Source of Fluoride in Water: Fluoride (F-) is a mineral whose chemical compounds can occur naturally in many different locations including groundwater and seawater. High concentrations of fluoride are contained in industrial waste water used to make glass and steel. The presence of fluoride in well water can be an indicator of industrial pollution. Fluoride is also used in higher concentrations for other purposes as well, including topical prevention of tooth decay. In the United States, municipal water facilities commonly add fluoride to drinking water to assist in the prevention of tooth decay, at a level around 1-2mg/L. The EPA has provided a secondary drinking regulation (which is not enforceable) at 2.0 mg/L, because they recognize higher levels as being harmful to the appearance of teeth. The EPA has a maximum contaminant level for fluoride of 4.0 mg/L. However, the World Health Organization has recommended that levels stay below 1.5mg/L to avoid damage to tooth enamel.
Symptoms of Fluoride: Through fluoridated water treatment, the CDC estimates that 74% of the American public drinks water with varying levels of fluoride. In addition to this treated water, Americans are also being exposed to other sources of fluoride. Some studies have shown that because of the increased use of fluoride at dentist offices, over-the-counter fluoride toothpaste and its presence in most drinking water systems, cases of fluorosis have dramatically increased. Fluorosis is a dental defect, causing increased porosity in tooth enamel creating stained or chalky-white looking teeth. The study found about 2 out of 5 teen-aged kids have tooth streaking or spottiness because of too much fluoride exposure. By 2004 the national average of fluorosis in 12-15 year old's rose to 41%. These stains and pitting can cause permanent damage and are very expensive to treat. High levels of fluoride (over 4.0) can also cause brittle and porous bones.
Filtration Solutions for Fluoride: Reduction of fluoride from tap water can be achieved by ion exchange or with activated alumina. Reverse osmosis water systems and water distillers will filter out 93-95% of the fluoride in tap water. However, most drop-in filters will not remove fluoride unless they are specifically marked to remove it. If you have concerns about the amount of fluoride in your water, contact one of our water specialists who would be happy to help you.
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