Can Water Filters Remove PFOA and PFAS?

Filters ensure clean, safe water for you and your family. From plastic pitchers to whole-house models, they come in many sizes.

These systems use activated carbon to filter out disinfectants like chlorine and chloramine.

Short Answer

As a water filter technician, I can confirm that certain technologies remove PFAS from drinking water, particularly PFOA and PFOS. Activated carbon, ion exchange resins, and high-pressure membranes remove these chemicals. Reverse osmosis filters eliminate 90% of these harmful chemicals. A semi-permeable membrane filters water. All home water filters do not remove PFAS. Duke and NC State scientists found that most filters partially remove PFAS. A few can make matters worse if neglected.

Water filters that remove PFOA and PFOS should be NSF-certified. The standards guarantee the EPA health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion. PFOA and PFOS are removed by filters marked NSF P473 or NSF Certified to Standard P473.

KDF and catalytic carbon media remove nearly all PFOA and PFOS from your water with the SpringWell CF whole-home water filter. Aquagear, Epic Pure, Zerowater, LifeStraw, and Brita Longlast daily water filters remove PFOA and PFOS.

Finally, some water filters can remove PFAS, especially PFOA, and PFOS, from drinking water. Examples include high-pressure membranes, ion exchange resins, and activated carbon. Reverse osmosis filters eliminate 90% of these harmful chemicals. Maintain a PFOA/PFOS-removing NSF-certified water filter. I installed a reverse osmosis filter for a client’s drinking water. The results reassured their water supply.

Activated carbon

Water filters with activated carbon can remove PFOA and PFAS. Activated carbon’s large surface area attracts organic compounds to its pores, where it physically absorbs them.

Coal, coconut shells, and wood are used to make activated carbon. Pyrolysis converts it to carbon by heating dense materials into porous ones.

Carbon filters have a higher sorption capacity than other filtration methods and can remove chlorine byproducts like VOCs and THMs. Due to their links to cancer, birth defects, and other health issues, these contaminants are dangerous.

Reverse osmosis

One of the most effective water filtration systems, reverse osmosis (RO) filters push water through a semi-permeable membrane with microscopic pores to remove contaminants. These pores allow small water molecules to pass through but block large contaminants on the other side, leaving clean, clear water behind.

Residential reverse osmosis purifies water. It dissolves substances and minerals in water and removes sediment and larger organic pollutants.

RO filtration reduces wastewater output and maximizes efficiency using housings and staged flow streams. Each housing has check valves and drain lines to prevent backflow and drain water correctly.

A pre-filter removes sand, silt, and other particles from water, entering a reverse osmosis system to protect the RO membrane. Then it flows through the RO membrane and any additional filters until all impurities are filtered out and flushed down the drain.

Bone char

Bone char removes fluoride, chlorine, and other contaminants from water naturally. Its unique surface structure of carbon surface area and mineral hydroxyapatite lattice structure makes it an excellent adsorbent for these chemicals.

Bone char, also known as bone black, is an inert, tasteless granular material produced by the high-temperature carbonization of animal bones. It removes fluoride and heavy metals from drinking water better than activated carbon.

Most sugar refineries use bone char as a filter. Some companies use bone-char-free methods. Thus, you must carefully read the labels on packaged sugar to determine its processing method.

Whole-house filtration

Whole-house filtration systems filter water before it enters your home, so faucets and appliances only get filtered water. This ensures that your household’s water, including drinking water, is clean and safe.

Your water is healthier because the system reduces chemicals and minerals. This can reduce skin irritation, rashes, and allergies.

Iron and other hard water minerals are reduced by whole-house filtration. This protects your clothes from yellowing and fading.

Whole-house filtration systems remove chlorine and other disinfectants from shower water, laundry detergent, and dishes. This helps sensitive skin or allergy sufferers who are irritated by chlorine.