The Best Water Filter Systems for Removing Arsenic

by Brett Simpson / Aug 07, 2023
The Best Water Filter Systems for Removing Arsenic

Looking for a water filter that can protect you and your loved ones from cancer-causing arsenic? Read on to discover the dangers associated with this common, cancer-linked toxin, why many popular, store-bought filters can’t protect you, and how to get proven protection from arsenic without sacrificing convenience.

Arsenic Is A Dangerous Heavy Metal Found Naturally In The Earth's Crust 

Different forms of arsenic, including arsenate and arsenic v (or arsenic oxide), are everywhere around us. Arsenic can be in the ground, water, and even some foods we eat. It’s also produced through mining, farming, and other industrial processes. As a human carcinogen, arsenic can pose serious health risks in drinking water.

Drinking Water Soaks Up Arsenic From The Ground, Industrial Waste, & Agricultural Runoff 

Arsenic can get into private well water and drinking water supplies from both natural and man-made sources. Natural sources include rocks and soil where groundwater can absorb arsenic, while man-made sources can be from industries such as agriculture where pesticides containing arsenic are used as well as from the improper disposal of certain industrial byproducts.

Drinking Water Contaminated With Arsenic Has Been Linked To More Than 6 Types Of Cancers

Arsenic-contaminated drinking water has been linked to an increased risk of at least 6 types of cancer, including lung, bladder, and skin cancers.

Dangerous Levels Of Arsenic Are Allowed In Drinking Water In All 50 States

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) allows up to 0.010 parts per million (ppm) or 10 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic in our tap water, without repercussions. In other words, up to 10 ppb of the cancer-linked contaminant is legally allowed in our tap water today.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggests that no more than 4 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic should be allowed in water to protect the public from cancer. For perspective, 4 ppb is basically equal to 4 drops of arsenic mixed into an Olympic-sized swimming pool.  

Data from the EWG also shows 109 million Americans were exposed to arsenic-tainted drinking water between 2016 and 2020. In other words, nearly 1 out of 3 Americans could be drinking water contaminated with arsenic.

How To Protect Yourself Against Arsenic In Your Drinking Water

Remember, arsenic is not only allowed in tap water in all 50 states at potentially dangerous levels, it’s been detected in tap water in all 50 states. So how do you protect yourself from this cancer-linked contaminant? Let's take a look at the right and wrong ways to protect yourself and your loved ones. 

Why Mainstream Carbon Water Filters Can Not Protect You

The carbon block filters you often see in stores often only target as few as 5 of the 320+ contaminants that can be in our water supply. And arsenic is typically NOT one of the 5 contaminants they target. 

Their limitations may be due to a process called 'adsorption'. Arsenic doesn't really stick or 'adsorb' to carbon, which is why it can easily sneak by these granular activated carbon (GAC) filters. 

The bottom line is, carbon filters tend to focus on improving water taste and smell by targeting chlorine and sediment, rather than targeting arsenic and other dangerous contaminants that also affect water safety.

Reverse Osmosis Systems Can Do More Harm Than Good

Reverse Osmosis Water Filters (i.e. RO technology) used to be considered the gold standard for removing a wide range of pollutants from water, including heavy metals and high-quality arsenic reduction. But nowadays we know, RO systems may do more harm than good. 

  1. They strip water of beneficial minerals (like calcium, magnesium & potassium). This lack of minerals can potentially be linked to health problems such as weak bones, bad teeth, and heart disease. That’s why most RO users “remineralize” their water after it has been filtered. It’s an inconvenient and added step that also adds to your costs. 
  1. RO systems are wasteful. Their inefficient filtration process wastes up to 75% of the water you filter. Water is a limited resource that, as you’ll see in just a second, doesn’t have to be wasted to be cleaned. 
  1. RO systems have a reputation for creating "dead" water. In other words, RO-filtered water has been described as "dead," “tasteless” & “flat.”

Ion Exchange Systems Don’t Always Prioritize Water Safety

Ion exchange systems, including water softeners and anion exchange filters, primarily soften water. Basically, they swap out the hard minerals in your water with something else—usually sodium—to reduce the hardness of water. Therefore, they are focused more on water softening than water safety. 

While some specialized ion exchange water filtration systems may be able to remove a certain amount of arsenic, the vast majority of these systems have a limited contaminant range. 

