Are Brita Water Pitchers Made From Safe Plastic?

Updated 1/7/2012

We’ve been asked a lot over the years about the safety of Brita water filter pitchers because they’re a top choice for folks interested in decreasing their disposable bottled water use. Of course it always makes sense to scrutinize food and beverage containers when you’re working to protect your family from toxic chemicals like BPA.

We contacted Brita to find out exactly what materials are used in their pitchers and here’s what the company said:

The pitcher lids and filter housings are made of Polypropylene plastic. The reservoirs and pitchers are made either from NAS (a Styrene based plastic) or SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile). The soft-touch handles are made from an elastomer called Santoprene (not to be confused with Latex or Neoprene). Our products do not contain any bisphenol A and are all tested by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) for safety and wetted contact.

And while you may not be able to find information on Brita’s website regarding BPA, you can call them at (800) 24 BRITA for the scoop.  The first thing you’ll hear is a statement confirming that each of their products is 100% BPA-free.

A few years ago, The National Geographic’s The Green Guide responded to an inquiry from a reader on the subject too:

It is true that Brita filter systems use containers made from styrene methylmethacrylate copolymer, which is a polymer (a combination of molecules) primarily used in the production of acrylic sheeting, molding powders and resin and surface coatings. According to Brita, the company manufactures containers made from styrene methylmethacrylate copolymer to avoid leaching.Brita’s information on leaching came from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), which performs extensive material safety tests. The NSF states that Brita pitchers have been tested for material safety while in contact with “very aggressive water” (i.e. exposure to water with low total of dissolved solids and .5 ppm of available chlorine for three successive 24-hour periods) and have found no evidence of leaching.

Rick Andrews, the technical manager of the Drinking Water Treatment Unit Certification Program at the NSF, explains that when a company is seeking NSF certification for new container/filter system, NSF requires information about the constituents of the plastic and then tests for leachates they know are associated with those ingredients. Using acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) as an example, they would look for styrene and acrylonitrile leaching into the water. We asked about styrene leaching from the methylmethacrylate copolymer, and he assured us that any polymer that includes a styrene component would be tested for styrene leaching.

Our Conclusion

The bottom line is that The Green Guide saw no reason not to use Brita pitchers so long as they are the correct filter for the contaminants in your tap water.  We agree based on the current research and feel comfortable recommending Brita pitchers, so long as it’s used correctly (i.e. no dishwasher or microwave).

Does Brita Make a Glass Water Filter Pitcher?

Yes, they sure do.  But it’s not available here in the United States.  Read more about that HERE.

photo credit: Patrick Haney via photopin cc

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Alicia Voorhies is a Registered Nurse who decided to take a break to relax and enjoy her young kids after 13 years of working with disabled adults. She began to explore the world of alternative health ideas and was immediately attracted to the mysteries of endocrine disruptors and their effect on children. In 2007 she founded The Soft Landing along with her mom and sisters to help parents provide a safe, natural home for their children without drowning in an overwhelming sea of information.

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  • http://www.qtpies7.com Qtpies7~

    I don’t have one, but I hadn’t even thought about that plastic, but I suppose the water sits in there for a long time. I keep mine in a glass pitcher.

  • http://www.qtpies7.com Qtpies7~

    I don’t have one, but I hadn’t even thought about that plastic, but I suppose the water sits in there for a long time. I keep mine in a glass pitcher.

  • softlanding

    Hi Jenny,

    Please note that we updated our post to include the whole article on the type of styrene used in Brita pitchers in response to your comment. Hopefully that will help clear up any misconceptions about Brita pitchers.

    We find The Green Guide to be a trustworthy source of well-researched information, so we haven’t taken Brita’s word for it.

    Alicia

  • jenny thrasher

    Yes, but styrene does apparently leach and so taking the Brita company’s word at face value may not be the best source of information. Do a search on styrene safety to see what alternative sources have to say.

  • jenny thrasher

    Yes, but styrene does apparently leach and so taking the Brita company’s word at face value may not be the best source of information. Do a search on styrene safety to see what alternative sources have to say.

  • softlanding

    Hi Jenny,

    Please note that we updated our post to include the whole article on the type of styrene used in Brita pitchers in response to your comment. Hopefully that will help clear up any misconceptions about Brita pitchers.

    We find The Green Guide to be a trustworthy source of well-researched information, so we haven’t taken Brita’s word for it.

