Over the last six months, there have been many published reports on fluoride toxicity and how the U.S. government has pretty much ignored these reports.
Some of the quick facts from the Fluoride Action Network include:
- Most developed nations, including 97% of western Europe, do not fluoridate their drinking water.
- Of the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), only 10 have water fluoridation programs.
- Four of the 10 OECD countries with water fluoridation programs have less than 15% of their population drinking fluoridated water: South Korea (6%), Spain (11%), and the United Kingdom (11%).
- Only 6 OECD countries have more than 50% of their populations drinking fluoridated water: Australia (80%), Chile (70%), the Irish Republic (73%), Israel (70%), New Zealand (61%), and the United States (64%).
- Excluding the United States, just 7% of the population in OECD countries consumes artificially fluoridated water.
- In total, 369,656,000 people worldwide drink artificially fluoridated water. This represents 5% of the world’s population.
- There are more people drinking fluoridated water in the United States than the rest of the world combined.
- There is no difference in tooth decay between western nations that fluoridate their water and those that do not.
- Many children now exceed recommended daily fluoride intake from toothpaste alone.
- Fluoride is not a nutrient.
- 36 studies have linked fluoride with reduced IQ in children.
The primary concerns with fluoride’s impact on human health can be summarized as follows:
- Current safety standards only protect against the most obvious forms of harm: Current safety standards for fluoride are based on the premise that severe dental fluorosis and crippling skeletal fluorosis are the first adverse effects that fluoride can have on the body.
- The current “safe” daily dose for fluoride fails to withstand scrutiny: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) states that anyone over 8 years of age — irrespective of their health condition — can safely ingest 10 milligrams of fluoride each day for their entire life without developing symptomatic bone damage. Ten milligrams, however, is the same dose that the IOM concedes can cause clinical signs of skeletal fluorosis within just 10 to 20 years of exposure. People with clinical signs of fluorosis can suffer significant symptoms, including chronic joint pain and overt osteoarthritis. Test
- Some people are particularly susceptible to fluoride toxicity: It is well known that individual susceptibility to fluoride varies greatly across the population, and yet, the National Research Council has recently found that breathtakingly large gaps still exist in the safety literature on the effects these populations may be experiencing as a result of current fluoride exposures.
- The margin between the toxic and therapeutic dose is very narrow: The NRC concluded that the allegedly “safe” upper limit of fluoride in water (4 mg/l) is toxic to human health. While the NRC did not determine the safe level, their conclusion means that the safe level is less than 4 times the level added to water (0.7-1.2 mg/l) in community fluoridation programs. This is far too slim a margin to protect vulnerable members of the population, including those who consume high amounts of water.
- The publication in 2006 of a 500-page review of fluoride’s toxicology by a distinguished panel appointed by the National Research Council of the National Academies (NRC, 2006). The NRC report concluded that the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safe drinking water standard for fluoride (i.e. maximum contaminant level goal or MCLG) of 4 parts per million (ppm) is unsafe and should be lowered. Despite over 60 years of fluoridation, the report listed many basic research questions that have not been addressed. Still, the panel reviewed a large body of literature in which fluoride has a statistically significant association with a wide range of adverse effects. These include an increased risk of bone fractures, decreased thyroid function, lowered IQ, arthritic-like conditions, dental fluorosis and, possibly, osteosarcoma.
- The evidence provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005 that 32% of American children have dental fluorosis – an abnormal discoloration and mottling of the enamel. This irreversible and sometimes disfiguring condition is caused by fluoride. Children are now being overdosed with fluoride, even in non-fluoridated areas, from water, swallowed toothpaste, foods and beverages processed with fluoridated water, and other sources. Fluoridated water is the easiest source to eliminate.
- The American Dental Association’s policy change, in November 2006, recommending that only the following types of water be used for preparing infant formula during the first 12 months of life: “purified, distilled, deionized, demineralized, or produced through reverse osmosis.” This new policy, which was implemented to prevent the ingestion of too much fluoride by babies and to lower the risk of dental fluorosis, clearly excludes the use of fluoridated tap water. The burden of following this recommendation, especially for low income families, is reason alone for fluoridation to be halted immediately. Formula made with fluoridated water contains 250 times more fluoride than the average 0.004 ppm concentration found in human breast milk in non-fluoridated areas.
