Bill Murdoch asked, "... Does any organization do that sort of testing or are we left relying on the integrity of the manufacturers?"
Jerry's response, "As I understand it, Ryan's lab will be testing filters for effectiveness and publishing the results in a near future issue of BackpackingLight.com."
I'm glad to hear this. I have always either drunk the local water straight (maybe mixed with some Scotch), or trusted my Pur filter. When hiking, camping, panning the sierra Nevadas I just dipped it up and drank it. Haven't died yet. But, that was over 30 years ago. Not sure what the water there is like now.
Test results from an independent lab would surely lend some credence to manufacturer's ads and instruction booklets. After reading the ads etc., I bought a Pur water treater thingey-do because I figured if I was going to ere with drinking water, I wanted to err on the side of safety. I had already enjoyed all the "intestinal upset" I could stand in Nam. Didn't want to enjoy any more.
As I see it, the combination of a democratic form of government and a capitalistic economy provide us so many choices, that we are virtually boggled by the variety. I don't think that oppressive societies in some other large countries I could site, could either produce the variety and quality we see here, nor invite gaggles of unwashed peasants (such as us) to test and openly report results.
This is such a unique opportunity, that we may lose sight of just how unique it really is. Huddled masses (male & female, old & young, experienced and tenderfoot, highly educated and self-taught) yearning to speak freely about the plethora of consumer goods. Think about it, folks; think about it.
Keep your paddle wet and your powder dry.
Doing what you like is FREEDOM
Liking what you do is HAPPINESS