Does LifeStraw Remove PFAS? (What You Need to Know)

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

LifeStraw is a brand that’s best known for its emergency straw filter under the same name: LifeStraw. The manufacturer has since expanded to sell other filters for hiking and camping, emergencies, and natural disasters (like bottle filters and gravity filters), as well as a home range of filters, including pitchers and dispensers.

In this guide, we’ve answered the question: “Do LifeStraw water filters remove PFAS?”

๐Ÿšฑ How Do PFAS Get Into Drinking Water?

The reason why PFAS are so predominant in our drinking water supplies is that they have a widespread presence in the environment.

PFAS end up contaminating soils, water sources, and the air as a result of runoff, pollution, and emissions from various facilities (including factories, industrial facilities, and aerospace sites).

Once PFAS are released into the environment, they often linger for decades without breaking down (which is why they’re known as “forever chemicals“. That means there’s a continued risk of PFAS contaminating our drinking water supplies, even as these chemicals are no longer used in the US (they’re still imported into the country, unfortunately).

PFAS may be reduced by water utilities, but most water treatment plants don’t have the infrastructure to remove these chemicals, which is why they may be present in trace amounts in your tap water.

Products that contain PFAs

๐Ÿฉบ What Are the Potential Health Risks of PFAS?

PFAS have been found in human blood worldwide, and the CDC reports that most people living in the United States have at least one type of PFAS in their blood.

So far, we know of several concerning health risks of PFAS exposure, based on research into some of the most common PFAS contaminants (namely PFOA and PFOS).

Drinking PFAS in your water could lead to health conditions including:

  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Thyroid effects
  • Immunity problems
  • Insulin and lipid dysregulation
  • Reproductive problems
  • Developmental effects

Our knowledge of the health effects of PFAS is still limited, and we’re lacking toxicity data on hundreds of other PFAS chemicals that we could be exposed to today.

While PFOA and PFOS are most commonly found in human blood, there are many other PFAS that may also contaminate our drinking water supplies. So, it’s likely that there are other concerning human health effects of forever chemicals that we’re simply not aware of today.

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

We recommend using a certified lab test to test for PFAS in your drinking water.

Lab testing will give you the most accurate results. You won’t simply get a “yes” or “no” as to whether PFAS are present in your water – you’ll also learn which types of PFAS are present, and at what concentration.

The cost of a PFAS lab test is usually hundreds of dollars. Not everyone wants to spend so much on lab testing, and you could get similar data from consulting your Consumer Confidence Report produced by your local water utility.

Water testing with tap score

๐Ÿค” So, Does LifeStraw Filter Out PFAS?

No, the LifeStraw filter (i.e. the straw filter that everyone knows LifeStraw for) does not filter out PFAS.

This filter isn’t advertised to remove PFAS, and the performance data sheet doesn’t list PFAS as a contaminant that the LifeStraw filter can remove.

None of LifeStraw’s other emergency water filter products can remove PFAS either – or, if they can, they haven’t been tested to remove these chemicals.

However, LifeStraw does offer a home range of filters, including water filter pitchers and dispensers, that remove PFAS from water and meet NSF Standard P473 for this purpose.

Lifestraw personal filtration system

๐Ÿšซ What Types Of PFAS Does LifeStraw Remove?

As mentioned above, none of LifeStraw’s emergency filters can remove any type of PFAS.

The LifeStraw home range can remove PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) – two of the most widely used PFAS contaminants worldwide.

According to the performance data sheet for the LifeStraw water filter pitcher and dispenser, this filter has been tested by IAPMO to NSF P473 Standard for its ability to reduce these chemicals, and the maximum PFOA and PFOS output in filtered water was <0.01 part per billion (PPB).

What does that mean? You can rely on the LifeStraw home pitcher and dispenser filter to remove essentially all PFAS from your drinking water supply.

๐Ÿ”Ž How Do LifeStraw Home Filters Remove PFAS?

The LifeStraw home filters remove PFAS with a combination of microfiltration with activated carbon and advanced ion exchange filter media.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists activated carbon and ion exchange as two effective methods of PFAS reduction.

Activated carbon filters work by adsorbing contaminants like PFAS – pulling them out of the water with a physical and chemical process. Activated carbon filter media has proven to be an effective way to reduce PFAS in flow-through filters (i.e. when water flows through the filter media, which traps the contaminants while allowing water molecules to pass through).

Ion exchange resins are made from highly porous media that remove contaminants with a charge. PFAS have a negative charge, so they’re removed by positively charged anion exchange resins. These resins are usually combined with carbon media to improve the filter’s overall performance and contaminant removal abilities.

๐Ÿšฐ Other PFAS Water Filters

LifeStraw’s home range is ideal if you’re looking for a water filter pitcher or dispenser that can effectively reduce PFAS.

However, you might specifically be looking for an emergency water filter that can remove PFAS and turn dirty water into safe drinking water. If you are, what are your options?

We recommend:

  • Countertop gravity filters, like the ProOne Big+ Gravity Water Filter. Many of these have been tested for PFAS reduction and can be used on campsites and in RVs for the treatment of unclean water.
  • Press bottle filters, like the Grayl GeoPress, which removes PFAS and can also be used to remove waterborne pathogens.
  • Some pump filters that use carbon media and/or ion exchange resins.
  • Reverse osmosis filters, which filter water thoroughly, removing toxic perfluoroalkyl substances almost entirely. If you’re treating dirty water with reverse osmosis, you’ll need some form of pre-treatment to protect the RO membrane.

If PFAS removal is your priority in a portable or emergency water filter, make sure the filter you’re looking at has been tested and/or certified for its ability to reduce or remove these chemicals.

ProOne gravity water filter system on countertop

โ” FAQ

Does LifeStraw really remove PFAS?

No, the LifeStraw straw filter doesn’t remove PFAS – and there’s nothing in the manufacturer’s marketing that suggests it can. In fact, LifeStraw makes it very clear that currently, only its home range of filters are classed as PFAS filters, due to their ability to remove PFOA and PFOS.

Does LifeStraw filter forever chemicals?

No. Forever chemicals are another name for PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). LifeStraw isn’t capable of removing these chemicals. However, the LifeStraw pitcher filter and dispenser filter models for home use can remove forever chemicals, producing clean drinking water for your family.

About The Author

Scroll to Top