- The CDC’s concession, in 1999 and 2001, that the predominant benefit of fluoride in reducing tooth decay is TOPICAL and not SYSTEMIC. To the extent fluoride works to reduce tooth decay, it works from the outside of the tooth, not from inside the body. It makes no sense to drink it and expose the rest of the body to the long term risks of fluoride ingestion when fluoridated toothpaste is readily available. Fluoride’s topical mechanism probably explains the fact that, since the 1980s, there have been many research reports indicating little difference in tooth decay between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities.
- In 2000, the publication of the UK government sponsored “York Review,” the first systematic scientific review of fluoridation, found that NONE of the studies purporting to demonstrate the effectiveness of fluoridation to reduce tooth decay were of grade A status, i.e. “high quality, bias unlikely” (McDonagh et al., 2000).
- The publication in May 2006 of a peer-reviewed, case-controlled study from Harvard University which found a 5-7 fold increase in osteosarcoma (a frequently fatal bone cancer) in young men associated with exposure to fluoridated water during their 6th, 7th and 8th years (Bassin et al., 2006).
- The admission by federal agencies, in response to questions from a Congressional subcommittee in 1999-2000, that the industrial grade waste products used to fluoridate over 90% of America’s drinking water supplies (fluorosilicate compounds) have never been subjected to toxicological testing nor received FDA approval for human ingestion (Fox, 1999; Hazan, 2000; Plaisier, 2000; Thurnau, 2000).
- The publication in 2004 of “The Fluoride Deception” by Christopher Bryson. This meticulously researched book showed that industrial interests, concerned about liabilities from fluoride pollution and health effects on workers, played a significant role in the early promotion of fluoridation. Bryson also details the harassment of scientists who expressed concerns about the safety and/or efficacy of fluoridation.
This statement concludes, “It is time for the US, and the few remaining fluoridating countries, to recognize that fluoridation is outdated, has serious risks that far outweigh any minor benefits, violates sound medical ethics and denies freedom of choice. Fluoridation must be ended now.”
US Government Admits Americans Have Been Overdosed on Fluoride
Even the government has fessed up about the need for reducing fluoride. According to a report published by Dr. Mercola on May 12, 2015, “The US government has finally admitted they've overdosed Americans on fluoride and, for first time since 1962, are lowering its recommended level of fluoride in drinking water.
About 40 percent of American teens have dental fluorosis, a condition referring to changes in the appearance of tooth enamel—from chalky-looking lines and splotches to dark staining and pitting—caused by long-term ingestion of fluoride during the time teeth are forming.
In some areas, fluorosis rates are as high as 70-80 percent, with some children suffering from advanced forms.
The former recommendation called for a fluoride level of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of water. The new upper limit set by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is 0.7 mg/L, to prevent these visible signs of toxic overexposure.
According to Indybay Organization in their report on July 12, 2015 titled “Mama’s, Don’t Let Your Babies Drink Fluoride”, “Fluoride was recently classified by leading scientists Philip Landrigan and Philippe Grandjean as a developmental neurotoxin in the March 2014 journal Lancet Neurology, and research now shows that fluoride can damage the fetal brain, adversely affect newborn babies’ behavior, damage the central nervous system of fluoride-exposed workers, and affect performance on neurological assessment tests. Forty-four human studies now show fluoride reduces IQ; 17 at levels the US EPA claims are safe. Over 100 animal studies show fluoride can directly damage the brain; with another 30 animal studies showing fluoride impairs learning or memory — including four published in 2014.
“Unfortunately, fluoridation promotion is not science-based but is politically motivated. While it’s important to avoid fluoridated water especially for infants, it’s imperative that parents contact legislators and tell them to stop adding unnecessary fluoride chemical into the public’s water supply,” says Paul Connett, PhD, FAN Executive Director and co-author of The Case Against Fluoride.
