According to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency, US) and based on the sampling data, 106 water systems in the USA has a system mean concentration exceeding the threshold of 4 mg/L fluorides in water. According to the Public Health Service of the USA, the number of water systems containing more than 2mg per liter of fluoride is around 1200 just in the US.
Keeping fluoride within the acceptable level of 1.5 mg/L is a crucial task. The amount of fluoride that is added to water is regulated by the government to ensure that it is safe for consumption. But still, if your drinking water has excess fluoride it can cause serious health issues.
Here in this article, we have discussed everything you need to know about fluoride. You’ll learn where it comes from, why it is added to water, what are the benefits and drawbacks of fluoride in water, whether is it safe to use and how to remove fluoride from water cheaply with the different tested methods from your municipal or well water supplies.
💭 What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that is found naturally in many places, including in water. It has been added to public water supplies for years in an effort to improve dental health and prevent tooth decay, but there is much debate over whether or not it is actually effective at doing so.
In recent years, more and more people have become concerned about the safety of fluoride and its potential side effects. We’ll be covering this in detail below.
💭 Where Does Fluoride Come From and How Does it Enter Our Water Supply?
Fluoride occurs naturally in many rocks and minerals, and it can also be released into the environment from certain industrial processes.
It typically enters drinking water through the process of groundwater leaching, which happens when water seeps through rocks and soil containing fluoride minerals such as fluorspar (CaF2), Cryolite (Na3ALF6), and fluorapatite, and dissolves small amounts of fluoride into the water.
Fluoride can also enter the air through emissions from certain factories or power plants. These emissions can then settle on the ground or be carried by the wind into areas where they are not wanted, such as parks or residential neighborhoods.
Once on the ground, fluoride can leach into groundwater or be taken up by plants, which can then contaminate food sources such as fruits and vegetables.
💭 Why is Fluoride added to water?
Fluoride is added to water supplies because it has been shown to be effective in preventing tooth decay.
You should know that tooth decay is a major problem in many parts of the world, and adding fluoride to water is an inexpensive way to help reduce the occurrence of this problem.
Factors Allowing Fluoride to Enter Water
The factors that allow Fluoride to get into the water supplies can be:
You can find fluoride 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.
💭 What are the benefits of removing fluoride from water?
There are a number of benefits to removing fluoride from water. These include:
1. Reducing the risk of dental fluorosis
Dental fluorosis is a condition that can occur when children consume too much fluoride during their developing years. This condition can cause permanent damage to teeth.
Make sure you’re using pure water for your children to help reduce the risk of this condition occurring in their teeth.
2. Improving the taste of water
Many people believe that fluoride makes water taste bad. Removing fluoride can improve the taste of water for these individuals.
3. Improving overall health
According to research by renowned health institutions, consuming fluoride in excess can lead to a number of health problems, including tooth decay, thyroid infection, gastrointestinal issues, endocrine disruption, and cancer.
Fluoride removal from water may help improve your overall health if you are concerned about these potential risks.
4. Increases IQ Level
It has been noted that the children living in areas with high levels of fluoride have lower IQ scores than the children living in areas where the concentration of fluoride is lower in water.
Fluoride in your water mainly affects children that are under 15 and 16 years.
💭 What are the drawbacks of removing fluoride from drinking water?
While there are some benefits to removing fluoride from water, there are also some drawbacks to consider. These include:
1. High Cost
Removing fluoride from your water supply can be costly, depending on the method you use. Some methods, such as reverse osmosis, can be quite expensive.
Others, such as boiling your water, are relatively inexpensive but may be time-consuming.
2. Increased risk of tooth decay
While adding fluoride to water helps prevent tooth decay, removing it from your water supply can increase your risk of developing this problem.
This is especially true if you do not have access to other sources of fluoride, such as fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash.
3. Causes Inconvenience
Methods for removing fluoride from your water, such as using a distillation unit, can be sometimes quite inconvenient.
Others, such as boiling your water, may require extra time and effort on your part.
🔍 Is Fluoride Intake Safe?
The safety of fluoride has been debated for many years. Some people believe that it is safe to consume low doses of fluoride, while others believe that it can be dangerous even in very small amounts.
Let’s check the verdict by some of the reputable health institutes.
