A Comprehensive Guide for the Removal of Fluoride from Water in 2022

Fluoride removal from water has become an essential need in this era of technology where you hardly find a glass of natural and healthy drinking water. Drinking unhealthy fluoride water may lead to thyroid infection, gastrointestinal issues, endocrine disruption, and cancer as per the research by health professionals.

According to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency, US) and based on the sampling data, 106 water systems in USA has a system mean concentration exceeding the threshold of 4 mg/L. According to the Public Health Service of the USA, the number of water systems containing more than 2mg per liter of fluoride in the finished water is around 1200. 

Fluoridation percentage in USA - Diagram

💭 What is Fluoride Water and Why is it Used?

Fluoride occurs naturally in groundwater by leaching rocks and the soil containing fluoride minerals such as fluorspar and Cryolite. It can also be found in the air and plants. It prevents your teeth from cavities. That’s why it has been added to the city water for years.

You can find it in your toothpaste, food, beverages, and supplements because it is considered an influential factor in maintaining your dental health. Moreover, it is used in medical imaging scans, aluminum production, and cleaning agents such as soaps, reagents, and paints.

🤔 How does Fluoride Get into Our Water Supply?

Fluoride occurs naturally in groundwater via the leaching of rocks and soil containing fluoride minerals such as fluorspar (CaF2), Cryolite (Na3ALF6), and fluorapatite. Environmental fluoride contamination emissions from coal-fired power plants and industries are a significant source of fluoride presence in surface water.

Fluoride exists in water as a fluoride ion. According to a survey performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 170 water systems in the US were supplied by water containing over four mg/L of Fluoride. In contrast, high fluoride concentrations were usually found in Western and Southern states.

Activated alumina is effective in fluoride removal, especially by paying close attention to pH control during the process. Upon exhaustion, means of pH change can effectively regenerate the spent media using caustic. Other adsorptive presses have also been created more recently, but most, if not all, have been tested only in laboratories with little or no full-scale application data.

Factors Allowing Fluoride to Enter into Water

The factors that allow the Fluoride to get into the water supplies can be:

  • Adding Fluoride to prevent tooth decay by artificial means
  • Use of beverages food made with fluoridated water
  • Atmospheric deposition of Fluoride
  • Many industries and coal-fired power plants

🧠 Why to Remove Fluoride from Water?

Recently, it has been observed that drinking excessive water containing fluorides causes mottled teeth. This condition develops during childhood while the teeth are being formed. The explorations managed by the state and public wellbeing associations are pointing to the significance of this issue and to the high occurrence of contaminated water found in those regions where fluoride-containing waters are devoured.

Why to Remove Fluoride from Water? Fluoride Removal from Water

Moreover, it also affects the daily food that you are consuming. Most of the cities have discarded abundant water supplies in favor of those containing low-fluorides, while the other towns seriously consider similar action. In some localities, it seems impossible to find fluoride-free water supplies.

🔓 Advantages and Disadvantages of Fluoride Water

Pros of Using Fluoride Water

Some advantages of fluoride water that make it perfect for human health are:

1. Teeth Prevention

Dental diseases are prevalent nowadays, and that’s why the municipal city water supply has been adding Fluoride in public water to run off these diseases. It helps to prevent tooth decay, destroys oral bacteria, and protects the cavities.

Teeth Prevention - Fluoride removal for water in 2021

2. Safe and Secure

According to a survey by EPA, fluoride water is beneficial for health where it has some adverse effects. Still, you need to use the fresh water for drinking, cooking, and bathing as it doesn’t conclude any other contaminants.

Cons of Using Fluoride Water

Fluoride water is a natural mineral found in oceans, rivers, and underground waters. It has both positive and negative effects on human health.

1. Dental Fluorosis

Where Fluoride protects the tooth cavities, it also can be harmful and results in dental fluorosis. It is a medical tooth condition that mainly occurs in children when the teeth are forming in cavities, changing the tooth appearance enamels. Make sure you’re using pure water for your children.

