PFAS in Drinking Water: How to Filter Water for Forever Chemicals

Millions of people are exposed to PFAS in drinking water. Learn how to filter tap water to eliminate PFAS up to 100%.

Drink up to PFAS-free water.

As we confront the reality of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contaminating our drinking water, it's crucial to take proactive steps to protect our health. Unfortunately, an estimated 45% of U.S. tap water is affected by PFAS contamination. Therefore, millions are exposed to PFAS daily [1]. By empowering ourselves with knowledge and taking action, such as testing and filtering our water for PFAS, we can create safer home environments while prioritizing our well-being! Here’s everything you need to know about removing PFAS from drinking water. 


What Are PFAS and Why Are They Dangerous?

PFAS are human-made chemicals widely used in manufacturing for their nonstick properties, as well as their resistance to water, stains, grease, and fire [2]. These properties make PFAS common in items like nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, food packaging, and firefighting foams.

However, the same stability that makes PFAS useful also makes them problematic. PFAS are often referred to as "forever chemicals" because they do not break down easily in the environment or the human body. 

Over time, PFAS accumulate, leading to potential health risks. Research has linked PFAS exposure to several adverse health effects, including cancer and decreased immunity [3][4]. 

The danger of PFAS lies in the fact that it can take decades for some PFAS to break down [5]. Not only are they around for a long time, but PFAS can also move through soil and contaminate drinking water sources [6]. 

This widespread environmental presence means that many people are exposed to these chemicals without realizing it. Given these concerns, regulatory agencies and scientists are working to better understand PFAS and develop strategies to mitigate their impact on health and the environment. 

In the meantime, put your health into your own hands. Make proactive approaches to minimize your exposure to forever chemicals. A great place to start is by testing and filtering your water. 

Why Does Drinking Water Contain PFAS?

We understand how crucial it is to ensure the safety and cleanliness of your drinking water. Unfortunately, some areas are more susceptible to PFAS contamination than others, depending on various environmental and industrial factors. Recognizing this risk is the first step toward protecting your health and that of your loved ones. 

PFAS contamination can occur through several pathways:

  • Industrial Discharge: Factories that use or produce PFAS can release these chemicals into nearby water bodies.
  • Firefighting Foams: The use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams at airports, military bases, and other locations can lead to significant contamination of local water sources.
  • Landfills: PFAS can leach into groundwater from waste containing these substances in landfills.
  • Agricultural Runoff: Use of fertilizers and pesticides contaminated with PFAS can result in these chemicals seeping into water supplies.
  • Wastewater Treatment Plants: Effluent from these plants may contain PFAS, which can then enter rivers, lakes, and groundwater.

Each of these sources can contribute to the presence of PFAS in your drinking water, posing potential health risks over time. To reduce these risks, consider using water filtration systems designed to remove PFAS, regularly testing your water, and staying informed about local water quality reports.

How to Find Out If Your Water Contains PFAS

Clean water is a fundamental right. Unfortunately, billions of people have access to contaminated water. While it should be, this information isn’t always readily available. So, we must take the time to do a bit of research ourselves. 

Some areas provide regular water quality reports, often called Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR), which can give you detailed information about contaminants in your local water supply. Requesting these reports from your local water supplier is an excellent way to stay informed.

For those using private wells, taking the initiative is crucial. You'll need to have your water tested by a certified lab to ensure it meets safety standards. While this might seem daunting, knowing your water's quality empowers you to take the necessary steps to protect your health.

Additionally, many options are available for those who prefer to test their water independently. Brands like TapScore offer comprehensive water testing kits that can detect a wide range of contaminants, including PFAS. These kits provide personalized insights into your water quality and recommend ways to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. Testing for yourself ensures that you have immediate, actionable information about your water's safety.

Interactive PFAS Water Contamination Map

The number of U.S. communities confirmed to be contaminated with PFAS continues to grow at an alarming rate. As of May 2024, the latest data shows 6,189 locations in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories are known to be contaminated.

To help individuals and communities understand the extent of PFAS contamination, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has developed an interactive PFAS map. This tool reveals PFAS pollution in both public and private water systems, offering a comprehensive view of the issue. You can explore specific areas to see detailed information on contamination levels and sources.

Using this map can be incredibly useful for determining how to handle your public water supply. By understanding the contamination levels in your area, you can make more informed decisions about water filtration solutions, 

New EPA Regulations for PFAS in Water

PFAS-free water is on the way! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently passed a regulation that requires public water systems to begin ongoing compliance monitoring and public reporting of PFAS levels starting in 2027 [7]. 

Public water systems have until 2029 to implement solutions to reduce PFAS levels if their monitoring shows exceedances set by the regulation. The EPA estimates that 6-10% of the 66,000 public water systems will find PFAS once testing begins. If you get your water from a public utility, they are required to notify you if PFAS levels are detected above the legal limit.

