Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Fluoride?
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a kind of chemical present naturally in groundwater. It is a charged ion found in many natural minerals and rocks. Since it dissolves readily in water, has no odor or taste, and has no visibility in a solution, it is safe for human consumption in low quantities. However, in some cases, groundwater has large amounts of fluoride, which can be toxic to health. With reverse osmosis water purification, it is possible to remove excessive fluoride from water.
According to the US Health and Human Services Department, the recommended fluoride level in drinking water should not be more than 0.7 mg/L. This lowers the dental fluorosis risk among children and adults. That’s why US municipalities have been adding fluoride to household water supply since 1945.
Concerns Regarding Fluoride Consumption.
Generally, municipal drinking water has a fluoride concentration of nearly 1 part to per million gallons of water. At this level, it helps in the prevention of tooth decay. However, some groundwater sources naturally have a higher concentration of fluoride ions due to the dissolved minerals content. The fluoride concentration of 4pppm (per person per month) or above puts people at risk of various health problems such as joints stiffness, skeletal fluorosis, tooth discoloration, etc. So if the groundwater used for drinking has high fluoride levels, it is necessary to treat the water with reverse osmosis to eliminate excess fluoride.
How Reverse Osmosis System Filters Fluoride?
Reverse Osmosis (RO) can help remove fluoride from the water supply effectively because its molecules are larger than the molecules of water. RO system not only removes fluoride but several other contaminants from water.
The RO system forces high water pressure through its semi-permeable membrane having tiny pores that allow only water molecules to pass. It prevents larger molecules of contaminants such as fluoride from going further. It then drains out the residue-contaminated tap water out of the reverse osmosis system.
This process constantly occurs in the RO system, with water entering its chamber and forced through its membrane while wastewater leaving the system through its drainpipe. Like other contaminant molecules, fluoride molecules are too big to pass through the RO system’s semi-permeable membrane. So the system removes them along with most of the other contaminants present in regular tap water.
Are Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Systems for Fluoride?
The amount of fluoride and other contaminants that the reverse osmosis system removes from the water feed depends on the quality of its membrane. But in general, a regular RO system membrane works best for fluoride filtration. It can remove nearly 80% to 90% fluoride from your drinking water. This is why reverse osmosis systems are ideal for those who specifically want to remove fluoride and other contaminants from water.
Potential Disadvantages of Using Reverse Osmosis
Although there are advantages to using a reverse osmosis system for fluoride filtration, it has some disadvantages as well. Some of these are the following:
Wastage of Water
The average ratio of wastewater to filtered water in the RO system is 4:1, respectively. This makes the reverse osmosis system not the most environmentally friendly and economical choice. While some RO systems have a slightly low ratio of wastewater to filtered water, you won’t find any without any wastewater.
Needs Regular Maintenance
Regular RO systems have 3 to 4 filtration stages for treating water. It means it requires three to four types of filters having different life spans. So you regularly need to change the filter membranes to keep the system working correctly and efficiently.
Removes Even Healthy Minerals
Reverse Osmosis filtration not just targets fluoride molecules but also removes other minerals that are healthy for you, such as magnesium and calcium.
If you want to remove excess fluoride from your water supply, a reverse osmosis system is the right choice. However, make sure to consider its disadvantages as well when making your selection.