Do Brita Filters Remove PFAS? (What You Need to Know)

โœ… Our content is written by humans, not AI robots. Learn More

Brita water filter pitchers might be best known for their ability to reduce bad-tasting chlorine in municipal water, but do Brita filters remove PFAS?

If you’re worried about PFAS contamination and want to remove PFAS chemicals with a water filter pitcher, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve examined test results for the Brita Standard and Elite pitcher filters and discussed whether or not these filters have been tested to reduce PFAS in drinking water.

๐Ÿšฑ How Do PFAS Get Into Drinking Water?

PFAS are man-made chemicals that end up in the environment as a result of industrial water waste, air emissions from factories and other production facilities, and runoff from firefighting foams. From here, these chemicals can enter our water supplies due to surface water runoff or soil seepage.

The good news is that PFAS are at least being used far less in the US after a voluntary agreement was signed between the EPA and eight major companies. However, these chemicals continue to circle the country because they can still be imported from other parts of the world.

Additionally, PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they take years and years to break down, so they often linger in the environment long after they’re released as pollutants.

The PFAS in our water supplies aren’t usually removed thoroughly by public water treatment processes. This leads to us drinking traces of these chemicals in our tap water.

How pfas gets into drinking water
Source: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

๐Ÿฉบ What Are the Potential Health Risks of PFAS?

According to a 2020 evaluation of different studies into the health risks of PFAS, these harmful chemicals may have the following human health effects when ingested in tap water:

  • Cancer
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Immune effects
  • Developmental issues
  • Altered thyroid function
  • Adverse reproductive effects
  • Insulin and lipid dysregulation

This data is based on the limited research that has been carried out on the health effects of several of the most common PFAS chemicals. There are still tens of PFAS chemicals that lack toxicity data, so the possible health effects of these chemicals remain unknown.

๐Ÿงช How Can I Test for PFAS in My Water?

We recommend testing your water with a private laboratory testing package if you want to know exactly what concentration of PFAS your water contains.

A lab test will provide much more comprehensive results than a DIY test, and you’ll struggle to find DIY tests that do detect PFAS – most are used to detect chlorine, lead, and other contaminants that are easy to test for.

The cost of a laboratory test for PFAS is around $300. If you’re on a municipal water supply and you don’t want to spend that sort of money, check your Water Quality Report to learn about the PFAS detected at the water treatment plant.

Water testing with tap score

๐Ÿค” So, Does Brita Filter Out PFAS?

Yes, the Brita Elite filter (formerly LongLast), Brita’s upgraded pitcher filter with a 6-month lifespan and greater contaminant removal abilities, can remove PFAS from drinking water. There’s no data to suggest that the Brita Standard filter (the cheaper filter that lasts around 2 months) can remove PFAS chemicals, but that’s not to say it doesn’t – it just hasn’t been tested to do so.

Brita is pretty quiet about the Elite filter’s ability to reduce PFAS, so you’d easily be mistaken in believing that the filter can’t do so. In fact, many articles we read in our research said that none of Brita’s filters can reduce PFAS (likely because this information isn’t readily available on the Brita website).

It’s difficult to obtain data on the exact contaminants that Brita’s filters can remove because strangely, this information isn’t supplied on the product pages. But you can access the downloadable filter performance sheets for the Standard and Elite filters on Brita’s Performance Data page, and this is where we were able to confirm that the Elite filters can remove PFAS.

The Brita Elite filter has been tested to NSF/ANSI Standards 401, 42, and 53 for the reduction of various contaminants to within the “permissible limit”. Elite Brita filters can reduce up to 98.1% of PFAS.

Brita Tahoe pitcher with Elite filter

๐Ÿงพ List Of PFAS Removed By Brita Pitcher

The types of PFAS removed by Elite Brita filters are PFOS and PFOA.

Like many water filter manufacturers, Brita has stuck to testing its Elite filter for the removal of the most common forever chemicals, ignoring the tens of other PFAS that currently exist, including GenX, PFNA, PFBS, NFBS, and more.

We feel this may be something of a box-ticking exercise that allows Brita to say that the Elite filters remove PFAS, which may not be strictly true since there are other types of PFAS chemicals that Brita hasn’t even tested its filters for their ability to remove.

PFAS Type% Reduction
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) 98.1%
Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS)98.1%

Related: Do Brita Filters Remove Microplastics?

๐Ÿ”Ž How Do Brita Water Filters Remove PFAS?

The Brita Elite filtered water pitcher uses proprietary “activated filtering agents” (some form of activated carbon) to reduce contaminants.

Activated carbon has been listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as an effective solution to remove PFAS, as the most studied water treatment method for this purpose.

The activated carbon water treatment process is called adsorption. When water flows through the filter media, certain substances – including PFAS – are accumulated physically and chemically in the media, while water molecules can pass straight through.

Some types of activated carbon, like granular activated carbon (GAC), can 100% effectively remove PFAS from drinking water, although Brita doesn’t disclose exactly what type of carbon media it uses.

What about the Brita Standard filter? This filter uses a blend of activated carbon and ion exchange – two technologies that are effective in reducing PFAS (in fact, ion exchange is commonly used in wastewater treatment plants for the removal of these chemicals). That’s why we think the Brita Standard filters probably do remove per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances – they just haven’t been tested by Brita to do so.

Brita activated carbon filter

๐Ÿšฐ Other PFAS Water Filters

Water filter pitchers like the Brita pitchers aren’t the only water treatment systems that are capable of filtering PFAS.

The following systems also remove forever chemicals:

System TypePFAS Removal Rate
Other filters using carbon/ion exchange80-98%
Reverse osmosis filters90-95%
Water distillationUp to 99%

If you’re looking specifically to buy a water filter pitcher because of its affordability and portability, but you want a filter that’s more capable of removing other contaminants than the Brita pitcher, we recommend the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher Filter.

This water pitcher virtually purifies contaminated drinking water and can remove hundreds of impurities, including 99.4% of a variety of forever chemicals. Some of the PFAS removed by the Clearly Filtered pitcher are NFBS, PFBS, PFBA, GenX, EPFB, PFOA, and PFOS, according to private testing to NSF Standards.

Clearly Filtered pitcher parts

โ” FAQ

Do Brita filters get rid of forever chemicals?

Yes, both Brita filters should, in theory, remove forever chemicals. The Brita Elite has official test data online that supports its ability to reduce PFAS in drinking water, while the Brita Standard doesn’t – but it’s made from carbon and ion exchange resin, which are two reliable materials that are commonly used in PFAS filters.

Are Brita filters tested to remove PFAS?

The Brita Elite filters have been tested to remove PFAS, but the Brita Standard filters have not. Since the Standard filters are made from materials that are usually effective in removing PFAS, we recommend contacting Brita to discuss the possibility of reducing PFAS with these filters. Or, if you already own a Brita pitcher with a Standard filter, you could try testing your water yourself to determine its PFAS removal abilities.

Do Brita filters block PFAS?

Yes, the media in Brita filters should effectively block PFAS, while allowing water molecules to pass through. The Elite filter has been tested to remove up to 98.1% of PFOS and PFOA from tap water. The Standard filter hasn’t been tested for this purpose, but we think it should also reduce PFAS based on the materials it’s made from.

About The Author

Scroll to Top