Lead and Arsenic in Water Filters

Problem: Some home water filtration systems were found to be putting high levels of lead into drinking water: after water passed through the filter, the final “outflow” pipe into consumers drinking cups was made with metal alloys that contained lead, which leached into the “filtered” water.

More recently, CEH learned that some charcoal water filters could leach arsenic into “filtered” water.

CEH Action: CEH took legal action against leading makers of home water filters; our goal was to eliminate lead and arsenic risks from “filtered” waters, by requiring companies to change their filter manufacturing practices.

Solution: As a result of our work, by 2002 the leading filter makers had agreed to eliminate lead risks, by insuring that the materials used to make their outflow pipes did not leach lead. Our work also resulted in filter makers instituting testing for arsenic when they procure charcoal for their water filters, to insure that the material did not harbor excessive arsenic levels that could contaminate drinking water.

What You Can Do: When purchasing a water filter, look for one from a company that has made a legal commitment that its charcoal does not contain hazardous levels of arsenic. These companies are CUNO, General Electric, Ecowater, Everpure, KX Technologies, Pentair, PUR, Multi-Pure Drinking Water Systems, and Omnipure Filter Company.