We're sure you've heard it before-- the encouragement to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate in order to keep yourself happy and healthy. It's true that water makes up 60% of the human body. With that said, how could you ever think about poisoning that same body with water that's contaminated?
If you had a choice, you wouldn't. The good news is-- you definitely have that choice. That's where we come in.
A fluoride filter is one such opportunity to provide yourself and your loved ones with clean water, free of contaminants, toxins, impurities, and pesky fluoride. Ever wonder about the latter? We've got you covered in this complete guide to fluoride science and its impact on the body.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in your bones and teeth. Most often associated with a trip to the dentist, it's actually found frequently in:
- water sources
Surprisingly, there are a few food sources that also contain trace amounts of fluoride (in micrograms). These include:
- Grapes and raisins
- Black tea
- Raw fruit
Some manufacturers make products and materials out of fluoride. Common products are:
- Medical imaging tools
- Pesticides and cleaning chemicals
- Teflon, steel, and aluminum products
This means that you are most likely consuming a regular amount of fluoride every day. This is especially true if you consume water from a public source or normal city tap water. It's not healthy for children or adults to over-consume fluoride-- especially when it is so present in so many of the foods and liquids we consume on a daily basis.
Most commonly, dentists supposedly use fluoride aggressively to strengthen tooth enamel (the outer layer of your teeth) and combat cavities. Scientists claim to have seen fluoride slow down the loss of natural minerals from the enamel, and prevent the growth of harmful (and smelly) mouth bacteria.
Most over-the-counter dental products contain some amount of fluoride. This includes supplements, toothpaste, and mouthwash.
It is widely known that fluoride is added at low levels to public water sources as a public health measure. This practice is highly controversial and a potential health risk to all humans regularly consuming this water. If you have questions regarding the practice where you live, we highly recommend reaching out to your local government for more information.
History of Fluoride In Water Sources
Local governments began adding fluoride to public water sources in the early 40s and 50s after scientists made a point to study the use of fluoride exposure. Most notably, the community of Grand Rapids, Michigan made history in 1945 for being the first city in the world to add fluoride to tap water. This was done after scientists claimed a link between high levels of naturally occurring fluoride in certain water supplies around the country to low levels of tooth decay in the human population.
After fluoridation began at regular intervals, continued studies on the schoolchildren in Grand Rapids saw a significantly lower rate of cavities in subjects. Because of this, water fluoridation spread to other American towns and cities and was later adopted around the world in countries like:
- South Korea
- New Zealand
From 2000 to 2004, 125 towns in 36 American states voted to adopt fluoridation.
At the time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation as "one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century."
*Please note: The fluoride used in water is NOT naturally occurring. The main chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are known as hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate.
Many years later, experts are now questioning the science behind the fluoridation of public water sources. In 2015, a network of researchers and health care professionals called The Cochrane Collaboration published a rigorous scientific review and analysis of those former studies on water fluoridation.
The collective found that though water fluoridation is effective at reducing tooth decay among children, the studies didn't actually explore the effectiveness of water fluoridation for preventing cavities in adults. Therefore, no studies met the review's criteria or even conducted prior to 1975. This meant that the age of the studies as well as the methods used and the reporting of the results were potentially flawed.
Additionally, the early studies did not take into account the widespread use of toothpaste containing fluoride and other dental products. These products have been linked to other countries that have also seen significant drops in cavity rates.
WHO and EPA Guidelines
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides guidelines for consumption that can help humans avoid long-term health problems. For fluoride consumption, the WHO has maintained that long-term exposure to drinking water that contains more than 1.5 ppm (parts per million) fluoride is dangerous to humans.
How Much Does the EPA Allow?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dedicates themselves to protecting people from over-exposure to toxic chemicals. They often provide baseline recommendations to protect public safety and follow up on reports of toxic chemicals in order to avoid a public health crisis.
Their maximum level of acceptable fluoride consumption is set at 4 ppm, and a secondary maximum level at 2 ppm. If you discover that fluoride levels are above 2 ppm, the EPA has asked that you contact them immediately. Levels over 4ppm can be extremely dangerous to human consumption.
The United States Public Health Service
Beginning in 1962, the United States Public Health Service (PHS) published that public water supplies now contain between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter of drinking water. This was done for the "welfare of public health" in order to help prevent tooth decay.
This recommendation was later updated in 2015 to a safe fluoride level of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of drinking water. As humans continue to consume fluoride in other ways (usually through regulated dental products), the need for fluoride in drinking water is less and less clear. This recommendation has not been updated in the last seven years.
Potential Side Effects of Fluoride in Water
Why bother with a fluoride water filter? The potential side effects presented argue for a Berkey Fluoride filter in your home as soon as possible. Common side effects that one may notice include seizures, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, though the potential side effects have been notably greater.
