In our post on fluoride from February 2015 at the time of the Waikanae by-election, we said:
… fluoride salts are mildly toxic. For most people the very dilute existence of them in tap water isn’t going to cause them any problems, but everyone is different and there are some people who will be affected by it. The scenario is the same as with the mercury that has traditionally been used in dental fillings: it won’t affect most people, but it does affect some people.
Fluoride can be removed by reverse osmosis filtration, but the systems are generally unaffordable for personal use. Most bottled water as sold in stores won’t have added fluoride salts, but you have to pay for it.
On Monday’s episode of Fair Go (TV One) a home water filter was featured that was supposed to remove fluoride, but didn’t. The price of this device alone — $100 — should have sounded an alarm bell about the likelihood it would do that.
It made the point, however, that there are people who don’t want fluoride in their drinking water, and unless you’re willing to pay for a reverse osmosis filtering system or buy bottled water from the store, there aren’t a lot of options — unless there is an untreated artesian source available.
The artesian aquifer at Buick St, Petone is famous for not just being free of contaminants, but for being good tasting water. See this stuff article from April. This will mean it has minerals in it as pure water is tasteless as well as being colourless and odourless. But that is considered a good thing unless the minerals are so concentrated that it causes an unpleasant taste — the historic complaint in Kapiti.
The KCDC actually does has two such aquifers with public taps — one in Paekākāriki and one in Ōtaki (fluoride is not added to the Ōtaki and Paekākāriki water supplies as they don’t come from the Waikanae River). Their locations are shown here
The other chemical that gets added is chlorine and it’s necessary if water comes from a surface catchment area as per the Waikanae River because of the risk of bugs like giardia; but you wonder: it if kills organisms, what effect does it have on you? A standard carbon filter, even the one shown on Fair Go, should get rid of that.
And, of course, you wonder about pesticides getting into the drinking water like the infamous 1080…
We’re not impressed with the cost of bottled water — in the US you can get 5 gallon (19 litres) bottles home delivered for about $7 ($NZ 9.60), which should be enough for an average household for a week, but 50 cents a litre still sounds expensive and shouldn’t be necessary. Here, Pak n Save has 1.5 litre water bottles for 88 cents, but considering you can get soft drink bottles there too for 99 cents, that still seems dear.