2. Lessens the IQ Level

It has been noted that the children have fewer IQ scores living in fluoride-water areas, whereas children living in fluoride-free water have significantly high scores. Fluoridated water mainly affects children that are under 15 and 16 years.

💡 How to Remove Fluoride from Water?

In the past, the Environmental Protection Agency suggested an interim primary drinking water regulation for Fluoride to eliminate the occurrence of damageable dental fluorosis, on the basis of this disease, teeth that can be classified as mild-moderate or severe.

These guidelines are restrictions on the total amount of Fluoride allowed in drinking water (and should not be confused with recommendations about adding fluoride to drinking water to avoid dental health risks at the public level).

The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 suggested that the EPA could identify and adequately manage contaminated drinking water, which could harm human health and those found in public water supply systems, likely or expect.

Filtration technologies, such as reverse osmosis and electrodialysis, have been used to isolate and remove Fluoride and other contaminants such as total soluble solids, arsenic, and uranium. In general, these technologies are more complex and expensive to operate.

Related: Best Whole House Water Filter for Well Water

Moreover, the fluoride filtration systems can be helpful for the reduction of unhealthy elements and compounds from the city or well water. For this filtration, you need fluoride water filters that remove the Fluoride using high-grade Bone Char carbon.

How to Remove Fluoride from Water at Home?

The removal of Fluoride from drinking water can be done by using the activated alumina process at homes. Under certain conditions, a contact bed of activated alumina or some other aluminum compounds that may be designed for this purpose may be viable.

Household drinking supplies can be treated by shaking the water with activated alumina in suitable containers, and the water will be drinkable and purified after this process. The water softening achieved by the addition of excess lime causes the co-precipitation of fluorides.

Also See: A Comprehensive guide to remove lead from water?

Many methods have been encouraged to remove fluorides from water, but no one has suggested eliminating this harmful ion. In this regard, water filtration systems for the whole house can be helpful. There are specific filtration processes, so you need to read the whole article to find out the best filtration system for fluoride removal.

🔍 Different Filtration Processes to Remove Fluoride from Water

This section concludes the studies to ensure the possibilities of treating drinking waters for the removal of fluorides. Several treatment technologies are available for removing drinking water below the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 4 mg per liter.

  • Granular Activated Alumina
  • Bone Char and Apatite-Based Material
  • Minerals Exchange Resins
  • Reverse Osmosis and Nanofiltration
  • Electrodialysis
  • Conventional Coagulation/Filtration
  • Lime Softening
  • Nalgonda Technique
  • Decentralized Treatment Technology

Note: Non-treatment options do not produce residuals, usually are less expensive, and do not require any other operating system. Switching to another source may lead to digging a new well in low-fluoride surface water, sealing the water, creating a high-fluoride zone, or searching unsustainable water surface resources.

1. Granular Activated Alumina

Activated alumina has been used as an effective way to remove Fluoride since the 1940s. It is a mixture of amorphous and gamma aluminum oxide (γ-Al2O3), which reduces water degradation at low temperatures (300 600 to 600 °). Water filtration occurs at both internal and external surfaces of activated alumina.

The adsorptive capacity for Fluoride by activated alumina is pH-dependent, with Fluoride best adsorbed below a pH of 8.2 – a typical zero point of charge, where alumina surface has a net positive control. The maximum removal capacity generally is achieved at a pH level between 5.5 and 6.0. It can be recreated using caustic soda.

Fluoride and other contaminants such as arsenic, selenium, and organic molecules are also filtered during the service cycle removed in the process. Sodium hydroxide solution effectively removes Fluoride but is ineffective in removing more harmful contaminants, such as arsenic.

