Does Starbucks Contain Fluoride?
On November 5, 2015, I wrote to Starbucks customer service to ask if they use reverse osmosis filters in all their stores. I had heard they do and if so, I thought perhaps their products were low in fluoride since reverse osmosis is a reliable method for filtering fluoride from tap water.
Shelly D. from customer service wrote back the next day but her answer was more complicated than I expected it to be.
Does Starbucks Filter Their Water?
Shelly confirmed that Starbucks does filter all the water used in their retail locations, including water from the brewer, the cold water tower, and the espresso machine.
Starbucks uses a combination of water filtration methods and they vary by store. Some of the filters she said they use include carbon filtration, softening, ultra filtration, and reverse osmosis.
I did not ask about lead specifically, but she made a point of noting that Starbucks' water filtration methods reduce lead well below the industry standard of 0.01 milligrams per liter.
Does Starbucks Filter Their Water for Fluoride?
I did not specifically ask about fluoride in my original question either, but Shelly must know it is a topic a lot of people are interested in. After she explained that Starbucks filters their water for lead, she also mentioned their standard for fluoride.
Starbucks filters their water to a fluoride level of 1.5 to 2 milligrams per liter. This is over twice the amount government officials claim is optimal for preventing dental decay.
The EPA sets the secondary contaminant level for fluoride at 2 mg/l.
So Does Starbucks Contain Fluoride?
The answer, as is so often the case, is maybe.
I was hoping that Starbucks uses reverse osmosis filters in all their stores to reduce the fluoride content to a level that is more in alignment with the natural fluoride content of freshwater, which is 0.05 mg/l. But sadly, it sounds like that is not the case.
If you are as sensitive to fluoride as I am, you can understand why I haven't had one sip from Starbucks since I figured out that fluoride was the root cause of my acne.