Do ZeroWater Filters Remove PFAS? The Definitive Answer


Do ZeroWater Filters Remove PFAS The Definitive Answer

PFAS are a class of synthetic chemicals that have been used in a variety of consumer products since the 1940s. They are often called “forever chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment, and they have been linked to a variety of health problems. If you are concerned about PFAS in your drinking water, you may be wondering if ZeroWater filters remove them.

ZeroWater has a line of pitcher filters and dispenser filters that are designed to remove PFAS from drinking water. Real world testing indicates that ZeroWater filters remove between 86% and 94.9% of PFOA and PFOS from drinking water. ZeroWater is the only pitcher filter to receive NSF certification for PFAS reduction. It is very important to replace the filter cartridges as recommended to maintain PFAS treatment.

In this blog post, we discuss PFAS, its health effects, and how well ZeroWater filters remove this contaminant from drinking water. Continue reading to learn more about this important topic.

What is PFAS

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s.

These forever chemicals are found in many consumer products due to their resistance to grease, oil, water, and heat. Certain PFAS are also authorized by the FDA for limited use in cookware, food packaging, and food processing equipment.

PFAS are found:

  • In everyday household items such as nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, and cleaning products.
  • In firefighting foams used by the military, industry, and your local fire department.
  • In industrial applications such as certain types of electrical wiring, lubricants, coatings for automotive parts and buildings (e.g., roofs), adhesives used in the aerospace industry.
  • At contaminated sites across the country where PFAS were used or manufactured.
  • In many water supplies, including some public systems, where they have been detected at very low levels.

The widespread use of PFAS and their ability to remain intact in the environment means that over time, PFAS levels from past and current uses can result in increasing levels of environmental contamination. For this reason, these compounds are known as “forever chemicals”.

Read my article on PFAS to learn more about these forever chemicals.

Is PFAS in my drinking water

PFAS Contamination in the US June 8 2022
PFAS has been detected in drinking water and groundwater throughout the US.

PFAS is known to be in public drinking water supplies and private drinking water wells. Testing done by public water systems indicates that these contaminants are in drinking water all 50 states and two territories. State agencies throughout the country have found PFAS in a significant portion of their private drinking water wells tested.

There are many ways that PFAS can get into drinking water. Some of the most common include:

  • Industrial sites and landfills where these chemicals have been used or disposed of
  • Aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) used by firefighters
  • Manufacturing plants that use or release PFAS
  • Wastewater treatment plants

Even though the chances of having elevated levels of PFAS in your drinking water are low, it is still important to be aware of the potential for contamination and take steps to protect yourself and your family.

Read my article on PFAS in bottled water.

Health concerns about PFAS

PFAS represent a significant risk to our health. Studies have shown that exposure to these chemicals can lead to a variety of health problems, including:

  • cancer
  • thyroid disease
  • high cholesterol
  • immune system problems
  • reproductive and developmental issues
  • hormonal disruption
  • liver damage
  • kidney damage

In addition, PFAS has been linked to developmental problems in fetuses and infants, as well as to lower birth weight.

Accumulation of certain PFAS has also been shown through blood tests to occur in humans and animals. While the science surrounding potential health effects of bioaccumulation is still developing, exposure to some types of PFAS have been associated with serious health effects.

What level of PFAS is safe

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to establish drinking water standards for hazardous chemicals. These standards are known as maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). MCLs are the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water.

The EPA has not yet established an MCL for any PFAS, but they have issued a non-enforceable Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt).

Some states have established lower maximum contaminant levels to safeguard public safety, while others have set enforceable Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs).

California has the lowest permissible PFOA level in drinking water – 5.1 ppt. Michigan is at the other end of the spectrum with the highest drinking water standard – 400,000 ppt for PFHxA.

Given the significant health risk associated with these contaminants, drinking water should have no PFAS in it. If that isn’t an option for you, the lowest possible PFAS concentration is what you should strive for.

Do ZeroWater Filters Remove PFAS

ZeroWater filter overview

ZeroWater makes several water filters that can purify drinking water. Their filters come in several styles, including:

  • pitcher filter: This style of filter consists of a water pitcher with an integral filter. The water is poured into the top of the pitcher and then filtered through the filter media (usually carbon or zeolite)
  • faucet filters: This type of filter is mounted directly to your faucet. Water is filtered as it comes out of the faucet.
  • dispenser filters: This type of filter is similar to a faucet filter but has a larger capacity and can be used with a water dispenser. The most common types of media are activated carbon, ion exchange resin, and particulate media. which is very effective at removing a wide variety of contaminants, including PFAS.
  • shower filters: This style of filter is designed to remove contaminants from shower water.