    Alicia

  • softlanding

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post confirmation from Brita, Ryan!

  • Ryan

    I saw Canada started in motion a ban of BPA last week. I sent a question to Brita about it and received the following written response. I am relieved because our whole family has been using Brita for many years, including regularly mixing powdered baby formula from it.

    “Thank you for contacting us about Brita Pour Through System – Classic/Standard Pitcher. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers. The pitcher lids and filter housing is made of Polypropylene plastic. The reservoir and pitchers are made either from NAS (a Styrene based plastic) or SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile). The soft-touch handles are made from an elastomer called Santoprene (not to be confused with Latex or Neoprene). Our products do not contain any bisphenol A and are all tested by the NSF (National Science Foundation) for safety and wetted contact. Unfortunately the pitcher materials are not recyclable therefore do not have a plastic number. Please contact us at any time if you have additional questions.”

  • Ryan

    I saw Canada started in motion a ban of BPA last week. I sent a question to Brita about it and received the following written response. I am relieved because our whole family has been using Brita for many years, including regularly mixing powdered baby formula from it.

    “Thank you for contacting us about Brita Pour Through System – Classic/Standard Pitcher. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers. The pitcher lids and filter housing is made of Polypropylene plastic. The reservoir and pitchers are made either from NAS (a Styrene based plastic) or SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile). The soft-touch handles are made from an elastomer called Santoprene (not to be confused with Latex or Neoprene). Our products do not contain any bisphenol A and are all tested by the NSF (National Science Foundation) for safety and wetted contact. Unfortunately the pitcher materials are not recyclable therefore do not have a plastic number. Please contact us at any time if you have additional questions.”

  • softlanding

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post confirmation from Brita, Ryan!

  • http://www.takebackthefilter.org donovan99

    Yes, Brita pitchers do not contain BPA – but their plastic filter cartridges are NOT RECYCLABLE, filling up our landfills and polluting our planet.

    The Brita Company in Europe has created a take-back recycling program for their filters. But the Brita Company in North America is owned by Clorox, and they do not have such a program.

    Please sign our petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/recycle-used-brita-water-filter-cartridges.html to urge Clorox to take responsibility for its plastic waste as is already being done in Europe.

    For more info, please visit our site at http://www.takebackthefilter.org

    Spread the word!

  • http://www.takebackthefilter.org donovan99

    Yes, Brita pitchers do not contain BPA – but their plastic filter cartridges are NOT RECYCLABLE, filling up our landfills and polluting our planet.

    The Brita Company in Europe has created a take-back recycling program for their filters. But the Brita Company in North America is owned by Clorox, and they do not have such a program.

    Please sign our petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/recycle-used-brita-water-filter-cartridges.html to urge Clorox to take responsibility for its plastic waste as is already being done in Europe.

    For more info, please visit our site at http://www.takebackthefilter.org

    Spread the word!

  • kbradof

    Thanks for providing this reassuring information about Brita pitchers! A clarification: the reply Ryan received from Brita identified NSF as the National Science Foundation, which is the wrong NSF in this case. It’s the nonprofit NSF International (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) that tests water filtration equipment (www.nsf.org). Manufacturers voluntarily seek certification to verify that a product meets the standards claimed (stamped inside the lid of my Brita pitcher). It’s a good sign when a product meets NSF standards because the company chose to pay for testing and certification. Just don’t assume that the product was tested for anything other than the specific standard indicated or that a product without such certification is necessarily inferior.

    Kristine Bradof
    Center for Science and Environmental Outreach
    Michigan Technological University

    • John

      Interensting. Santoprene is realated to Monsanto which is a company many followers of this website would disapprove of. I believe that Monsanto dislikes a healthy environment in general.

  • kbradof

    Thanks for providing this reassuring information about Brita pitchers! A clarification: the reply Ryan received from Brita identified NSF as the National Science Foundation, which is the wrong NSF in this case. It’s the nonprofit NSF International (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) that tests water filtration equipment (www.nsf.org). Manufacturers voluntarily seek certification to verify that a product meets the standards claimed (stamped inside the lid of my Brita pitcher). It’s a good sign when a product meets NSF standards because the company chose to pay for testing and certification. Just don’t assume that the product was tested for anything other than the specific standard indicated or that a product without such certification is necessarily inferior.

    Kristine Bradof
    Center for Science and Environmental Outreach
    Michigan Technological University

  • shauna

    Thank you Donovan for that petition link. I have been saving all my old filters hoping to someday recycle them. Also, thank you Ryan and Kristine B for the good information.

