One of the most common contaminants that people want to remove from their drinking water is Fluoride. However, I remember as a child my dentist talking about the importance of ingesting Fluoride, so what exactly is the deal? If you are as curious as I was about Fluoride and whether or not to get it out of your home water source you will probably find this article worth reading.
The Good, the Bad, and the Scary
As I already mentioned, you may have heard conflicting reports about this naturally occurring mineral. At the turn of last century Fluoride was first identified as being the culprit in a string of mysterious tooth malformations in children. To make a long story short, in 1901 no one knew Fluoride existed in water sources but by the 1950s it was being added to water because of its effectiveness at preventing tooth decay.
The problem (read “confusion”) lies in the amount consumed.
As I noted in another article about water purification the CDC recommends .7mg of Fluoride per liter of water. However, these sources can easily become contaminated with much more than that amount, and in addition, people can “accidentally” ingest Fluoride without realizing it through some very random sounding sources like antibiotics, tea leaves and even de-boned chicken!
When that occurs the benefit of decay resistant teeth is eclipsed by the other health problems that Fluoride causes.
The cosmetic issue of (permanent) brown staining on teeth, discovered by the dentist Frederick McKay in 1901 is not the only risk of ingesting Fluoride in high quantities. Excess Flouride has been shown to cause damage to bones and nerves as well as spinal and vertebral column vulnerability. Yikes! Those are some pretty concerning health issues to deal with as a result of drinking contaminated water. Well, don’t panic. We’ve got you covered with the most effective ways to remove unwanted Fluoride from your drinking water.
Know what you Know
Before you go out and purchase a water filter system for your home, however it would be a good idea to check with your local municipality just to be sure your water has been fluoridated because, remember, a small amount is actually recommended. I did this and the water in my county IS fluoridated with the correct amount as per CDC recommendation (What a relief!) Once you are aware of how much Fluoride your local government puts in your water I would recommend having your actual home water source tested. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, (see my other articles about purification systems) this really can eliminate a lot of guesswork when treating your water with a purification system. Lastly, read the fine print on pharmaceutical literature and maybe de-bone your own chicken in hopes of staying away from excess Fluoride.
The good news is that the bottom line answer to the original question “can Fluoride be removed with a purification system” is “yes”. The bad news is that removing it is a little more involved than purchasing a Brita at Target. Filters like Brita and Pur are Active Carbon filters and they are really good at taking out lots of unwanted minerals and particles in water, but they are not effective at removing Fluoride. In fact, the Water Quality Association (WQA) lists 4 methods to effectively limit or remove Fluoride.
Distilling water will likely remove all of the Fluoride from your water but can be costly and time consuming.
See my article here for a more in-depth look at the reverse osmosis process that will rid your water of about 90% of Fluoride.
Activated Alumina Exchange Media
Keep in mind that this works best with cold, acidic water (a pH of 5.5 is preferred).
Strong Base Anion Exchange Resins
SBA for short, these kinds of filtration systems physically react with the Fluoride, deionizing it and giving you purer water.
The quest for pure water can be overwhelming and daunting but I hope the information about Fluoride here gives you a starting point so that you can pursue the best possible filtration system to target your home water.