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Fluoride is a salt famous for strengthening teeth and preventing tooth decay. Therefore, some countries around the world add fluoride to their drinking water supply. So, why are we so concerned about removing something added deliberately?
The reason is that over-consumption of fluoride over an extended period of time may pose multiple ill side effects. Since the concentration of fluoride in products like table salt, grapes, tea/coffee, fluoridated toothpaste, drinking water etc. can vary, you might be having more than you need.
Don’t worry! Removing fluoride from your water isn’t too complicated using a water filter designed to tackle the sometimes troublesome salt. Stay with us as we guide you on how to remove fluoride from drinking water.
Water utilities add fluoride to drinking water because it has been proven to reduce or prevent tooth decay. Studies have highlighted that it prevents, by at least 25%, tooth decay in adults and children.
However, how far fluoridated water is effective at preventing cavities or strengthening the teeth is still in the grey area.
According to the University of Harvard, fluoridation of community water supplies might not actually be the most outstanding health achievement. It’s further elucidated by the fact that many first-world countries have rejected adding fluoride to their water supplies. Yet, at the same time, they have reported a sheer decline in the number of cavities.
Moreover, all water naturally contains some amount of fluoride. It’s because the element also naturally occurs on Earth. It is released from rocks into the soil, air and trickles down to groundwater or mixes in with surface water.
More and more people are now questioning whether the addition of fluoride to drinking water is more of a blessing or curse.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the adequate value for fluoride intake for infants is 0.5 mg/L, 0.7 mg/L for toddlers, 1-2 mg/L for older kids, and 3-4 mg/L for adults.
That said, most people in the US already consume more than the recommended daily amount of fluoride, thanks to processed foods, tea and coffee, some medicines and more.
In an era where people use fluoridated toothpaste and other products that improve dental health, the potential health effects associated with the consumption of fluoridated water can outweigh its benefits.
The most documented adverse effect of excessive fluoride consumption is dental fluorosis in children. It causes discoloration and disfiguring of the teeth.
On the other hand, skeletal fluorosis is related to bones and major joints of the body. It causes horrific pain, stiffness, and rigidity. Extreme cases of skeletal fluorosis can also lead to disabilities.
Hypothyroidism is a well-known side effect of excess fluoride ingestion. Overexposure to fluoride has been proven to disrupt thyroid functioning, impacting its ability to produce and pump the essential thyroid hormones into your blood.
The most common red flags that point towards hypothyroidism are extreme fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and constipation.
The link between fluoride and our brain is alarming and is presently being heavily researched. This is because a small amount of fluoride is stored in our body’s soft tissues, including the brain.
It has been associated with less IQ in children (learning disabilities), ADHD, and poor cognitive abilities. According to a study, fluoride was documented as a neurotoxin putting it in line with lead and arsenic.
In addition, fluoride may also lead to sleep disorders as it can readily be absorbed by the pineal gland responsible for the production of melatonin.
The chances of fluoride intoxication are extremely rare and could only happen if you ingest a very large dose for a long time.
Technically, it is not possible to be intoxicated by consuming fluoridated tap water.
Here are a few other adverse side effects that could result from excessive fluoride ingestion.
So far, we have established that many of us are already consuming enough fluoride from our diet that we don’t need fluoridated tap water. Unless you shift to a private well, you need to remove it using a water filter. Not just any water filter, though!
At present, only four residential applications can remove fluoride from drinking water. So when you go out shopping, keep the list in your mind.
#1 Fluoride Filter Pitcher: Clearly Filtered
#1 Under Sink Fluoride Water Filter: Clearly Filtered 3-Stage
Yes, reverse osmosis does remove fluoride from your drinking water. As the water is forced through a semipermeable membrane, more than 90% of fluoride is rejected, amongst many other contaminants including heavy metals.
#1 Reverse Osmosis System for Fluoride: AquaTru
Activated alumina is a highly effective water treatment method that uses dehydroxylated aluminum hydroxide to reduce fluoride salts from drinking water. However, the success of activated alumina filtration is dependent on the water’s pH level. For fluoride removal, a pH level between 5-6 is best.
Bone char media, made from animal bones, is a viable method of water filtration for reducing fluoride.
#1 Whole House Fluoride Filter: Crystal Quest
Steam distillation is the epitome of home water purification that removes almost all contaminants from your water, making it fresh, wholesome, and pure. Thus, water distillers also remove fluoride.
It is important to remember that all water filters are not equal. The performance of filtration systems on the market will vary considerably depending on the manufacturer and type/quality of filter media used.
Now that you know the four filtration methods that help with water defluoridation, it’s time to be really sure. Besides relying on honest reviews, you should look for NSF testing and certification when purchasing a fluoride water filter.
We always appreciate the brands that are NSF certified since it’s a credible independent institution that tests products and makes comparison easier.
When looking for a standard fluoride-removing filter, make sure it is NSF 53 certified. On the other hand, when shopping for a reverse osmosis filter system, look for standard 58 certifications.
That said, not every certified water filter does indeed remove fluoride. Both testing standards cover many different water contaminants which is why you need to check the contaminant list, usually included in the product manual, for fluoride reduction specifically.
Many water filtration systems will not have any effect on the fluoride content in your drinking water. Here is a round-up to make things easier.
Many water filter pitchers, countertop filters, under-the-sink filters, and even whole house water filters are utterly ineffective at fluoride removal.
Also, neither activated carbon nor catalytic carbon can adsorb fluoride from water. Regardless, they are very efficient at removing chlorine and heavy metals.
The purpose of a water softener is to treat hard water. The resin bed in a softener only removes calcium and magnesium, the two hardness-causing minerals.
Needless to say, a water softener cannot remove fluoride.
Fluoride does not evaporate, so you can’t boil it out. Instead, boiling the water concentrates fluoride in the remaining water as some of it evaporates.
The primary source of your fluoride intake is a fluoridated water supply. So once you take care of it, you are more or less protected from overconsumption.
Nevertheless, here are a few steps you can take to reduce your overall fluoride exposure further.
If you have any questions about how to remove fluoride from water please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!