How to Remove Fluoride from Water in 2022?

Water is currently our main dietary source of fluoride – but there’s very little hard evidence to suggest that this naturally-occurring compound is good for us.

Most states now fluoridate water supplies, and there’s been a growing controversy about this decision for decades.

Many people have voiced their concerns about the potential health effects that arise from drinking fluoridated water. But these concerns go largely unheard. Thankfully, removing fluoride from your water at home is possible – and easy.

The best ways to remove fluoride from water are with reverse osmosis filters, bone char carbon filters, activated alumina filters, and water distillers. Boiling water or using a simple activated carbon filter is NOT an effective way to remove fluoride.

Read on to learn more about how to remove fluoride from water.

🤔 Why Does Tap Water Have Fluoride?

The main reason that so many states have added fluoride to water is that, in dental science, it has proven effective in preventing cavities. Fluoride is considered an important (but not essential) mineral to maintain and improve oral health.

Tooth decay is a big problem in the US. In today’s market, there are tens of fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes that are designed to prevent the formation of cavities in the tooth enamel. But these toothpastes and mouthwashes aren’t designed for swallowing, like drinking water is.

In states that add fluoride to water, water fluoride levels are much lower than those in toothpaste and mouthwash.

The idea of water fluoridation is to improve dental health and collectively cut down on dental visits and costs associated with treatment for cavities and tooth decay.

Water filter cartridges beside faucet

🔎 Is Fluoride Bad For You?

In low levels, fluoride is thought to be good for dental health and neither good nor bad for the human body.

There is science linked to the benefits of fluoride, but there are also plenty of potential health risks that come from exposing ourselves to fluoride in drinking water at home.

So, is fluoride bad for you? According to organizations like the EPA, no. Water with a low fluoride content shouldn’t be dangerous – but many people disagree.

The available information about fluoridation of water is frustratingly limited, so most information that follows is based on emerging evidence. Do your own research if you’re keen to learn more about whether your region adds fluoride to your water source.

🩺 Potential Health Risks of Fluoride

Some of the known potential health risks of fluoride are:

Neurological Problems

According to Fluoride Alert, fluoride is recognized as a neurotoxin, which means it may damage the brain.

Studies have linked prolonged exposure to fluoride with brain damage, reduced intelligence, reduced ability to learn and remember, and reduced IQ, especially in children. Studies on pregnant women have even found a link between fluoridation and impaired fetal development.

Skeletal Fluorosis

When high levels of fluoride accumulate in the bones, it can result in something known as skeletal fluorosis.

This serious condition is caused by ingesting excess fluoride during the years of bone growth. Joint pain and stiffness are early symptoms of skeletal fluorosis. Eventually, skeletal fluoridise may cause muscle impairment and pain.

Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis is a common cosmetic condition that’s characterized by discolored, stained teeth. It’s a result of fluoride exposure in children and babies (typically throughout the first 8 years of life).

Interestingly, people with dental fluorosis have a particularly high resistance to cavities – and while this is undoubtedly a good thing, the enamel discoloration caused by the condition looks unsightly.

Possible health issues with too much fluoride in water

Thyroid Issues

Fluoride is thought to interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland because it mimics the behavior of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

This may result in thyroid cell death, inflammation, and conditions such as hyperthyroidism, especially when coupled with iodine deficiency. Because the body mistakenly recognizes fluoride as iodine, it may absorb it into tissues, which can lead to toxicity.

Additional Potential Issues

The American Cancer Society examined research and studies into the potential link between water fluoridation and cancer.

Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that is most commonly associated with fluoride, and some studies found that drinking fluoridated water may put people at a higher risk of the disease, while some studies couldn’t find any solid evidence.

💰 Is Removing Fluoride from Water Expensive?

Some methods of removing fluoride from water are fairly expensive, while others are low-cost and budget-friendly. In most cases, using water filters to remove fluoride from water is still cheaper than buying fluoride-free bottled water for the rest of your life.

The average cost of reducing fluoride levels with water filtration systems is $50-$250 per year.

Wondering how to remove fluoride from water cheaply? Consider a water filter pitcher.

Water filter pitchers usually cost less than $50 upfront, and the annual spend on filter changes is about the same. Just make sure you buy a pitcher that can filter fluoride using activated alumina or bone char carbon (more on that below).

The Clearly Filtered pitcher is one of the best affordable gravity-fed filters for reducing fluoride levels (it can also recude around 360 other contaminants, making it nearly as capable as a reverse osmosis filter).

Check out this post to learn about the cheapest methods for fluoride reduction.

✅ How to Remove Fluoride from Water

Keen to learn how to remove fluoride from water? There are multiple whole house and point-of-use filtered water solutions. We’ve highlighted the best options below.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration

Reverse osmosis water filtration is one of the most popular ways to greatly reduce fluoride from drinking water. A reverse osmosis system is capable of removing 80% to 90% of fluoride.

In a reverse osmosis filtration system, several water filters and a semi-permeable membrane are used to remove up to 99.9% of TDS (total dissolved solids), and contaminants like chlorine, bacteria and viruses, VOCs, heavy metals and pesticides, from a water supply. Reverse osmosis systems are usually installed beneath a kitchen sink.

When tap water passes through the reverse osmosis membrane at a high pressure, the impurities in water, which are larger in size, rebound off the membrane. These impurities are then drained out of the reverse osmosis system with a small amount of wastewater. Clean, healthy drinking water passes out of the system.

