Can Water Filters Remove Estrogen?
Estrogen in water has become a big concern recently. An increasing number of population and advancements of pharmaceuticals it is becoming more and more difficult for local wastewater treatment plants to produce clean and safe drinking water and this is why you should take the responsibility into your hands.
So, can water filters remove estrogen?
In short, activated carbon filters are capable of removing >65% of estrogen based on the type of the cartridge. However, reverse osmosis and ceramic filters are also an efficient solution when it comes to hormones filtration.
Let’s talk a little bit about estrogen and how it affects our lives.
Why Is Estrogen in Water Bad?
Right, so we know that estrogen is the main sex hormone in women’s body.
What we don’t know is that a healthy body regulates the amount of estrogen naturally.
Exposure to excessive amounts of estrogen leads to disbalance in both males and females.
I am not going to get into much detail in human biology, but here is the good source of information if you want to know more about estrogen.
What you need to know that excessive amount of estrogen in both males and females bodies is responsible for gaining weight around the hips area, loss of sexual desire, or emotional instability.
Additionally, estrogen is a known cause of gynecomastia or the well-known problem of “man boobs.”
Now, let’s discuss how estrogen gets through water into our body.
How Estrogen Gets Into Water
Now, this is a huge topic by itself, and many researchers have looked into this.
The logical explanation that comes to mind is that estrogen gets into wastewater through birth control pills. However, as proved by research this is not actually the main contributor and according to Sciencedaily, it only contributes to about 1% of the pie.
On a personal note, I don’t believe in this number, and I think that hormonal contraception is a much more significant contributor, especially given that such research was conducted back in 2010-11.
So, what is the biggest contributor?
Various sources agree that animal waste, especially in the dairy industry, accounts for 90% of the issue.
Now, did you know that there are certain synthetic materials that have a similar impact on our body as estrogen, but are not quite estrogen?
Be Aware of Estrogen Mimickers – Xenoestrogens
In essence, whilst we can say that estrogen is a natural hormone, mimickers behave similarly to estrogen; however are artificial and called xenoestrogens.
So, let’s see which mimickers could be often found in water without us even realizing it.
The most popular xenoestrogens by far are known as Bisphenol-A or BPA and phthalates.
Both of these mimickers are mostly used in plastic. Additionally, phthalates are used in soaps, shampoos, perfumes, deodorants – simply in a lot of beauty products.
In the food industry, there is a coating used to protect the packaging from the damage by the content inside. Now, this is not ideal as the layer contains xenoestrogens which are released into the food, and eventually through landfill into water.
Did you also know that old water pipes had used BPA as a way to extend their life?
I think the bottom line of this is that xenoestrogens will be there for as long as the plastic is used as a dominant material.
Unfortunately, for us, especially men, it means that we need to take care of our bodies and reduce the contact with all kind of estrogenic hormones by using high-quality products and give preference to glass or stainless steel over plastic.
If you want to know more about how plastic releases estrogen mimickers in our food chain, I would suggest you watch a document movie Plastic Ocean on Netflix.
The main point I want to get across is that it doesn’t matter how estrogen gets into water as much as the fact that it is there and needs to be filtered out and here is how.
How To Remove Estrogen From Water
Estrogen is a hormone that occurs naturally in our body. Compared to other contaminants in water hormones are more complex, so some of the traditional methods of purification might not necessarily work.
Let’s take boiling as an example. It is the most basic and commonly used method.
I mean, everyone has got a kettle, and wherever you go or stay in a hotel, chances are there will be a kettle to boil water.
Although this is an excellent method to remove viruses of water, boiling might not necessarily be the best way to remove hormones, and here is why.
Hormones regulate our behavior, mood, and contribute a lot to the communication within our body, which makes them more resistant to the potential harm caused by boiling.
Now, I am not saying you need to stop boiling water as it still kills viruses and certain hormones. I am just pointing out that this is not the best solution.
With a hormone such as an estrogen, it is even more difficult, as it can survive wastewater treatment plant. So imagine how efficient it could be ways without the help of advanced filters.
The bottom line is that if you want to remove estrogen from the water, you would need to invest in a water filter.
In the next chapter, I will talk about which types of filters are capable of removing estrogen.
Water Filters That Remove Estrogen
Although there is a lot of different types of filters, not all of them are capable of removing estrogen, but these are:
This is the most efficient water filter type that literally removes 99% of the contaminants present in it.
The ideal situation is to combine reverse osmosis with carbon pre and post filter which ensures no estrogen left behind.
Probably the most known filter in this category is Berkey, but also Doulton or Aquarain. There filters has been proved to be capable of removing viruses.
However, there is no information related to hormones. Because hormones are in a way similar to viruses, these filters should be capable of filtering estrogen out.
There is research that shows that activated carbon is capable of removing estrogen, although it is not as simple as it seems.
In a nutshell, there are different types of activated carbon filter – C401 and F400.
Now, first type C401 has been proven to remove over 81% of estrogen from water and F400 has been capable to remove about 65% (source).
Although these are used in pitcher filters too, the performance of these cartridges is much worse.
The point is when next time you are looking for the replacement carbon cartridge search for the C401 type for better performance. If you are not sure about the type, make sure to reach out to the seller.
I guess at the end of this article I would like to highlight that even though water filters can remove estrogen from water, the level of exposure to estrogen mimickers through plastic products is alarming.
I would encourage you not only get a filter, but also reduce your exposure to plastic products and switch to glass or steel.
Now, I would love to hear from you!
Share your thoughts below.