ALL
Health Information and Tools > Health A-Z >  High Levels of Fluoride in Drinking Water
Facebook Tweet Email Share
Print the content on this page Decrease the font size of content Increase the font size of content

Main Content

Water Safety

High Levels of Fluoride in Drinking Water

All sources of water have a natural amount of fluoride. The right amount of fluoride in drinking water helps protect against tooth decay. Drinking water includes all water used to drink or prepare drinks (including infant formula) and the water we use for cooking.

There are guidelines that set the highest levels of fluoride in water that is safe for us to drink (called the maximum recommended level). This helps protect us against possible unwanted health effects caused by too much fluoride. Depending on the health effect and your age, it may be safe to drink water that has fluoride levels higher than the maximum recommended level.

  • The Canadian Drinking Water Guideline maximum recommended level for fluoride is 1.5 mg/L. This level protects children 8 years old and younger against dental fluorosis (a condition that causes thin white lines on permanent teeth).
  • The Alberta Health Drinking Water Guideline maximum recommended level for fluoride is 2.4 mg/L. This level protects people of all ages against skeletal fluorosis (a condition that causes bones to break easily and causes calcium to build up in ligaments and tendons).

Anyone can use water with fluoride levels above 1.5 mg/L for dishwashing, laundry, handwashing, and bathing since fluoride can’t get through the skin.

What to do if fluoride levels are too high in your drinking water

Drinking water that comes from a well may have fluoride levels that are too high. If your drinking water has more than 1.5 mg/L fluoride, you may need to take steps to protect your health.

Level of fluoride in drinking water For children age 8 years and younger For people age 9 and older
between 1.5 mg/L and 2.4 mg/Llower the level of fluoride to 1.5 mg/L or lessno action needed
more than 2.4 mg/Llower the level of fluoride to 1.5 mg/L or lesslower the level of fluoride to 1.5 mg/L or less

If your drinking water has too much fluoride, you can use drinking water from another source such as treated public water or bottled water. These sources of drinking water have a 1.5 mg/L level of fluoride or less.

You can also lower the level of fluoride in your drinking water supply by:

  • using equipment that removes fluoride with reverse osmosis or a machine called a distillation device – Choose equipment that is certified by NSF or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Don’t use pour-through or pitcher-type filters as they don’t remove fluoride.
  • combining your water supply with water from another source.

For more information and help to lower the level of fluoride in your drinking water, contact a public health inspector.

Current as of: November 22, 2018

Author: Environmental Public Health, Alberta Health Services