Water Filters and Microplastics

Do water filters remove microplastics from tap water?
Reviewed and edited by Tod Cooperman, M.D. Tod Cooperman, M.D.
Initial Posting: 6/12/2019    Last Update: 8/30/2019
Water Filters for Microplastics -- water filter pitcher pouring water into glass
Plastic pollution in drinking water is a growing concern, with recent studies finding much of the world's tap and bottled water to be contaminated with small bits of plastic known as microplastics. Traditional water filters can remove heavy metals like lead and mercury, microbial contaminants, particulates such as sand, and some filters may help to remove certain industrial chemicals, herbicides or pharmaceuticals.

We have not yet tested common, above-the-counter filters such as Brita, Pur, Propur, and Lifestraw to determine their abilities to remove microplastics from tap water. However, based on a review of their claims and filtering abilities, they should be able to clear substantial amounts of microplastics. More sophisticated filtration systems are necessary to more completely remove microplastics from tap water. See the full answer for details.

ConsumerLab will be testing home water filters for their ability to filter microplastics and other water contaminants, with results expected in early 2020.

Learn More About Microplastics:

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See other recent and popular questions >>

Carole18811   January 5, 2020
I also request that you ALSO test the water filters for MOLD! It seems to be a problem with many of the water systems - PUR, BRITA, and even Burkey! I was VERY disappointed to find out that the Berkey could have mold problems. I asked the manufacturer about this and they told me that they try to address this issue, but mold is a problem!

I have used highly rated water systems for years, but notice an off order every now and then with most of them!

Susan18809   January 5, 2020
Please test the Berkey charcoal filter system.

Bruce18808   January 5, 2020
Please consider adding ClearlyFiltered filtration pitchers to your test group.

Vicki18807   January 5, 2020
Yes! I agree with the other requests to please test the black Berkey filters.

Christi18816   January 6, 2020
Yes, please test both kinds of the Berkey filters - black used on the top of the filter and the white used in the base of the system.

ralph18805   January 5, 2020
please test Multi pure under sink filtration systems mp750 & aqua shower filter.
Many thanks

jENNIFER E18801   January 5, 2020
Please test Hydroviv tap, frig and showers filters. I had water filtered through these tested by an independent testing company. They removed all contaminants found on unfiltered water samples. But they did not test for micro plastics as far as I know.

Phyllis18794   December 31, 2019
Another vote for Zero. I use the pitcher and much prefer it over Pur and Brita, both of which I have used. I'm a long time subscriber, thanks for your continued great work.   January 2, 2020
Thank you for your suggestion Phyllis, and your kind words. We're glad you are enjoying ConsumerLab!

Philip and Roni18787   December 30, 2019
Please test Berkey and zero water..and of zero water's plastic container could leach into water!

amy18722   December 11, 2019
Please test the AquaTru filter if possible...thanks much....

Michael18678   November 27, 2019
Try ZERO WATER. I have purchased two pitchers and they send along a measuring meter to test. In two different houses: First house: (with water softener and whole house filter) TDS (Total dissolved solids) H2O faucet: 146..after filtering: 0
second house: Only a H2O faucet: TDS 245..after filtering: 0.
The filter lasts longer at the First house as there aren't as many TDS to filter. A filter typically lasts 18-30 days depending on the amount of H2O filtered. When the meter reads 6 they suggest changing to a new filter. For my personal taste at 4 I change the filter as the H2O gets a bitter taste to me. I hope Consumer lab tests this filter.

WILLIAM18802   January 5, 2020
I have had several ZERO filters and am completely satisfied . I agree that Consumer Labs should definitely test this product.

Andrew18567   October 26, 2019
Hopefully, you are testing popular, affordable faucet mount filters, like the Culligan FM-15A and the Brita Model SAFF-100.

Neil18531   October 15, 2019
Please test Clear2O filter pitchers. They are similar to Brita, but carbon-filtered, so they rated higher on Consumer Reports. However, as I recollect, CR did not test for microplastics.

Sandra18517   October 14, 2019
Ditto on testing berkey water filters please..

Sam18538   October 16, 2019
Came here to say this. Have owned a Big Berkey for several years and use it religiously.

mike 18783   December 29, 2019
test Berkey filters

Keith18512   October 13, 2019
Here's another vote for a test of the Berkey filter system. Thanks for your service ConsumerLab!   October 14, 2019
Thank you Keith! We will keep your suggestion in mind.

Star18779   December 29, 2019
Here's another vote for testing the black Berkey filters.

David18477   October 2, 2019
Many get water from an in store R.O. water machine which should get everything out. We also reuse the plastic jugs over and over. Please test this process as it is used by many.

Kenneth18510   October 13, 2019
Also re-use my own plastic jugs via a Reverse Osmosis in-store water filtration system. Interested in Consumer Lab's comments & insights on this !   October 15, 2019
Hi Kenneth - We aren't aware of studies on microplastic exposure from plastic jugs, but, based on this study with plastic water bottles, it might be best wipe jug tops clean if repeatedly opening-closing with screw-on plastic caps.

Steve18475   October 2, 2019
Are Multipure systems on your test list? They make a range of above counter and below counter filter systems and claim filtration down to 0.5 microns.
I have used their filters for ~30 years but have no stake or financial interest in the company.   October 9, 2019
Thank you for your suggestion Steve, we will keep it in mind.

Stephen18776   December 29, 2019
I second a test on Multipure. I have used their above-counter system for the past 20 years.

Lesa18806   January 5, 2020
I third testing Multipure. I've used their counter top model for almost thirty years and would love to know!

