Study: Water filters can increase types of bacteria

(Source: WNEM)

The new findings about the effectiveness of water filters are alarming.

While the filters may be blocking some harmful toxins from leaching into drinking water, a shocking new study suggests they may be letting other toxins pass through in dangerous amounts.

"Just like Legionnaires' disease. I mean we have, people died and nothing even came out for a couple of years," said Roger Robbins, Flint resident.

He doesn't trust his tap water in Flint.

"I can't trust them. You know, it's just a thing of trust right now," Robbins said.

He has a filter on his faucet, but still refuses to do anything other than bathe with it.

"I'll take a sponge bath and I have to go to Krogers and pay 40 cents a gallon for five gallon things to take care of everything else," Robbins said.

New research from the University of Michigan suggests there is more to consider when it comes to your typical water filter.

The study, which was conducted using Ann Arbor's water, found filters can actually increase certain types of bacteria.

"That family of bacteria does increase across the filter. So it suggests that it's possible and more work is needed across different waters," said Nancy Love, U of M engineering professor.

Love looked at the role a filter has on types of bacteria that can grow in filters. She found it can be especially impactful on those who have weak immune systems.

"We've emphasized all along that the vast majority of bacteria in drinking water are harmless except for people that are immune compromised and those individuals certainly, you need to take more caution," Love said.

Love recommends running water through a filter for at least 15 seconds to decrease the amount of bacteria. The highest levels of bacteria will come from water that has been sitting still.

That doesn't make people living in Flint feel any better. Ron Root said he won't even cook with the water coming out of his filter.

"They need to do something that's going to take care of the whole problem," Root said.

Residents in Flint continue to rely on bottled water until they can trust the water again without a filter.

"If these people downtown don't want to drink the water, why should I have to drink it? It's a little bit ridiculous," Root said.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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