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Appliance Industry Filtering Out Counterfeit Water Filters

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), in concert with 17 leading refrigerator brands, is mounting a public education campaign to caution consumers against buying counterfeit water filters.

 According to the trade group, knock-off replacement filters for refrigerators are readily available online and can be hard to distinguish from brand-name products.

The danger, AHAM said, is that uncertified filters may fail to filter out impurities like lead, asbestos and pesticides from drinking water, and could cause leaks due to improper fit.

In response, the industry has launched a targeted outreach program called “Filter It Out” that features an educational website as its centerpiece.

Participating AHAM member company brands include Amana, Beko, Blomberg, Bosch, Electrolux, Frigidaire, Gaggenau, GE/Haier, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, LG, Maytag, Miele, Samsung, Sub-Zero Wolf, Thermador and Whirlpool.

“Counterfeit and deceptively labeled filters are sold every day through various online channels,” said AHAM president/CEO, Joseph McGuire. “In many cases, the filters appear identical to brand-name products, but do not meet the safety and structural standards that consumers, manufacturers and regulators expect.”

While manufacturers are working directly with e-tailers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to remove counterfeit and deceptive products from circulation, the high percentage of online filter sales makes efforts at seizing the knock-offs very difficult, McGuire said.

Jill Notini, communications and marketing VP, added that the awareness program “continues a long-held tradition at AHAM — and across the home appliance industry — of investing in consumer education and product safety.

“Working with manufacturers from across the industry, we’re designing ‘Filter It Out’ with the busy consumer in mind,” she said.

AHAM argues that counterfeit and deceptively-labeled water filters:

*don’t contain the same technologies as devices certified by refrigerator manufacturers;

*often fail to include key filter components needed to keep water clean;

* aren’t generally tested to the NSF/ANSI 42 and NSF/ANSI 53 industry standards; and

*may not properly fit the appliance as claimed.

“With so much uncertainty about the safety of our drinking water and the quality of replacement filters bought online, consumers should choose filters that are trusted and certified by the manufacturer who produced the appliance and stand behind their products,” McGuire said. “That’s what this campaign is all about.”