Update February 15, 2017 — I now recommend the Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher. This filter has been certified to remove 90% of fluoride by independent laboratories. It uses an ion-matrix medium for filtration, which is a reliable way to remove fluoride. It costs about $70 on Amazon.
Filtration Methods That Will Remove Fluoride
Fluoride is fairly difficult to remove from water. The filters produced by Brita and Pur use activated carbon for filtration which does not remove any fluoride.
These filtration methods are recommended by the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) and the WQA (Water Quality Association) for fluoride filtration:
- Bone Char Filtration
- Ion-Matrix Filtration
- Activated Alumina Filtration
- Reverse Osmosis Filtration
If you want more details, here is the document (PDF file) that states the WQA (Water Quality Association) recommendations.
Why Remove Fluoride From Your Water?
Fluoride has long been known to be a toxic substance. This is why 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.
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 that remove fluoride all the water entering your house. A reliable vendor for whole house filters is Pure Effect Filters. 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.
As mentioned above, ion-exchange filters are perhaps the least expensive option for fluoride removal.
Here are two reliable filters that use ion-exchange:
- The Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher — this filter has been certified to remove 90% of fluoride by independent laboratories. It uses an ion-exchange medium for filtration, which is a reliable way to remove fluoride.
- The Pure Effect Ultra Counter Top Filter — the manufacturer has posted laboratory report showing that filter removes close to 100% of fluoride. They filters cost about $600. They also have an under-sink filter that uses ion-exchange too.
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 filter is the iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Filter, which costs about $170, plus any installation costs.