus, the absence of Berkey filters from the California market is due to regulatory issues, rather than actual safety concerns.

How Does Proposition 65 Impact Other Products?

The implications of Proposition 65 extend beyond Berkey Water Filters.

  • Many other products sold in California carry the Proposition 65 warning label.
  • These range from coffee to fishing gear, electronics, and even some food items.

It’s crucial to note that the presence of this label does not automatically indicate that a product is harmful, but instead that it may contain trace amounts of a listed substance.

The Response of Berkey Consumers

In response to Berkey’s decision not to sell in California, many consumers have expressed their support and understanding.

  • They appreciate the company’s dedication to transparency and their refusal to use a potentially misleading warning label.
  • Some consumers even purchase Berkey products in neighboring states and bring them into California for personal use.

While this doesn’t solve the issue for all Californian residents, it’s indicative of the strong reputation and trust Berkey enjoys among its users.

Alternatives to Berkey Filters in California

California residents searching for a robust water filtration system have other options to consider.

  • Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems, while more expensive upfront, offer thorough filtration and are available in California.
  • Activated carbon filters are another popular choice due to their effectiveness in removing contaminants and improving taste and odor.
  • Brands like Aquasana and Brita also offer a wide range of filters, including countertop, under-sink, and pitcher filters.

Each system has its pros and cons, so it’s essential to do thorough research and consider your specific needs before purchasing.

The Future for Berkey Filters in California

Is there a possibility for Berkey filters to return to the California market in the future?

  • While it’s uncertain, changes to Proposition 65 requirements or a shift in Berkey’s policies could potentially pave the way for their return.
  • In recent years, there have been discussions and lawsuits challenging certain aspects of Proposition 65, which could lead to amendments in the future.

Despite current restrictions, it’s always possible that the situation could change, offering a different outlook for Berkey filters in California.

The Impact on Berkey’s Reputation

Has the California ban impacted Berkey’s reputation negatively?

  • While the inability to sell in California is an inconvenience, Berkey’s decision appears to have been generally well received by their customer base.
  • Many consumers respect the company’s commitment to their values and their desire to avoid potentially misleading their customers.

Therefore, it seems that this situation has not tarnished Berkey’s reputation, and in fact, it may have bolstered it in the eyes of some consumers.


While it may seem odd that Berkey water filters, known for their efficiency and high standards, are not sold in California, it’s essential to understand the context. The decision stems from the specific requirements of Proposition 65 and the company’s stance on the potential for misinterpretation rather than actual safety risks associated with the product. Consumers outside California continue to trust and use Berkey filters, and residents of California have numerous other quality filtration options to choose from to ensure their drinking water is safe and clean.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I buy Berkey Filters in California?

Berkey Filters are not sold in California due to the state’s Proposition 65 regulation, which requires a warning label on any product that contains trace amounts of specific harmful chemicals. Berkey chose not to use this potentially misleading label and instead opted not to sell their products in California.

Does this mean Berkey Filters are harmful or unsafe?

No, the absence of Berkey Filters from the California market is not a reflection of the product’s safety. Berkey Filters are recognized globally for their excellent performance in water purification, and they exceed EPA and NSF standards. The decision not to sell in California is strictly due to regulatory concerns.

Are there similar restrictions in other states?

No, this restriction is unique to California due to Proposition 65. Berkey Filters can be legally purchased and used in all other US states.

What alternatives are available in California?

There are numerous other water filtration options available in California, including Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems, activated carbon filters, and products from other reputable brands like Aquasana and Brita.

Could Berkey Filters ever be sold in California in the future?

While it’s uncertain, changes to Proposition 65 regulations or a shift in Berkey’s policy could potentially allow Berkey Filters to be sold in California in the future.

Has this situation negatively impacted Berkey’s reputation?

While it’s an inconvenience not to sell in California, Berkey’s decision seems to have been generally well received by its customer base. Many customers appreciate the company’s transparency and commitment to avoiding potentially misleading information. Therefore, this situation appears not to have harmed Berkey’s reputation.

Leave a Comment