Lead is one of the most dangerous water contaminants, as it’s a persistent metal that can accumulate in our bodies over time. This means that, if you drink even trace amounts of lead over several years or decades, these trace amounts could build up inside your body, and may have a serious effect on your health in the long term.
Luckily, there are numerous water filters that can greatly reduce or remove lead from our drinking water today. You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for this privilege, either – water filter pitchers are affordable and effective.
The Brita pitcher was one of the earliest filter pitchers on the market, and is still a popular choice today. While it doesn’t remove the biggest range of contaminants, Brita does remove lead, but only if you use the Longlast filter or faucet filter – the standard filter does not.
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🚱How Does Lead Get Into Drinking Water?
When the first public water systems were constructed in the US, the pipes that transferred water to our homes were made from lead. At the time, we weren’t aware of the health hazards of lead, or knowledgeable about lead’s ability to leach into drinking water. When we did eventually discover these facts, lead pipes were banned by the Environmental Protection Agency – but old lead pipes were allowed to remain.
If you live in an area that hasn’t updated its water system, it’s likely that your water travels through lead pipes before reaching your home. Man-made water pipes are, to this day, the biggest cause of lead in tap water.
The pipes in your property may also be made from lead, especially if you live in a very old building.
🩺 What Are the Health Risks of Lead?
The health risks of lead are very well-known and well-researched. We know that exposure to this heavy metal can result in serious illnesses and even death. The evidence of lead’s health effects isn’t intended to scaremonger – it’s all based on fact.
Short-Term Health Risks
According to the CDC, short-term exposure to lead can cause abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, memory loss, weakness, pain, and tingling in the fingers, and loss of appetite.
You may not associate these symptoms with lead poisoning, and over time, very high lead exposure could lead to brain damage, kidney problems, and even death. This is usually due to exposure to very high levels of lead at once.
Long-Term Health Risks
You may not experience all of the short-term symptoms if you drink trace amounts of lead over a prolonged period of time. However, many of the symptoms are similar. Remember, lead is bio-accumulative, so it will have the same effects whether you’re exposed to lower quantities in the long term or higher quantities in the short term.
Some of the health risks of lead exposure river a prolonged period are:
- Abdominal pain
If you’ve experienced prolonged lead exposure, you’re also more at risk of kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, and reduced fertility. Additionally, the EPA and American Cancer Society have listed lead as a potential carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).
If your water does contain lead, it’s often not possible to do anything about it at the source. Most people choose to use a water filtration system to eliminate their water’s lead contamination and avoid drinking this harmful metal.
But what if you don’t know whether your water contains lead? How can you find out?
🧪 How Can I Test for Lead in My Water?
You can test your drinking water’s lead content using DIY or laboratory testing.
I would recommend testing tap water from your faucet, rather than using a consumer confidence report to determine how much lead your water contains. This is because your local authority’s water quality report will only tell you how much lead your water contains at the treatment facility, and doesn’t account for the lead that might leach into your water from pipes leading to your home.
Using a water test kit is the cheaper option, costing between $10 and $20. An at-home testing kit can tell you roughly how contaminated your water is.
Laboratory testing is a more thorough, accurate means of determining your water’s lead content. If you want to know your water’s exact lead quantity in PPM (parts per million), it’s best to choose this option.
You can learn more about the most effective tests for lead in your water here.
🤔So, Do Brita Water Filters Remove Lead?
Brita’s Standard Filter doesn’t remove lead. This coconut-based activated carbon water filter is certified to reduce chlorine (taste and odor), copper, and mercury.
You’ll need to replace this pitcher filter with a new filter after 2 months.
The Brita’s Longlast+ filter doesn’t only offer the benefit of a longer filter lifespan – it’s also certified to remove up to 99% of lead present in tap water. If you’re looking for a pitcher filter that will greatly reduce your water’s lead content, the Longlast+ is the Brita water filter to opt for.
As the name suggests, this filter is the longest-lasting of all the Brita filters, with a lifespan of 6 months.
The Brita Stream water filter is designed to filter tap water as you pour. This activated carbon filter can remove chlorine taste and odor, resulting in better-tasting water, but it doesn’t remove lead.
You’ll need to change the filter every 40 gallons, or approximately after 2 months of use.
Brita has just one type of filter for water bottles, and it can’t remove lead. The carbon water bottle Brita filters can reduce chlorine and class 1 particulates, while retaining healthy minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Brita’s faucet water filters are the only other Brita filters to remove lead from water. Again, these filters can reduce up to 99% of lead, as well as removing other contaminants like chlorine, ibuprofen, benzene, asbestos, and BPA.
You can get 4 months of use out of Brita’s faucet filtration systems before you need to replace the filter.
🕵️♂️ My Verdict
If you want to remove lead from your water, and you’re specifically looking at Brita filters, you need either the Brita faucet filter or the Brita Longlast+ filter. None of Brita’s other filtered water solutions can reduce lead, even if they are a good option for chlorine filtration.
📊 Brita Filters Contaminant Removal Chart
|1, 2, 4 - Tricholorobenzene||✔️||✔️|
|Select Emerging Contaminants||✔️|
|Select pesticides & herbicides||✔️||✔️|
💡 Alternative Options for Lead Removal
Brita filters aren’t the only lead removal solutions on the market. In fact, the majority of filtration systems available today will greatly reduce or eliminate lead from drinking water.
While Brita filters do give you some variety – you can choose between pitcher filtration devices, water bottle filters and filters for your faucets – there are other filtered water options that will get rid of more than just a handful of harmful contaminants.
I think that Brita’s filters are effective enough, but their basic carbon design limits them somewhat. There are other pitcher filters on the market that can remove lead, plus hundreds of other harmful particulates, including bacteria, fluoride, additional heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides, and more.
In short, if your water is contaminated with more than just lead, it’s worth looking at my list of the best lead water filters to see exactly what’s available on today’s consumer market.
❔ Brita Lead Removal FAQs
Have Brita’s Longlast Filters Changed?
Yes. Brita recently updated its Longlast water filters and gave them a new name: Longlast+. These water filters can now remove more contaminants, including lead.
Why Do Brita’s Filters Remove Fewer Contaminants?
Once upon a time, the Brita filters were the best on the market. But in the past decade, new filters have entered the market that can do so much more. The top filtered water solutions can remove hundreds more contaminants than Brita, and this comes down to design. It’s likely that Brita will continue to upgrade its water filtration systems to keep up with the competition.
Should I Choose the Brita Longlast+ or Faucet Filter?
It depends on your filtered water preferences. Both remove up to 99% of lead from water, but the Longlast+ is designed for a water pitcher, while the faucet filter attaches onto your faucet. The Longlast+ takes a few minutes to filter water, while the faucet system filters water instantly.