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!

42 comments:

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 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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Unknown 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

Anonymous 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?

Becky said...

I just wanted to say thank you for all of your posts on this subject! Bottled water isn't something I drink a lot but I have noticed it sometimes does bother me and sometimes doesn't. I haven't thought to keep track, but thanks for the tip on using Fiji :-)

Unknown said...

I am very allergic to coconut and have the same problem with filters. I suspect few people know that this could be a problem for them. My tap water is terrible and often smells of bleach. I am drinking too much bottled water and am concerned about having contact with so much plastic. Have you found any pitcher filters that are coconut free?

Becky said...

Sorry, I haven't used pitcher filters for awhile - but if you do find one that would be great so please share!

Steve Berke said...

I think this How to remove Fluoride from water will fully complement your article.


I enjoyed reading your article :) PLease continue publishing helpful topics like this. Regards, from CWR, a company whose into selling countertop water filter that removes fluoride.

Abreil Prey said...

I really like your blog and you have shared the whole concept really well. And Very beautifully soulful read, thanks for sharing.

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Cartridge Filters for Water Treatment said...

Your blog is very nice and useful. Thanks for sharing such an informative post with us. Your post contains all the informative stuffs. I really appreciate it.

Unknown said...

Becky could you please tell us if the water taste was much different when you inserted the T to bypass the coconut filter? do you lose any other important benefits without that part of the process? thanks so much

Austro Water Tech said...

I enjoyed reading your article :) PLease continue publishing helpful topics like this. Regards, from sewage treatment plants

Kyra said...

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Kyra said...

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Anonymous said...

THIS IS NOT ALLERGY TO COCONUTS. THIS IS TINY PARTICLES OF CARBON CHARCOAL ARE LEAKING THROUGH THE FILTER. This is not a medical grade charcoal. The water filter charcoal contains different chemicals and all together can cause allergic reaction. I have whole house carbon filtration system and reverse osmosis under the sink that we drink. Today I noticed black residue inside my white toilet. My house filter started leaking carbon. Now I understand why my eyes became red itchy and puffy after the shower and it getting worse and worse. So sad that we cannot rely on municipal water and are installing all those poisonous filters that can make us sick. Terrible!
I did not find anywhere an advice how to fix the problem to prevent carbon leaking into filtered water and how can we clean all our water system from those leaking carbon polutants.

Kecia Lamrouex Gonzales said...

This IS a coconut allergy from filtered water...not a reaction to contaminants. I cannot drink my city water because they also use a coconut shell filtration system. My immune system was so worn out becuase of putting particles of coconut in my system via water, toothpaste, shampoos, that my body began reacting to all kinds of things. Once I took ALL coconut (& palm) out of and off of my body, i began healing. My skin moisture returned, my hair begain to grow and quicker and became healthy, I can eat anything, I can use pure oils with essential oils for my body, I can sleep through the night, I can drink water without feeling dizzy and coughing, my body is strong enough to fight off other viruses, diseases and sicknesses & I have no more reactions.
So, the upside is I am in my 50s and feel better than I did when I was in my 20s.
The downside...if you want to call it the downside. I make my shampoo and conditioner (very simple recipe from Dr. Josh Axe's essential oils book - if any one needs it I will share it); I purchase Fiji water 10 cases at a time so that I get a discount; I bath with either rain water I have collected (or tap water with a filter then rinse from my head down with a warmed bottle of fiji to rinse off any residue); I use baking soda and mint for my toothpaste; I use a mineral salts spray for deoderant; I make my own body oil from Safflower oil with geranium and lavendar; I make my own body spray with Fiji water, jojoba oil, peppermint, rose and sweet orange (too your liking); and, i don't eat anything processed (with the exception of an occasional Frito):)
Even though when I began this journey this felt like a death sentence, I can now see how this is actually a Life sentence. It has brought my life to a high level of health and wellness. I no longer use any toxic chemicals to clean my home, etc. And as as sidenote: I am a single mom and work a full time job. So, please do not get depressed or down if you are on this journey...embrace it and know that God can lead you through these waters and good can come from what seems to be meant for bad.
Please message me if I can be of any help.
K


Anonymous said...

