Do Brita Filters Remove Microplastics from Water?


Do Brita Filters Remove Microplastics?

Are you concerned about microplastics in your drinking water? If so, you may be wondering if Brita water filters remove microplastics.

Brita does not claim that their filters can remove microplastics from drinking water. However, Brita filters have been certified by independent testing to remove suspended solids between 0.001 millimeters (Elite filter) and 1 millimeters (Standard filter) in size. Given that microplastics are larger than 5 millimeters, Brita filters would be expected to remove these particles very effectively.

If you have high levels of microplastics in your water, or just want to learn more about Brita pitcher filter and how well they treat microplastics, continue reading.

What Are Microplastics

microplastics

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that can come from a variety of sources, including:

  • larger plastic pieces that have broken apart
  • plastic water bottles
  • resin pellets used in manufacturing plastics
  • microbeads found in health and beauty products

While all shapes and sizes of plastic debris can be found, those less than 5 millimeters in length (5,000 microns) are called “microplastics”. For comparison, a pencil eraser is 5 mm in diameter.

The various types of plastics that comprise microplastics include:

  • polyethylene (HD/LD-PE)
  • polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  • polypropylene (PP)
  • polystyrene (PS)
  • polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • polyamide fibers (nylon)

Some people are concerned that these microplastics may be harmful to human health and the environment. President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 on December 28, 2015. This legislation bans plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products.

How do microplastics get in my water

Sources of microplastics

Microplastics are present in our oceans, rivers and lakes as well. These materials come from broken down plastic that decomposes by the sun or wind, manufacturing processes, paints, and consumer products.

Microplastics have been found in 94 % of US tap water.

The average person consumes 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles each year from all food and water sources. Tap water is not the only source of these plastics you may be consuming – bottled waters contain more than most tap supplies.

Health concerns with microplastics

There is little evidence regarding the risks and exposure of humans to ‘microplastics.’ The science surrounding these particles is in its early stages and is evolving fast.

Microplastics represent a significant threat to the health of marine ecosystems. Microplastics have been found in the deepest ocean, not just on land or water surfaces. Due to the widespread presence of microplastics, they are consumed by all types of marine life.

Microplastics can enter the human body through the food we eat and the water we drink. Once ingested, they may be absorbed by several organs.

Health professionals are concerned that exposure to microplastics could lead to:

  • oxidative stress
  • DNA damage
  • inflammation

Chronic inflammation is especially worrisome because it can lead to very serios health problems.

Drinking water standard for microplastics

The US EPA has not established a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for microplastics. An MCL is an enforceable action level that, when exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements.

The US EPA has not found microplastics in drinking water to be a human health concern at the levels that have been detected. The Agency is currently working on research to help fill the gaps in our understanding of microplastics in drinking water and their potential effects on human health and the environment.

To complicate this issue, there currently is no standardized method for measuring and quantifying microplastics.

Brita Filters and Removing Microplastics

Brita has a range of filter products available, with varying levels of performance. We evaluated the available laboratory data to determine how well Brita filters can remove microplastics from drinking water.

Brita Longlast and Longlast+ filter and microplastics treatment

Brita’s Longlast and Longlast+ filters are NSF certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 42. This standard is for health effects related to specific contaminants.

NSF tested these filters for removal of class I particles. Class I particles are suspended solids that are 0.5 to 1 micron in size. Microplastics are 5,000 microns and larger.

The Brita Longlast and Longlast+ filters are certified to remove 99.6% of Class I particles. Since this filtration capacity is 1,000 times finer than the smallest microplastic particles, these Brita filters would be expected to filter out microplastics very well.

Brita’s Longlast and Longlast+ filters should remove microplastics very effectively from drinking water.

Brita standard water filter and microplastics treatment

The Brita standard filter is not NSF certified for removal of particulates. This suggests that Brita did not design this filter to remove suspended solids like microplastics.

Based on the absence of any testing data, the Brita standard filter should not be used to remove microplastics from drinking water.

Brita Elite filter and microplastics treatment

Brita’s Elite filters are certified to remove 99.6% of Class I particles, which are suspended solids that are 0.5 to 1 micron in size – much smaller than microplastics (5,000 microns and larger). This makes Brita filters a reliable way to reduce the amount of microplastics in drinking water.

Brita’s Elite filter is NSF certified to remove class I particles, which are much smaller than microplastics. NSF tested these filters for removal of class I particles. Class I particles are suspended solids that are 0.5 to 1 micron in size. Microplastics are 5,000 microns and larger.

