How to Filter Microplastics From Your Drinking Water

We live in a plastic world, but your home doesn’t have to be a part of it. Here’s some helpful information about microplastics and how to filter them from your water.

By: Maggie Pace

Plastic surrounds us: it’s in our grocery packaging, our clothes, our bath products, our electronics, and our homes. But unfortunately, it’s also slowly becoming a part of us. Around 400 million tons of plastic waste is produced every year. Most plastics are not biodegradable, meaning instead of breaking down naturally over time, they become tiny — sometimes microscopic — particles called microplastics that end up in our homes and pollute our water, food, and even the air we breathe. Scientists estimate the average person might consume 5 grams of microplastics each week, equivalent to the weight of 12 plastic straws.

As a result, more people are beginning to wonder how we can start protecting ourselves and our loved ones from microplastics — and the first step is understanding not only what these small particles are, but how they end up in our bodies and impact our health. In this guide, we'll cover how microplastics get into our water in the first place, and, most importantly, how to filter them out.

Scientists estimate the average person might consume 5 grams of microplastics each week, equivalent to the weight of 12 plastic straws.

What are microplastics?

Microplastics are small plastic particles, less than 5 millimeters in size (about the size of a chia seed), that are a byproduct of plastic waste. These particles come from a range of sources, including microbeads in personal care products, such as exfoliating scrubs, synthetic fibers from clothing, toys, electronics, and more. 

As trash sits in landfills and is exposed to the elements, it degrades and weathers away into smaller particles that cannot be decomposed. What makes microplastics particularly dangerous is that they are not always visible to the naked eye, making them difficult to detect, avoid, and get rid of.

How do microplastics get into drinking water?

There are many ways microplastics can enter our drinking water. Some common sources include:

  • Litter and Exposed Waste: Plastic debris breaks down over time into microplastics, which eventually find their way into nearby bodies of water.
  • Synthetic Clothing: Washing garments made with manufactured material releases microfibers that can make their way into wastewater systems and eventually end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • Hygiene Products: Some personal care items, such as facial cleansers and toothpaste, contain microbeads made of plastic, which can enter water sources when washed down the drain.
  • Industrial Runoff: Industries that use or produce plastic materials can release microplastics into the environment through wastewater discharge.
  • Atmospheric Deposition: Microplastics can also be transported through the air through wind and deposited in water bodies, including rainwater.

When you take into account the billions of households and businesses around the world — the amount of microplastics in our environment can quickly add up. In fact, according to a study published in Environmental Science & Technology, the average human consumes an estimated 74,000 and 121,000 microplastic particles a year through our food, water, and the air we breathe. That number grows even higher if someone drinks solely from plastic bottled water.

Does bottled water contain microplastics?

Bottled water contains a shocking amount of microplastics. In a study by the State University of New York, a whopping 93% of water bottles had microplastics in them. Another study on popular bottled water brands found them to have twice as many microplastic particles in them than tap water. Worse still, the type of plastics found in bottled water differed from that in tap, leading scientists to believe that some plastic particles come from the bottling process itself.

What are the health impacts of microplastic exposure?

While research on the full extent of health impacts from microplastic exposure is still limited, initial research suggests there are potential risks. For instance, researchers have already found microplastics in human lung tissue, blood, and even breast milk, confirming that these pollutants are already in our bodies. Other studies show that microplastics can cause gut inflammation, reproductive issues, and even affect cognitive function in mice. Further still, microplastics can absorb and transport other harmful contaminants and known carcinogens, raising additional concerns.

How to know if microplastics are in your water

Currently, there are no home tests readily available to detect microplastics in water. However, if you’re concerned and want to get rid of microplastics in your water, you can send a sample to a laboratory for testing. Some states, such as California, have started testing for microplastics in drinking water, so check in with your local utility department to see if their water quality reports will include microplastics in the list of contaminants.

How to remove microplastics from water

To effectively remove microplastics from your drinking water, it is essential to use a water filtration method that is certified to specifically address microplastic removal. At Aquasana, we're proud to sell under sink and countertop water filtration products that are certified to reduce microplastics from your home’s drinking water .

Aquasana provides various filtration systems that cater to different needs and installation preferences. For those who prefer a countertop solution, the Aquasana Clean Water Machine is an excellent choice. This filtered water dispenser requires zero installation and effectively reduces microplastics, along with other contaminants, ensuring cleaner drinking water for you and your family.


Clean Water Machine

Claryum® technology filters 78 contaminants including lead and PFAS at the push of a button. No installation.

We also provide under sink filtration systems to suit your needs. For example, our Reverse Osmosis (RO) filter is a high-performance system that provides maximum contaminant removal by using a multi-stage filtration process to leave you with pure, great-tasting water. Or if you prefer a more entry-level option, the Claryum® 2-Stage system targets microplastics among other prominent contaminants. Whatever you choose, rest assured that our filters have undergone rigorous testing and are certified to remove up to 99.6% of microplastics from tap water.

Invest in water you can trust. Shop systems or contact us today to start enjoying water the way it was meant to be.