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Is water filtration awash in potential?

A glass of tap water

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Filtering tap water at home is giving bottled water a run for the money. More than 100 companies are displaying their water filtration systems at a trade show in Orlando, Fla. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Caitlan Carroll reports on whether the industry is really awash in potential.


Caitlan Carroll: There are filters for showers, kitchen faucets and entire homes. They soften water and filter out contaminants like chlorine and lead. There's a filter to fit almost every imaginable function.

TOM BRUURSEMA: You know there's a lot of sales people and they have a lot of great information but it can be a rather daunting category or product to try and understand.

Tom Bruursema is mingling with some of those sales people today at the trade show in Florida. Bruursema tests water treatment systems for a nonprofit group [ NSF International ].

The market for home water filtration products is expanding. Market researcher Mintel International predicts sales will grow by almost 20 percent over the next three years. At the same time, sales of bottled water have been slipping.

Vincent Purino sells shoppers a stand-alone water filter that looks like a giant egg.

VINCENT PURINO: It's a beautiful design. It's functional it does save them some money and also it's good for the environment.

And it costs around $700.

I'm Caitlan Carroll for Marketplace.

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In many urban areas, such as Boston, filtering tap water is all about hysteria and a hysterical reaction by uninformed people to marketing seen on TV. The fact is, we have one of the best water treatment facilities (Deer Island) in the country here and there's absolutely no reason not to just drink what comes out of the tap.

I've been to countries where you wouldn't want to touch tap water. It drives me absolutely nuts to see people trying to "treat" something that already provides them with cleaner water to flush their toilets than most of the rest of the world get to drink.

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