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How to Remove Fluoride from Water

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Two thirds of US tap water is fluoridated in the name of dental health, but concerned consumers fear unintended side effects.

By Posted May 22, 2014


Fluoride has made far more headlines than your average periodic table element…

In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first US city to fluoridate the public water supply.  The idea quickly caught on, and the controversy began soon after: in growing numbers, a vocal minority has raised concerns about fluoride’s role in a broad range of health problems.  Fluoridation critics suggest fluoride exposure may be implicated in physical symptoms spanning gastrointestinal problems, low fertility, thyroid disease, endocrine disruption, arthritis, and cancer.  Government health advisors disagree, arguing the benefits to developing teeth outweigh any established risks.  Irrefutable evidence is hard to come by, due to the nature of the debate: in all major public health research, so many factors overlap that it can be impossible to either prove or disprove a condition’s cause.  And a controlled study (deliberately administering high doses of fluoride on selected humans for decades) would of course be unethical.

Recently, however, Harvard researchers were able to study health data for communities in China where high levels of fluoride are naturally present in the groundwater.  The resultsgive cause for unease: “the children living in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas.”  The average difference was 7 points, and researcher Philippe Grandjean concluded that fluoride belongs among lead, mercury, and other poisons as a known neurotoxin and “chemical brain drain.”  Grandjean suggested the developing brain may be irreversibly damaged by fluoride exposure, and the exact “safe” thresholds, if any, are unknown.


More and more of us are ready to opt out of fluoridation.  But how can we take out these minuscule, tasteless molecules added at the treatment plant?  If you’re serious about going fluoride-free, here are a few things to consider.

What Doesn’t Reduce Fluoride Exposure

  • The most popular water filters — the inexpensive activated-carbon pitchers and tap-attachments sold under the brand names Brita and Pur — can’t remove fluoride.
  • Boiling your water won’t help, as the fluoride does not evaporate easily like chlorine; as the volume of water decreases through boiling, the fluoride concentration actually goes up.
  • Be aware that black and green tea as well as rooibos or “red tea” all contain high levels of natural fluoride; these beverages also provide beneficial antioxidants, but if you’re concerned that your overall fluoride intake may be excessive, consider reducing your tea consumption.
  • Processed beverages and foods, non-stick cookware, some pharmaceuticals, non-organic grape juice and wine, and of course fluoride toothpaste will all increase your overall fluoride consumption.

Home Fluoride-Removal Systems that Work

Berkey Water Purification System with PF2 Fluoride Filter

  • Low-tech: attractive countertop unit needs no hookups to plumbing or electrical systems.
  • Filters can be cleaned and reused for maximizing sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
  • Portable, can be used in the kitchen or off-grid to filter untreated water such as ponds and streams.
  • Broad-spectrum: gravity-fed micro-porous filtration removes pathogens, volatile organic compounds, synthetic organic chemicals, MTBE, arsenic, heavy metals, and physical contaminants from water.

This unit is our favorite because of its versatility, earth-friendliness, and overall effectiveness.  Note that the optional PF2 must be added for fluoride removal, as the Berkey on its own does not take out fluoride.

Reverse Osmosis


  • RO systems are expensive ($200-$600 for basic home models, plus $50 filter changes 1-2 times per year), and discounted department store models may use inferior membranes, compromising performance.
  • Systems require electricity to run, adding to expense and fallibility.
  • RO filters often require a technician to install, if consumer is not experienced with plumbing.
  • The RO process discards 3-5 gallons of water for every gallon filtered.

The massive waste of water alone leads us to feel reverse osmosis is not a sustainable solution for an increasingly drought-ridden time, when every drop of potable water should be considered a precious resource.

Activated Alumina

  • Frequently used in large-scale water treatment where excessive fluoride in groundwater is a problem.
  • While promoted to remove over 90% of fluoride at home, pH needs to be low and flow needs to be slow in order to achieve goals.
  • Frequent cartridge replacement to maintain effectiveness adds to initial costs.
  • Many variables make results uncertain, and repeated testing would be required to monitor system performance.

The Survival Still Water Purifier and Desalinator

  • Turn to the Survival Still when you want to be prepared for any and all possibilities, including disasters.
  • This unit can make consistently pure water from any source in an emergency, even swimming pools, ponds, or seawater.
  • Removes all contaminants including radioactive isotopes and organic pathogens.
  • Requires some energy source to boil water, but no electricity.  Works with your kitchen pots for easy storage.

