One of the most important steps towards reducing fertility-harming toxins in your life and preparing for a healthy pregnancy is to filter your water at home. It was also one of my most difficult steps towards cleansing toxins from my life for two reasons. The first was, unfortunately, there is no perfect water filter. That means that I spent, well, years, actually, trying to find the PERFECT water filter and failing. I love shopping, and I am good at finding the perfect option, if it exists. I am not good at shopping when there is no perfect option!
The second reason purchasing a water filter was so difficult for me was that as I narrowed in on the best available options, the price point became very high. In the end, the risks associated with not filtering our water were too great, and we invested in an awesome under-the-sink water filter that was the best we could afford. We LOVE it. The water tastes so much better, and we rest easier every time we drink water, wash our vegetables, or make soup, knowing our water is as safe as we can make it.
In this post I’m going to walk you through WHY you need a water filter, and then the pros and cons of each option. Then I’m going to tell you about my top 3 options and why we went with the one we did.
*This post is NOT sponsored, but does contain affiliate links which at no cost to you provide me with some small change to help keep this blog running. If you decide to buy a water filter or something else I recommend, please consider clicking through one of my links to help support this blog and my family! Thank you!
Why you need to filter your water for fertility (the bad news)
According to the Environmental Working Group (my favorite organization for identifying toxins and toxin free products) tap water contains over 300 chemicals and pollutants that can harm you and your family. If you go to their website you can look up how your city’s water rates and what contaminants it has the highest amounts of.
The chemicals in tap water linked to infertility and miscarriage
Honestly there are too many types of toxins that are probably in your drinking water to discuss fully, so let’s focus in on the ones that are the most harmful to fertility. The other toxins are linked to other health issues, like cancer or heart disease. Luckily my recommended water filters will remove those as well.
Be aware that these same toxins that are harmful to fertility are also harmful to a fetus, baby, and young children. Some are also linked to breast cancer. It is in the interest of your health and the long term health of your family to filter your water!
Volatile Organic Chemicals
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) like pesticides and herbicides and other chemicals. These are related several negative health outcomes, but most seriously to harm to sperm health, delays in conceiving, and can harm embryos and cause spontaneous miscarriage. You want to reduce your exposure to these as much as possible.
The studies on the harm to male fertility are wide-reaching and easy to google. Studies on the effect on female fertility are fewer, here are two literature reviews to look at if you are interested: World Health Organization study review, and the UCSF-CHE Summit review.
Heavy metals like lead, cadmium and mercury can be found in some areas, and are linked with many negative health outcomes, and also with interference with healthy female reproductive cycles. There are a number of studies, but this one on women undergoing 619 women undergoing IVF is pretty clear- even at levels considered “safe” lead and cadmium in the bloodstream and follicles were linked with failed cycles.
Chloramine and other chemicals, while directly linked to cancers and heart concerns, can indirectly lead to fertility by increasing your lead exposure.
Perflourinated compounds (PFCs) are the chemicals found in such products as non-stick coatings on pots and pans (ditch those ASAP if you haven’t already). PFCs are linked to cancer, developmental defects in children, and birth defects. You can pass these to your fetus while pregnant, and to your baby through nursing. Additionally, high levels of PFC are linked to lower IVF success, irregular menstrual cycles, and thyroid issues.
These include phthalates, BPA, triclosan, perchlorate, alkylphenol polyethoxylates, and steroid hormones. These come from plastics, fragrance in personal care products and cleaners, antibacterial soaps and personal care items, fertilizers, rocket fuel, road flares, industrial detergents, and livestock hormone treatments. They are linked to decreased fertility in men and women, miscarriage, and pregnancy complications. You can read more about Phthalates and BPA and their effects on fertility in this post.
Shhh, don’t tell my mom, but I filter the flouride out of our drinking water. My husband and I still brush with flouride toothpaste, but I absolutely do not want us our our children to be drinking flouride as it is linked to multiple health problems, including thyroid issues when consumed internally. Further, high flouride concentration in drinking water is linked to lower fertility, and male rats treated with flouride saw their sperm quality go way down (can’t do those experiments on human males).
Yes, flouride is added on purpose to keep everyone’s teeth clean. But, think of it this way- from a public health perspective it makes sense. If you have a country filled with people who consume massive amounts of sugary drinks, don’t floss, and rarely see a dentist, then you want to flood them with flouride despite other health risks.
