Brita water filters are used all over the world to provide clean, pure drinking water. Do you want to know which Brita filters remove lead from water?
Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause irreversible brain and nervous system damage. It’s especially dangerous for children, who are more sensitive than adults. If your home has older plumbing or pipes, it may contain lead. This could be in your drinking water if not filtered properly.
The good news is that Brita’s Longlast+ and faucet filter models remove 99% of lead from tap water so you don’t have to worry about this harmful toxin! We conducted testing of both filters to see how well they performed. Continue reading to learn more.
Brita Water Filters and Lead Removal
Brita manufacturers several different drinking water filters. Their filters are grouped into 5 main categories:
- Standard pitcher filter
- Longlast+ pitcher filter
- Stream pitcher filter
- Bottle filters
- Faucet filters
According to Brita, two of their filters are designed for removing lead: the Longlast+ filter and their faucet filters.
You may be interested in my article on removing lead from drinking water in your home.
Brita Longlast+ filter and lead treatment
Brita’s Longlast+ filters remove 99% of lead in drinking water. This filter unit is designed to fit into all Brita pitchers. They also fit every Brita dispenser except the Stream.
If you want to remove lead from water with your Brita pitcher filter, you must use the Longlast+ filter. Their standard filter does not remove lead.
Brita states that this filter should be replaced after treating 120 gallons. For a typical home, this works out to twice a year. If you drink a lot of water, you’ll need to replace the filter more frequently. At a minimum, they suggest you change it out every 12 months.
Other benefits of the Longlast+ filter compared to Brita’s standard filter include:
- Lasts 3 times as long as their standard filter
- Typical filter life is 6 months
- Removes more contaminants than standard filter
- No PBA
- Can be recycled (by TerraCycle)
Brita faucet filter and lead treatment
Brita sells a lead filter that mounts to your faucet – the Brita faucet filter. This filtration system comes in two models: the Basic Water Filter Faucet System and the Complete Water Filter Faucet System.
Both units remove 99% of lead from drinking water. The Basic filter can treat 100 gallons of water, and the Complete filter can treat 200 gallons.
Brita faucet filters and their benefits:
- Fits on most standard U.S. plumbing fixtures
- Filter life indicator lets you know when it’s time to replace filter unit
- For homes with older piping or those who want extra protection
Brita Filters that Do Not Treat Lead
As noted above, two of Brita’s filters – the Longlast+ and the faucet filter – remove 99% of lead from drinking water. Unfortunately, none of their other filters can remove lead.
- The Brita Standard pitcher filters do not remove lead from drinking water.
- The Brita Stream pitcher filters do not remove lead from drinking water.
- The Brita Bottle filters do not remove lead from drinking water.
Learn more about Brita filters and the contaminants they can remove from drinking water.
Read my article about which water filters remove lead.
How Often Should You Replace Your Brita Water Filter?
Your Brita pitcher filter’s service life depends on several factors. The most important consideration is the volume of water that is treated.
The Brita Longlast+ filter can treat 120 gallons of water before it should be replaced.
If your water is hard, you’ll need to change the filter more frequently. This is because hard water creates scale – a mineral crust that plugs the carbon pores and shortens its service life.
You should also change your filter every 6 months, regardless of how much water has been treated. This is because bacteria and viruses accumulate on the carbon and can degrade the quality of your water.
Another guide to help you know when to change your Brita filter is its built-in electronic indicator. This digital display will let you know when it’s time to replace the filter because it keeps track of how many times you fill the pitcher.
Another good indicator is the sticker calendar that comes with the filter. This approach is based on time of service for your filter. Although this method not as accurate as keeping track of the total gallons treated, it’s still pretty reliable.
Strategies to Be Certain Your Brita Filters Work to Remove Lead
When it comes to the purity of you family’s drinking water, peace of mind is important, especially if you have a young child. If you have a Brita pitcher filter or a faucet mounted system, how can you be certain it’s working?
Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to be certain your Brita filter is working as it should
- Test your water. Testing your drinking water for lead is simple, and there are several ways you can sample it (read discussion below). I routinely collect a sample of treated water (from my pitcher filter) and test it for lead. No concentration of lead is safe, so only drink the water if the concentration is 0 (i.e., not detected).
- Replace the filter regularly. Your Brita filter has a limited capacity (volume of water it can treat). Once you’ve reached that limit, it’s time to replace the filter. Keep track of the volume you’ve purified so you’ll know when to change the filter.
- Fill with cold water. Hot water limits the adsorption capacity of activated carbon. Fill your pitcher filter with cold water to maximize its lead removal efficiency. Similarly, use the cold water at your faucet for drinking and cooking purposes.
- Inspect for damage. Cracks, leaks, or poor connections are a sign that your filter is compromised and not working at maximum capacity. If your filter or its housing are damaged, it’s time for a new one.
How Does a Brita Filter Remove Lead from Water
Brita’s filters remove lead from water using a combination of activated carbon and ion exchange resins. Brita filters work very well for the contaminants and impurities that they are designed to remove.
