Why Are Berkey Water Filters Banned In California? How To Get One?

why are berkey water filters banned in california

Berkey Water Filters are the market’s most trusted, reliable, and efficient water filtration systems. They provide clean, safe water for residential, commercial, and outdoor use. So, why are Berkey water filters banned in California?

If you live in California, you may have experienced difficulties acquiring a Berkey water filter.

Here, we will look why are Berkey water filters banned in California, why the dispute exists, and how you can still obtain a Berkey water filter product, despite being a California resident.

Why Are Berkey Water Filters Banned In California? What Does the Law Entail?


In 2009, the “AB 1953, SB 1395 & HSC Section 116875” law was enacted in California, which is now commonly referred to as the no-lead law. It prevents the sale of most Berkey water filters, systems, and items in the state.

The law prohibits the sale of any end-user device that conveys or dispenses water for human consumption through drinking or cooking and any of its parts. It is not permitted until it is third-party certified by an ANSI/NSF-approved (independent firm) to confirm that it is lead-free.

All kinds of water purification systems and water filtration products, including their replacement parts, are subject to law, even those that do not contain metal alloys.

Even if a water filtration system claims to eliminate lead or to be free of this pollutant, as the Berkey products are, it must be NSF/ANSI 61 certified by an ANSI/NSF-authorized organization to be sold in California.

Why Won’t Berkey Water Filter Get a Certification?

Why don’t Berkey water filters and replacement parts get NSF/ANSI certified and become available to California residents? 

Well, this is an interesting question that needs to be answered by Berkey.

According to one Berkey distributor, manufacturers of water purification & filtration devices would have to reveal proprietary information relating to systems, including production processes, sales, and suppliers.

Berkey wants to protect its industry secrets and remain unique in the gravity filter market. This might be one reason.

How To Get A Berkey Water Filter In California?


You can obtain a Berkey water filter in California, but you will have limited options.

The following items can be purchased from Berkey legally in California: 

  • Berkey Light
  • Travel Berkey

The Berkey water filter systems are permitted in California because the original law has been revised to specify precisely what is required.

The people at Berkey have researched and verified that the Travel Berkey and the Berkey light do not fall into the scope of these regulations, meaning they are free to be sold in California without lead-free certification.

According to a Berkey website, California doesn’t prohibit the sale of “outdoor drinking water purification systems.”

You cannot purchase an indoor Berkey system in California because the Berkey Light and Travel Berkey filters are classified as “outdoor filters.” However, these items are lawfully accessible to consumers.

What Should You Know About Berkey’s California-friendly Systems

Although the Berkey Light and Travel Berkey water filter systems do not require lead-free certification per California’s regulations, they are identical to the standard Berkey water filters. 

Here is some information about each of them: 

Berkey Light

The Berkey Light is a portable, lightweight outdoor drinking water filtration option from Berkey. It is made from BPA-free plastic and includes two of Berkey’s filter elements.

This Berkey water filter system is one of the best systems for small budgets, and no regulations say to use it outside. It can eliminate contaminants in different standard sizes, including pathogenic bacteria. 

Travel Berkey

The Travel Berkey water filter system is composed of stainless steel and is a bit heavier than the other versions. This item is a little more costly and has a holding capacity of 5.7 liters.

The Berkey Water Filter System can purify rural and municipal water, eliminating all chlorine to lead & pathogenic bacteria.

Why are these Berkey countertop water purification devices so popular? It is because they are simple to set up & use (both are considered portable). They almost entirely filter out the impurities commonly found in tap water.

This entire list comprises 99% or greater removal of: 

  • Viruses
  • Lead
  • Iron
  • Petroleum Contaminants
  • Atrazine
  • Trihalomethane (THMs)
  • Heavy Metals
  • Methylcyclohexane-methane
  • Coliform and e-Coli
  • Gross Alpha emitters
  • Fluoride
  • Chloramines
  • Arsenic
  • Pathogenic Bacteria
  • Mercury
  • Chlorine
  • Bisphenol-A
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Pesticides
  • Uranium

California also has other Berkey water filtration devices, including the Sport Berkey, Go Berkey, and PF-2 & PF-4 Filters. Furthermore, there are no limits on Berkey support equipment, such as replacement filters and components.

