Does Reverse Osmosis Remove PFAS?

Polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAs for short, are dangerous man-made chemicals that can accumulate and spread over time.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove PFAS?
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However, thanks to Reverse Osmosis, it can help prevent the spread of these PFAs before it does more harm. Based on scientific research, it can remove about 99% of substances not only PFAs, but also others such as bacteria, harmful particles, and the like.

Where It All Started: A Brief History About PFAs

It all dated back in the 1950s where manufacturers are making waterproof or nonstick products. Such an example is food containers, which contain high amounts of PFA to prevent food from sticking in.

Fast forward today, most of these food containers, especially lunchboxes, still have PFA in them.

PFA chemicals are mostly used in industrial factories. Products such as waterproof clothing, skincare products, nonstick pans or kitchenware, and a host of consumer products contain PFA.

What’s good about this chemical is its ability to repel from oil and water, making it an ideal compound to be used on the said products above.

The Dangers of PFA

However, after years of research. It was proven that PFA is indeed dangerous to one’s health. Too much exposure to PFA can result in the following health conditions:

  • Kidney cancer 
  • Fetal complications that can lead to retardation and other birth defects
  • Liver damage that can lead to cancer 
  • Testicle/genital conditions

What’s even worse is that PFA is not only found in our daily household products, but also in tap water as well. This means that all of us are already exposed to PFA just by the water we use alone.

The Dangers of PFA
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That’s why a majority of households nowadays have a water filtration system. Aside from these normal water filters, there are also High-pressure membranes that are powered by reverse osmosis as well. 

The Power of Reverse Osmosis to Get Rid of PFA

But before we get into action about what reverse osmosis is all about, let’s talk about how osmosis works first.

Osmosis is a natural process where two saline solutions (a weak and strong one) will combine. Such an example is your pruney fingers when staying in the bath/pool for too long, or raisins that puffs when put into the water for a certain amount of time.

Basically, osmosis is the process where a less concentrated solution will migrate to a higher concentrated solution.

This means no use of force or energy is required for osmosis to occur. It just happens naturally without us even noticing. Reverse osmosis, on the other hand, is the process where you need to force energy to the higher concentrated solution.

Such an example is the high-pressure membrane we mentioned earlier. The way it works is that pressure is applied to remove water contaminants including PFA to provide a cleaner and safer to drink water.

A prime example would be a screen door. When wind hits the door, you can still feel the breeze while it filters out dust, insects, and other particles that may enter.

Reverse osmosis has been used not only by households but also industrial companies too. This is why a lot of our products nowadays contain little to no PFA chemicals. It’s more apparent in water companies that provide bottled drinking waters to consumers.

How Water Can Benefit In Reverse Osmosis

How Water Can Benefit In Reverse Osmosis
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With the help of reverse osmosis, it helps filter out PFA and other contaminants that may accumulate over time. What’s more is that reverse osmosis doesn’t only apply to water filtering too.

Other uses of reverse osmosis include energy production, wastewater conversion, and even recycling. In our generation where pollution and dangerous chemicals are more apparent than ever, reverse osmosis is just the beginning to get rid of these harmful substances.

And since we humans always rely on water every day, this is why a plethora of reverse osmosis filtrations systems are filling store shelves nowadays. Its benefits include:

1. Improved water taste

Water that is free from chemicals and PFA tastes better. So if you live in a home where you rely on tap water for drinking, then you should definitely buy a reverse osmosis water filter system. 

2. It’s a good lifetime investment

There’s no denying that reverse osmosis water filters come at a price that will hurt your wallet. However, it is a viable investment that you can use for a lifetime.

3. No more bottled water 

With a reverse osmosis water filtration system, you can save money from buying bottled water. This means you can have an unlimited supply of clean drinking water without the need of ordering one from a water company.

4. Helps you save the environment 

This benefit is tied to the one above. Most bottled waters nowadays come in plastic containers which can harm the environment. That said, you can reduce your carbon footprint since you won’t be ordering bottled water anymore.

Other Ways To Get Rid of PFA

There are still plenty of ways to keep PFA at bay and not just reverse osmosis. This includes the following:

1. Powdered activated carbon process

This is a process where a powdered carbon is added into the material that contains PFA. Once added, these PFA chemicals will stick to the powdered carbon which effectively removes it from the material.

2. Ion exchange resin method

These small resins which are powered by hydrocarbons will act as a magnet to get rid of PFA. Once mixed into the material, the harmful chemicals will attach to these resins making it free from PFA and other dangerous substances.

3. Granular activated carbon technology

Sometimes called ‘charcoal’ filters, this granular activated carbon is made from organic materials that are effective in removing PFA. Once mixed, it binds up with the PFA chemicals that are present on the material to remove it.


With innovation on the rise, reverse osmosis is indeed a blessing in disguise to ward off PFA in our day-to-day needs, especially tap water. So if you haven’t bought a reverse osmosis system yet, now is the best time to invest for such. Time to save up and your health will thank you later.

Point of Use Water Treatment Systems - RO vs GAC for PFAS Removal
Jomar Teves

A blogger by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a downhill mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years experience as a writer and is a graduate of the BSBA Entrepreneurial Marketing program. His work has been published on Clutch Points, Blokt and iTech.