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Water makes up 60 percent of the human body, so we know it’s also the essence of life. Scientists have recently debunked the timeworn rule of eight eight-ounce glasses per day, but it’s still important to stay well hydrated to keep the body functioning. With all the gunk that’s lurking in today’s water supply, sipping on filtered water is always a good idea. When the only truly safe options are expensive and environmentally irresponsible bottled water and cheap, poorly designed plastic filters, sometimes finding filtered water seems like more hassle than it’s worth. The inventors of Soma, a sustainable and user-friendly glass filtration system recognized this problem and decided to do something about it.
Why It Matters
If it’s such a hassle, why bother with filtering anyway? Recent studies have shown that old-fashioned U.S. tap water is more treacherous than we previously thought — a 2009 report exposed that 62 million Americans were exposed to drinking water that did not meet federal health guidelines. Water that qualifies as “legal” in this country usually won’t bring on immediate health problems. But, a few years down the road, it might have some nasty side effects. Studies have shown that consuming very low quantities of toxic chemicals for years on end can pose serious health risks like birth defects, cancer, and impotence Long-term effects on male reproduction of early exposure to common chemical contaminants in drinking water. Veeramachaneni DN, Palmer JS, Amann RP. Animal Repredoction and Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. Hum Reprod, 2001 May;16(5):979-87. .
Mike Del Ponte had some major bones to pick with conventional plastic water filters. He wanted a more sustainable device, unlike Brita products where the replaceable filters must be thrown away after each use. One problem is that many people don’t know when to change the filters, rendering the pitchers essentially useless. Del Ponte also wanted a more attractive, more functional water pitcher. He hated that the top often fell off a Brita when pouring, instantly turning a glass of water into a major cleanup job. The filtration technology also left gnarly-looking black specks in the top half of the pitcher, which combined with the bulky plastic exterior, made for an unattractive device better suited for hiding behind the milk than displaying on the dinner table.
So, Del Ponte went to work, collaborating with design experts and David Beeman, a “water designer” who perfected the filtration systems for companies like Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, and Keurig. The result? A totally sustainable, streamlined system composed of a glass carafe and a filter made of vegan silk, coconut shells, and a plastic made from corn. The company even delivers fresh filters to customers every two months to take all guesswork out of the equation. The totally sustainable design is 100 percent organic and — best of all — completely compostable. Just drop the used filters in with other compostable items and they'll decompose along with discarded eggshells, strawberry tops, and kale stems.
Is It Legit?
Yes. Del Ponte turned to Kickstarter to raise the capital to put Soma into production — which was a good idea considering that it only took nine days to surpass his $100,000 fundraising goal. After dealing with a few design challenges, Soma hit the market a little more than six months after the prototype first debuted on Kickstarter. As of Monday, September 16, Soma water filters are available for sale to the public. Since launching drinksoma.com, Del Ponte says the company has sold thousands of the $49 filtration systems.
Soma's popularity is obviously good news for the company's founder, but it's also beneficial for people around the world. Every time the company sells a filter they donate to the international non-profit organization charity: water, which provides clean, safe drinking water to those who need it most. Can your current water filter do that?
Originally published on December 11, 2012. Updated September 2013.
Do you think Soma will change the way people think about filtered water? Tell us in the comments below or tweet the author at @SophBreene.