Comparing activated alumina with indigenous laterite and bauxite as potential sorbents for removing fluoride from drinking water in Ghana

Applied Geochemistry
By: , and 

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Abstract

Fluoride is considered beneficial to teeth and bones when consumed in low concentrations, but at elevated concentrations it can cause dental and skeletal fluorosis. Most fluoride-related health problems occur in poor, rural communities of the developing world where groundwater fluoride concentrations are high and the primary sources of drinking water are from community hand-pump borehole drilled wells. One solution to drinking high fluoride water is to attach a simple de-fluoridation filter to the hand-pump; and indigenous materials have been recommended as low-cost sorbents for use in these filters. In an effort to develop an effective, inexpensive, and low-maintenance de-fluoridation filter for a high fluoride region in rural northern Ghana, this study conducted batch fluoride adsorption experiments and potentiometric titrations to investigate the effectiveness of indigenous laterite and bauxite as sorbents for fluoride removal. It also determined the physical and chemical properties of each sorbent. Their properties and the experimental results, including fluoride adsorption capacity, were then compared to those of activated alumina, which has been identified as a good sorbent for removing fluoride from drinking water. The results indicate that, of the three sorbents, bauxite has the highest fluoride adsorption capacity per unit area, but is limited by a low specific surface area. When considering fluoride adsorption per unit weight, activated alumina has the highest fluoride adsorption capacity because of its high specific surface area. Activated alumina also adsorbs fluoride well in a wider pH range than bauxite, and particularly laterite. The differences in adsorption capacity are largely due to surface area, pore size, and mineralogy of the sorbent.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Comparing activated alumina with indigenous laterite and bauxite as potential sorbents for removing fluoride from drinking water in Ghana
Series title Applied Geochemistry
DOI 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2015.02.004
Volume 56
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 17 p.
First page 50
Last page 66
Country Ghana