Alex Tarnava: My name is Alex Tarnava. I am the founder and CEO of Drink HRW, and today, I'm here with my good friend Robert Slovak. Now, Robert is a water scientist and an engineer. He has been prolific in pioneering new technologies regarding water. He is largely widely regarded as one of the grandfathers of reverse osmosis, held many patents in the field, and he was the very first person in North America to bring over hydrogen water.
Alex Tarnava: Now, he laid a lot of the groundwork. None of us would be where we are in hydrogen without Robert, so it's always an honor.
Robert Slovak: Thank you.
Alex Tarnava: He is going to show us about the AquaTru Reverse Osmosis System.
Robert Slovak: Well, thanks for the introduction and the compliment. I've spent 47 years, as they say, developing drinking water appliances and all forms of residential, commercial, industrial water purification systems.
Robert Slovak: But probably I'm best known for introducing what we call point-of-use, which is one location that makes water for drinking, point-of-use drinking water systems. They can use a myriad of technologies. They can use activated carbon treatment, distillation, and reverse osmosis.
Robert Slovak: Most of my career was spent, really, advancing this technology that came out in the late 1960s. I was fascinated by it. I left the aerospace industry and immediately started experimenting with my brother in developing and using this [inaudible 00:01:39] reverse osmosis membrane technology to produce high-quality drinking water. Today, reverse osmosis probably makes well over 90% of the bottled waters in the world. You can see that it's done its job for the last 50 years.
Alex Tarnava: Absolutely.
Robert Slovak: These point-of-use appliances, I guess we could call them, come in many varieties. The reverse osmosis type. The first one I ever made was a countertop one. It fitted on the counter, and you hooked up an umbilical cord to the faucet, and you turned on the water pressure, and away it went. Pressure forced water through the membrane, leaving the impurities behind.
Robert Slovak: Then, as the market advanced, we made them more permanent installations. We put them under the sink, out of sight, and you just had a faucet or a spout on the sink, and you dispensed the water for all of your needs, of cooking, drinking, etc. The best.
Robert Slovak: We designed every type of it. Now, as I got more and more involved in the health aspects, and physiological understanding of body, etc., I became concerned in maybe 2004 that especially under-sink RO systems had a problem of becoming microbial incubators.
Alex Tarnava: Okay.
Robert Slovak: Okay. This, of course, just doesn't fit into the behavioral disorders and the autism, and so on, because gut problems almost always accompany that.
Alex Tarnava: They've linked gut problems, potentially, with Parkinson's disease now, and-
Robert Slovak: Correct.
Alex Tarnava: ... autoimmune diseases, which Parkinson's may or may not be an autoimmune disease.
Robert Slovak: Correct. Excessive microbes always challenge your immune system, even if they're not pathogens, per se, disease-causing, but just excess microbes, if you leave a salad out, or cottage cheese out too long, you can get sick from it, because the microbes proliferate. Under-sink RO systems have this problem.
Alex Tarnava: Interesting.
Robert Slovak: I was the one who brought it to the attention of the industry, but this was a long time ago, when we didn't really have the complications of gut problems and chronic disease that we are facing now. But I brought it to everyone's attention.
Robert Slovak: For the last five years, I've always spoken at autism conferences. They want to know from Robert Slovak, "What kind of water should we give our child, who is in this situation?" It would break my heart, every year, to give a conference and say, "Listen, I'm Robert Slovak. I'm one of the world experts in reverse osmosis technology, but I have some bad news. The bad news is that you can't use your under-sink RO system to give this water directly to your child with autism. It's going to add to his gut problems, etc."
Robert Slovak: I would tell them, "Here's what you have to do. You have to drain that system every other day, to always replenish and fresh water. For your child, if he really has serious gut problems, you have to use a little sterilizer pen, called a SteriPen, that you can buy almost anywhere, a camping store, Amazon, to sterilize his water. That's how bad it can be."
Alex Tarnava: Interesting. What makes the AquaTru superior-
Robert Slovak: Okay. One, and this is, last year on my birthday, of all things-
Alex Tarnava: Our birthday.
Robert Slovak: Oh, our birthday!
Alex Tarnava: For all of you listeners, coincidentally, Robert and I share a birthday. He is my senior, 40 years to the date, but probably looks only 30.
Robert Slovak: Thank you. Last year, on my birthday, it was really perhaps one of the happiest birthday's I've ever had, because after all of those years of telling them they couldn't drink their regular RO water, I said, "Here, we finally have a solution. We have the system that makes the best RO quality water, and you don't have to worry about microbes proliferating in this sealed tank."