Even if they can target arsenic, they more than likely leave behind dozens, if not hundreds, of other dangerous contaminants. 

Plus, they require regular maintenance and backwashing. And if left unkempt, they can turn into breeding grounds for bacteria.

Distillation Has As Many Downsides As RO

Distillation systems can remove arsenic from water, but have several downsides including costs and inconveniences:

  1. They are slow. You may have to wait up to 6 hours just to get one gallon of water from a countertop water filter / distiller. 
  1. Like RO, distillation can remove beneficial minerals. After waiting hours for your water to be distilled, you then may need to remineralize it, too. It’s another added step and inconvenience.
  1. They are expensive. The energy needed to boil water and power distillation equipment can harm the environment and hike up your energy bills. 
  1. Water storage is a pain. Distilled water is like a sponge for impurities. Therefore, you must store distilled water in sealed containers and in cool, dark spots to protect it from contamination

Ceramic Filters Are Unpredictable & Unreliable Arsenic Water Filters

Ceramic filters have a porous ceramic element that traps contaminants like bacteria, sediment, and certain metals including arsenic. 

However, the efficacy of ceramic filters for arsenic removal can vary widely, and they often need to be combined with other filter media to effectively target arsenic

UV (Ultraviolet) Disinfection Does Not Remove Arsenic

UV disinfection is typically used as part of a water treatment system leveraging multiple stages of filtration and filtration technologies, rather than as a standalone solution. It's excellent for killing bacteria and other microorganisms, but it does not remove heavy metals such as arsenic.

Ozone Filtration Does Not Remove Arsenic

Ozone filtration uses ozone gas to oxidize and eliminate various contaminants. It can be effective when paired with other filtration methods in a water treatment system. However, like UV disinfection, it does not remove heavy metals like arsenic. 

Boiling Your Water Does Not Remove Arsenic

Boiling water targets bacteria and viruses, not chemical contaminants and heavy metals. Therefore, it does not remove a range of dangers including lead, fluoride, chloramine, chromium, and arsenic.

In fact, boiling water to remove arsenic is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline–it can actually make matters worse. When water boils and turns into steam, the arsenic concentration in the remaining water can actually increase. As a result, instead of protecting you from arsenic, boiling your water can make it even more dangerous.

Bottled Water Is Just As Dangerous As Tap Water

While the EPA regulates tap water, the FDA regulates bottled water because it is classified as a food. The FDA’s regulations match those for tap water by the EPA. Therefore, bottled water can be just as dangerous as the water from your faucet.

Clearly Filtered’s Affinity Filtration Technology Targets Arsenic, As Well As Hundreds Of Other Contaminants Other Filters Can’t

Powered by 7 unique filtration medias, our advanced Affinity Filtration Technology protects you from up to 365+ harmful tap water contaminants—including arsenic—without targeting healthy minerals. 

There’s nothing else out there that ensures your water is this clean, safe, and healthy, so you can trust every drop. 

Get Proven Protection With Clearly Filtered

Our best-selling water pitcher, under-the-sink filtration system, and universal inline fridge filter are all tested to NSF standards and proven to target arsenic in tap water and private well water, so you never have to worry about your water quality again. 

Upgrade to Clearly Filtered for proven protection from arsenic and easy access to clean, safe drinking water!


  • Arsenic is a carcinogenic heavy metal that naturally occurs in the Earth’s crust.
  • Industrial activities, agriculture, and natural leaching can contaminate water with arsenic.
  • Drinking arsenic-contaminated water can cause various health issues, including several types of cancers.
  • Data shows 1 in 3 Americans may be drinking arsenic-contaminated water.
  • Mainstream carbon water filters are ineffective at removing arsenic from water.
  • Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems can remove arsenic, but strip water of beneficial minerals and create excessive amounts of waste.
  • Ion exchange systems are focused more on softening water than creating clean water.
  • Distillation and ceramic filter cartridges can remove arsenic, but have notable downsides.
  • UV disinfection and ozone filtration do not remove arsenic.
  • Boiling water can increase arsenic concentration and bottled water can contain as much arsenic as tap water.
  • Our best-selling water pitcher, under-sink water filter, and universal fridge filter all target arsenic in water, so you can trust every drop.