4 ways to remove fluoride from tap water.

Fluoride has a dubious history starting with the mass fluoridation of people under Nazi rule. In recent years, there has been a push to remove fluoride from the tap water in the US, behind most European countries which have already removed the poisonous chemical from their water supplies.

Most politicians erroneously support fluoridation due to heavy lobbying in favor of the chemical, but more and more activists and consumers aremaking a stand for their water supply. It may only be a few years until we totally eradicate this twisted fluoridation scheme, but here is one way to remove fluoride and 99.9% of all other contaminants from your tap water: Distillation.

Once you are aware of the negative impact of fluoride on your health—and especially if you live in an area where the water is fluoridated—you will have to decide what to do about it. To complicate matters, fluoride is absorbed through the skin, and by inhalation. Showering and bathing in fluoridated water is also a problem. Fluoride is actually more dangerous when absorbed through the skin and/or lungs because it enters the bloodstream more easily, bypassing the gut where it binds with minerals from food.  When it is not feasible to remove the fluoride from your entire water supply, limiting time in the shower or bath and reducing the temperature of the water helps minimize the amount of fluoride absorbed.

To top it all off, fluoride is difficult to remove from water. Most water filter sales literature avoids the subject. When buying a water filter, you may be comforted by reading that the system you are purchasing removes 95 to 99% of contaminants, but if it does not specifically state that it removes fluoride, you can bet it doesn’t. Fluoride is a very small ion (atomic number 9). It cannot be “filtered” out of water.  At this time, fluoride removal is limited to four main methods discussed below.

How do I get the fluoride out of my water?

1 . Distillation
Distillation is capable of removing just about anything (except volatile compounds) from water.  If you have a distiller, you can remove fluoride. The obvious drawback to distillation is that the process is time and energy consumptive. Distillation also leaves the resulting water empty and lifeless. If you use distilled water you need to add minerals (salts) back to the water. (Read about salt and full-spectrum living water).  You should also consider structuring and energetically enhancing distilled water (returning the life force) using any of the methods in Chapters 11 and 12 of Dancing with Water. (Read about water’s liquid crystalline structure).

Here’s a video from our previous post about distilling water to remove fluoride from tap water:

2.  Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis (RO) represents a reverse of normal osmotic processes. It relies on pressure and a semi-permeable membrane to remove contaminants from water. RO can remove between 90 and 95% of fluoride (depending on the efficiency of the system and depending on how well the system is maintained). Contaminants are trapped by the RO membrane and flushed away in the waste water. The process requires between 2 and 4 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of RO water (depending on the quality of the water and the efficiency of the RO unit). Source water with an abundance of contaminants (including hard water) can reduce the efficiency of an RO system and it can shorten the life of the membrane.

Similar to distillation, RO has a good track record for removing almost everything from water. Quality RO systems include pre-filters to remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds), heavy metals, hard water minerals, and other contaminants that reduce the life of RO membranes. And similar to distillation, RO leaves water empty and lifeless. The addition of salts and the re-introduction of life force are necessary to bring RO water back to energetic compatibility with the human body.

3.  Activated alumina
Fluoride is strongly attracted to activated alumina (corundum/aluminum oxide) which has a large surface area with a huge array of tunnel-like pores. For this reason, activated alumina is the most commonly used fluoride removal media today. When used properly, it can remove up to 98% of the fluoride in water while also removing arsenic. The challenges with activated alumina are many. First of all, since the process works by ion exchange, the water must remain in contact with the media for an extended period of time—long enough for the fluoride to be adsorbed by the media. When the flow rate is faster than ¼ gallon/minute, there is not enough time to adsorb all the fluoride in the water. Another difficulty with activated alumina is that the media becomes saturated with fluoride. Depending on the amount of media in the system (how large the filter is) and on the amount of fluoride in the water, systems using activated alumina either need to be recharged or replaced often. The last difficulty with activated alumina is that aluminum is released into the treated water. This effectively trades one problem for another. Some systems address this; others do not.

There are many point-of-use filters that claim to remove fluoride using activated alumina. The problem with most of these systems is that they only work for a short period of time (usually far less than claimed) before they become saturated. The other difficulty is that point-of-use systems do not slow the flow rate enough to provide adequate time for adsorption.  Recent testing of a variety of these filters revealed that few functioned as claimed for more than a few weeks.  Unless the activated alumina can be cleaned and recharged or replaced regularly, and unless the flow rate is slow enough to allow time for adsorption, activated alumina may not be what you are looking for.

There are some “tank” type fluoride removal systems that are capable of working for many years with a backwashing and recharging cycle and an occasional topping off of the media. These systems are often used to remove fluoride from the whole home. Many consisder them the answer to the fluoride problem. They are not. The drawback to this type of system is an environmental problem. Caustic chemicals are required to backwash (sodium hydroxide) and to recharge (sulphuric acid) the media—chemicals that end up in the waste water. And when these “tanks” are eventually replaced, they end up in a landfill, loaded with fluoride, arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmuim.