Statement by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “fluoride exposure at low levels can cause dental fluorosis” which “is a change in the appearance of the tooth enamel” that can range from “very mild” to “severe.”
The CDC also notes that “excessive exposure to fluoride may increase the risk for bone fractures” and that “fluoride exposure at high levels can damage the brain and other organs.”
Statement by American Dental Association (ADA)
The American Dental Association (ADA) states that “fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth.”
The ADA also notes that “fluoride occurs naturally in all waters, but often at low levels.” As such, they recommend adding fluoride to public water supplies as a way to help prevent tooth decay.
However, they also state that “it is important not to exceed the recommended level of fluoride because too much fluoride can cause fluorosis.”
So, is it safe to use?
The verdict on fluoride seems to be mixed. Some organizations claim that it is safe while others caution against consuming too much of it.
It seems clear that more research needs to be done on this topic before any definitive conclusions can be drawn about its safety.
💡 How to remove fluoride from water cheaply – 6 Methods
The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 (later amended) suggested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could identify and adequately manage contaminated drinking water, which could harm human health and those found in public water supply systems, likely or expected.
These guidelines defined the total amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water. This should not be confused with the recommendations about adding fluoride to drinking water to avoid dental health risks at the public level.
Several affordable treatment technologies are available for reducing fluoride exposure from the water below the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 4 mg per liter.
There are some proven ways that help to remove fluoride from your water supply at home without spending a lot of money. These includes:
- Boiling the Water
- Granular Activated Alumina
- Bone Char and Apatite-Based Material
- Reverse Osmosis and Nanofiltration
- Water Filtration Systems
- Minerals Exchange Resins
- 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. Boiling your water
Boiling your water is one of the most effective and cheapest ways to reduce fluoride in the water to some extent. Simply bring and let your water boil at the highest temperature probably more than 100 Degrees Celsius and let it cool before using it for drinking or cooking purposes.
Keep in mind that boiling will not remove all traces of fluoride from your drinking water as fluoride does not evaporate easily. Moreover, you will need to do this on a regular basis if you want to keep fluoride levels low. This boiling water is somehow good to use than water that is not boiled.
Additionally, boiling will not remove other contaminants from your water so you will still need to use other methods if you are concerned about those impurities as well. However, do note that it is the cheapest way to reduce fluoride exposure in smaller volumes of water.
2. Using Granular Activated Alumina
Activated alumina has been used as an effective way to remove Fluoride as well as other harmful minerals 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 °).
It works by binding with the Fluoride molecules and then filtering out. Water filtration occurs at both the internal and external surfaces of activated alumina. The adsorptive capacity for fluoride by activated alumina is pH-dependent.
If Fluoride is best adsorbed below a pH of 8.2 – a typical zero point of charge, the 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 and removed in the process. Sodium hydroxide solution effectively removes fluoride and arsenic from groundwater.
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
The water softening achieved by the addition of excess lime causes the co-precipitation of fluorides.
3. Using Bone Char
It is another effective way to remove fluoride from your drinking water. Bone char is composed of animal bones charred to remove all organics and comprises essential Tr-calcium phosphates and carbon. It is usually created for decoloring cane drinks in the sugar industries.
Bone char has been tested and used on large scales for fluoride removal. Its working principle is adsorbing the fluoride molecules onto its surface.
Similar to activated alumina, bone char removes harmful minerals, such as arsenic, and can be recreated with caustic upon exhaustion. But 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 less cheap than several activated aluminas. This water purification process is not a viable option because the treated water has a terrible taste.
4. Using Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis or Nano-filtration is a process where water molecules are forced to pass through a semi-permeable membrane to remove impurities. This method is commonly used to purify water for drinking, but it can also be used to purify wastewater for reuse.
The impurities are flushed away and clean water is collected on the other side. This process is really effective for the removal of fluoride from water as well as other harmful contaminants such as total soluble solids, arsenic, and uranium.
The RO process has many benefits, including:
- It is effective at removing a wide range of impurities, including dissolved salts, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals.
- It requires no chemicals or other additives, making it environmentally friendly.
- It is a relatively simple and low-cost process.
- It produces water that is safe to drink.
- It can be used to purify both fresh and salt water.
This method requires special equipment, is more complex, and is therefore not much cheaper than the other options above.
5. Using Distillation
Distillation involves heating water until it turns into vapor and then condensing the vapor back into liquid. So, basically, it is boiling water and collecting the steam in another container.
