Why are Berkey Water Filters Banned in California?

berkey water filter banned in california
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Countertop water filters are a popular way to make sure you have clean, healthy water for drinking and cooking. Berkey water filters have long been regarded as an effective and efficient way to purify water.

However, it might surprise some people to know that despite their popularity, these water filters are actually banned in the state of California. Today, we will explore why Berkey water filters have been banned in the Golden State.

Key Takeaway
  • Getting the required NSF certification puts Berkey industry secret at risk and is costly as well
  • Berkey has their water filters tested by several reliable third-party laboratories with standards higher than NSF and ANSI
  • California-approved Berkey products include Travel Berkey, Berkey Light, Sports Berkey, and Go Berkey Kit

Why Are Berkey Filters Not Allowed in California?

California is one of the most stringent states when it comes to water purification systems. The no-lead law which took effect in 2009 bans any”end-use device intended to convey or dispense water for human consumption through drinking or cooking unless it is confirmed to be lead-free by an ANSI/AF -approved company. 

berkey water filter banned in california

As stated in the law, lead content should not exceed the 0.2 percent limit in solder and flux and should not be more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent in pipes, plumbing, and fixtures. 

Understandably, the law also applies to all purification and filtration water systems as well as their replacement parts.

Apparently, Berkey did not seek the required NSF/ANSI certification causing their products to be prohibited in California, but why?

Why Are Berkey Water Filters Not NSF Certified?

For one thing, it might put their industry secrets at risk. The law requires manufacturers to disclose “proprietary information” which includes details about their systems, manufacturing processes, and suppliers. 

Compared to most water filters, the patented Black Berkey filter elements that use carbon and ion exchange reduce the most contaminants including bacteria and heavy metals. This is also the reason why Berkey is much preferred over other countertop water filters during emergency water needs. 

Also, foregoing costly NSF/ANSI certifications allows Berkey to offer their water filter systems at the lowest price possible. 

How Does Berkey Test Their Water Filter Products?

Instead of getting the required NSF certification, they have their water filters tested by several third-party laboratories including Envirotek and Analytical Services, Inc. Interestingly, their thorough and lengthy testing address more than 200 contaminants in water and elements that even surpass EPA and ANSI/NSF (Standard 53) protocol. 

Each Black Berkey filter element is confirmed to filter out heavy metals, inorganic substances, pesticides, petroleum chemicals, pharmaceuticals, trihalomethanes, and VOCs, among others. Furthermore, Berkey is considered a purifier due to its ability to remove pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. 

Following are some of the typical water contaminants that Berkey filters remove or reduce:

  • Chloroform below detectable limits
  • Chlorine >99.9%
  • Mercury >99.9%
  • Lead >99.9%
  • Arsenic >99.9%
  • Petroleum Products 99.9%
  • PFOS and PFOA 99.9%
  • Benzene >99.80%

You can access the complete lab results here.

Can You Get a Berkey Water Filter in California?

Although Berkey failed to secure the NSF certification that the state of California requires, you can still enjoy the benefits of the Berkey water filter system. Since the law cannot be applied to outdoor water purification systems, you can purchase the smaller Berkey water filter systems and their filters and replacement parts. 

Berkey Light and Berkey Travel (with fluoride filters and Black filter elements) are the best water filters for your next outdoor adventure. You can also opt for a Go Berkey Kit that includes all the essentials of water filtration. 

If you want a handy sports bottle, the Sport Berkey is available as well. With these Berkey water filters, you are assured of the benefits of clean drinking water. 

You can get California-approved Berkey products from Amazon and other legit e-commerce stores without legal implications.

Get to Know Berkey’s California-friendly Systems

Both the Travel Berkey and Berkey Light water filters offer the same functionality as the larger Big Berkey and are considered purifiers as well. They are Berkey’s best portable gravity-fed water filtration systems making them suitable for areas with no water pressure or electricity. 

These filter systems are also compatible with any treated or untreated water source. Get to know these smaller Berkey cousins and other Berkey filters available in California. 