4.  BC-Carbon
Bone-Char (BC) Carbon has been used for centuries to remove naturally-occurring fluoride from water. It works similar to the way bones in the human body attract fluoride.  Bone contains a porous matrix that is rich in surface ions. These can be readily replaced by fluoride and by some of the other contaminants that arrive along with fluoride (heavy metals).  Bone char effectively removes a number of contaminants.

When used alone, BC-Carbon can remove up to 90% of the fluoride in water. The efficiency of bone char can be improved by adding pre-filters that remove heavy metals and other contaminants before exposure to the BC-carbon. Bone char works best at a slightly acidic pH and may not work as well with hard water. This medium is being successfully incorporated in many systems where cartridges can be replaced as the media becomes saturated. But this method is also not without problems. Obviously, bone char is an organic medium. Medical grade bone char is important to ensure that the bone char itself is clean.

Sources: Natural Cures Not Medicine dancingwithwater.com


Is your bottled water polluted with addictive chemicals?


Does your Bottled Water Contain Nicotine?

How about Pharmaceuticals?


Research published last year determined that commercial bottled water in Spain had over 50 pharmaceutically-active chemicals in it, as well as the highly addictive drug nicotine. Is your (or your children’s) bottled water polluted ?

It looks like it very well may be. And we’re not talking about nicotine-supplemented water meant to help wean smokers off of nicotine. We’re talking the kind of bottled water people drink to avoid the pollutants found in municipal drinking water supplies.

Researchers from the School of Public Health, Immunology and Medical Microbiology of Spain’s Rey Juan Carlos University analyzed ten brand of commercially available bottled waters.

The researchers were surprised to learn that the bottled water contained 58 active pharmaceuticals, and five of the ten brands contained significant amounts of nicotine.

The nicotine content of these five brands ranged from 7 nanograms per liter to 15 ng/L. The researchers admitted that these levels were low. However, they added:

Despite the low nicotine concentration measured, the presence of this compound in bottled water still raises concern. Health risk assessment researchers have postulated that the risk to adult healthy humans from oral intake of nicotine at low levels is negligible. However, no studies have been conducted to assess the human health risk of vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and newborns. This population is the target of advertising on the purity and quality characteristics of bottled mineral water.

While this is the first study to document bottled waters containing these chemicals, there are other studies, even newer, confirming identifiable concentrations of nicotine, pharmaceuticals and pesticide chemicals in municipal drinking water.

In the UK for example, the British Geological Survey analyzed and tested ground water and drinking watersupplies and also found nicotine along with caffeine and a variety of pharmaceuticals – such as carbamazepine and triclosan.

And many bottled waters are merely municipal tap water, sometimes run through a filtration unit. However, these filtration systems are typically designed to remove macro-pollutants such as lead and arsenic, but they may not filter out micropollutants such as pharmaceuticals and nicotine.

Studies finding pharmaceuticals in drinking water began to be published in the last decade. These were no fluke, however. And newer studies are confirming a growing problem among the world’s drinking water supplies.

For example, this year research from the Czech Republic’s Department of Water Hygiene at the National Institute of Public Health collected samples from 92 drinking water supplies, feeding half of Czech population.

They found the highest levels of pharmaceuticals to be ibuprofen, carbamazepine, naproxen, and diclofenac. These concentrations ranged from 0.5 to 20.7 nanograms per liter.

Another recent study – from Serbia’s University of Novi Sad Medical School – found trace levels of several antibiotics among their drinking water supplies.

Most municipal water treatment facilities do not filter out pharmaceuticals or other microtoxin metabolites from pesticides and other chemicals. New oxidation-driven systems are being tested, but these are not online in most municipalities. Micro-filtration units are also a possibility.

A study last year from Germany’s Free University Berlin found that the psychoactive drugs primidone and phenobarbital were found in drinking water supplies. Oxazepam and others were found in wastewater streams – likely soon to be in the drinking water supplies.

Another study from Spain – this from the Pharmacy Department of the University of Valencia – found numerous pharmaceuticals among the region’s ground water and drinking water supplies. They found 94% of the sediment and 80% of farming soils were polluted with carbamazepine, acetaminophen and others. They also found much of the drinking water supplies, pharmaceuticals were present at levels as high as 112 nanograms per liter. Soils contained lower concentrations, 15 nanograms per liter.

The researchers also pointed out high levels of fluoroquinolones and ibuprofen are threatening fish and otherwise contaminating the environment.

Meanwhile, last fall Polish researchers found the presence of beta-blockers and beta-agonists among their waterways.

And researchers from Australia’s University of Queensland studied waterways and water supplies close by hospitals. They found 57 different pharmaceuticals among these waterways, including many antibiotics – which entered into the system from hospitals and residential areas alike.

Researchers from the Netherlands found 12 pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies, as well as seven transformation products (metabolites that form other toxins).