Brita’s Elite filters should remove microplastics very effectively from drinking water.

Brita faucet filters and microplastics treatment

Brita’s faucet filters are certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 to remove Class I particles. Class I particles are suspended solids that are 0.5 to 1 micron in size – significantly smaller than the microplastics.

As part of the certification process, NSF tested these filters to see how well they performed. The faucet filters removed 99.7% of the small particles from the water, which is an excellent result.

Given that these filters can remove such small particles effectively, it’s likely that they will also be very effective at removing microplastics. Brita’s faucet filters offer a high level of protection against microplastics and are an excellent choice for anyone who is concerned about these contaminants.

If you’re looking for a water filter that can remove microplastics, Brita’s faucet filters are a great option. These filters are certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 and have been shown to be very effective at removing small particles from water.

Brita claims about microplastics

Brita makes no claims about the ability of their filters to remove microplastics from water. This is not surprising, as there is no standard for testing water filters for the removal of microplastics.

Given that Brita’s faucet filters are so effective at removing small particles, it’s likely that they would also be effective at removing microplastics. However, without any official testing or certification, we can’t say for sure that Brita’s filters will remove microplastics from water.

Are you concerned about microplastics in your drinking water? If so, you may be wondering if a Brita Filter can remove them.

Brita does not claim that their filters can remove microplastics from drinking water. However, the filtration technologies used in their pitcher filters are very effective at removing microplastics from drinking water. Microplastics are pieces of plastic that are 5 millimeters and larger. Brita filters can remove suspended solids between 0.001 millimeters (Elite filter) and 1 mm (Standard filter) in size.

If you have high levels of microplastics in your water, or just want to learn more about Brita pitcher filter and how well they treat microplastics, continue reading.

Learn more about Brita filters and the contaminants they can remove from drinking water.

What Are Microplastics

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that can come from a variety of sources, including:

  • larger plastic pieces that have broken apart
  • resin pellets used in manufacturing plastics
  • microbeads found in health and beauty products

While all shapes and sizes of plastic debris can be found, those less than 5 millimeters in length (5,000 microns) are called “microplastics”. For comparison, a pencil eraser is 5 mm in diameter.

The various types of plastics that comprise microplastics include:

  • polyethylene (HD/LD-PE)
  • polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  • polypropylene (PP)
  • polystyrene (PS)
  • polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • polyamide fibers (nylon) 

Some people are concerned that these microplastics may be harmful to human health and the environment. President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 on December 28, 2015. This legislation bans plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products.

How do microplastics get in my tap water

Microplastics are present in our oceans, rivers and lakes as well. These materials come from broken down plastic that decomposes by the sun or wind, manufacturing processes, paints, and consumer products.

Microplastics have been found in 94 % of US tap water.

The average person consumes 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles each year from all food and water sources. Tap water is not the only source of these plastics you may be consuming – bottled waters contain more than most tap supplies.

Health concerns with microplastics

There is little evidence regarding the risks and exposure of humans to ‘microplastics.’ The science surrounding these particles is in its early stages and is evolving fast.

Microplastics represent a significant threat to the health of marine ecosystems. Microplastics have been found in the deepest ocean, not just on land or water surfaces. Due to the widespread presence of microplastics, they are consumed by all types of marine life.

Microplastics can enter the human body through the food we eat and the water we drink. Once ingested, they may be absorbed by several organs.

Health professionals are concerned that exposure to microplastics could lead to:

  • oxidative stress
  • DNA damage
  • inflammation

Chronic inflammation is especially worrisome because it can lead to very serios health problems.

Drinking water standard for microplastics

The US EPA has not established a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for microplastics. An MCL is an enforceable action level that, when exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements.

The US EPA has not found microplastics in drinking water to be a human health concern at the levels that have been detected. The Agency is currently working on research to help fill the gaps in our understanding of microplastics in drinking water and their potential effects on human health and the environment.

To complicate this issue, there currently is no standardized method for measuring and quantifying microplastics. 

Brita Filters and Microplastics Removal

Brita has a range of filter products available, with varying levels of performance. We evaluated the available laboratory data to determine how well Brita filters can remove microplastics from drinking water.

What do Brita water filters do to reduce the levels of these plastic contaminants? They have very effective particle filters that can remove suspended particles that are smaller than the tiniest microplastic.

Brita Longlast and Longlast+ filter and microplastics treatment

Brita’s Longlast and Longlast+ filters are NSF certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 42. This standard is for health effects related to specific contaminants.

