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How to filter and remove microplastics from tap water

Where are microplastics found in bottled and tap water? What are the potential health risks of consuming microplastics? What is the best filter to remove microplastics from tap water?

Maybe you have read the studies that 93% of bottled water around the world and 92% of tap water is contaminated with microplastics*. A recent report also concludes that the average person could be ingesting 100,000 pieces or 250 g of microplastics per year. 

In this article we will attempt to answer these questions including how to filter and remove microplastics from tap water.

How much microplastics does bottled water contain?

The two studies of of bottled water and tap water by Orb Media are the largest of their kind. Orb Media analyzed 250 bottles from 9 different countries around the globe. An average of 40 plastic particles per gallon, each larger than the width of a human hair, were found in bottled water.

How to filter and remove microplastics from tap water

See original infographic by Statista here.

Read more about Orb’s bottled water study here.

What about microplastics in tap water?

It’s not just bottled water. Another study by Orb Media, found that 94% of tap water in the USA and 72% in Europe contained microplastics. There are therefore good reasons to be concerned about how to filter microplastics from tap water.

Read more about Orb’s tap water study here and here.

How much microplastics do we consume?

New research combining the results of more than 50 studies globally has found that on average, people could be ingesting about 5g of plastic every week – equivalent to a credit card – in the air they breathe, the food we eat and, especially, the water we drink.

This amounts to about 100,000 tiny pieces of plastic – or 250g – every year, said the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the University of Newcastle on Wednesday (June 12). The study was commissioned by WWF and done by the Australian university.

Read more in the WWF report.

What is the health impact of drinking and eating microplastics?

We are all worried about what it might do to humans and animals in the long term. The fact is that we don’t know yet. No one knows the health consequences yet, but there is significant evidence that microplastics and plasticizers from plastic packaging messes with our hormones. 

Shanna Swan, professor of environmental science and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City recently shared her latest work and research. It shows that exposure to plastics and chemicals are radically affecting sperm levels and the developmental cycles of children and it’s been going down steadily since the 1950’s and the widespread use of petrochemical products. One major danger is phthalates which, according to the CDC, are, “a group of chemicals used to make plastics more durable. They are often called plasticizers.”

Animal and invitro studies have suggested negative effects on inflammation and immunity. Another consideration is that microplastic particles are able to stick to other harmful chemicals and pollutants, which may also have adverse effects on human health. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6132564/

Microplastic particles can accumulate polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), other chemicals that are linked to harmful health effects, including various cancers, a weakened immune system, reproductive problems and more. Once these chemicals are inside of us, even low doses may have an effect. Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/youre-literally-eating-microplastics-how-you-can-cut-down-exposure-to-them/

Ingested microplastic particles can physically damage organs and leach hazardous chemicals—from the hormone-disrupting bisphenol A (BPA) to pesticides—that can compromise immune function and stymie growth and reproduction. Microplastics in the water we drink and the air we breathe can also hit humans directly. Source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/from-fish-to-humans-a-microplastic-invasion-may-be-taking-a-toll/

Infants and young children are especially sensitive to many substances even in very small amounts. Thousands of studies have shown that nitrates, lead, PFAS and other substances may have severe impact on the development of the brain.

In summary we don’t know enough about the health impact of microplastics. Therefore it’s better to be safe than sorry. Avoid bottled water and filter your tap water.

How can you remove microplastics from tap water at home?

First of all, the smallest microplastics measured by Orb in tap water were about 2.5 micrometres, although most considerably bigger. It’s important to understand the size as this will impact the type of filtering required.

There are three types of filters that will help remove microplastics of this size:

  • Carbon Blocks faucet filters: The most efficient ones, such as TAPP 2 remove 100% of all known microplastics.
  • Reverse Osmosis filters: Can filter down to to 0.001 micron so will remove all known microplastics, but are more expensive and require maintenance.
  • Distillation filters: In theory they deliver pure H2O and does also filter 100% of known microplastics.

Make sure that the filter specifically specifies microplastics filtration and that there are independent test results to support it. 

What microplastics filter should you choose?

As we don’t know enough about microplastics in drinking water yet, there is no definite answer. For most circumstances, a carbon block filter is an affordable and environmentally friendly way to keep the family safe from microplastics.

Conclusion about microplastics and how to remove them

  • Microplastics have been found in most bottled water and tap water
  • On average you might be consuming as much as 5 g (a credit card of microplastics) every week
  • Although we don’t yet know the health implications of microplastics it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid bottled water and filter your tap water
  • The most affordable water filter for filtering out microplastics from your tap water is TAPP 2 

Please contact us through [email protected] or social media if you have questions.

Exclusive offer to remove microplastics

TAPP 2 (sold as Flo Faucet filter in the US) is the world’s first filter with recyclable refill cartridges.

TAPP 2 is the simple, smart, affordable and eco-friendly way to get fresh, clean water at home. It’s designed to fit onto any faucet in less than 1 min. MYTAPP app and web monitors filter usage, cartridge changes, money saved versus bottled water and reduction in plastic waste / CO2. It uses the latest coconut-based micro-filtration technology filtering 100+ contaminants including microplastics, lead, chlorine, THMs and more.

Find out more about TAPP 2.

