Our Brita Water Filter Made Me Sick

Britta water jug

The culprit

UPDATE: I’ve totally given up on Brita. I had more “gastrointestinal problems” after writing the blog post. We’re now just buying huge jugs of water from the grocery store.

If you use a Brita water filter you need to be very careful with it. I pretty much lost a week of my life recently because there was stuff growing in it and I didn’t realize it.

I drink a lot of iced tea – probably a half gallon a day. Back in the day I was drinking Coke and Dan wanted to get me off that onto something that was more healthy, so we bought some tea bags and sugar and started making our own tea. Thing was the water in our building isn’t all that clean, so we bought the Brita filter/jug you see to the right.

Because it’s easier to make the tea and dissolve the sugar when the water is warm, we just kept the Brita jug on the counter. Sometimes I’d put it in the sun if I was about to make a batch of tea. BAD idea… I didn’t think about the fact that sun and warmth would let things grow.

About a week and a half ago I started getting sick. Stomach felt really bad, I was lethargic and there were bouts of diarrhea. I’m a bit prone to gastrointestinal stuff, so I just put up with it and thought it would go away in a day or two. Well, it didn’t go away. And when the diarrhea was worst I didn’t want to get dehydrated, so I’d drink more iced tea. What I didn’t know was that was making things worse.

Finally after 5 or 6 days I figured it out. I replaced the filter, cleaned the pitcher with hot water, and within 24 hours I was back to normal. Lesson learned.

I’m still using the Brita pitcher, but now it’s in the fridge. If you have a Britta or go to someone’s home who has one – make sure it’s kept in the refrigerator… Just changing the filters when they tell you to isn’t enough.

26 Responses to “Our Brita Water Filter Made Me Sick”

  1. Brenda Skidmore June 2, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    Brita water filters are very limited in their ability to filter out a wide variety of common contaminates present in many household water supplies. I realize they are better than using nothing at all though.

    Perchlorates, fluoride, chromium 6 or old lead household plumbing requires a better filtration system.

    Clean water is not free. It is going to cost everyone in higher taxes once the scope of the problem is brought out on the table.

    What can concerned citizens do until water authorities take it seriously? At least filter your own tap water. I have been using this system for 6 mo. It is worth the investment. It will also make tea fast, without heating, like nobody’s business!

    antioxidant water filters are the way to go!

  2. regina October 28, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Hi. Brita filtered bottles did something to the water and made me sick too! I noticed it several months ago when I had bad stomach cramps and finally realized it was the water in my bottle (after buying a second bottle). Yesterday, without thinking, I filled it with water. I then remembered and filled a soda bottle instead. Tonight, I went to empty the brita bottle and the water in it now has a strong chemical odor! It was fresh spring water. I don’t know if maybe we are just sensitive to something in the bottle or what, but I am going to write to brita. Of course, they will probably deny any problem, but I don’t want others to get sick. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Chris Wright October 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Hi,
    I also got stomach flu with the Brita water bottle. I used it normally, I rinsed out the bottle, refilled it and kept using the filter. One day, after using the filter for two weeks, I noticed an odd smell and taste after drinking half the bottle. I opened the bottle and the inside looked clean, and smelled like plastic, but when I looked at the filter, it was full of stinky mold. 8 hours later I was with stomach cramps, nausea, headaches and diarrhea. I wish I never bought into Brita. I am a graduate student and lost two days of study time, just rolling in bed with this problem. I will never drink Brita again.

  4. Dads law December 6, 2012 at 3:38 am #

    Finally figured out why my stomach was killing me…the brita filter was bad.

  5. Wayne June 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Jay, I wish I had found your blog entry earlier. I just went through 4 of the sickest days of my life. I couldn’t figure out at first. I had diarrhea like I’d never had it before for days on end; sick as a dog. I didn’t want to dehydrate so I kept drinking water from the Brita container to keep from doing so. One night I was laying bed thinking about what the heck could be going on, when it hit me that the only thing that had changed in my diet was that I had bought the Brita container. I searched and found this blog post, immediately stopped drinking from the Brita and within 12 hours am well on the road to recovery. Thank you.
    Poisoned by a Brita. Who would have thought it?

    • Donald McClellon September 1, 2013 at 4:25 am #

      I used a Brit Water Bottle and got sick. The paperwork included with the filters mentioned a type of microbiological growth that could occur if the filter was not replaced as recommended. Does anyone know the name of the growth mentioned in the literature?

  6. katie October 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Yea, just contacted Brita about a system I purchased for my sink and I replaced the filter already after two weeks because the light stopped working and when I smelled the stench coming from the old filter I about threw up. After finding these posts now I know why my family has been having stomach problems the last two weeks since I bought it.

