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.

41 thoughts on “Our Brita Water Filter Made Me Sick

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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?

    • 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

    • 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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 .

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. About a month or so ago by boss bought a Brita filter for the office. (Mainly because I drink SO much water he was sick of paying for the bottled kind. ) I haven’t really had any major health issues with it that I can pin point, but I have noticed it just makes me feel “funny” Like almost dizzy and lethargic and maybe a bit of an upset stomach. The one we have is the screw-on to the faucet kind. Has anyone else experienced something similar?

  22. Glad all of you have provided your comments about the reactions you have had with the Brita water system. I have used Brita in the past, with no problems at all, until recently. Couldn’t understand why I felt nauseated most of the time, when I had made no changes to my diet. Just this morning I happened to notice a green substance at the bottom of my Brita water pitcher. Bong!, then it occurred to me why I felt sick most of the time…the water system. Think a prior commentor was correct–I need to keep the water pitcher in the fridge, altho I prefer room temperature water. Thanks, all of you.

    • Same problem here folks, months, even years of abdominal pains only disappeared when I moved and began using water from my new fridge. The Brita was the culprit, but upon investigating, noticed in the directions, printed on the filter package “do not touch the filter”, I had been contaminating it myself, needless to say it went in the garbage and no more cramps! BEWARE.

  23. I bought a Brita water filter pitcher about week a go I thought it would be good for me and my dog so we both drink the water that day later that night me and my dog got bad stomach pains worst I have ever had I know my dog was sick because she was wining and had to go out plus she was foaming at the mouth no not rabies just a upset stomach. The next day my skin started breaking out now I am a man of 57 I am in great shape and I take no medications so this seemed very odd to me, after searching the internet for answers I found out that it could of been the water filter so I tested it I drank about a cup and about 20 minutes or so my skin started breaking out and I have never had any problems with my skin until I used the Brita water filter pitcher you know my dad and mom used to tell me son if it looks like a snake and acts like a snake then its a snake. So I believe that Brita is not being truthful with this product so there fore they are a SNAKE

  24. Glad to have found this information. I thought that the bad mold smell in the water pitcher was from the water source from the taps and wondering if it was the pipes or the public water supply. If it is just the pitcher or filter, that is a much easier problem to address.
    Years ago in another house where I lived I had a pur filter/pitcher and I had to clean it really often because black mold would collect on the bottom. I would only see the mold when I wiped the inside of the pitcher with a paper towel. Point being I don’t think that the mold in the pitcher is a Brita problem I think it is a pitcher/filter problem.

  25. I too have been seriously ill from a Brita water filter. I did the same thing. After getting diarrhea, I didn’t want to dehydrate, so I kept drinking the Brita water. Then I noticed that the water had a funny taste and smell. By that time, what was ailing me had gone to my lungs and sinuses. I had severe sinusitis and bronchitis. Finally I discovered that the inside of my Brita pitcher was covered with mold. I put it in the dishwasher, but it didn’t come out clean. So I through it away. After that, I could literally FEEL the mold in my lungs and continued to cough up something gritty. I’m still recovering and it’s been six weeks. There were times when I thought I was going to stop breathing and had to use inhalers (I do not have asthma – been tested) and anti-histamines and twice a day anti-biotics. The cough is almost gone now, but it still lingers. Yesterday I had a bladder infection that included blood. This all started with that nasty water in the Brita pitcher.

  26. After feeling sick for the oast weekend, I thought I had a stomach virus but I didnt have diarrhea or fever or other symptoms relating to the stomach virus. I usually drink a glass of water every morning before I eat and I drank a big gls ss and noticed my stomach felt really sick and became dizzy and very weak after a few minutes. I immediately went to the bayhroom and threw up and I forced myself to throw up since Iknew the water was the culprit…I feel somewhat better but im happy I found this website because now I know what the cause is. Even my daughter felt sick and weak after drinking the brita filter water. She usually drinks poland springbut we ran out this week. Brita seriously needa to fix this problem because as far as I’ve read in previous comments their filter has caused numerous health problems. I have missed tqo days of work so far and I hope I dont have to miss tomorrow. I feel weak still and my stomach is a little woozy since I couldnt regurgitate all of the water but atleast I fell a little better. I am never going to use brita filters ever again. Ill buy and stock up on poland spring. Thank you for this blog!

  27. I have just gotten over the worst stomach flu/food poisining type issue. I am sure it is the Brita filter as well. I have used Brita for two years now . I do remember having cramps and bloating in the past with the old filters (now that I think about it) . This time I used the new type and followed all directions. I got sick right away then I went to my daughters for 3 days and drank bottled water and got a little better. Then I came home and drank from my Brita pitcher and I immediately bloated and cramps. Then vomit for the afternoon and then the rest. I have not used the pitcher now since yesterday and I feel a little better. Throwing mine away.

  28. Just purchased the travel bottle for Christmas. It had a very strong chemical smell. I tried one bottle and refilled the second and put in the fridge. I was up all night with cramps and I had to urinate every hour. I lost so much fluid and I have pains I my back. I am wondering if I should seek medical help? The high silver particles made me nervous. Any advice?