Acceptable PFAS levels differ by the specific compound. The average maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) of PFAS range from 4.0 to 10.0 parts per trillion (ppt). This means there are 4 to 10 parts of the contaminant for every trillion parts of water [8].

That might sound small, but these tiny chemicals can do a lot of damage to our bodies, even in small amounts. Plus, 2029 is a long time away. We must be proactive by filtering our water to remove PFAS. 

Water Filters to Remove PFAS

Ensuring your drinking water is free from harmful contaminants like PFAS is essential for your health. Use a certified water filter. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce your exposure to these chemicals. 

Any filter is better than no filter, but it’s important to choose one specifically designed to tackle PFAS. While no filter can remove 100% of PFAS, certified products can significantly reduce your exposure to PFAS in drinking water.

The most effective filters for removing PFAS use reverse osmosis (RO) or granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration technologies. Let’s take a closer look at each. 

Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filters

Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters are very effective for filtering harmful chemicals, typically removing up to 90% of PFAS [9]. 

Examples of these systems include under-sink systems and countertop RO units. These systems push water through the membrane, leaving contaminants behind and providing a high level of purification. 

However, it's important to know that RO systems use a lot of water to work well. For every gallon of clean water they produce, several gallons of water may be used and discarded. This can be a concern for people who want to save water.

Despite this, RO systems are popular because they do a great job of removing many different contaminants. Regular maintenance and changing the filters on time are also necessary to keep the system working effectively.

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) Filters

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters are a more affordable option than RO systems but may not be as effective. In these filters, PFAS stick to the porous carbon surface as water passes through. They are particularly good at removing organic chemicals, chlorine, and certain pesticides from water. 

The EPA indicates that GAC filtration can remove up to 99% of PFOA and PFOS. However, the removal rates for other PFAS can vary from 77% to 99% [10].  Effectiveness can vary, so look for independent certification to ensure you’re choosing a reliable product. 

Generally, GAC filters are less expensive and easier to maintain compared to RO systems. They often require less frequent filter changes. GAC filters are available for pitcher filters, faucet mounts, and refrigerator filters.

Top-rated PFAS-reducing Filters

  • Berkey Travel: Stainless steel, gravity-fed filtration systems tested by EWG to remove PFAS 100%. [11]
  • ]Clearly Filtered: Pitcher that removes up to 365 contaminants, including PFAS and bisphenols.
  • ZeroWater: Countertop model is IAPMO-certified to remove PFAS
  • Brondell Coral: An under-sink or countertop RO system known for its high effectiveness.
  • Aquasana: An under-sink or countertop RO or GAC system with strong performance.

Remember, even the best filters require regular maintenance to remain effective. Ensure you replace the filter cartridges on schedule according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Taking these steps empowers you to protect your health by reducing your exposure to PFAS in your drinking water. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please reach out. Your well-being is our top priority.

Other Water Use Considerations 

While using filters can effectively provide clean drinking water, it's important to consider other household uses where you may still be exposed to PFAS. Bathing and showering generally pose a low ingestion risk. 

However, activities such as washing produce with contaminated water or watering vegetable gardens can increase your exposure to these harmful chemicals. Therefore, it’s crucial to address all potential sources of contamination in your household.

By taking these steps, you can significantly reduce your overall exposure to PFAS, ensuring a safer and healthier environment for you and your family. 

Remove PFAS from Water, Remove PFAS from Your Life

PFAS contamination in water is a pressing concern, but it’s not the only way these chemicals can infiltrate your life. To effectively reduce your exposure to PFAS, it's essential to take a multi-faceted approach. 

How do I remove PFAS from my drinking water? Start by ensuring your drinking water is filtered using reliable methods such as Reverse Osmosis (RO) or Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters. But don't stop there. PFAS are also present in everyday items. Being aware of their presence in these items is key to minimizing your exposure to PFAS.

Opt for stainless steel or cast iron cookware instead of nonstick pans, which often contain PFAS. Be cautious with fast food packaging and microwave popcorn bags, as these frequently use PFAS for their grease-resistant properties. 

Moreover, check labels on personal care products and avoid those that list "PTFE" or "fluoro" ingredients. These small changes in your daily choices can make a substantial difference over time, helping to protect your health and the environment.

While eliminating PFAS entirely can be challenging due to their inability to break down, we can certainly control other harmful chemicals in our lives. Million Marker's Detect & Detox Test Kit empowers you to take action against chemicals like bisphenols, phthalates, parabens, and oxybenzone.

Like PFAS, these chemicals are harmful to the body. Unlike PFAS, these chemicals are easier to eliminate from the body.

By testing for these substances, you gain actionable insights and tips for avoiding them. This allows you to make informed decisions about the products you use and the habits you maintain, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Take charge of your well-being today by understanding what’s in your environment and making choices that support your health and wellness routine.