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We've all seen those toothpaste commercials touting fluoride. It’s the stuff they add to supposedly protect your teeth from tooth decay.
For many decades, fluoride has been added to most municipal water supplies as an aid to dental health. State governments, dental associations, and some water filter companies support water fluoridation for communities.
However, fluoride may be harmful particularly in larger amounts – causing problems in bones and neurological development. Now, there is a need to filter out what was initially deemed helpful. Let's dive in and answer the question - do water filters remove fluoride?
Let's start with Fluorine.
In pure form Fluorine is a chemical element (F) and is a highly toxic, reactive, yellowish-green gas. The fluorine anion, F-, or any of the compounds containing the anion are termed fluorides. When you hear about fluoride in drinking water, it comes from adding a fluorine compound such as sodium fluoride, sodium fluorosilicate, or fluorosilicic acid to drinking water, which dissociates to release the F- ion. Stable fluorides are also found in fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash.
When fluoride is mentioned, you automatically think it’s dental related. However, it turns out, fluoride is also used in many other applications, including medical imaging scans, cleaning agents, pesticides and even the manufacturing of Teflon, steel, and aluminum products.
Fuoride can be corrosive to surfaces and is harmful to human skin in concentrated amounts. Currently, there’s a lot of controversy about community water fluoridation. Today, fluoridated dental products are highly accessible and affordable for those wishing to access it and fluoride in your drinking water may do more harm than good.
Because many prominent organizations back the fluoridation of community water , most of the big corporate water filter companies manufacture their filters to let fluoride through or allow only minuscule amounts to be taken out.
Granulated activated carbon (GAC), one of the most commonly used materials for home filters, cannot remove fluoride minerals. Whole House filters, most pitcher filters and water softeners remain focused on addressing other contaminants and ignore the removal of fluoride.
Things may seem bleak in the battle against fluoridation, but don’t worry. There are ways to remove fluoride that are both highly effective and affordable.
While activated carbon may be no match for fluoride, there is a specialized filter that offers a great solution.
Animal bones contain a compound called hydroxyapatite, which is also found on tooth enamel. Hydroxyapatite instantly attaches to fluoride, and this is why fluoride sticks to tooth enamel.
When fluoridated water passes through a bone char filter, the fluoride minerals stick to the hydroxyapatite crystals in the bone char – exchanging the fluoride ions with hydroxide ions and effectively removing around 90-95% of the fluoride in the water.
A pricier alternative is a reverse osmosis system that removes about 90- 95% of fluoride from tap water. Reverse osmosis works by forcibly pushing the water through a semipermeable membrane blocking mostly everything else, including the beneficial essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium. The excess water containing the contaminants is then flushed away as waste water.
Another inexpensive option is a gravity water filter, but you'll need plenty of patience and spare time. These filters are two containers stacked on top of each other and are equipped with two or more filter mediums. You pour the water into the top container and gravity pulls it to the bottom container – allowing the water to pass through the filter mediums slowly but surely.
Gravity water filters are easy to install, portable and also effective. They remove about 95% of fluoride minerals from tap water achieving this percentage from the painstakingly slow filtration process.
Another alternative you might want to consider is a fluoride removing pitcher or jug water filter. These filters are portable, inexpensive, and easy to use. Now while most pitcher filters are incapable of removing fluoride, there are a few ones available that do a fairly reasonable job.
Besides filtering out fluoride, it is also possible to distill it. Distillation turns out to be both effective in removing fluoride and as a water softener.
The distillation process involves boiling water, capturing its steam, allowing that steam to condense, and placing the resulting liquid (distillate) onto a separate container. Because the process removes all salts and minerals, it can remove fluoride which is a mineral too.
One of the drawbacks of distillation is that it takes too much time. The other drawback is that your distilled water will need to be re-mineralized to replace the important minerals and salts stripped out of the water through the distillation process.
So basically there are 2 options when it comes to removing fluoride from your water at home.
The first is a point of use (POU) option for the kitchen that includes either an under sink or counter top filter, a reverse osmosis filter, a distiller or a pitcher/jug.
The second option is a point of entry (POE) system for the whole house. This option means that fluoride is removed from every tap in the house and garden.
To further discuss the best options for you to remove fluoride contact our experts on (02) 9000 1998.