We understand the importance of transparency and want to share our story and how we got here.
BOROUX is operated by JEI, by the same family and team that previously operated BerkeyFilters.com. Our team members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, with an average tenure of seven years. This longevity speaks to the dedication and commitment of our staff.
On December 27, 2022 we were issued an EPA stop sale order due to the products claiming to filter microorganisms. Despite our efforts to resolve the issues, the owner/maker of Berkey did not agree with the regulation. As a dealer of another brand's product we had little to no control to rectify the problems at hand. This led to a prolonged period of several months where we were unable to sell products, resulting in the layoff of numerous skilled employees, and significant legal investments to secure the survival of our family-run business.
After nearly a year of exhausting all options, we decided to focus on building out the BOROUX line. BOROUX was already a brand developed for glass drinkware, now it’s our water filtration brand! We are excited about the future and cannot wait to share the many products we have planned!
We've taken customer feedback seriously, leading to innovations like the Stem Saver, we’re committed to ensuring product availability through compliance, and providing recent, verified test data to back up our claims.
We hope this helps bring clarity to this situation, and know that we are the reliable choice for water filtration.
It all started with a minivan…
In the late 90’s Todd Emerson, fire Captain, husband, and dad to three, convinced his wife to take out a loan on their Plymouth minivan and cash in her retirement funds. He had discovered a gravity-fed water filter system, and thought there might be an opportunity to sell them. They spent $12,000 on their first order and James Enterprise Inc. (JEI) was born. The minivan got booted outside as the garage became headquarters for their business.
Todd bought a book on how to build a website and within a few months they had sold enough water filters for his wife, Sandie, to be able to stay home, run the business, and raise the kids. They found themselves in the cross section of the rise in popularity of gravity-fed water filters and e-commerce.
Todd retired from the Pueblo Fire Department in 2013 and was able to focus more time and energy on the business. They decided to dabble in this thing called Amazon and expand to selling more products than just water filters. JEI also developed their own brands: BOROUX; glass drinkware, Rhino Bilt; boot scrapers, Kangri; outdoor apparel, and IKON OPS; outdoor recreation gear. Outgrowing their garage they set up shop in an old strip mall, then moved to a stand-alone building to hold their now many employees.
Adding onto their warehouse three times in four years, it became evident that the best return on investment for this family business was to focus energy on just water filters. They poured energy into developing BerkeyFilters.com and became the largest distributor for a popular water filter company. JEI continued to evolve and grow at a rapid pace earning them a spot on INC 5,000 Fastest Growing Private Companies three years in a row 2015, 2016, and 2017.
The original goal, which still remains at the forefront of operations is "always ensure every customer is 100% satisfied." By striving for "every customer of ours is a customer for life" the company has excelled in innovation.
Everything changed two days after Christmas
On December 27, 2022 JEI was issued a Stop Sale or Removal Order (SSURO) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) preventing any sales of Berkey water filter system products. The reason for the stop sale order alleges that “Berkey water filter systems were unregistered, misbranded pesticides,” according to an EPA Inspector.
According to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), “a pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest, or intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant, or any nitrogen stabilizer.”
Due to claims that Berkey products treat living microorganisms like bacteria, a pest, this water filter should be, per FIFRA definition, categorized as a pesticide or pesticide device.
In May of 2022, the EPA communicated with an EPA Close Out letter, “Under FIFRA section 7, all pesticide devices sold or distributed in the United States must be produced in a registered establishment. A pesticide device is defined as any instrument or contrivance that is intended for trapping, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest or any other form of plant or animal life.”
According to NMCL, they complied, obtained an EPA-issued Establishment Number and began posting the number on the outside of the box for each Berkey filtration system that they manufactured. EPA staff, told NMCL that these actions did not satisfy FIFRA regulations. All previous discussions and correspondence with the EPA were based upon a long-time joint understanding that Black Berkey elements were “pesticide devices” and were not “pesticides,” making them exempt from registration. At no point did an inspector explain why the EPA, which has been aware of Berkey products for 25 years, never required any sort of registration until 2022.
During an unannounced, unscheduled inspection of JEI facilities on November 22, 2022, an EPA inspector told JEI “that NMCL mentions that their filters remove viruses and that the EPA is cracking down on virus claims because of COVID-19,” and “that the EPA had stepped up its enforcement efforts, particularly in regard to anti-microbial devices.”
In mid-January of 2023, JEI in an effort to adhere to the EPA’s demands, decided to remove all references and statements that could be construed to indicate that the filters could remove waterborne pathogens, or pests. Spending hundreds of hours to delete content on websites, social media accounts, and packaging.
Nearly a year later, the SSURO has still not been lifted and business has been significantly impacted. Employees had to be laid off, services had to be ceased, and third-party partnerships had to be paused, if not all together ended.
Bringing Transparency to the Water Filter Industry
JEI has been proud to operate BerkeyFilters.com over the years. We are no longer affiliated with Berkey. After much contemplation, reflection, and exhausting all other options, it was time for us branch out and develop a completely new water filter--introducing BOROUX!
This new endeavor is a new found freedom. Granting us the ability to make and act on decisions faster, which in turn means serving our customers better. One example–the testing, for years customers have requested more current test results. Now, we decide the cadence of regular testing and can publish results routinely, instead of relying on decade-old tests. In fact, the testing is revolutionary, no one else in the industry is doing this type of testing. Certifications are being pursued, which will open more opportunities for more people to gain access to better water.
BOROUX embodies a fresh, innovative approach to water filtration, emphasizing transparency, sustainability, and simplicity. This name was chosen to symbolize the crystal-clear quality of products and to evoke a sense of trust and reliability. BOROUX reflects dedication to delivering unmatched water filtration solutions that stand the test of time.
This is a strategic move aimed at aligning our business more closely with the mission of revolutionizing the way people access and experience filtered drinking water. The unwavering commitment to excellence remains the same, if not stronger.
This is an exciting transformation and the potential is monumental. Rest assured, the core values and customer-centric approach remain unchanged. BOROUX is here to elevate the water filtration industry and set new standards.
Thank you for your loyalty and for being an important part of the story! Look forward to an incredible journey ahead with BOROUX, one that brings everyone closer to a future where clean water is accessible to all!