Wait, Which Filter Removes Fluoride? Plastics? Animal Poo? : Renegade Health Q & A

Tuesday Nov 15 | BY |
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toxic water
No one should eat fish from the Housatonic in Connecticut more than 6 times a year! (Kent, CT)

Over the last two segments of my interview with Jim McMahon there have been plenty of questions posted about water, how it should be filtered, where to get it, if a particular filter is good or not and more.

Today, I want to help everyone navigate through some of these questions by answering them directly here in an article.

I’ve picked about 5-7 questions that reflected many of your questions and will answer them to the best of my ability.

So here we go…

Here’s a question from Jenny:

How effective are filters such as Pur which I have used for years?

Hi Jenny, my understanding of the Pur filters is that they’re activated carbon. This means they’re pretty good at getting organic contaminants out of the water as well as any byproduct of a chlorine reaction. They also are able to filter out some metals and other contaminants, but they do not cover the entire spectrum of chemical contaminants or fluoride. In fact, the company is proud that they’re filters leave in the fluoride as you can read here (stated on their website):

“Fortunately PUR classicclear™ Water Filter Replacement reduces lead from your drinking water, while keeping beneficial fluoride in it.”

I would consider this type of filter a start in your water treatment program, but definitely not the goal. Water filtered with the Pur filter is better than tap water, but for just a little more money you could invest in a Reverse Osmosis system or distiller and be sure you’re getting all the nasty stuff out.

Joe Ann wants to know more about bottled water:

How can you find out what kind of bottled water is good?

Hey Joe Ann, there are two considerations to put into play when thinking about bottled water.

First is a quality question. You want to get local, spring water bottled at the source. As we’ve traveled around the country, we’ve found local bottled spring waters throughout the U.S. There’s Saratoga in New York, Mountain Valley Spring in Arkansas, Arrowhead in California and countless others.

So ask around and find out what spring water is closest to you and drink it – but sparingly. I’d prefer you get a filter and drink your own filtered water on a regular basis and avoid the possible plastic contamination that comes with drinking bottled water.

If you find a local spring water that bottles in glass, then you can forget about what I just said. I would have no problem drinking that on a regular basis if cost were not an issue.

The second consideration is the environmental impact. I really like Mountain Valley Spring water because it does come in a glass bottle, but it’s hard for me to buy it here in California regularly, because I know it took a pretty long trip across the country to get here. The same (even more so) can be said about Fiji or Evian or any other imported water.

This is not to say that I don’t use or even sell imported or shipped items. I do. I have an 80/20 rule that I apply to this sort of thing. 80% or more of what we eat or buy is local. The other 20% or so we play with. Believe me, if everyone did just this, our would would be cleaner, more self sustainable and we’d have stronger communities (all very good things.)

So, I think the best approach is to be as local and reasonable as possible. Apply a 80 / 20 rule. For us, when at home, we almost never drink bottled water, but on the road we do and we use the above criteria to determine what we buy.

It keeps us hydrated… and sane.

From Donna about adding chlorine and fluoride back into the water:

Where I live they use reverse osmosis from the ocean but they add chlorine and fluoride. What is the best filter I would need to use?

It’s amazing that they’d do this, since you probably – without the chlorine and fluoride – have pretty decent water.

The best filter, unfortunately, to use here is Reverse Osmosis. Kind of ironic, right?

You can also use a mixed carbon and KDF system, but it won’t remove all the fluoride (though a good amount) and there are other contaminants that can slip through.

The other thing you can do is petition your local government to get this stuff out of your water!

Great question from Tami:

I’ve heard that it’s important to drink mineralized water, can you recommend how to add minerals back into the drinking water?

Tami, this has been a back and forth argument for decades (many years before I’ve even been around) – does distilled or reverse osmosis water need to have minerals added back to it in order for it to be healthy?

I question this theory simply on the basis of how much we rely on water to supply our minerals.

If you drink green juice and green smoothies and eat sea vegetables and other highly mineralized foods, does the miniscule mineral content of water matter?

I’m going to say that yes, it must matter on some level, but in the largest picture it’s relatively insignificant.

You’d never find the amount of magnesium you’d find in the juice of a green leafy vegetable in any natural spring water.

So the key here is to get minerals into your body in all forms, from all sources. Don’t worry so much about the minerals from water, unless you’re not getting any other highly mineralized foods and – always – test so you’re not assuming everything is fine when it really isn’t.

Diane’s got plastics in her tap water:

I can’t find anywhere on the Internet or at the water filters sites where this chemical is mentioned: Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate which evidently is used to soften plastics. I did run a google on our city and that is what it said was in it! What kind of a filter will work to rid this stuff?

To get rid if phthlates or other plastic residues, the best filter is Reverse Osmosis.

Kate wants to know about Eldorado Spings:

Would love to know your opinion on Eldorado Springs Water in Colorado and how safe is the plastic bottle.

Hey Kate, we’ve been to the source in Eldorado. We were a little disappointed to find a machine dispenser there – since we’ve mainly been to natural springs – but otherwise the water is good.

Here’s a chemical analysis here:


If you’re close enough to the spring, I’d suggest getting from the source so you don’t have to buy plastic bottles, but if you can’t I may suggest getting a filter for your tap water since you’re running the risk of ongoing plastic contamination.

I have to admit, when we get water from the spring, we do use plastic 5 gallon bottles. I’ve heard too many stories about 5 gallon glass bottles breaking, etc that I feel they’re more of a liability. At least, when we use the plastic bottles we know when our water was “bottled” and can keep it out of the sun and drink it fast enough to minimize leaching.

More fluoride questions and how to test your water from Dorothy:

Will a Reverse Osmosis system remove fluoride? Also, I live near Toronto, Ontario, where can I get my water tested?

Yes, reverse osmosis will remove fluoride.

For your testing, you can contact Jim McMahon here: http://www.cleanairpurewater.com

Or you can contact National Testing Labs (http://www.ntllabs.com/) to get your water tested.

Jean is confused (and not alone!):

I have studied several types of filters and am now totally confused. They all claim to be the best?

I know your confusion, Jean.

We have to understand that any company marketing a product will pick one of its best qualities and parade that around every publication and website.

It’s just how marketing (and human nature works.)

If you go to a job interview, you don’t start off with, “I’d love to have this job, but I’m not really nice to people on the phone and I have a nasty temper that has caused problems for me in the past.” You start off with your strengths.

So somewhere within that water filter hype is the truth about what each filter does and what its weaknesses are.

Basically, you want to remove as many contaminants as possible within budget (and even then, I’d suggest to find creative ways to save more if the filter you need is out of budget.)

Based on my own research and exploration, the best waters are spring water (tested) from the source, reverse osmosis water or distilled. Each one of these should have minimal to no contaminants and I would recommend them for my entire family – which means I would recommend them to you.

Your Question of the Day: Have any more questions about water? If so, post them below and I’ll get to them this week!

Live Awesome!

Jim McMahon

Jim McMahon

Jim McMahon is an ecologist and owner of Sweetwater LLC. Jim sells water tests and water purification systems to people throughout the country who wish to experience healthy water in their homes. Jim’s unique approach to healthy water is to speak to every potential customer, review their water report with them, discuss their needs and recommend a water filter or water purification system that will achieve their goals. Jim will review your local water report with you or sell you a well water test and then make a recommendation on how to best treat your water to achieve optimal health.

For articles on a variety of topics related to water, visit Jim’s blog at Best Water Purification.

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