Make your own solar still

  • For the adventurous and mechanically inclined, experimenting with making your own solar distiller can provide an interesting challenge.
  • Distilled water has been stripped of beneficial minerals as well as contaminants; health advisers disagree about the risks and benefits of drinking distilled water.

For those of us without the time or skills to devote to plumbing and construction, a reasonably priced and effective home filter system can seem the holy grail of clean, worry-free water.

Buying Water

  • Bottled water has been largely rejected by the environmental movement as representing a massive waste and mismanagement of resources in production, transport, and packaging.
  • Buying filtered water from water services or local stores (using reusable containers to fit a water dispenser) can be a short-term solution.  But most home filter systems will quickly pay for themselves, take up less space in your kitchen, and provide a more reliable clean water source.
  • Some packaged “spring water” can actually contain fluoride and other questionable minerals, so always review the water analysis carefully before buying.


It’s getting harder and harder to take a cool drink of water for granted.  Across the country, battles continue to rage in communities large and small over whether adding fluoride to the public water supply is a safe, common-sense public service, or a sinister act of government-sponsored health endangerment.  In Portland, Oregon, the impassioned debate centered around issues of personal choice and responsibility: if the facts are in question, who gets to decide what’s in their water?

Ultimately, Portlanders voted “no” to fluoride.  It’s a decision each family must make based on available information.  If your municipal water supply or private well contains unwanted fluoride, you have options to exercise your informed choice in your own home.


Posted in Healthy Home Tags
  • disqus_V3KVVbmLVd

    Dallas, Texas voted to remove fluoride from their drinking water!

  • Jason Forest

    great tips! i really appreciate this great post. looking forward to your next blog

  • Josephine Bernie

    Water is essential for health, hygiene and the productivity of our community. water treatment process may vary on the water condition that you have in your area. its better to invest on a good water treatment. it will benefit you by providing safety to you and your family.

  • sj

    Every city should allow it’s citizens to make the choice to not fluoridate their water system. Fluoride gets stronger when you heat the water so, cooking or bathing in it sounds fun doesn’t it? They don’t tell you this but when you find this out, it’s disgusting considering all the other chemicals and drugs that ride in on your tap water to keep it clean for drinking.

    I buy Whole Foods RO spring water by the gallon to cook and drink. It isn’t suppose to have Fluoride in it.

    Supposedly, it’s all for low income families benefit who supposedly don’t go to the dentist. Do they actually know this for a fact? Education and dental preventative measures for all people are better than fluoridating them like sheep! I bet even low income people would choose to forgo the fluoride than know they’re drinking it for a lifetime.

    • Nefertum Maat Ra

      I absolute agree as I have a low income household, and yes we go to the dentist…I also make my own toothpaste for this same reason…to say it’s for the benefit of low income families is an excuse to continue to poison us all…I’m looking for a water purifying system like this because I found out brands like Brita/Pur doesn’t filter out the flouride and also stopped by bottled water because the plastic used is now brought to my awareness as being toxic…and they wonder why ppl are startingvto believe all these conspiracy theories about the government trying to forcebly keep us brain dead. Glad to know someone still has a brain to know that their low income families needing fluoride bit is a crock of bs.

      • sj

        Good for you! There is a few water systems that takes out the fluoride. Google it. It’s more costly than Britta,etc. because it uses a special filter to remove the fluoride.

        I don’t believe Wholefoods’s water is toxic. There’s been no indication from anyone that it is. It uses Reverse Osmosis and has no fluoride.

        My city was trying to determine if they should stop fluoridation but all the local dentist told them to continue it.

        I wrote a City Council member and she said ‘they only take the advice of the local dentist’..meaning, not from the people (like me) who pay their salaries with real estate taxes! They assume we’re not able to challenge the dentist, who know absolutely nothing about the body and long term fluorides affects on it besides documentation on fluoride not really protecting teeth from cavities.

        I haven’t had fluoride in my system in over a year and I have No cavities. I had a cavity when I drank fluoridated water so did my husband and children and we are super brushes, flossers and eat little sugar,etc . I won’t even let the hygienist use the polishing paste because it has fluoride.

  • Brick

    There is no evidence fluoride has any benefit on dental health. Remember, this is being put in our water by the same people who corroborate with the banks to control society. If you think for a second there is a single health benefit of poisoning your water supply with fluoride then you are out of your mind.