NSF tested these filters for removal of class I particles. Class I particles are suspended solids that are 0.5 to 1 micron in size. Microplastics are 5,000 microns and larger.

The Brita Longlast and Longlast+ filters are certified to remove 99.6% of Class I particles. Since this filtration capacity is 1,000 times finer than the smallest microplastic particles, these Brita filters would be expected to perform very well.

Brita’s Longlast and Longlast+ filters should remove microplastics very effectively from drinking water.

Brita standard filter and microplastics treatment

The Brita standard filter is not NSF certified for removal of particulates. This suggests that Brita did not design this filter to remove suspended solids like microplastics.

Based on the absence of any testing data, the Brita standard filter should not be used to remove microplastics from drinking water.

Brita Elite filter and microplastics treatment

Brita’s Elite filters are certified to remove 99.6% of Class I particles, which are suspended solids that are 0.5 to 1 micron in size – much smaller than microplastics (5,000 microns and larger). This makes Brita filters a reliable way to reduce the amount of microplastics in drinking water.

Brita’s Elite filter is NSF certified to remove class I particles, which are much smaller than microplastics. NSF tested these filters for removal of class I particles. Class I particles are suspended solids that are 0.5 to 1 micron in size. Microplastics are 5,000 microns and larger. 

Brita’s Elite filters should remove microplastics very effectively from drinking water. It is worth noting that there was wide variation in their ability to remove microplastics from tap water.

Brita faucet filters and microplastics treatment

Brita’s faucet filters are certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 to remove Class I particles. Class I particles are suspended solids that are 0.5 to 1 micron in size – significantly smaller than the microplastics.

As part of the certification process, NSF tested these filters to see how well they performed. The faucet filters removed 99.7% of the small particles from the water, which is an excellent result.

Given that these filters can remove such small particles effectively, it’s likely that they will also be very effective at removing microplastics. Brita’s faucet filters offer a high level of protection against microplastics and are an excellent choice for anyone who is concerned about these contaminants.

If you’re looking for a water filter that can remove microplastics, Brita’s faucet filters are a great option. These filters are certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 and have been shown to be very effective at reducing the concentration of microplastics.

Brita claims about microplastics

Brita makes no claims about the ability of their filters to remove microplastics from water. This is not surprising, as there is no standard for testing water filters for the removal of microplastics.

Given that Brita’s faucet filters are so effective at removing small particles, it’s likely that they would also be effective at removing microplastics. However, without any official testing or certification, we can’t say for sure that Brita’s filters will remove microplastics from water.

Brita Product Summary

Brita has an extensive line of filtration products to meet your water treatment needs. Their filters include:

  • Pitcher filters
  • Faucet filters
  • Bottle filters
  • Dispenser filters
  • Replacement filters

Brita pitcher filters

Brita has 12 pitcher filter models available. They come in capacities ranging from 6 to 12 cups, a variety of features, and many color options.

Depending on which pitcher filter you have, you can choose between three different replaceable filters. I have a review and summary of them in the section below.

Features you may want to consider include:

  • Autofill lid – Pitchers with autofill lid option don’t have a lid, so you don’t have to lift it up to fill the reservoir.
  • Easy-fill lid – Similar to autofill lids, pitchers with this option don’t have a lid to lift up.
  • Electronic filter indicator – The filter indicator lets you know when it’s time to replace a spent filter. It is activated when the lid opens for 5-8 seconds (based on size of reservoir) and measures how much water has been treated by keeping count of the number of times it’s filled.
  • Filter-As-You-Pour technology – This innovation eliminates the need for a reservoir, so you have instant access to treated water without having to wait for the entire pitcher volume to be treated.
  •  Locking lid – This cap prevents dust and debris from falling into the filter reservoir.
  • Smart Light filter indicator – This indicator records the amount of water flowing out of the pitcher when the jug is tilted during usage. It has a green, yellow, and red indicating light to let you know how much filtration capacity is left.

Here is a summary of Brita’s current filter pitchers and their key features.

