One of the most important things to look for in a water filter pitcher is a BPA-free design.
Here, we’ve discussed everything you should know about BPA-free materials in water filter pitchers.
📌 Key Takeaways:
- BPA is a chemical with known health effects, which is still used widely in the manufacturing of some plastics today.
- Water filter pitchers have a plastic design. Most pitchers are made from Tritan plastic, which is usually BPA-free.
- You can check the manufacturer’s marketing information to see if their product has a BPA-free design. Or, opt for a glass water pitcher.
Table of Contents
- 🔎 What Is BPA?
- ⚠️ What’s The Risk Of BPA In Drinking Water?
- 📈 What Level Of BPA Is Safe In Water?
- ⚙️ What Are Water Filter Pitchers Made Of?
- 🆓 Are All Water Filter Pitchers BPA-Free?
- 📖 How To Know If A Water Filter Pitcher Uses BPA-Free Materials
- 🤔 Is A Water Filter Pitcher Safe If It’s BPA-Free?
- ✅ Do Water Filter Pitchers Remove BPA?
- 🩺 How Else To Reduce Your Exposure To BPA
- 🔚 Final Word
🔎 What Is BPA?
BPA is an industrial chemical with several known health concerns.
This popular additive has been used for around 40 years to make a variety of plastic products, and helps to protect foods and beverages from contamination and spoilage.
BPA is commonly found in water bottles, plastic food containers, and baby bottles. It’s also found in some water filter pitchers (more on that later).
It wasn’t until recently that numerous studies were conducted on the safety of BPA in consumer products, and we discovered that this chemical has dangerous health effects.
⚠️ What’s The Risk Of BPA In Drinking Water?
Some of the risks of BPA in drinking water are:
Several studies have found that BPA may cause infertility in women and men. In one study, women with frequent miscarriages were found to have triple the amount of BPA in their blood compared to women with successful pregnancies. Studies have also found that men are more likely to have a lower sperm count and concentration if they’re exposed to high levels of PFA.
Another known health effect of BPA is its hormone-disruptive properties due to its ability to mimic estrogen and bind to estrogen receptors. As a result, ingesting BPA in your water may lead to altered energy levels, reproduction, growth, and thyroid function.
Heart Disease & Diabetes
BPA ingestion has also been linked to an increased risk of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In one study, high levels of BPA in the blood were found to increase diabetes risk by 21-60% and heart disease risk by 8-63% compared to no or low levels of BPA in the blood.
Other Health Problems
Some of the other health problems that are associated with exposure to BPA are:
- Increased obesity risk
- Delayed fetal growth
- Increased risk of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Worsened immune function
- Abnormal thyroid hormone production
We’re still learning about the potential health risks of BPA today. What’s for certain is that this chemical is dangerous and certainly shouldn’t be used in products that come into contact with food and drinking water.
📈 What Level Of BPA Is Safe In Water?
BPA is known to be damaging to health even at low levels, so we think that no amount of BPA is safe in drinking water.
However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that humans shouldn’t experience adverse health effects if they’re exposed to less than 2.25 milligrams per pound (5 mg per kg) of bodyweight of this chemical.
The FDA still recognizes BPA as a safe additive in packaging for foods and liquids, even though it banned BPA from being used in numerous baby products, including formula cans and sippy cups.
Plus, there’s research that shows that BPA has damaging effects even at legally accepted “safe” levels.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t currently regulate BPA in drinking water, so when it comes to protecting ourselves from this chemical, it’s our responsibility alone.
⚙️ What Are Water Filter Pitchers Made Of?
Most water filter pitchers are made from plastic. Tritan is a popular material for water filter pitchers because it’s rigid and durable (meaning it can withstand a few knocks, bumps, and drops), and it’s usually BPA-free.
SAN (styrene acrylonitrile) and NAS (a styrene based plastic) are two other popular materials that make water filter pitcher housings. These plastics are also selected because they’re durable, transparent, resistant to staining, and BPA-free.
The plastic used to make water filter pitchers is hard and transparent, so you can see into the pitcher to check on the filtering process. Some plastics are tinted on the outside, depending on the manufacturer’s branding.
Some water filter pitchers are made from glass. These are a good choice if you want to avoid plastics, but keep in mind that the filters themselves are still usually made with a plastic casing.
There are several different plastics that may be used to make pitcher lids and filter housing or casing. Polypropylene plastic is a popular choice because it doesn’t contain BPA and it’s exceptionally tough, often referred to as “the steel of the plastics industry”.
🆓 Are All Water Filter Pitchers BPA-Free?
No, not all water filter pitchers are BPA-free.
BPA is commonly found in a range of plastics, and some water pitcher manufacturers may use materials that contain BPA. Some manufacturers may simply be unable to tell you whether or not their pitcher and filter materials have a BPA-free design or not.
Don’t just assume that a water filter pitcher is BPA-free if the manufacturer doesn’t state this in the filter’s marketing materials.
