Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2022


Excess fluoride in drinking water can cause fluorosis or brown and yellow staining of the enamel of teeth. In extreme cases, severe damage to teeth and bone structure can develop. In 1993, the World Health Organization set a limit of 1.5 ppm as acceptable for drinking water; however, in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, recent water quality reports detected levels of fluoride as high as 4 ppm. The purpose of this study was to investigate several detection and remediation methods of fluoride in drinking water. Detection methods included an ion selective electrode (ISE), dye-based colorimetric methods, and an at-home testing kit. ISE is the standard method for fluoride analysis. Remediation methods included commercially available activated alumina, charcoal, and water pitcher filters. Water samples were collected from locations using both wells and municipal water throughout Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Currently, parts of the county are under an advisory for fluoride levels. The water samples tested contained fluoride ranging from 1 to 6 ppm. Of the detection methods used, ISE and colorimetric methods proved to be more accurate than an at-home test kit, which indicated that all samples contained a fluoride concentration less than 0.50 ppm. The ultimate goal of this study was to develop a cost-effective method to detect and remove fluoride from drinking water in rural communities without water treatment facilities. Educational materials will be developed to help residents in these communities understand and manage their water quality.


Faculty Advisor: Dr. Sarah Porter

Committee Members: Dr. Andrew Yeagley (Longwood University), Dr. Melissa Rhoten (Longwood University), and Dr. Julian Bobb (Virginia Commonwealth University).

Included in

Chemistry Commons



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