Environmental health groups are looking to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to impose tougher standards on fluoride in drinking water, building on a decision Friday by the federal Department of Health and Human Services to lower the recommended level for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The HHS move came in the wake of a government study showing that about 2 out of 5 adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness because of excessive fluoride. In extreme cases, teeth can become pitted. (side note from friendsofwater: this totally contradicts claims from the initial studies saying this would be a rare problem. Gee, maybe some of the other claims may not be true too! Do YOU think damaging the teeth of 40% of our youth is okay?)
The dangers may go beyond cosmetic issues. The EPA released two new reviews of research on fluoride Friday. One study found that prolonged, high intake of fluoride can increase the risk of brittle bones, fractures and crippling bone abnormalities. (another side note: this has actually been well understood for decades. fluoride has a negative effect on calcium bonding - this is not news.)
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Note added April 2010:
It is our impression that the tide is just beginning to turn on the question of fluoridation in the water. The April 12th issue of Time Magazine included fluoride on a list of "The Hazards Lurking at Home." As they point out, fluoride is "neurotoxic and potentially tumorigenic if swallowed; the American Dental Association advises that children under 2 not use fluoride toothpaste." Of course that is far from the whole story, but it does seem that awareness of the serious risks of fluoridated water has built considerably.
The same issue of Time Magazine also has an article called "Flushed Away" about how many drugs are ending up in our water supply.
But is may be some time yet before most municipalities remove fluoride from your water supply. This issue has been fought for decades now, and the those who do not want to remove fluoride still have the upper hand. There have even been a couple of US cities that recently started to add fluoride, although others recently dropped it.
An Exchange with a Dentist
We received an email from a dentist. It read as follows:
"Other commercial water filtration systems do not claim to remove fluoride because FLUORIDE IS GOOD FOR YOUR TEETH!!! I am a dentist and am disgusted you are trying to market this product as the removal of fluoride being a good thing. Fluoride is added to water supplies for a reason. You need to find a more ethical marketing ploy! When I was searching for a water filtration system to buy, I looked for those that removed as little fluoride as possible (and recommend the same for my patients)."
(the doctor's name is withheld)
Our response follows:
Yes, fluoride likely is good for teeth; particularly with topical application. The benefits of fluoride have been widely touted for decades. There are also many millions of people in the country who would like to remove fluoride from our water supply. We have uncounted hundreds, maybe thousands, of customers with conditions that are caused or aggravated by fluoride - and we are just one small company. These include some who were overfluoridated and became bedridden - and had to fight to regain a normal life. This was achieved when they did all they could to eliminate fluoride intake. (All the while being told they were idiots to even consider fluoride as the cause.) We hear regularly from many with thyroid conditions, sent by their healthcare practitioners, who simply cannot be drinking it. Those with kidney disease are at high risk from fluoride ingestion. Do you care at all about the millions of people of people in the country that fluoride hurts? Do you even have any idea that they exist? The list goes on, and learning about it is easily accomplished if one had any inclination. Are you interested in the public's health - or just teeth? We need to remove fluoride from the water supply.
There is a growing body of research that identifies clear risks for fluoride ingestion. Individuals may reach different conclusions about whether adding fluoride to the water supply is a good idea or not. But it's interesting how many people who favor fluoridation in the public water supply just immediately move into rudeness and personal attack. That some individuals - and municipalities - have an opinion different than yours does not make them foolish, uninformed or unethical. Is that really the best you can do - just hurl accusations?
Do you also tell your patients that in 2006 the American Dental Association notified its members that ingestion of fluoride is dangerous for children under the age of one? (Later that caution seems to have been raised to under 2.) Do you tell your older patients that it is likely that fluoride delivers no benefits for them? Are you aware that people now intake considerable fluoride from food and drinks in addition to toothpaste and water? Have you considered that therefore the statement that fluoride is at safe levels in the water supply is completely out of context and ignores other sources? Do you actually think fluoride is good - even for teeth - regardless of the level of intake? I suspect that you don't know these things - otherwise you would at least be able to consider that someone might reasonable want to reduce their fluoride intake.
There are many medications that can deliver some positive benefits. Shall we also put them into the water supply whether you want or need them? Or should we do what many European countries have done for decades and make other sources of fluoride readily available? Dental health in those countries has improved as much as in the US.
I'm not sure why I've bothered responding, and while of course you may respond as you wish, I won't continue the exchange. I guess the one point that I'd humbly suggest to you as a doctor is that you might learn if your patients have a health condition that is harmed by fluoride ingestion, and consider that before you increase their exposure to it.
