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Do Household Water Filters Effectively Remove Harmful PFAS?

Drinking unfiltered water can expose you to a range of different unwanted bacteria and pathogens. Point of entry and point of use filters are only partially effective in removing the perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl or PFAs, in drinking water. As industry experts in water filtration and installation in Bucks County, we sought to determine the efficacy of water filters in removing PFAs from water.

What are PFAs?

PFAs are a class of industrial-grade synthetic chemicals used in various industrial processes and common household goods. There are over 4,000 chemicals that constitute PFAs. According to a 2021 study by the CDC, PFAs cause an increased risk of developing heart disease, thyroid problems, and cancerhttps://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp200.pdf,

Water Filter Effectiveness in Eliminating PFAs

PFAs or forever chemicals cause various health issues, from cancer to thyroid issues. According to EWG, PFAs contaminate drinking water for 110 million Americans. Drinking water isn’t the sole source of exposure to PFA but ranks top with other factors like cooking with eroding non-stick cookware.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory for allowable PFAs in water is 70 ppt. Individual states have distinct directives, with New Hampshire having the strictest PFA standards. New Jersey’s limit is 13 ppt–24 ppt. Water filters leverage different filtration methods, from reverse osmosis (RO) to carbon activation, to filter out the forever chemicals.

Under the sink, RO and two-stage filters are the most effective, filtering about 90% of PFAs. Pitcher-style filters, faucet-mounted ion exchange resin, and refrigerator water filters have lower efficacy. Even worse is if they use carbon-activated filtration, which may increase PFA levels at some points of use. Carbon-activated filters remove about 73% of PFAs. Changing filters in the water filters improves efficacy.

Research shows that reverse osmosis water filters are the most effective in removing water contaminants, PFAs included. Closed-circuit RO reduced PFA levels to 2 ppt (the lowest detectable level). Large-scale municipal filters use carbon-activated filters since they are cheaper. You will want to install a reputable filter from Blue Heron Water to lower PFAs levels below the government advisory levels.

Test Your Tap Water for PFAs

The main problem with some states not filtering PFAs is they don’t recognize they have the problem yet. But you can be proactive and test for PFAs in your tap water. Hire a certified lab or technician from Blue Heron Water to test for PFAs and other contaminants in your drinking water. You can only determine the appropriate water filter for your point of entry and point of use water channels after a test.

The Most Effective Filters for Removing PFAs

Reverse osmosis filters are the best filters to remove PFAs from water. The drawback is that they attract a high price tag. But the initial upfront cost is worth the investment if you want to protect yourself and your family from ingesting PFA-contaminated water.

Here’s a list of some of the best filter units you can buy for your home:

  • AquaTru RO system – the only certified countertop RO system.
  • Aquasana AQ-5300
  • Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter

PFAs abound in municipal water lines, private wells, and multiple other water sources. One thing is for sure – you don’t want them in your body. Water filters partially remove PFAs from water. Contact Blue Heron Water in Bucks County to install the most effective water filters that lower PFA levels below the government’s and state’s advisory levels.

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