But YOU aren’t consuming sugar, you floss every night (don’t you?!), and you get a dental cleaning every six months. It’s time to ditch the flouride in your water.
Here’s the good news- the water filters I recommend are very, very good at filtering out most of these.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to filter endocrine disruptors, so there is no currently available option that promises to fully (or almost fully) remove them. Two of my suggested filters, including the one we use say they reduce these substantially.
Is plastic in water filters an issue?
So, you probably know that plastic is a big problem for health and fertility, primarily because of BPA and phthalates. When it comes to avoiding plastic, I put the biggest emphasis on avoiding soft plastics, that have BPA and phthalates, on avoiding plastic containing liquids that are high fat (milks, creams, bone broth), food that has foods that might leech (canned tomatoes, citrus), and anything hot, which can leech from the plastic as well.
So, ideally, no you don’t want your water in plastic. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options that completely avoid plastic. Fortunately, there are options that only use small amounts of plastic, and/or the water doesn’t sit it in them for length periods of time. Most under the sink filters use active filtration- you turn on the tap, and the water is filtered through the cartridges. Also, the the options that I looked at only use the safest kind of plastics that are BPA and phthalate free.
Water Filters Options for Fertility that I do not recommend
- Bottled Water: Bottle water comes in plastic bottles which will leach phthalates. No, no, no. Water has been sitting in those bottles as they were transported in hot trucks across the country. BAD NEWS. Also, many times the water is sourced from tap water and have the same contaminants. Also- pricey, and TERRIBLE for the planet.
- Brita Filter or other Pitcher Filter– While these are cheap and easy to find at the store, they don’t remove or reduce heavy metals, volatile organic chemicals, flouride, or endocrine disruptors. That being said, if you absolutely cannot commit to one of the options that I do recommend, then get a pitcher filter. There are a few glass pitchers I am aware of on the market. One is by a company called Dafi in Poland. It uses carbon and ceramic filters and says they filter pesticides and heavy metals. You can buy it here on Amazon. The other is by pH and is an Alkaline Water Pitcher. I’m not thrilled with Alkalizing water, but I’m not up in arms about it either. It filters chlorine and heavy metals. If you are willing to have counterspace taken up by a water filter, you might consider the glass ZeroWater filter which reduces heavy metals. The LifeStraw home filter is made of plastic, but filters against bacteria, parasites, heavy metals, and micro plastics, making it the most robust of the pitcher filters.
- Reverse Osmosis: Although pricey, these are awesome at removing many toxins from your tap water. They truly are amazing for toxin removal. Here’s are the big problems- they waste like 5 gallons of water for each gallon produced (sometimes more), and they don’t reduce endocrine disruptors or volatile organic chemicals. Additionally, they remove the trace minerals that you want and you have to then go buy a mineral supplement to add it back in! If you decide to go this route, there are plenty to choose from. I have highlighted just the one diamond-encrusted, high-end Radiant Life model, because they take the care to re-mineralize the water.
Water Filter Options that I do recommend for fertility based on budget:
Budget Option ~ $200
Good– I no longer recommend the Berkey. They don’t sell in California to avoid their consumer protection laws, and that sketches me out. They suggest having a relative in another state order and send to you. That’s dodgy. If you already have one, don’t sweat it. But don’t buy one if you are shopping.
Instead I recommend the ProPur. It is also a gravity based solid-block carbon filter, and made of safe stainless. They are reasonably priced, and you can take them camping with you as they don’t require electricity (gravity-based). They filter out basically everything you might worry about (heavy metals, flouride, contaminants, pesticides, and more) EXCEPT the endocrine disruptors.
At around $180 depending on size, this is an affordable option, and you can take it traveling. Remember that you will need to buy replacement filters about every six months, and they are about $70.
In the end, we didn’t go with this because 1- my husband can’t handle clutter on the counter, 2- I was really worried about those endocrine disruptors and 3- If it sits on the counter instead of being a faucet on the sink, how would we wash our fruits and vegetables with it? Still I think this is a solid choice, especially if your budget is limited.
Budget Option~ $400 * This is what we purchased!
Better- A multi-stage under the counter filter that removes pretty much everything on the list, AND reduces endocrine disruptors. After years of research, we bought the ULTRA-UC Undercounter Filter from PureEffect and we LOVE it. It filters flouride, radioactive elements, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, VOCs, and endocrine disruptors. Test reports are available on their website. The company’s owner designed the filter to be like a Reverse Osmosis without it being a Reverse Osmosis – so the water still has the necessary minerals. Best of all, the filter is now NSF certified! It wasn’t when we bought it, but the results speak for themselves.
