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 simple answer is a Reverse Osmosis “RO” system. Whether you are for or against RO systems, they are the only reliable method (other than distillation which is not a viable alternative for most of us) of removing fluoride. 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.
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 stongly recommend installing a Reverse Osmosis system under your kitchen sink to supply your drinking water. Just make sure that you add a high quality remineralization filter (check out www.vitev.com) which will add back calcium and magnesium to your water that the RO system removes. I don’t recommend adding low cost remin filters based upon Calcite or Corosex because the acidic water produced by the RO system will chew through the Calcite or Corosex rapidly thereby introducing more Calcium or Magnesium into the water than the your kidneys may be able to handle, resulting in the formation of kidney stones.