Brita filters use carbon-based filtration media to remove several common drinking water impurities. But can Brita filter microplastics? The short answer is yes, one of Brita’s filters can remove microplastics, but Brita doesn’t claim that any of its other filters can.
Here, we’ve discussed everything we know about the Brita filtration process and why some Brita filters can remove microplastics from tap water, while others can’t.
Table of Contents
🚱 How Do Microplastics Get Into Drinking Water?
Microplastics are plastic particles that enter our water supplies due to widespread plastic pollution in the environment.
These tiny plastics are formed as a result of the breakdown of larger plastics (a process that can take decades or centuries). Microplastic particles are also intentionally produced for certain cosmetics and personal care products.
A few sources of microplastics are:
- Degraded plastic waste
- Wastewater or industrial effluent
- Surface run-off
- Sewer overflows
- Atmospheric deposition
🩺 What Are the Potential Health Risks of Microplastics?
According to News Medical, the potential health risks of microplastics vary depending on the type of microplastics we’re exposed to. Some of the most common health concerns associated with exposure to microplastics are:
- Carcinogenic effects
- Hormone disruption
- Problems with fetal development
- Weight gain
- Allergic reactions
- Human cell damage & death
Microplastics may also carry harmful contaminants, like trace metals and chemical pollutants. Once in the body, these contaminants may leach from the microplastics, presenting their own health risks.
What we know so far about the human health effects of microplastic exposure is limited. Most of the existing studies are limited and don’t focus on the widespread damage caused by these plastic particles.
🧪 How Can I Test for Microplastics in My Water?
Testing your water is the best way to find out whether or not it contains microplastics. You can’t buy a DIY at-home test for microplastics – you’ll need to pay for a lab test that’s comprehensive enough to detect these tiny pieces of plastic.
The testing process begins when you take a sample of water from your faucet and ship it to the laboratory in a sealed container. This water sample will then be tested using a specialized analysis process to determine your water’s microplastics concentration.
You can either choose to test solely for microplastics or test for a broader range of contaminants alongside microplastics.
🤔 So, Does Brita Filter Out Microplastics?
Brita doesn’t exclusively claim that all of its water filters can remove microplastics. However, from the claims that Brita does make, and our analysis of Brita’s test data, we’ve concluded that several of Brita’s filters can reduce or remove plastic particles.
Let’s share a quick breakdown of the different Brita water filters and discuss whether or not they can reduce or remove microplastics.
Brita Pitcher Filters
There are three types of Brita pitcher filters:
- The Brita Standard filter
- The Brita Elite filter
- The Brita Stream filter
The Standard Brita pitcher filter doesn’t remove microplastics. Unlike the Elite filter, it doesn’t have an NSF certification for the removal of Class I particulates, which suggests that the filter wasn’t designed to be able to remove these contaminants. The downloadable datasheet for this filter also doesn’t list microplastics as a contaminant removed.
The Brita Elite filter, also designed for Brita pitcher filters, is certified to remove class I particulates (up to 99.6%), and the performance datasheet also lists microplastics as a contaminant that the filter can remove (99.6%). Class I particulates are any impurities with a micron size range of 0.5-1 microns, and microplastics, in comparison, are between 1 and 1,000 microns in size. If Brita’s Elite filters can remove contaminants as small as 0.5 microns, they should be able to remove anything larger – including microplastics. This is proven by a relatively recent update to the Elite filter’s test datasheet by Brita, which now explicitly lists microplastics as a contaminant removed by the filter.
The Brita Stream filter doesn’t remove microplastics. According to the Stream’s performance datasheet, the filter can remove particulates Class VII, but “Class VII” is not a universally standardized term, and we’re missing contextual evidence to tell us what particle size range the Stream filter can remove. Because of this, we can only conclude that the filter can’t remove contaminants as small as microplastics.
Brita Faucet Filters
Brita Faucet filters, like the Elite pitcher filters, are certified to remove Class I particles.
As we mentioned earlier, these particles range from 0.5-1 microns, meaning that Brita’s faucet water filter cartridges should be able to effectively reduce microplastics, which are larger.
However, once again, Brita doesn’t state that its faucet filters can remove microplastics. This could simply be because Brita chose not to test the filters for the removal of this contaminant.
Brita Bottle Filters
Like the Stream Brita water filter pitcher, the Brita bottled water filters are capable of removing particulates Class VII.
Once again, we can’t say for certain exactly what size these contaminants are, so there’s no guarantee that Brita bottle water filters can reduce microplastics (and Brita doesn’t say anything on the subject).
Where did we source our information? We used the data provided in the performance sheets for each of the Brita water filter models, which you can find on Brita’s Performance Data page.
🔎 How Might Brita Water Filters Remove Microplastics?
The best way to remove microplastics is by using a filter media that’s complex enough and has small enough pores to trap these contaminants. Let’s consider how Brita filters are able to reduce the microplastics concentration of their filtered water.
The Brita Elite filter is the only Brita water filter that has been tested and proven to reduce microplastics.
The filter uses advanced carbon core technology, featuring patented pleated media to trap a range of contaminants. Activated carbon filters alone are capable of removing some microplastics, but we think the pleated media element of this filter helps to trap very small particles like microplastics.
Assuming that the Faucet Brita water filter can also remove PFAS due to its ability to reduce particulates Class I, let’s also take a look at this filter design.
The filter uses a combination of activated carbon and ion exchange resin, which adsorb and remove a number of tap water contaminants. Brita is pretty secretive about its exact filter designs, but we think there must be an element of the faucet filter media that enables the removal of smaller contaminants, like micro-plastic particles.
🚰 Other Microplastics Water Filters
Brita pitcher filters and faucet filters might be capable of reducing microplastics in drinking water, but there are other options worth considering, too.
- Ceramic filters – Remove up to 99.99% of microplastics
- Reverse osmosis filter systems – Remove up to 99% of microplastics
- Microfilters and nanofilters – Remove up to 99.999% of microplastics
- Water distillers – Remove up to 99% of microplastics
You can find these filter types in a range of different water filter systems, including countertop filters, under-sink systems, and water filter pitchers.
If you’re looking for a water filter pitcher that can remove plastic debris and as many impurities as possible we recommend the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher Filter.
This water pitcher is much more capable than Brita pitcher filters, removing more than 300 contaminants from tap water – including 99.9% of microplastics.
Do Brita filters remove microplastics?
Only one of the Brita water filters – the Brita Elite (used in Brita pitchers) has been tested and proven to remove microplastics. We think Brita’s faucet water filters should also be capable of microplastics reduction because they’ve been tested and certified to remove particulates Class I, a group of contaminants that are smaller than microplastics.
Does Brita have microplastics?
If you’re asking whether Brita pitchers may leach microplastics into your water, the answer is “maybe”. We haven’t tested this ourselves, so we can’t say for certain, but we know that generally, plastic containers (such as single-use water bottles) can leach plastics into drinking water, especially if they’re exposed to high temperatures or are used to store water for long periods. The best way to prevent the risk of plastic leaching is to choose a water filter pitcher that’s made from glass or stainless steel instead of plastic.
Are Brita pitcher filters tested to remove microplastics?
Only one of the three Brita filters used in Brita pitchers has been tested and confirmed to remove microplastics: the Brita Elite. This filter can remove up to 99.6% of microplastics from drinking water. The Brita Stream and Standard filter cartridges aren’t tested to reduce this contaminant in tap water.