This process removes contaminants and impurities from your water, including Fluoride, and provides you with distilled water.
6. Using a Water Filter
There are different types of water filters that can be helpful for the reduction of unhealthy elements and filter out fluoride from your city or well water.
These include activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis filters, fluoride filtration systems, water pitchers, whole-house water filters, distillation filters, and well water filters for your home. It’s important to do your research to find the best one for your needs.
7. Using Ions Exchange Resins
This standard water treatment process is used to remove contaminated minerals by displacing weak bindings and exchangeable minerals in a resin.
Fluoride content reduction 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.
This process eliminates the brackish water sources using an electrical current to separate the contaminants from 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 also remove harmful contaminants.
The other water filtration types also have similar functionality and almost follow the same processes. The extent of the above treatments will depend upon the fluoride concentrations in the contaminated water. It will eventually be established as a toxic limit in the water supply.
💭 What Is the Most Effective Method to Remove Fluoride from your Water at Home?
The best way to remove fluoride from water at home is to use a reverse osmosis system. These systems are the most effective at removing fluoride from the water.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, an activated carbon filter can also be effective at removing water contaminants including high fluoride in drinking water.
🧠 How does Tulsi or Holy Basil help to Remove Fluoride From Tap Water?
Tulsi or holy basil is an herb that has been shown to help remove fluoride from your tap water.
This herb contains compounds that bind to fluoride and help remove it from your body. You can find tulsi or holy basil supplements at most health food stores.
🧠 How to Remove Fluoride Using Gravity Fed Filters?
Gravity-fed filters are a type of water filter that uses gravity to force water through a series of purification filters. These filters work well to remove fluoride from the water supply.
These filters are typically more affordable than other types of filtration systems, making them a great option if you’re on a budget.
🧠 How to Remove Fluoride In Drinking Water with a Countertop Water Filter?
A countertop filter is a great option for removing fluoride from your drinking water. They work by passing your water through a series of filters like Pre/Carbon Filter, Reverse Osmosis Filter, and VOC Filter that trap impurities and contaminants.
There are a number of different types of countertop filters available, and they all work in different ways. Some use reverse osmosis to remove the fluoride, while others use activated carbon filters. You can choose the one that best meets your needs.
Once your filter is installed, all you need to do is pour tap water into the unit and wait for it to be filtered.
🧠 How to use Under Sink Filtration System To Remove Fluoride From Water Supply?
An under-sink filtration system is another option for removing fluoride from your water supply. These systems are installed under your sink and use a series of filters to remove impurities from your water.
Under-sink filtration systems can be more expensive than other types of water filters, but they offer the convenience of not having to change filters as often.
📝 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I know if I’m drinking fluoridated water?
You can contact your local water supplier and ask if fluoride has been added to your water. Moreover, you can also test your water for fluoride.
How long does fluoride stay in the body?
Fluoride typically stays in the body for around 24 hours.
What Will Not Remove Fluoride from Water?
No matter how many times you try them, below are not the effective methods to remove fluoride from the water coming into your home;
- Boiling will not remove fluoride, and neither will freezing the water.
- Refrigerator water filters won’t also remove it from the water as they are not designed for this purpose
- Water softeners will also not remove fluoride from your drinking water.
Is it safe to use a fluoride water filter at home?
Yes, it’s 100% safe to use a fluoride 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.
Is installing a fluoride filter worth it?
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.
Are Water Filter Pitchers helpful in removing fluoride from water?
Yes, water filter pitchers or filter water bottles can be helpful in removing fluoride from your water.
Fluoride, a naturally occurring compound in oceans, lakes, rocks, and underground water, is added to water supplies to help prevent tooth decay. While there are some benefits to removing fluoride from your water like improved health, the taste of water, higher IQ level, there are also some drawbacks to consider. These include increased risk of tooth decay, cost, and inconvenience.
Now, you know how to remove fluoride from water cheaply. The proven methods include boiling your water, using activated alumina, using bone char, reverse osmosis water, ion exchange, using a water filter, bottled water, electrodialysis, etc. which are discussed in detail above.
If you’re considering water treatment systems for the removal of fluoride from your local water supply, we would recommend using certified water treatment and filtration systems for a safe & healthy life!