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Fluoride in Your Water?

Water fluoridation is the practice of adding industrial-grade fluoride chemicals to water for the purpose of preventing tooth decay. One of the little known facts about this practice is that the United States, which fluoridates over 70% of its water supplies, has more people drinking fluoridated water than the rest of the world combined. Most developed nations, including all of Japan and 97% of western Europe, do not fluoridate their water.

In the United States, the Oral Health Division of the Centers Disease Control (CDC) hails fluoridation as one of the “top ten public health achievements of the 20th century.” However, comprehensive data from the World Health Organization reveals that there is no discernible difference in tooth decay between the minority of western nations that fluoridate water, and the majority that do not. In fact, the tooth decay rates in many non-fluoridated countries are now lower than the tooth decay rates in fluoridated ones.

As is becoming increasingly clear, fluoridating water supplies is an outdated, unnecessary, and dangerous relic from a 1950s public health culture that viewed mass distribution of chemicals much differently than scientists do today. The few nations that still fluoridate their water should end the practice. Here’s three reasons why...

3 Reasons to End Water Fluoridation

Reason #1: Fluoridation Is an Outdated Form of Mass Medication

  • Unlike all other water treatment processes, fluoridation does not treat the water itself, but the person consuming it. The Food & Drug Administration accepts that fluoride is a drug, not a nutrient, when used to prevent disease. By definition, therefore, fluoridating water is a form of medication. This is why most western European nations have rejected the practice — because, in their view, the public water supply is not an appropriate place to be adding drugs, particularly when fluoride is readily available for individual use in the form of toothpaste.

Reason #2: Fluoridation Is Unnecessary and Ineffective

  • The most obvious reason to end fluoridation is that it is now known that fluoride’s main benefit comes from topical contact with the teeth, not from ingestion. Even the CDC’s Oral Health Division now acknowledges this. There is simply no need, therefore, to swallow fluoride, whether in the water, toothpaste, or any other form. Further, despite early claims that fluoridated water would reduce cavities by 65%, modern large-scale studies show no consistent or meaningful difference in the cavity rates of fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas.


Reason #3: Fluoridation Is Not a Safe Practice

  • The most important reason to end fluoridation is that it is simply not a safe practice, particularly for those who have health conditions that render them vulnerable to fluoride’s toxic effects.


Single Fluoride Reduction Cartridge w/Housing
Fluoride-Arsenic-Lead-Chlorine-Sediment-E.Coli-Bacteria-VOC Double Filter w/Housing
Fluoride Filter

First, there is no dispute that fluoridation is causing millions of children to develop dental fluorosis, a discoloration of the teeth that is caused by excessive fluoride intake. Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control have even acknowledged that fluoridation is causing “cosmetically objectionable” fluorosis on children’s front teeth–an effect that can cause children embarrassment and anxiety at an age when physical appearance is the single most important predictor of self-esteem.

Second, it is known that fluoridated water caused severe bone disease in dialysis patients up until the late 1970s (prior to dialysis units filtering fluoride). While dialysis units now filter out the fluoride, research shows that current fluoride exposures are still resulting in dangerously high bone fluoride levels in dialysis patients and patients with other advanced forms of kidney disease. It is unethical to compromise the health of some members in a population to obtain a purported benefit for another — particularly in the absence of these vulnerable members’ knowing consent.

And, finally, a growing body of evidence reasonably indicates that fluoridated water, in addition to other sources of daily fluoride exposure, can cause or contribute to a range of serious effects, including arthritis, damage to the developing brain, reduced thyroid function, and possibly osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in adolescent males.


Communities Are Starting to Get the Message

In recent years, communities throughout the United States and Canada have started to reassess the conventional wisdom of fluoridating their water.  Many of these communities, including over 50 since 2010, are reaching the obvious conclusion: when stripped of its endorsements, well-meaning intentions, and PR-praise, fluoridation simply makes no sense.
Europe reached this conclusion a long time ago. It is now time for the U.S. and other English-speaking nations to  follow suit.

Infant Exposure

"Fluoride is now introduced at a much earlier stage of human development than ever before and consequently alters the normal fluoride-pharmacokinetics in infants. But can one dramatically increase the normal fluoride-intake to infants and get away with it?" - Dr. Jennifer Luke.

