7 Reasons why you should not use a water filter for your kitchen

7 Reasons why you should not use a water filter for your kitchen

Thinking about buying a water filter for the kitchen? Do you already have one currently? It is important to know both the positive and negative aspects of installing a water filter in your kitchen.

While home water filtration systems have become popular in recent years due to their promise of providing clean, contaminant-free drinking water, some experts have raised concerns about their necessity and effectiveness, especially in regions where water from the tap is now considered safe for consumption.

Here are 7 reasons why we may not want to use water filters at home for public tap drinking water:

1. Unnecessary for Treated Public Water

In many developed countries, public tap water is rigorously tested and treated to meet strict health and safety standards (EPA, 2021). This means that the water supplied to your home has already gone through extensive purification processes that effectively remove harmful substances. Therefore, if your tap water comes from a reliable and monitored source, and the water pipes are good, using a water filter may be unnecessary.

2. Possibility of Contamination

Water filters, especially activated carbon filters, can become a breeding ground for bacteria over time if not properly maintained (Barbeau et al., 1997). Failure to replace filters regularly can lead to the growth of bacteria, which can contaminate the filtered water and cause health problems. In fact, it was found that in a study of reverse osmosis filters in Dubai, there were more bacteria at the outlet than at the inlet. Another study in Germany showed bacteria growth in all Brita jugs after just a few weeks of use.

3. Generation of Waste from Kitchen Water Filters

The environmental impact of water filters is also a concern. Filters must be replaced periodically, generating plastic waste that can contribute to environmental pollution if not recycled correctly (Van Doorsselaer et al., 2019). Many filters use large amounts of plastic for replacement cartridges and the parts cannot be separated or recycled properly.

4. Cost of kitchen water filters vs tap water

Water filters can represent a significant ongoing cost. The initial purchase price of a water filtration system can be high, and you must also factor in the ongoing cost of replacement filters (Consumer Reports, 2020). If your tap water is already safe to drink, this expense may not be justifiable. On the other hand, you will save money if you currently buy bottled water.

5. False Sense of Security

Filters can only remove certain contaminants, not all (NRDC, 2020). Relying solely on water filters can create a false sense of security, diverting attention from addressing potential problems at the source or throughout the water supply system. Make sure the water filter you purchase has been independently tested and certified.

6. Elimination of Healthy Minerals

An often overlooked aspect of home water filtration is that by removing potential contaminants, beneficial minerals can also be removed from the water (Schwalfenberg et al., 2012). Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, commonly found in tap water, play a critical role in our body's overall health, contributing to bone strength, heart health, and proper metabolic functioning (National Institutes of Health). Health, 2019).

Reverse osmosis filters, in particular, are known to demineralize water. A study published in the “Journal of Family Practice” found that consumption of demineralized water could increase the risk of coronary heart disease due to the lack of essential minerals in the water (Sauvant and Pepin, 2002). While it is crucial to note that diet is the main source of these minerals, water can contribute a significant proportion, especially in areas with hard water.

7. Environmental Impact of Kitchen Water Filters

When discussing the environmental impact of water filters, single-use filters have been identified as particularly problematic. These filters, typically used in pitcher-style water filtration systems, have a shorter lifespan compared to other types, requiring frequent replacements. Most of these filters are composed of plastic and activated carbon, which makes them difficult to recycle (Van Doorsselaer et al., 2019). As a result, the amount of non-biodegradable waste in landfills increases.

Additionally, the production of activated carbon, which is a key component of many water filters, has a significant environmental footprint. It is usually produced from wood, coconut shells and other types of biomass. The process involves harvesting, transportation, and intense heat treatment, all of which contribute to CO2 emissions (Deuber et al., 2013).

The carbon footprint of manufacturing and transporting these filters, along with the challenges of their disposal, can have a significant environmental impact. Therefore, it is crucial to consider these factors when deciding whether to use a home water filtration system, especially if your tap water is already safe to drink.

Summary of why you might avoid using a kitchen water filter

While these points criticize the general use of water filters, it is important to note that certain situations may warrant the use of home water filtration systems. For example, in areas where water quality is poor, water tastes bad, or in homes with older pipes that contain lead, it may be necessary to use a water filter. If you currently purchase bottled water, a water filter is definitely a much better option in terms of money saving, convenience, health, and sustainability.

The important thing is that you consider the factors mentioned above when choosing a water filter. Check out our guide to the best water filters for more information.

Why you should still consider a TAPP water filter.

Fortunately, there are filters that address all of the issues mentioned above. With a tap water filter or pitcher water filter from Tapp Water, you get all the benefits and none of the problems. Tappwater water filters offer better tasting water, are independently certified and tested to remove contaminants, have sustainable refills, cost less than €5 a month which is clearly cheaper than bottled water, do not remove healthy minerals and they have no problems with the growth of harmful bacteria.

Learn more about the EcoPro, EcoPro Compact, or the PitcherPro Glass Filter Pitcher.

Sources:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2021). Drinking Water Requirements for States and Public Water Systems. https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo

Barbeau, B., Desjardins, R., & Prévost, M. (1997). Biofiltration of drinking water: Organic matter removal by biological activity in granular activated carbon filters. Water Science and Technology, 35(11-12), 55-62.

Van Doorsselaer, K., Fox, B., & O’Brien, S. (2019). The Environmental Cost of Misinformation: Why the Recommendation to Use Elevated Temperatures for Handwashing is Problematic. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 43(6), 558-569.

Consumer Reports. (2020). Do You Really Need a Water Filter?

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). (2020). What's In Your Water? https://www.nrdc.org/stories/whats-your-water-fluoride

Schwalfenberg, G. K., Genuis, S. J., & Hiltz, M. N. (2012). Addressing vitamin D deficiency in Canada: a public health innovation whose time has come. Public health, 126(6), 478-484.

National Institutes of Health. (2019). Magnesium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

Sauvant, M. P., & Pepin, D. (2002). Drinking water and cardiovascular disease. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 40(11), 1311-1325.

Van Doorsselaer, K., Fox, B., & O’Brien, S. (2019). The Environmental Cost of Misinformation: Why the Recommendation to Use Elevated Temperatures for Handwashing is Problematic. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 43(6), 558-569.

Deuber, F., Weingarth, M., Drochner, K., & Brautsch, M. (2013). Preparation of activated carbon from cherry stones by chemical activation with ZnCl2. Biomass and Bioenergy, 49, 214-221

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