To your health,
Why we should remove fluoride
from the water supply
Although many people have believed for a long time that fluoride in our drinking water was good for our dental health, there have now been many studies that demonstrate that there are significant risks of fluoride in drinking water. These present many excellent reasons why we should remove fluoride from our drinking water.
Our kids have fewer cavities than we did, and we're credit that to fluoride in the water supply. However, many European countries outlawed fluoride in drinking water decades ago and their dental health has improved as much as in the US, in some areas more. To ascribe all of our dental health improvements to fluoride in the water doesn't hold up. Some in favor of fluoridation endlessly argue that there is no science to say it is bad for us. This is simply not true.
Nearly always the argument for adding fluoride to drinking water is that it is in a dosage that is safe and even good for us. But drinking water is not the only way we ingest fluoride – so isolating one source and saying the level is okay is absurd. More and more the original untested assumption that fluoride in water would help with dental health is being confronted.
Medicine in the Water
Another issue is do you really want ‘medicine’ delivered through your drinking water? Our view is that we should each have the right to determine what medicines we intake - or don't.
Fluoride doesn't just break down and disappear. It accumulates over time. An NRDC study says people today ingest 4 times as much as they were when they started putting fluoride in our drinking water! This is pretty evenly spread across intake from water, other drinks, food and dental products. If you did everything you could think of to avoid fluoride, you couldn't eliminate it! Cut back on fluoride when you can. You'll still get lots!
There are many risks that have been identified from the intake of fluoride.
Studies Showing Fluoride Risk:
Reasons to Remove Fluoride
Children’s brain development came to the forefront as a concern after three 2007 medical studies suggested that fluoride may have a detrimental effect on childhood IQ. Several studies published in 2007 showed shortcomings in previous research studies. A Mexican study linked high-fluoride (5 ppm) in water to reduced IQ by controlling other key factors by multiple regression analysis. The study also eliminated bias by assuring that the psychologist conducting the IQ tests did not know which of the children had high fluoride exposure. According to the authors, exposure to fluoride was associated with reduced Performance, Verbal and Full IQ scores. The individual effect of fluoride in urine indicated that for each mg increase, a decrease of 1.7 points in Full IQ might be expected.
While the levels at which problems were identified will lead some pro-fluoride folks to conclude this and similar studies should be ignored, remember: Water is by no means the only source of fluoride. It can be argued how much fluoride we intake from various sources, but there ARE various sources and there is extraordinarily hard to manage levels of intake. (Municipalities add in the area of 1 ppm.) Additionally, consider that individual sensitivities vary. There are serious risks to drinking fluoride from our water supply.
Proponents of fluoride in the water supply frequently say that there is no science to prove fluoride in the water supply is dangerous. While the use of the word ‘prove’ may make that statement narrowly correct, the fact is there are many many scientific studies indicating severe risks. Every year there are more studies showing fluoride risks, some of them from very low dosages. Studies showing benefits of fluoridated water have been questioned for their scientific validity. Our view is that common sense suggests we should remove fluoride from our drinking water. And of course, the studies suggesting benefits from drinking fluoridated water also don't prove that the view they support is right.
Why should it have to be proven that fluoride in the water is dangerous? The opposite should be true: Something should only be added to the water supply if it can be proven to not be dangerous. And that cannot be proven regarding fluoride.
We all like to point to studies that support our views. But let's also consider that science is an exploration - and does not provide the 'final answer'. Things change. Research includes different variables. We recall being told that asbestos was safe - and that cigarettes were good for you. At some point you have to make up your own mind. And you should not be forced to ingest something you don't want to ingest.
People Injured by Fluoride - and Concerned about Fluoride:
Diseases Impacted by Fluoride
Here at friendsofwater.com we hear from many many people who cannot drink the water in their own home, or in a restaurant or public place. We've heard from people who have been over-fluoridated and if they drink fluoridated water become desparately ill. These people are of every age and both genders. There have been moms hugely concerned because their children - who get sick if they ingest fluoride - were about to go to college. At home they had water filters; what could they do at school? Recently we've heard most often from people with thyroid disease who can't drink fluoride or their condition worsens. (See about.com for more.) They have been told by their health care practicioners to remove fluoride from their water. Some people have allergies to fluoride - we just heard from a mom whose 7-year old son is allergic to allergies.
Here are a couple of excerpts from an article about fluoride and thyroid:
We also hear from people sent by their cancer clinics where they were told "You must stop drinking this poison." Some who talk to us are just extremely sensitive, and react badly to fluoride. Some have immune difficiencies and are damaged by fluoride. Some have reported they experience what looks and feels like rhumatoid arthritis from exposure to fluoride. We know people who became bedridden from exposure to fluoride. Skeletal fluorosis is real.
