Fluoride in tap water

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States Affected
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People Affected
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Toxicity Rating
Health Effects

Bone disease, pain and tenderness of the bones, mottled teeth, discoloration, dental fluorosis

The legal limit is
Health Guideline
what is considered unhealthy
Legal Limit
4 ppm
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a chemical compound added to 75% of tap water supplies in the U.S. on the pretext of promoting dental health. However, fluoride has been shown to do more damage to general health compared to its proclaimed benefits for dental health. In fact, water fluoridation may actually have no impact on dental health at all.
The chemical contaminants widely referred to as ''fluoride'' include fluoride, sodium fluoride, and hydrofluorosilicic acid. None of these are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).3 This means fluoridation chemicals have not undergone testing like medicines do because fluoride is considered a tap water ''additive'' and not a medication. This classification was issued and still stands despite the fact that it is backwards—fluoride is added to drinking water to treat cavities and tooth decay in people, not to treat the water.
Most of the fluoridation chemicals used are by-products of chemical manufacturing processes, specifically those from the phosphate fertilizer industry. This ''industrial grade'' is allowable under law and is far from the pharmaceutical grade required for medications. None of the chemicals used to fluoridate water are natural nutrients, which means the body does not need fluoride in any form—period.
Why is fluoride in my tap water?
Fluoride was artificially introduced as a tap water additive in 1945 to prevent cavities because it helps kill cavity-causing bacteria. Today it is added to 75% of U.S. tap water supplies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorses its use and even considers fluoridation of community water supplies to be one of the greatest health achievements of the 20th century.
However, studies have struggled to show that improvements in dental health are directly the result of fluoride and are not attributed in great part to improved access to dentists, dental care technology—even toothbrushes—that has occurred since the introduction of water fluoridation.
Fluoride can also show up in tap water as a result of erosion of natural deposits and in discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories. Naturally occurring fluoride is extremely rare. In the few cases where it does occur, the levels are usually too high and need to be removed to make water safe to drink.
Why is fluoride in my tap water harmful?
The addition of fluoride to 75% of U.S. tap water supplies is concerning, considering fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouthwashes have warning labels to contact poison control if even a pea-sized amount is swallowed. That’s because fluoride is most effective when applied topically, meaning to the surface of teeth, and harmful when consumed.
Ingesting excess fluoride is associated with bone disease, pain and tenderness of the bones, mottled teeth, discoloration, and dental fluorosis, which shows up most commonly as white or brown stains on the surface of teeth and causes permanent damage to the enamel. Many parts of the world recognize the dangers of fluoride, including Europe where many countries have banned it from drinking water.
How much fluoride is safe?
The “legal” limit for fluoride, set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is 4.0 parts per million (ppm). However, the safe Public Health Service limit is 0.7 ppm. This means your water can contain 5 times the safe limit and still be considered legally acceptable by the EPA’s standards.
The fluoride concentration of tap water is the same for everyone, from toddlers to NFL linebackers. So what might be safe for one person might not be safe for everyone. In fact, recent studies show that up to 40% of kids and adolescents show signs of excess fluoride exposure. The rates of dental fluorosis in children have also increased more than fourfold since the process of fluoridation began.
Additionally, the CDC warns mothers of babies and young children about using fluoridated tap water for mixing infant formula: “If your child is only consuming infant formula mixed with fluoridated water, there may be an increased chance for mild dental fluorosis.”
What can I do about fluoride in my tap water?
Clearly Filtered® with Affinity® Filtration Technology gives you the power to remove up to 99.5% of fluoride from your tap water, giving you peace of mind that comes from knowing your drinking water is finally clean and safe.
Removing fluoride is typically not easy to do and requires a specific type of filtration technology. This is why most standard filters do not remove fluoride. Clearly Filtered with Affinity Filtration Technology is different, offering you removal of fluoride and up to 270+ other contaminants—more than any other filter of it its kind.
How does Clearly Filtered do at Removing Fluoride in tap water?
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Fluoride in tap water Removal

1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Community water fluoridation. Fluoridation Statistics. https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/statistics/2014stats.htm . Accessed June 30, 2019.

2. Fluoride Action Network. Water Fluoridation. http://fluoridealert.org/issues/water/ . Accessed June 30, 2019.

3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Does FDA regulate fluoride in drinking water. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/QuestionsAnswers/ucm576374.htm . Accessed June 30, 2019.

4. Fluoride Action Network. Statements from European health, water, & environment authorities on water fluoridation. http://fluoridealert.org/content/europe-statements/ . Accessed June 30, 2019.

5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Panel on Community Water Fluoridation. U.S. Public Health Service recommendation for fluoride concentration in drinking water for the prevention of dental cavities. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4547570/ . Accessed June 30, 2019.

6. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. National primary drinking water regulations. https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-anddrinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations . Accessed June 30, 2019.

7. Beltran-Aguilar ED, Barker L, Dye BA. Prevalence and severity of dental fluorosis in the United States, 1999-2004. NCHS Data Brief. 2010;53:1-8.

8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infant formula. https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/faqs/infant-formula.html . Accessed June 30, 2019.

9. EWG Tap Water Database. Fluoride. https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/contaminant.php?contamcode=1025. Accessed June 16, 2021.