How To Receive Berkey Water Filters In California

Can you work around the California state law and receive any Berkey filter to your home if you particularly have your eye on an indoor system?

It’s not that simple. You must have a friend outside of California purchase the Berkey filter system for you and have it shipped to his house. Then you must get the California-bound Berkey filter sent to you by your buddy, either by mail or in person.

According to Berkey, this method is “permissible.”

If you require replacement parts for these systems, what then?

If you want a replacement filter, you must order it through an out-of-state friend. All Berkey systems contain the same purification elements, whether they’re classified as indoor or outdoor systems under state regulations.

Work Around For Getting A Berkey Water Filter To California


Even though you’ve decided that a Berkey water filter is what you want, that won’t happen if you live in California. You’ll be able to get one of these reputable water filters by employing a bit of creativity.

As far as I know, it is not illegal to possess a Berkey filter in California. The two most common ways to get one are by purchasing it from another state or through Amazon.

Consider making an extra stop on your way to or from the mountains of Washington, Colorado, or Oregon while traveling across state lines. You can also accomplish this if you have some free time on your Nevada trip.

Someone out of state can purchase and ship it to you quickly and easily. If you live in California, you likely have a close friend or family member living outside the state who would be happy to help you in this way.

They must order a Berkey water filter online and then call UPS, FedEx, or DHL to pick it up and ship it.

Berkey Water Filters Are Worth Getting One

Looking through the list of impurities the Berkey Light and Travel Berkey filter out in tap water, which I described in the section above, you’ll see how impressive it is. Few gravity water filtration systems can compare to what these water filters remove or reduce.

Unfortunately, Berkey water filters are not available for purchase in California. In short, this company produces some of the highest-quality H2O for drinking or cooking.

Investing the time to get a Big Burkey or Royal Berkey filter is worthwhile, as they provide simple and inexpensive methods to clean your drinking water.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) On Why Are Berkey Water Filters Banned In California

1. Why are Berkey filters banned?

The answer to why Berkey water filters are banned in California is because of the no-lead law, which prohibits the sale of non-tested and non-certified water filters.

2. Do Berkey filters contain lead?

The Berkey removes >99.9% of lead and other toxic heavy metals such as mercury, copper, iron, and manganese. Lead is particularly prevalent in drinking water systems and is, therefore, particularly dangerous.

3. Why can’t I get a Berkey in California?

Because of California’s laws, Berkey distributors cannot sell larger water filtration systems directly in the state. Accessories and replacement filters may be shipped directly to the state. If you live in California, consider these smaller Berkey water filters.

4. Why is Berkey not certified?

There are two reasons why Berkey Water Filters are not NSF/ANSI certified. First, the independent lab tests I’ve conducted test for a range of contaminants much wider than the NSF/ANSI certifications. Secondly, the fees for NSF/ANSI certifications are excessively costly relative to what is being tested.

5. Why is Berkey not available in Iowa or California?

Despite being unable to offer its products in Iowa due to the state’s licensing fees, Berkey is not allowed to sell their items since Iowa requires purification claims to be verified, and they refuse to do so.

6. Is Berkey better than Brita?

There’s no arguing with the fact that Brita water filter systems have been popular for a long time. However, the numbers clearly show that Brita filters are of poor quality and don’t filter sufficiently. Berkey filters are far and away the best in terms of quality, longevity, long-term cost-effectiveness, and filtering capability.

Summary: Why Are Berkey Water Filters Banned In California

It is impossible to ignore that, according to California’s state regulations, Berkey must have an NSF 61 lead-free certification to sell its indoor systems in California.

Although nothing has altered in the last 10 years and is not likely to change anytime soon, the fact that the Berkey water filter was banned in California 10 years ago is clear.

Manufacturers such as Berkey must have their water filtration systems tested by a third party before being sold in California unless new regulations are enacted.

It is not illegal to possess a Berkey filter in California. The two most common ways to get one are purchasing it from another state from a friend/relative or buying it through Amazon.

I hope this article on why are Berkey water filters banned in California sounds helpful!

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