Cascade Stream Water Pitcher

Average price: $34.49

Capacity: 12-cup

Colors: White, Maroon

Features: Electronic filter indicator, Filter-As-You-Pour™ technology

Champlain Water Pitcher

Average price: $36.99

Capacity: 10-cup

Colors: White

Features: Smart Light filter indicator

Huron Water Pitcher

Average price: $41.99

Capacity: 10-cup

Colors: White, Teal, Black, Red

Features: Smart Light filter indicator

Lake Water Pitcher

Average price: $36.99

Capacity: 10-cup

Colors: White, Blue

Features: Electronic filter indicator, Autofill lid

Metro Pitcher

Average price: $21.99 to $32.99

Capacity: 6-cup

Colors: White, Red, Turquoise

Features: Electronic filter indicator, Space-efficient design

Monterey Water Pitcher

Average price: $41.99

Capacity: 10-cup

Colors: White, Blue, Black, Green

Features: Electronic filter indicator, Easy-fill lid

Pacifica Water Pitcher

Average price: $36.99

Capacity: 10-cup

Colors: White, Red, Black

Features: Electronic filter indicator, Easy-fill, locking lid

Rapids Stream Water Pitcher

Average price: $32.49

Capacity: 10-cup

Colors: Aquamarine, Grey

Features: Electronic filter indicator, Filter-As-You-Pour™ technology

SoHo Water Pitcher

Average price: $21.99

Capacity: 6-cup

Colors: White, Red, Black

Features: Electronic filter indicator, Space-efficient design

Space Saver Water Pitcher

Average price: $22.99

Capacity: 6-cup

Colors: White, Blue, Red, Black

Features: Electronic filter indicator

Tahoe Water Pitcher

Average price: $36.99 – $41.99

Capacity: 10-cup

Colors: White, Blue, Black, Green

Features: SmartLight filter indicator

Wave Water Pitcher

Average price: $36.99

Capacity: 10-cup

Colors: White

Features: Electronic filter indicator, Locking lid

Brita Faucet Filters

Brita has a line of faucet filters that you can install on your kitchen or bathroom faucet to provide clean drinking water.

There are two main models of Brita faucet filters with different features:

  1. Basic Water Filter Faucet System – This filter attaches onto any standard faucet. Itt comes with one 100-gallon filter which removes 99% lead from tap waters making them safe for drinking or cooking. It also reduces chlorine (taste/odor), benzene, asbestos, and trichloroethylene concentrations.
  2. Complete Water Filter Faucet System – This system attaches easily to your sink faucet and includes two 100 gallon filters. These filters remove 99% of lead as well as chlorine (taste/odor), benzene, asbestos, and trichloroethylene.

Basic Water Filter Faucet System

Average price: $19.99

Treatment capacity: 100 gallons

Contaminant removal: lead, chlorine (taste & odor)

Features: Filter replacement indicator

Colors: white, chrome

Complete Water Filter Faucet System

Average price: $19.99

Treatment capacity: 100 gallons

Contaminant removal: chlorine (taste & odor)

Features: Electronic filter indicator, 3 spray options

Colors: white

Brita Dispenser Filters

Brita has a line of dispenser filters that are designed to sit on your countertop and provide clean, filtered water for you and your family.

There are two main models of Brita dispenser filters:

Ultramax Water Dispenser

Average price: $38.99 to $49.99

Treatment capacity: 27-cups

Features: Electronic filter replacement indicator

Ultraslim Stream Water Dispenser

Average price: $44.99

Treatment capacity: 25-cups

Features: Smart Light filter indicator (including auto-reset feature), Filter-As-You-Pour technology

Brita filter elements

Brita has replaceable filter elements for all of the water treatment products. The pitcher filters and Dispenser filters can use either the Elite or Standard filters.

Here is a description of the filter elements the Brita offers including pricing, capacity, service life, and other important information.

Elite filters

Average price: $19.99

Treatment capacity: 120 gallons

Service life: 6 months

Contaminant removal: removes 99% of lead; chlorine (taste & odor)

Pitcher compatibility: Fits all Brita pitchers and dispensers (except Stream)

Standard filters

Average price: $7.99

Treatment capacity: 40 gallons

Service life: 2 months

Contaminant removal: chlorine (taste & odor)

Pitcher compatibility: Fits all Brita pitchers and dispensers

Stream filters

Average price: $7.99

Treatment capacity: 40 gallons

Service life: 2 months

Contaminant removal: chlorine (taste & odor)

Pitcher compatibility: Fits all Brita Stream pitchers and dispensers

Features: Filter-As-You-Pour technology

Water bottle filters

Average price: $14.99

Treatment capacity: 40 gallons

Service life: 2 months

Contaminant removal: chlorine (taste & odor)

Pitcher compatibility: Fits all Brita Premium Filtering Water Bottles

How do you replace a spent Brita filter and install a new one?