The results are concerning. While fluoridation in water may not be the cause of new seizures in patients, studies have shown that fluoride consumption may increase the risk of seizures in those who are vulnerable.
Even the World Health Organization acknowledges that high-level exposure to fluoride can lead to immediate side effects like seizures. It is a toxin, after all, and high to moderate amounts of this element may cause damage to the nervous system.
If you’re already prone to seizures, make sure to filter your water. Too much consumption of fluoride can cause a serious seizure, or trigger multiple seizures.
The WHO reports that exposure to high amounts of fluoride also commonly causes excessive salivation. If you notice that you are salivating excessively, talk to your doctor right away. This salivation may link to an increased risk for seizures or cause a detriment to oral health down the road if not taken care of.
While salivation may relate to other serious health problems, it can also be annoying for those who have to deal with it. Excessive saliva can be embarrassing, and also can be a detriment to your overall oral health.
High Blood Pressure
Research indicates there is a significant relationship between high blood pressure and the fluoride we consume. A study in Mexico noted this correlation, as they studied the addition of fluoride in table salt. This is a practice performed in Mexico to reduce the risk of cavities.
The research found that higher fluoride exposure at the levels observed in this table salt study was directly linked to increased levels of cardiometabolic risk factors in Mexican girls.
Additionally, a study conducted in Iran found that water with too much fluoride was significantly linked to higher blood pressure in subjects. This study, published in 2011, further demonstrates the risk of fluoride in water sources.
High exposure to fluoride may cause hormonal imbalance as it affects levels of androgens and progesterone. If you suffer from hormonal imbalances or acne, you may want to review your consumption of the following sources:
- Fluoridated water
- Mouthwash and toothpaste
- Antidepressants and other medications
- Processed foods
- Milk powder
- Fluoridated salt
While keeping your face clean and eating a healthy diet can help with keeping your skin clear and your hormones healthy, this might not be the only source of your skin issues. If your breakouts are reoccurring and you drink water from a public source, check your exposure to fluoride.
Some studies have noted the disruption of normal thyroid function after prolonged exposure to fluoride. In 2015, a British study found a correlation between fluoride in drinking water and an underactive thyroid. The results were significant.
2012 national data on levels of fluoride in drinking water was compared to look for trends in underactive thyroid diagnoses (known as hypothyroidism). They found that in communities where fluoride levels were greater than 0.3 milligrams per liter, the chance of having an underactive thyroid rose by an entire 30 percent.
It was similarly found that hypothyroidism rates were nearly double in regions that added fluoride to their tap water, compared with places that did not practice water fluoridation.
Fluoride may impact young children as their brain swiftly develops. Exposure to fluoride may lead to low scores in IQ tests and poor cognitive outcomes.
According to one study on the average IQs of 8,000 school children, those exposed to large amounts of fluoride were found to have suffered a loss of seven IQ points on average. There also may be a link between fluoride consumption and ADHD.
The US National Toxicology Program studied lab animals and their contact with fluoridated drinking water in a 1990 study. Their research found evidence of the cancer-causing potential of fluoridated drinking water in male rats, based on a higher than expected number of cases of bone cancer.
Compared to other types of cancer, bone cancer seems to be the highest risk for those consuming fluoridated water. This is likely because of how fluoride collects on growing areas of bones. These areas are called "growth plates," and are usually where bone cancer initially develops.
The running theory is that fluoride may initiate faster growth in the calls of growth plates, which might make them more likely to eventually become cancerous.
Tooth Discoloration and Tooth Decay
Too much fluoride exposure has been linked to fluorosis, a condition that causes staining and pitting on teeth.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contends that you are only likely to develop fluorosis until you are eight years old, the staining and pitting on teeth may be permanent. Yellowing and browning may occur that require professional assistance in order to whiten or remove permanent staining.
While the use of fluoride is intended to combat tooth decay, too much fluoride that causes pitting may increase the risk of tooth decay. It also weakens the enamel, which is especially significant in young children who are still developing strong bones and teeth.
While fluorosis is most often affiliated with oral health, this condition can extend to skeletal health. Endemic skeletal fluorosis, or, "skeletal fluorosis," slowly develops over time and can be seen through joint pain and stiffness in the body. It is extremely difficult to reverse through treatment and therapy.
Patients who suffer from skeletal fluorosis struggle have similar symptoms and experiences as those diagnosed with osteoporosis. Weakened joints may be easily fractured or broken. Movement may be limited and painful.
In some patients, their bone structure may even change as tissue grows or is impeded by calcification.
