Commercially available water pitchers with filters can rid drinking water of toxins produced by algae blooms. The research done at Ohio State University’s Stone Lab on Lake Erie shows some are better at the task than others.
Stone Lab researcher Justin Chaffin says he had received many questions about whether or not the pitchers could remove algae toxins. So, with a grant from the Lake Erie Protection Fund, he began experimenting. Chaffin will not say which brand of pitcher works the best. But he says ones using coconut-based activated carbon were least effective. And, flow rates are also important.
“The pitcher that allowed the water to percolate the slowest removed microcystin to below detection in every experiment. Whereas the pitcher that allowed the water to go through pretty quick only removed about 50 percent or less.”
Chaffin says the findings are useful if you are concerned about algae contamination on a day-to-day basis during the summer. But he recommends that you still switch water sources in the event of a large-scale algae bloom emergency like the one that contaminated Toledo’s water supply in 2014.