Fluoride Action Network

Bone char as a green sorbent for removing health threatening fluoride from drinking water

Source: Environment International - 127:704-719. | June 15th, 2019 | By S.S.A.Alkurdi, R.A. Al-Juboori, J. Bundschuh, and I. Hamawand.
Location: International
Industry type: Water Treatment


  • The review addresses the process of bone char production for water defluoridation.
  • Health issues resulted from drinking water with high fluoride are highlighted.
  • The mechanisms involved in fluoride removal on bone char were presented.
  • Surface modification for enhancing bone char efficiency were discussed.
  • Some existing and conceptual designs for bone char as an adsorbent were presented.


Millions of people around the world suffer from or prone to health problems caused by high concentration of fluoride in drinking water sources. One of the environmentally friendly and cost-effective ways for removing fluoride is the use of bone char. In this review, the structural properties and binding affinity of fluoride ions from different water sources was critically discussed. The effect of experimental conditions on enhancing the adsorption capacity of fluoride ions using bone char samples was addressed. It appears that surface properties, and conditions of the bone char production such as temperature and residence time play an important role in designing the optimal fluoride removal process. The optimum temperature for fluoride removal seems to be in the range of 500–700° C and a residence time of 2 h. Applying various equilibrium adsorption isotherms for understanding fluoride adsorption mechanism was presented. The effect of bone char modification with different elements were discussed and recommendations for a further increase in the removal efficiency was proposed. Cost of bone char production and large-scale treatment systems were also discussed based on information available from scientific and commercial sources. Challenges with existing domestic defluoridation designs were highlighted and suggestions for new conceptual designs were provided.

Graphical abstract