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Over the last 13 years as the master Canadian distributor for General Ecology, Inc.’s water purification systems, I have had the privilege of having numerous conversations with people from coast to coast.

What an amazing array of topics we have discussed! As water is a quintessential element of life, it touches on the things that we hold dear above all else, health, home & community.

What we share is how deeply we are concerned about the quality of life. I feel humble that people reach for our products to maintain or improve the quality of life for themselves, their families and their communities.

The General Ecology community is an extremely diverse one, adventurers, humanitarians, ice cream makers and yacht builders. Somehow, I hope that this blog, our Facebook page and our Twitter feed can introduce us to each other and extend the conversation.

John Gronan
The Environment Technology Group
Canadian Distributors of General Ecology, Inc.

Nature Pure QC2 Video

movie_reelMotorcaravan Motorhome Monthly Magazine (MMM), Britain’s best-selling motor-home magazine, produced an excellent video showing the installation of the new Nature Pure Quick Connect being installed in a small motor-home.

The video walks through the complete installation of a Nature Pure QC2 in a tight space and will be of interest to anyone considering installing either a Nature Pure or Seagull IV system in a RV or in a small boat.

First Need XLE Purifier

First Need XLE Water PurifierThe new First Need® XLE™ Elite portable water purification system  is available in Canada.   The First Need XLE  Elite is the latest model in the evolution of the award winning First Need portable line of water purifiers which were first introduced in the late 1970’s.

We had safe water to drink the whole 33,487 km through 36 countries.”  Team Offtrax

The First Need XLE introduces great new features including;

  • Robust Durability – Increased XLE Elite  canister strength allows 2 to 3 times greater resistance to damage from dropping and  other physical shocks.
  • Improved Sanitation – Innovative new Cleanout Port creates more effective and convenient canister cleaning without hose removal and flow reversal, reducing accidental contact with “dirty” water.
  • Extended Capacity – Quick and Easy Cleanout configuration extends canister life with greater, more efficient silt and debris removal.
  • Economic Savings – Capacity increased by 20%.  New XLE Elite canister is compatible with all First Need, First Need Deluxe and First Need XL systems.

The First Need XLE continues to be the only portable water purifier capable of removing all pathogens including bacteria, giardia, cryptosporidia, parasitic cysts AND VIRUSES as required by the EPA Guide Standard Protocol for Microbiological Purifiers without using chemicals or electricity.

The First Need XLE Elite is an exceptional and time proven system for outdoor recreation, international travel and emergency preparedness.  To find a dealer near you, for more information or to order now please visit the First Need XLE web page at www.generalecologycanada.com.

Product Videos

A picture is a worth a thousand words…..  Videos featuring the Seagull IV and First Need XL water purifiers are now available on-line.

The first two videos are from General Ecology Europe and are high quality professionally produced videos that give an excellent overview of the Seagull IV and the First Need XL water purifiers.

The third video is from the Japanese distributor, Grand Dukes. Even though this video is in Japanese, the some what “epic” nature of it makes it very interesting to watch. The scenes from Somalia remind us of the terrible suffering people face in much of the world.

I also came across some really good customer videos and reviews but I will leave them for my next post……

London to Ulaanbaatar – Mongolian Charity Rally

Gobi_DesertGeneral Ecology Canada is pleased to announce sponsorship of Team Offtrax in the Mongolian Charity Rally.

Team Offtrax will be using a First Need XLE water purifier to keep them healthy during the Mongolia Charity Rally. The rally is an epic 10,000 mile pan-continental roadtrip for charity across mountain ranges, deserts, and more barren and inhospitable lands than you’d care to shake a gear stick at.

The Rally starts in London on July 19th with its final destination in the ancient Mongol capital of Ulaanbaatar. The Rally is in support Go Help’s flagship ambulance service in Mongolia!

We wish the team well and look forward to bringing you updates of their progress.

Test It, Not Taste It!

ratdrinkDuring the recent Christmas season, I was amazed to see how many different types of “water” are available on store shelves.  At the grocery stores there was an endless array of “Life”, “Vitamin”, “Energy”, “Ice”  and even some bizarre “Black” water on the shelves. It was not just the grocery stores but Staples was getting in on the action with a large selection of bottled waters and even appliances to make “seltzers” or carbonated water.

However it was the seltzer maker that caught my attention.  Years ago I had thought about distributing this very product but as much of the flavourings contained sucralose or Splenda®.  It was not something that I could ethically sell.