  7. Shelley November 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Hmmmm. Very interesting. I have a very sensitive nose. I have never had a problem with filters until recently.I noticed that when I changed my britta water bottle water each day, I could smell mold. I change mine when I am supposed to. I opened a new filter and to my surprise, it wreaked of mold right out of the package. The company must be aware of the problem because they did not even want mine to inspect it, just offered to send me new ones. I just hate it when you think you are making a great choice for your health and the enviroment and wind up suffering for it. Could explain why I have been geting sore throats and sinus problems and bloating.
    Hmmmm

  8. Cori S. November 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Greetings,

    No Brita Filter here, I have a refrigerator that uses a filter to filter the water that comes through the door. The same EXACT symptoms you all described happened to me. So it is all filters! All can cause this if unchanged. I, the biologist, couldn’t figure this out until it was way too late. I was sick for over a week because I kept contaminating myself. Glad I know this now!

  9. Lundy November 30, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    I have the brita pitcher and I drink a lot of water. I developed asthma that was triggered from either allergens or mold. I just noticed the black mold under the filter– even though the pitcher was clean and the water looked clear. I came to the computer to figure out to clean the filter and saw this blog. I have gone to a number of doctors, ear, nose throat, pulmonary, allergy doctor, gotten chest X-rays, etc. I had cleaners to come in and clean my house, looked for mold, nothing. I am throwing my brita out. I am so thankful that I saw this site.

  10. rebekah December 26, 2013 at 2:26 am #

    Umm you put sugar and tea in warm water then in the sun and left it unrefrigerated. Of course you got sick. Bacteria feeds off sugar. Duh. Dont blame the brita for your stupidity. https://www.teageek.net/blog/2009/07/dont-make-sun-tea-plus-a-reward-for-a-skilled-reader/

    • C. Francois March 30, 2014 at 7:35 am #

      No need to call names. However, of the many posts here that one is not a Brita issue. The bacteria and mold issues from other readers are a real concern.I found mold growing (!) on the bottom of my filter, which is why I looked up this post. The holes that the water runs through had little green/grey dots that were a little puffy. I almost got sick right in my sink.
      I am especially disappointed because the pitcher Brita sold me comes with a replacement “timer” so that should not be an issue. Guess I have to find a better brand and do some research.

  11. mrs December 30, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Same here, family of four has been sick for months (vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach). I, my husband, amd my children , missed school and work due to numerous bouts of stomach illnesses. I am so mad at myself, as I just realized that I have not changed that brita water filter for a very long time now. Upon googling ‘old brita filter sick’ I stumbled upon this website and various others confirming my susicions to be accurate…. Stomach is hurting at this very moment…

  12. Blubarb February 8, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

    I think my Brita filter has caused me to have cystitis. I have had cystitus for nearly two years and the doctor didn’t have a clue after all the tests. I modified all my food, etc. but it wasn’t until all that I had left to try was to stop using the water jug that my pain stopped. It may be coincidental I am not sure, but it seems really odd that nearly two years of painful urine would stop after a day of not using a filter.

  13. Laura March 11, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    This is discusting I came on too look why my filter had the most vile odur coming from it yet the water looked clean and tasted fine, I cleaned it regular too, Ive bin feeling really poorly now I no why, its going straight in the bin, How they are aloud to sell these things I dont no! Terrible!

  14. Dien March 14, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Thank God I found your blog. I start feel sick again when I bought Brita filter three weeks ago.Stomach crack, lots of thick saliva, very hard to expectoration. I was sick exactly the same way two years ago, but did not check properly and thoroughly websites. Actually, because I am Polish I checked lots of polish websites, but everywhere where great reviews only. I remember one night when I fell very bad I went to the kitchen and had a glass of water from Brita. Suddenly I started feel sick,got very strong, continuous cough,then fever. I thought I am dying. This effect was not possible from other source than Brita. I checked carefully whole jug,it was not signs of mould or anything on it. New filter was rinsed few times one day earlier. I gave up using Brita and slowly slowly I got better. But unfortunately human memory is short and after moving home, because water was very unpalatable and chlorinated bought Brita again. And symptoms repeat !!! I feel now exactly the same as before. Thank you for sharing information , now i am sharing your blog by Facebook.

    • c. scott April 7, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

      I have used a Brita water filter picher for years and never had a problem until I bought a box of replacement filters a couple of weeks ago. Once filtered the water has a very strong chlorine smell much more than the regular tap water. I have contacted Brita about it waiting on a reply.