Our water tastes fabulous and I know we are filtering out almost everything bad from the water. I’m lucky that my husband is handy- he installed it himself! It was super easy, and maybe I’ll get him to write-up a how-to post someday! There are tons of online videos and resources showing you how to do it, like this one. If you are too nervous to install yourself then you will need to hire a plumber. Or they have an on-top-of-the-counter option that doesn’t require drilling a hole for the spigot.
This was the best filter I could find for under $1500 that reduced the endocrine disruptors AND filtered out flouride in addition to everything else. It cost $425 and I don’t regret a penny. I only regret that we took so long to buy it! There are some cons- parts of it are made of plastic (though BPA, phthalate and PVC free, and the water doesn’t sit in it), and you do have to replace the cartridges for $123.95 about every year. See below for more of my love song to this filter!
Budget Option ~ over $1000
Best– Well folks, this is the diamond-encrusted crown of water filters. If money is no issue, then send your cash to Radiant Life and buy their incredible 14-Stage Biocompatible Water Purification System. Seriously, this thing is insane. It filters out EVERYTHING, and it even completely removes endocrine disruptors. I know! Incredible! I also love that some of its 14 stages have names like “Restructuring- Homeopathic Memory, Molecule Coherence,” and “Reprogramming- Adding Natural Earth Properties.”
Unfortunately, at $1,595 it was beyond what my husband and I were willing and able to invest. Plus, the replacement cartridges cost $195, and the list and cost of replacement parts made my head spin. An additional con is that it is also plastic, and water sits in a big plastic tub. Like the Pure Effects, if you don’t feel comfortable installing yourself then you will need to hire a plumber to install.So, while I am ranking this as the best option, we could not afford it. However, if money is no issue to you, then do it! I’ve been impressed that a number of my readers have decided to invest in this awesome option for their fertility!
If you chose to find another filter, that’s fine. Choose a carbon-filter and make sure that it filters to 0.1 microns to 0.5 microns. Don’t worry too much about the certifications and stuff, the more I research, the more it is obvious that the companies and the certifiers are all in bed with each other paying each other off. Do make sure that the one you buy from has some kind of outside/third party testing, and if they don’t share the results on their website, ask that they share them with you.
Why you should buy a water filter today
I know that purchasing a water filter like this is a major investment. It is one of the reasons it took us so long to commit. I implore you- don’t wait like we did! You need this, your partner needs this, and your future children need this. It is time to make the investment. And- it sure is a whole lot cheaper than IVF or donor eggs!
Why we really, really, love the Pure Effects Water Filter
- It filters things that no other filter under $1000 does. Like, NO OTHER filter. These include: radioisotopes, drug residues, and endocrine disruptors. It also filters out flouride which is also very difficult to find in this price range unless you do reverse osmosis (which wastes a ton of water) or the Propur or Berkey (which don’t filter endocrine disruptors).
- No electricity required- it works only on water pressure. This is great because if the power goes out, as long as you have water, you still have your filter! This won’t work with a well pump, obviously, just town water that is pressurized.
- Every single part that touches water is made in the U.S. This is incredibly hard to source and do in this day and age!
- All materials are completely BPA-free, phthalate-free, PVC-free, and lead-free.
- The company is a small US-based family company.
- They never have discounts, sales, or coupons, because they’ve already priced the filter as low as they possibly can.
Do it now for your health and fertility! Click here to order one today!
Hi Anna – did you consider a whole house filter? Did you have a favorite? Thanks!
Megan, yes we did! I think eventually we will invest in one, but we wanted to start with the most important- our drinking water! My husband and I have lengthy discussions before we spend money on anything, so we’ll get to the whole house one in due time! Most of the more affordable whole house filters didn’t filter to the level we felt we needed for drinking water. I actually think the Pure Effect whole house filter filters out more than the Radiant Life filter, and I would probably go with it because I’ve grown to love our under-the-sink filter from them so much. Their whole-house filter is pretty thorough including reducing endocrine disruptors which is pretty special. I’m sure there are other options though, I would have to do the full research. If you find one you love, come back and leave a comment about it! – Anna
Thank you! It can feel like such a hard decision, right? I will let you know if we decide to get a whole house filter 🙂
Picking a water filter made me crazy for months. My husband begged me to order one so I would stop obsessing! I’m so glad we got one we love!
