In A Nutshell
The best way to remove fluoride from tap water is to use a filter containing Brimac (or bone char). Another good alternative is to use a filter containing activated alumina.
Fluoride is difficult to remove from water. Filters by Brita or Pur use activated carbon, which does not remove any fluoride. The filtration methods listed below are only methods recommended by the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) and the WQA (Water Quality Association) for fluoride filtration. To remove fluoride, you must use one of the following filter types:
- Bone Char Filters (recommended filter: Four Stage Countertop Fluoride Removal System by Promolife, which costs about $190 plus any installation cost)
- Activated Alumina Filters (recommended filter: Tap Master Jr F2 Counter Top Filter, which costs about $90)
- Reverse Osmosis (recommended system: iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Filter, which costs about $170, plus any installation costs.)
- Distillation (recommended distiller: the Megahome Distiller, which costs about $200)
You also absorb fluoride when showering and bathing. Unfortunately, there are no shower filters that will remove fluoride. But you can get a “whole house” filter for fluoride. A good vendor for “whole house” filters is FilterWater.Com. Another option is to capture rainwater and use it instead of municipal water — see the book Rainwater Collection For the Mechanically Challenged for more information.
Why Remove Fluoride From Your Water?
Fluoride has long been known to be a very toxic substance. This is why, like arsenic, fluoride has been used in pesticides and rodenticides (to kill rats, insects, etc). It is also why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires that all fluoride toothpaste sold in the U.S. carry a poison warning that instructs users to contact the poison control center if they swallow more than used for brushing.
Excessive fluoride exposure is well known to cause a painful bone disease (skeletal fluorosis), as well as a discoloration of the teeth known as dental fluorosis. Excessive fluoride exposure has also been linked to a range of other chronic ailments including arthritis, bone fragility, dental fluorosis, glucose intolerance, gastrointestinal distress, thyroid disease, and possibly cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
Water fluoridation is becoming increasing unpopular around the world, due to health concerns about overexposure to fluoride. Since 2010, over 70 communities have rejected the practice, including cities like Calgary, Alberta (pop. 1.3 million people) and Albuquerque, New Mexico (pop. 500,000) that have voted to end their longstanding fluoridation programs. Most recently, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that Israel must stop adding fluoride into public water supplies in one year, following a a decision on fluoride’s potential toxicity to humans by the Israeli health minister. Most developed nations in the world have rejected fluoridation, including 97% of western Europe. The United States, which fluoridates more than 70% of its water supplies, is an exception to this rule. According to the British Fluoridation Society, there are more people drinking artificially fluoridated water in the United States than all other countries combined.
See also this list of things you can do to avoid fluoride.
A Closer Look At The Filter Types
Bone Char Carbon Filters
Bone Char has been used for centuries to remove naturally occurring fluoride from water. Bone contains a porous matrix that is rich in surface ions. These can be readily replaced by fluoride and by some of the other contaminants that may be present with fluoride (heavy metals). When used alone, Bone Char Carbon filters can remove up to 90% of the fluoride in water. The efficiency of bone char can be improved by adding pre-filters to remove heavy metals and other contaminants before exposure to the bone char. These filters work best at a slightly acidic pH and may not work as well with hard water.
Brimac (High Calcium Bone Char) Filters
Brimac is a High Calcium Bone Char made of charred animal bone. Bovine (cow) bones are taken from cold storage, thoroughly cleaned and put in sun and rain for at least 90 days and totally dried. It is then carbonized at 1472 degrees Fahrenheit in controlled conditions. The result is Kosher Certified, 100% organic bone char made of 80% phosphate of calcium, 10% carbon and 10% calcium carbonate. It lasts a long time, is non-toxic and leaves behind beneficial minerals. There is no pH effect and it can remove chlorine, heavy metals and radioactive isotopes on top of fluoride. Bone char is considered a more effective contaminate remover than coconut because it is hundreds of times more porous and contains calcium which attract the fluoride.
My Recommended Brimac Filter: Four Stage Countertop Fluoride Removal System by Promolife.
Activated Alumina Filters
There are many point-of-use filters that claim to remove fluoride using activated alumina. Activated alumina is aluminum oxide, the same chemical substance as sapphire and rubies, but without the impurities that give the gems their color.
When used properly, these filters can remove up to 98% of the fluoride in water while also removing arsenic. The problem with most of these systems is that they only work for a short period of time (usually far less than claimed) before they become saturated. The other difficulty is that point-of-use systems flow too quickly to allow adequate time for adsorption. When the flow rate is faster than ¼ gallon/minute, there is not enough time to adsorb all the fluoride in the water. Recent testing of a variety of these filters revealed that few functioned as claimed for more than a few weeks.
If you are willing to work with these limitations, this filtration system may work for you.
My recommended activated alumina filter is the Tap Master Jr F2 Counter Top Filter, which costs about $90.
Distillation is capable of removing just about anything (except volatile compounds) from water. If you have a distiller, you can remove fluoride. However, distillation takes time and lost of electricity. Distillation makes water taste empty and lifeless. If you use distilled water you need to add minerals back into the water.
My recommended distiller: the Megahome Distiller, which costs about $200.
Reverse Osmosis Filters
Reverse osmosis relies on pressure and a semi-permeable membrane to remove contaminants from water. It can remove between 90 and 95% of fluoride (depending on the efficiency of the system and depending on how well the system is maintained). Contaminants are trapped by the membrane and flushed away in the waste water. The process requires between 2 and 4 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of clean water. Water with an abundance of contaminants (including hard water) can reduce the efficiency of an Reverse Osmosis system and it can shorten the life of the membrane.
Like distillation, reverse osmosis removes almost everything from water, and makes the water taste flat and empty.
My recommended activated alumina filter is the iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Filter, which costs about $170, plus any installation costs.