Fluoride is known to have toxic properties even in low dosages. But once added to our water supply systems, there is no way of controlling who ingests how much of it. That can become a serious problem especially for the majority of kids that already exceed the recommendations for daily fluoride intake by nutrition alone.
As a growing part of the population wants to opt out of water fluoridation, the demand for filter systems that can remove fluoride from water increases. If you, too, are serious about going fluoride-free, make sure to carefully read our guide below.
On this page you will learn:
It all started when tap water was enriched with fluoride for the first time in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1945. Today, 42 of the 50 largest U.S. cities fluoridate their public water supply to ‘prevent tooth decay’, and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) almost 66.3% of the US population received fluoridated water in 2014.
U.S. residents served with fluoridated community water from 1992 to 2006
Fluoride is naturally found in mineral rocks and doesn’t add taste, color, or odor to water when dissolved in it. Conventional medicine states that small amounts of it will help you maintain healthy teeth. However, fluoride-opponents are convinced that many groundwater sources contain too much fluoride already and that excessive long-term exposure can have negative side effects on human bone structure, kidneys, and many other parts of our body.
If and which of these claims are true has been part of a very controversial debate in the last decades and will provoke discussions among leading scientists, especially dentists, for many years to come.
Whatever your reasons might be to try to remove fluoride from your tap water, you probably have spend a good amount of time reading up on the topic already. Therefore, we don’t want to talk about fluoridation and whether it’s a good or a bad thing in this article. Instead, we would like to focus on how you can remove it.
If you’d still like to get some additional information, check out the video below:
The amount of fluoride dissolved in fluoridated tap water doesn’t exceed 1 ppm (parts per million or mg/L) says the American Dental Association. In comparison, non-fluoridated water usually contains less than 0.3 ppm, although concentrations in groundwater may be higher.
It’s a fair question to ask if filter systems are able to remove/reduce this insanely small amount of fluoride, or if it simply slips through the grid of even the most rigorous filtration process to later end up in our water glass anyway.
To answer the question, the Water Quality Association lists four treatment methods as suited for the removal of fluoride from water:
As you have seen, reverse osmosis (RO) made it on the list. And although the process wastes a good amount of water (up to 5 gallons for every gallon of clean water), it is the most economical way of water filtration.
A study conducted by the University of Nebraska in 2008 has shown that even small residential RO units do indeed remove fluoride from water; some systems are certified to take out as much as 96%. One aspect the publishers of the study pointed out is that membrane selection plays an important role that significantly affects a system’s fluoride-removal performance.
Therefore, you should double check with the manufacturer that a specific membrane or system is able to remove fluoride effectively. Polyamide thin-film composites (TFC) and cellulose-type membranes are most commonly found in conventional RO systems. As a general rule, TFC membranes are more costly, but have higher Total Dissolved Solids rejection rates and therefore do a better job at filtering out contaminants including fluoride.
It is also crucial that you maintain your RO system regularly to avoid membrane scaling, which can also lower system performance.
It’s surprising, but the most popular water filters, PUR and Brita filter pitchers among them, will not filter fluoride out of your water. Yes, they improve water taste and can remove chlorine for example, but when we are talking about fluoride removal, that’s a whole different story.
The reason being that these products use activated carbon/charcoal to adsorb impurities, which doesn’t have any effect on fluoride. By the way, the same goes for ZeroWater filters.
The sole purpose of a water softener is to soften water. It does not remove fluoride in the softening process. That’s just not what they were designed to do. Instead, a softener removes calcium and magnesium ions from water and exchanges them with sodium or potassium salt ions.
Point-of-use reverse osmosis systems get installed under your kitchen or bathroom sink and provide filtered water for a single faucet only. Obviously, they aren’t as costly as whole house systems and can be purchased for $150 to $350. Also, you usually don’t have to hire a plumber to do the installation – especially not if you follow our step-by-step installation guide – which saves you some extra money.
These are the 3 RO systems that we recommend for fluoride removal:
Home Master TMAFC
The Home Master TMAFC system has proven to reject fluoride at an average rate of 90%. The system costs about $100 more than the other two, however, it’s our absolute favorite as it doesn’t come with any drawbacks. Instead, everything is backed by the manufacturer with a 5-year limited warranty.
APEC ESSENCE ROES-50
This is a 5-stage RO filtration system that performs really well (up to 99% contaminant removal) and is an absolute best seller on Amazon with lots of happy customers.
The system is guaranteed to work trouble-free and comes with a full delivery scope including a lead-free designer faucet and a 1-year warranty. If you like, you can read more about the system in our review here.
The iSpring RCC7 reverse osmosis system is available for less than $200. It’s WQA certified to remove 94-96% of fluoride from water, which is a very high rejection rate.