We have an artesian well in our area.
Would it be better to drink that water?
I only have those blue water bottles for transport the water. Is that bad plastic?
I was wondering what you do for water when you go to work or other places?
Hi! I know I am late to this post… but can you direct me to where/how you figured out that the Berkey doesn’t remove endocrine disruptors. I’ve been trying to figure this out. Berkey’s websites states it removes BPA and pharmaceuticals. I know there are probably many other endocrine disruptors out there though- it states some are untested. The Pure effects removes them? I didn’t see the claim on the link. We have a Berkey but am looking into other options as I still get cystic acne from drinking it (but not from Spring water but would like to get off bottled spring water). Thanks so much!
Hi Lydia! I based this only on what is says– so Berkey doesn’t say it removes phthalates or endocrine disruptors specifically, but you are right that BPA is an endocrine disruptor. Pharmaceauticals are a mix, but could include endocrine disruptors. When you go to the Pure Effects website its down on the right under “For Effective Reduction of” – i. Hormone/Endocrine Disruptors (EDCs). The only other one I’ve seen that claims this is that super expensive Radiant Life one (I wish I could afford it!!). In the end the Berkey is great. The biggest problem with it in my mind is that it doesn’t hook up to your sink so you might wind up not washing your fruits and veggies in it or not cooking with it. Plus, countertop space, having to refill, etc. But its a totally reasonable choice if it is your preference!!!
I did end up buying the Dafi and I hate to say it but it sounds like and looks exactly like plastic in the main pitcher part. I pinged it with a fork to check and there was absolutely nothing glasslike about the sound. I did try to return it and they claimed it was a special type of glass and wouldn’t let me return it! Just curious what are your thoughts on Zero Water (I know plastic parts but good filtration) or mineral water like Pellegrino?
Oh no Shuliloo!! I think that kind of glass is so weird!!! But is a kind of glass! I wouldn’t do any plastic water bottles, but glass bottle I would totally do!
What do you think about Nakii water filter from Amazon?
We just bought the aquagear water filter and it is supposed to remove fluoride, chloramine, etc… I hope it will be enough!!
It says: REMOVES 2000% MORE CONTAMINANTS THAN BRITA, INCLUDING FLUORIDE, LEAD, CHROMIUM 6, CHLORAMINES, MERCURY, AND CHLORINE.
Stephanie- Everything you can do helps!!! Those are all great things to get filtered out!!
What do you think about Zero Water 30-cup (new) and 40-cup glass water filter dispensers? Thank you for letting us know.
I love that it is NSF certified to reduce Lead and Chromium. If you’re getting a pitcher instead of a faucet filter, its a good choice.
Best Water Purifier
It is really a true fact that water contamination can affect pregnancy. Thank you for sharing such an informative post. Hope to see more.
Hello, I bought a culligan fm-25 mount faucet advanced water filtration that hooks up to my faucet. However, I’ve been drinking it for a couple months now and not sure if this is safe for a pregnant woman? Please help.
Anna – Thanks for your research and this post. Since this article was written, have you come across anything you’d prefer over the PureEffect filter (for the under $1,000 price point)? Thanks!
What do you do for well water???
Good evening Anna,
Is there a water bottle you would suggest that my pregnant wife can use that has a filter in already that way when she is at work she has water that is safe to drink?
Also any thoughts on needing to filter the water we use to wash dishes with by sink or dishwasher?
Thank you for the help!
Oh no, I’m trying to not freak out about just purchasing the Berkey water filter. I had no idea it didn’t filter everything, I feel so disheartened, I even bought the fluoride-filter attachment. I don’t know what to do now.
I’m glad you search everywhere for the perfect item, especially when it comes to water filters.
My husband and I also searched for a long time to find a good water filter for our home. We actually purchased the Berkey and absolutely love it. We also purchased the Black Berkey Filter which does remove many endocrine disruptors such as lead, mercury and many VOC’s, all of which are endocrine disruptors. When you did your research, did you find something different that didn’t include the Black Berkey Filters? I’d love to hear your input since we have a Berkey!
Jessica | mamaexpedition.com
What do you think about Nakii water filter from Amazon?
What are your thoughts on the hydros water filter? It has a glass carafe but not sure how good the filter is.