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Does a Brita filter remove lead from water?

Filtering lead out of drinking water

You can fill up your glass at the sink and what comes out is generally considered safe to drink. However, it might not be as free from contaminants as you think. Arsenic, copper, aluminum, lead, iron, and pesticides and herbicides are commonly found in the tap water in home faucets.

Many people take matters into their own hands and buy Brita water filters. The question is, are Brita water filters capable of removing lead and other contaminants that get past municipal treatment facilities? 

Shop this article: Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter System, Brita Wave 10-Cup Water Pitcher, Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle

Causes of poor drinking water

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, contaminants come from certain sources that can affect drinking water quality.

Here are the most common sources of contaminants in drinking water:

  • Industrial and agricultural: Contaminants such as petroleum and heavy metals from disposal sites or storage facilities can become saturated with groundwater. In addition, pesticides and fertilizers travel into bodies of water due to rainfall runoff or melting snow.
  • Human and animal waste: Sewage and septic tanks contain human waste that carries harmful bacteria into drinking water sources. Also, animal waste can come from animal feeding operations and wildlife. 
  • Treatment and distribution: Despite the efforts of water treatment, unfortunately, these processes can leave byproducts, such as trihalomethanes, that can harm drinking water. In addition, water may become contaminated after entering the distribution system due to breaches or corrosion in piping. 
  • Natural sources: Not all groundwater is safe for human consumption because certain underground areas and conditions contain high amounts of contaminants. Also, groundwater can travel through rocks and soil, picking up heavy metals. 

Common water contaminants

There are certain contaminants that are commonly found in drinking water, which can include the following:

  • Arsenic.
  • Lead.
  • Manganese.
  • Chlorine.
  • Fluoride.
  • Pesticides.
  • Zinc.
  • Ammonia.
  • Silver.
  • Mercury.
  • Copper.
  • Sulfate. 
  • Aluminum. 

Effects of contaminated water

Consuming contaminated drinking water that hasn’t been properly filtered can cause mild to severe health effects. Ultimately, the effects of contaminated water depend on the type of contaminant, the amount of contaminant in the water, a person’s susceptibility, the amount of water consumed and the duration of exposure. 

According to the EPA, in the United States, life-threatening conditions caused by microbes in unfiltered drinking water are rare but possible. Drinking contaminated water is often caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites. 

Listed below are some of the health effects of drinking contaminated water:

  • Stomach pain.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Headaches.
  • Fever.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Chronic, long-term conditions such as cancer.

Infants, older adults and people with severe immunocompromised conditions are more susceptible to the more serious effects of contaminated drinking water. 

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical care and test your water to determine if that’s the cause. 

How do Brita filters work?

Brita is a popular, well-respected brand for water filtration. When shopping, the first thing to understand about Brita water filters is that they are not all created equal. Some are more effective at removing specific contaminants than others. After testing your water, choose a water filter that meets your home’s needs.

Here’s a look at the various Brita water filters and how they work.

Brita standard filter

The Brita standard filters are the cylindrical white containers that most people are familiar with. These use a mesh screen to catch visible particles and activate carbon granules to reduce mercury levels and eliminate chlorine odor and taste. The water passes through ion exchange resin, acting like a magnet to catch copper, cadmium and zinc. You may have noticed there was no mention of lead here. That is because standard Brita filters do not remove lead.

Brita Longlast+ filter

The Longlast+ filters use a proprietary pleated filter combined with active filtering agents. This single-stage process offers a faster flow-through rate than the company’s standard filters, so you won’t have to wait as long to fill your pitcher or dispenser, and it catches more contaminants. The Longlast+ can remove lead, as well as asbestos and benzene. However, the downside is that it cannot remove copper and zinc.

Brita stream filter

The stream filter is less effective than either the standard or Longlast+. It utilizes a dual-layer of activated carbon to remove chlorine odor and taste and catch coarse particles of 50 micrometers or larger.

Brita bottle filter

As with the stream filter, Brita bottle filters use carbon to remove chlorine odor, taste and catch large particles.

Brita faucet filter

The Brita faucet filter is the only other model besides the Longlast+ capable of removing lead. It utilizes a non-woven material to catch particles and sediment. A tightly-bound carbon block also reduces chlorine odor and taste, benzene, asbestos and lead. It is the company’s only filter capable of removing pesticides and herbicides. 

Also, as with the Longlast+, this filter does not reduce copper and zinc levels in the water. The faucet filter won’t help with lowering mercury or cadmium levels.

Which Brita water filter should you buy?


The decision for which Brita water filter to buy comes down to what contaminants you want to remove from your tap water. If your only concern is lead, your obvious choice is to pick the Longlast+ or the Brita faucet filter. However, this may leave you open to ingesting copper and zinc, or in the case of the faucet filter, zinc, mercury and cadmium.

Your best bet is to buy a kit to test your water so you can find out exactly what contaminants are in your water. These at-home test kits are easy to use and, depending on which test you buy, can detect more than 100 potential contaminants in your home’s water. Once you analyze the water, you’ll receive a report about the quality of your water. From there, you can determine the best Brita filter for your home to remove contaminants.

What you need to buy for lead-free drinking water using a Brita system

Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter System

It attaches easily to all standard home faucets and filters up to 100 gallons of water before it needs replacing. The downside is that it’s a bit bulky, potentially getting in the way when washing dishes. 

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Brita Water Filter for Sink, Faucet Mount Water Filtration System

This filter can save you money and replace 1,800 water bottles a year. It is available in white and chrome and has an indicator to notify you when the filter needs to be replaced. The filter must be replaced every 100 gallons or every four months. 

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Brita Water Filter Pitcher for Tap and Drinking Water

This pitcher holds up to 6 cups of water and lasts for two months. It is available in three colors and is bisphenol A-free. It comes with a Standard filter that should be replaced after every 40 gallons.

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Brita Wave 10-Cup Water Pitcher

This pitcher holds up to 10 cups of filtered water. It has a flip-top lid with an indicator that lets you know when to replace the filter. It includes two Advanced filters.

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Brita Water Pitcher Slim Capacity

If you need to save space in the fridge, this Brita filter has a slim design that can fit in narrow spots. This BPA-free pitcher helps reduce chlorine and improve taste. It holds up to 5 cups of water and its filter should be changed every 40 gallons or two months. 

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Brita XL Water Filter Dispenser for Tap and Drinking Water

If you have a large family or just prefer to have more water than what the pitcher offers, the water dispenser is a good choice. It holds up to 27 cups of water and comes with a Standard filter that should be changed every six months.

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Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle

Get filtered water on the go with this water bottle. It is offered in 26 or 36 ounces and is BPA-free. It comes with a straw for easy sipping and is leak-proof and dishwasher-safe. Its filter should be replaced every 40 gallons or two months. 

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Brita Hub Instant Powerful Countertop Water Filter System

Scoot your coffee maker to the side to make room for this water dispenser on your counter. Its reservoir holds 12 cups of water and comes with a six-month carbon block filter. It comes with one Brita Hub filter. 

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Brita Maxtra+ Replacement Water Filter Cartridges

These cartridges are compatible with all Brita jugs. They have micro carbon pearls that reduce chlorine and other contaminants to improve the taste. They last about four weeks and are recyclable. 

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Brita Standard Water Filter Replacements for Pitchers and Dispensers

Ensure your water stays clean by getting water filter replacements. They are offered in 2-, 3-, 4-, 6- or 8-count and last two months. They are BPA-free and certified to reduce chlorine, copper, mercury, zine and cadmium in water.  

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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