If fluoride is added to our water for health reasons - why is the reality of these people's lives ignored? Likely that is because if you actually look at the reality you can't sustain your support of fluoridation. Who could deny the personal experience of so many? Remove fluoride from your drinking water!
Water & Toothpaste Are Not the Only Sources of Fluoride
We have yet to hear one proponent of water fluoridation address the issue that fluoride is found not only in the water supply and that means we are intaking more than what they claim is a safe level. But fluoride is found in produce, in most foods now that have water in them, and in toothpaste. There is lots of fluoride in canned foods, like soup for example. There is a lot in soda cans. How can they continue to look at one source only and say the level of fluoride is safe? This is patently absurd! It is apparently easier to throw around words like 'hysterical', 'paranoid' and 'fear-mongering' than it is to acually consider that water fluoridation is causing suffering for many people.
It's not easy to test fluoride levels at home. One customer paid the $380 needed to get a good fluoride tester. Among all the many places he found significant levels of fluoride was in the vegetables in his home-grown 'organic' vegetable garden. He realized that he is watering it with fluoridated water and the plants pull it right in. The levels vary in different vegetables, but in some like tomatoes it is quite high. (He also reported 0 fluoride after water was filtered by our 2-canister FLUORIDE PLUS filter, and 0 fluoride after 6 months of use.)
We recognize that many proponents of fluoridating the water supply are sincere people interested in the dental health of others, particularly poorer people. And there are some studies that indicate such benefits exist. But several European countries outlawed fluoridated water decades ago. Some of them fluoridate salt. Solutions are available that allow those whose bodies cannot tolerate fluoride to readily avoid it.
It's time to stop putting medicine in the water.
Lots more info below.......
Years ago, the most frequent health issue people called us about regarding fluoride was cancer. Now we seem to have more contacting us about thyroid issues - although the calls regarding cancer continue.
Fluoride is known to be harmful to peole with thyroid problems - and almost certainly
is causing thyroid problems for others.
A story in about.com called
Hidden Danger in Your Drinking Water and Toothpaste
Fluoride and Fluoridated Water's Link to Thyroid Disease
has this to say: "This common additive to your water supply, and ingredient in the toothpaste you and your children use may be contributing to the increased rates of hypothyroidism -- and other health concerns -- in the U.S. . . without improving dental health."
To see the full article: Fluoridated Water's Link to Thyroid Disease
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A 2006 review of peer-reviewed studies in respected journals by the National Research Council (NRC) reveals that fluoride added to water supplies - even at low levels - is a health risk. Particularly at risk are high-water drinkers, babies, kidney and thyroid patients. The NRC panel found that fluoride’s links to cancer and lowered IQ are plausible.
(friendsofwater suggests that fluoride might not be good for anyone with kidneys or thyroids - or who drinks water!)
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The National Kidney Foundation has advised “Individuals with CKD [Chronic Kidney Disease] should be notified of the potential risk of fluoride exposure.” Too much fluoride damages bones and malfunctioning kidneys do not excrete fluoride properly allowing a toxic build-up in the bones.
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From an interview with Kathleen M. Thiessen, senior scientist for the Center for Risk Analysis at SENES Oak Ridge, Inc.
"Diabetics -- particularly those whose diabetes is uncontrolled or inadequately controlled, those who have not yet been diagnosed or who are not doing well on treatment -- they have a higher water consumption, can be considerably higher. Many people when they are first diagnosed with diabetes have thought they were healthy when in fact their thirst was extremely high. So, because of that high water intake, they're getting more fluoride. Down the road, many diabetic patients eventually develop some degree of kidney failure. So then you've got that problem again of reduced clearance of fluoride."
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We've read that Prozac is actually 94% fluoride, under a pharmaceutical name. We're not certain how accurate this statement is.
2012: We recently heard from a reader who sent us the following (we've not verified this.)
"Do you have information about the flouroquinalones? They are Ciprofloxacin , Levaquin and hundreds of others. There is also flourination added to many other drugs. It is also in some antidepressants.
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American Dental Association reverses position,
warns its members that
fluoride is too dangerous to be consumed by infants
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 by: Ben Kage
reprinted from newstarget.com
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On Nov. 9, 2006 the American Dental Association released an email alert to its members warning that, in order to prevent tooth damage, fluoridated water should not be mixed into formula or foods intended for babies aged 1 and younger.
Currently, two-thirds of the U.S. public water supply has fluoride chemicals added, a move centered on a now-disproved theory that fluoride ingestion prevents cavities. Research by the Centers for Disease Control has shown that fluoride absorbs into tooth enamel topically, but ingestion of the chemical can cause adverse reactions. Also, the CDC admitted that enamel fluoride concentration was not inversely related to cavities.