Robert Slovak: This, I was so proud to introduce this product. It's called AquaTru, and it is a full, a miniature bottled water plant, right here. Countertop. You can pick it up, take it somewhere, if you really need to. Put it in your RV, or take it to your summer home, and use it in your kitchen.
Robert Slovak: This makes roughly 20 to 35 gallons a day, right?
Alex Tarnava: That's incredible. I mean, what family needs that much water?
Robert Slovak: No, no. It makes more than you need. One great thing is that it's designed, because it's not a sealed tank, and this is open to the environment, you don't have this natural microbial incubation in the sealed tank. Okay?
Robert Slovak: Microbes just don't like to grow in pure water being exposed to air, okay? They always want to be hidden from the environment, and they don't want to be bothered. But here, this is great.
Robert Slovak: We're going to show you how this works. First, the installation. Well, there is none. Okay?
Alex Tarnava: Just set it down.
Robert Slovak: All you do is open the box, pull it out. Now, you do have, and here I'm going to show you the operating system, so to speak. This is the four-stage reverse osmosis system, right here. It consists of three cartridges. There are two technologies built into the first filter. That's stage one and two. This is stage three, and this is stage four. Two filtration steps, a reverse osmosis membrane, and a post filter to remove any subtle molecules of low molecular weight organics that could possibly even make it through the other two filters.
Robert Slovak: I've just filled this up at the kitchen sink, and it has this wonderfully convenient and effective handle to carry the water. I put it in the slot, and it's already producing water, nearly instantly.
Robert Slovak: You'll watch this tank fill up. When it's filled to a particular point, almost three liters, it will automatically shut off. This is a very smart design. In other words, it knows when the carafes, and tank, and containers are in place or not.
Robert Slovak: If I take this off, it automatically knows to shut off. If I take this out, and I want to fill it with more water, it'll automatically turn off. When I put it in, it automatically starts again.
Robert Slovak: It also, it shows here, during its operation, that it's going through four stages. It lights up one, two, which are in the first cartridge, three, and four. When any one of the lights ... This measures how much water actually is going through it. It has an algorithm of this measurement to know when to tell the customer to change the filters. When one of these indicated cartridges stays on, and doesn't go off showing its process, that's time to change it within the next 30 days.
Alex Tarnava: Interesting. Now, Robert, I know you've mentioned to me, in all of your years with reverse osmosis and various technologies, that this is by far the most sophisticated countertop unit you've seen, and the cheapest.
Robert Slovak: Yes.
Alex Tarnava: Is that just technology advancing, and becoming more available?
Robert Slovak: Yes. I mean, I think it's clever manufacturing, clever injection molding. I mean, this is really the first, shall we say, high-end appliance RO countertop system perhaps in the world. I know of no other one that's this user-friendly, this automatic, this convenient, this easy to change filters, and this inexpensive.
Alex Tarnava: That's incredible. Now, a little bit of criticism of RO in the health community is when you're filtering out all of the contaminants, you're also getting rid of a lot of minerals that we need, especially magnesium, which roughly 80% of people in North America are deficient in.
Robert Slovak: Right.
Alex Tarnava: Luckily, we do have the hydrogen tablets. Now, the tablets contain magnesium, and when they react with the water to create the hydrogen, we're delivering a highly bioavailable magnesium with it.
Robert Slovak: Correct.
Alex Tarnava: The only criticism of RO, really, for health, we're solving with magnesium H2 tablets.
Robert Slovak: Let me just review the mineral question. It's one of the most common about this. First, if we just look at the entire North America minerals in water, they vary from virtually nothing to too high to drink, okay? There is no magic to the minerals in tap water. You can't count on them. They may be in the wrong proportions. They may be in the wrong form, or etc.
Robert Slovak: There's nothing wrong with not getting those minerals. If you don't have any water purification system, and you're always drinking your tap water, you'd better take a mineral and trace element supplement, period.
Robert Slovak: Then, on the contaminant side, the only way to remove all of this incredible list of contaminants that have been identified, I mean, hundreds, that include disinfection byproducts, synthetic organic chemicals, plasticizers, pharmaceuticals, personal care products are the in the water supply. The alphabet soup of contaminants.
Robert Slovak: There's only one way to really eliminate them all, and that's to eliminate everything in the water first. Then you replenish it with minerals, or supplement it with something like the hydrogen tablet, which gives you a great dose of magnesium with each tablet.
Alex Tarnava: Great. Well, Robert, thanks again for talking to me today.
Robert Slovak: You are welcome.
Alex Tarnava: Thank you, everyone, for watching.
Robert Slovak: Thank you.
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