Fluoride in drinking water - how dangerous is it?

This article reveals exactly what fluorides are, where they occur in nature, and how they can get into the drinking water. In addition, which health hazard can exist due to fluoride in drinking water, and where the limits are in Germany.


Fluorides are salts of hydrofluoric acid. In the chemical sector, it is also called Hydrogen Fluoride (HF). There are both organic and inorganic compounds among the fluorides. However, fluorides should not be confused with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). They are not expected to be fluorides.

Fluorine is the strongest oxidant that exists at room temperature. It reacts extremely aggressive and therefore quickly enters into chemical compounds.

Natural occurrence

Fluorides are part of many minerals. They also occur in nature in many rocks, including fluorite or yttrofluorite. Also, the lesser known cryolite and gargarinite are fluorine rocks. Fluorine is most common in fluorspar.

Technical applications

Especially carbon-fluorine compounds are very stable and are hardly degraded in nature, and then only over very long periods of time. Fluorine is also used in many chemical processes, for example, it is also an important component of Teflon.

Enrichment of foods with fluorine

Fluorine is added not only table salt, but also toothpaste for caries protection and milk. Also drinking water receives fluoridation in many areas. In Germany, the fluoridation of drinking water is prohibited.


The Drinking Water Ordinance provides a limit value of 1.5 mg / l for fluoride. However, the average values ​​are generally much lower, for example at an average of 0.25 mg / l.

About 0.3 to 0.4 mg / l is consumed daily with food, much more when drinking large quantities of tea.

Fluorine in the body

Fluorine is present in the human body in small quantities in the bones and teeth, where it is stored. Whether it is an essential (that is indispensable) trace element for the human body is not currently known medically. However, it inhibits the action of decay bacteria, that much is known.

Fluorine can be toxic in larger quantities. Children whose dental development has not yet been completed tolerate at most 1 - 2 mg of fluorine per day. In adults whose tooth development is complete, the daily dose of 10 mg fluoride is currently medically given as a guideline.

For fluorides, however, the toxicity depends on the type of fluoride. They are toxic in different doses. Inorganic fluorine compounds are considered potentially carcinogenic.

Tips & Tricks

Fluoridation of drinking water, for example, led to a caries decline of around 50 percent in the Netherlands. It is important, however, to be able to estimate the recorded amount as well as possible on average, especially for children.

Video Board: Fluoride: Poison On Tap - Full Documentary