The Brita filter removes some of the most common tap water contaminants.
But do Brita filters remove fluoride? The quick answer is no.
Read on to learn more about fluoride, why many people don’t want to drink it, and why Brita filters don’t remove fluoride.
Table of Contents
🚱 How Does Fluoride Get Into Drinking Water?
Fluoride is naturally present in rocks and soils. It can leach into groundwater (underground water sources) and surface water (above-ground water sources). When city water is treated, fluoride isn’t typically filtered out. Fluoride may also occur naturally in well water.
In many states, fluoride is now added to city water supplies. Community Water Fluoridation efforts involve adding enough fluoride to water to provide oral health benefits. There’s some evidence to suggest that fluoride is good for your teeth, preventing cavities and strengthening the tooth’s surface.
The majority of states now fluoridate their water. You can find out which states have the most fluoridated water here.
While water fluoridation is considered a good thing, not everyone is happy that their tap water is fluoridated. See below to learn more about the potential health risks of fluoride.
🩺 What Are the Potential Health Risks of Fluoride?
At the moment, the research into the potential health effects of fluoride is limited. What we do know is based on small studies, many of which conflict with one another. This is one of the reasons why water fluoridation is so controversial: there just isn’t enough evidence to say whether fluoride is good for us or not.
However, there is enough information to give us an idea of the effects of fluoride in drinking water. A review of studies into the effects of fluoride found that exposure to fluoride above the recommended limit is associated with “an increased risk of adverse effects”, including:
Dental fluorosis occurs when streaks and lines appear on the tooth enamel due to fluoride consumption, and is most likely to be seen in children. The review found that high fluoride exposure could lead to “moderate” dental fluorosis.
Joint Pain & Stiffness
Skeletal fluorosis is another effect of consuming too much fluoride. One study mentioned in the review found that a skeletal fluorosis patient was able to completely resolve their symptoms of “joint pain and neck stiffness” two years after cutting fluoride out of their diet.
Fluoride can be damaging to the developing brain, and has been found to cause neurological toxicity and memory problems. A Havard Health report stated that children who drank high levels of fluoride had lower IQs than children in lower-fluoride areas. The report summarized that even low levels of fluoride could be toxic to children’s brains.
Increased Risk of Bone Fractures
According to another study in the review, long-term fluoride consumption from tea and drinking water has been associated with an increased potential for hip fractures. A similar study linked excess fluoride to wrist and spine fractures, as well as osteoporosis.
Possible Cancer Risk
The National Cancer Institute says that there is a “possible relationship between fluoridated water”, although this subject is still up for debate. Some studies have uncovered no evidence that fluoride can cause cancer, while others noted an increased chance of bone tumors in association with high fluoride intake.
Too much fluoride can damage the parathyroid gland, which can cause the parathyroid hormone to be released uncontrollably. This can reduce the amount of calcium in the blood and the bones, leading to bone research.
Other Health Problems
The Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), which campaigns against fluoride use in tap water, says that excess fluoride is also responsible for a range of other harmful effects, including:
- Complications with the immune system
- Early puberty in girls
- Cardiac insufficiency and heart failure
- Acne and other skin conditions
- Neurotoxic effects, such as ADHD
- Iodine deficiency
🧪 How Can I Test for Fluoride in My Water?
You can’t see, taste or smell fluoride in your water, so if you want to find out how much fluoride you’re drinking, you’ll need to perform a water test.
There are two ways to test your water for fluoride: using an at-home test kit or sending your water off for accredited laboratory testing.
At-home test kits are the more affordable option, and can give you an indication of how much fluoride your water contains. You’ll receive a color chart and some testing strips. Dip a strip in a sample of your water and watch it change color. Compare the color of the strip to the color chart. This will tell you approximately how much fluoride is in your water.
Laboratory tests are more expensive, but can tell you exactly what you’re dealing with, with a much higher level of accuracy. You’ll need to send a sample of your water to a local laboratory and wait for your test results to be delivered to you, usually by email. You can choose to test your water just for fluoride, or for a range of impurities including fluoride.
You can learn more about testing your water for fluoride here.
🤔 So, Does Brita Filter Out Fluoride?
Do Brita filters remove fluoride? No. Brita has two water filter cartridges for its pitchers – the Standard filter and the LongLast+.
None of these filters remove fluoride. Brita’s bottle filters, dispensers, and faucet filters aren’t intended for removing fluoride, either. In fact, there’s a note under all of the Brita filters available online that says these water filters remove certain contaminants but retain “healthy fluoride levels”. What does this mean?
Why Do Brita Filters Not Filter Fluoride?
Brita says that its water filters don’t remove fluoride because this impurity “promotes strong teeth”. It’s unclear whether Brita is simply using this as something of an excuse.
Fluoride is notoriously difficult to remove from tap water. Brita filters remove chlorine, lead, VOCs, and some of the easy stuff, but they can’t remove fluoride. You have to wonder whether Brita filters simply aren’t designed to remove this impurity, or whether Brita really has intentionally designed its filters so that they can’t remove fluoride.
Brita does update its filters from time to time – it has recently improved the design of the LongLast filter – so it’s possible that Brita filters may one day remove fluoride. For now, however, if you are looking at a Brita filter, you should keep in mind that it only removes a basic selection of contaminants from tap water.
Related: Can Brita filters soften hard water?
📊 Brita Filters Contaminant Removal Chart
|1, 2, 4 - Tricholorobenzene||✔️||✔️|
|Select Emerging Contaminants||✔️|
|Select Pesticides & Herbicides||✔️||✔️|
💡 Other Filters That Can Remove Fluoride
Do Brita filters remove fluoride? No, they don’t – but there are plenty of water filters that can remove this impurity. Sidestep the Brita filters and look for a filter that’s designed for removing fluoride from your tap water.
If you want to remove or reduce fluoride with a water filter, you can check out the best water filters for this purpose here.
❓ Brita fluoride Removal FAQs
How is the Brita LongLast+ Different From the Standard Filter?
Brita’s LongLast+ filter can remove more contaminants, and is also designed to last longer than standard Brita filters. However, this Brita filter still can’t remove fluoride.
Why Do Brita’s Filters Remove Fewer Contaminants?
Brita’s filters were originally some of the best you could get. A water filter that could remove chlorine was once unheard of. Now, of course, plenty of water filter manufacturers have designed their own filtered water solutions that can remove chlorine and a whole lot more – including fluoride. The Brita filter design is outdated compared to the designs on offer from its competitors. I estimate that Brita will continue to upgrade its water filtration systems to remove more contaminants.
Do Brita Filters Provide Pure Water?
No. A Brita filter will remove some contaminants, but by no means all of them. If you’re looking to produce pure filtered water, reverse osmosis filtration is the best option.
What is a Brita Filter Made From?
Brita’s standard water filter design consists of coconut shell activated carbon and an ion exchange resin. The activated carbon reduces chlorine, while the ion exchange resin tackles hard water impurities.
Fluoride filtered water cartridges tend to be more complex in design. A standard carbon filter can’t remove this contaminant. However, there are many pitcher filters on the market that can remove fluoride from water, so it’s certainly possible.