In today’s world, plastic is a fundamental part of modern life. So, we can say that it is present everywhere. Sadly, there is no safe way to get rid of it since it decomposes into tiny versions of itself, called microplastics.
Over 94% of tap water in the United States contains microplastics, and people are consuming them without even realizing it.
According to the World Health Organization, microplastic in drinking water has a severe risk to human health. It means that it is crucial to eliminate microplastics from water.
For this, water filters play an influential role in the removal of microplastic from drinking water. And when it comes to filtration, we all know that reverse osmosis is the best technique so far. So here the question arises, “Does Reverse Osmosis removes microplastics?”
Yes, it is true! Reverse osmosis has a great potential of removing microplastic from tap water. Moreover, it helps to eliminate the other contaminants, including chlorine, radium, arsenic, magnesium, fluoride, and many others. As a result, you will get clean, pure, and healthy water.
For more information about the relation between reverse osmosis and microplastics, please continue reading.
- Best Reverse Osmosis Bottled Water Brands
- Best Reverse Osmosis Systems For Well Water
- Is UV Required With Reverse Osmosis?
- 1 What are Microplastics?
- 2 How Do Microplastics Enter Our Drinking Water?
- 3 How Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Microplastics?
- 4 Drawbacks of Reverse Osmosis Filtration System
- 5 Other Ways to Remove Microplastics From Tap Water
- 6 Best RO Filters for Microplastic Removal
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 FAQs
What are Microplastics?
“Microplastics” refers to plastic fragments less than 5 millimeters in length (0.2 inches). They are highly toxic and non-degradable particles and pose a severe threat to the environment.
These plastic fragments are a result of the degradation of waste polymers and plastics over time. Toxic polymers can be broken down into tiny pieces when plastics are thrown away carelessly (particularly in water).
It is impossible for the plastic particles to dissolve because they are non-biodegradable, resulting in microplastics production.
There are many sources for microplastics, such as microbeads from face washes, synthetic fibers from garments, and plastic particles degraded from large products. Air pollution is also a significant source of microplastic.
It has a significant impact on the aquatic environment, and as a result, it harms aquatic organisms. Ingestion of microplastics by marine life harms the human body since it becomes a food source for people.
How Do Microplastics Enter Our Drinking Water?
According to reports, microplastics are present in our air, food, and water because of their high prevalence in our everyday lives.
Studies show that microplastics are present in 83 percent of the world’s tap water. Moreover, they are present in 90% of US tap water, 72% of European tap water, and 93% of global bottled water.
Individuals inhale, consume, and drink between 100,000 and 120,000 pieces of microplastic every year. Approximately 90% of our microplastics exposure comes from drinking water.
Microplastics contaminate drinking water in several ways. There are two primary sources of microplastic pollution in drinking water.
- Surface run-offs such as landfills, plastic debris, and agricultural run-off
- Waste Water Effluents from industries
In addition, they are also prevalent in everything from our clothing to our furniture to our food and beverage containers.
Other sources include
- Cosmetics that contain microbeads, such as exfoliating products and toothpaste
- They may also be leached into the drinking water supply by tap fittings.
- Microfibers from synthetic fibers in the washing machine may enter the water.
How Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Microplastics?
In terms of water purification, reverse osmosis filters are among the most effective. Water can be purified using RO, which uses a unique elimination approach to remove microplastics from water.
Reverse osmosis is a technique that uses pressurized water to drive molecules through a semi-permeable membrane whose pores are so tiny that only water molecules can pass. Further, it requires seven steps of filtration to remove the majority of pollutants and impurities from water.
So, how does reverse osmosis remove microplastics?
The pre-filter, carbon filter, post-filter, and reverse osmosis membrane are all subjected to high pressure as they filter the water. Tiny pores in the membrane are too small to allow microplastics, making it impossible to enter the water.
Thus, filtration removes microplastics and other contaminants that bounce off the membrane and end up in the drain.
In addition, particles larger than 0.0001 micrometers, or about 0.1 nanometers, can be removed using a high-quality reverse osmosis system. Because of this, reverse osmosis is the most acceptable method for removing microplastics and nano plastic from the water.
Related Post: Best Reverse Osmosis Bottles Brand
Drawbacks of Reverse Osmosis Filtration System
Undoubtedly, reverse osmosis for removing microplastics and other impurities is beneficial, but there are certain drawbacks to employing this method. These include:
1- Waste of water
The most significant downside of a RO system is the amount of water wasted during the process. There is wastage of two to twenty gallons of water for every gallon of water generation.
The maintenance of the RO system is simple, but it isn’t free. Once you’ve purchased and installed the system, you’ll be able to produce water for dollars per gallon. However, the cost of filter replacements and maintenance is a constant drain on the budget.
Even though RO systems are almost maintenance-free, they must be cleaned and sterilized once a year.
The cost of reverse osmosis units is high. The cost of a system, including installation, can range from a few hundred to a thousand dollars or more.
Remember: The RO water filter is worth the extra money because the price of a RO system is usually a reflection of its quality.
Other Ways to Remove Microplastics From Tap Water
Although Reverse Osmosis is the most exemplary method for purifying water, it has certain limitations. These include high costs, water waste, and regular maintenance. Because of this, people are searching for new ways to minimize microplastics.
Apart from reverse osmosis, various filtration methods are effective at removing microplastics from drinking water. These include:
- Activated Carbon Filtration
One of the best methods for eliminating microplastics is nano-filtration.
This technique utilizes semi-permeable filter membranes with pores as small as 0.01 micrometers to purify the water. As a result, you will get clean, healthy, and pleasant water to consume.
