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Ecodyne Water Systems of St. Paul, Minn., is recalling approximately 14,000 Sears water filter cartridges used to filter drinking water. The filter cartridges, which are distributed by Ecodyne, were sold under the name "Sears Chemical Containment/Taste and Odor Filter" and fit most standard-sized under-sink and counter-top water filter housings.

An incorrect form of carbon was used to make some of the filter cartridges. The carbon used could contain nickel chloride, which releases nickel into the water and can be harmful if ingested. Nickel chloride can cause abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.Cartridges containing nickel chloride, when intially used, cause the filtered water to taste metallic and turn green. Consumers who have used the affected filter cartridges and are presently displaying the above symptoms should advise a medical professional of possible ingestion of nickel.

Pregnant women, dialysis patients, infants, small children, the elderly and people with kidney problems or with a nickel allergy may be more sensitive to the effects of nickel chloride.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Ecodyne are not aware of any injuries involving this product.

The water filter was sold as Sears item 42 34375. The 93/4-inch by 3-inch cylinder-shaped cartridge has a white plastic casing and a 11/2-inch wide green end cap. A label on the plastic casing reads in part, "WaterWorks Chemical Containment/Taste and Odor Filter Cartridge Premium Grade Granular Activated Carbon."

When the label is removed, no name or identifying part number appears on the water filter; however, it is the only cartridge sold at Sears with a green end cap.

Sears stores and Sears Hardware stores sold the water filter cartridge nationwide beginning March 1996 for about $17.

If you have one, stop using it and call Ecodyne at (800) 945-0109 for instructions on returning the cartridge for a full refund or replacement.

No other Sears water filters are involved in the recall.

Hints about using herbs

NEW YORK (AP) - Whether fresh from the garden or sprinkled from a bottle, herbs are a cook's delight.

Here are some herb hints for maximum flavor from food critics:

- Oregano: strong and aromatic, it wakes up pizza, poultry, eggs and vegetables and can be served raw in salads.

- Marjoram: A lighter version of oregano, it marries well with tomato dishes and summer vegetables such as zucchini and eggplant.

- Basil: Good for chicken, fish and pasta dishes. Add raw as a garnish or in the last step of cooking.

- Rosemary: has a pinelike taste that stands up well to hours of cooking. Adds a special touch to roasted poultry, beef, stuffing and vegetables.

- Tarragon: its subtle yet distinctive anise flavor goes well with fish, poultry, eggs and sauces. Use cooked or raw.

- Coriander: this lemon-lavender flavored herb balances hot, spicy food. It's best uncooked.