📖 How To Know If A Water Filter Pitcher Uses BPA-Free Materials
There are few ways to determine whether or not a water filter pitcher uses BPA-free materials.
Marketed As “BPA-Free”
First, check the manufacturer’s marketing materials to see if the filter is listed as BPA-free.
Brands know that a BPA-free design is a selling point, so if a filter is BPA-free, this information should be readily available on the product page and in the user manual.
You can also check the brand’s FAQs or contact the brand directly if you want to confirm that a certain pitcher is BPA-free.
If the manufacturer doesn’t market their pitcher products as BPA-free, there’s a good chance that they either haven’t tested the materials for BPA, or they can’t guarantee that the materials aren’t BPA-free.
Tested By NSF For Material Safety
An even better way to confirm that a filter pitcher is definitely BPA-free is if the pitcher materials have been tested by the NSF for material safety.
The NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) is a leading authority in water filter standards and independently tests water treatment devices to its standards for performance and material safety for public health protection.
A water pitcher that has been tested by the NSF for material safety gives you the reassurance that the filter is made from safe, durable materials, as confirmed by a highly respected independent certification organization.
Again, if a water filter pitcher uses NSF-tested materials, the manufacturer should make this clear in the product description. But you can contact the manufacturer if you want confirmation or you have additional questions.
Another easy way to know that at least the majority of the materials used in a water filter pitcher are BPA-free is to buy a glass water pitcher.
Glass pitchers have a lot going for them. They have a more attractive, expensive design that looks great in a modern kitchen, as well as the obvious benefit of being BPA-free since they don’t use plastic in their pitcher design.
Note that even if the pitcher jug itself is made from glass, the filter cartridge could have a plastic design, so you should still check that any plastics used in the filter housing are BPA-free.
🤔 Is A Water Filter Pitcher Safe If It’s BPA-Free?
A water filter pitcher is safe from BPA if it truly is BPA-free. However, keep in mind that BPA isn’t the only chemical that’s found in some plastics.
BPS and BPF are two other common chemicals that are found in plastic products today.
The problem is that many manufacturers that use plastics are happily (and truthfully) stating that their products are BPA-free because they’re using other chemicals as substitutes – and these chemicals have their own possible health effects.
So, you might be lured into a false sense of security by reading that a water filter pitcher is BPA-free, when the pitcher could have been made with lesser-known chemicals that have similar abilities to contaminate your water.
The best way to determine the safety of a water filter pitcher is to contact the manufacturer and ask them exactly which chemicals are found in the plastics used to make their pitchers. Specifically mention BPS and BPF, and ask whether these chemicals or any other chemicals have been used to make the pitcher plastic.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that the manufacturer will be able to provide evidence of a safe, chemical-free pitcher design, but if they can, you know you’ve found a reliable brand to buy from.
✅ Do Water Filter Pitchers Remove BPA?
So, now you know about water filter pitchers in regards to BPA-free materials – but do any water pitchers remove BPA?
The answer is yes, most water filter pitchers should, at the very least, reduce BPA. Activated carbon filters, which reduce BPA, are common filters in water filtration pitchers.
Other filters that can reduce BPA are nanofilters, which are found in a couple of more advanced water pitchers that are intended for filtering well water.
Filter brands can even get their filter pitchers certified to NSF 401 for BPA removal, guaranteeing the filter’s performance in this respect.
Not all manufacturers test their pitchers for BPA removal, so if you want a guaranteed filter that can remove BPA, do your research.
We recommend the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher, which removes up to 99.9% of bisphenol A.
🩺 How Else To Reduce Your Exposure To BPA
You’re doing the right thing if you’re researching water filter pitcher materials in advance to make sure they’re not BPA-free.
But the unfortunate reality is that BPA is used widely, and we’re likely to be exposed to the chemical in other areas of daily life.
Here are some of the other ways that you can reduce your exposure to BPA:
- Reduce your intake of canned foods
- If you can’t eliminate canned food, rinse what you can before you cook with it
- Use BPA-free baby bottles, formula cups, and other plastic bottles and containers
- Choose glass or stainless steel containers for storing food
- Especially don’t microwave food in plastic containers, since this will cause the plastics to break down
- Avoid using automatic coffee makers, which often have BPA
- Check recycling codes, since plastics that are marked with 3, 6, or 7 recycling codes may have BPA in them
- Don’t accept paper receipts, which are sometimes lined with BPA
- Avoid cling film and use safer materials for food wrapping
- Choose plastic-free sanitary products
It’s not always obvious to tell when something is made with BPA or not. For that reason, we recommend limiting your exposure to all plastics when possible, or contacting the manufacturer/checking that the product is labelled “non-toxic” or “BPA-free” before you buy it.
🔚 Final Word
BPA is a dangerous chemical, and filtering your water with a pitcher that possibly uses a BPA-containing plastic would be counterintuitive.
Of course, BPA isn’t the only danger in the materials used to make water filter pitchers. Make sure to do your research and find a pitcher that’s free from BPA, BPS, and BPF. Contact the manufacturer for more information if you’re unsure.