Counterfeit and deceptively labeled water filters have flooded the U.S. market and are sold online every day. A lower price entices consumers to purchase the counterfeits, which are often appear nearly identical to genuine models. But despite their appearance, the counterfeit filters often fall far short of safety and structural standards that consumers, regulators and manufacturers expect, and their failures put consumers' health, safety and property at risk. What's more, the damage will likely occur without the consumer even knowing that they're at risk.
Those who produce the counterfeit and deceptively labeled filters go to great lengths to make the filters nearly indistinguishable from the legitimate models. Their tactics include the illegal use of brand names and intellectual property, such as logos and brand graphics. These disguises make it difficult even for experts to spot the fakes. During a recent round of independent testing, however, the differences became frighteningly clear. The testing found that installing counterfeit filters into refrigerators could result in failure to remove impurities from consumers' drinking water, including lead, mercury, asbestos, pesticides and insecticides. In addition, the poor fit by counterfeits that weren't designed to fit the refrigerator may damage the refrigerator and the kitchen, if leaks occur.
The risks to health and property posed by counterfeit and deceptively labeled refrigerator water filters far outweigh the benefits of a lower cost.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), in partnership with 17 home appliance brands, has launched Filter it Out, a public education campaign to inform consumers about the significant problem of counterfeit and deceptively labeled replacement water filters for refrigerators. Through this campaign, industry leaders are taking action to direct consumers to trusted products. The campaign also aims to alert government officials about this serious issue, including those from U.S. Customer and Border Protection, who can help flag potential counterfeit shipments before they hit the market.
The risks associated with this problem must be better understood so that consumers can avoid bringing potential harm to their appliances, homes, and most importantly, the health and wellbeing of their families.
Consumer Reports, September 2018, "How to Find a Cheaper Replacement Water Filter for Your Refrigerator"
Fake Filters, Real Problems, a comprehensive filter testing study issued by AHAM in coordination with national testing laboratories.