Membrane Filtration Process

Water Distillers

A water distiller system is another highly effective way to remove greater than 99% of fluoride from drinking water. This type of filtration system can be set up in a matter of minutes and requires electricity to operate.

Water is added to the boiling chamber in the system, which boils the water and causes it to evaporate. The water vapor condenses in a separate part of the distiller and drips out of the spout, filling up a clean pitcher.

The majority of contaminants, including fluoride, are unable to vaporize with water, and are left behind in the boiling chamber. You can then clean out the boiling chamber to remove the contaminants.

Distiller systems remove a range of contaminants, including sodium, water hardness, and dissolved solids – though they make water taste “flat” due to their thorough purification process.

Activated Alumina Filters

Activated alumina filters are commonly used to remove between 70% and 99% of fluoride in a public water supply.

You can use an activated alumina filter to tackle fluoride in drinking water in your home. For this filter to work, you need a relatively slow water flow and low pH. You’ll also need to replace the filter cartridge regularly if you want it to perform effectively in the long run.

This type of filter can sometimes be installed as an inline filter in your home, but it may also need to be connected up to an existing filtration system. Make sure you know what you’re buying before you spend your money.

Activated alumina
Source: Wikipedia.org

Bone Charcoal Carbon Filters

Bone char charcoal is one of the oldest methods of fluoride removal from a public water supply. It can remove up to 90% of fluoride, and is more efficient than reverse osmosis, as it doesn’t waste water during filtration.

Bone char is made using a careful process that enhances the adsorption ability of the charcoal. Generally, bone char filters are added to a larger filtration system that can remove not only fluoride, but also a broad range of contaminants from a local water supply, including chlorine and lead.

Again, make sure you’re prepared for installing this type of charcoal filter, especially if it’s designed to be installed on larger filter systems, before you make a purchase.

📝 Types of Fluoride Reduction Filters

The types of filters that most commonly contain fluoride reduction media are:

  • Under-sink filters
  • Countertop filters
  • Water filter pitchers and dispensers
  • Whole home filters

Rarely, some faucet filters and showerhead filters may also reduce the fluoride content in your water supply.

⚠️ Drinking Water Purification Methods Not Effective for Fluoride

Simple Activated Carbon Filters

Not all types of carbon water filters can effectively solve your fluoride issue at home. A simple AC filter won’t absorb the mineral, and isn’t recommended if you’re looking to get the best benefits from a fluoride removal filter system.

Does Boiling Water Remove Fluoride?

Unfortunately, the process of simply boiling water can’t be used to eliminate fluoride. All that will happen is that some of the water will evaporate and the fluoride will have a higher concentration, resulting in fluoride salt.

You can, however, distill your own water, providing you copy the distillation process carefully. It’s important that water is evaporated and condensed for distillation to work.

You can make your own distilled water without a distillation system – just place a large pot over a stovetop burner, fill it a third full with water, then add a smaller pot inside the large pot.

Heat the water on medium heat and place an upside-down lid on top of the pot. The water will evaporate, then trickle down to the middle of the lid, where it will drop into the smaller pot.

📤 Should I Remove Fluoride From Water?

Though drinking water sources don’t contain a large amount of fluoride, according to some evidence, it may still be enough to negatively affect your health. For many people, this evidence is enough to put them off drinking public water entirely and search for a fluoride-free solution.

If you’re currently spending hundreds of dollars a month on bottled water for your family because you’re concerned about tap water fluoride intake, it’s worth considering one of the water products mentioned on this list for producing fluoride-free water.

You’ll be able to save money by drinking pure water directly from the water supply in your home, and you’ll have peace of mind that you’re looking after the health of yourself and your children. While you may well still enjoy fluoride’s oral health benefits by using fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash, you’ll know that you won’t be consuming it in your water.

👉 See the Best Filters for Fluoride Removal in 2022 right here

🧠 How to Remove Fluoride From Water: FAQ

Can a water filter remove fluoride?

Yes, certain water filters can filter fluoride out of your tap water. Reverse osmosis and activated alumina filters are the best solutions to reduce your water’s fluoride concentration. Not all filters are designed to filter fluoride, though, so check that a product has been tested to remove this mineral before you buy it.

Does fluoride evaporate out of water?

No, fluoride doesn’t evaporate out of water. Unlike chlorine, fluoride won’t dissipate over time if you leave a glass of water exposed to air. The only way to remove fluoride from water is with physical filtration.

Does Brita filter out fluoride?

No, Brita filters don’t remove fluoride from drinking water. Brita can only remove a handful of contaminants, including chlorine and some disinfection byproducts.

How can I reduce my exposure to fluoride?

Aside from filtering fluoride out of your drinking water, you can also reduce your exposure to fluoride by avoiding fluoridated toothpaste and dental products, buying fluoride-free bottled water, and avoiding foods and beverages that are treated with, produced with, or stored in fluoridated water (such as black tea, fruit juice, and shrimp).

How do you remove fluoride from shower water?

There aren’t many dedicated shower filters that remove fluoride, so the best way to remove fluoride from your shower water is to install a whole home filtration system that uses activated alumina or a similar fluoride removal media.

Does holy basil remove fluoride from water?

Yes. Holy basil might sound like a home remedy that’s destined not to work, but studies have found that this indigenous herb can remove 31% to 42% fluoride when added to boiling tap water. Still, using a filtered water system, like a reverse osmosis filter, is a much faster, more effective, and more convenient way to treat fluoridated tap water.