Cyst Water Filtration

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Cyst Water Filtration

Both giardia and cryptosporidium are microbial cysts, and they are difficult to get rid of. Why, you might ask? These microbes grow a cyst wall around themselves for protection in unfavorable conditions. When giardia and cryptosporidium reach more favorable environments, like your stomach, their cyst walls break down and the microbes inside them release, which can potentially cause gastrointestinal illnesses like diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps.

Giardia Lamblia

Giardia is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal illness known as giardiasis. Giardia (also known as giardia intestinalis, giardia lamblia, or giardia duodenalis) is found on surfaces or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals.

Once in a water body, unsuspecting humans may drink infected water, exposing themselves to the cysts. Water from lakes or streams may also be transported to municipal water supplies. If the municipal system uses sand filtration in addition to chlorination, the cysts should be removed. If chlorination is used without filtration, the chance for a giardia infection increases. It is estimated that 20-65 million Americans are at risk due to this lack of filtration of surface water. It has been suggested that 40-45% of giardia cases are associated with exposure to unfiltered water. Other sources of exposure include unsanitary conditions at day care facilities, exposure while traveling in developing countries, or hikers or campers drinking infected surface water.

Giardia is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it tolerant to chlorine disinfection. While the parasite can be spread in different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common method of transmission.

If water is contaminated with giardia, it is possible to kill the cysts by simply boiling the water. If you are on a public water system, a notice will be sent out if giardia is present at unsafe levels. People on private water systems should not be concerned as most giardia is from untreated surface water; however, there is a possibility that sewage lines from a septic tank may infect your water. Contamination from livestock waste may also be of some concern. If you are in doubt, it is possible to have your well water tested for bacteria and protozoa by laboratories in your area.


Cryptosporidium parvum is a protozoan parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis, which has gained notoriety in the past five years. In 1993, over 400,000 people in Milwaukee, Wisconsin became ill with it after drinking contaminated water. Since this outbreak, there has been a greater impetus to remove the cryptosporidium from municipal water supplies.

Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites, cryptosporidium, that can live in the intestine of humans and animals and is passed in the stool of an infected person or animal. Both the disease and the parasite are commonly known as "crypto." The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very resistant to chlorine-based disinfectants. During the past two decades, crypto has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease (recreational water and drinking water) in humans in the United States. The parasite is found in every region of the United States and throughout the world.

For Cysts in Your Drinking Water

If the safety of drinking water is questionable (for example, outbreak, poor sanitation, lack of water treatment systems):

  • Drink bottled water
  • Disinfect the water by heating to a rolling boil for 1 minute, or
  • Use a filter that has been tested and rated by National Safety Foundation (NSF) Standard 53 or NSF Standard 58 for cyst and oocyst reduction; filtered water will need additional treatment to kill or inactivate bacteria and viruses.

There are several effective ways to rid your drinking water of cyst. eFilterWater offers solutions ranging from faucet mount water filters, ultraviolet (UV) water filter systems, reverse osmosis systems, and ultrafiltration systems. If you need more assistance finding the right home water filtration system to reduce cysts from your home's water supply, contact one of eFilterWater's Certified Water Specialists at 800-779-1340. They will be happy to assist you!
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