(Bolding added by friendsofwater.com)
Fluoridated bottled water is available in stores across the United States along with instructions to mix into formula, which is what prompted the ADA to warn its members. (friendsofwater.com asks: Are they still doing that?)
"Infants could receive a greater than optimal amount of fluoride through liquid concentrate or powdered baby formula that has been mixed with water containing fluoride during a time that their developing teeth may be susceptible to enamel fluorosis," stated the ADA report, describing the condition marked by pitting and white spotting as well as yellow and/or brown teeth.
Paul Beeber, lawyer and New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF) president, noted that news releases from the NYSCOF in 2000 and 2004 cited studies that linked fluorisis to infant foods mixed with fluoridated water. However, Beeber remarked, it took the ADA until 2006 to release its alert, right after the FDA disapproved of marketing fluoridated water to babies in October and the National Research Council reported that babies are fluoride overdosed from "optimally" fluoridated water supplies.
"The ADA claims the NRC report didn't question the safety of fluoridation but it did, as the ADA now admits," Beeber said. "The NRC also revealed fluoridation's adverse effects to the thyroid gland, diabetics, kidney patients, high water drinkers and others."
He added that the ADA warning had only gone out to its members, and asked, "Who will alert parents?"
The Environmental Protection Agency, which sets allowable water fluoride levels, is required to consider the most vulnerable members of a population, so allowable fluoride levels should be near zero to protect infants.
"This should end water fluoridation," Beeber said. "Fluoridation is a failed concept that must be abandoned before more Americans are harmed."
Thanks to Ben Kage and www.newstarget.com
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That's supposed to be the good news?
At a dentist appointment, the dental hygenist was raving about the health of my mouth - as they always do. I pointed out that I had not used fluoride toothpaste for several years, nor had I drunk fluoridated water for years. She said: "Oh, fluoride serves no purpose for someone your age." (59 at the time.) So it's dangerous for babies, useless for older people, harmful to many and maybe helpful to some. So just what is the rationale for making everyone drink it - even those who are damaged by it?
Additional Comments on Fluoride
"I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs. Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long range basis. Any attempt to use water this way is deplorable."
Dr. Charles Gordon Heyd
Past President of the American Medical Association.
Fluoride is a controversial topic, and there are many who believe that in the correct quantities it can be very beneficial for dental health. Some research suggests that may be true if used topically, but not through ingestion. And there is no question that too much fluoride does irreparable damage in many ways - including to teeth! Put that together with the reality that you can't control how much fluoride you are exposed to now.
Friendsofwater.com works to share well-reasoned views, and we looked at the issue for quite a while before we took the stand some years ago that we should not ingest fluoride. (Although we personally got a fluoride-removing water filter earlier than our public stance.) The evidence has accumulated to too high a level to continue to avoid the conclusion that fluoride is too dangerous to be trifled with. Adding it to everyone's drinking water is a bad idea. You should immediately remove fluoride from your drinking water.
Some have voiced that their kids have had far fewer cavities than they did, and that must be from fluoride. The reduction in cavity rate in several European countries that outlawed fluoridated water has equaled that of the US over those years, and in some places have improved even more. Some offer fluoridated salt, which leaves individuals with a choice.
Calcium is the primary hardener for bones and teeth. It can form two bonds with carbonate or oxygen to create chains. Fluoride can only create one bond. When fluoride combines with calcium, it breaks the chain, preventing calcium development.
Fluoride doesn't break down and disappear. It accumulates over time. It is estimated that people today ingest 4 times as much as they were when they started putting fluoride in our drinking water! If you did everything you could think of to avoid fluoride, you couldn't do it! Cut back on fluoride. You'll still get lots.
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More from the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation
".....fluoride ingestion is not stopping tooth decay in primary teeth.
According to a systematic review of fluoride supplement research published in the November 2008 Journal of the American Dental Association, "There is weak and inconsistent evidence that theuse of fluoride supplements prevents dental caries in primaryteeth." In fact, the authors could find only one study, from China, showing any fluoride benefit to primary teeth and that study was probably biased with a high withdrawal rate, the authors write.
Fluoride supplements never underwent FDA testing.
"Fluoridation began with the untested belief that ingested fluoride prevented tooth decay in small children, only. Evidence-based-dentistry now shows that swallowing fluoride poses dental risks without benefits to the very children fluoridation was supposed to help," says Beeber.
"It may...be that fluoridation of drinking water does not have a strong protective effect against early childhood caries (cavities) reports dentist Howard Pollick, University of California, and colleagues, in the Winter 2003 Journal of Public Health Dentistry.