best water filter to remove pesticides and herbicides from tap water

How to filter and remove pesticides from tap water

Concerned about pesticides in your tap water? How can you ensure all pesticides and herbicides are removed? What is the best water filter for filtering and removing pesticides from tap water?

If you are worried about pesticides and herbicides in your tap water then you're not alone? With the amount of chemicals we’ve sprayed to grow vegetables and fruit humans have contaminated water sources around the globe. Regulation has reduced the practice of spraying toxic pesticides in recent years but the chemicals still remain in the ground and keep polluting the water. Pesticides have therefore been found in high concentrations in both tap water and bottled water.

Thankfully there are affordable and simple solutions to ensure you have access to clean tasty tap water free from pesticides. In this article we will explore what pesticides are, why they are found in tap water, health risks

Also read our blogs about how to filter atrazine and nitrate in tap water.

What are pesticides and herbicides?

Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests, including weeds that end up in groundwater, lakes, rivers, the oceans and sometimes tap water despite treatment. The most common pesticides including Chlordane, Chlordecone (CLD/Kepone), Glyphosate (Round-up), Heptachlor, and Lindane.

Herbicide is the most common type of pesticide. Herbicides, also commonly known as weedkillers, are substances used to control unwanted plants. The most common herbicides include 2,4-D and Atrazine.

Generally the category of pesticides encompass both pesticides and herbicides.

Why are pesticides and herbicides found in tap water?

Water bodies including oceans, rivers, lakes and groundwater are contaminated by the runoff from the agricultural field and industrial wastewater. This eventually makes its way to your tap water. Even though water utilities treat the water before it goes into the public tap water pesticides are almost always found at smaller concentrations.

Last year, one-fifth of the French population, 12 million people, drank tap water contaminated by pesticides, either regularly or occasionally. Link.

Pesticides have also been found in German tap water, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy.

Pesticides are also frequently found in bottled water. A 2003 study found pesticides in 93% of all bottled water from the top brands. Link.

What are the health risks of pesticides in tap water?

Pesticide exposure has been proven to result in immunosuppression, hormone disruption, reduce intelligence, reproductive distortion and cancer. Impacts of pesticide exposure to humans can be categorized into acute health problems and chronic health problems. Chronic health problems encompass neurological effects such as onset Parkinson’s disease, reduce the attention span, memory disturbances, reproductive problems, disrupt infant development, birth defect and cancer. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826868/

Here are some of the most known pesticides/herbicides and their health effects:

Glyphosate (Round-up)

In animal studies, glyphosate caused developmental effects, including reduced infant body weight and skeletal changes. For humans glyphosate has been reported to increase the risk of cancer, endocrine-disruption, celiac disease, autism, effect on erythrocytes, leaky-gut syndrome, etc. However, there is no proven direct link of adverse health effects of glyphosate use.

Lindane

Lindane in drinking water is harmful if inhaled, swallowed, or in contact with skin. Continuous exposure to lindane in drinking water may lead to health issues like reproductive toxicity and damages to organs. Long-term exposure may lead to severe damages to the human body.

Atrazine

Atrazine is the most commonly detected pesticide in tap water, at concentrations that can be higher than what regulation allows. Water utilities struggle to remove atrazine, particularly in the spring, when millions of pounds of the chemical are applied to corn and soybean fields. Atrazine is classified as a Group III contaminant (possibly carcinogenic to humans). Some studies suggest a possible association between atrazine and ovarian, breast and prostate cancers and birth defects including smaller male genitals and gastroschisis (a congenital birth defect in the abdominal wall, in which the baby’s intestines can be outside the belly).

Chlordecone

Chlordecone was used to combat weevils in the banana plantations of Martinique and Guadeloupe from 1972 to 1993. This pesticide is associated with various health problems in humans. It has since been banned, but local populations are still exposed. A study in 2013-2014 found that among adults in Martinique, 95% had chlordecone in their blood, while the figure for Guadeloupe was 93%. Chlordecone has been linked to cognitive and motor skills development in infants and increased risk of prostate cancer. Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50144261

What are the regulated limits of pesticides in tap water?

Pesticides are considered primary drinking water contaminants according to the US federal Safe Drinking Water Act and European Safe Drinking Water Directive.

The maximum allowed contaminant level varies between the different pesticides. Here’s an overview for Europe and the US of the most common pesticides:

Pesticide EU Limit US Limit (EPA)
Atrazine 3 μg/L 3 μg/L
Chlordane 2 μg/L 2 μg/L
D 2 4 70 μg/L 70 μg/L
Heptacloro 0.4 μg/L 0.4 μg/L
Lindane 0.2 μg/L 0.2 μg/L
Total Herbicides 0.5 μg/L 0.5 μg/L
Total Pesticides 0.5 μg/L 0.5 μg/L

Note: 1 μg/L = 1 ppb

What is the best water filter to remove pesticides from tap water?

The good news is that pesticides can be removed from tap water with an affordable and simple to use water filter system. Activated Carbon filters are generally the most effective in removing pesticides thanks to the adsorption effect.

EcoPro, EcoPro Compact, Essential, Ultra, PitcherPro and BottlePro by TAPP Water all remove 95% or more of pesticides from the tap water.

The ability to reduce pesticides in the tap water is independently verified by third party labs and certifications. Our filters have been certified to remove over 14 pesticides and 12 herbicides and will remove substantially more. Read more.

Alternative solutions to remove pesticides from tap water include reverse osmosis and distillation.

Summary about removing pesticides from tap water

  • Pesticides can be found in most tap water and bottled water in small concentrations
  • Many pesticides have been found to have adverse health effects even in very small concentrations
  • A high quality water filter can filter and remove pesticides from your tap water
  • EcoPro, EcoPro Compact and PitcherPro are affordable, sustainable and simple solutions to remove pesticides from you tap water

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