How well do ZeroWater filters remove PFAS?

ZeroWater has a line of pitcher filters and dispenser filters that are designed to remove PFAS. These filters are very effective at removing PFOS and PFOA from drinking water.

Available testing indicates that ZeroWater filters remove between 86% and 94.9% of PFOA and PFOS from drinking water.

For a comparison, read my article on Brita filters and PFAS treatment.

PFAS test results for ZeroWater filters

Testing results conducted by NSF indicate that several of ZeroWater’s pitcher and dispenser filters can remove PFOA and PFOS in water to less than 70 ppt. Available data indicate that their filters have an overall removal efficiency of 94.9%. The maximum concentration of PFOA/PFOS in treated water was 70 ppt.

Duke University conducted a study of pitcher filters to see how well they could remove PFAS. They tested on ZeroWater pitcher filter and found that it removed 86% of PFAS. The raw water had a concentration of 17.8 ppt, and the treated water had 2.5 ppt.

What does ZeroWater say about PFAS

The ZeroWater website indicates that their water filters are NSF certified to reduce PFAS concentrations. They state:

Water filters like ZeroWater’s 5 stage filter and ExtremeLife™ Faucet Mount are some of the most effective ways of reducing PFOA/PFOS and other contaminants commonly found in drinking water. 

They explain that their filters have a 5-stage filter that includes: **Image here**

  1. course filter screen
  2. foam distributor
  3. multi-layer activated carbon and oxidation reduction alloy
  4. dual comprehensive ion exchange resin
  5. ultra-fine screen and non-woven membrane layers

NSF Certification of ZeroWater Pitchers

What is NSF certification?

NSF International is an independent organization that tests and certifies products to ensure they meet strict public health and safety standards. Certification by NSF means that the manufacturer’s claims have been evaluated and verified to ANSI standards.

NSF international P473 standard was developed specifically to verify PFOA and PFOS reduction. This is the gold standard for water filters.

ZeroWater filters certified by NSF

ZeroWater’s pitchers and dispensers are certified by NSF to remove a variety of contaminants, including PFAS. The following ZeroWater filters are certified by NSF to remove PFAS compounds.

NSF/ANSI 53: Drinking Water Treatment Units – Health Effects
Model Number Service Cycle (gallons) Filter Type
ZBD-040 2.5 Gal Glass Dispenser 20 Pitcher
ZD-010RP 20 Pitcher
ZD-012RP 20 Pitcher
ZD-018 20 Pitcher
ZD-023-1 20 Pitcher
ZD-030RP 30 Cup Ready-Pour Dispenser 20 Pitcher
ZD-20RPN 20-Cup 20 Pitcher
ZP-006 20 Pitcher
ZP-007RP 20 Pitcher
ZP-010 20 Pitcher
ZR-0810GN 8-Cup RedyPour Round Pitcher 20 Pitcher
ZR-0810N 10-Cup RedyPour Round Pitcher 20 Pitcher
ZD-022-RR 20 Pitcher
ZP-012-RR 20 Pitcher

What does this mean?

There are more than 4,000 individual compounds in the forever chemical family. NSF only tests for two PFAS compounds – PFOS and PFOA. These are two of the nastiest molecules, so that’s good. However, there are a lot more that might be in your water that NSF didn’t evaluate.

What does this mean for you? You need to be your own advocate. NSF certification is a good starting point. I recommend testing your drinking water to see what’s in it and how well this pitcher filter works.

Testing Your Drinking Water for PFAS

The Simple lab at-home kit is the perfect way to get tested for 14 different PFAS compounds. It includes everything you need and provides comprehensive reporting on any detected chemicals in your water, explaining what they mean with regard to health risks and treatment methods.

I used the SimpleLab kit to test my tap water and unfortunately it has low levels of PFAS compounds.

Read my article about this test kit and my experience with it.

Tap Score PFAS Test Kit
Test your drinking water for PFAS with the Tap Score kit from SimpleLab

 

ZeroWater Filters Certified by NSF

The following ZeroWater filters have been tested and verified by NSF to remove PFAS.

ZeroWater ZBD-040 2.5 Gal Glass DispenserZBD-040

Looking for a sleek, stylish way to filter and dispense your water? The ZeroWater ZBD-040 2.5 Gal Glass Dispenser holds up to 40 cups of water and features a no-drip, easy-pour spigot – perfect for entertaining or everyday use.

The 5-stage filtration system removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids from your tap water, ensuring you always enjoy pure, great-tasting water. Plus, the Ready-Pour® technology lets you dispense filtered water even while the reservoir is still filtering, making it easy to stay hydrated on the go. This filter is NSF certified to reduce PFAS concentrations.

