Fluoride is a natural, monatomic anion mineral found in foods, water, soil and the earth’s crust.
Nowadays, it can be found in your toothpaste, as well as your local water source, but recent concerns have arisen over the compound’s adverse health effects.
Are you worried your nightly glass of drinking water is more dangerous than it seems (besides the middle of the night bathroom breaks)?
If you decide you’d like to avoid fluoridated water altogether, we’ll also provide you with some best methods on how to remove fluoride from water (and fill you in on a few ways to avoid).
Why Is Fluoride in Our Water?
The practice of fluoridation continues to this day, and many scientists have questioned the efficacy and safety of adding this mineral to local water supplies.
When people drank water high in fluoride concentration, they were less likely to develop cavities. These positive findings regarding oral health also explain why this mineral is such a prevalent ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash.
They do this because fluoride can effectively prevent or, in some cases, reverse the formation of tooth cavities. Fluoride promotes the remineralization of teeth, strengthening their enamel and thus helping them fight off the bacteria that cause decay.
For this same reason, most types of toothpaste and many mouthwash products contain some fluoride. However, ingested fluoride tends to accumulate in our bones, which has led some people to worry that drinking fluoridated water might increase the risk of various health problems. These include cancer, particularly osteosarcoma, which is a type of cancer that starts in the bones.
In India, groundwater is the main source of drinking water.
Water samples collected from hand pumps were analyzed for fluoride content, and excessive fluoride content has been reported in more than 19 states in the country. The extent of fluoride contamination varies from 1.0 to 48.0 mg/litre.
India is among the 23 nations around the globe where health problems occur due to the consumption of fluoride contaminated water. As many as 62 million people in the country are affected by fluorosis.
Fluorosis has been described as an endemic disease of the tropical climate, but that is not the case. Water with high fluoride concentration occurs in large and extensive geographical belts associated with Sediments of marine origin, Volcanic rocks and Granite rocks
The most affected areas are Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.
Diseases Caused by Excess Fluoride
Many diseases are a direct result of the excess fluoride content in water. Some of them are
Skeletal Fluorosis: It causes pain in bones and joints, also leading to other bone diseases.
Thyroid Fluorosis: It causes parathyroid, and the body becomes more susceptible to fractures.
Neurological Fluorosis: Poor cognitive outcomes and can be neurotoxic.
How to Remove Fluoride in Water
Fluoride ions are microscopic, and a standard carbon filter will be ineffective in removing fluoride from water. Fluoride ions must be addressed at the chemical level for effective removal to take place.
One of the most effective and most practical methods for removing fluoride from a home water supply is to install a reverse osmosis system.
Reverse osmosis works by using pressure to force water through a permeable membrane which only allows water molecules to pass through. The result is a concentration of water which is absent of any molecule other than H20. All other contaminants, minerals, and ions are unable to pass through the membrane.
Because water which has been treated through reverse osmosis lacks any minerals, the water can have a slightly lower pH and can taste flat. Many RO systems include remineralization filters which add minerals back into the water, raising the pH levels and improving the taste.
RO systems can be installed under the kitchen sink which treats the water just before it exits the faucet or installed as a whole house system.
Activated alumina, better known as aluminium oxide, is a compound found in sapphires and rubies but without the impurities that give these gemstones their distinct colour. With its high surface-area-to-weight ratio, activated alumina has a very high capacity to absorb the fluoride and is recommended by the EPA as an effective medium in removing fluoride, arsenic, and thallium.
For activated alumina to be useful, the water must have pH at 6.5 or lower and for proper absorption to occur.
While many fluoride filters use activated alumina as its primary medium for fluoride removal, it is important to note that activated doesn’t remove 100% of fluoride from water but reduces it to a much safer concentration – around 0.1 ppm.
Bone Char Carbon / Brimac Char
Bone Char, also known as Brimac Char, is one of the oldest methods for fluoride removal in the United States. Made from finely crushed cattle bones which are heated, bone char has a very high absorption capacity for fluoride and many other contaminants including lead, arsenic, and cadmium.
Like activated alumina, bone char has a very porous ionic surface, making it extremely efficient in absorbing both inorganic and organic materials, especially fluoride. Also, like activated alumina, bone char filtration works best at a slightly acidic pH level and a lower flow rate to ensure better absorption.
Bone char comes in the form of filter cartridges and will remove fluoride up to 90% of fluoride depending on the quality of the bone char and the frequency at which the filters are replaced.
Bone char, along with activated alumina and reverse osmosis, is one of the three methods the EPA considers to be the most effective ways to remove fluoride from water.
The oldest, least expensive method for purifying water is through distillation. Like the earth’s hydrologic cycle, distillation works through the natural processes of evaporation and condensation.
As fluoride-concentrated water is heated, steam evaporates from the boiling water and condenses onto a surface. The condensation then collects into a new container, leaving the fluoride and other contaminants behind. The result is pure, distilled H20.
Like reverse osmosis, the process of distillation removes more than just fluoride but particles and ions altogether, leaving the water empty of minerals and slightly acidic. Remineralization is advised to raise the pH level and improve the quality of taste.
Home countertop distillation units can be purchased for convenient distilling whenever needed. Because of the relatively slow rate at which water is distilled, distillation units are more practical for individuals or small families.
One drop can’t fill an ocean’, we all need to come together and make this world a better and cleaner place to live in.
Sourced from : World Water Reserve