Friday, November 01, 2019

Removing hormones from drinking water

This post is a follow-up from a previous one: Hormones in our water supply and should we be worried

Hi Chen Ko

Thank you for your response and insights.

I did not realise that pesticides also contained hormones! That's a little worrying.

Would there be any reverse osmosis systems you would recommend?


Best regards

Hi C,

Pesticides technically do not contain hormones. However, some pesticide molecules resemble hormone molecules hence exerting similar effects.

As mentioned previously, a reverse osmosis (RO) unit with pre- and post carbon filtration will be up to the task of removing hormones in water. As mentioned elsewhere in this blog (1, 2, 3), I am an advocate of NSF/ANSI certification for household water filtration units.

You can try this RO unit from Amazon which is certified under NSF/ANSI 58 (the standard for RO units) for system construction. Before the water goes into the RO membrane, it passes through a sediment filter, granular activated carbon filter and an activated carbon block filter which should do a good job at pretreatment. After the RO membrane, the water goes into a post activated carbon filter which should clean up the final product nicely. But as I mentioned previously, there is no certification to reduce hormones specifically so this unit certainly is not certified as such.

Chen Ko 

A capable set-up for an RO unit

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Hormones in our water supply and should we be worried

Hi Chen Ko

I stumbled upon your blog while trying to find out more information about Singapore's water supply.

Could you let me know about your views for the need of a water filter/purifier to remove hormones from our water supply?

Is there a need for this given that we recycle our water using NEWater and there might be some hormones in the water?

Many thanks in advance for your time!

P/S - appreciate if you could reply via email.

Best regards

Hi C,

A few issues to consider before making a decision about getting a water filter.

  1. In recent years, many chemicals have come to the forefront of drinking water quality – pesticides, pharmaceuticals and of course, hormones. Some of pesticides and pharmaceuticals actually have hormonal properties.

  2. It is true that wastewater treatment does not remove them effectively so they end up in our water sources e.g. rivers, lakes, reservoirs.

  3. Same with water treatment – they are not effectively removed either so they end up in our tap water.

  4. Much controversy still surrounds how safe they actually are in our water. Regardless, their concentrations are pretty low in tap water. The question is everyone’s mind is: are they safe as such low concentrations? Unfortunately, there is usually no conclusive answer.

  5. Is it possible to remove them from your tap water? Technically yes. If you invest in an RO (reverse osmosis) system with both pre and post carbon filters, that should work. As for other filters, it is hard to say how effective they are against such chemicals. Naturally, no water filter is certified to remove them due to point 4 above. I mean – we can’t even decide on a safe level for them so how low a level should they be removed to?

  6. Finally, if you are really worried about consuming them and want peace of mind, do get an RO system as mentioned above.
 Notice that I did not talk about the adverse effects of consuming hormones, pesticides, pharmaceuticals. Feel free to search them up on internet. There are some interesting anecdotes for reading and pondering.

Hormonal pills. Not everything is used up in the body. Some unused chemicals are excreted in the urine and faeces.

A full blown reverse osmosis system with pre and post carbon filters (and a few other supplementary filters)