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that was accidently discovered in 1976 by researchers Leslie Hough and Shashikant Phadnis while doing research into insecticides. Phadnis, a graduate researcher, misheard a telephone call requesting samples for testing. As the call came from a large sugar company it is understandable that Phadnis thought that the company had requested them for tasting and so he tried them himself…………..

Sucralose is a fascinating chemical as it provides a clear insight into the difference between “natural” and “artificial”.  What’s in a name?  “Sucralose” is a name meant to confuse the consumer with Sucrose or common table sugar.  I noticed that the aforementioned seltzer/soda maker no longer advertises that it uses Splenda® as an ingredient but now lists “Sucralose”.  Ditto for many of the “Life, Energy, Vitamin” waters. First class obscurantism.

Ever wonder what chemical engineers and researchers do?  Well if you are like Hough and Phadnis you figure out how to exchange sugar’s CH2OH  with chlorine atoms (Cl) to create chlorinated sugar.  See the images below.

Sucrose - Common Table Sugar

C12H22O11 – Sucrose – Common Table Sugar

Sucralose - Artificial Sweetener (Splenda®)

C12H19Cl3O8 – Sucralose – Artificial Sweetener (Splenda®)

It is amazing that such a simple change creates an artificial, patentable, calorie free product worth hundreds of millions of dollars!!!

Like the “Green” or “Eco” market which has been heavily co-opted by “Green Washing” so too is the health market. Even, water, one of the most natural  elements on the planet is being manipulated into artificial, unhealthy products with dubious benefits.

If you’re not drinking H2O, you’re not drinking water……

Further Reading;

The 5 Best, and 5 Worst, Sweeteners to Have in Your Kitchen“, Rodale News
Black(water) Market: Digging Up the Dirt about Slick Designer Beverages“, Skeptical Inquirer
The Search for Sweet“, The New Yorker
The Shape of Sweeteners to come“, The New Scientist

Wikipedia – A Guide to Horrors

Every now and then we have a customer who asks pointed questions about the performance of Seagull IV and First Need XL water purifiers.  We generally send them in the direction of our Product Data Sheet to see the list of chemicals that the Seagull IV water purifiers can remove.

Recently while helping a customer, I realized that the Product Data Sheet assumes that the customer is sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to understand and interpret the data but in this instance the data just added to the confusion that the customer had.

To simplify, I sorted the chemicals into a couple of categories; commonly found in municipal water supply, herbicide, pesticides, solvents and organic compounds. To do this I used Wikipedia.

I realized that I having been using the stock and trade answer of “removes chemicals, herbicides, pesticides…..” without giving it much thought.  The Wikipedia entries for these chemicals jolted my consciousness back to a time when these chemicals had names.  Fearful names.

Rachel Carson’s 1962 landmark book “Silent Spring” not only rallied people to fight the use of DDT but became the rallying call for environmental activism and consciousness. By the seventies; Asbestos, Dixons, DDT, PCB, Mercury and Lead had all become household words. The Love Canal  and the Grassy Narrows fiascoes were nightly news.  Mom, Dad and I would watch these newscasts and wonder what was under our house, what was Dad breathing in at work, what was in our water…

As I read the Wikipedia entries for the chemicals listed in the Seagull IV Product Data Sheet I realized that I had the table of contents for a new book, “Wikipedia –  A Guide to Horrors”.  Read it if you dare……….

Wikipedia – A Guide to Horrors
in Municipal Water Supplies
Notes Wikipedia Reference
Chlorine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine
Trihalomethane (THMs) Chlorination byproduct http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trihalomethane
Chloramine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloramine
2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic_acid
2,4,5-TP (Silvex, Fenoprop) Banned in USA, 1985 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenoprop
Methoxychlor Banned in USA, 2003 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methoxychlor
Chlordane Banned in USA, 1988 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlordane
Aldicarb (Temik) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldicarb
1,2-Dibromomethane (EDB) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,2-Dibromoethane
1,4-Dichlorobenzene http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,4-Dichlorobenzene
1,1 Dichloroethane http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,1-Dichloroethane
1,1,2-Trichloroethane http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,1,2-Trichloroethane
Dichlorethane http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichloroethane
Diisopropyl ether http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diisopropyl_ether
Tetrachlorethylene (PCE) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrachloroethylene
Trichloroethylene (TCE) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichloroethylene
P-chlorobenzene http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorobenzene
Organic Compounds
Carbon Tetrachloride Chlorination byproduct http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_Tetrachloride
Chloroform Chlorination byproduct http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloroform
Hexachlorobenzene Banned in USA, 1966 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexachlorobenzene
PCB Banned in USA, 1979 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polychlorinated_biphenyl
MTBE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTBE