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Five Contaminants Reverse Osmosis Removes That Pitcher Filters Can’t

You bought the Brita, the Pur, or the generic brand water filter pitchers because your water doesn’t taste quite like you’d like. Generally speaking, this over the counter solution might work when it comes to improving water taste, however, they can provide a false sense of security regarding some common water contaminants found in drinking water supplies all over the country.

What’s In Your Drinking Water?

Treatment chemicals, like chlorine, are nearly ubiquitous if you rely on water provided by a city or county municipal water board. In agricultural areas, contaminants like aluminum, ammonia, barium, lead, mercury, and nitrates can often be found in the water supply. Well water users are more likely to have water with dissolved minerals at higher levels. Lead contamination can be dangerous for your health, hard to spot, and likely if you live in an older area with older plumbing. PFAS (poly and perfluoroalkyl substances, or ‘forever plastics’) are also prevalent in drinking water supplies around the United States and many municipal water utilities aren’t regularly screening for – or removing – these kinds of contaminants from tap water.

Water filter pitchers made popular by brands like Brita can be a great solution for more aesthetic water quality concerns — things like too much chlorine taste in your tap water. But if you have more complicated drinking water issues, like possible lead contamination or PFAs, pitcher filters won’t generally be able to provide the safety and quality you’re looking for.

Reverse Osmosis filtration, by contrast, is one of the more comprehensive water filtration systems available that can remove more problematic water contaminants while addressing aesthetic concerns.

What Most Pitcher Filters Miss

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Your tap water might taste better out of a pitcher filter, so you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s doing its job in filtering your water. Generally, however, the most noticeable thing pitcher filters are doing is removing extra chlorine from tap water through their carbon filters.  They can also reliably remove minerals like copper and zinc, but these tend to go pretty unnoticed when it comes to tap water’s taste or quality.

Most standard-issue pitcher filters aren’t capable of removing water contaminants like:

  • Viruses, bacteria, and fungus
  • Lead
  • PFAs
  • Arsenic
  • Fluoride

What Reverse Osmosis Filters Remove

Reverse osmosis filtering technology is much more advanced than pitcher filters, and as a result, can better remove water contaminants that are more concerning than chlorine or copper.  Because RO systems work by forcing water through a membrane, they target worrisome contaminants like lead, as well as more aesthetic contaminants like chlorine, so you’re left with water you can count on for safety as well as great taste.

RO removes a range of potentially harmful contaminants including:

  • PFAS
  • Viruses like Hepatitis A and Norovirus
  • Protozoa like cryptosporidium and giardia
  • Bacteria like E. coli and salmonella
  • Chemical contaminants like lead, arsenic, fluoride, sulfates, nitrates, and more

One of the best ways to ensure you’re drinking safe, high quality water at home is to invest in a reverse osmosis filtration system like the Aqua-Cleer® Advanced. Not only will you enjoy the better taste you’re looking for from a pitcher filter, you’ll also be able to count on your water’s safety and quality — right from your sink!

It’s important to note that if you have any concerns about your home’s water safety – if you’ve been on a boil order or advised your water might be unsafe – don’t drink your tap water even if you’ve filtered it using a pitcher filter. The best thing you can do is to drink bottled water until you have your home’s water tested and can be sure it’s safe to drink.

If you have any questions or concerns, schedule a free home water test with Culligan. We’ll provide more information about reverse osmosis filters and drinking water solutions based on your specific water needs.


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