Swedish researchers tested four waterways in the Montreal, Canada region between 2007 and 2009. They found significant levels of caffeine and a number of pharmaceuticals drugs – including carbamazepine, naproxen, gemfibrozil, and trimethoprim. They also found progesterone, estrone, and estradiol, along with the herbicide triazine – with atrazine, deethylatrazine, deisopropylatrazine, simazine, and cyanazine.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey’s California Water Science Center analyzed ground water supplies that feed numerous drinking water systems throughout California. They found pharmaceuticals affecting two to three percent of the 1231 ground water systems tested. However, in this study only 14 pharmaceutical compounds were tested for, out of hundreds possible. And out of these 14 tested, seven were found in concentrations that were equal or greater to detection limits. These seven included acetaminophen, caffeine, carbamazepine, the highly addictive codeine, the caffeine metabolite p-xanthine, and the antibiotics sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. The samples also contained various pesticides, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and others.

The research found that ground water supplies in the Los Angeles area were much more likely to contain pharmaceuticals, and contain higher levels of them.

It should be noted that several brands of commercial bottled waters (and many other foods and beverages containing water) are packaged in the Los Angeles area.

Source: http://csglobe.com

Does your school cause asthma?

A viral video got around last week that parodied Carly Rae Jepsen’s top-40 tune, “Call Me, Maybe.” It wasn’t all that funny, because environmentalists — like The League of Conservation Voters, which produced the mock music video — aren’t so humorous to begin with.

But the message behind “Test It, Maybe” was serious. The LCV was essentially asking why, since 1976, the Toxic Substance Control Act has put the burden of proof on the EPA that a given chemical is dangerous.

Instead, environmentalists and green building advocates are behind the new Safe Chemicals Act, which provides real health protections from industrial poisons. It passed a key Senate committee in July, but has languished since. We’re knee-deep in politics season, after all.

In synch with the times, recently a green building group launched a new “nutrition label” for buildings, a certification called Declare. Good news.

Greener buildings for less asthma

Remedying our chemical dependency, to turn a phrase, is an essential part of the green building movement. Architects who are into sustainability should look into Declare and learn about the Safe Chemicals Act — and sing loudly for its passage into law.

Perkins+Will is already on the job. “The Safe Chemicals Act is an essential piece of legislation for the building materials industry,” says Peter Syrett, an associate principal with the firm. He says his firm is “moving away from hazardous chemicals” and that this move can actually be profitable.

Last month the firm revised its own list of suspected chemical dangers in the built environment. By compiling peer-reviewed research, Perkins+Will lists 374 known asthmagens, as part of the firm’s Transparency Project. Their aim? Healthier schools, homes, workplaces and public places.

Buildings use a small portion of the 80,000 chemicals produced by U.S. industry. But of all those thousands, only 200 have been tested, wrote Margie Kelly in the Huffington Post.

The Red List

So except for killers like arsenic and the general category of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), its hard to know what asthmagens or similar suspected evils are inside a carpet, paint, wood, insulation or construction adhesive.

Even better than Transparency Project is the materials Red List, a project of the International Living Future Institute, which promotes super-green, ultra-healthy buildings through its “Living Building Challenge.” The group just launched their nicely concocted “nutrition label” for buildings, a project it calls Declare. (Visit http://www.declareproducts.com and have a look.)

The link between school buildings and asthma is a mysterious one, but many scientists have pointed to a causal connection.

Yet on EPA’s own website, the agency describes cigarette smoke, cockroach droppings and pet dander as possible causes — but not the 374 building compounds that architects regularly specify for new or renovated schools.

Science under attack

The reason is not because the chemicals are not known to affect asthma rates. It’s because the EPA would be vilified for mentioning it. And this weakened agency is supposed to fight back against a tide of products –many by large and powerful corporations — that use coal ash, Bisphenol A (BPA), polycholoroprene (better known as Neoprene), formaldehyde and various scary flame retardants.

Google is one of many companies opening lots of new office buildings that actively exclude these substances from their building specs. They are using the Red List to focus their efforts.

For now, architects and their clients need to study up and regulate building contents on their own.

Why? Because as Syrett recently told Forbes, “It’s a largely opaque market. When we buy a product from Home Depot or build anything, there’s no way for a consumer to know what a product is made of unless the manufacturer tells you.”

And almost none of them do.

Better for business

Maybe the Safe Chemicals Act will help modernize how we understand unregulated chemicals and how we build our schools and homes.

“We believe that companies should prove that the chemicals they use in products that they sell are safe,” says Christopher Miller, Corporate Consciousness, Seventh Generation.

One thing is certain: Just as the green-building movement has energized the construction industry, the Safe Chemicals Act would spur innovation in product and building design. It might even create new jobs and profits.

Don’t be scared of asthmagens. Get to know them, architects — and get them out of our schools.

Source: Smart Planet.