If you’re among the growing number of people unconvinced by the benefits of fluoride in your drinking water, you may well be looking for effective ways to remove fluoride from water altogether.
Read on to find out more about the history and science of fluoride, as well as the best methods for filtering out fluoride from your drinking water.
Why Is Fluoride In Drinking Water?
The addition of fluoride into drinking water came about as a result of landmark research conducted in the early 20th century, after observations that this natural, monatomic anion mineral found in foods, water, soil and the earth’s crust significantly improved dental health.
The science behind fluoridated water is that it operates on tooth surfaces by creating low levels of fluoride in saliva, which reduces the rate at which tooth enamel demineralises and increases the rate at which it remineralises in the early stages of cavities.
In 1945, the town of Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first community to add fluoride to their tap water. When subsequent studies showed a significantly lower rate of cavities in schoolchildren, water fluoridation spread to other towns and cities.
Australia introduced fluoride into its drinking water in 1953 to aid oral health. As of 2016, artificially fluoridated water is in over 70% of tap water supplies across all states and territories in Australia.
Community water fluoridation is now prevalent in over 25 other countries worldwide, and has been hailed by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other major entities as one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
But, although widely considered beneficial, fluoride was never fully accepted. Its detractors have always claimed that fluoride has not been studied adequately, as well as debating the mass medication and individual liberties of mandatory fluoride in water.
In recent years, scepticism has grown over the risks of consuming fluoridated water. Part of the interest in its undesirable effects has resurfaced due to the knowledge that fluoride interacts with cellular systems even at low doses.
Other newfound insights are changing popular opinion, such as one Cochrane study that found that, while water fluoridation is effective at reducing tooth decay among children, 97% of early scientific investigations on water fluoridation were ‘deeply flawed’.
The comprehensive report goes on to state that fluoride may be dangerous at high levels as excessive fluoride causes fluorosis—changes in tooth enamel that range from barely noticeable white spots to staining and pitting. Fluoride can also stimulate bone cell growth, altering the tissue’s structure and weakening the skeleton.
Another study, this time based out of England, analysed data from the largest population ever studied in regard to adverse effects of elevated fluoride exposure. It found that water fluoridation may increase the risk of developing hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid.
Perhaps most worrisome is preliminary research in laboratory animals, which suggests that high levels of fluoride may be toxic to brain and nerve cells. And human epidemiological studies have identified possible links to learning, memory and cognition deficits, although it should be noted that these studies mostly focused on much higher fluoride exposures than those found in drinking water.
But presumably as a result of these worrying reports, it’s little surprise that the US Public Health Service lowered its recommended levels of fluoride in drinking water in 2016, for the first time in 53 years.
Today, it’s safe to say that further research is still very much needed in order to confirm the right levels of fluoride, whether fluoride raises the risk of various adverse health effects, its overall toxicity levels and if there are any people particularly vulnerable to it.
Do Water Filters Remove Fluoride?
If all these modern, scientific studies and trends have you concerned about the mass fluoridation of your regular tap water, you may be looking for effective ways to filter out fluoride, such as a water filter.
Often at zazen, we get asked if our water filters remove fluoride. And the answer is a resounding yes. Our state-of-the-art multi-stage micro filtering technology removes up to 90% of fluoride (not to mention 99% chlorine) from tap water, ensuring a lower level that’s safer for every member of your household! This is achieved in the zazen Multi-Stage Filter Cartridge (pictured below) part of the zazen Alkaline Water System.
But what makes our water filters so special? How do our water filters remove fluoride so well? Well, to effectively combat fluoride, its ions need to be tackled at a chemical level. And the zazen Alkaline Water System employs an innovative ten-stage filtration process.
The first layer in our Multi-Stage Water Filter Cartridge is a silver activated carbon layer that inhibits bacteria growth and reduces chlorine, pesticides and any trace chemicals. Next is the crucial fluoride reduction layer, which reduces fluoride by up to 90% in treated water supplies.
An activated zeolite layer then further inhibits bacteria and traps heavy metals such as lead, mercury, nickel and copper, along with detergents, ammonium and industrial chemicals.
Filtering your water to get rid of potentially harmful toxins and chemicals like fluoride is one thing. But the zazen Alkaline Water System doesn’t just leave you with sterile water. It packs it with a balanced range of electrolyte minerals essential for optimal rehydration.
Our zazen Alkaline Water System also comes with natural mineral stones that are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, and which are sourced from pristine deposits over 300 metres below the earth’s surface.