    • Sarah Walton

      I agree Brick. Where do you live? I wish Brisbane, Australia, had given Queenslander’s a choice because the majority of us said no to flouride. What humans subject eachother to for the sake of greed is unbelievable and F’d up!!

      • Steevg

        Can someone please tell me . . .”HOW” does ingested Fluoride protect the outer layer of the teeth? If it’s ingested, it’ll feed the inner tooth and not the outer, I understand there’s been research to show that Fluoride actually reduces bone density when ingested? What the heck are our politicians and local advisors doing to us?

        I’d like to know what’s the benefit of polluting our water? Why don’t the big pharma’s produce a fluoride pill, so that those in favour of ingesting this poison can take it knowingly. Maybe saving money by not putting it into our drinking water, could fund the purchasing and supply of fluoride pills to those wishing to take them daily.

        I wonder how many of our politicians & advisors would subscribe to regular pill taking of this terrible substance if they had to swallow it every day to “protect” their teeth? And would they recommend Fluoride pills to their children and families?

        • Mike K

          Ingesting fluoride protects your teeth by being in the bloodstream while the teeth are being made. The tooth crystallizes in the presence of fluoride and therefor is stronger. It should be the right level of fluoride. Calcium Hydroxyapatite (the crystal that makes teeth and bones strong) is strongest when a little fluoride is incorporated into the crystals. This is not something “New” – rather, teeth and bones are strongest with a little fluoride because it is naturally present in oceans, at just the right level, right where bones and teeth first evolved.
          Please be kind to me – i support fluoridation but I don’t want to fight about it. My post above was information to answer Steevg’s question.

          • Greg Seaman

            Thanks Mike for your thoughtful comment.

          • Nunya

            Mike, that does sound good, BUT, as you wrote, the RIGHT level of fluoride is key and the MAJOR issue with our drinking water being fluoridated is that there is NO way to control the “dose” (ie – the amount) that we are consuming when drinking fluoridated water. This in itself is why I am against our gov’t forcing fluoridated water upon its citizens. We should have a choice & be able to better control our fluoride intake (without having to rely upon expensive alternatives, ie – filtration systems, bottled water, etc).

          • Nancy Medley

            I don’t mean to be unkind, but there are many ways to get fluoride if you choose to do so, but to be forced to ingest it is wrong. I had no idea this was a worldwide issue. I assume, I have been drinking fluoridated water all of my life, brushed and flossed, and yet in my late 50’s my teeth are decayed severely. I guess the fluoride in my drinking water didn’t do it’s intended job. Of course, it has likely done irreparable damage to my body in many other ways. We should have a choice.

          • truthseekerr

            Exactly. Should the government be making health choices for me? NO

          • Nikki

            Diet has a lot to say about dental health too. Dunno if is too late, but look into D-vitamin diet for dental health. Supposedly cod liver oil should help …. Google will probably yield results :)

          • grayjohn

            You’re wrong. That’s as kind as I can be.

        • Talko

          I can tell you. The U.S. Gets PAID to disperse massive amounts of toxic hazardous waste (hydrofluosilic acid, not the fluoride of 50 years ago) into our water. The hazardous waste is SO toxic and SO expensive to dispose of that WE take it and slowly dumb down our population with it. It’s criminal really.

      • Helper


  • Lynn755

    It’s not for dental care even dentist will tell you to spit out the toothpaste do to the fluoride…..remember the Romans used lead piping for their drinking water system even though they knew it was bad for humans. Seems like control is the issue not concern for poor children or our teeth.

  • Nick Jones

    For all the people who are serious about getting fluoride out of our water, I would be honored to form a group and possibly one day, be able to get this poison out of our most essential element to a healthy life, water. It is truly ridiculous that things like this are going on and it enrages me to think people are getting away with it. So if anyone else is pissed off about this enough to take action, let me know because I think everyone deserves clean, unpoisoned water.

  • Emily

    I just wanted to add; Flouride is not an element. Everyone gets confused, the element flourine becomes flourIDE when it is bonded with another element. (Remember from chemistry adding ide makes it a bond. CALCIUM flouride is very beneficial for our teeth and bones. SODIUM flouride is toxic. Can anyone take a gander at which one is in our tap water? Sodium flouride! That’s another way to confuse the general public; by simply using the word flouride; when simply saying “flouride” is chemically incorrect. The leaders see the general population as a collective burden; they do now see us as individuals or care about us. The sooner everyone realizes this, the quicker we can start a revolution. My generation was twice the size of the baby boomers, imagine what we could get accomplished if we all just opened our eyes.

