Fluoride in City Drinking Water

Fluoride can occur in drinking water naturally as a result of the geological composition of soils and bedrock. In elemental form fluorine is a flammable, irritating, and toxic halogen gas that is one of the most powerful oxidizing agents known.  Some areas of the country have high levels of naturally occurring fluoride which can dissolve easily into ground water as it moves through gaps and pore spaces between rocks. Fluoride can also be added to public drinking water supplies as a public health measure for reducing cavities among the treated population.

Fluoridated toothpaste is another main source of fluoride intake. Other fluoride-containing dental products are applied or prescribed by a health care professional such as gels, varnishes, pastes and restorative materials. These products are used only occasionally on the outside of the tooth and do not contribute much to the total intake of fluoride. Small amounts of fluoride can also come from industrial emissions, pharmaceuticals and pesticides.

Adults exposed to excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime may have increased likelihood of bone fractures, and may result in effects on bone leading to pain and tenderness. For effects to teeth, children are most likely to be affected by excessive exposure to fluoride because it impacts teeth while they are still in formative phases. Children aged 8 years and younger exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride have an increased chance of developing pits in the tooth enamel, along with a range of cosmetic effects to teeth. For prevention of tooth decay, the beneficial effects of fluoride extend throughout the life span.

What are the methods to remove fluoride from my drinking water at home? Will boiling or water filters and RO reverse osmosis units remove flouride?. The typical charcoal-based water filtration systems used in most homes do not remove fluoride from water. Boiling water does not remove fluoride. Distillation and reverse osmosis systems are treatment methods that have proven to be effective for removing fluoride.  You can also use an effective water filter that is designed for flouride removal from drinking water

The US Department of Health and Human Services oversees the national water fluoridation program and recommends an optimal level of 0.7 mg/L to promote public health benefits of fluoride for preventing tooth decay while minimizing the chance for dental fluorosis. Potential Health Effects include Skeletal fluorosis, from long-term consumption at > 4 mg/L (a serious bone disorder resembling osteopetrosis and characterized by extreme density and hardness and abnormal fragility of the bones). Potential Aesthetic Effects include Mottling (discoloration) of teeth in children under 9 years of age (from long-term consumption at > 2 mg/L). Disfiguration/pitting of teeth in children is another effect.

Children under nine years of age exposed to levels of fluoride greater than about two mg/L may develop a condition known as mottling or discoloration of the permanent teeth. In certain cases the teeth become chalky white in appearance (chicklet teeth). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has advised a secondary maximum contaminant level (SMCL) limit of two mg/L to protect against this aesthetic or cosmetic adversity from fluorides in drinking water.

Further, federal regulations require that fluoride not exceed a concentration of four mg/L in drinking water. This is an enforceable maximum contaminant level (MCL) standard; it has been established to protect public health. Exposure to drinking water levels above four mg/L for many years may result in cases of crippling skeletal fluorosis, which is a serious bone disorder resembling osteopetrosis and characterized by extreme density and hardness and abnormal fragility of the bones (sometimes called “marble bones.”)

You can use special water filters to remove floride from your drinking water.


Learn more about well water issues and information at WellWaterWiki.org and more about reverse osmosis at ReverseOsmosisWiki.com


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