In extreme cases of skeletal fluorosis, patients may experience abnormal tissue growth and extreme calcification. This was shown in a 2015 case study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology Journal that documented "hard, fixed masses" on the arms and legs of a 72-year-old man. This was directly linked to fluoride toxicity and was extremely painful for the subject being studied.
This extreme skeletal fluorosis is sometimes called "crippling skeletal fluorosis" and may also cause spinal cord compression down the road.
Aside from the presence of fluoride in your local water systems, a number of other contaminants may exist in unfiltered water. Depending on the municipality, scientists have found viruses, pesticides, chemicals, and bacteria in water all over the country.
Even if your water is "legally safe" by your government standards and the EWG (Environmental Working Group), those testing results may not be recent.
Filter your water with the right filtration system in order to avoid a variety of illness-inducing contaminants.
Video: Michael Connett, Fluoride & The Brain
The Benefits of a Water Filter
Drinking water helps the human body release toxins-- unless the water is host to a variety of toxins itself. The benefits of filtering tap water include:
- Digestion support
- Effective body detox
- Better and increased hydration
- It improves the health of your skin
- The taste improves
- Filtering protects you from contaminants
What's there to lose? Don't wait to take care of your body.
How Does a Fluoride Filter Work?
A water filter for fluoride removal might seem complex. Let us break it down for you.
Berkey fluoride filters are what's known as "gravity filters."
A gravity-fed water filter system contains micro-pores within a self-sterilizing and cleanable purification element. The micro-pores in the filter are so tiny that pathogenic bacteria are not able to get through.
In order for it to work, water must first be fed into a tank. The weight of the water results in a constant flow through the filters. That purified water is then gathered in a tank under the filtration system and is ready to drink.
While all gravity-fed water filtration systems work the same way, you'll want to consider the tank capacity, speed of filtration, and the quality of water you're using to send through the system. Check out the Berkey systems to see if they're a good fit for what you're looking for!
How to Reduce Your Fluoride Exposure
Reduce your intake of toxic fluoride. Take these steps in your daily life to protect your body and the potential side effects of consuming too much fluoride:
- Use a Berkey filter when drinking public water
- Avoid taking fluoride supplements
- Limit soda drinking as it's usually made with fluoridated water
- If buying bottled water, choose water purified using reverse osmosis or distillation
- Use toothpaste that doesn't contain fluoride
- Avoid drinking black or red tea with high naturally-occurring amounts of fluoride
- Choose organic fruits and vegetables that do not contain a high-fluoride residue from watering and pesticide use
- Avoid canned food and fish in a tin
- Avoid mechanically deboned chicken, as fluoride is used in the de-boning process
- Avoid black or red rock salt
- Avoid using chewing tobacco
- Rinse your mouth well after using fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash
It's never too late to start implementing one of many of these habits into your day-to-day routine!
Know the Amount of Fluoride In Your Water
If your drinking water comes from a public source, it's easy to learn about the levels of fluoride in your drinking water by contacting your local community water system. Your community water system is also required to provide customers with an annual water quality report called a Consumer Confidence Report. This report will list the levels of certain substances and chemicals in the water-- including fluoride!
If you get your drinking water from a well or other type of private water source can have fluoride levels tested by a trusted laboratory.
If necessary, you may contact the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 for more information about safe water sources and fluoride levels.
The Berkey Flouride Filter
The Berkey fluoride filter is designed specifically for maintaining a barrier against fluoride and other unhealthy contaminants. Additionally, the device filters out the pre-oxidized arsenic III, arsenic V and other heavy metals quite successfully. This is done through its proprietary reduction method.
With this proprietary reduction method, the reduction rate efficacy is at 95% or better.
Berkey filters should be replaced every six months or after every 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters). Once you exceed this use, the filter efficiency decreases.
The Berkey fluoride water filter has quite a few benefits after installation. These include:
- The removal of fluoride
- Long-lasting filters
- Great-tasting water (no negative effects from filtering)
- Easy to install on a water cooler
- Quick and smooth water flow after installation
These filters also remove other dangerous heavy metal ions. These include:
- Other toxic chemicals
Water pressure or electricity is not required to use these filters, as the system relies on gravity in order to work. To use the filter, add water into the upper chamber of your tank and let it filter through to the bottom chamber where it is ready to drink.
These filters are portable and allow users to take them on a trip or with them during an emergency. They are extremely cost-effective and worth the money once you taste the fresh, pure, clean water produced by the Berkey filter system.
Filter Your Water
Are you ready to take your health into your own hands? To us, that decision starts with the water that you drink.
Berkey filtration systems are the highest quality and most powerful filters available all over the world. They have the most rigid testing out of similar water purification products on the market. Find your next fluoride filter by browsing our catalog today.