Where does fluoride come from?
There are different forms of fluoride, some naturally occurring, and some manmade. The fluoride that is added to the water in most cities and municipalities throughout the United States is not a naturally occurring mineral, as many public health agencies would like us to believe. It is instead a by-product, or waste product, of fertilizer and aluminum factories. This is not made up! What’s even scarier is that this information is displayed right on your water company’s website for all customers to see. It is typically noted in the water quality report, which displays results of periodic water testing done to make sure the water meets government health standards.
(2012 Water quality report from the Golden State Water Company for Southwest Los Angeles, CA http://www.gswater.com/southwestCCR/)
While not terribly hard to find, the information isn’t widely publicized in an effort to draw your attention. Most people go online to pay their bill, and will only find out this information when prompted to seek it out after reading something in the news, or elsewhere on the internet.
Think your water is safe? Go ahead – log on to your water service’s website right now to find out what’s in your local water.
This water treatment plant in Rock Island, Illinois had a leak of the “additive” which burned right through the concrete. No worries though, the rest of it made it safely into the water supply for people to consume.
When did the US start fluoridating the water?
Fluoridation of the water supply started in the United States back in the 1940s, but different cities and municipalities have adopted it at different times since then, some as late as after 2000. New York City started back in 1965, but Los Angeles didn’t start until 1999, according to the CDC.
Are well water drinkers safe?
According to Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards, well water drinkers are actually not safeguarded from fluoride in the water either. Through testing in different counties, groundwater concentrations of fluoride were actually found to be higher than recommended for public drinking water. If you live in a home that utilizes well water instead of a public water supply, consider testing your water for appropriate levels and for other safety issues.
How can I remove fluoride from my water?
Distillation and reverse osmosis systems indicate that they effectively remove nearly all fluoride from water, and they aren’t terribly expensive or difficult to install. You can purchase one from a home improvement store for around $150 – $200.
Some good models are:
GE Reverse Osmosis
Do other countries fluoridate their water?
Most of western Europe does not fluoridate their water supply. It is believed to be a medication, and forcing an unwilling population to take a medication en masse is against the beliefs of most Europeans. If it was more widely publicized here, or if the public had more education on the risks versus the alleged benefits, there probably would be a much larger resistance to this practice.
Consider that some people have health problems that require them to drink higher volumes of water, and consequently are exposed to more chemicals when that’s the last thing they need. Others’ lifestyles require a higher water intake, including athletes or outdoor workers in warmer climates. Governments are taking away a person’s right to choose what is best for his or her own body, especially those that cannot afford to purchase water or purify their water in other ways.
Dangers of fluoride: The impact it has on different parts of the body.
The most obvious health effect of excess fluoride exposure is dental fluorosis, which when mild includes white streaks, and when severe can include brown stains, pits and broken enamel. As of 2010, 41 percent of kids ages 12 to 15 had some form of dental fluorosis, according to the CDC.
The CDC states that infants drinking only formula combined with fluoridated water are more likely to experience a mild form of dental fluorosis.
Increased dangers for children and infants. Even though the ADA promotes fluoride, it does not recommend that children under 2 brush their teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride. The risk of swallowing is too great, and there is enough fluoride in a tube of toothpaste to kill a 20 pound child. Swallowing too much warrants a call to the poison control center and possibly a trip to the emergency room.
According to an article in the New York Times, swallowing a large amount of regular toothpaste may cause stomach pain and possible intestinal blockage.
These additional symptoms may occur when swallowing a large amount of toothpaste containing fluoride:
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart attack
- Salty or soapy taste in the mouth
- Slow heart rate
If you’d prefer to avoid these risks altogether, The Honest Company makes a fluoride free toothpaste containing only all natural ingredients. For your child’s safety, it would be worthwhile to seek out a fluoride free toothpaste, which can be very hard to do at a regular supermarket or drug store.
Just what is “optimally fluoridated” water? If fluoride is so great, why isn’t more fluoride better?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits the fluoride that can be present in public drinking-water supplies to 4 mg/L (maximum contaminant level, or MCL) to protect against crippling skeletal fluorosis, with a secondary maximum contaminant level (SMCL) of 2 mg/L to protect against objectionable enamel fluorosis.
Obviously, they are aware that too much fluoride can have very damaging effects to the body. However, we are exposed to the chemical through other sources besides drinking water.
In 2011, the California Department of Health cited reasons why they were recommending a reduction in the recommended levels of fluoride in the water:
“There is no change regarding federal health officials’ strong and long-standing support regarding the value of fluoridation of drinking water. The proposed change in the optimal levels is a result recent scientific evidence in four areas on the subject: 1) the effectiveness of fluoridation on dental caries prevention and control for all age groups, 2) the availability of fluoride through other sources, 3) trends in the prevalence and severity of dental fluorosis, and 4) fluid intake by children across various ambient air temperatures.
The January 13, 2011, announcement regarding fluoride levels in water is aimed at minimizing the chance that children develop dental fluorosis, a typically mild condition that causes a discoloration of teeth.
The CDPH Drinking Water Program and the Office of Oral Health are reviewing the proposed change and will provide comments to HHS.
California water systems practicing fluoridation are still required to comply with state fluoridation regulations (Title 22, Chapter 15, Article 4.1, Sections 64433 – 64434, CCR). Therefore, it is important to continue fluoridation in accordance with your CDPH public water supply permit and state regulations. However, until further notice, CDPH recommends that water systems practicing fluoridation operate their fluoridation system toward the lower end of their range prescribed in their permit and/or Section 644332.2, yet remain compliant with the requirements in Section 64433.3(b)”
Some of the common denominators I see from those points include children getting too much fluoride from drinking water and other sources, leading to dental fluorosis, and the general population getting too much fluoride from water when combined with other sources (like toothpaste), and the overall effectiveness of this additive.
Is fluoride actually effective in preventing tooth decay?
The American Dental Association has been promoting for decades that fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. In fact, it labels water fluoridation as one of the 10 most important health accomplishments in the last century. That is quite a bold statement.
In a book by Mark A Breiner, DDS titled Whole Body Dentistry, he argues the exact opposite. “Fluoride is a poison. aluminum and fertilizer industry. When it is introduced into a living body, it acts as an enzyme inhibitor that stops cellular functioning. Fluoride is, and always has been, listed as a lethal poison in the Merck Manual, the standard manual on diseases and toxins used as a reference by all physicians.”
He goes on to state that worldwide studies have proven that adding fluoride to drinking water is not at all effective in reducing or preventing tooth decay. The only topical benefit it provides is killing bacteria, but that can be accomplished in other ways! Dr. Breiner says that tooth decay is a systemic disease that is ultimately prevented by proper nutrition and balancing of body chemistry, not topical poisons.
Why does the ADA continue to promote fluoride?
Even if the ADA was wrong in their determination that fluoride prevents tooth decay, would they really turn around and admit that they were wrong all these years, even when no prominent research existed to back up their statement?
According to Whole Body Dentistry, in 1990, Dr. William Marcus, a senior toxicologist at in the Office of Drinking Water at the EPA, publicly denounced fluoride and exposed a cover-up of higher rates of cancer, birth defects, osteoporosis and hip fractures in areas where water was fluoridated. He found clear evidence in raw data of an animal experiment that fluoride causes cancer. Instead of investigating his concerns, the EPA fired him.
Many people have tried to be outspoken about the dangers and (ineffectiveness at best) of fluoride in the water, and fluoride in our dental products, but the government continues to ignore the warnings.