Arsenic is a dangerous toxin that can be found in drinking water, especially well water. If you are concerned about arsenic in your water, you may be wondering if a Brita filter is effective at removing it.
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Brita filters are not certified to remove arsenic and Brita make no claims that they do. A recent university study found that Brita filters can only remove about 20% of arsenic from drinking water. Continue reading to learn more about how Brita filters perform when treating arsenic.
Read my article about What Does Brita Not Filter Out.
Looking for a cost-effective and reliable way to purify your drinking water? Brita filters may not be the best option.
- According to one study, Brita filters could only remove about 20% of arsenic.
- Brita filters are certified to reduce lead, chlorine, and copper amongst other chemicals.
- Brita filters are not certified to reduce arsenic.
Some other methods of removing arsenic from your water include:
- Reverse osmosis
- Ion exchange
- Activated alumina
My other articles about Brita filters you may be interested in
What is Arsenic
What’s the Danger of Arsenic in Drinking Water?
Inorganic arsenic, the type commonly found in water, is a proven carcinogenic. It can cause skin, lung, and bladder cancer.
Arsenic is also linked with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and developmental problems in kids.
It can also lead to paralysis, blindness, numbness in your hands and feet, and skin discoloration.
When it comes to arsenic in drinking water, homeowners are rightly concerned. Arsenic is a proven carcinogenic, and can cause skin, lung, and bladder cancer, as well as other health problems.
Arsenic is linked with:
- cardiovascular disease
- developmental problems in children
- numbness in your hands and feet
- skin discoloration
How does arsenic get in drinking water?
Arsenic can come from natural deposits in the earth, industrial pollution, or certain types of fertilizers. That’s why it’s crucial to have your water tested for arsenic if you get it from a well. If you use city water, arsenic is not a big concern since your utility has to comply with EPA standards. But it’s still a good idea to have your water tested for any traces of the element.
Arsenic drinking water standard
The EPA has set the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG), at zero for arsenic. This means that there is no allowed level of contamination that they consider to be safe. Unfortunately, this standard is not enforceable.
EPA also set the Maximum Contaminant Level at 10 parts per billion (ppb). This value is enforceable and is considered to be the national drinking water standard for arsenic. I like to think of this concentration as the “worst case” limit for my family’s health. But I want the actual number to be zero.
How Do Brita Filters Work
Britia filters, like other pitcher filters, uses one or more water treatment methods to purify your water. These include:
- Carbon filter: activated carbon, also known as charcoal, is used to remove a wide range of contaminants, including chlorine, benzene, pesticides, and more.
- Particulate filter: these filters remove turbidity, rust, and other suspended solids from your water.
Britia filters can remove a wide range of contaminants. The Brita website indicates their filters cand treat the following impurities.
- (taste & odor)
- 1, 2, 4 -Tricholorobenzene
As you can see, arsenic is not listed as something that Brita filters can remove from drinking water.
Laboratory Study for Arsenic Removal
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University conducted a study of Brita and other pitcher filters to see how well they could remove arsenic from drinking water. They tested the following five pitcher filters to see how well they could take out arsenic.
- Brita (model# OB36/OB03)
- Pur (model# PPT700W)
- ZeroWater (model# ZD-013-D)
- Great Value (Wal-Mart-model# QP6-OS)
- HDX (Home Depot-model# QP8-07)
The hope was that these inexpensive filters (they all cost less than $50) would provide a reliable and simple way to purify water contaminated with arsenic. The Dartmouth researchers tested three different concentrations of arsenic to represent real world scenarios that many homeowners are likely to encounter. They looked at filter performance for three different arsenic levels: low (10 ppb), medium (100 ppb), and high (1,000 ppb).
They found that only one the ZeroWater filter reduced arsenic from 100 ppb to less than 1 ppb. In the high concentration test, the ZeroWater filter reduced the arsenic level from 1,000 ppb to 2.6 ppb. This is below the EPA MCL of 10 ppb. None of the other filters, including the Brita, could meet this level
Brita laboratory testing results
The Brita filter reduced some of the arsenic in all three tests. However, it failed to reduce the concentration to 1 ppb or less.
- Low concentration test: The Brita filter reduced the arsenic from 10 to 7.7 ppb. This is a 23% reduction.
- Medium concentration test: Brita’s filter reduced the level of arsenic from 100 ppb to 72.4 ppb; 27.6% removed by filtration.
- High concentration test: Brita filter reduced the arsenic level from 1,000 to 808.2 ppb. This equals 19.2% removal.
The Dartmouth study found that Brita water filters can remove between 19.2% and 27.6% of arsenic in water. While this is good, it shows that Brita filters are not suitable for treating arsenic contaminated drinking water.
Learn more about Brita filters and the contaminants they can remove from drinking water.
Test Your Drinking Water for Arsenic
Tap Score offers a home test kit for arsenic in drinking water. The kit is simple to use and provides all the materials needed to collect and submit a sample for certified laboratory testing. Results will include a detailed analysis of total arsenic and an explanation of what the results mean.
Knowing what’s in your water is the first step to keeping your family safe.
