In July 2017, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published theirdatabase of pollutants found in American tap water. By entering your zip code, you can research what contaminants have been found in public water systems. So what should you do with that information? The answer is simple: make sure you have the best water filter system for your area. But with so many water purification systems out there, that can be easier said than done. We’re here to help.
We looked through theEWG’s water filter guide to find products that are certified to filter out contaminants found in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. If you’re in any of these metropolitan areas, this guide will help you make an informed choice about what kitchen water filter system to choose.
To make our recommendations, we first looked at each city’s results for contaminants detected above health guidelines. There was quite a bit of overlap between the four cities.
Then, we cross-referenced the EWG water filter guide to see which NSF International- or Water Quality Association-certified filters were certified for the contaminants. We found lists for three contaminants: chromium (hexavalent), arsenic, and total trihalomethanes (TTHMs).According to the EWG guide, if we didn’t find the contaminant in their filter database, it’s likely there isn’t a certified product that filters it, or else it’s not sold on Amazon. Not all of the listings had options for multiple types of filters, which is why there’s only one pitcher in our picks.
We sifted through the options on Amazon and picked the ones with a high volume of reviews and the highest percentage of 5-star reviews. Armed with this information, you should feel confident that you’re choosing the best water filter system for your health.
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs): Detected in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City
These carcinogens form during water treatment with chlorine and other disinfectants. According to EWG, there may be a link between disinfection byproducts and an increased risk of problems during pregnancy, including spontaneous miscarriage, cardiovascular defects, neural tube defects, and low birth weight.
Why: There were a number of options from PUR that were equally well-reviewed, but this had a lower price point. It installs directly on your faucet and can be used vertically or horizontally, which is especially useful if you have a smaller sink. Itfilters multiple contaminants.
Chromium (hexavalent): Detected in Chicago, Los Angeles, and NYC
This carcinogen (made famous in “Erin Brokovich”) may come from industrial pollutants or natural occurrences in mineral deposits and groundwater. It’s been found in more than three-fourths of American water systems that supply more than two-thirds of the country.
Why: If you’re willing and able to do the installation— which requires a separate hole on your countertop for the tap —this reverse osmosis system uses three stages tofilter a number of different contaminants, including arsenic. You may be able to install it yourself, though some reviewers hired plumbers to help.
This naturally occurring mineral causes bladder, lung, and skin cancer, and can damage skin and lungs. It gets into drinking water from natural, industrial, and agricultural sources, and occurs at the highest levels in the Western states.
Why: Like the EcoPure filter above, this requires an additional hole on your countertop and can be installed without professional help. Its’ reverse osmosis systemfilters multiple contaminants, including chromium (hexavelent).
Another water filter option to consider is a shower filter. Chlorine is used as a disinfectant for drinking water, but research haslinked it to higher incidences of bladder, rectal, and breast cancers. When it’s in water, chlorine interacts with organic compounds to create trihalomethanes (THMs, aka TTHMs as referenced above). When ingested, THMs encourage free radical growth, which can damage cells. While you’re not drinking water in your shower, you are inhaling it through steam. And don’t forget that your skin is your largest organ, so you’re absorbing whatever is in the water through your skin, which then goes into your bloodstream (think nicotine or birth control patches). These shower filters claim to remove chlorine, but note that they don’t claim to remove any other contaminants.
This list might look scary — but the good news is that knowing this information allows you to take control and arm yourself with the best water filter system to block the contaminants in your area and take back control of your health.
APEC Top Tier Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System