The only drawback this system, like most other RO systems, has is that it requires water pressure in your home to be at least 35 psi to work efficiently. On top of that, with this system the filters wear out quicker which adds to the replacement costs. Learn more about other features here.
Whole house systems allow you to have filtered water everywhere in your home. The system itself usually gets installed in the garage, but be ready to pay a four-digit sum for acquisition and installation. Also, maintenance doesn’t come cheap as filters have to get replaced regularly.
We Are Sorry, But Right Now We Cannot Recommend Any Whole House Reverse Osmosis System With a Good Conscience.
As we’ve learned, PUR and Brita filter pitchers are not capable of removing fluoride from water. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other filter pitchers that can do it. Here are two of them:
Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher
The Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher has been tested by independent and accredited labs and has proven to remove 90.06% of fluoride from water. It also removes chlorine and chloramines (99.9%), lead (99.9%), arsenic (99.8%) and many other harmful substances.
The pitcher can hold up to 2.7 gallons and filters last between 3-6 months depending on feed water quality and how high your demand is. If you would like to learn what other customers say about the pitcher, check out some customer reviews here.
Reshape Water Filter Pitcher
This Reshape Water filter pitcher is available for less than $50 on Amazon and has also been tested by an independent laboratory for filtration efficiency. The test results clearly state that fluoride levels were reduced from 0.21 ppm to 0.00 ppm – a 100% rejection rate.
Apart from that the pitcher also adds healthy minerals (magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium) into the water.
For less than $300, you can get yourself a Berkey water filter for your countertop that includes two PF-2™ fluoride filter elements filled with high-grade activated alumina media. Tests have shown that these elements are capable of removing 95% to 99.75% (under optimum conditions) of dissolved fluoride from water.
Berkey filters are gravity-based systems that come in different sizes. For example, there is the highly popular Big Berkey filter that can hold up to 2.25 gallons of purified water sufficient for a whole family, and there is the Travel Berkey filter with a 1.5-gallon tank if you are on your own.
You can also choose to buy the additional fluoride filter elements separately, however, it’s cheaper if you buy everything in a bundle.
Distillation is a very effective way of purifying water, however, we want to point out that we prefer reverse osmosis filtration, since RO systems filter water at much higher speeds and don’t require an extra source for energy.
Our favorite water distiller? Actually, we have two! The first one is branded under H2oLabs and is a tad more expensive than the second one sold by MegaHome:
H2oLabs Stainless Steel Water Distiller
If you are willing to spend a few more bucks, we recommend you to purchase the H2oLabs Stainless Steel Water Distiller that is very good quality and should last a lifetime.
The glass carafe and all other parts are easy to clean, which is nice, because it’s likely that you will be using the distiller on a daily basis. And if you think about it, that daily use really adds up, so it’s better if you only need to spend two or three minutes cleaning and refilling the system instead of 10.
What’s more, the distiller looks nice (you can check it out here) and in fact a lot better than other cheaper models, which we consider important, because it will be visible on your counter all day. On top of that, support at H2oLabs is always quick to respond and extremely friendly and helpful.
MegaHome Countertop Water Distiller
The MegaHome Countertop Water Distiller is another top seller on Amazon. Its inside is made from stainless steel so the water cannot possibly touch any plastic parts and get contaminated.
Realistically speaking, the distiller can produce about 2 gallons of purified water per day – enough for 2-3 people – unless you have the device run all night, then the maximum capacity is 4 gallons within 24 hours.
As the distiller works, the water drips into a glass nozzle and a glass collector afterwards. Again, no cheap plastic parts here that could contaminate your water. Last but not least, the MegaHome distiller is backed by a 1-year warranty and a great customer support team, plus it comes with free shipping!
Every time you take a shower you inhale fluoride and absorb it through your skin. But is there even such a thing as a shower head water filter that removes fluoride effectively?
Unfortunately, there isn’t – at least not really. Yes, there are sellers out there that list fluoride-removing shower head filters, but we couldn’t find one that specified how much fluoride their product really removes. If you are still interested to learn more about one of the filters, here is a link to the product page.
Reducing the amount of fluoride you ingest on a daily basis by choosing fluoride-free drinking water is one part of the equation. But there also are other simple steps you can take to reduce your overall exposure in everyday life by a significant extent.
Where to Buy Non-Fluoridated Beverages
You can find non-fluoridated drinking water and many other beverages in every well sorted grocery store. You just have to know what to look out for and read labels: Choosing drinks made of ‘distilled water’ or water that was ‘purified by reverse osmosis‘ is ideal.
Can You Boil Fluoride out of Water?
No, you cannot boil fluoride out of water, as it does not evaporate easily. But what you can do instead is use steam distillation to separate the water from all other contaminants dissolved in it.