Brita Filter Lawsuit: Should You Be Worried About What’s Still In Your Filtered Tap Water?

A class-action lawsuit alleges that Brita filters engaged in deceptive advertising about what their filters remove from your tap water.

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If you rely on a Brita water filter to make sure your tap water is 100% toxin-free, a recent lawsuit suggests you might be making a tall ask.

A new proposed class-action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County, CA claims that the popular filter maker led customers to falsely believe that Brita’s filters get rid of arsenic, nitrate, hexavalent chromium and certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.”

So-called forever chemicals don’t break down in the environment and can build up in blood and organs, potentially causing cancer, birth complications, and other health issues.

The Clorox Company, which makes Brita filters,  released a statement saying it was still reviewing the complaint, but looked forward to “defending ourselves vigorously.”

More than 20 billion liters of water run through Brita products every year, the company states. Some filters are designed for home use including drinking bottles and carafes, kitchen taps with filters and drinking water dispensers.

Brita filters work by trapping unwanted contaminants in your water. According to Brita’s website, these filters remove the taste and smell of chlorine and reduce zinc, copper, mercury and some particulates. Some of the Brita filters reduce some industrial chemicals in drinking water.

When Consumer Lab, an independent testing organization in White Plains, NY, reviewed water pitcher filters to see how well remove toxins in drinking water, they found that Brita filters are great at getting chlorine, chlorine taste and lead out of water.

“For a long time, these were the major concerns about tap water,” Tod Cooperman, MD, president of tells The Healthy @Reader’s Digest.

The Brita Elite Filter was ranked number one by Consumer Lab for removing the chlorine taste in water.

“There are an unlimited number of potential contaminants in water and removing all of them is not really feasible when using a pretty simple countertop home filter system,” he says.

His advice? When shopping for a water filter, know what is likely in your tap water and choose the filter that best removes those contaminants. “Brita does a pretty good job removing some common contaminants and leaves fluoride in to protect teeth,” he says.  Some filters say they remove all total dissolved solids, which will ruin the taste of your water and may also get rid of essential minerals.

If you are worried about forever chemicals, the Environmental Working Group found that Travel Berkey and Zero Water 7 Cup 5-Stage Ready-Pour Water Filter Pitcher remove all of the tested PFAS.

Denise Mann, MS
Denise Mann is a freelance health writer whose articles regularly appear in WebMD, HealthDay, and other consumer health portals. She has received numerous awards, including the Arthritis Foundation's Northeast Region Prize for Online Journalism; the Excellence in Women's Health Research Journalism Award; the Journalistic Achievement Award from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery; National Newsmaker of the Year by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; the Gold Award for Best Service Journalism from the Magazine Association of the Southeast; a Bronze Award from The American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (for a cover story she wrote in Plastic Surgery Practice magazine); and an honorable mention in the International Osteoporosis Foundation Journalism Awards. She was part of the writing team awarded a 2008 Sigma Delta Chi award for her part in a WebMD series on autism. Her first foray into health reporting was with the Medical Tribune News Service, where her articles appeared regularly in such newspapers as the Detroit Free Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Morning News, and Los Angeles Daily News. Mann received a graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and her undergraduate degree from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. She lives in New York with her husband David; sons Teddy and Evan; and their miniature schnauzer, Perri Winkle Blu.