Does Filtered Water Have Fluoride? Learn Here!

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Fluoride is one of the chemicals added to tap water during its treatment because of the implied health benefits.

However, not everyone likes the idea of increased fluoride levels in their home water so they decide to opt out. That said, fluoride is pretty hard to filter out of water.

If you’re aware of all this, you’re probably concerned about fluoride being in your water supply even after filtering it.

This article will address your concerns and discuss how you can protect yourself from exposure.

So, does filtered water have fluoride?

Key Takeaways

  • If the feed water didn’t have fluoride before filtration, the filtered water won’t have fluoride either.
  • If the feed water did have fluoride, it could still have some after being filtered. That’s because not every water filtration method is effective against fluoride.
  • The only 2 filter media that can remove fluoride from water are bone char and activated alumina.
  • Reverse osmosis and water distillation are 2 water purification methods that can be used for removing fluoride.

Does Filtered Water Have Fluoride?

In this context, filtered water refers to water treated by any filtration method.

Now, does filtered water have fluoride? The brief answer is that filtered water can have fluoride. In other words, it depends.

  • For one, if the water didn’t have fluoride before the filtration process, it won’t have fluoride afterwards.
  • If there was fluoride in the feed water, however, it could still have some even after filtration. That’s because not every water filtration method is effective against the salt.
  • Bone char and activated alumina are the best and only filter media/filtration methods that can be used for removing fluoride from water.
  • Reverse osmosis and water distillation could also be used, although strictly speaking, these are categorized as water purification methods, providing purified rather than filtered

Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System

Does My Filtered Water Have Fluoride in It?

There’s only one way to determine if your water has fluoride: Testing.

Luckily there are easy ways to test your water for fluoride. These are:

  1. Testing your water with a private lab

If you want to be 100% sure of the results, test your water at a professional lab. A lab test reveals the exact concentration of fluoride in your water and detects other contaminants, too (if you want).

You can then use all that information to decide how best to filter your water. Of course, before choosing a lab, you’d have to ensure it is EPA-certified. EPA-certified labs follow approved protocols and have high testing standards.

  1. Using fluoride test strips

Fluoride test strips are easy to use. You just dip them in a water sample and then compare the results to a color chart. The test strip pack includes instructions on how to use the strips and a color chart to guide you in interpreting the results.

Test trips are a good option if you’re looking for a less expensive, instantaneous testing method.

  1. Using reactive testing kits

You could also use a reactive test kit. It requires a simple procedure of mixing a specified reagent with a sample of your water. Results are obtained by sliding the sample (after it is mixed uniformly) into a photometer. Some kits come with a colored disc chart instead, but they produce accurate results either way.

How Can You Filter Fluoride from Tap Water?

As mentioned before, not many water filtration technologies can remove fluoride from tap water. We’ve listed the few that can effectively do so below:

Bone Char and Activated Alumina Water Filters

Bone char and activated alumina are pretty much the only effective media for removing fluoride from water. Bone char is made of crushed, dried, and heated cattle bones with high calcium content. It has high adsorption capacity and a porous surface that allows it to trap inorganic contaminants like cadmium, fluoride, and arsenic.

On the other hand, activated alumina is made of aluminum oxide, the same material found in sapphires and rubies, except without the impurities that give them their unique colors. In addition, its high surface-area-to-weight ratio and porous surface allow it to readily adsorb chemicals like fluorides, thallium, and arsenic.

If all the suitable conditions are met, both bone char and activated alumina can remove over 90% fluoride in water.

(Reverse Osmosis Systems and Water Distillers)

Reverse osmosis systems and water distillers are also very thorough in eliminating fluoride.

Reverse osmosis operates using a semi-permeable membrane. When pressurized water is pushed through this membrane, contaminants like minerals, ions, or substances with molecules larger than water are trapped on the membrane’s surface. As a result, only pure water molecules pass freely to the other side. Fluoride happens to be one of those chemicals that get rejected by the RO membrane.

Water distillers heat water until it becomes steam and capture it in another container. This process ensures that any contaminants with higher boiling points than water, like fluoride, are left behind. The steam collected eventually condenses to pure liquid (water) free of fluoride and other impurities.

Do Refrigerator Water Filters Remove Fluoride?

Many people believe that if they drink filtered water from their fridge, they’ll be protected from fluoride exposure from tap water. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. As we said before, only specific filter media can remove fluoride from water. Unfortunately, fridge filters don’t have these types of filter media, so they cannot remove fluoride from water.

refrigerator water filter installation

What Is Water Fluoridation and What Does It Do?

Water fluoridation is when water utilities add fluoride to treated water before distribution. They do this because fluoride can prevent tooth decay and other dental issues when applied to the teeth.

However, while fluoride can be helpful to the teeth, many people are worried about overconsumption.

Should You Remove Fluoride from Your Drinking Water?

Water is fluoridated to prevent tooth decay. But the current situation is that people already consume fluoride in the processed food they eat, coffee, tea, toothpaste, and more. Since there is a maximum required intake, drinking fluoridated water may become unnecessary.

Of course, the choice to remove our keep fluoride in your drinking water ultimately depends on you.

Pros and Cons of Drinking Fluoridated Water

Water Fluoridation is considered one of the best public health interventions of the 20th century – and rightly so.

But, without a doubt, we also know it has disadvantages. Let’s see a few of them:


  • Fluoridated water reduces your risk of tooth decay by a mile.
  • Prevents growth of bacteria in the mouth.
  • Strengthens teeth enamel and generally promotes dental health.
  • It helps you save on dental costs by avoiding tooth decay and other dental issues.
  • It is a natural mineral and not manufactured medication.


  • We already consume fluoride in other parts of our diet and it’s difficult to control how much we consume.
  • Overconsumption of fluoride in drinking water could eventually lead to several health effects. Some include dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis, and hypothyroidism.
  • Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic condition that may cause behavioral and psychological problems like low self-esteem.
  • Water fluoridation is viewed as unethical by many. This is because people don’t consent before being supplied with fluoridated water.

More Tips on How to Reduce Your Overall Fluoride Exposure

Asides from filtering your water, there are many things you can do to reduce your daily fluoride intake:

  1. Limit your consumption of processed foods if you can. Foods like cereals, can-soup, and fish have high fluoride content.
  2. You can opt for non-fluoridated toothpaste. But make sure to consult your dentist first!
  3. Fluoride is often used as a pesticide for inorganic fruits where it can be present in high concentrations. Take organic fruits and vegetables instead.
  4. Bottled water can have fluoride, depending on its source. Search for brands that don’t have fluoride or only small amounts.
  5. Coffee and tea can hold extremely high amounts of fluoride, depending on where they were grown.
  6. Teflon cookware is made with fluorine. If you’re trying to reduce your exposure, opt for other options for cookware.
  7. Some medicines have fluoride in them. Before accepting prescriptions, you can ask your doctor to give you a fluoride-free substitute.

If you have any thoughts about the question, is there fluoride in filtered water, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald is one of the founders of BOS and currently head of content creation. She has 8+ years of experience as a water treatment specialist under her belt making her our senior scientist. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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