Despite the fact that many countries have stopped or banned the use of fluoride in water, the U.S. and Canada continue to promote water fluoridation.
In 2015, US Health and Human Services updated its recommendation for the maximum allowable amount of fluoride in drinking water. This was based on data indicating that previous levels may have contributed to the increasing number of adolescents in fluoridated communities with dental fluorosis,* skeletal fluorosis and other symptoms. Yet according to a growing number of studies, fluoride is a health risk at any level.
*Dental fluorosis is a defect in the enamel of the teeth caused by too much fluoride. Teeth with fluorosis are more porous. This is because fluoride has a strong affinity for calcium and when there is too much fluoride, calcium is removed from teeth and bones.
Most fluoride that is added to municipal water is an unnatural form of fluoride (either fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate or sodium fluoride). Any form of fluoride other than the naturally-occurring form (calcium fluoride) is toxic. Here’s why.
The fluoride ion (F-) is extremely reactive. Its preference for calcium overrides its attraction to other ions. That’s why in Nature, fluoride will almost always be bound to calcium. When fluoride is added to water in the sodium form, it is only a matter of time before the sodium is exchanged for calcium–robbing calcium from the body. In fact, sodium fluoride poisoning results when calcium is stolen from the blood. The anecdote (calcium) keeps fluoride from stealing calcium from the blood.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, fluoride is not an essential nutrient. The human body does not need fluoride for any physiological process and no human disease will result from a “deficiency” of fluoride. Because it has no physiological function, when fluoride cannot be immediately excreted (via kidneys) it is attracted to calcified areas of the body (teeth, bones, and pineal gland) and also ends up in nerve and connective tissues.
The truth about fluoride
The truth is, fluoride is a proven neurotoxin; it causes birth defects, impairs the immune system, causes muscular weakness, suppresses thyroid function, causes gastrointestinal symptoms and bone and joint symptoms. Fluoride is also a cumulative poison. While small amounts taken on a daily basis may not be noticeable, it builds up in the body. The fluoride added to water also often carries other toxic materials which may include lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. To complicate matters, fluoride is absorbed through the skin, and by inhalation. Showering and bathing in fluoridated water is also a problem.
How to remove fluoride from water
The removal of fluoride from water is one of the most difficult problems for those who rely on municipal water. Water filter sales literature often downplays or avoids the subject. When buying a water filter, you may be comforted by reading that the system you are purchasing removes 95 to 99% of contaminants, but if it does not specifically state that it removes fluoride, it probably doesn’t. At this time, there are four accepted methods of fluoride removal. These methods and others are discussed below.
Four accepted methods:
1 . Distillation
Distillation removes just about everything (except volatile compounds) from water. If you have a distiller, you can remove fluoride. The obvious drawback to distillation is that the process leaves the resulting water empty and lifeless. If you use distilled water you need to add minerals (salts) back to the water–often easier said than done. (read the article on remineralizing “empty” water). Also consider energetically enhancing distilled water (returning the life force) using methods discussed in the above article and in the book, Dancing with Water.
2. Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis (RO) relies on pressure and a semi-permeable membrane to remove contaminants from water. RO can remove between 90 and 95% of fluoride (depending on the efficiency of the system and on how well the system is maintained). Similar to distillation, RO has a good track record for removing almost everything from water. But similar to distillation, RO leaves water empty and lifeless. From an energetic point of view, RO leaves water much worse off than distillation. In the authors’ experience, it is very difficult to restore the life force to RO water. Our suggestion is to avoid this method whenever possible.
3. Activated alumina
Aside from its strong affinity for calcium, fluoride is also strongly attracted to activated alumina (corundum/aluminum oxide which has a large surface area with a huge array of tunnel-like pores). Activated alumina is the most commonly used fluoride removal media today. When used properly, it can remove up to 98% of the fluoride in water while also removing arsenic. However, there are several concerns to be aware of: First, since the process works by ion exchange, the water must remain in contact with the media for an extended period of time. If the flow rate is faster than ¼ gallon/minute, there is not enough time to adsorb all the fluoride as water passes. Second, systems using activated alumina need to be recharged or replaced often. The last difficulty with activated alumina is that small amounts of aluminum are released into the treated water. This trades one problem for another. Some systems address this; others do not.
Many point-of-use filters are made with activated alumina. The problem with most of them is that they only work for a short period of time (usually far less than claimed). Testing of a variety of these filters revealed that few functioned as claimed for more than a few weeks. Unless the activated alumina can be cleaned and recharged or replaced regularly, and unless the flow rate is slow enough to allow time for adsorption, activated alumina may not be the best option. Ask for proof of long-term results when purchasing one of these systems. “Tank” type systems using activated alumina are capable of working for many years with a backwashing and recharging cycle. However, caustic chemicals (sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid) are required to backwash and to recharge the media—chemicals that end up in the waste water.
Bone-Char (BC) Carbon has been used for centuries to remove naturally-occurring fluoride from water. It works the same way bones in the human body attract fluoride. 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 arrive along with fluoride. When used alone, BC-Carbon can remove up to 90% of the fluoride in water. The efficiency of bone char can be improved by adding pre-filters that remove heavy metals and other contaminants before exposure to the BC-carbon. Bone char works best at a slightly acidic pH and may not work as well with hard water. This medium is being successfully incorporated in many systems where cartridges can be easily replaced as necessary. Obviously, bone char is an organic medium. Medical grade is important to ensure that the bone char itself is clean.
Other methods to consider
Ozone is a strong oxidant . When bubbled into water, it kills pathogens and neutralizes most contaminants. The term neutralization refers to the change from a harmful to a harmless state. Although ozone does not remove contaminants, it will neutralize most – including the toxic fluoride compounds added to drinking water. Ozone de-activates the fluoride ion (by grabbing the free electron). In the author’s experience (using biofeedback testing), fluoridated water treated with ozone is acceptable to the human body, whereas untreated water is not. Many inexpensive water ozonators are available on the internet. When used along with a simple carbon filter, ozonation is a remarkable option.
Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Researchers in India have discovered that the Tulsi plant (Holy Basil), can be used to significantly reduce the amount of fluoride in the local drinking water. A small amount (75 mg. in 100 ml of water) reduced the concentration of fluoride 7.4 parts per million to 1.1 parts per million in 8 hours. Innovations such as this could provide clean drinking water in areas of the world that are plagued with high fluoride levels in their water.
The ultimate solution to the fluoride problem is to stop fluoridation. You may visit the Fluoride Action Network — http://www.fluoridealert.org/ to find out how you can make a difference in your community.
Dancing with Water: The New Science of Water