    • Martin

      You’re right. On my box for toothpaste it say Sodium Fluoride and “Warnings : Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. (just when their little are forming and would need it the most.) If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.”

      Does that sound like an item you feel safe and healthy ingesting? Why would anyone think it was safe to put in water when you should not swallow your toothpaste?

  • Joey

    Catch rain water. That’s an option. Put up plastic sheeting in a field or on your own property and create in sort of like to run off in to a glass container. I say glass because I’ve been told plastic can mess with your drinking fluids. Idk I’d just use glass if it were an option..seems kinda natural its just melted sand moving at an extremely slow rate of speed! But yeah you usually only get a couple inches per square feet in a good daily raining but extend that a 50 feet or plus and it’ll add up I’d use natural surroundings such as trees. Just makes sense to work with the environment.

  • Marian David

    If you want to remove fluoride the best filter that works is a ZeroWater, but that is not always fool proof and won’t remove fluoride built up in your body. To do this, you need Sodium Tetraborate, (BORON sold as Borax 20 Mule Team Laundry Booster) it is banned in the US for consumption but studies all show it is a healthy part of the diet and it is in some fruits and veggies. You need to buy Borax and put a tiny bit into your drinking water and it will make the Fluoride particles inert and will pull it out of the body too to be passed through. Do some research but this is VERY important stuff to buy! I have been detoxing it from my life, Tom’s toothpaste without it and mouthwash without it, don’t take super long showers as it’s absorbed through skin, and drink lots of water treated with Sodium Tetraborate! I feel AMAZING after 2 weeks and really this is the only compound that actively goes after fluoride, not just water filters that try to avoid it with okay results. Hope this helps! :)

    • Martin

      Thanks, I will pass your suggestion to my wife.

  • truthseekerr

    brush, floss, exercise and eat right. These are provable to be beneficial to health and teeth. Flouride is a government scam that allows big businesses to dump there waist right down our throat.

  • Mark Fuxanerd

    Fluoride should never be added to water. If I want to take care of my teeth I will brush them or use mouthwash with fluoride but if I drink up to 3 liters of water a day then I’m getting all that unwanted flouride and god knows whatever else the sorry ass government decides they want to put in it. I am so sick of so many dangerous things the fda allows to be put in our food and water. I was looking for bottle water that wasn’t acidic since just about all bottle water is below ph of 7 so I finally went with Crystal geyser alpine spring water and now I find out it has “natural reoccurring” flouride in it and its up to .07 ppm which is still to high. I mean wtf is wrong with this world? I thought all that was suppose to be filtered out. The FDA doesn’t know shit. I mean one day something is good for your then its bad then it’s good. The government makes themselves look like a bunch of incompetent assholes. Their clueless but yet they get paid the big bucks to pretend they know what’s going on. All these billions dollar funding bills they waste on acting like they have a clue what’s good for use but they don’t and frankly i think they don’t care. We need to stand up as a people and replace these elected officials with someone that will be honest. I’m guess I’m going to just start drinking filter rain water or something.

  • Greg Seaman

    Most reverse osmosis systems require a constant flow of water to clean and flush their membranes. This water is disposed of as waste water. Between 50-80% of the water entering the water treatment system can be disposed of as waste water, something referred to as concentrate (because the contaminants are concentrated in this stream of water). The amount of water produced by the system for drinking is called the recovery rate (the amount of good water recovered from the original water source). If you receive a water bill each month or quarter like most of us do, you would be paying for all of the water your RO system sends down the drain.

  • Marty S Conn

    The big cases of 24/32 bottles of best choice water are filtered by reverse osmosis. One of the best ways to get it out.

  • gonzalo neymar

    How can i remove fluoride from my tap water efficiently? I read the article but what would you say is the best method and where do i get the system from?

  • ravenbloodommo

    if you want to clean your teeth safely, use baking soda and peroxide, you may choose to add mints, spearmints essential oils, make sure they are food grade,, No, Fluoride doesn’t do Anything in the blood but Toxifye it, and Yes, It Is distributed in the water any 1 with any questions can reach me at my twitter” venus eve eves”, and we can bring the discussion Right back here folks where it belongs.

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