Fluoride and Chlorine Filtration
Dear Nancy, what if the public water is not suitable for drinking because it contains fluoride? What system do you recommend then?
And if I use a whole house system and it reduces the chlorine content, will the pipes harvest bacteria?
How often do you need to bypass the filter to flush the pipes out with the unfiltered public water that contains high amounts of chlorine?
I agree with you that fluoridated water is not suitable for drinking. For any of our visitors reading this post who might want to read more about the health risks associated with drinking fluoridated water, you can check out this article: Fluoride in Water – Do Not Swallow What You Have Been Told
The crazy thing is that the fluoride that is added to water often contains other unhealthy (toxic) contaminants such as mercury, lead and arsenic. In addition, scientific studies have proven there is no good reason to add fluoride to the water supply—and yet they continue to do so.
1. To answer your first question, then, about water systems that effectively remove fluoride:
There are four methods recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Water Quality Association (WQA) to remove fluoride from drinking water.
These four methods include bone char carbon, activated alumina (or synthetic aluminum oxide), distillation and reverse osmosis (RO).
Even though distillation and reverse osmosis do remove fluoride, I do not recommend drinking these waters for long-term use since they are de-mineralized. In addition, these water purification processes do not remove some of the other contaminants that other filtration media remove.
Distilled Water – Is It Healthy or Not?
Reverse Osmosis Water – Health Advantages and Disadvantages
Thus, I recommend investing in a multi-cartridge water filter system that has a cartridge designated for fluoride removal, usually 98 percent or more. By the way, the activated alumina and bone char will also remove arsenic, lead, other highly toxic water contaminants.
Water filter systems that contain some bone char carbon or some activated alumina in a multi-media cartridge will most likely NOT remove a high percentage of fluoride. Fluoride removal usually requires its own separate water filtration cartridge in a multi-cartridge water filter system.
The company Crystal Quest has a diverse range of types and levels of filtration for a wide variety of contaminants, including fluoride. You can check out the Crystal Quest fluoride filters here.
2. If you use a whole house system and it reduces the chlorine content, will the pipes harvest bacteria? How often do you need to bypass the filter to flush the pipes out with the unfiltered public water that contains high amounts of chlorine?
According to one of my filter tech advisers, the water will not harvest bacteria as long as it is flowing. If you were to leave your house for a week or more and the water is stagnant in the pipes, it could harvest bacteria.
The tech said that if you are going to be gone for any length of time, you should bypass the water filter system to allow the chlorinated water to get into the house pipes to prevent bacteria growth. When you return to your house, let the water run through your filter system for 5 minutes or so to flush the chlorinated water out of the pipes.
I hope this helps!
Nancy's Update (October 2016):
In general, I do not recommend drinking distilled or reverse osmosis water for ongoing use because these waters are de-mineralized.
However, some companies are now providing re-mineralization cartridges to their reverse osmosis systems, making these systems a good option, because I believe reverse osmosis is the most effective for removing fluoride, per specific certification reports.
You can read more on this page about a few good reverse osmosis drinking water systems with re-mineralization.