Answer:

As discussed in ConsumerLab's Water Filter Pitchers Review, plastic pollution in drinking water is a growing concern. Recent studies have found much of the world's tap and bottled water to be contaminated with small bits of plastic known as microplastics. For example, a study of tap water samples from 14 countries including the U.S. found man-made particles in 81% of the samples tested, and the annual intake per person of microplastic from tap water was estimated to be 4,400 to 5,800 particles. Water samples contained an average of 5.45 particles (fibers and fragments, although mostly fibers) per liter — but samples from the U.S. had the highest average for any for any country -- 9.24 particles per liter. When these water samples went through a filter that could remove particles as small as 2.5 microns, 41.5% of the samples were still contaminated (Kosuth, PLoS One 2018).

ConsumerLab's tests of popular countertop water filter pitchers found there was wide variation in their ability to remove microplastics from tap water. The tests showed one water filter removed all detectable microplastic particles, while two others reduced particles by 80% and 36%, respectively. Surprisingly, one pitcher increased the number of microplastic particles per liter of water to 437.4 particles — a 1,206% increase.

See the results, including how well the pitchers filtered other substances, such as toxic heavy metals, chlorine and dissolved solids (which can affect taste), and CL's Top Pick, in the Water Filter Pitchers Review.

Also, be aware that tap water is not the only source of microplastics you may ingest. The total annual consumption of microplastics per person, from all food and water, is estimated to be between 39,000 to 52,000 particles. Bottled water generally contains more microplastic than tap water; if one were to drink only bottled water, this could contribute an additional 90,000 particles per year (Cox, Environ Sci Technol 2019). (For more about bottled water and microplastics found by brand, see our related answer.)

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55 Comments

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Jackie20435
July 22, 2020

Please test the new Mercola countertop water filter system that claims to remove fluoride as well as other contaminants.

Danielle20355
July 9, 2020

please test hydroviv filtering system

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.

Michelle20886
September 6, 2020

Yes! A review of Berkey would be great

Jennifer21246
October 28, 2020

Please review the Berkey water filter.

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.

ConsumerLab.com
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!

ConsumerLab.com
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 !

ConsumerLab.com
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.
https://www.multipure.com
I have used their filters for ~30 years but have no stake or financial interest in the company.

ConsumerLab.com
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.

ConsumerLab.com
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

Yes!

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.

Stan21354
November 15, 2020

I too would luke to see CL test Culligan faucet filters as well as other popular brands. Faucet filters need replacement every few months but they are so much more convenient than pitchers ---or expensive under sink equipment.

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,
Jennie

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.

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 .

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.

David18292
September 4, 2019

How could this good, that unit is made of plastic?

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.

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