The Brita filter is a popular water filtration system. While it removes many undesirable chemicals from the drinking water, it sometimes leaves little black flakes behind. These are pieces of carbon.
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Brita, as well as many other water filtration companies, uses activated carbon to filter the water. The carbon is useful because it contains many microscopic pores of various sizes. Particles dissolved in the water get trapped in these little holes and tunnels, allowing filtered water to go through.
Because it consists of many very tiny, very thin layers of carbon, activated carbon sometimes breaks up and erodes away. This results in loose flakes of carbon floating around in the water.
Flakes in the Water
Loose carbon flakes will normally be caught in the activated carbon pores like everything else, so there is little worry about it coming out in your drinking water--except for the first few pitchers, which should be discarded. You may, however, see flakes backwashing into the top chamber fairly often.
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