Let me begin by saying that I’m 100% against public fluoridation of water. Fluoride is a horrible poison and nobody should be forced to drink it. The biggest study that I have read showed involved 5,000 children who were monitored between the ages of 6 and 18. The study found that those who drank fluoridated water experienced 1/2 less cavity than those that drank non-fluoridated water. Being forced to drink poisoned water for an entire lifetime seems like an awful high price to pay for half a cavity.
Approximately 2/3 of Americans drink fluoridated water…..whether they like it or not. The decision to add or remove fluoride in a municipal water supply is subjec to municipal politics, which can be very unpredictable. The trend is moving towards removing fluoride from public water supplies, but if you are currently drinking from a water supply that contains fluoride, you may be stuck fluoride for a long time….unless you decide to remove it yourself.
How To Remove Fluoride From Drinking Water
The best answer is distillation. Distillation involves a process whereby water is boiled until it turns to gas and is then cooled off (condensed) and therefore returns to water form. When the water boils and turns to gas, contaminants (called Total Dissolved Solids or TDS) are left behind. When the gas later condenses, it get collected in another chamber/vessel which no longer has any TDS. Therefore, the distilled water is “pure” in that it contains no TDS. That means no fluoride. Distillation is effective, but cumbersome and expesive.
The most common way to date of removing fluoride is with a reverse osmosis “RO” system. The tiny pores in a RO membrane will separate fluoride particles from the water that flows through the membrane. The fluoride is then sent down the waste line to the drain while the water moves along to a holding tank. RO systems typically remove 92% to 95% of fluoride which is pretty good considering that the EPA recommends through the Safe Drinking Water Act that municipal fluoride levels not exceed 0.7 ppm (parts per million). The advantage of RO systems is that they are relatively inexpensive (typically starting at cost of $200 to $300). The downside is that they are bulky because most systems require a holding tank that uses up a good deal of space under the kitchen sink as RO systems require a long period to recharge after use. That means if you use up a gallon or two from the typical tank, you will run out of water. If you do use a RO system, make sure you pick up a Remineralization filter to add to the system as the RO system removes beneficial magnesium and calcium from the water. People in the RO industry add calcium and magnesium supplements to their diets to compensate for the deficiency caused by RO systems.
A new American technology combining two types of activated carbon and Zeoltite minerals bound with polymers in a carbon block remove 85% of fluoride at a flow rate of up to 2 liters per minute. This solution creates an effective low cost method of removing most of the fluoride from water which is almost up to par with RO systems. If the flow rate of the water is slowed down to 1 liter per minute (fills a glass of water in 15 seconds), the fluoride removal rate may actually meet or exceed the fluoride extraction rate of RO systems. I learned about this technology from an American company (www.h2fx.com) which is the industry leader when it comes to the new hydrogen infusion machine (HIM) technology. H2FX’s Xcell machine doesn’t require users to add calcium and magnesium supplements to their diet as those minerals remain in the water. For those that haven’t heard about HIM technology, the machines deliver therapeutic amounts of dissolved hydrogen in water which over 600 scientific studies have indicated produce health benefits for more than 170 human diseases (I’m a big fan of HIM technology as it delivers on all the promises falsely made by the alkaline water industry). The leading edge water company will be incorporating the fluoride removing filters in their upcoming production run of machines in June 2016 (this paragraph was added in June 2016 as the information became available).
What About Activated Alumina?
I see a lot of advertisements on the internet from companies which claim that their filters can remove fluoride from your drinking water. The products being offered are filters filled with a media called Activated Alumina. Under the “right” conditions, Activated Alumina will remove up to 75% of the fluoride in your source water. The problem is that the condtions are rarely “right”.
Activated Alumina is most effective when the pH of the source water is 5.0 or less which is very acidic. The media remains fairly effective as long as the pH of the water is less than 6.0. As the pH of the water moves upwards, the media becomes less and less effective. By the time the pH of the source water reaches 8.0, Activated Allumina becomes completely ineffective.
The problem with using Activated Alumina as a means of removing fluoride is that almost all municipally supplied water is alkaline, which means it has a pH level above 7.0. In fact, most municipalities provide water within a pH range of 7.4 to 8.0. The municipalities intentionally raise the pH of their water supply by adding lye to the water supply before the water leaves the treatment plant. The pH level of water leaving the treatment plants is usually above 8.0, but by the time the water gets to your home, it will drop into the 7.4 to 8.0 level. The reason that municipalities add lye to the water to make the water alkaline is due to the fact that the those who contol the water supply don’t want acidic water running through their underground infrastructure. Acidic water will eat away at pipes and replacing those pipes is very expensive.
Another factor that the advertisers that sell Activated Alumina filters don’t bother to talk to you about it “contact time”. Contact time refers to the amount of time that your water is in contact with the media. The longer the contact time, the greater the removal capacity of the media in the filter. The ideal contact time for Activated Alumina with water to remove fluoride is 5 minutes. The water that is in your filter has contact with the Activated Alumina for much less than one second unless the water is sitting in the filter between uses.
As you can see, Activated Alumina is not the answer for removing fluoride from municipally supplied water. If you get your water from a well, stream, or lake, your water won’t contain man made fluoride, so you don’t have to worry about it.
If you are receiving water from a municipality that adds fluoride to the water, I strongly recommend installing a Reverse Osmosis system under your kitchen sink, but make sure to add a high quality remineralization filter to replace calcium and magnesium that the RO system removes. Better still, if you can afford it, take a look at the Xcell HIM from H2FX.