So back to the problem of drinking fluoride – or rather, how to avoid that problem to begin with.
The answer isn’t necessarily bottled water. Bottled waters vary widely in quality. Some are no more than packaged water from municipal supplies. Where those supplies are fluoridated, so is the bottled water. Sometimes the water is even deliberately fluoridated by the packer/manufacturer.
If you must go for bottled water, spring water can be a good option, though some of these can contain fair amounts of naturally occurring fluoride.
Fortunately, knowledgeable folks have compiled lists of brands, organized by fluoride content – or lack thereof. One of the most comprehensive we’ve found is this one from The Hearty Soul.
One of the other big issues with bottled water is that it’s almost always supplied in plastic. This is a problem for both the health of our environment, as well as our personal health. Chemicals used in making plastic can wind up in the water – and it’s not just the endocrine disrupting BPA that’s the problem.
Items that are free of BPA often contain other chemicals that behave in much the same way – leaching into foods and drinks. After being absorbed by the body, the chemicals mimic the hormone estrogen, increasing the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, and reproductive problems. And it’s not just BPA. In one recent study, pthalates, a compound found in plastics, were linked to a 20 percent reduction in male fertility.
It was recently reported that bottled water contains nearly twice as many microplastic particles per liter as tap water. This potential hazard is thought to result from the manufacturing process itself.
The best option is to purify your drinking water yourself and store it in non-plastic containers afterwards. But what’s the best way to purify it?
One method is distillation, in which you boil your water to steam, then condense the steam into water. But not only does this take a lot of time and energy that could be put to better use; it removes beneficial minerals from the water, along with the stuff you don’t want. This makes the water taste flat and lifeless. It also deprives you of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and other minerals that are essential for ongoing remineralization of your teeth, as well as your overall health.
Filtration is a better option, although not all filters are able to remove fluoride. Activated carbon filters such as Brita and Pur won’t do the job. Those that will include bone char, ion-matrix, and activated alumina filtration. Reverse osmosis will, too.
If you install a filtration system, it’s important to 1) make sure it’s set up to remove fluoride, and 2) do the maintenance necessary for it to keep doing so. For instance, the popular Berkey gravity filtration system can remove fluoride but only if you add the secondary PF-2 filters. The basic filter won’t cut it. Those PF-2 filters must be replaced every 1000 gallons to remain effective.
Here, too, though, we have the problem of some systems – particularly reverse osmosis – stripping out the good minerals along with harmful contaminants. If you’re using a reverse osmosis system, you can add a remineralization filter to restore the good stuff. There are other easy ways to add minerals back into water, as well. Here’s a good tip sheet.
While it may be impossible to avoid all sources of ingested fluoride – any food or drink processed with fluoridated water will contain some fluoride – keeping your drinking water pure is one of the most important things you can do to drastically reduce the amount that enters your body.