Arsenic is one of the top 5 carcinogens found in tap water. Exposure to it can cause bladder, lung, and skin cancer. It’s also toxic to your liver and gut and linked to inflammation, diabetes and heart disease.
There are five ways to remove contaminants
like arsenic from water; reverse osmosis, activated alumina, ion
exchange, activated carbon, and distillation.
Water pitcher filters use activated carbon and are the cheapest and easiest to use. Many pitcher filters are certified under the Water Quality Association (WQA) Gold Seal Product Certification Program and have been tested and certified by the WQA to reduce many metals, including lead, volatile organic compounds, and several pesticides. But, none are certified to remove arsenic.
Luckily, I found a study that tested how well five tabletop water pitcher filters removed arsenic from drinking water. The pitchers tested were PUR, Brita, ZeroWater, Great Value (Wal-Mart) and HDX (Home Depot).
The tests showed that all the filters except the HDX reduced the arsenic concentration below 10 micrograms per liter (μg/L) when arsenic levels in the water were low. This is the maximum exposure amount set by the EPA.
However, most of these filters did not remove most of the arsenic (max 34.8%). Especially when the arsenic levels were higher.
Only the ZeroWater filter reduced the arsenic concentration to less than 1 μg/L and removed 100%.
There are some other options. According to independent lab testing results available on its website, the Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher removes 99.8% of arsenic. These filters also remove a lot of other water contaminants.
Another countertop water filter that will remove arsenic,and the one I use, is the Berkey. This is a stainless steel countertop gravity filter that tests show reduces arsenic levels in water to below 2 ug/L. Plus, like the Aquagear, these filters remove many other types of contaminants.
Reverse osmosis systems are the only types of water filters certified to remove arsenic from water. You can set up a whole house or point of use reverse osmosis system.
Be aware, this process strips the beneficial minerals from water, making it acidic. Drinking de-mineralized water results in minerals being transferred from your body to this water and being flushed from your body.
To learn more about the contaminants in drinking water and the filters that remove them check out the following posts.