Pesticides in tap water

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States Affected
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People Affected
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Toxicity Rating
Health Effects

Reproductive system difficulties, cardiovascular problems, nervous system difficulties, increased cancer risk, liver or kidney problems, immunodeficiency

The legal limit is
Health Guideline
what is considered unhealthy
Legal Limit
What are pesticides?
Pesticides are any chemical substance designed to control pests. These include disinfectants and antimicrobials to control germs, herbicides to kill weeds, and insecticides to kill insects. There are more than 1,000 pesticides used worldwide to protect food crops.1 Pesticides are also used to control mosquitoes in lakes, streams, and other bodies of water. Municipal water treatment facilities also use pesticides, such as chlorine, to kill bacteria and viruses.
Are pesticides in my tap water?
Most likely, as pesticides pose contamination risks to virtually all tap water supplies in the U.S. That’s because pesticides are used in both large-scale agricultural and small-scale home use, where they are applied to farms, gardens, and lawns. Pesticides readily make their way into ground water or surface water (e.g., lakes, rivers, streams) that feed drinking water supplies as a result of rain and irrigation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates some pesticides, but not nearly all of those that are in use. Remember, only 94 contaminants are regulated across all categories but there are over 1,000 pesticides alone.1
Are pesticides in my tap water harmful?
Yes. Pesticides cause a number of serious health problems, including reproductive system difficulties, cardiovascular problems, nervous system difficulties, increased cancer risk, liver or kidney problems, and immunodeficiency.2 Every pesticide has different toxic effect, and when they are used together the toxic effects can become even stronger.1 The EPA recognizes the toxicity of pesticides in drinking water and has placed legal limits on a handful of them. For 394 other pesticides, they have set unenforceable safe levels, called human health benchmarks. Of these 394, 46 have been identified as potential carcinogens.3 Atrazine is the most commonly used herbicide in the United States but is banned in the European Union because of the risks it poses to human health.4 Glyphosate (Roundup®), another widely used herbicide, has been linked to cancer in more than 13,000 lawsuits.
How much pesticides are safe?
The safe amount of a pesticide varies depending on how toxic it is, how concentrated it is in the water, and how much contaminated water is consumed. The public health goal for some pesticides is 0, meaning that any amount, no matter how small, can be dangerous.2 In studies, the herbicide atrazine caused significant reproductive problems at extremely low levels.1
How do I remove pesticides from my tap water?
Clearly Filtered® with Affinity® Filtration Technology gives you the power to remove up to 99.9% of pesticides and herbicides from your tap water, giving you peace of mind that comes from knowing your drinking water is finally clean and safe. Basic water filters that rely on simple carbon or charcoal are only effective at removing unpleasant odors and taste. These filters are not capable of stopping pesticides and herbicides and instead allows them to pass right through the filter into the water you're drinking. More sophisticated technology like Clearly Filtered is required to provide this type of contaminant removal.
How does Clearly Filtered do at Removing Pesticides in tap water?
Clearly Filtered with
Affinity Filtration Technology Product
Water Pitcher Filter
Under-the-Sink FIlter
Water Bottle Filter
Refrigerator Filter
Pesticides in tap water Removal
Up to 99.9%
Up to 99.9%
Up to 99.9%
Up to 99.9%

1. Safe Drinking Water Foundation. Pesticides and Water Pollution Fact Sheet. Accessed September 19, 2019.

2. US EPA. National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. Accessed September 19, 2019.

3. US EPA. Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides. Accessed September 19, 2019.

4. Sass JB et al. European Union bans atrazine, while the United States negotiates continued use. Int J Occup Environ Health. 2006;12(3):260-267.