  • shauna

    Thank you Donovan for that petition link. I have been saving all my old filters hoping to someday recycle them. Also, thank you Ryan and Kristine B for the good information.

  • Kerry Robb

    I was directed to this post from a comment on my blog on a post about drinking tap water and Brita pitchers… This is really helpful. Actually, this whole site is great, I’ll be linking to it from my blog. Thanks!

  • Kerry Robb

    I was directed to this post from a comment on my blog on a post about drinking tap water and Brita pitchers… This is really helpful. Actually, this whole site is great, I’ll be linking to it from my blog. Thanks!

  • Judy Stone-Goldman

    Just today I realized I didn’t know about the safety of our Britta filter system. I am so pleased to find this information. Thank you for posting the full article.

    I would love to have a way to recycle the filters, so thanks for the link. Society is becoming more conscious of these problems of waste and toxic leaching, and I believe the day is coming when companies will assume greater responsibility, just to placate consumers like us!

  • Judy Stone-Goldman

    Just today I realized I didn’t know about the safety of our Britta filter system. I am so pleased to find this information. Thank you for posting the full article.

    I would love to have a way to recycle the filters, so thanks for the link. Society is becoming more conscious of these problems of waste and toxic leaching, and I believe the day is coming when companies will assume greater responsibility, just to placate consumers like us!

  • Jackie

    i have used Brita water pitchers for the past 7 years for myself and my children and wonder if they are safe from leaching any chemicals. I have read all of your questions and replies. When Brita replied to me, they told me the reservoir and pitchers are made either from NAS (a Styrene based plastic) or SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile). Are these materials (NAS and SAN) safe from any chemical leaching? You made me feel comfortable about the safety of styrene methylmethacrylate copolymer, but what about STYRENE ACRYLONITRILE?
    please help!
    Thanks

  • Jackie

    i have used Brita water pitchers for the past 7 years for myself and my children and wonder if they are safe from leaching any chemicals. I have read all of your questions and replies. When Brita replied to me, they told me the reservoir and pitchers are made either from NAS (a Styrene based plastic) or SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile). Are these materials (NAS and SAN) safe from any chemical leaching? You made me feel comfortable about the safety of styrene methylmethacrylate copolymer, but what about STYRENE ACRYLONITRILE?
    please help!
    Thanks

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  • Dee

    I have been using the same Brita pitcher for over 8 years. Every 3 months, I soak the pitcher is dishwater with a bit of bleach added.

    Lately, my husband and I notice the water that sits in it over 2 days has a different smell and funny taste.
    What might be the cause?

  • softlanding

    Hi Dee,

    I wish I could help you there, but I’ve never had that issue myself or completed research on the subject. I do wonder of the age of the pitcher and the use of bleach could be breaking down the plastic, releasing some of its components.

    I would recommend you go ahead and replace the pitcher. Plastic will eventually breakdown. I also think you should contact Brita and inquire about there care instructions, and their recommendations for replacement timing.

    Alicia

  • Dee

    I have been using the same Brita pitcher for over 8 years. Every 3 months, I soak the pitcher is dishwater with a bit of bleach added.

    Lately, my husband and I notice the water that sits in it over 2 days has a different smell and funny taste.
    What might be the cause?

  • softlanding

    Hi Dee,

    I wish I could help you there, but I’ve never had that issue myself or completed research on the subject. I do wonder of the age of the pitcher and the use of bleach could be breaking down the plastic, releasing some of its components.

    I would recommend you go ahead and replace the pitcher. Plastic will eventually breakdown. I also think you should contact Brita and inquire about there care instructions, and their recommendations for replacement timing.

    Alicia

  • Brian

    Dee,

    The care instructions indicate to use a mild cleaning agent. I don’t think bleach would qualify. Sorry I don’t have a link to site, but hope that helps.

    -B

  • Brian

    Dee,

    The care instructions indicate to use a mild cleaning agent. I don’t think bleach would qualify. Sorry I don’t have a link to site, but hope that helps.

    -B

  • Tina

    What about dishwasher cleaning? I wonder if that breaks down the plastic (meaning the heat)?

  • Tina

    What about dishwasher cleaning? I wonder if that breaks down the plastic (meaning the heat)?

  • Trudy V.