Another method for reducing the concentration of microplastics in water is the use of ultra-filtration. Similar to nano-filtration, the pore size of this membrane is between 0.1 and 0.01 micrometers.
In microfiltration, a liquid is passed through a semi-permeable membrane with pore sizes between 0.01 and 10 micrometers to remove impurities from the liquid. As microplastics are more significant in size, so this technique can be employed for their removal.
4- Activated Carbon Filtration
Carbon filters catch microplastics in the microscopic pore spaces inside the carbon media, lowering their concentration in water.
There are two broad categories of carbon filters used in water filtration. These are:
Granular Activated Carbon Filters
Granular activated carbon water filters typically have pore sizes between 0.8mm and 1.0mm. Though it improves the filtering speed of the filter, it does not correctly remove microplastics and other pollutants, which is a big problem.
Carbon Block Filters
When it comes to removing microplastics from your water, carbon block filters are more effective than GAC filters. A great example of this filter is TAPP 2, which eliminates all known microplastics.
Carbon particles with a diameter of less than 0.18 mm often take longer to pass through, but they can eliminate most pollutants and microplastics from water.
Related Post: Zero Water Filter VS Reverse Osmosis
Best RO Filters for Microplastic Removal
Following are the top three reverse osmosis water filters capable of removing microplastics from the tap water. As a result, you will get clean, healthy, and pleasant water to drink safely.
1- AquaTru Countertop RO Water Filtration System
The AquaTru Countertop RO water filtration system is the best water filter to remove the maximum of toxins from your tap water. Thus, it offers healthy, clean, and flavorful water for drinking and cooking purposes.
The advanced reverse osmosis technique employed by the filter effectively removes hazardous and toxic chemicals, including small pieces of microplastic.
In addition, this filter is NSF certified to eliminate pollutants, including arsenic, lead, chromium, fluoride, and chlorine.
Additionally, it is simple to set up and takes minimal maintenance. However, the filters should be replaced every six months to two years for optimal performance.
2- Waterdrop RO Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
The Waterdrop RO reverse osmosis system utilizes the most advanced RO technology and produces 600 gallons of purified water per day. This system is highly efficient in removing microplastics successfully.
As a result, the RO membrane in this system is more extensive and capable of removing more micropollutants than typical RO filters.
It also has an additional PET pleated membrane that eliminates big particles, directly increasing the membrane’s longevity. The filter also removes non-hazardous substances such as microplastics and heavy metals.
It is simple to install because you can do it all on your own. In general, it is the best reverse osmosis system for removing microplastics.
3- Home Master TMHP Under-sink Reverse Osmosis Filter
The seven-stage filtration process employed by the Home Master TMHP Under-sink RO Filter ensures a rapid, efficient, and reliable filtration procedure.
According to the manufacturer, this filter removes more than 95 percent of microplastics by utilizing the seven-stage carbon block.
This water filter system is also FDA-approved for preventing the growth of germs and viruses. Aside from filtration, it uses a purification and UV sterilization method to eliminate various impurities and contaminants, such as lead, chromium, chlorine, fluoride, TDS, and others.
As a bonus, this filter system does not require energy, which means that it saves you money. In addition, it comes with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty so that you can buy it with confidence.
Related Post: Reverse Osmosis Systems For Well Water
To sum up, microplastics are everywhere, and there is no way to avoid them. You can, however, limit their intake by employing a variety of strategies and water filters.
To be sure, reverse osmosis aids in the removal of microplastic from water. This method removes microplastics and filters out other undesired elements. As a result, you will get ultra-clean, nutritious, and safe drinking water. Though it’s a pricey procedure, the results are impressive.
We believe this article helps you learn the answer to your query,” Does reverse osmosis remove microplastics?”
Stay hydrated and enjoys the safe and clear water!
Does Boiling Water Remove Microplastics?
On a smaller scale, heating water is the best treatment for removing impurities and other harmful contaminants, but it is not feasible on a larger scale.
Boiling water is not a good idea when it comes to removing microplastics. Even though boiling water eliminates bacteria and other germs, it does not remove microplastics.
You can’t remove microplastics from water by boiling since physical filtering is not involved.
Does Distilling Water Remove Microplastics?
Yes, distilling water is an effective method for removing microplastics because it eliminates many harmful substances and other pollutants.
Though it is not as effective as the processes mentioned above, it may reduce the concentration of microplastics from the water.
How Does Microplastics Affect the Human Health?
The precise health consequences of ingesting microplastics are yet unknown. Nonetheless, research has shown that microplastics might harm human health. Even the slightest levels of microplastics can significantly impact the health of infants and young children.
Typically, microplastics contain a wide range of pollutants, including trace metals and organic compounds that may be toxic. Worryingly, long-term exposure to them has detrimental effects on humans.
According to researchers, plastic substances contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, brain abnormalities, and reproductive issues.
Besides, microplastics have the following harmful effects:
- Has the potential to be carcinogenic
- Act as endocrine disruptors, causing imbalances in hormones production
- Affect the developmental cycles of children
- Negative impact on inflammation and the immune system
- Can be mutagenic
How to Reduce Microplastics in the Environment?
To reduce the amount of microplastic pollution, everyone has a responsibility to play. To do this, you only need to put the following ideas into practice:
- Be careful with plastic waste disposal
- Pick up trash anywhere you find it, especially around waterways.
- Invest in natural-fiber clothing that’s friendly to the environment.
- Refrain from using single-use plastics (reusable water bottles, plastic shopping bags, and multi-use straws)
- Avoid draining dryer lint.
- Use public transport
- Invest in plastic-free cosmetics
- Consume less meat and seafood
- Filter water to remove microplastics