Fluoride in Europe: drinking water F levels in the west

Fluoride levels in bottled water in western Europe

Overall the fluoride concentrations of the bottled water available in western Europe appear to be higher than for tap water, but mostly well below the nominal concentrations used for artificial water fluoridation. There are some bottled waters with fluoride levels around 1 mg/L or higher, however, and a small proportion with much higher levels.

A 2010 paper reported a median fluoride concentration in European tap water of 0.0870 mg/L, taken from 579 samples, compared to 0.211 mg/L for European bottled water, from 1785 samples. A book chapter from 2012, but based on the same data, reported that the median fluoride concentration in European bottled water from 884 locations (with the same total of 1785 samples) was 0.188 mg/L, with a range of 0.003 to 10.7 mg/L. For European surface water the equivalent figures were 0.1 mg/L, and less than 0.05 to 1.55 mg/L (from 808 locations). With respect to the bottled water samples, a “predominance” of high fluoride concentrations in the waters from north-eastern Europe was noted, so the median for western Europe was most likely less than 0.188 mg/L. The 10.7 mg/L value was from a well in Georgia. Returning to the 2010 paper, for Germany the median fluoride concentrations were 0.242 mg/L for bottled water, from 908 samples, and 0.105 mg/L for tap water, from 164 samples.
• Birke M, Rauch U, Harazim B, Lorenz H, Glatte W (2010). Major and trace elements in German bottled water, their regional distribution, and accordance with national and international standards. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 107: 245-271.
• Demetriades A, Reimann C, Birke M, The Eurogeosurveys Geochemistry EGG Team. European Ground Water Geochemistry Using Bottled Water as a Sampling Medium. In: Clean Soil and Safe Water: NATO Science for Peace and Security Series – C: Environmental Security. Dordrecht (Germany): Springer; 2012. p. 115-139.

Another 2010 article in the same journal found fluoride levels in 186 Italian bottled mineral waters from 0.011 mg/L to 1.75 mg/L, with a median of 0.143 mg/L.
• Cicchella D, Albanese S, De Vivo B, Giaccio L, Lima A, Valera P (2010). Trace elements and ions in Italian bottled mineral waters: identification of anomalous values and human health related effects. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 107: 336-349.

In 2015 fluoride concentrations for 30 brands of commercially available bottled waters in Zagreb, Croatia were reported. The average for the carbonated water samples was 0.338 mg/L with a range of 0.014 to 1.150 mg/L, the average for the non-carbonated samples was 0.083 mg/L with a range of 0.015 to 0.301 mg/L, and the average for the flavoured samples was 0.225 mg/L with a range of 0.023 to 0.927 mg/L.
• Bašić K et al (2015). Fluoride content of bottled waters commercially available in Zagreb, Croatia. Intrinsic Activity 3(Suppl. 2): A6.8. [From: 21st Scientific Symposium of the Austrian Pharmacological Society. Joint Meeting with the British Pharmacological Society and the Pharmacological Societies of Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia]

In 2012 values for fluoride concentrations in mineral waters either bottled in Spain (97 brands) or imported into Spain (12 brands) were measured, with medians of 0.22 mg/L (range 0.00-4.16) and 0.35 mg/L (range 0.10-1.21) respectively.
• Maraver F, Vitoria I, Almerich-Silla JM, Armijo F (2015). Fluoride content of bottled natural mineral waters in Spain and prevention of dental caries. Atención Primaria 47(1): 15-24.

A 2010 study found a median fluoride level in 67 bottled waters from the British Isles of 0.09 mg/L with a minimum of less than 0.02 mg/L and a maximum of 0.58 mg/L. Water from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland was tested.
• Smedley PL (2010). A survey of the inorganic chemistry of bottled mineral waters from the British Isles. Applied Geochemistry 25: 1872-1888.

In 2009 the average fluoride concentration in 24 mineral waters available in Belgium, weighted by consumption frequency, was reported as 0.4 mg/L. A small majority of brands had fluoride levels lower than 0.5 mg/L, while the maximum concentration was 5.5 mg/L.
• Vandevijvere S, Horion B, Fondu M, Mozin M, Ulens M, Huybrechts I, van Oyen H, Noirfalise A (2009). Fluoride intake through consumption of tap water and bottled water in Belgium. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 6: 1676-1690.

A 2004 research report from Finland found a median fluoride concentration in groundwater of 0.1 mg/L, with an average of 0.4 mg/L.
• Kousa A, Moltchanova E, Viik-Kajander M, Rytkönen M, Tuomilehto J, Tarvainen T, Karvonen M (2004). Geochemistry of ground water and the incidence of acute myocardial infarction in Finland. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 58(2): 136-139.

A 2003 study of 25 commercial brands of bottled water on sale in the north-east of England found an average fluoride concentration of 0.08 mg/L with a standard deviation of 0.08 mg/L and a range of 0.01-0.37 mg/L.
• Zohouri FV, Maguire A, Moynihan PJ (2003). Fluoride content of still bottled waters available in the North-East of England. British Dental Journal 195: 515-518.