    I just found this site this morning while researching phthalates and it has been so helpful. Thank you.
    I almost bought a Brita today and decided I’d come home and check here to see if it is safe. I also read through the Brita website as well and there were a couple of faqs that might be of interest:
    1. The pitcher filter system faqs indicate the system is designed only for municipal water, not well water, and they mention microbial contamination as the reason for that recommendation.
    2. The system is cleaned by hand-washing and though they don’t comment on dishwasher use, appears in another section that the pitchers are intended for cold-use only.
    I hope this helps.

  • Trudy V.

    I just found this site this morning while researching phthalates and it has been so helpful. Thank you.
    I almost bought a Brita today and decided I’d come home and check here to see if it is safe. I also read through the Brita website as well and there were a couple of faqs that might be of interest:
    1. The pitcher filter system faqs indicate the system is designed only for municipal water, not well water, and they mention microbial contamination as the reason for that recommendation.
    2. The system is cleaned by hand-washing and though they don’t comment on dishwasher use, appears in another section that the pitchers are intended for cold-use only.
    I hope this helps.

  • Tak

    I found this site while researching STYRENE ACRYLONITRILE used in the Breville espresso machine water reservoirs.
    Mine has a pungent plastic odor as it sits right beside the boiler and gets very warm. Breville refuses to say if it contains BPA- only that it conforms to CSA and Ul codes. Unfortunately, NSF is the important one, which they have not applied to.
    Re: heat from a dishwasher would not be a good idea and heat can cause the breakldown and release of chemicals.
    Re: Bleach is also red flagged as breaking chemical bonds with the same result.
    Re: cleaning. if fine scratches appear, there is a good chance that you have cavities where bacteria can lodge. Recyle it- it has served you well.
    Have a look at Health Canada, the only country that has banned BPA. If you can believe it, we have finally taken a leadership role in something other than maple syrup and hockey!

  • Tak

    I found this site while researching STYRENE ACRYLONITRILE used in the Breville espresso machine water reservoirs.
    Mine has a pungent plastic odor as it sits right beside the boiler and gets very warm. Breville refuses to say if it contains BPA- only that it conforms to CSA and Ul codes. Unfortunately, NSF is the important one, which they have not applied to.
    Re: heat from a dishwasher would not be a good idea and heat can cause the breakldown and release of chemicals.
    Re: Bleach is also red flagged as breaking chemical bonds with the same result.
    Re: cleaning. if fine scratches appear, there is a good chance that you have cavities where bacteria can lodge. Recyle it- it has served you well.
    Have a look at Health Canada, the only country that has banned BPA. If you can believe it, we have finally taken a leadership role in something other than maple syrup and hockey!

  • Cathie

    Update on recycling program for used Brita filters in the US:

    http://www.brita.com/us/support/filter-recycling/

  • Cathie

    Update on recycling program for used Brita filters in the US:

    http://www.brita.com/us/support/filter-recycling/

  • http://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com Big Berkey

    I upgraded from a brita to a berkey last year. All the brita filters were costing me over $100/yr. I got the berkey system and these filters last forever. highly recommend!

  • http://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com Big Berkey

    I upgraded from a brita to a berkey last year. All the brita filters were costing me over $100/yr. I got the berkey system and these filters last forever. highly recommend!

  • http://www.harseverse.blogspot.com willowsprite

    What about Canada? Anyone know?

  • http://www.harseverse.blogspot.com willowsprite

    What about Canada? Anyone know?

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  • Julie

    Are Brita containers safe from leaching if they sit in a hot car? I am attempting to find a convenient way to transport municipal water from my home to a summer cabin on a remote island where we are on well water. I would prefer to drink my municipal water and I have recently purchased several large Brita pitchers. (I am thinking glass is the safest, but it is quite heavy.)

    Any suggestions?

  • cmarquis

    This is very good information to know. My daughter was just talking about getting a Brita for their house. I am glad to know that they will be safe when drinking their water. I just need to convince them not to use plastic bottles when refilling.

  • cmarquis

    This is very good information to know. My daughter was just talking about getting a Brita for their house. I am glad to know that they will be safe when drinking their water. I just need to convince them not to use plastic bottles when refilling.

