Toxic PFAS Leach Through Most In-Home Drinking Water Filters

Filters on refrigerator doors, pitcher-style filters, and whole-house filtration systems might function differently overall, but they have one thing in common: they might not be removing all toxic drinking water contaminants. Toxic PFAS, dubbed “forever chemicals,” persist in the environment indefinitely and accumulate in the human body. 99.9 percent of humans worldwide have PFAS in their bloodstreams. 

Duke and North Carolina State University scientists found that most filters are only partially effective in removing PFAS. Research suggests that several filters, if not properly maintained, can lead to even higher levels. PFAS have known health impacts and are a widespread presence in the environment, especially in drinking water. Exposure to these toxic chemicals is associated with various cancers, low birth weight in babies, thyroid disease, impaired immune function, and other health disorders. PFAS can also affect reproductive and developmental health in mothers and children.

“We tested 76 point-of-use filters and 13 point-of-entry or whole-house systems and found their effectiveness varied widely,” said Heather Stapleton, the Dan and Bunny Gabel Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

“All of the under-sink reverse osmosis and two-stage filters achieved near-complete removal of the PFAS chemicals we were testing for. In contrast, the effectiveness of activated-carbon filters used in many pitcher, countertop, refrigerator, and faucet-mounted styles was inconsistent and unpredictable. The whole-house systems were also widely variable and, in some cases, actually increased PFAS levels in the water,” Stapleton said.

Reverse osmosis and two-stage filters reduced PFAS levels by 94 percent or more in water. Activated carbon filters removed 73 percent of PFAS contaminants, on average, but results varied greatly. While the chemicals were entirely removed in some cases, they were not reduced at all in others. Researchers suggest changing filters regularly is the best way to ensure proper functionality. Whole-house systems using activated carbon filters varied widely.

To learn more, read the full report by Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. To be sure your home is getting the best filtration system that meets your needs, contact a water conditioning specialist. Contact the professionals at Reynolds Water Conditioning today and schedule a consultation to remove toxic chemicals from your drinking water.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in offering the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems:

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