Tim and Joe18303   September 5, 2019
and oddly, both of these company's filters then filter the water into a... wait for it... plastic pitcher.

I own a countertop model water distiller. Bought it in 1995 while training for marathons (one drinks a LOT of water during such training), has worked flawlessly for me ever since - thousands of gallons have been purified in that machine.

But now I wonder... do microplastic particles evaporate with the steam? and if so, will they be caught in the carbon after-filter?

Ronnie18301   September 5, 2019
The Aquasana Clean Water Machine website says that it filters out particles above .5 microns.

Nancy18483   October 6, 2019
.5 microns is 500 nanometers. The real problem is not micro plastics, which there are many filters that will take care of much of that, it is the nanometer sized particles that are the real problem. They are absorbed through your skin, the seriousness of which has been difficult to assess. This is only a recent discovery, so while filtering down to ,05 microns (50nanometers) is awesome, don't get too comfortable thinking you are safe.

Thomas18286   September 2, 2019
Please consider testing the BERKEY systems.   September 4, 2019
Hi Thomas - thank you for your suggestion.

Tom18306   September 8, 2019
Please also test ceramic filter such as "Doulton Ceramic Water Filter Candle" as ceramic water filter is also a good solution when filtering water I believe. I used to use that ceramic filter till' a few years ago and it produces a good ph balanced water on top of filtering benefits. I used alkaline water testing drops to measure the ph of the ceramic filtered water and the filtered water color changes to purple blue color after 1 or 2 drops. The ph level drops over the months as the filter gets old and dirty and the water color changes slightly toward greenish blue when testing again after a few months of using the filter but still the ph level is in the safe range. Ever since I found out that most bottled water is acidic, I only drink filtered water.
I don't use them for now only because of my current living situation but I will go back to using it when I'm able to.
I have more faith in ceramic filters than those counter-top plastic water jug filers like Brita or Pur etc.

I never heard of microplastic before and have no idea that the ceramic filter will also remove microplastic particles.

So please test the Doulton ceramic filters.

Carol18513   October 13, 2019

Ronnie18284   September 2, 2019
Aquasana Clean Water Machine, which I bought because water filtered by PUR filter had funny taste to me, is a powered countertop filter, meaning you plug it in and it forces water through a filter which is supposed to get better filtration than "passive" filters.. It is certified to meet both ANSI Standards that PUR meets plus the new standard (401 I think) for removing drugs thrown away into water sytsems that get into drinking water. I a going to look up the micron level for particulates.It does seem to me to be the best countertop filter I have had..

Stan18277   September 1, 2019
I hope you will also test Culligan filters of various types.

Jurene18500   October 13, 2019
yes, please test Culligan filters!

Jerri18651   November 17, 2019
It would be nice if you also tested Culligan Level 4 filter cartridge. It is one of the more reasonably priced cartridges for under the sink that says it removes lead.

Maia18050   June 15, 2019
FYI: Berkey responded
" The microplastics have not been tested for so we are not able to say if they are removed or reduced or not, however the pore structure size of the microplastics are around 10 and the Berkey filters pore structure will trap anything larger than a 2 so they are more than likely being removed but we can't say for sure. Below is a list of all of the contaminants that have been tested for and what is removed and reduced and to what level. If you have any more questions please let us know."
Kindest Regards,

Charles18035   June 12, 2019
How well would a more expensive above-counter filter, such as the Berkey, filter out these particles?

Sharon18049   June 15, 2019
Berkey states they remove viruses down to 24-26 nanometers which would be smaller than the microplastics, so logic would lean toward yes, Berkey does filter out microplastics. The other side of that is that I have not seen any studies showing the black Berkey filter and it's effect on microplastics. Until that study is done, I don't think there is a black and white answer. I have seen Berkey filter water from a muddy creek and produce a clean drinkable product; however I sure didn't have a way to test for microplastics.

James R18024   June 12, 2019
I recommend a reverse osmosis unit for many health reasons yet the neatest is that over time a gallon of R/O filtered tap water costs about $0.10/gal. I use a glass 3L jug to store the water avoiding plastic bottles.

Catherine18034   June 12, 2019
James R18204, is there any certain brand of RO filter that you recommend? I've been thinking about getting one installed.

Laura18036   June 12, 2019
Consider AquaTru. It uses three different kinds of filtration including RO, doesn't require installation, and has great customer service.

David18292   September 4, 2019
How could this good, that unit is made of plastic?

Don18041   June 13, 2019
We have been very happy with this RO + filters system, but it ain't cheap ($252 on Amazon) and it does require undersink installation.

We have no financial interest in the product or the company.

Home Master TM Undersink Reverse Osmosis System .

Stanley 18506   October 13, 2019
We use I clear, water tastes great.

Carol18515   October 13, 2019
I currently have an Ecosoft 5-stage system, because it was cheaper than replacing all 5 of the iSpring filters when it became time to do so. I liked the idea of having a new storage tank too. Got both from Amazon.

The most expensive part of getting one was the handyman's time. Mine knows his way around such things but both systems were buggers to get installed. You'll also need a lot of space for the tank and the filters under the sink.

As much as I consider an RO filter a necessity, if my filtered water has been sitting out for a day, it will have an off taste. Nothing as bad as tap water, but previously opened bottled water always tastes clean even weeks later. I guess microplastics don't have a taste to them fresh or stale.

Wendy18203   August 15, 2019
We had our well water tested before and after RO filtered and arsenic was removed. Was storing in plastic, will switch to glass.

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This CL Answer initially posted on 6/12/2019. Last updated 8/30/2019. members may submit questions to We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.



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