PFAS in Your Drinking Water: What You Need to Know About Refrigerator Filters

Refrigerator in New Hampshire

PFAS is a pervasive and concerning issue for water contamination in daily life. Whether you’ve heard of it before reading this article — or you haven’t — many states (including NH), towns, and homes struggle with water quality. PFAS is a family of chemicals that has infiltrated the environment, soaking into groundwater and coming through our pipes on a daily basis. Many people just like you are looking to see if refrigerator filters can eliminate PFAS in your drinking water. In this article, we’ll outline the PFAS issues, how refrigeration filters work, and what you may need to ensure your water is clean.

Understanding PFAS Contamination in Drinking Water

PFAS or Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances are persistent and harmful chemicals found in various consumer products. From non-stick products to makeup and fire retardants, different manufacturing practices have leaked this chemical into the environment or into our bodies through plastics. New Hampshire is taking this problem seriously after years of dealing with the Saint Gobain issues in Merrimack and the fire retardant issues in other parts of the state. You can see that New England, in general, is a hot spot for this chemical spill.

PFAS is now being studied for its detrimental effects — some of the main issues at hand include health harm, environmental implications, and the possibility of global contamination. Common sources of PFAS contamination include water, food, and consumer products. While many families rely on their refrigerator water filtration units to provide clean and safe drinking water, we need to understand how PFAS is gotten rid of — and if the refrigerator door water can get rid of this toxic chemical, you can’t see or smell.

The Limitations of Refrigerators in Eliminating PFAS

Refrigerators and their built-in water filtration systems are not designed to eliminate PFAS chemicals because they are limited in several areas.

  • Filtration mechanisms: Typically, refrigerator water filters utilize activated carbon, sufficient to remove chlorine and bad taste from water but not to eliminate all of the small particles of PFAS. PFAS is small and stable, which lets them bypass the filtration media without fully being removed.
  • Particle size limitations: As it does have a small size, the refrigerator filters do only garner particles such as sediment, chlorine, or other organic matter.
  • Limited contact: While the refrigerator is great for getting your water quickly, having the water flow through the filtration media so quickly will not provide the right amount of time to remove chemical particles.

With these limited actions, another filtration system that is formed specifically for PFAS, such as granular activated carbon (GAC) or reverse osmosis (RO) systems, can capture the PFAS molecules more effectively, ensuring clean drinking water!

Key Filters for PFAS Elimination

Here is a complete list of the effective filters that can help tackle any problem you may have with PFAS. Do recognize that Point-of-Use (POC) filtration systems will not eliminate the chemicals from all of your home or business’ water, while a whole-home filtration system will.

  • Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) Filters: These filtration systems are particularly effective in eliminating PFAS because of their absorption properties, the chemical structure of PFAS, and contact time. As water passes through the GAC filter, the contaminants will adhere to the carbon surface, effectively removing it from the water supply. These compounds have fluorine-carbon bonds, and those electrostatic forces between the carbon surface and PFAS atoms provide the right combination for effective absorption. Also, the GAC filter has a longer contact time than any refrigerator filtration unit would. One thing to note is that the activated carbon will need to be replaced with the GAC filters as it becomes saturated with contaminants. The NH Tap Pure™ PFAS Filtration System or our Whole Home Water Filtration System are both ideal solutions for your filtration system needs. Remove all trace elements of PFAS with a superior carbon filtration media.
  • Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filters: RO filtration systems are also highly effective in removing PFAS from water Due to their molecular size exclusion, selective filtration, and multiple barrier filtration. Due to the semipermeable membrane, which provides filtration for reverse osmosis systems, the pore size is significantly smaller than that of PFAS compounds. When the water passes through the membrane, the small pores block the PFAS molecule from entering into the water. Thankfully as the water goes through the membrane, it still retains essential minerals and other beneficial elements. An RO system can often reduce the PFAS levels by 90% or more. These systems also require regular maintenance and periodic membrane replacement to keep the system effective in removing all contaminants. One other thing to consider with ro systems is that these are point-of-view systems, meaning that they will only clean the water in one location of the home.


Since refrigerator filters have large limitations in removing PFAS, it leaves potential risks in your water supply. Using specialized filters for tackling PFAS contamination is imperative as you seek to live a healthy life. Water is one of your most important daily assets for your health — and ensuring that you have the right filtration solution can help you avoid drinking any chemicals that can harm you.

Be sure to reach out to us at NH Tap today and see how our filtration system can help you live well!

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