Of all age groups, infants are the most vulnerable to fluoride toxicity. Due to their small size, infants receive up to 400% more fluoride (per pound of body weight) than adults consuming the same level of fluoride in water. Not only do infants receive a larger dose, they have an impaired ability to excrete fluoride through their kidneys. Healthy adults can excrete more than 50% of an ingested fluoride dose; infants, by contrast, can only excrete 15 to 20%. This leads to a greater build-up of fluoride in the body, and may help explain why infants fed formula made with fluoridated water suffer higher rates of dental fluorosis, a discoloration of the teeth caused by excessive fluoride ingestion during childhood.

Teeth are not the only tissue that can be affected by fluoride exposure during infancy. A baby’s blood brain barrier is not fully developed at birth, and this allows fluoride, a neurotoxin, greater access to the brain than in later periods in life. Over 30 studies have associated elevated fluoride exposure with neurological impairment in children, which may, in part, result from fluoride’s affect on the thyroid gland. In light of the serious nature of these effects, and the lack of benefit from pre-eruptive ingestion of fluoride, basic precautionary principles strongly counsel against exposing infants to any fluoride.

Concerns about the wisdom of supplementing an infant’s diet with fluoride are being voiced by even ardent pro-fluoride dental organizations. In 1994, the American Dental Association (ADA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) reversed their decades-long policy of recommending that doctors prescribe fluoride supplements to newborn infants. While these organizations have refrained from taking the obvious step of recommending that fluoridated water not be be added to infant formula (a practice that exposes infants to nearly 4 times more fluoride than supplements) a growing number of prominent dental researchers have made this recommendation.


Fluoride is a highly toxic substance.

Consider, for example, the poison warning that the FDA now requires on all fluoride toothpastes sold in the U.S. or the tens of millions of people throughout China and India who now suffer serious crippling bone diseases from drinking water with elevated levels of fluoride.

In terms of acute toxicity (i.e., the dose that can cause immediate toxic consequences), fluoride is more toxic than lead, but slightly less toxic than arsenic. This is why fluoride has long been used in rodenticides and pesticides to kill pests like rats and insects. It is also why accidents involving over-ingestion of fluoridated dental products–including fluoride gels, fluoride supplements, and fluoridated water–can cause serious poisoning incidents, including death.

The debate today, however, is not about fluoride’s acute toxicity, but its chronic toxicity (i.e., the dose of fluoride that if regularly consumed over an extended period of time can cause adverse effects). The concerns with fluoride are primarily as follows:

  • Current safety standards only protect against the most obvious forms of harm: Current safety standards for fluoride are based on the premise that severe dental fluorosis and crippling skeletal fluorosis are the first adverse effects that fluoride can have on the body. These effects represent the crudest, most obvious tell-tale harm caused by fluoride. In the words of American University chemistry professor, Dr. William Hirzy, it would be a “biological miracle” if fluoride did not cause other harm prior to producing these end-stage forms of toxicity. Research already shows, in fact, that fluoride can cause arthritic symptoms and bone fracture well before the onset of crippling fluorosis, and can affect many other tissues besides bone and teeth, including the brain and thyroid gland.
  • The current “safe” daily dose for fluoride fails to withstand scrutiny: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) states that anyone over 8 years of age — irrespective of their health condition — can safely ingest 10 milligrams of fluoride each day for their entire life without developing symptomatic bone damage. Ten milligrams, however, is the same dose that the IOM concedes can cause clinical signs of skeletal fluorosis within just 1o to 20 years of exposure. On its face, a dose that causes clinical fluorosis in just 10 to 20 years can not be considered a safe lifetime dose, particularly since — contrary to IOM’s claim — clinical fluorosis is not asymptomatic, as it can not only cause chronic joint pain, but overt osteoarthritis as well. The IOM’s safety standard instills little confidence, therefore, in the medical understanding that currently underlies fluoride policies in the U.S.
  • Some people are particularly susceptible to fluoride toxicity: It is well known that individual susceptibility to fluoride varies greatly across the population, and yet, the National Research Council has recently found that breathtakingly large gaps still exist in the safety literature on the effects these populations may be experiencing as a result of current fluoride exposures. The bewildering degree of uncertainties identified by the NRC stands in stark contrast to the IOM’s conclusion that 10 mg/day is so definitively safe that no “uncertainty factor” needs to be applied to protect vulnerable members of the population.
  • The margin between the toxic and therapeutic dose is very narrow: The NRC concluded that the allegedly “safe” upper limit of fluoride in water (4 mg/l) is toxic to human health. While the NRC did not determine the safe level, their conclusion means that the safe level is less than 4 times the level added to water (0.7-1.2 mg/l) in community fluoridation programs. This is far too slim a margin to protect vulnerable members of the population, including those who consume high amounts of water.

