Fluoride occurs naturally in ground waters through out the world, and in trace amounts is found in many foods. In many countries, including the U.S., flouride is purposely introduced into the drinking water supply in concentrations of approximately 1.0 ppm (milligrams/liter) for the purpose of reducing dental caries.
Many communities add fluoride to their drinking water to promote dental health. Each community makes its own decision about whether or not to add fluoride. EPA has set an enforceable drinking water standard for fluoride of 4 mg/L (some people who drink water containing fluoride in excess of this level over many years could get bone disease, including pain and tenderness of the bones). EPA has also set a secondary fluoride standard of 2 mg/L to protect against dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis, in its moderate or severe forms, may result in a brown staining and/or pitting of the permanent teeth. This problem occurs only in developing teeth, before they erupt from the gums. Children under nine should not drink water that has more than 2 mg/L of fluoride.
The subject of whether to fluoridate the public water supplies is often hotly contested and a controversial topic. Fluoride can be poisonous at concentrations above 4.0 mg/L, and while dental fluorosis (mottled teeth) is easily recognized, skeletal damage may not be clinically obvious until advanced stages have occurred, and can be misdiagnosed as rheumatoid or osteo arthritis. A recent study by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that children exposed to four milligrams of fluoride per liter, the highest allowable level, risk developing severe dental fluorosis, in which teeth become mottled, pitted and scarred. Because fluoride can weaken bones, people who consume water containing that much fluoride over a lifetime are likely to be at increased risk for bone fractures.
Whether or not fluoride causes cancer is also debated, although latest data appears to show does not cause cancer. Since evidence has shown that dental cavities have declined in areas that have had their water fluoridated (although this too has been contested), U.S. public health officials recommend 1.0 ppm of fluorine be added to the water supply.
Water purveyors typically add a fluoride in the form of sodium hexafluorosilicate or hexafluorosilicic acid, at a level between 0.7 and 1.2 ppm. These compounds originate as side products from the processing (“defluorination”) of phosphate ores to prepare fertilizer, food additives etc. Fluorides such as sodium fluoride (NaF), sodium monofluorophosphate (“SMFP” or “MFP”, Na2FPO3), tin(II) fluoride, and amine fluorides are common ingredients in toothpaste.
Often, ground waters will contain more than 1.0 ppm, and in these cases, the water should probably be deflouridated for drinking. Our NSF certified reverse osmosis systems are certified for fluoride removal, and the distillers do a very good job of eliminating flouride also. For whole house treatment, or for small communities, we offer custom systems for specific applications. Typically these systems employ a special metal oxide media designed for fluoride removal. Pretreatment and total system design is important.
For whole house treatment larger sized fluoride filters are available. For small communities, we offer custom systems for specific applications. These systems feature automatic on-site regeneration of the activated alumina media and are packaged treatment plants.
Need a quote on a system, or looking for a commercial fluoride filtration system? Fill out our quick and easy Water System Designer Form and get a response in 24 hours or less.
Want More Information about fluoride in drinking water?
Read Wikipedia Report On Water Fluoridation
Recent article in Wall Street Journal Raises Concern About Fluoride
Fluoride Action Network web site