Check pricing on Amazon.

ZeroWater ZD-010RP PitcherZD-010RP

The ZeroWater ZD-010RP pitcher is a popular choice for any household. The premium 5-stage water filtration removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids from your tap water – more than any other leading brand.

The 10 cup (80oz) capacity pitcher also features a BPA Free design and reduces lead, PFOA/PFOS and other contaminants. Each 5-stage water pitcher comes with a free TDS Meter to test your water quality and ensure that it’s being properly filtered. This filter is NSF certified to reduce PFAS concentrations.

Check pricing on Amazon.

ZeroWater ZD-012RP PitcherZD-012RP

The ZeroWater ZD-012RP Pitcher is a 12-cup pitcher that comes with Ready-Pour™ Technology that allows you to dispense filtered water even while the reservoir is still filtering. This filter is NSF certified to reduce PFAS concentrations.

The 5-stage water filtration system removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids from your tap water – more than any other leading brand. Every pitcher also comes with a free TDS Meter to check the levels of dissolved solids before and after filtering.

ZeroWater ZD-030RP 30 Cup Ready-Pour DispenserZD-030RP

The ZeroWater ZD-030RP 30 Cup Ready-Pour Dispenser is the largest capacity filtered dispenser on the market, and it features Ready-Pour™ technology that lets you dispense water while the reservoir is still filtering. The compact design includes a one-hand, push and pour spout that allows you to dispense water into your cup or favorite water bottle without any lifting.

The premium 5-stage water filtration removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids from your tap water – more than any other leading brand. So you can enjoy purest-tasting water with every sip. The ZD-030RP is also BPA free and reduces lead, PFOA/PFOS and other contaminants. This filter is NSF certified to reduce PFAS concentrations.

ZeroWater ZP-006 Pitcher FilterZP-006

The ZeroWater ZP-006 Pitcher Filter is the perfect device for active people who want to enjoy pure, great-tasting water. This premium 5-stage water filtration pitcher removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids from your tap water, delivering the purest possible taste.

The compact design is perfect for small refrigerators, and the pitcher is BPA free. With its 6 cup capacity, the ZeroWater ZP-006 is the perfect solution for your clean water needs. This filter is NSF certified to reduce PFAS concentrations.

Check pricing on Amazon.

ZeroWater ZP-007RP Pitcher FilterZP-007RP

The ZeroWater ZP-007RP Pitcher Filter is a 7-cup pitcher that features Ready-Pour technology, allowing you to dispense filtered water even while the reservoir is still filtering. The 5-stage filtration system removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids from your tap water, making it purer and tastier than water from any other leading brand.

The ZP-007RP is also BPA free and reduces lead, PFOA/PFOS, and other contaminants. Plus, every purchase comes with a free TDS Meter to check the levels of dissolved solids before and after filtering your tap water. This filter is NSF certified to reduce PFAS concentrations.

Check pricing on Amazon.

ZeroWater ZP-010 Pitcher FilterZP-010

The ZeroWater ZP-010 Pitcher Filter is a 10-cup (80oz) capacity pitcher that features a comfort-grip handle and quick fill spigot, making it easy to fill your cup, bottle or jug. Plus, its Ready-Pour technology allows you to dispense filtered water even as the reservoir is still filtering.

The premium 5-stage water filtration removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids from your tap water – more than any other leading brand. This filter is NSF certified to reduce PFAS concentrations.

Check pricing on Amazon.

Considerations for Pitcher Filters

Pitcher filters like ZeroWater are designed to treat the water you drink. Most have a limited capacity of a few liters to as much as 2-1/2 gallons.

Pitcher filters must be maintained to remove PFAS

If you don’t regularly clean and maintain your pitcher filter, it will become increasingly less effective over time. The activated carbon in the cartridge becomes spent over time, so you have to replace it regularly.

The Duke research discovered a significant decline in PFAS treatment dependent on the amount of water that a filter had processed. It’s critical to change your filter cartridges on a regular basis.

Final Thoughts

PFAS is a problematic contaminant that we are just becoming aware of. These forever chemicals have been found in a majority of public and private drinking water throughout the world.

Fortunately, ZeroWater filters can remove PFAS from your drinking water. They have a line of filters that are certified by NSF to remove these dangerous contaminants to below the drinking water limit of 70 ppt.

I recommend that you test your drinking water regularly to ensure that the ZeroWater pitcher filter is working as it should. You should also clean and maintain your filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. By taking these precautions, you can be sure that you and your family are safe from PFAS in your drinking water.

Chief Guru

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. You can also follow him on Twitter

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