Activated carbon is a porous form of carbon that has been activated with high temperature steam. The surface area is increased by this treatment through the creation of millions of pores – small fissures in the carbon that trap contaminants. This activation process allows carbon to remove impurities like lead, chlorine, volatile organic compounds, and pesticides.
Ion Exchange is a reversible physical separation process where dissolved ions are removed from solution and replaced with other, similar ions. The resin does not react chemically with the contaminants – it merely holds it on its surface due to the electrical charge.
How Do I know if My Water Has Lead in It?
If you’re worried that the water you and your family are drinking, you should have it tested. There are several ways you can test for lead in your home’s drinking water.
Municipal water supply testing
Every public water supply is required by federal law to test for a long list of contaminants. If your local water utility is in compliance with the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule, you can find this information on their website.
The only problem is that public utilities typically only test for lead and copper in a small number of taps. So, even if your water supply doesn’t have high levels of lead, it still might be present in your home’s drinking water.
Home test kits for lead
Tap Score has a home test kit for lead in drinking water. The package includes materials, instructions, and glassware needed to properly collect and submit a sample for certified laboratory testing. You’ll receive a report that provides a detailed analysis of lead and copper by EPA method 200.8 (or equivalent). This is an easy and affordable way to test your water for lead if you’re concerned about possible contamination.
Knowing what’s in your water is the first step to keeping your family safe.
Local health agency testing for lead
Many local health agencies offer free water testing for lead. You can usually find out by contacting your state or county agency to see if they offer this service and how to have your water tested.
Most agencies will mail you a kit and have you collect the water sample. They analyze the sample at their facility or have you ship it to a certified laboratory. This type of testing offers the most accurate data.
Maintenance of a Brita Lead Filter – Key to Lead Removal
It is important that you properly maintain your Brita filter to keep it functioning properly. If you don’t keep it in good condition, its ability to remove lead from your drinking water can degrade.
Here are some tips for keeping your Brita filter in good condition:
- Replace the filter when it reaches its capacity, or every two months if you’re using the disposable filters.
- Fill the pitcher with cold water to maximize the filter’s performance.
- Inspect for damage and replace if necessary.
- Regularly clean the pitcher to prolong its life.
- Clean your Brita filter after every use by rinsing it with tap water.
To ensure your Brita filter removes lead and other contaminants, follow these maintenance requirements.
What does a replacement Brita water filter cost?
Brita makes several filters that can remove lead from your drinking water. The cost of a filter replacement will vary according to the model of filter you have.
The Brita Longlast+ replacement filter costs $16.99 (on the Brita website). You can check other sources for better pricing.
The Brita basic water faucet system and the complete water faucet system are $19.99 (on the Brita website).
Filter replacement is important for two reasons: it ensures that your water is being treated with lead-removing activated carbon and it keeps your pitcher in good condition. Brita filters do remove lead, as long as you replace them when required.
What is the Maximum Concentration Lead a Brita Filter Can Remove?
Pitcher filters don’t remove 100% of the lead in water. If your drinking water has a lot of lead in it, you should not rely on a Brita, or any other manufacturer’s, pitcher filter system to protect your family.
Fortunately, Brita does remove some amount of lead. If you want to completely eliminate lead, then you may want to supplement your pitcher with a water filter system that is built to remove lead.
It is important to know that third party testing agencies, such as NSF and the Water Quality Association, test filters with water that has a lead concentration of 150 parts per billion (ppb). When they report that the filter removed 99% of lead, this means that there may be 1.5 ppb (1%) of lead still in the water. This level is below EPA’s action level of 15 ppb, so it is assumed to be safe – I would argue that no level of lead is safe, but this is the official standard used by the leading health agency in the US.
A Brita filter is good for low levels of lead (below 20 ppb). If you have higher lead levels, you should use a reverse osmosis filter to ensure your drinking water is safe. While most pitcher filters will reduce lead levels, they aren’t meant to be the only source of water purification.
What are the Harms of Lead in My Drinking Water
Lead is a toxic metal that can cause serious health effects when ingested. Even small amounts of lead in the body will accumulate over time, and there’s no safe threshold for exposure to this metal (read more).
Some studies have shown that children who are exposed to low levels of lead can suffer from developmental delays or problems with behavior. In adults, lead exposure has been linked to kidney problems and high blood pressure.
Removing lead from drinking water is important to protect your health and the health of your family. Using a Brita pitcher filter, or any other type of water filter that removes lead, is one way to make sure you’re not ingesting this harmful metal.
Final Take on Brita Filters for Lead Treatment
Brita has two filter products that will remove low levels of lead from your tap water with proper maintenance- Longlast+ filters, which can treat up to 120 gallons, or their faucet systems, which can treat 200 gallons. These are both excellent options for removing any potential risks associated with consuming water contaminated with lead.
To ensure your drinking water is lead free, it is important to replace the filter routinely and check it to be certain it’s in good condition. If you’re worried about lead in your drinking water, it’s a good idea to have it tested.