Since algae are plants, you might ask yourself, “Are the algae in my Brita filter really dangerous?” Unfortunately, it is. Algae-contaminated water is not safe for consumption. This is because algae release toxins that can cause nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, and rashes.
Yes, your old filter can add bacteria to your water
The moist environment in the pitcher filter is perfect for multiplication, so bacteria can reach higher concentrations. This can make you sick if you continue to use the old filter.
Algae can grow in a Brita pitcher due to two reasons – your water may already be contaminated by algae before you pour it in, or spores may grow from the environment. If your well water (or untreated tap water) is contaminated with algae, it may show up in your pitcher as green slime.
Some harmful algal blooms are capable of producing toxins, called cyanotoxins, which can pose health risks to humans and animals through drinking water and recreational water exposure.
Empty the water out of the pitcher on a regular basis and wash the pitcher with a few drops of dishwashing liquid and warm water. Scrub the pitcher well and rinse thoroughly before refilling the water reservoir with water. This will help prevent the growth of algae in the pitcher.
Algae-affected water may not be suitable for drinking, recreation or agricultural use. Contact with affected water can cause skin irritation, mild respiratory effects and hayfever-like symptoms. Ingesting toxins can cause gastroenteritis symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and headaches.
Replace your Brita Stream® Filter every 40 gallons, or about every 2 months. If you have hard water, you may need to change filters more often.
Brita filters are susceptible to mold if they are not cleaned frequently, or if the filter cartridge is not replaced regularly. Using well water or leaving the filtration device open in a dark place can also cause mold to grow. To remove mold, scrub it with a diluted bleach solution.
Why does algae grow in water filters? The sunlight, and warmth it provides, encourage the algae to grow as well. Because the water in the bottom tank has been filtered, it is free of chemicals and disinfectants, and this means there is nothing present in the water to stop algae growth if it starts.
Blue-green algae can produce both nerve toxins (neurotoxins) and liver toxins (hepatotoxins). Call your doctor or veterinarian right away if you or your pets or livestock have signs of poisoning. Residential drinking water is sometimes taken from a lake.
Exposure to high levels of blue-green algae and their toxins can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting; skin, eye or throat irritation; and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties. Pet and livestock illness/deaths can happen if animals consume large amounts of water containing blooms, scums or benthic mats.