Water fluoridation is one of the most common methods used by public water systems around the world since the 1940’s.
But recent studies have concluded that excessive fluoride intake can be harmful to one’s body especially for infants. At some countries, the use of fluoride in water has already been discouraged and to some extent, has been banned. In this article, we will be discussing what fluoride is, cite some of its harmful effects according to studies and provide means and methods on how to remove fluoride from water.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is the anion form of Fluorine. It is actively used in the production of fluorocarbons and hydrogen fluoride. In the everyday world, people can usually associate it with toothpaste as it is believed to prevent dental cavities and can improve bone health. It also tastes uniquely bitter.
Is Fluoride Harmful?
Fluoride is not a nutrient and excessive use of fluoride can be harmful to one’s health and is highly noted to affect infants. It is also considered to be a poison, wherein small intakes when added together can affect one’s health in the long run. Many studies have confirmed these claims resulting to further studies on how to effectively remove fluoride from water to avoid many illnesses that can be caused by it. These harmful effects include Birth Defects, Irregular Bone Development, weakening of the muscles, dis-figuration of the teeth, gastrointestinal indications, damages to the immune system and many more. Many countries in the European continent have openly discouraged the use of fluoride in drinking water (which is a common practice in many other countries) and even banned the use of Water Fluoridation for household and industrial use.
The FDA has also released a warning on the use fluoride in toothpastes that are commercially sold in the United States. Alarming numbers of children and adults in Asian countries namely India and China, which reach up to over 10 million cases, are suffering from Crippling Bone Diseases and bone-related illnesses due to the high amount of fluoride present in their drinking water.
Water with fluoride is also not only harmful when used as drinkable water. Higher risks are even greatly considered whenever fluoride is inhaled or when used to bathing. These instances allow easier access for fluoride to enter the bloodstream and one’s lungs, doubling or tripling the stakes of deteriorating one’s health.
Removing Fluoride From Drinking Water
Due to the alarming effects many studies have shown regarding the presence of fluoride and how it ruin’s one’s body system, different methods have been innovated and enhanced through time which are are believed to remove fluoride in water, as seen below:
Removing Fluoride from Water through Reverse Osmosis
Reverse Osmosis is a method of water purification with the means to eliminate many different ions, molecules and bacteria with a calculated pressure applied. As a semi-permeable membrane, reverse Osmosis removes fluoride from water since naturally, fluoride is an ion. The smaller molecules are the ones that are allowed to pass through the smaller holes and the water molecules are being pushed through a different membrane, creating and producing purified water.
Does Distilling Water Remove Fluoride?
Water distillation is done by boiling the water to evaporate and allowing the steam to condense to become the distilled water. This process removes almost everything from water that the water becomes “empty”. This method is widely acknowledged to eliminate fluoride but the process itself is very time consuming and requires a quite larger amount of energy. The distilled water needs to be treated with different salts so it can have minerals and nutrients upon intake. The question “Does boiling water remove fluoride?” can simply be answered by distillation as long as you are able to gather the steam then allow it to condense.
Does Deionization Remove Fluoride from Water?
Deionization is a water purification method that takes advantage of the charged ions and controlling them to remove total dissolved solids or TDS. With the use of positively charged ions, fluoride and other similar negatively charged ions are then removed and separated from the water to get purified.
Can Activated Alumina Eliminate fluoride in Water?
Activated Alumina is a compound generated by dehydroxylating Aluminum Hydroxide that it becomes a porous substance. It is used to filter out fluoride and other elements, such selenium and arsenic, in water for it to become safer to drink. It is continuously being improved by different experts to improve the amount of harmful elements it can remove. The process is also very technical as other experts say that improper practice of the process can possibly leave traces of aluminum in water – another harmful element.
Do Water Filters Remove Fluoride?
One can purchase a water filter to purify water in some way, but it is no guarantee that fluoride be totally removed using such filter. For a water filter to be effective, it should at least remove almost 90% of the fluoride in water. Brita, for instance, is an example of a commercialized water filter that cannot remove fluoride with its “activated carbon” technology. Though it mainly aims to provide cleaner water, it is not intended to purify water that come from an unknown or unsafe source. A better solution is the Berkey water filter, which can remove up to 99% of fluoride!
Truth about the Claims
All the processes above are claimed to be means of purifying water but the total elimination of fluoride in water cannot be guaranteed 100% by all these processes. Reverse Osmosis, which is considered to be the most effective way to purify water, only removes almost 95% of the fluoride present in water and all other means remove only between the range of 50%- 80%. Thus, the problem with regard to completely removing fluoride from water has not been totally resolved and the hopes of creating the perfect process are still wandering. These processes though, only show the eagerness of many experts with the continuous mission to provide and produce fluoride-free water. The very minimal amount of fluoride left after undergoing these methods may be considered tolerable at the moment.