Sipping a glass of clear, clean water goes hand-in-hand with a healthy lifestyle, but how pure is your drinking water – and could using a water filter make it healthier?
Chemicals are added to the water supply for a number of reasons – not least to keep it clean - but one of the more controversial additions is fluoride. Around 25 countries add fluoride to their drinking water to improve the dental health of the population by helping to reduce cavities and tooth decay.
In the UK, fluoride has been added to the drinking water of around 5.8 million people – around 1mg per litre of water. In the United States, 194 million people drink water that has had fluoride added to it.
In the UK it is the choice of the local authority to add fluoride to drinking water. A report by The Telegraph showed those areas include parts of Cumbria, Cheshire, Tyneside, Northumbria, Durham, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, the West Midlands and Bedfordshire.
What exactly is the fluoride added to water?
Leaving no taste or smell in the water, fluoride is added as either sodium fluoride, fluorosilicic acid, or sodium fluorosilicate. Fluorosilicic acid is a waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry. Opponents are concerned about the health implications of adding such toxic chemicals to drinking water.
Fluoride also occurs naturally in drinking water and bottled water can also contain amounts of fluoride, although the levels are often unknown.
Health concerns over fluoride
Despite claims of success, adding fluoride to drinking water has not always met with approval – or even agreement. Many countries believe the fluoride in toothpaste and other dental solutions is enough to protect teeth.
While critics are concerned about the need and impact of adding unnecessary chemicals to drinking water. They believe fluoride can potentially cause serious health problems.
Dental fluorosis is a recognised side effect of drinking water with fluoride added to it that can cause discolouration of the teeth as a result of excessive childhood exposure to fluoride.
While studies have failed to show any concrete link between the use of fluoride in drinking water and more serious illnesses, incidents of accidental over-fluoridation in the United States has led to outbreaks of fluoride poisoning, causing vomiting and diarrhoea.
A number of countries in Europe, which did introduce fluoride to drinking water in the 1950s, have long since abandoned the practice, including Germany, Holland, Sweden and Finland.
How to remove fluoride from water
The optimal way to reduce unwanted naturally occurring and added fluoride to safe levels in your drinking water is to install a fitted water filter to your kitchen tap. Doulton Water Filters has developed a dedicated fluoride reduction cartridge that can be used as part of a filtration system to remove impurities and unwanted chemicals from your family’s drinking water.