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

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Refrigerator filters make it easy to get refrigerator-cold filtered water and ice at the touch of a button. Whether you have a built-in filter in your fridge or you’re considering buying a filter to install inside or upstream of your refrigerator, you might be wondering whether fridge filters remove PFAS.

Here, we’ve answered the common question: ” Do refrigerator water filters remove PFAS?”

🚱 How Do PFAS Get Into Drinking Water?

Let’s start by looking at PFAS contamination and why it occurs.

PFAS chemicals are chemicals with adverse health effects that, up until very recently, were commonly used in a variety of manufacturing processes, as well as in the aerospace and military industries, around the world.

Since research uncovered the dangers of PFAS to human health, these chemicals are now less commonly used and have been gradually phased out in the US. However, that doesn’t stop PFAS from being imported into the country, and even the PFAS chemicals of the past still linger in the environment due to their “forever chemical” status.

PFAS get into drinking water after they enter the environment (usually as a result of deposits from air emissions, runoff from fire fighting foams, and industrial water waste). These chemicals are carried into our water supplies due to surface water runoff and soil seepage.

Our public water suppliers usually don’t have the facilities to greatly reduce or remove PFAS from drinking water supplies, which is why these chemicals are still present by the time the water reaches our faucets.

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

🩺 What Are the Potential Health Risks of PFAS?

A 2021 review of various studies into the health effects of PFAS exposure found that PFAS exposure could increase the risk of the following:

  • Cancer
  • Altered immune function
  • Adverse thyroid effects
  • Lipid and insulin dysregulation
  • Reproductive issues
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Developmental issues

It’s worth noting that only a smaller percentage of PFAS have been tested to determine their health effects, which means that wider PFAS pollution in drinking water likely has other harmful effects on the human body – we’re just not aware of them yet.

🤔 So, Do Refrigerator Water Filters Remove PFAS?

Most refrigerator water filters don’t remove PFAS.

You can confirm whether or not a fridge water filter can remove PFAS by checking the product details. If PFAS isn’t listed as a contaminant that the filter can remove, assume that it can’t.

Most refrigerator water filters have a primary purpose: to remove chlorine and improve your water’s taste and odor.

These filters aren’t the fanciest or the most comprehensive. They’re simply designed to improve the taste of your fridge water and ice.

If you want a filter that effectively addresses PFAS and other difficult-to-remove contaminants, you’ll need to consider installing an inline water filter somewhere along your refrigerator line or an under-sink system beneath your kitchen sink. Not all inline and under-sink filters can remove PFAS, so check this before you spend your money.

Refrigerator water filter

🚫 Why Can’t Refrigerator Water Filters Remove PFAS?

Most refrigerator water filters have a basic design that doesn’t allow for effective PFAS reduction.

These filters are typically activated carbon filters. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, activated carbon filter media is actually one of the most effective media for removing PFAS. However, that doesn’t guarantee that all filters made from carbon media are guaranteed to remove forever chemicals.

It’s likely that there isn’t enough carbon media in most filters for refrigerators to significantly reduce PFAS contaminants. So, while a fridge filter might reduce PFAS somewhat, it might not reduce enough for the manufacturer to list PFAS as a contaminant that the filter can remove.

📖 How To Remove PFAS From Fridge Water & Ice

If you want to remove PFAS chemicals from your fridge water and ice but your refrigerator filter isn’t capable of PFAS reduction, what can you do?

There are a few ways that you can reduce PFAS in the water from your refrigerator dispenser, including:

Install An Inline Water Filter

An inline fridge water filter is a filter that’s designed to be installed along the water supply line leading from your kitchen sink to your refrigerator. It filters your water before it reaches your fridge, so there’s no need to use a refrigerator filter.

The advantage of inline water filters is that they’re usually slightly bigger and have more complex designs than refrigerator filters. That means they’re typically more capable of removing a larger range of contaminants, and some filters can remove PFAS.

We recommend the Clearly Filtered Universal Inline Filter, which connects to any 1/4-inch waterline and reduces 230 different drinking water contaminants, including PFAS.

Clearly Filtered Universal Inline Fridge Filter

Install An Under-Sink System

Another solution, which gives you an even bigger range of options, is to install an under-sink water filtration system that can remove PFAS, then connect this system to your fridge. Again, the water will be filtered before flowing to your fridge, so you won’t need a refrigerator water filter.

There are lots of different under-sink drinking water treatment units to consider. You can spend less than $100 on a carbon filter that’s capable of reducing forever chemicals. Or, if you want to go all-out on the most comprehensive contaminants removal solution, consider a reverse osmosis system.

Reverse osmosis filters remove up to 99% of PFAS, as well as chlorine, chemicals, heavy metals, microorganisms, fluoride, and hundreds of other contaminants. The Waterdrop G3P800 is our top recommended under-sink RO system, and can remove the majority of total dissolved solids (TDS), including PFAS.

Waterdrop g3 p800 RO filter

Install A Whole House Filtration System

If your budget can stretch as far as a whole house water filtration system, this is a great way to enjoy water with low PFAS levels in your fridge and around your entire home.

Point of entry filtration systems have a few advantages over point of use filters: they don’t only remove PFAS from your tap water at one location (i.e. in your fridge) – they also reduce these chemicals from your shower water, your appliance water, and the water in all your fixtures.

We recommend the Kind E-1000 Whole House Water Filter as the best cartridge-based system for whole home filtration. It costs around $750 and removes chlorine, chloramine, PFAS, and more.

Kind E-1000 Whole House water filter installed in kitchen and outdoors


Do LG refrigerator filters remove PFAS?

No, from what we can tell, LG refrigerator filters don’t remove PFAS. The filters are certified to NSF Standards 53, 42, and 401 for the reduction of chlorine, contaminants with health effects, and emerging contaminants, but PFAS isn’t a contaminant that they’re listed to remove.

What chemicals do refrigerator water filters remove?

The chemicals removed by refrigerator filters depend on the filter material and type. Most fridge water filters can at least remove chlorine, the chemical that’s commonly used to disinfect water. Some can remove other chemicals like pesticides and herbicides, some VOCs, and BPA. It’s unlikely that a refrigerator filter will remove PFAS chemicals.

Do fridge filters reduce PFAS in drinking water?

It’s possible that a refrigerator may reduce PFAS to some extent in your drinking water. Most fridge filters are made from activated carbon media, which is capable of reducing PFAS. However, these filters usually don’t contain enough carbon to reduce a substantial amount of PFAS, so they’re not designed or advertised for PFAS removal.

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