  • gaylene

    The plastic may not be the issue, but no simplistic filtration system
    can come close to pure water. Round up a stainless steel pitcher,
    a 1 gallon stainless steel holding tank and a 3 gallon holding tank.
    THEN get a water distiller. I have had mine for a year and a half-it is the ONLY form of pure water and it is the best thing I have EVER bought.
    Gaylene

  • Kay

    My brother visited me last week and I asked him if I could bring him a glass of water. (I'm always thinking he doesn't get enough water.) As soon as he drank a few gulps he practically choked. “What's IN this water?” I said it was purified….that it was from my Brita water pitcher. He refused to drink it, and I had to take him water from the tap.

    It's interesting that he did not like it. (He's a retired civil engineer. And now I'm thinking I'll stop using the Brita pitcher. Although I try to keep it clean, maybe some chemicals did escape into the drinking water. ??

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Hi Kay,

    We've been using the Brita pitchers for years without any trouble with odd tastes. It is possible that the pitcher needs to be replaced if it's old enough though.

    Alicia

  • Kay

    Could be, Alicia.

    But please define “old enough.” :-) Thanks.

  • dreamojean

    I think Whole Foods takes Brita filters for recycling, at least as of 2010, at customer service.

  • Margie Cervantes

    My Brita leaches out its smell into my water and I can both smell and taste it in the water that has run through it. How then can it be safe and not be leaching out harmful chemicans? I am just using plain tap water because I cannot find any pitcher that is not made of plastic.

  • Guest

    They have a program now.

  • Vaughnse

    I would like a stainless steel pitcher or a glass pitcher. Does anyone make a filtering pitcher with stainless steel (304 or 316) or glass?

  • Visia Dragowska

    We bought a new Brita water filtration pitcher model OB11-OB3. The white part which holds water has a strong chemical-lik umpleasant smell. Is it possible that this thing doesn’t leach anything to the water and has a strong smell? Intuitivelly seems for me unlikel so we plan to return it to the store. Does anyone face the same problem? Thanks. [

  • Visia Dragowska

    We bought a new Brita water filtration pitcher model OB11-OB3. The white part which holds water has a strong chemical-lik umpleasant smell. Is it possible that this thing doesn’t leach anything to the water and has a strong smell? Intuitivelly seems for me unlikel so we plan to return it to the store. Does anyone face the same problem? Thanks. [

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  • plumbing

    Be sure that your filter has a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification. This assures you that the unit has been vetted by the organization. It is an assurance that the brand has undergone rigorous testing and passed the standards of the NSF.

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  • Neeta777

    Hi all,

    Interesting and useful information. Information on this type of plastic seems to suggest that it should not be placed in sunlight as this can cause degradation. I haven’t found information specifically about Brita filters – does anyone have an answer about this?

    Regards
    Anita

  • Tessita80

    If I ran my Brita through the dishwasher before learning that I shouldn’t, should I still not be worried about leaching into the water, even after being modified with such high heat?

    • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

      Hi Tessita80 – I wish I could help you with this question, but there’s just no way to tell. I think I’d contact Brita and run it by them since they recommend hand washing.

  • http://kreamer.myopenid.com/ Mamba

    My Brita has developed a moldy smell, and nothing helps, including a diluted bleach soak and scrubbing. May have to ditch it and just let water stand for a few days in the fridge to outgas the chlorine….

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  • SLS

    The Brita pitcher that I keep in the fridge – the clear plastic pitcher itself – has a problem similar to kreamer. It’s developed a nasty, sort of metallic smell and the water tastes so bad that I have to spit it out immediately and toss it. Soap and even vinegar haven’t helped, nor has changing the filter. I’ve just switched to letting ice cubes (the line has its own filter) melt in a different pitcher. My other Brita, which I keep on the counter for cooking water, is still good.

  • http://berkeywaterfilterinfo.com/ Derek Sharpie

    best water purifier i’ve tried and i’m sticking to is berkey water filter. Instatly purifies water from any source including stagnant water.

  • Sierra

    I highly recommend the glass filter made by Soma! Its sustainable, beautifully designed, and super convenient since a new filter gets sent to your doorstep every two months automatically when the old filter expires! Everyone who wants a glass filter should check out their website. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  • http://berkeywaterfilterinfo.com/reverse-osmosis/ Hannah Tess

    for home purification system, i must say R.O system is great.
    and for a portable water filter that is handy and ideal for outdoor trips, berkey water filter is the best

    • Jason Forest

      thanks for sharing us your knowledge. we really need to have a good water purification system now that millions of people are dying from different diseases they acquired from drinking unfiltered water

  • Jennifer

    Do you have any reliable sources that prove SAN does not leach into water?

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