What are these green spheres in my water?
November 26, 2010 11:53 PM   Subscribe

I have green spheres in my water pitcher. Can someone help me identify them?

I have these green spheres in my relatively new Brita water pitcher, as seen here: http://www.fantasyislands.org/IMG_4190.JPG
The filter is a little over a month old. It hasn't seen sunlight and hasn't been out of the refrigerator for more than a few minutes at a time.
Are they an algae or type of bacteria? If so, what type would they be?
Is the water still safe to consume? (Yes, I'm going to get a new filter)
posted by woolite to Science & Nature (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
First off, oh man.

Second, and this is going to be even more gross, but has anyone in your household eaten broccoli in the past few days? 'Cause, uh, it sort of looks like someone took a big ol' bite o' broccoli and then endeavored to take a drink from the pitcher...

I feel like this is something my boyfriend from college would have done, so I'm just sayin'.
posted by patronuscharms at 12:08 AM on November 27, 2010

I can't tell from the image, but are they really green? My roommates had a brita filter and we constantly had black carbon particles from the filter. It looked a lot like those bits. It's a pretty common complaint, if you google any combination of particle + brita +filter, etc etc

If you're already aware of the filter particle issue, then never mind. I just thought I'd ask to clarify! :)
posted by sprezzy at 12:11 AM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oops I took a close look, and please disregard my earlier post. I wasn't looking closely ENOUGH.

I have no idea what those little green things are, except gross. I think they look too perfect to be broccoli bits, though.
posted by sprezzy at 12:12 AM on November 27, 2010

I vote algae. Pour the water out, bleach the container and try again.
posted by dfriedman at 12:15 AM on November 27, 2010

sorry for the multiple postings, but apparently you aren't alone!

not very helpful, when it comes to answering your question...but still...
posted by sprezzy at 12:16 AM on November 27, 2010

Response by poster: They definitely aren't broccoli bits. I've let the pitcher dry out a little and they can roll around like nobody's business. They are pretty perfectly spherical, translucent, tinted green and quite tough... Tougher than you'd expect an algae to be (but then again, they are excessively small and dried out now)
I'm starting to think that maybe they aren't bacteria or algae, but something from the filter itself.
posted by woolite at 12:27 AM on November 27, 2010

This happened to me once! I have NO idea what they were, but they freaked me out enough to just go buy a new filter, and sanitize the pitcher in the dishwasher.

Nobody in the house at the time got sick at all, and we don't know how long those little green things were in there. But you're not alone. At the time I thought maybe they were some kind of eggs? It's heartening to know that I'm not alone in this mystery.
posted by Mizu at 12:44 AM on November 27, 2010

Response by poster: Ugh, I hope they aren't eggs. They sure do look like some type of eggs, though.
I haven't felt an insect egg before, but I assume they wouldn't be as hard as these things.
posted by woolite at 1:00 AM on November 27, 2010

Best answer: It's a little difficult to guess what part you're looking at. This pic shows part of the top of the filter, right?
No matter, what you're seeing here is some of the filling that somehow has escaped, partly carbon particles and partly some small resin grains that act as ion exchanger in the filter. These can have pretty much any color; in water filters often greyish blue or translucent. Your description as spherical and hard is the giveaway. Don't swallow them and enjoy the water. Change the filling depending on circumstances and use after c. 2 months.
posted by Namlit at 1:12 AM on November 27, 2010

I am not sure what those are, but I got annoyed enough about the black particles in my Brita water that I bought one of these Mavea pitchers. It is a million times better. Don't be afraid to jump the Brita ship if you need to. Mavea even makes a pretty red pitcher if you're into that kind of thing.
posted by analog at 1:19 AM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, Namlit! I think you solved the mystery.
posted by woolite at 1:33 AM on November 27, 2010

I'm pretty sure Namlit is right, those look like the little beads inside the Brita filters. They are probably greener than usual because of some dissolved substance naturally in the water.
posted by gjc at 5:15 AM on November 27, 2010

Just for the record: Mavea and Brita are owned by the same company.
posted by aberrant at 7:20 AM on November 27, 2010

Namlit has it. I get these all the time in my Brita, even after following the instructions (which say to soak the filter for 15 minutes, then run 5 pitchers of water through and dump them on the plants or somewhere without drinking them). As long as the filter is set securely in the pitcher, the particles won't make it through to the drinking water, so it's nothing to worry about.
posted by Marla Singer at 8:39 AM on November 27, 2010

We have a Brita filter at work that gets these. I was told they are part of the filter and harmless.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 12:16 PM on November 27, 2010

Just for the record: Mavea and Brita are owned by the same company.

But the Mavea filters are different. No dots, no particles, no weirdness.
posted by analog at 9:38 PM on November 27, 2010

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