* Microplastics are defined as plastic particles smaller than 5mm.

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32 thoughts on “How to filter and remove microplastics from tap water”

      1. I have a portable water bottle that filters out 100% of microplastics and any nasties! I love it, you can fill anywhere but the ocean and drink from it 😊

  1. I why are the Governments so slow to do anything about this problem of micro plastic particles in water when thy no the solution. Simply, go back to using glass containers. Also the use of paper bags instead of plastic bags. Would help the situation.

    1. Hi Peter, thank you for your message. TAPP 2 filters contain activated carbon, and are made with biodegradable plastic, so they are 100% compostable.

    1. Hi Katheline, thank you for your message.
      We ship our filters to Sweden, Finland and Denmark. All our shipments are free of charge.
      The TAPP Water team

  2. Hi,

    Who sells these filters in Finland? I am really worried then even our birds are vanishing! Forty-five percent of all Finnish breeding birds are endangered. This is the analysis of the latest assessment of the Red List of Birds for Finland, published in January. Microplastics are contaminating seabirds even in the most remote regions of Alaska. Birds swim in the lake and sea waters which have been contaminated by microplastics. Birds ingest e.g. endocrine-disrupting phthalates, triclosan and bisphenol-A which originate from these plastic materials – they affect sex hormone levels of animals and humans. – WE NEED TO ACT FAST!

    1. Hi Jouko,

      Thank you for reaching out. The consequences of microplastics in human and animal health are still very difficult to assess but studies are already showing terrifying insights as you point out. We definitely need to do something about it.

      We currently have no distributors in Finland, although we ship our products there free of charge by purchasing from tappwater.co

      Best regards,
      The TAPP Water team

  3. I am located in America and did not hear about this issue until recently. It is truly terrifying! I am very grateful to have found this site and look forward to taking my steps to save the planet and my family by purchasing a Tapp 2 filter! We have to get this information out!

    1. Hi Rene,
      Thank you for your contribution! We are happy you found the article informative and hope you and your family enjoy your TAPP 2 very soon!
      The TAPP team

  4. I am surprised that so many companies like your own keep using plastic claiming”biodegradable plastic” when there really is NO BIODEGRADABLE PLASIC. The problem is it is NOT ORGANIC.


    Use porcelin, glass or something else. I do not want any platic even touching my water as it leeches toxins into the water.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your message. We understand your concerns and are in constant search for materials that are more sustainable and better for the environment. For TAPP 2, the “Biodegradable Plastic” in question is PLA made out of corn, cassava, sugar cane and/or beets (Produced by NatureWorks). In general, do take into account that 1 cartridge (made of plastic or bioplastic) is equivalent to 1500 liters of water. Can you imagine the amount of plastic that is kept out of the oceans or landfills for people who switched from bottled water?

      Food for thought. But we are still in research for better alternatives!

      The TAPP Water team

  5. I am all for creating the best product and illuminating plastic and reducing micro-plastics in all water bodies completely, i am also someone that would never touch a plastic bottle.
    But before buying your product i do have a query:
    What happens two the micro-plastics that come out of the water, yes you say that your filters are biodegrade but then the content that is on the filter – what you have taken out of the water in the first place [the plastic]- is not and then will be on the filter that is thrown away and ending up back into the water systems and cycles? Essentially is your product keeping plastics out of the ocean or just taking it out the water supplies delaying and eventually putting it back in. ” an affordable and environmentally friendly way to keep the family safe from micro-plastics.” – i agree that you are keeping the family safe from thermoplastics, that is brilliant, but are not really solving an environmental issue especially considering the environmental effects that making this, plastic product have
    Kind Regards

    1. Andrew Pothecary

      Apologies for the slow response. It’s a great question. We have 3 core objectives:
      1. Reducing plastic pollution from bottled water
      2. Providing households with clean and tasty water (without known contaminants)
      3. Being open and transparent about everything we do

      The contaminants that get stuck in the filter will unfortunately end up in the waste processing whether it’s composting or normal waste. The only solution to avoiding this is for all customers to return the cartridges when used. We support this together with some of our other competitors but only 1-2% of customers actually return the filters so therefore this is inefficient.

      Until we can find a better solution for collecting and disposing the contaminants this will be as good as it gets.

      On the other hand most contaminants from showering, doing the dishes, watering the garden, etc will continue to flow into the environment anyway. TAPP cannot stop this in the short term at least.

      Hope this answers your question? Please feel free to email us if you want more information.

      1. Apologies for slow response. This is a genuine concern. Incineration is definitely better than landfills but the best thing is always to
        1. Reduce the amount of plastic we produce in the first place
        2. Reuse the plastic we have produced (assuming that it doesn’t leach)
        3. Recycle the plastic if possible

        The objective of TAPP 2 biodegradable cartridges is zero plastic residue long term in case the cartridges end up on a landfill. The ideal solution is industrial composting as it means all materials are returned to plant form.

    1. Hi Rossiter! Apologies for slow response. It takes about 2-3 days to deliver to addresses in the UK. Free shipping and money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Regards The TAPP Water Team

  6. Interesting thought. However, it would probably be very difficult to correlate this as there are too many variables. But microplastics cannot be good for our health so the goal should be to eliminate them.

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