The microbiological quality of filtered water in a commercial water filter system (Brita) was tested in households and in two laboratories. In 24 of 34 filters used in households, bacterial counts increased in the filtered water up to 6,000 cfu/ml. In 4 of 6 filters tested in the laboratory, bacterial counts in the fresh filtrate were higher than in tap water after approximately one week of use both at room temperature and at 4 degrees C, suggesting growth or biofilm formation in the filter material. In some cases colony counts in the filtered water were 10,000 times those in tap water. The filter material of 5 of 13 new commercial filters was contaminated with bacteria or moulds. National or international regulatory agencies should ensure that water filters marketed for domestic use do not allow deterioration in the microbiological quality of drinking water.