Filter Maintenance Requirements
All pitcher water filters must be maintained to effectively purify water. To get the most out of your Brita filter, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacement and maintenance. Doing so will help to ensure that you and your family are drinking safe, clean water.
Brita recommends replacing the filter based on the volume of water filtered. Here are their replacement suggestions:
- Standard filter: 40 gallons (about every 3 months for the average family
- Longlast filter: 120 gallons (about every 6 months for the average family)
- Elite filters: 120 gallons (about every 6 months for the average family)
They also recommend that you process no more than 2 gallons of water per day to achieve the maximum service life from your filter.
What happens if you don’t replace the Brita filter when you should? The filter will no longer be able to effectively remove contaminants from your water. Additionally, the flow rate of your water will decrease as the filter becomes clogged.
If you notice a decrease in the quality or quantity of your filtered water, it’s time to replace the filter. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
Testing for Arsenic in Drinking Water
Arsenic is a dangerous toxin that can cause serious health problems if it’s present in high levels. If you’re concerned about arsenic in your drinking water, there are ways to test it and get peace of mind.
The most accurate way to test for arsenic is to send a sample of your water to a certified lab.
If you want to test your water for arsenic, you can send a sample to a laboratory. To do this, you’ll need to get a special kit from the lab that includes the glassware, preservatives, a chain-of-custody form, and instructions on how to collect the water. Once you collect the sample, ship it to the laboratory for analysis. This test usually takes about 1 to 2 weeks for the results to be available.
You can also purchase a test kit online and collect the sample yourself. These kits usually come with everything you need to collect the sample and test it at home. The results are available instantaneously.
NSF Certification for Arsenic
The NSF certifies drinking water filters to standards applicable for each type of treatment option. You may notice the seal with an impressed letter/number combo, such as “NSF / ANSI 53”. These certifications indicate that your purchase will be able reduce certain chemicals or bacteria from your drinking water.
Brita NSF certifications
The following Brita filters have been tested according to NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 for reduction of the substances listed.
- Longlast filter: lead, mercury, cadmium, benzene, asbestos, chlorine, particulate
- Standard filter: chlorine, particulate
The concentration of each of the contaminants in water flowing into the systems was reduced to a level that is less than or equal to the allowed limit. None of the Brita filters have NSF certifications for treating arsenic.
How Well do Other Water Pitcher Brands Remove Arsenic?
In addition to Brita, there are other water pitcher brands that are popular among homeowners. The following section reviews other water pitcher brands and how well they remove arsenic.
Pur is a popular brand of water pitcher that has been certified by the NSF to reduce lead by up to 99%. Their filter was evaluated in the Dartmouth study.
Test results indicate that the Pur pitcher filter removed between 26.2% and 34.8% of arsenic in drinking water. This low level of removal indicates that Pur filters are not suitable for treating arsenic contaminated drinking water.
ZeroWater is another popular brand of water pitcher. The ZeroWater filter reduced the arsenic concentration to less than 1 ppb in the medium concentration test (arsenic concentration of 100 ppb). It also reduced the level from 1,000 ppb to below detectable levels – a 100% removal rate.
The ZeroWater filter is a very effective and reliable way to remove arsenic from drinking water.
How to Remove Arsenic from Your Drinking Water
As we discussed above, Brita filters are not a reliable or effective way to remove arsenic from your drinking water. Under laboratory conditions, they remove less than 30% of the arsenic.
Fortunately, there are some very effective methods to remove arsenic from water.
Reverse osmosis is able to remove 99.9% of arsenic from water. This process works by forcing water through a very fine membrane, which removes contaminants like arsenic.
Ion exchange is another effective method for removing arsenic from drinking water. This method uses an ion-exchange resin to remove the arsenic from water. The advantage of this method is that it’s able to remove very high levels of arsenic.
The distiller is one of the most effective ways to remove arsenic, both III and V. It can remove up 99% or more from water.
As you can see, there are a few different ways to remove arsenic from your drinking water. If you’re concerned about this toxin, be sure to choose a treatment method that’s right for you and your family.
FAQs About Brita Filters and Arsenic
Will a carbon filter remove arsenic?
Unfortunately, carbon filters do not remove arsenic from drinking water. Carbon is very effective at remove VOCs, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals from water. But it does not reduce the concentration of arsenic in water.
What is the best way to remove arsenic from water?
There are several effective methods for treating arsenic contaminated water including:
- reverse osmosis
- ion exchange resin
Do fridge filters remove arsenic?
Refrigerator filters do not remove arsenic from drinking water. These filters are designed to remove chlorine, bacteria, and other contaminants from your water. While they’re very effective at this, they do not reduce the concentration of arsenic in your water.
There are a few different ways to remove arsenic from your drinking water, but Brita filters unfortunately are not one of them. A university study found that Brita filters remove less than 30% of the arsenic in contaminated drinking water. This is not enough to provide safe and reliable drinking water. Other pitcher filters also failed to remove arsenic from water.
Fortunately, the ZeroWater pitcher filter was able to remove virtually all of the arsenic in the Dartmouth study. This indicates that the ZeroWater filter can provide safe drinking water if you have arsenic contamination.
If you’re concerned about the potential health risks associated with consuming arsenic, be sure to choose a treatment method that’s right for you and your family. Thanks for reading!