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Which Filters Remove Fluoride From Water?
Fluoride is added to water supplies around the globe in order to prevent tooth decay. Most cities in the U.S., such as where I live in Austin, Texas, add some amount of this substance to their municipal water supply. If fluoride prevents tooth decay, why would you want to install a water filter that removes fluoride from drinking water?
Since it was first introduced to fight dental caries or cavities, fluoridation of drinking water has been highly controversial. Some independent studies have suggested that children who drink fluoridated water score lower on standardized tests. One study, done in 1995 by the former Director of toxicology at Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, Dr. Phyllis Mullenix, suggested that the offspring of animals exposed to moderate amounts of the substance suffered from ADD like symptoms and impaired cognitive functions. Other studies have suggested a link to bone cancer in children, osteoarthritis and impaired immune system functioning.
The U.S. government recommends that fluoride be added to water supplies at a level of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter. Since it is a naturally occurring element in surface water and groundwater, it may be hard to regulate the total fluoride content of a city's drinking water if regular testing is not done. In order for the fluoride in drinking water to protect your teeth, you must ingest it by large amounts of fluoridated drinking water. Once inside your body, fluoride then is secreted in your saliva, coating your teeth with tiny amounts of the substance at all times. Just rinsing with fluoridated water is not enough to get the desired tooth hardening effect. Since it must be taken into the body in this way, some scientists worry about how it might accumulate in some people, and what the effect of fluoride accumulation might be. If a person ingests too much of this substance a condition known as fluorosis, which can cause staining of the teeth, can occur. Some alternative health practitioners even suggest a fluoride - autism link, thought there have been no studies that have proved this. Most mainstream physicians believe that fluoride in drinking water poses no harm to children, and is in fact a necessary nutrient for human physical health. It could be argued that many of the processed foods that we eat daily are made with fluoridated water, and that those sources, along with fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwash, give us us enough of the substance to prevent cavities without having to ingest any more through our home water supply.
Many people see fluoridation as a violation of their individual liberties, and don't want what they believe is a dangerous substance, to be added to their drinking water. Fluoride is usually added to water supplies in one of three forms, sodium fluoride, fluorosilicic acid, or sodium fluorosilicate. Fluorosilicic acid is a by product of phosphate fertilizer production. High levels of arsenic and lead can unintentionally be introduced during this industrial process.
If you understand the risks of removing fluoride from your home drinking water, and believe that the advantages outweigh those risks, there are a couple of ways to accomplish this. What filters remove fluoride from drinking water? Here is a look at some of the most commonly used home water filters.
Water Softeners, Activated Carbon and Charcoal Filters
Activated carbon filters and charcoal filters are some of the most common types of water filters used in the home. They are found on inexpensive water filters such as the faucet type, pitcher type, and those used in refrigerators featuring water and ice dispensers. Charcoal and activated carbon filters, according to the American Dental Association, do not remove fluoride from your water unless they contain the added element of activated alumina.
Regular charcoal and activated carbon filters do not contain activated alumina. A filter that contains activated alumina will remove about 80% of fluoridation from water. Brita filters do not remove fluoride from drinking water, nor do GE faucet type filters. You can purchase an inline fluoride filter containing activated alumina for around $40 to $100 online.
Reverse Osmosis Systems Remove Fluoride
A typical reverse osmosis system will remove 95% of fluoride from drinking water. These systems are typically mounted under a kitchen sink and cost anywhere from $120 to $400. These units are sold at home improvement stores, online and by specialty water purification companies locally.
You can read more about how these filters work and what they remove here: What Reverse Osmosis Systems Remove
Article By Karl Schultz
Note, removing it from your drinking water is controversial, however most water filters that remove fluoride will also remove other toxic substances such as lead and arsenic, possibly outweighing the risk of removing fluoridation.