Travel Berkey Water Filter 

The Travel Berkey water filter is the smaller version of the Big Berkey water filter. Designed to be portable, it only weighs 7 lbs and can hold 1.5 gallons of water enough for 1-3 people every day. 

It is also robust thanks to its polished 304 stainless steel material construction. Like the Big Berkey, it has two Black Berkey filter elements that can filter water up to 2.75 gallons per hour and can filter fluoride with the PF2 Fluoride filters (sold separately). 

Each filter system also includes one priming button. 

Berkey Light Water Filter System

With a bigger capacity than the Travel Barkey, the Berkey Light can be used both indoors and outdoors. It can hold 2.75 gallons of purified water good for 1-5 people or an average-sized family. 

The Berkey Light consists of two chambers, upper and lower made of durable BPA-free plastic which makes it lightweight. It is also transparent allowing you to determine if more water should be added. 

When it comes to its filter elements, each system comes with 2 Black Berkey purification elements. However, if you wish to, you can add another set of Black Berkey filters since the system can accommodate four—cutting filtration time in half. 

The filter system can also be added with fluoride filters, sold separately. The system also comes with a base of 5.5 inches for added height.

Sport Berkey Water Bottle

The Sport Berkey Water Bottle is the perfect sports bottle when going to work, the gym, camping, or traveling. The portable BPA-free plastic container can hold 22 ounces of water. It may look small, but it is no less than Berkey’s flagship product. 

The Sport Berkey uses the same filtration medium as the larger Black Berkey. It means it can provide the same contaminant-free and pathogen-free drinking water. It can be refilled 160 times when using untreated or pre-filtered water or 640 times using treated municipal water. 

You also have the option to replace the Sport Berkey filter element when necessary. The Sport Berkey replacement element is sold separately. What’s more, the Berky water bottle has a storage life of 50 years so you can take it with you anywhere for many years to come.

Go Berkey Kit

The Go Berkey Kit is your ultimate water filtration kit in areas where treated water may not be accessible. Each kit includes a sport Berkey bottle, upper and lower steel chambers, 1 Black Berkey purification element, stainless steel lid, and 2  priming tools. 

All these are kept safe inside a vinyl carrying case. Like all Berkey systems, the Go-Berry Kit is proven to filter out harmful contaminants, chemicals, and pathogens. With Go Berry Kit, you get to taste the same clean purified water outside of your home.

Berkey Filter Elements

The secret behind the powerful filtration of the Berkey filter system is the Black Berkey purification elements. These filter elements are considered leaders in gravity-fed water filtration. In fact, they can filter out food coloring from source water yet leave behind the minerals our body needs. 

Not only dangerous chemicals and inorganic particles are removed but harmful pathogens as well including bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. 

What’s more, they are re-cleanable and can filter 6,000 gallons of source water before they are due for replacement. Depending on your consumption Berkey filters could last up to 4 years. Cleaning Berkey filter elements regularly is also important to maximize their use.

With every purchase of the Berkey water filter system, you get a set of two Black Berkey purification elements. These filter elements should be installed in the upper chamber of the filter system.

The PF2 Flouride elements (set of 2) are used in conjunction with the Black Berkey Filter elements. They are attached to the bottom of the Black Berkey filters sitting on the lower chamber of the system. Their job is to remove high levels of arsenic and fluoride from source water. 

Berkey recommends replacing the Flouride filters after they have filtered  1,000 gallons.

Both the Black Berkey Filter Elements and PF2 Flouride elements are also available for sale in California via Amazon and other stores.


Berkey water filter systems offer a reliable and cost-effective way to ensure you are drinking only the best water available in your home or business. They also provide California-friendly solutions that adhere to the state’s strict standards for water quality. 

Although the bigger Berkey water filter systems are not available, you can still enjoy the same clean drinking water from the smaller versions such as the Travel Berkey and Berkey Light. 

Sport Berkey is also available if you want a handy sports bottle when stepping out of your door. All these Berkey products remove the same quantity of contaminants harmful chemicals, and pathogens from source water—whether treated or not.

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