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Does a Reverse Osmosis Filter Remove Fluoride from Water?

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Water Fluoridation in the United States

US Fluoridation-1992-2006

U.S. residents served with flouridated community water in 1992-2006

42 of the 50 largest US cities fluoridate their public water supply to prevent tooth decay (May 2000). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 66.3% of the US population received fluoridated water in 2014. The first time drinking water was enriched with fluoride in the United States was in 1945. On the contrary, there are no regulations for fluoridation of bottled water.

About Fluoride

Conventional medicine states that small amounts of fluoride will protect healthy teeth. Opponents say that many groundwater sources would contain too much fluoride already. Whether these claims are true or not has been a very controversial debate in the last decades and will provoke discussions among leading scientists, especially dentists, for a long time.

Whatever your reason might be to try to remove fluoride from your drinking water, you probably have spend a good amount of time to gather all the details, so you were able to make an informed decision. So let’s not talk about that anymore. Instead, let’s focus on how to remove the fluoride.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) is the most commonly applied form of water purification. In a RO system a semipermeable membrane filters out up to 99% of all contaminants, when water is pushed through it using external pressure. Although the filtration process wastes a good amount of water (up to 5 gallons of wastewater for 1 gallon of purified water), it is the most economical way of water purification.

American Dental Association LogoAccording to the American Dental Association the amount of fluoride dissolved in fluoridated water doesn’t exceed 1 part per million. Are reverse osmosis systems still able to filter out this insanely small amount of fluoride or does it slip through the system and later end up in our glass anyway?

Does a Reverse Osmosis Filter Remove Fluoride from Water?

A study conducted by the University of Nebraska in 2008 has shown that even household reverse osmosis units do indeed remove fluoride from water; to what extent this happens, remains unanswered.

One aspect the publishers of the study pointed out was that membrane selection is an important aspect for RO water treatment, that significantly affects a system’s performance. According to the study polyamide thin-film composites (TFC) and cellulose-type membranes are the most common membranes. TFC membranes are more costly, but have higher total dissolved solids rejection rates and therefore do a better job at filtering out contaminants.

It is also important to maintain your reverse osmosis system to avoid membrane scaling, which will decrease your system’s effectiveness.

Other Ways to Remove Fluoride

Activated Alumina Defluoridation Filters

Activated alumina defluoridation filters are another option to remove fluoride from your drinking water. Filters are quite expensive and require frequent replacement, which is disadvantageous.

Distillation Filters

Distillation filters also remove fluoride from water and are commercially available. Though I want to state that we prefer RO filtration over distillation, because RO systems work faster and don’t require an extra source of energy. Distillers boil the water to the point that it vaporizes, which, as you might guess, is not the most energy-efficient way to get clean water.

How to Reduce Fluoride Exposure

frying pan with teflonReducing the amount of flouride you ingest on a daily basis by choosing flouride-free drinking water is one part of the equation. But there also are other simple precautions you can take to reduce your exposure to fluoride to a significant extent. Some of these precautions are:

  • Don’t use fluoridated salt for cooking.
  • Avoid cooking ware with Teflon coatings (Teflon contains fluorine).
  • Avoid bottled water made from fluoridated public water.
  • Don’t use fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Avoid canned food as fluoride is sometimes used to preserve it.

It’s NOT a Loosing Battle!

Roughly two thirds of the American  population receive flouridated drinking water – that’t the way that it is and you can’t really do anything about that. But if you are willing to apply just small changes in your life, you can avoid most of the flouride hidden in the everyday things you use and consume. So, as I like to say, this is not a loosing battle…

Tell Us What You Think!

Now it’s time to tell us what you think. Do you vote for or against public drinking water flouridation and why? Did you or somebody you know experience problems due to too much flouride intake? Please, leave everything that pops into your head in the comment section below!

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