Although fluoride advocates have claimed for years that the safety of fluoride in dentistry is exhaustively documented and “beyond debate,” the Chairman of NRC’s comprehensive fluoride review, Dr. John Doull, recently stated that: ”when we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this [fluoridation] has been going on. I think that’s why fluoridation is still being challenged so many years after it began.”

Environmental Protection Agency’s Headquarters Office in Washington D.C. stated: “we hold that water fluoridation is an unreasonable risk.” The research in this section helps to demonstrate why EPA’s own scientists reached this conclusion, and why a growing number of health professionals do so as well.

Sources of Fluoride

  • Dental Products: Many dental products now contain fluoride, including over 95% of toothpaste. Studies show that a significant number of children swallow more fluoride from toothpaste alone than is recommended as a total daily ingestion.
  • Processed Beverages & Foods: Even if you don’t live in a community that adds fluoride to its water supply, you will still be exposed to fluoridated drinking water. This is because once fluoride is added en masse to water it winds in almost all processed beverages and foods. In the U.S., studies have shown that sodas, juices, sports drinks, beers, and many other processed foods, including infant foods, now have elevated fluoride levels.
  • Pesticides: Due its toxicity, fluoride is used in some pesticides to kill insects and other pests. As a result of fluoride pesticide use, some food products–particularly grape products, dried fruit, dried beans, cocoa powder, and walnuts–have high levels of fluoride. Read more.
  • Tea Drinks: Tea plants absorb fluoride from the soil. As a result, tea leaves–particularly old tea leaves–contain high levels of fluoride. Brewed black tea averages about 3 to 4 parts ppm fluoride, while commercial iced tea drinks contain between 1 and 4 ppm. As a result of these elevated levels, numerous studies have linked excessive tea consumption to a bone disease (skeletal fluorosis) caused by too much fluoride intake.
  • Fluorinated Pharmaceuticals: Many pharmaceuticals are fluorinated, meaning they contain a carbon-fluorine bond. fluorine.” Although the carbon-fluoride bond in most drugs is strong enough to resist breaking down into fluoride within the body, this is not always the case as research has found that some fluorinated drugs, including cipro, do break down into fluoride and can thus be a major source of fluoride exposure for some individuals.
  • Mechanically Deboned Meat: Foods made with mechanically separated meat (e.g., chicken fingers, nuggets, etc), contain elevated levels of fluoride due to the contamination from bone particles that occurs during the mechanical deboning processed. Mechanically processed chicken meats have the highest levels, with chicken sticks containing an average of 3.6 ppm. Read more
  • Teflon Pans: Cooking food, or boiling water, in teflon pans may increase the fluoride content of food. In one study, it was found that boiling water in a teflon pan for just 15 minutes added an additional 2 ppm of fluoride to the water, thus bringing the final concentration to 3 ppm. Read more (Full & Parkins 1975).
  • Workplace Exposure: Fluoride is a common air contaminant in industrial workplaces. As a result, workers in many heavy industries — including the aluminum, fertilizer, iron, oil refining, semi-conductor, and steel industries — can be routinely exposed to high levels of fluoride exposure. In addition to being a significant risk factor for respiratory disease; airborne fluorides can be a huge daily source fluoride intake.

Filtering out Fluoride

There are two basic types of water filter. Those that are installed inside a water ionizer and those that are installed outside a water ionizer or as a standalone filter. External filter systems can be configured in any number of stages with each stage removing a particular type or group of contaminants. Removing one type or group of contaminants is often considered a 1-Stage filter (i.e. removing either chlorine, fluoride-lead-arsenic, or nitrates). Filters can be combined to form any number of stages to form: 2-Stage, 3-Stage, and even 7-Stage (i.e. reverse osmosis) filter systems. How many stages you need to filter your water depends on the possible contaminants in your water. The most common water contaminants include:

By combining different filters into a 2-Stage or 3-Stage system, you can remove multiple contaminants to produce a higher quality drinking water than with just a 1-Stage filter. Reverse osmosis filtration systems are more expensive, however, they are recommended for removing the highest percent (up to 99%) of contaminants from your water.

Please contact our customer support center for help with your water ionizer questions.

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