Aluminum Oxide Water Stone

Aluminum oxide water

The Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC) has been asked to evaluate the food safety aspects related to the removal of fluoride from natural mineral waters (NMWs) by filtration through a bed of activated alumina.

NMWs at source may contain levels of fluoride higher than the maximum concentration limits established for the constituents of natural mineral waters by the Commission Directive 2003/40/EEC. Removal of the fluoride is only allowed by an authorised process.

Information concerning the source and treatment of activated alumina and the filtration process conditions was provided and showed that critical steps of the proposed process are the following:

  • Testing of activated alumina filter according to the European standard applicable for leaching tests (EN 12902) [6] to ensure that no impurities are leached to the water in quantities that result in concentrations exceeding the limits set in Commission Directive 2003/40/EC on the constituents of natural mineral waters, or in the absence of relevant limits in that Directive, the restrictions set in Council Directive 98/83/EC on the quality of water intended for human consumption or in national applicable legislation.
  • Initialisation procedure with alkaline or acidic chemicals to remove any impurities and fine particles before the use of the filter.
  • Regeneration procedure with appropriate chemicals to renew the capacity of the filter resulting at the same time in the removal of any possibly formed biofilm.

From the information provided it was shown that under optimised process conditions the release of impurities due to the use of the activated alumina, if it occurs at all, is always lower than the relevant limits set in the Directives mentioned above. In addition, due to the regular regeneration process of the activated alumina according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), there is no additional risk of microbial contamination.

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