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In the article entitled Dumbing Down Society Pt I: Foods, Beverages and Meds, I wrote that fluoride was a toxic chemical that caused the deterioration of cognitive functions when ingested. In other words, swallowing fluoride makes you dumber. Despite the fact that some communities have recently managed to gather enough support to get their cities to stop water fluoridation (see Pinellas County in Florida), millions of people are still unaware of the dangers of fluoride and still consume great amounts of it.
In this video, a dentist describes the brain numbing effects of fluoride when consumed in unhealthy doses.
Activated alumina is manufactured from aluminium hydroxide by dehydroxylating it in a way that produces a highly porous material; this material can have a surface area significantly over 200 square metres/g. The compound is used as a desiccant (to keep things dry by absorbing water from the air) and as a filter of fluoride, arsenic and selenium in drinking water. It is made of aluminium oxide (alumina; Al2O3), the same chemical substance as sapphire and rubies (but without the impurities that give those gems their color). It has a very high surface-area-to-weight ratio. That means it has a lot of very small pores, almost like tunnels, that run throughout it.
Activated alumina is also widely used to remove fluoride from drinking water. In the US, there are widespread programs to fluoridate drinking water. However, in certain regions, such as the Jaipur region of India, there is enough fluoride in the water to cause fluorosis. Activated alumina filters can easily reduce fluoride levels from .5 ppm to less than .1 ppm. The amount of fluoride leached from the water being filtered depends on how long the water is actually touching the alumina filter media. Basically, the more alumina in the filter, the less fluoride will be in the final, filtered water. Lower temperature water, and lower pH water (acidic water) are filtered more effectively too.
Activated alumina, when used as a fluoride filter, can be regenerated by a solution of lye (sodium hydroxide; NaOH), sulfuric acid (H2SO4), or alum (KAl(SO4)2).