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In 1945, the first city in the US to fluoridate its water supply was Grand Rapids, Michigan. This idea easily caught on from there, but the controversy raising the health concerns of this practice also took center stage.
Even today, after so many years, many fluoridation critics suggest that fluoride exposure through drinking water can cause various health problems. But on the other hand, most experts are still adamant that the dental benefits of fluoride outweigh all the established risks.
But isn’t having fluoride in some of your foods and toothpaste enough to prevent tooth decay? So, in that case, is there a need to consume additional fluoride through drinking water?
If you are reading this article, it is safe to assume that you want your water supply to be fluoride-free and you need to know if boiling can make that happen. Keep reading to find an answer to this question and enlighten yourself with some interesting facts related to the removal of the infamous element.
So, here is our guide on the question, does boiling water remove fluoride?
- 1 Does Boiling Water Remove Fluoride?
- 2 What Does Boiling Water Remove? And Where Does it Fail?
- 3 How to Remove Fluoride from Water
- 4 Is Fluoride Harmful?
- 5 Tips to Reduce Your Overall Fluoride Exposure
- 6 Conclusion
- The fluoride concentration in water is not affected by boiling.
- In fact, when part of the water evaporates, the concentration of fluoride may even increase.
Does Boiling Water Remove Fluoride?
Unfortunately, boiling water does not remove fluoride. Instead, it ends up increasing fluoride concentration while some of the boiling water evaporates.
Boiling makes water microbiologically safe, but it doesn’t remove any minerals or salts.
What Does Boiling Water Remove? And Where Does it Fail?
If you think that your water contains cysts, viruses or bacteria, boiling it will help to remove these disease-causing microorganisms. And as a result, you can get water safe to consume.
But boiling doesn’t work against anything other than microorganisms. Granted, it may reduce a few volatile pollutants, but the water treatment method cannot remove contaminants such as lead, nitrates, arsenic, etc.
As mentioned before, quite the opposite is the case. When you boil water you may end up concentrating the level of contaminants.
This implies that a glass of boiled yet cooled water may hold a higher concentration of let’s say chemicals and heavy metals compared to plain water.
How to Remove Fluoride from Water
If the above information has made you concerned and disappointed, remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Boiling water may fail to remove fluoride, but many filters can successfully eliminate it.
According to WQA and EPA, reverse osmosis, bone char and activated alumina are effective, accessible and reliable fluoride water filtration systems. Most importantly, they can provide you with safe and healthy water under your own roof.
Below we have explained each filter method in detail:
Reverse Osmosis Water Purification
Reverse osmosis systems can easily remove 90% and more of the fluoride present in your drinking water. These water filters feature an RO membrane that basically only allows water molecules to pass through it. All the rest faces rejection.
While reverse osmosis is an effective method to remove fluoride and many other contaminants, the technique also eliminates beneficial and healthy minerals from water. Moreover, it wastes quite a lot of untreated water to provide a small quantity of pure, filtered water.
Bone char is a filter media that easily removes heavy metals, fluoride, and some radioactive elements from the water it touches.
If given optimum conditions, bone char can remove up to 95% fluoride. But what are these conditions?
Factors that can affect fluoride removal effectiveness are:
- Preparation method
- Char’s quality
- Presence of other ions that may interfere
Activated Alumina (AA)
Activated alumina is aluminum oxide in solid form and hence quite porous and therefore adsorptive. As a result, it can efficiently adsorb many water contaminants, first and foremost fluoride and arsenic.
But the filter media also has its limitations. Activated alumina doesn’t work with water with pH levels above 8.5. It means that AA does not perform well in highly alkaline water.
If you want to try an activated alumina water filter, we would recommend you choose Berkey.
Interestingly, unlike boiling, distillation can easily remove all fluoride from your drinking water. This method includes two steps.
- First, it heats the water,
- and then it cools the condensate that helps convert the vapor back into liquid.
Water distillation also works effectively against many impurities other than fluoride. In fact, distilled water is among the purest to drink.
Is Fluoride Harmful?
The recommended level of fluoride in public tap water as defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency is 0.7 mg/L. With that said, it is impossible to measure the exact quantity of fluoride consumed by any individual.
In simple terms, you can never know if people are consuming too little or too much on a personal level.
This is not the end of the world however. Fluoride isn’t inherently toxic. Instead, it really helps prevent tooth decay in children. But when overconsumed in amounts much higher than usual, fluoride can cause health problems. Here are a few examples:
- Dental fluorosis can cause disfiguring and discoloration of teeth in children.
- Skeletal fluorosis can result in extreme pain and joint stiffness, and rigidity in teeth.
- Excess fluoride intake can also disrupt basic thyroid functions and result in weight gain and slow metabolism. This condition is referred to as hyperthyroidism.
- Overconsumption of fluoride can result in learning difficulties in young kids. It can also cause sleep disorders and ADHD.
- The salt may initiate cardiovascular and reproductive issues.
Tips to Reduce Your Overall Fluoride Exposure
Below are some easy tips you can apply to reduce your daily fluoride exposure. While filtering the salt out of your drinking water should be your number one priority, you can also follow the steps below for the sake of your health:
Shift to a non-fluoridated toothpaste. If possible, put an end to all your fluoride treatments.
Consume unprocessed and organic food as much as you can. Packaged and inorganic food may have high levels of fluoride.
If you use prescribed medicines containing high fluoride levels, consult your doctor for any available and safe alternatives.
Pots and Pans
Teflon cookware contains fluoride in its coating that can seep into your food while you use it for cooking. It is better to use other alternatives in this case.
Black and Green Tea
Reduce the consumption of black and green tea. While it may vary from area to area, black and green tea leaves may contain significant amounts of fluoride.
Unfortunately, the same rule applies to coffee. You need to reduce your daily caffeine consumption to reduce your fluoride exposure.
In summary, boiling water does not get rid of fluoride.
But it kills cysts, viruses, bacteria and other waterborne microorganisms.
Effective ways to remove fluoride from water are reverse osmosis water purification, and filtration with bone char or activated alumina media. Water distillation works, too.
An overconsumption of fluoride can cause health issues.
If you want to reduce your overall fluoride exposure use non-fluoridated toothpaste and medicine, and lower your daily green tea and coffee intake among other things.
- How to Test for Fluoride in Water?
- Fluoride Test Kit Reviews 2023
- Ceramic Filters and Fluoride Removal
- Does Filtered Water Have Fluoride?
- Explained: Why Water Softeners Cannot Remove Fluoride
Rory has joined the Water Masterz team as a contributing writer. He has covered all sorts of topics in the last several years.
Outside of his writing work, Rory enjoys photographing the Irish landscape and making music!