How Buying a Reverse Osmosis Unit Can Make You Rich


Guess which man owns a reverse osmosis unit.

We usually just assume that ingesting water contaminants like lead and arsenic is not a good idea. We don’t think about the economic implications.  We want our kids to be as smart and as healthy as they can be without having to put a dollar sign on the loss in IQ points that could result from their consuming water that is tainted with lead.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona and funded by the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) sought to do just that: to determine the economic benefits of using point-of-use (POU) devices to reduce health risks in drinking water. The study was designed to put a dollar value on the benefits of treating five drinking water contaminant categories–microorganisms, arsenic, lead, disinfection byproducts, nitrates and chromium–with POU equipment.

Lead was considered apart from the other contaminants, since the Flint, MI ordeal offered a convenient way to study lead exposure. Here’s what resulted, as reported by Water Quality Products magazine:

In the case of the water emergency in Flint, the study assumed all of the 98,310 Flint residents were exposed to lead levels of 25 µg/L in drinking water, and 20% of lead in drinking water is manifested in the body as blood lead levels. This corresponded to an average blood lead level of 0.5 µg/dL and a loss of 0.257 IQ points. Using the blood lead level to lifetime economic impact model, this corresponds to a lifetime loss of $5,381 per person and a total community cost of $435 million. The average household size in Flint is 2.42 persons, which equates to 40,064 houses. A five-year community wide intervention using one activated carbon filter with lead adsorption capabilities per household would have cost $11.1 million. A five-year POU RO implemented in every home would have cost $26 million. 

This seems to mean that if each of the 40,064 houses had an RO unit that cost $648.96 to buy and maintain, and each of the 2.42 persons who lived in that home saved the $5,381 that would have been lost because of ingestion of lead, the per household profit resulting from RO ownership would be $12,265 from lead-avoidance alone. What is more, if instead of the RO unit the home installed an activated carbon filter with lead adsorption capabilities, which costs only $277, profit (savings less the cost of the filter) for the 2.42-person home would be even more, $12,637!

Clearly, the filter is the better choice since you can get the same dollar savings from lead removal that you would from the RO unit at a lower purchase price. More bang for your lead-removal buck. Of course, if you factor in the costs of exposure to arsenic, nitrates, chromium, fluoride, sodium, and more–items the RO removes but the filter doesn’t–the extra $400 you pay for the reverse osmosis unit doesn’t look all that bad.


 A reverse osmosis unit is like money in the bank. The more contaminants they find in the water, the more you save.

The Water Quality Products article suggests that the cost saving figures that resulted from the Arizona study can be “leveraged” by water treatment professionals “to talk to their regulators and utilities about this study and encourage the acceptance of POU devices as a risk mitigation strategy.”

We at Pure Water Products will probably leave the leveraging to others and stick to our usual strategy of pointing out that with or without the dollar consideration, and whether you live in a 2.42-person home or a 6.79-person home, an undersink reverse osmosis unit should be a standard household appliance, not an optional item. What a great value! A device that produces pure, great tasting, contaminant-free water at a small cost. Getting rich in the process is just icing on the cake.

Reference Source: Water Quality Products.