Fluoride is a chemical element of the ion Fluorine. It occurs naturally in water, soils, foods and other minerals. Like many other substances, fluoride can also be manufactured in a laboratory instead of relying on naturally occurring sources. The most common use of fluoride is as a dental hygiene product, specifically for prevention of tooth decay. While fluoride can be applied topically to teeth in a dental setting, most of the exposure people receive to fluoride is in the water that they drink. Many public entities treat the public water supply with fluoride as a measure to promote dental health.
Some segments of the population are not in agreement with the use of fluoride in the public water supply. The reasons are plenty and the topic could be covered in many segments elsewhere so it is not the intent of this article to go into such detail. Those against fluoride in the water they drink have two options to remove the fluoride prior to consumption.
Activated Alumina Defluoridation Filter is by far the most effective way to reduce the amount of fluoride present in water. Activated Alumina is a manufactured product of aluminum hydroxide. The manufacturing process creates an extremely porous material with a very large surface area. The use of such filtration is very prevalent in certain parts of India, especially the Jaipur region. These parts of India have high occurrences of fluorosis due to abnormally large concentration of fluoride. A small one to two gallon filter may cost upwards of $70 to purchase and may not last for more than a few months. As with many new technologies, cost will be driven down once more products enter the market and it becomes more widely known.
The second method to remove fluoride from water is through reverse osmosis. This type of filtration turns the water into a gas and then recaptures the gas in liquid state at its purest form. This is uneconomical for the average person and such systems do not exist for personal use. Many bottled water companies use this method to purify prior to bottling. It is just as effective as Activated Alumina but not nearly as available.
Other forms of water filtration exist, but they do not remove the fluoride from the water. Standard drinking water filters such as Brita or Pur do not have the capability of filtering this chemical from water. Sometimes boiling is a suggested method to remove impurities from water but in the case of fluoride this will not only fail to remove it, but it will act to concentrate the levels of fluoride.