What Water Filter Removes Fluoride

Fluoride salts form naturally when fluorine gas reacts with metals and other positively charged ions. They are found in water, rocks, air, and soil at different concentrations worldwide and are also present in some foods and toothpaste. Additionally, fluoride is added to water (fluoridation) to help prevent tooth decay or dental caries.

Is there a water filter that removes chlorine and fluoride?

Indeed, there are multistage filters that use different layers of filtration including activated carbon, oxidation-reduction, and ion exchange to remove both chlorine, and fluoride from water to about 90% efficiency. In addition to fluoride, chlorine is usually added to tap water as a disinfectant to kill microorganisms and some of it remains in the supply.

Although the water is safe to drink, chlorine leaves an unpleasant taste in it which most people do not like. Since chlorine is a gas, it eventually evaporates into the air, but, there are also RO filters that incorporate activated carbon in them to draw it out faster.

Various technologies are used to reduce fluoride amounts in water using adsorbent materials to which the fluoride adsorbs. Adsorption technologies also differ in effectiveness based on how they are prepared and the conditions of the water such as pH (its acidity or alkalinity). Adsorption is the process whereby particles bind to the surface of the adsorbent material as they collide with it.

Activated alumina  (aluminum oxide) is an example of an adsorbent material that can be used to lower fluoride concentrations in water and can provide between 85% to 95% efficiency of adsorption at a pH of 5.0. This, however, may not be achievable since most household water treatment systems are incapable of controlling pH to the required levels.

As water containing fluoride passes through, the fluoride adsorbs onto the alumina.  An activated carbon filter can be used thereafter to remove bad tastes in the water from alumina treatment. Alumina filters need to be replaced after some time as they get blocked with increased adsorption of fluoride and other ions. The alumina can also be corroded if the water passing through it is too acidic thus raising aluminum levels in the water.

Will a 5-micron filter remove fluoride?

Generally, any micro-filter with pore sizes ranging from 0.05 micron to 5 microns will not be effective in removing chemical contaminants including fluoride, as well as viruses. On the other hand, microfiltration is highly effective against protozoa and moderately effective against bacteria.

Does carbon filter remove fluoride?

Carbon filters are not very good at removing fluoride from water. A report published in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association reveals that activated-carbon filters have a low absorptive capacity for fluoride ions. The absorptive capacity of coconut shell charcoal in domestic water filters for fluoride ions also differs from that of activated bone charcoal. It concludes that carbon filters used in domestic water filtration systems do not remove fluoride.

Does bottled water contain fluoride?

Depending on the source of the water, bottled water products may or may not contain fluoride. Public water supply systems usually add fluoride to their water but it can be present in the source naturally. Unless indicated on bottle labels as a constituent, distilled, de-ionized, demineralized, and purified water products usually undergo treatments that can eliminate fluoride or leave very limited traces of it. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers the source of the water in addition to other factors in setting limits for fluoride in bottled water

Does boiling water remove fluoride?

No. boiling does not remove fluoride from water. However, boiling water for the purpose of distillation will work. In distillation, the water is brought to a boil and then the steam from the water is captured and condensed back to water. Through this method, fluoride and other salts are eliminated completed from the water. The downside is that distillation systems can be expensive, unsafe for home use, consume huge amounts of energy, and are cumbersome to maintain as salt deposits collect inside them.

However, boiling can still work as an alternative to water filtration especially in emergencies or when off-grid.  

Why should fluoride be removed from water?

Low levels of fluoride in drinking water have been found to prevent tooth decay and that is why fluoridation is carried out on public water supplies. However, fluoridation has to be kept in check because too much of it can also cause health complications. Too much fluoride causes dental fluorosis which leads to pitting or discoloration of teeth enamel, and skeletal fluorosis which results in weak bones, stiffness, and joint pains.

Changes in bone structure, calcification of ligaments leading to muscle damage and pain, as well as impairment of the brain or nervous system can also be experienced after long-term ingestion. Abdominal pain, excessive salivation, nausea, vomiting seizures, and muscle spasms are some of the symptoms of extreme overdose. There is no evidence, however, of serious effects of fluoride on the environment, plants, animals, and humans, or that it causes corrosion.

Final Thoughts

The amount of fluoride removed by a given filtration system will depend on the treatment process used, system operational conditions, the chemical composition of the water, and the quality of the filter. Though common, only specific carbon filters will remove fluoride, and even so, to a small extent. Distillation may be great, but it also strips the water of other important nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium, and can make it lose taste. The NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) are the bodies you can trust to vet and give water filters a clean bill of health. If you get an RO system that is NSF-certified, you can rest assured that you will have water that is safe for drinking, food preparation, and other domestic uses.