The Standard Brita pitcher filter should be replaced every two months or 40 gallons, whichever comes first. Elite filters are replaced after treating 100 gallons or every six months.

To replace your filter:

  1. Rinse your Brita Standard Filter with cold water for 15 seconds.
  2. Insert the filter into the reservoir by lining up the groove in the filter with the ridge in the reservoir. Press firmly for a tight seal.
  3. Add cold tap water. Discard your first three pitchers of filtered water or use it to water plants. It’s normal for carbon dust to appear in your first few fillings.

Brita Filter Maintenance

Britia filters have a consumable filter element that needs to be replaced every 100 gallons or about every four months. The frequency of replacement will depend on the specific filter you have and how much water you use.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing the filter. This will ensure your Brita filter continues to work properly.

Read my article on whether Brita filters expire.

How often do I need to replace my Brita filter

Each model of Brita filter has a recommended service life. Brita’s recommendations are summarized in the following table.

ModelVolume of WaterTime
Longlast+120 gallons6 months
Longlast100 gallons4 months
Standard Brita pitcher filter100 gallons4 months
Faucet filter100 gallons4 months

Overview of Brita Filters

Brita filters are a type of pitcher filter that uses particle filtration and activated carbon adsorption to remove contaminants from drinking water. Activated carbon is a very effective treatment method for removing a wide variety of contaminant, including glyphosate, from water.

How they work

Brita filters include sediment filters and granular activated to purify drinking water. The activated carbon in the filters adsorbs a wide range of contaminants such as VOCs, solvents, herbicides, and pesticides from the water.

Water is poured into the pitcher reservoir where it flows via gravity through the filters. The contaminants are adsorbed to the activated carbon in the filters and the clean water is collected in the pitcher.

NSF certification

NSF International is an independent organization that tests and certifies products to ensure they meet safety and performance standards. Several Brita filters are certified by NSF to remove a wide range of contaminants from drinking water, including VOCs, solvents, herbicides, and pesticides.

NSF certification is a great way to confirm the claims made by equipment manufacturers. NSF conducts testing in accordance with strict protocols and issues certifications to products that meet their standards.

FAQs

Do Berkey filters remove microplastics?

Without official tests, we can’t claim that Berkeys removes 100% of microplastics. In addition, Berkey does not make any claims about whether or not their filters can remove microplastics. However, testing of Berfey filters show the removal of viruses in the range of 0.024 to 0.026 microns. This implies that larger pollutants such as microplastics would be filtered out as well.

Do Zero Water filters remove microplastics?

The ZeroWater filters remove 99.9% of microplastics from drinking water. Testing conducted by a certified laboratory found that their Premium 5-Stage ion exchange water filtration system could remove essentially all of the microplastics from water.

Do Lifestraw filters remove microplastics?

LifeStraw’s filters were independently tested and found to remove 99.999% of all microplastics from water. Their membrane filtration technology can remove particles as small at 0.2 microns in size. This is significantly smaller than the microplastics, which are typically around 5,000 microns in size.

Do Epic Water pitcher filters remove microplastics?

Epic water has a pitcher filter that can remove microplastics from drinking water. They offer a monthly subscription that allows you to join their program to receive new filters when they expire. Simply log onto their website for more details.

Do Pur filters remove microplastics?

Pur filters are certified by WQA and NSF. They have been tested for particle removal using particles down to 5 microns. This is much smaller than microplastics which are 5,000 microns.

Does reverse osmosis remove microplastics from drinking water?

Reverse osmosis is very effective at removing microplastics from drinking water. It has been tested and verified to remove more than 99% of microplastics.

Are Microplastics in bottled water?

Testing conducted by the State University of New York in Fredonia found microplastics in 11 brands of bottled water. The report indicates that the tried and true source of clean drinking water –  bottled water – isn’t as pure as we thought. Read my article on microplastics in bottled water.

Final Take on Brita Filters and Microplastics

Do water filters like Brita remove PFAS from your drinking water? Fortunately, Brita’s faucet filters are a great option. These filters are certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for removal of suspended solids. They have been tested and verified to effectively remove particles significantly smaller than microplastics from water. Given that these filters can remove such small particles effectively, it’s likely that they will also be very effective at removing microplastics.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has a degree in journalism and has worked as a freelance writer and author for many years. She is passionate about clean drinking water and has written many articles on this subject. Amy enjoys hiking and water skiing with her husband and is grateful to have the opportunity to help others learn more about the importance of clean drinking water. Follow Amy on Twitter.

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