Must Check: Black Sediments in Well Water Removal Guide 2022

If you want to make activated alumina at home, you need caustic soda in high quantities, resulting in more media dissolution. Regeneration usually involves steps such as;

  • Backwash to remove media fines and sediments and to fluff the media bed
  • Drain the media vessel

2. Bone Char

Bone char has been tested and used on large scales for fluoride removal. It is created for decoloring cane drinks in sugar industries; it is ground animal bones charred to remove all organics and comprises essential Tr-calcium phosphates and carbon. Similarly activated alumina, bone char removes harmful minerals, such as arsenic, and can be recreated with caustic upon exhaustion.

Unlike activated alumina, arsenic cannot be released during normal caustic regeneration, rendering the material useless after several creative cycles. The use of bone char can slough the phosphates because it is more soluble in acidic water and, more expensive than several activated aluminas. Because the treated water has terrible taste, bone char is not an economically viable option, as it is a costly water filtration process.

3. Ions Exchange Resins

This standard water treatment process removes contaminated minerals by displacing weak bindings and exchangeable minerals in a resin. Removal of Fluoride has been tested using strongly basic anionic exchange resins containing ammonium functional groups, on which fluoride minerals replace chloride minerals. Upon saturation, resins are regenerated with brine solutions to recharge the functional groups with chloride ions.

Because of Fluoride’s low selectivity, the efficiency of the resins is significantly reduced in the presence of competing factors such as pretreatment requirements (to prevent resin fouling) and high costs. It is not an economically viable treatment option for fluoride removal. The materials are also expected to be expensive.

4. Reverse Osmosis

Reverse Osmosis and Nano-filtration is a process that moves clean water through a tube against a concentration gradient as a pressure that is higher than the osmotic pressure exerted on the side with a concentrated solution.

Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Systems - Remove Fluoride from Water

The remaining drinking water, along with the process and the amount of permeate produced (referred to as a recovery rate), are heavily dependent on water quality, size and charge of contaminant ions, tube properties, system operating pressure, temperature, and flow rate.

The temperature of drinking water will increase the permeability of the tube, thus lowering the operating pressure and solute rejection rate.

5. Electrodialysis

This process removes fluorides from water and eliminates the brackish water sources, using an electrical current to separate the contaminants from drinking water through the semipermeable membrane. In electrodialysis, the polar position of the electrons at present is preserved from time to time, thus causing a reversal of ionic movement. This change helps to reduce fluoridation and eliminates harmful contaminants.

The other water filtration types also have similar functionality and almost follow the same processes. You may need to go with a cheaper and effective one for the removal of fluoride from water. The extent of the above treatments will depend upon the fluoride concentrations in the contaminated water and the number of fluorides. It will eventually be established as a toxic limit in the water supply. Fluoride removal from water can quickly be done with these fluoride water filtration systems.

📝 FAQs

Yes, it’s 100% safe to use a fluoride water filter at your home; it’s free of electric shocks and/or other damageable risks. But keep it with care and away from the reach of children.

Yes, to some extent but it depends upon the boiling point. Usually, boiling water is not enough to remove all fluorides, but it’s possible to get rid of large fluoride particles at the highest temperature probably more than 100 Degree Celsius. This boiling water is somehow good to use than water that is not boiled.

Yes, installing this filter is necessary if you are facing fluoride particles. However, if you are sure that your water is free of these contaminants, it’s not required.

🎯 Final Verdict

Drinking fluoride water can be harmful to human health and produce certain medical conditions like dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis. It is a naturally occurring compound in oceans, lakes, rocks, and underground water supplies.

There are both advantages and disadvantages of fluoride water. Various fluoride removal water filters are available in the market but you need to read the reviews before you get one for your family. There are different filtration methods for removing fluorides from water, such as reverse osmosis, ions exchange, bone char, electrodialysis, etc. that we have covered above.

As per some health professionals, fluoride removal from the water has become necessary for children’s health and protects the next generation. You can use any filtration system at home or can create one yourself that may cost less than buying from the market. However, we would recommend using certified water treatment and filtration systems for a safe & healthy life!

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