Berkey® products are not for sale to residents of the State of California.
NMCL acknowledges that common-sense regulations are valuable in protecting the public, especially when it comes to issues so essential as clean drinking water. However, when regulations become extreme, they can do more harm than good. In our opinion, this has become the situation with the regulatory state of California, as its restrictive and litigious business environment requires businesses to navigate a labyrinth of complex and ever-changing regulations.
This reality may not be a problem for large corporations, who often support such an environment so they can keep out competitors, but such an atmosphere can drive up costs and create litigation opportunities that make business operation overly time-consuming, expensive, and vulnerable to trial attorneys and activists who thrive in such environments. The potential liabilities attendant with California’s regulatory structure have become too perilous to make good business sense. Both customers and companies are now protesting that such complex and restrictive regulations result in obstructing the consumer’s freedom of choice to purchase the products they want—and worse, they inhibit the ability of residents to obtain the necessary information to make informed decisions on the products they purchase.
Thus, Berkey® has opted out of registering our products for sale in California due to the following:
- California lists over 1,000 substances deemed harmful. The list is updated throughout the year and companies doing business in California must check the list regularly for new substances that may have been added. Products that the state deems safe one day, may be deemed unsafe the next—and therefore a company can unintentionally become liable for costly penalties and subject to mercurial and expensive litigation. The state’s regulations also require manufacturers to notify their customers when their product could expose them to any of these 1,000+ substances. We do not believe that our products include any substances that the state of California might consider harmful. However, we have deemed that it is not worth the required resources to constantly monitor such regulatory updates.
- California has established regulations and procedures for the sale of household water systems which require companies to obtain a number of costly—and unneeded—certifications for products sold in the state. Once the certifications have been obtained, the state additionally requires that companies pay high annual costs to renew its certifications.
- California requires that household water filters must be registered. Berkey® has voluntarily opted out of registering or selling its products in California. Many competing products falsely and deceptively assert that Berkey® systems are banned in California while they themselves market their unregistered water filter systems to California residents. Most registered companies are not ordinary businesses; most either manufacture filter media or are large mega corporations. You can check the link below to see a listing of all water filters that have been registered for sale in California: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/device/docs/Registered_WTD_03232023_Main.xlsx
- The tests we have had conducted are much more rigorous than those required for the certifications mandated by the state of California. Moreover, the National Sanitation Foundation standards are constantly changing and so certifications must be updated with every change. Third-party independent accredited labs have rigorously tested Black Berkey® filters and the results far surpass the standards for taste, odor and chlorine reduction. For example, Berkey® filters reduce chlorine by more than 99.9%, while NSF 42 certification only requires a reduction of 50%, as shown at https://www.iapmo.org/media/29324/summary-of-changes-nsf-42-2020-2021.pdf. Black Berkey® Elements have been tested for removal of hundreds of contaminants, including heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals and more. These test results are published on our website and available for all to review.
- Litigation in California has become BIG business. Over the past five years (2018-2022), businesses have spent well over $100 million dollars (much of which is spent on attorney’s fees) to settle litigation cases. Because of the state’s history and reputation for activist and knee-jerk legislation, normal business enterprises find it difficult—if not impossible—to accurately anticipate what laws or regulations the state may decide to enact, change or enforce at any given time. With a business climate fraught with tight legislative rules that seem extreme and out-of-step with the other 49 states, and a legal environment that favors lawyers and others looking to make a quick fortune, doing business in California has become a very high-risk, low-reward proposition. For that reason, California Businesses are Leaving The State By The Thousands: https://www.hoover.org/research/california-businesses-leave-state-thousands. Our position is that our efforts are best allocated on manufacturing proven, effective and economical water filtration products. We simply do not have the staff nor the desire to continually monitor and interpret ever-changing regulations. In addition, the benefit of doing business in California is increasingly overshadowed by the potential liabilities posed by activist California litigators.
The Bottom Line
Berkey® respects the rights of states to make their own regulations, yet thousands of businesses are in agreement that California’s out-of-control regulations and culture of activist litigation and legislation are becoming ever more extreme (for example, banning gas-powered equipment such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers, generators, etc.). As Bloomberg put it: “Companies Are Fleeing California. Blame Bad Government.” (See https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-12-29/businesses-are-fleeing-california-blame-bad-government.) In the end, we have concluded that the additional taxes, certifications, red tape, registrations, along with the expense of defending against activist litigators, have created too costly a barrier. It has become too prohibitive and risky for Berkey® to offer our systems to residents in the State of California.
We at Berkey® believe that access to clean water is a right for all people, and look forward to serving residents of California when it ends its mercurial and punitive approach to regulating companies wishing to provide economical, efficient water solutions to its residents.