The result is pure, balanced alkaline water that not only contains up to 90% less fluoride but which includes key nutrients and electrolytes that the human body can absorb for maximum hydration and health.
Do Ceramic Filters Remove Fluoride?
While the zazen Ceramic Filter does not directly act as a fluoride filter for your tap water, it is an important first step in the water filtration process, pre-filtering your water before it is further filtered through our Multi-Stage Filter Cartridge, which reduces fluoride by up to 90%.
Our quality zazen Ceramic filters pre-filter rust, sediment and organic matter, and stops bacteria, cysts, parasites and other microorganisms that are present in water supplies. They’re a critical filter for effective micro-filtration of your tap water prior to chemical and heavy metal filtration performed by the zazen Multi-Stage Filter Cartridge.
After a while, you’ll likely notice that the ceramic filter has gone from a bright white colour to a discoloured yellow. This means it’s doing its job, ridding your water of all the discoloured sediment and other nasties. Clean it regularly to maximise its efficacy, and make sure to replace your ceramic filters approximately every 12 months.
Our system combines a ceramic filter with our state-of-the-art six-stage filter cartridge, which removes and reduces up to 90% of fluoride as well as eliminating so many other chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins.
Does Boiling Water Remove Fluoride?
Many people assume that boiling water will remove fluoride, just as it does with certain bacteria and other organisms. But this tactic is ineffective. In fact, doing so can actually increase fluoride concentration because, as the water boils, the vapours escape and leave the mineral behind.
On the other hand, distilling water - boiling it into vapour before condensing it back into liquid form in a separate container without the impurities - is an effective way to reduce fluoride. However, it is very time consuming and isn’t a realistic option for many people. Distillation also leaves you with water so pure, it can lack beneficial minerals. Beneficial minerals (magnesium, potassium, chloride, sodium) are essential in water for maximum hydration.
Meanwhile, simple home water filters, including those that attach to a faucet or come as part of a pitcher, don’t have the capability to remove minerals like fluoride. Instead, they’re more for removing visible impurities and improving the taste of filtered water.
Of course, you may choose to skip purification methods altogether and simply buy bottled water. But bottled water creates two issues of its own: the plastic bottles are not a responsible option for the environment, and the bottled water itself may well be heavily filtered, ridding water of its natural crystal structure and beneficial minerals and often referred to as dead water.
Other Ways To Reduce Fluoride In The Body
Using a zazen Multi-Stage Filter Cartridge and alkaline water system to remove a vast majority of fluoride from your drinking water is just one step towards reducing your fluoride exposure. Fluoride can also be found in many foods, beverages and toothpastes.
Most popular toothpastes contain fluoride. These are often the largest single source of fluoride intake for young children. Research indicates that many young children swallow more fluoride from toothpaste alone than is recommended as an entire day’s ingestion from all sources.
Regardless of whether you have young children, you may wish to ensure peace-of-mind by making the switch to a non-fluoride toothpaste. Alternatively, try to apply just a modest amount of toothpaste and to fully rinse and spit to remove the fluoride from your mouth.
Fluoridated water is not only drunk, but also used to make all manner of foods and beverages. Fluoride is particularly prevalent in processed beverages, such as sodas, reconstituted juices, sports drinks and flavoured waters.
On the flipside, the levels of naturally occurring fluoride in most healthy, fresh foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, grain etc.) is usually very low. Thus, shifting as much as possible from processed foods towards fresh foods will reduce your exposure to fluoride.
Certain vineyards use a fluoride pesticide called cryolite, which results in consistently elevated fluoride levels, especially in white wine but also in red wine, grape juice and raisins. To play it safe, consider purchasing organic varieties.
You may well already know that tea contains high levels of antioxidants, which are not only good for your overall health, but actually help protect your body against fluoride toxicity. However, the tea plant (and thereby the tea leaves) accumulates high levels of fluoride, and excess intake of tea is known to cause a painful bone disease called skeletal fluorosis.
Some even use the fluoride content of tea as an indicator of its quality, with the ideal tea containing high levels of antioxidants but low levels of fluoride. Generally, young tea leaves fit this criteria best, as they have had less time to absorb fluoride.
To maximize tea’s known benefits and reducing its known harm, try to purchase tea varieties made from young leaves, such as white tea. Also try to avoid bottled and instant teas as they often use low-quality leaves with low levels of antioxidants, leaving the risk (fluoride) without the benefit (antioxidants).
For more about fluoride, other water-related articles, and general tips on health and wellbeing, check out our frequently updated blog. Or discover the joys of nutrient-rich zazen Alkaline Water today.