Too Much Fluoride
Recent articles on the health risks associated with long-term fluoridated water ingestion may have spurred your interest in removal of fluoride from your home water supply. If you live in a community with a fluoridated water supply, you may have personal interests in ingesting less fluoridated water. If the children in your area have dental fluorosis, this is a sign of too much ingestion of fluoride. There are several things you can do in your own home to decrease fluoride intake.
Background on Water Filtration
Most of the water filter systems do remove chlorine and some contaminants. Carbon-based filters such as Brita, Pur and most refrigerator filters do not remove fluoride, but do remove chlorine and contaminants such as lead and arsenic. Boiling water does not remove the fluoride, but instead concentrates the fluoride rather than eliminating it. Freezing water does not effect the removal of fluoride.
Find out if the filter removes fluoride and what percentage is removed. NSF is a third party non-profit testing agency that rates water filters for the past 50 years. See if the water filter is NSF certified. Water filtration systems require installation in the home in several different ways: on the cabinet-top, under the kitchen sink, in the refrigerator water line with an ice maker, or a whole house filtration system. These products can range in cost from $100 to several thousand dollars.
Activated alumina filter media, bone char carbon, and reverse osmosis systems are the three EPA recommended methods for removing fluoride from drinking water. The activated alumina filter and reverse osmosis are available for in home use and are the most effective ways to remove fluoride in households. Bone char carbon only removes about 50-60% of fluoride from treated water and is used in some industrial systems for fluoride removal.
Distillation also removes fluoride from water. However, distilled water does not imply that a product is suitable for drinking water, as other impurities may still be present in the water with this process.
In-Home Water Purification to remove Fluoride
Consumer Reports (CR) and Consumers Digest Magazine are some of the best online and publication resources for the best water purifier reviews. You may also need to talk with a water filtration system specialist to find the best model to remove fluoride for your budget.
A full cartridge of 100% activated alumina is needed to allow proper contact time for effective fluoride removal! Activated alumina is aluminum oxide. (This is not aluminum, which is a more highly-processed metal made from activated alumina.) Activated alumina has a very high surface-area-to-weight ratio, with a lot of tunnel-like pores that run all through it. This means that there is a lot of surface area against which the water interacts, thereby removing fluoride (and arsenic). Through the attraction of the metals, 90% to 98% of fluoride (and arsenic) is normally removed. The fluoride coats the surface of the alumina over time and eventually the cartridge needs to be replaced (usually once a year for a family of four). The best rated models have two or more cartridges: one or more for effective fluoride removal and one or more for the removal of other contaminants as chlorine, arsenic, etc. Another consideration is checking the water flow rate for optimal fluoride removal.
Faucet mounted water filters install directly on the kitchen water faucet and provides a button or lever to switch between filtered and unfiltered water. These are only one cartridge filters. Some remove fluoride, but this type is not the best product on the market. CR’s best buy for a faucet mounted water filter is the Culligan FM-15, but it does not remove fluoride.
The countertop water filter system allows for large volumes of filtered water, but also requires room for the unit on the counter. CR recommends The Crystal Quest Countertop Replaceable Triple Multi PLUS Water Filter System CQE-CT-00109 which removes fluoride. The price on eBay starts at $125. Placement and size consideration is necessary as this model is the size of a bread-maker. This method is one of the best values and good quality for fluoride removal.
CR reported that refrigerator in line filters do not work well at removing impurities. But CR did recommend using an under-sink system with a diversion that will feed the kitchen sink and the refrigerator as well. These install under the kitchen sink and connect to the water line allowing for large volumes of water without modifying the faucet. CR recommended three models but none of these removed fluoride including Culligan Preferred Series 350 Drinking Water System, the Everpure H-300 Water Filtration System EV9270-70 and the Everpure H-1200 Water Filtration System EV9282-00. The under the sink system for fluoride removal should have at least 3 cartridges to remove bacteria, fluoride and other contaminants. These models start at $150. A professional may be needed to install the more complicated under the sink systems. The refrigerator filter needs to be changed frequently even if there is an additional external filter. There are some brands of in-line fluoride removal filters for use in refrigerators with ice-makers or water through the door. These models start at $100.
All reverse osmosis water filtration systems will remove fluoride. For use in the home, this is the most expensive way to remover fluoride and contaminants from household water. The disadvantage is that several gallons of water are wasted in purifying each gallon of water for drinking with some brands. Some of the highest rated systems are Pentek RO-3500 Reverse Osmosis System and the WaterFilters.NET RO5-WF 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis Systems. These systems will cost several thousand dollars to install.
Bottled Drinking Water and Beverages
Unless the bottled water is distilled or reverse-osmosis is used to purify the water, the water is probably from a fluoridated public water supply. Some companies merely bottle tap water. On a commercial scale, reverse-osmosis is used by several bottled water companies to remove fluoride and other impurities and this is listed on the bottle label. If fluoride is present, the amount will be listed. Choose brands that clearly indicate a fluoride content of 0.2 ppm (parts per million) or less.
Here’s a sampling of bottled water brands that are fluoride-free: Apani Purifie, Aqua Panna, Arrowhead, Calistoga Spring, Crystal Geyser, Deer Park North, Deer Park South, Evian, Great Bear, Hinkley & Schmidt, Ice Mountain Keeper Springs, Loon Country Natural Spring, NARA International Himalayan Spring Ozarka, Penta, Perrier, Poland Spring Snow Valley Mountain and Sparkletts.
Other Steps to Reduce Fluoride
For adults wanting to decrease fluoride levels in the body, avoid drinking black or red teas as these tea leaves naturally contain high amounts of fluorine. Avoid using chewing tobacco. Avoid long term use of medications that contain fluorine. Some antidepressants and medications for osteoporosis contain fluorine.
If dental fluorosis with children’s teeth is happening in your community, there are other ways to decrease fluoride exposure in addition to water filtration. The easiest way is to avoid fluoride supplements and fluoride dental rinses, and switch to non-fluoridated toothpaste.
For small children, consider Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste. Silly Strawberry is a natural fluoride free toothpaste for children with delicious real fruit flavors to appeal to children’s taste. Another choice is Melaleuca brand Koala Pals Training Tooth Gel. This non-fluoride, sugar-free formula tastes like apples and includes baking soda. It’s sweetened with xylitol, a natural sweetener derived from fruit and berries that’s shown to not promote tooth decay.
There are a variety of adult non-fluoridated toothpastes available. Tom’s of Maine also has adult toothpastes that are fluoride free. I am currently using Jason’s Healthy Mouth brand of non-fluoridated toothpaste with cinnamon oil flavoring and tea tree oil. Some people use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to brush their teeth.
All of the suggestions in this article will reduce fluoride for everyone in your household.
What brand of fluoride water purifier do you prefer for your home? Which brands of non-fluoridated toothpastes do you like the best? Let me know in the comments section below!