How to Remove Fluoride From Water

how to remove fluoride from water

The debate over fluoride is ongoing and produces reports that sometimes contradict one another. Most water-treatment facilities add fluoride to the water supply, mostly because it is so good for developing strong bones and teeth.

But recently, many studies have shown there are also negative side effects from fluoride, which has a lot of people – especially parents of young children – concerned and wanting to learn more about how to remove fluoride from water in their home.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is nothing more than a mineral that is mostly known for developing better teeth and bones.

It is found in numerous items, including rocks, soil, and plants, and it strengthens the outer layer of your teeth, called the enamel, which in turn can result in fewer cavities and better overall dental health.

This is why some toothpastes and even certain mouthwashes can have fluoride in them.
Recently, studies have come out that show the negative side effects the fluoride can cause, and these include:

  • Arthritis
  • Bone cancer
  • Lower IQs in children
  • Kidney disease

Of course, not all municipal water systems add fluoride to the water supply, so if you’re concerned about getting too much fluoride, you can start by checking with local experts to determine what they do in your own town.

You can also take steps to reduce the amount of fluoride that you take in, such as purchasing a fluoride filter, drinking bottled water instead of tap water, and buying fluoride-free toothpaste.

In addition, if you choose to have the fluoride removed from your water, the good news is that you have options available to you.

These options come in many different sizes, designs, and price ranges, so it’s easy to find the one that is perfect for you.

Main Options for Getting Rid of the Fluoride in Your Water

Your main options for removing fluoride from your water include the following:

In fact, removing fluoride from your water is often accomplished by the same types of water-filtering systems used to remove ingredients such as lead, mercury, copper, and other dangerous contaminants.

You can purchase a countertop system that sits on your kitchen or bathroom cabinet and which attaches to your tap, a system that is attached to your water supply underneath the kitchen or bathroom sink, or a system specifically designed to filter the water in the entire house, among others.

If you’re researching how to remove fluoride from water, be careful because the devices designed to filter contaminants out of the water will not necessarily filter out fluoride.

In fact, you have to check the system before you buy it to determine which ingredients it will eliminate. In other words, make sure it specifically says that it will eliminate fluoride from the water you drink.

When looking at devices that remove fluoride from your water, there are three basic types, which are described below.

Activated Alumina

Much like activated charcoal, activated alumina is essentially aluminum granules that absorb the fluoride so that it doesn’t get into the water.

The water flows through these granules and is filtered so that it no longer contains any fluoride. If you have an extra-high amount of fluoride in your tap water, this is an excellent option to consider.

In addition to removing fluoride, activated alumina can also remove toxins and heavy metals, making them very effective systems.

On the down side, activated alumina systems tend to be on the expensive side, and to work, your water has to have a pH level of 8.5 or lower.

If that weren’t bad enough, these systems operate very slowly, which means it usually takes a very long time just to filter one gallon of water.

For these and many other reasons, these systems are not always recommended for home use.

BC Carbon Systems

Bone-char (BC) carbon contains the charred bones of animals, also known as bone-char or BC. BC is porous, black, and granular in nature, and it removes up to 90% of fluoride from your water.

If you add pre-filters that work to remove other contaminants, such as toxins and heavy metals, the system works even better.

However, BC carbon systems don’t always work well with hard water, so you need to take this into consideration. In addition, it works best when the pH level in your water is slightly acidic.

BC carbon systems are not well-known, and their efficiency is still being tested. Furthermore, since they have some limitations – such as not always working well with hard water and only working with water at certain pH levels – they are not for everyone.

This makes the BC carbon option available only to some homeowners, which means their effectiveness is limited.

Deionization Systems

These systems work very similar to systems that distill your water. In other words, they remove all of the ions in your water, which eliminates a ton of toxins and other contaminants, including fluoride.

Before you run out and get this type of system, however, keep in mind that the only thing it does is remove the ions and certain contaminants.

Even though it will remove fluoride, it won’t necessarily remove other contaminants you might be interested in having removed.

For instance, contaminants that are non-ionic in nature, including things such as soap, will remain in the water.

If this doesn’t bother you, a good deionization system might be just what you need. If it does, then you might want to move on to other types of fluoride-removal systems.


Reverse Osmosis Filtration Systems

Researching how to remove fluoride from water always brings you to this type of system as an option. They are very pricey and can cost up to $2,000 just for one single-tap system, but they eliminate up to 95% of the fluoride in your water.

The way they work is simple. They push the water through membranes that are semi-permeable and located in a filter.

The filter is then able to keep out most of the fluoride, as well as many other contaminants, so that your drinking water is a lot healthier. But of course, just like other fluoride-removing systems, the reverse osmosis system has drawbacks as well.

First of all, the system works very slowly and not very efficiently. For instance, to end up with one gallon of filtered water, a reverse osmosis system has to go through two to four gallons of regular water.

Even worse, the more contaminants, including fluoride, found in your water, the less water it produces in the end.

Finally, these types of systems remove all of the minerals from your water as it is working to remove the fluoride, which means the water isn’t going to have any of the good minerals that you’ve become so accustomed to having in your water.

Many users also claim the water just doesn’t taste very good when a reverse osmosis filtration system is installed in their home.

Additional Tips for Reducing the Fluoride You Consume

Even if you’ve figured out how to remove fluoride from water in your home, you still may be interested in reducing the amount of fluoride you consume.

For instance, you may find out that your municipal water system does not have any added fluoride in it after all and, therefore, you won’t need to purchase a fluoride-removal system.

Or, you may need to purchase one of these systems but may not be ready to do so at the moment.

Either way, there are simple ways to reduce the amount of fluoride you consume each day, and most of them cost little to no money to accomplish. They include the following:

  • Find a toothpaste that has no fluoride in it.
  • Refuse fluoride gel treatments at the dentist’s office.
  • Buy grape juice and only organic wine.
  • Do not cook with non-stick pans.
  • Watch for fluoride hidden in your pharmaceutical products.
  • Reduce the amount of mechanically deboned chicken you eat.
  • Reduce your consumption of black and green tea.
  • Don’t consume fluoridated salt.
  • Never swallow – and don’t let your children swallow – any toothpaste.

Remember, some fluoride is fine and won’t cause any negative side effects. The problem is, in our technologically advanced world, fluoride is added to a lot of our products, so making sure you don’t get too much fluoride is a bigger challenge than ever before.

Some Final Thoughts

When they started adding fluoride to the water in the 1940s, it was likely appropriate for the times, but that may no longer be the case today.

Even though there are conflicting reports on the need for fluoride, one thing is certain: getting too much fluoride can be dangerous for you.

Whether you choose a filtering system or simply take measures to reduce the amount of fluoride you take in, you are doing a good job at taking control of your health so that this mineral will not harm you in any way.

Much like other parts of your health, keeping track of your attempts to reduce the fluoride you take in is easier than you think, so it’s super easy to make it a regular part of your life.

Jon Agarwal

Jon Agarwal works as an environmental consultant focused on water resources, and he volunteers his time for non-profit organizations. He lives in the heart of Melbourne with his beautiful wife, two sons, and three Persian cats. He particularly enjoys working part-time as it leaves him the time to work on his own writing and share his knowledge. Visit our About page to learn about the contributors of Healthy Buddys.

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