Friday, July 29, 2016

I really am ALLERGIC TO WATER (Coconut water filters)

Out of all the substances on the planet, one would think water is the safest for people with allergies.  Not so if you are someone who is allergic to coconut.

In the distant past I remember getting an email or two from readers who asked me about the safety of coconut carbon filters.  I always replied with a big, honest "Sorry, I have NO IDEA what you are talking about."  Logically, a water filter is supposed to filter, not add stuff to the water, right?

Then I had an experience of my own.

I went to my allergy doctor about a year ago for an annual check up.  The kind of little check-in where he refills the epi -pen and steroid prescriptions,etc.  I happened to mention to him that it almost always felt like I had a lump in my throat.  When I swallowed, it felt like something was catching. . . and sometimes my throat itched a little bit.  I thought it was probably unrelated to allergies, but had him look.  He said he DEFINITELY thought it was allergy related.  It went away whenever I took zyrtec, after all.  He had me do some exploring to try and see what it was, but we couldn't identify any brand new allergies, and he doubted it was environmental because of how it manifested in in a condition called Eosinophilic (ee-uh-sin-uh-fil-ik) esophagitis.

After a few months it subsided on its own and I didn't figure out the cause. . . until I realized. . .

Several months ago, we had a water leak in our kitchen.  We had to unhook all our relatively new marvelous reverse osmosis water system and start drinking regular tapwater for a few months until we reconstructed our damaged walls and cabinets, etc.  During that time I had no allergic problems at all.  The lump in my throat went away.  When our reverse osmosis was freshly installed again along with all  its brand new filters I took a long drink from a tall glass of water.  I hadn't eaten anything for a long time before or after.  There it was, my throat was itching.

My husband contacted the manufacturer of the water filters because he has actually worked on water purification systems for a few of his projects as an engineer.  He knew that the best filters in the business, used to purify water for medical-grade soaps and liquid medications, were all coconut based.  But I didn't think that our home would have such a filter.  It turned out that it did.  Not only that, but the filter company is used to responding to questions about coconut allergies! Our upgrade to an excellent reverse osmosis system included an upgrade to serious coconut fibers.

As it turns out, the company does have a fix.  Unfortunately, you have to bypass the final filter that adjusts the actual taste of the water to avoid the one that has coconut. But, the manufacturer was awesome and sent us the little T-shaped part for free.

I am very allergic to coconut, but I never thought I was sensitive enough to react to the minute particles that might find their way into water from a coconut carbon filter!

15 comments:

Elizabeth Scheberle said...

Woooooow. How ridiculous. This stuff is everywhere! Thank you for posting this, because I never would have thought to look out for water filters. As a broke college kid with this kind of allergy, this blog is so helpful to me!

Therenothere said...

Can I ask which RO filter system you use? I've been struggling with a low level allergic reaction for well over a year now and your post makes me wonder if that's where it's coming from...

Becky said...

It's an APEX Essence 75 Reverse Osmosis one.

Nate Alexander said...

So I literally just got a APEC reverse osmosis filtration system too. I also have the same coconut intolerence. I asked them about the filters and they said only one has the coconut filter but it shows more than one. So you just removed the final stage and the water doesn't bother you anymore? I'm really worried about this. Thanks!

BloggerBeth said...

Hi. I was one of the people that sent you a note a year or so about the coconut filter-water allergy connection. A few notes for others suffering. MOST bottled water uses a coconut based filtration system. Some will tell you, others will say their process is proprietary but most use it and you have no way of knowing. These filters are in drinking fountains, Brita filters, restaurant filtration systems and now being used in some municipalities to filter tap water...that's right...the water from the faucet. It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid and I am wondering if we can somehow band together, write to the FDA, etc to insist on labeling? My worst reactions are after quickly drinking a bottle of water. so for 2+ years I have avoided ALL bottled water. Last night, I went dancing at a local restaurant and quickly drank 2 glasses of water (from their bar "gun") and had a severe reaction. Eyes itch, water, and close shut; throat burns, sneezing, trouble breathing. How can we be allergic to water!?! It is not fair and the more these filters are being used, the less safe water there is. I also believe I have the throat condition that you mentioned. My last allergist did not believe me so I am hoping that the new one will help. What can we do about this...soaps, foods, etc is bad enough, but water?? Thanks.

Daniel Kerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bart shea said...

Do we know which filters are safe I been searching for days seems
most do now use the Coconut and yes I agree I have had reactions
to bottled water too.

Marissa said...

Hi, so my coconut allergy has recently gotten much more severe. After reading this I stopped drinking water and have had less symptoms. I contacted my water filtration company (EcoWater) and they use coconut and almond carbon filters. When I explained what was going on they said that their carbon supplier told them that the way they burn the coconut and almond shells should remove all the proteins that people are allergic to so it shouldn't be causing any reactions.
Any thoughts? I tend to not believe them because coconut is coconut, even if it's burned to a crisp.

kittykat_111 said...

Hi my mom also has this issue. She is also having problems with tap water because they add chlorine. Do you know which water companies filters, or bottle water companies don't use the coconut?

Linda said...

I too am allergic to coconut and am deeply concerned because it is appearing in everything. My latest problem is with my carbon block water filter. Almost every filter on the market is made from coconut or almond shells. I'm allergic to all nuts & peanuts too! I've yet to find one which is free of this, and I need to have one as we filter our own lake water for drinking.
Has anyone else found one? I'd love to know!
Thanks for this awesome educational blog.

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Shannon Gale said...

I have been very happy with my Aquasana reverse osmosis under sink water filter. It is not made from coconut carbon!!!!!!!!!!!! The water is delicious, and even my plants are healthier with it. I take my own bottle of it everywhere I go now. Unfortunately, all of Aquasana's other products are made with coconut carbon, so I am still searching for a shower and bath filter...

Water Filter said...

Very interesting read. I have a 1 year old daughter. My wife and I are very sensitive when it comes to the baby being allergic to anything. We had been contemplating getting a water filter. Reading this, I think we need to do more investigating. Nice Article, Thanks

BloggerBeth said...

Hi All,
I have done some research on bottled waters looking for one national brand they may work so I don't drink juice/soda etc. while vacationing. Many companies did not respond BUT I got this amazing response from FIJI water and thought I'd share:

Ok, I can't share the screenshot, but a lovely letter includes details about their UV filtration and states. "We do not use coconut shells in our filtration process."

I admit I am nervous to try after so many severe reactions to other bottled water but I am excited at the prospect. Hope this helps some of you!

--Beth

Kooleom.kat said...

I'm not sure if this is a coconut allergy or not, but I usually have no problem with bottled water. However, it would be more cost effective I think in the long run to filter my.own. My boyfriend has a Brita pitcher that makes good water. However, I bought the purple one recently, and no matter how many pitchers I poured after following the directions, my throat itched badly. Now I'm trying a PUR pitcher. Same problem. I don't see the carbon dust though- anyone know if this is an issue with coconut or I've just been dealt crappy filters?