I'm H20 Intolerant.
January 16, 2011 11:28 PM   Subscribe

Theoretically speaking, is it possible that the water coming through my pipes is over fluoridated, and if so, could a standard water filter in my shower help eliminate some of that fluoride?

My dermatologist has advised me that I may be developing an allergy to fluoride and that limiting my exposure to it both internally and externally (in addition to using topical aids) may decrease the unusual level of painful cystic acne/chloracne that has been showing up around my mouth and on my chest, stomach, back and butt in the past month or so. I can manage not using certain toothpastes, obviously, but short of never showering or washing my face in the sink again, what can I do if it's the water at my house that's damaging my skin?

I cut out shampoos and soaps with sulfates and too many florals years ago, as that originally seemed to be the issue, but I don't think that's a factor anymore. Plus I've always had some problems with fluoride internally, too, though this certainly takes the cake. I just want my soft and painless skin back before I start to scar again. :(
posted by patronuscharms to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
 
There's no such thing as a flouride allergy. Get a new dermatologist.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:55 PM on January 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not interested in whether or not I need a new dermatologist, and whether or not such an allergy exists. I've already confirmed with numerous allergists that I am hypersensitive to certain things, including fluoride, so that link is both outdated and irrelevant to my question. I am interested in determining whether or not it is possible to filter out a substance in my water source that may be causing me harm from the faucet level, or if I'd need something more elaborate.
posted by patronuscharms at 12:14 AM on January 17, 2011


is it possible that the water coming through my pipes is over fluoridated

I'm not sure if this is relevant (your profile doesn't show a location), but if you're in the US and getting your water from a municipal water supply, you can get a copy of your local water quality report that will include the level of flouride. The EPA has some cities' reports online. For others, you can usually go to your city's website and look it up. By law, they have to make a report available to the public by July 1 of every year.

I don't know have any suggestions regarding your dermatological issue, but maybe once you find out your local flouride level you'll have a starting point in determining whether your water is contributing to your sensitivities.
posted by amyms at 12:31 AM on January 17, 2011


It is extremely unlikely that you'll find a filter that will remove flouride out of water. Virtually all fluoride compounds dissolve readily in water as fluorine itself is (more or less) the most reactive and highly ionic element there is. Active charcoal and activated carbon won't pull fluoride out of water. Expensive micro-porous membranes won't pull fluoride. Even if a filter claims it can remove fluoride, it likely does not.

About the only way you will actually get ahold of water that is not fluorinated in some way shape or form is going to be from well water, i.e. not any city water supply (the vast majority add fluoride). Most bottled water will have fluoride, as most bottled water comes from city water supplies. Bottled water would require testing, which you may not be able to get ahold of. Even with well water, many places have fluoride compounds naturally in the ground, sometimes many times more than a city water supply.

I am in full agreement with obiwanwasabi.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:35 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


You might be interested in this article: Allergic to Water? It's from a reputable source, which is kind of hard to find among all the "Fluoride Conspiracy!" stuff. It mentions two conditions that seem similar to what you're experiencing, and a possible connection to flouride (and other minerals) sensitivity.
posted by amyms at 1:05 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


My wife is sensitive to hard water (i.e. water with high calcium content), which we have in London, UK. Showering or bathing makes her skin noticeably rougher (small red bumps), and slightly itchy. This clears up within a day or two after bathing in a soft water area (e.g. where my parents live in South Africa.) Fortunately, the condition is not too serious, so it's something we can live with. We've looked into water filtering systems and the market seems murky in the extreme (lots of dodgy scientific claims, contradictory information, and products that are too expensive to trial.)

So I'm sorry I don't have a solution to offer, but have you checked whether it's simply a hard water sensitivity?
posted by snarfois at 3:39 AM on January 17, 2011


It's very hard chemically to remove fluorine, though it can be done with activated alumina cartridges or reverse osmosis (RO). Those are pretty much it when it comes to your options. Both are expensive options for purification.

Both systems will run into the thousands of dollars and would normally be done for the whole house supply, particularly if you have a sensitivity. Both system will require a system of cartridges and prefilters that will need regular maintenance. Typical schedules are every 6 months or per year, depending on you system. The treatment systems are fairly large for a whole house and would need to be in a closet or your utilities room.

It's possible, but expensive to remove fluorine, but it will need consultation with an engineer to get the system set up and sized for your needs.
posted by bonehead at 7:44 AM on January 17, 2011


Theoretically speaking, is it possible that the water coming through my pipes is over fluoridated ...
I'm not interested in whether or not I need a new dermatologist, and whether or not such an allergy exists. I've already confirmed with numerous allergists that I am hypersensitive to certain things, including fluoride
...
Plus I've always had some problems with fluoride internally, too, though this certainly takes the cake. I just want my soft and painless skin back before I start to scar again.


It's possible that you've been mis-diagnosed. If you're physically scarring you need to find out the real issue, and it's highly unlikely to be flouride.
posted by odinsdream at 8:29 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


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