What does Brita not filter out? Surprising contaminants found in tap water.

The Brita water pitcher is a popular and convenient option for those looking to enjoy better tasting, filtered water at home. While the activated carbon filter made of coconut can successfully remove a number of contaminants from tap water, it’s important to understand what Brita does not filter out. Here are some examples of what the Brita filter cannot remove:
  • Nitrates: Brita filters are not designed to remove nitrates, which are a type of contaminant that can come from fertilizers, manure, and other agricultural practices.
  • Minerals: While the activated carbon filter can remove some dissolved solids, such as copper, zinc, and cadmium, it cannot remove all minerals that may be present in tap water.
  • Bacteria and viruses: Unfortunately, the Brita filter is not capable of removing bacteria and viruses that may be present in tap water. This is because activated carbon filters work through absorption, and bacteria and viruses are typically too small to be absorbed by the filter media.
  • It’s important to note that while the Brita filter may not be able to remove all contaminants from tap water, it can still be an effective way to improve the taste and odor of your drinking water. If you’re concerned about specific contaminants in your water, it may be worth investing in a more advanced filtration system or having your water tested by a professional.
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    The Limitations of Activated Carbon Filters

    Activated carbon filters, like the one used in Brita water pitchers, are popular due to their affordability and ease of use. While they are effective in removing certain contaminants, they do have limitations. Activated carbon filters work by adsorption, which means contaminants are absorbed into the carbon structure. One of the biggest limitations of activated carbon filters is their inability to remove all types of impurities. For example, nitrates and dissolved minerals cannot be removed through adsorption. Additionally, bacteria and viruses cannot be adsorbed by activated carbon filters, which means they can still remain in the water.

    Brita’s Filtering Process

    Brita water pitchers work by using an activated carbon filter made from natural coconut shells. The filter undergoes a process called activation, where it’s treated with high heat, oxygen, and steam to develop millions of pores between the carbon atoms. During the filtration process, water passes through the activated carbon filter, which removes impurities by adsorption. The carbon filter removes chlorine, copper, mercury, and cadmium, among other contaminants. It also improves the taste and odour of water.

    What Contaminants Remain in Water After Filtration

    While Brita filters are effective in removing certain contaminants, there are still some that remain in the water. These include:
    • Fluoride
    • Sodium
    • Nitrate
    • Lead
    • Chlorine-resistant viruses and bacteria
    Note: It’s important to note that the types and levels of contaminants present in tap water vary depending on the municipality and source of water.

    The Role of Nitrates in Drinking Water

    Nitrates are naturally occurring compounds found in soil and water. They are also found in fertilizer and sewage. High levels of nitrates in drinking water can pose a health risk, particularly for infants and pregnant women.
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    Unfortunately, activated carbon filters like those used in Brita pitchers are not able to remove nitrates from water. If you’re concerned about nitrates in your drinking water, consider testing your water and using an alternative filtration method.

    Harmful Minerals that Can’t Be Filtered by Brita

    Dissolved minerals, like calcium and magnesium, are naturally occurring in water. While they aren’t necessarily harmful, they can cause issues, such as hard water stains and buildup in pipes. Activated carbon filters are not effective in removing dissolved minerals from water. Furthermore, certain minerals can be harmful if present in high enough concentrations. For example, high levels of lead in drinking water have been linked to developmental delays and other health problems. It’s important to note that Brita filters are not designed to remove all harmful minerals from water.

    Understanding Bacteria and Viruses in Water

    While Brita filters are effective in removing some contaminants, they are not effective in removing bacteria and viruses. Chlorine-resistant bacteria and viruses, like E. coli and norovirus, can still be present in filtered water. To ensure that your water is free from harmful bacteria and viruses, consider boiling your water or using a UV sterilizer. It’s also recommended that you replace your Brita filter regularly to prevent any buildup of bacteria in the filter.

    The Importance of Regular Filter Replacement

    To ensure that your Brita filter is effective, it’s important to replace it regularly. Over time, activated carbon filters can become clogged with contaminants, reducing their effectiveness. Brita recommends replacing the filter every 40 gallons or 2 months, whichever comes first.
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    Additionally, it’s important to store your water pitcher properly to prevent any contamination. Always wash the pitcher and lid before use, and refill it with clean, filtered water. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that you have access to clean, fresh-tasting water right from your own kitchen.

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