TL;DR - BRITA is meant for flavouring your water by masking taste & odor, adding carbon makes your taste buds believe the water is clean. It's designed to reduce only a few things in the water such as calcium, zinc, and copper. When refrigerated, the cold water actually numbs your taste buds so they cannot detect the contaminants the filter missed.
Everyone instinctively knows there's something wrong with tap water, but what do we do about it? It's not an easy decision with so many choices out there.
As my dad says, a $20 filter does what you might expect a $20 filter to do....
We meet a lot of people who trust BRITA to purify tap water. This company makes over $470 Million Dollars a year, providing very little evidence or education to the individual consumer of what exactly their product does.
For the record, virtually all fridge filters are exactly the same as a BRITA. All these simple filters are made of activated-carbon, which is made from burnt coconut shells. The carbon is very porous, absorbing odor and taste - it's kind of like Febreeze for water. The stuff is still there, it just doesn't smell or taste weird anymore.
In fact, the National Sanitation Foundation, which sets standards for water filter certification, tightened its rules on heavy metal reduction - pitcher filters like BRITA no longer made the standard and no longer meet certification standards.
These simple filters are designed for major capitol cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, London, New York, Tokyo - places where the water filtration in the city is of much higher quality than rural towns & small cities.
The Certification reads 'The Brita Pitcher & Dispenser is designed to reduce the following
contaminants.' (copper, cadmium, mercury, zinc, chlorine) The key word here is reduce. Every time we test the water out of a BRITA filter, the contaminant level is reduced only by 10-40%. Whereas our certification is to remove 93-97% of dissolved contaminants.
This means, if you have 200 contaminants in your water like most cities, and the BRITA takes it down to 180, legally it is doing what it says it does - this is unacceptable for the average person living outside a capitol city. Vancouver may only have 20 or 30 contaminants, and the BRITA takes it down to 10 or 15. This is a fine result for that water.
A certified Reverse Osmosis brings the contaminant reading from 200, down to 6.
So why does such a simple product that doesn't do much bring in $470 Million Dollars a year? Because of taste. While many of the contaminants may still be in the water, such as pesticides, heavy metals, drug residue, and pharmaceuticals, the BRITA takes away the odor and taste and that's all people notice.
Our taste buds respond to salty and sweet, not metal and mineral. We don't have the capability of tasting all the contaminants in our water so we rely on testing to determine what's in there. Our company provides tests and the proper filtration to your water quality, which is different from city to city.
BRITA may reduce cadmium, chlorine, zinc, copper, and mercury, but it does not reduce the other contaminants found in your tap water, such as:
-CBPs & PCBs
-other chemicals (up to 50,000)
Do our certified reverse osmosis remove them? Yes. 93% - 97% reduction rating is the best in the business.
In conclusion, to those of us working in the water treatment industry, this image of Darth Vader filtering sea water with a BRITA filter just about sums up what we think of pitcher filters and how effective they are at protecting you and your family's health from the poor water quality we face in the 21st Century. A problem that has been getting worse, and will continue to get worse.
BRITA & Fridge Filters are not the droids you're looking for.