  29. Ok. This is so weird. I have been having non stop sinus infections and Monday night i had to go to the ER because i had such bad pains in my colon. well, my tummy started feeling better, but it’s because of this: i use a Neti Pot and get my water for the Neti Pot from the BRITA FAUCET FILTER! guess what was inside my screen? dark green dots of something or other. maybe mold? omigosh!! I have been unwittingly making myself sick and given myself sinus infection after sinus infection. and, unfortunately i just used the Neti pot earlier today before i made this gruesome discovery. i am on antibiotics for another bad sinus infection. so, i hope they will keep me from getting sicker now. i can’t believe this, i try and do a good thing and wash my sinuses out and i ended up hurting myself each time i did this. i looked up info in the type of bacteria it could be and it said Mycobateria, and it can actually go into the brain and lungs and cause TB. please everyone, take care of how you use your Brita Filter. and your Neti pot.

  30. I purchased a Brita 10 cup water filtration pitcher at WalMart, after a recent move. The water in new place tasted icky. I have had Brita pitchers for many years, with no issues…or so I thought.
    For forty five days I have been bedridden, headachy, vomiting, very ill. I googled “brita pitcher problems” because my pitcher , out of the box, brand new, was a hot mess. The lid is warped and doesnt stay on when you pour water! It tumbles off, allowing the undiltered wate in the top of pitcher to pour all over the place. The little filter changer reminder meter thing doesnt seem to work. There are always flakes of black crap floating in the water.. Charcoal? So, while Im ill, in bed, I came upon this interesting collection of Brita pitchers & bottles causing serious health issues. Its time to call the health department, people!!!! CALL YOUR LOCAL DEPT of health & LET them know what happened to you!!! We must stop this company from causing harm to people! Please! Thank you so much. :-)

  31. Glad I found this. I stared feeling ill on Tuesday, nausea, stomach cramps and tiredness then after awhile some nasty diarrhoea (sorry!). The next morning I noticed blue/green/black mould inside my Brita Filter Kettle in the initial water pouring reserve area bit. The glass container below looks sparkling clean so I never thought there would be hidden black mank hiding above. It’s since been bleached (and left unused) but I’m STILL feeling crap 5 days later! I kind of hope it WAS the filter that’s made me sick – at least I know. Any readers who have felt the same, did you wait it out and how long did it take to feel better or did you go to the Dr? And what would they give anyway? Antifungals? I hate medication at the best of times but will use if necessary :(

  32. I’ve been having gastro and sinus trouble for ages now. Worst sinus problems I’ve ever had. And respiratory problems for a week now. I kept smelling a moldy smell in my bedroom when I was in bed but couldn’t figure it out – no garbage, nothing in the room to blame it on. I prefer room temp water and keep (kept) my Brita jug on my bedside table. I poured a glass of water todnight after rinsing my sinuses (with non-Brita water) and smelled the moldy smell in my glass of water. Lately I haven’t been able to smell except after I do a sinus rinse and I’ve never had a glass of water right after – so glad I did today. I googled to see if it was possible that the water could get funky and found this page!

    I noticed at some point over the years that Brita had changed the length of time you keep a filter for (much less now than before) and I noticed their claims of what it does have changed – it’s not about cleaner water now – it’s about better tasting water.

    I dumped my filter in the kitchen garbage and tightly shut the lid. I poured the water from my glass and the jug down the drain then got a fresh glass and filled it with tap water. That was over an hour ago and my sinuses are a bit better already. This also explains why my old girl (my doggy) hasn’t been sleeping in my bedroom for the past few weeks.

  33. Just out of curiosity, since it wasn’t mentioned, and should have been…how many of you who got sick from their Brita actually followed the instructions and SOAKED THE FILTER for 15 minutes before inserting it into their pitcher? I had almost forgotten that instruction when I went to replace my filter…and being the frugalist that I am, wanted to see if I could use my old filter longer than when it says to change it, so that’s how I got here. I’ve never gotten sick from my Brita. My water smells good. However, I have felt ill from a friend’s Brita and I think it’s because she didn’t change the filter, and I have no idea if she followed directions. I’m soaking my new filter right now.
    From Brita:
    Filters should be kept in the sealed Brita® bag and stored in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to use them.

    For pitcher filters, remember to soak the filter for 15 minutes prior to using. It is important that the bottom of the filter be in contact with the filtered water to prevent the filter from drying out. If the filter dries out, resoak for 15 minutes.

    If your Brita® Faucet Filter has not been used for several days, you should let water run through the filter for 30 seconds before use, in order to wet and reactivate the system’s filter.

  34. I want to cry, because this is the answer to my Stomach Cramps and boughts of diarrhoea and lethargy. We have a water filter on our kitchen counter, it’s next to the window, and has a tendency to cultivate some green mould in the section that holds water after its gone through the filter. Every time I see it, I clean the hell out of the whole water filter unit. But it always comes back and I don’t seem to be feeling any better. Might just throw it away and buy bottled in bulk. Recycle!

    Thank you so much for blogging your experience.

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