Hi there, my son has a severe coconut allergy and we couldn’t figure out why he is still itchy and has eczema. After reading about coconut filters in water I believe this might be why he is still reacting. He LOVES water. We had a Brita and recently switched to a Berkey butbit looks like they use coconut as well. What has worked for you? Is FiJi a good water choice?
Thank you for any advice you may have

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thanks for this thread. Have their been any updates since the original post? I have a bad coconut allergy but am looking to filter the tap drinking water because our water quality index in my zipcode has been rated,on a scale from 0 to 100 (100 being best) as a 2. Thats TWO! In addition they use chloramine which i need to remove as i have a major amine problem. (but adding vitamin c bothers my gut). Note i am unable to install a reverse osmosis filter anyway because I am in a rental and it would be too physically hard for ne anyway. So searching for solutions and getting nowhere. I am also allergic to acrylic and possibly plasticizers so i have to be careful about type of container as well. Wihat about a water delivery service in large glass dispencers ? Any of those coconut free? Or do those introduce a bacterial contamination issue? My best bet is to try to move to a place that has great water out of the tap- does anyone know how to find that? Ive tried airing out water and boiling it but doesnt remove the chloramine or most chemicals or metals. Look forward to updates snd more reader experiences. Will check out fuji and see how i do with the water and tgeir plastic bottles. Anyobe run a water test kit on fuji?

Anonymous said...

Zero water has a on the counter filter and the company says they use no coconut

SteveK said...

Consider drinking distilled water. It should not have any contamination.

Trish Anderson said...

Thank you for this article.. Helps make me feel more normal and its not all in my head. Doctors have not been believing me here in Australia. Been so frustrating. I am on the search now for filter system at home.
I really enjoyed reading your story. again thank you..

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Unknown said...

Both use coconut shell filters. You have a coconut allergy.

Unknown said...

Filter your own water with bamboo charcoal filters. They work wonderful and are made from bamboo in which is a grass. If your not allergic to grass this is your answer.

Anonymous said...

I haven't tried this myself, but I think you can filter water using some form of bamboo. I do not trust myself to get it to work right and I don't know if it would get rid of coconut traces.

Anonymous said...

I contacted Fiji, who assured me no coconut is involved! Neither Just Water (referred me to their website, which didn't answer the question) nor Boxed Water (proprietary) would even answer my question.

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Anonymous said...

Hi. Where can one get bamboo charcoal filter? That seems like a great idea and I had never heard of it. I don't think Fiji is answer for me because of plastic. (I can't use any commercial shampoo becasue of coconut and just use one soap i get from etsy; can't tolerate palm eithe; i'm allergic to all forms of coconut be it eating or skin, coconut oil, coconut milk, etc). Interstingly (as in frustratingly), I had an allergist test me with a blood test- RAST I guess - for coconut - and it was normal. Very fustrating as have classic IgE reactions to coconut).

Meredith said...

Thank you for all you do with your blog! I am confused on the RO systems and if bypassing the final filter is sufficient. I looked at the APEX 75 system, and it seems like three of their filters are coconut-based, not just the post filter. This seems to be true of most RO systems now. However, two of those filters proceed the RO membrane so maybe little-to-no coconut particles are getting through before a user bypasses the final carbon filter?

Are you still not reacting to the water if bypassing the final filter, even with the coconut-based pre-filters?

Thank you so much for your help!

SheSabo said...

A few days ago, I bought a water filter that has the coconut filter. Now I have very bad diarrhea. I am pretty sure it was the coconut in the filter. I have the same reaction to casein and whey.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe this as I used the Zerowater pitcher filter and had same reaction as when I ingest coconut - stomach pain. Nowhere on website does it say activated carbon is not made from coconut shells. Another website comparing water filters said Zerowater uses Sri Lanken carbon and Sri Lanka is famous for its coconuts. Luckily Amazon allowed return of the Zerowater pitcher filter.