removing carbon from water
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What Does Granular Activated Carbon Remove From Water?

Granular activated carbon is a material often found in water filtration systems. When used properly, granular activated carbon can remove various chemicals and contaminants from water, making it safer to drink, cook with, and more.


Keep reading to learn what specific types of chemicals granular activated carbon can remove from water as a result of the filtration process. The following guide covers a few noteworthy examples.

What is Granular Activated Carbon?

Certain materials, such as coconut shells, naturally contain relatively high levels of carbon. Applying heat in a particular way to these materials can increase the surface area of the carbon already present in them. The carbon becomes “activated” during this process.


Activated carbon is often an effective medium for a water filter because activated carbon naturally attracts and absorbs various chemicals in water as it passes through a filter. As the name implies, granular activated carbon (or GAC) is activated carbon in the form of small granules that may be ideal for filtration processes.

Chemicals and Contaminants Granular Activated Carbon Can Remove from Water

Granular activated carbon can be particularly effective at removing the following from water during filtration:


Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) is a compound used in the manufacturing of a wide range of products. Unfortunately, PFOS may enter the water, where it can take a very long time to break down.


The CDC states that exposure to or consumption of PFOS can render one vulnerable to a variety of potential ailments. Many granular activated carbon filters can remove PFOS from water, guarding against these health consequences.


It’s not uncommon for officials to add chlorine to drinking water in the U.S. for safety reasons. However, by the time this water reaches a person’s home, the chlorine may have had a negative impact on the water’s taste and smell. A granular activated carbon filter can address this by removing chlorine and chlorine byproducts.

Pharmaceutical Products

Chemicals from pharmaceutical products can enter water sources when people dispose of them improperly (such as by flushing them down the toilet). These chemicals have the potential to cause harm. Fortunately, granular activated carbon can be very effective at removing them.


Tests indicate that granular activated carbon has the ability to remove approximately 14 common pesticides from water sources. Because exposure to pesticides can cause both acute and chronic health conditions, removing them through filtration is critical.

Granular Activated Carbon Doesn’t Catch Everything

It’s important to understand that virtually no filtration system may capture and remove all contaminants that could possibly be found in a given water source. You need to confirm that a granular activated carbon filter will serve your specific needs before deciding it’s the type of filtration solution you’re looking for.


That said, the EPA and various other such agencies and organizations have consistently recommended granular activated carbon as an ideal water filtration medium for a reason: it often works remarkably well. By removing these chemicals and more from your water, this simple material can play a big role in your health.


Puragen offers a range of activated carbon and purification solutions.