  15. Jessica April 2, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    I have also had gastrointestinal problems from Brita filtered jug water. I am very weary of this water filtration method and think it must be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria that causes this stomach upset. When I use the Pur water filters on my faucet, I have absolutely no problems at all.

  16. Robin May 3, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    I had bought the brita filter water bottle and have been using it for about 2 years now. I kept getting sick with a sore throat and fever and cold like symptoms. I didn’t know what was wrong because I was eating healthy and drinking plenty of water. “Why do I keep getting sick?” I kept asking myself this question. I made sure I washed my hands frequently, took vitamins, ate more fruits and vegetables, and drunk more water. I even made a list to see what I was eating or drinking that could be making me sick. I always washed my water bottle but did not think to take top and filter apart unless I was changing the filter. To my surprise when I took a look the top and filter apart it was filled with black moldy stuff. I had been contaminating myself for a while and didn’t even know it. I had been more sick within the last 2 years than I ever had been in my life. I kept getting cold and flu like symptoms. The symptoms would go and come back. I’m so glad I finally realized what the cause of this was. I hope this helps someone. I will not use the brita water bottle filter again.

  17. Concerned May 23, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    I discovered the stinking filthy moldy Brita filter about a week after putting in a new filter. My father contracted a major stomach illness months ago so I began to look at everything in our kitchen. He’s been using Brita all this time and didn’t realize his filter were immediately becoming foul. Smelling the inside of the Brita pitcher reveals a big problem. I am considering legal action.

  18. Dan June 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    I uses the brita pitcher and became very I’ll I had very bad dehydration and diahreah. I’m still sick and throwing up . I’m throwing it away right now going to take a hammer to it. Going to destroy it I feel like shit .

  19. Craig Mathews June 6, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    It have me extreme diahreah

  20. Chris June 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    Folks this is for real. I have a large Brita system that we keep on the kitchen counter and refill daily. For the last few months, I started having diarrhea and intense abdominal pain but no fever. Enough that I have had to take many sick days and leave work with uncontrollable bouts of diarrhea, and just in the past four days have been in the hospital with severe diarrhea and abdominal pain accompanied with pure exhaustion. They said I have a stomach virus and need rest and let it pass. Today after finally feeling well and had a regular bowl movement I decided to actually test this theory after checking every single thing I did and ingested. I drank about 2 oz of water from our Brita and sure enough, in about 2 hours I was back to the upset stomach and then started with the diarrhea again. Immediately the Brita went out the window. I smelled the recently replaced cartridge and it was awful. It smelled like dirty fish tank water, if you know that smell. Lesson learned, there needs to be a better way. There needs to be a class action suit.

  21. Yaden June 19, 2014 at 3:06 am #

    I’m so glad I found this blog and also, it seems that I’m one of the lucky ones who got away with less serious symptoms. I’ve been feeling bloated and a general discomfort in my stomach for two weeks now, especially after meals but it wouldn’t entirely go away at any moment of the day.
    I was falsely blaming the poor sushi bar where I ate a couple of days after I had started using a brand new Brita filter. The interesting thing is that 3 days ago I also developped sinus problems after starting off with a sore throat.
    I guess I didn’t go as far as having a serious diarrhea because I started taking probiotics as soon as I felt that something was wrong with my digestive system; that might have counteracted the thing.
    I just checked the cartridge more thoroughly and I could find some very tiny dots of black mould, but I had to look very closely, so definitely no visible slime or green stuff on mine.

  22. H Sweden June 21, 2014 at 4:34 am #

    I had a Brita system for a couple of months and my entire body reacted very seriously bad. The last days I used it I had become so week that I couldn’t even cut a slice of cheese. And it all began – and ended- with the Britafilter. I got thyroid problems and I got severe neurological reactions. And The only thing I had changed was the drinking of Brita water. Testing showed that I reacted on the huge amount of silver particles that comes from the filter. And that I not was the only one who had the same reactions from Brita. Silver is a heavy metal that is really poisonous for us and the fact that the filtered water contains severe amounts of it -which the Brita company is fully aware of- makes it very lethal.

  23. Doreen Collier June 30, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    I have been suffering from stomach pains, diarrhea sickness and bloating for the past week since using my new Brita filter jug, and I’m glad I found this blog because I felt sure the problem was due to the filtered water and now I’m convinced it is. I’ve been suspicious of the fact that there is always a small amount of water which sits just underneath the filter, and the refill of fresh water going in may not flush the stale water through. The only way to clear it is to remove the filter each time you refill the jug. I’ve even taken the jug back to the shop and they’ve said that this is how Brita make them now. I can’t believe how dangerous these filter jugs are. Mine is on it’s way to the bin right now.

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