Developmental neurotoxins are capable of causing widespread brain disorders such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, and other cognitive impairments.
In March, an article published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health was the first to systematically look at the relationship between the behavioral disorder and water fluoridation. The study, “Exposure to fluoridated water and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prevalence among children and adolescents in the United States: an ecological association,” found that “each 1% increase in artificial fluoridation prevalence in 1992 was associated with approximately 67,000 to 131,000 additional ADHD diagnoses from 2003 to 2011.”
Besides being unaware of fluoride’s neurotoxicity, most parents are not informed that routinely mixing infant formula with fluoridated water increases babies’ risk of dental fluorosis (discolored teeth) without any benefit. Bottle-fed infants in fluoridated communities get about 200 times more fluoride than breast-fed babies. The CDC reports that 41% of teenagers have dental fluorosis – a physical marker that too much fluoride was ingested while their teeth formed. Dental fluorosis is increasing. Black and Hispanic children have higher rates of fluorosis than White children.
“The last children that need to lose IQ points are children from low-income families, and yet they are precisely the children being especially targeted with fluoridation programs, largely because 80% of US dentists will not treat children on Medicaid,” says Connett .
“This is a classic case of good intentions going awry,” said Dr. William Hirzy, a former risk assessment specialist at the US EPA and FAN’s Washington, DC, representative.”
Fluoride and the Link to Behavorial Disorders Substantiated
A recent report on June 14, 2-15 from Dr. Mercola, cites a new study that links water fluoridation to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States. The study, entitled: “Exposure to fluoridated water and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prevalence among children and adolescents in the United States: an ecological association,” was published in the journal Environmental Health in February.
According to the authors:
“State prevalence of artificial water fluoridation in 1992 significantly positively predicted state prevalence of ADHD in 2003, 2007 and 2011, even after controlling for socioeconomic status.
A multivariate regression analysis showed that after socioeconomic status was controlled each 1 percent increase in artificial fluoridation prevalence in 1992 was associated with approximately 67,000 to 131,000 additional ADHD diagnoses from 2003 to 2011.
Overall state water fluoridation prevalence (not distinguishing between fluoridation types) was also significantly positively correlated with state prevalence of ADHD for all but one year examined.
Conclusions: Parents reported higher rates of medically-diagnosed ADHD in their children in states in which a greater proportion of people receive fluoridated water from public water supplies."
Elevated Hypothyroidism Rates Linked to Fluoride Consumption in the UK
Also in February, a major fluoridation study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health--a British Medical Journal (BMJ) publication—and it’s already getting major media attention.
The study is a large observational evaluation of GP practice data and fluoride levels in drinking water. It’s the first study to ever look at fluoridation and hypothyroidism in a large population, in this case, England.
It found a relatively strong and statistically significant effect, with General Practice (GP) areas being 62 percent more likely to have high rates of diagnosed hypothyroidism if their drinking water fluoride levels were above 0.7ppm compared to areas with fluoride levels below 0.3ppm.
This was after researchers had accounted for key confounders, which are other factors that influence hypothyroid rates.
According to FAN’s Science Director, Chris Neurath:
“Scientific and medical research stretching back to the 1920s has shown that fluoride can affect the thyroid. The levels of fluoride exposure known to lower thyroid function overlap with the levels of exposure known to occur in some people drinking artificially fluoridated water.
Hypothyroidism is a very common disorder in the US. It can have serious adverse health effects. Reduced thyroid function in pregnant women is linked to reduced IQ in their children.
There is accumulating evidence that fluoride, at levels within the range fluoridated populations are exposed to, is associated with lowered IQ. Fluoride's effect on thyroid function might be the mechanism by which it lowers IQ.”
The article notes that "thyroid dysfunction is a common endocrine disorder..." The first time fluoride was labeled an endocrine disrupter was in the 2006 report6 of the National Resource Council of the National Academies.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Research shows that endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest risk during prenatal and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming.”
HHS Admits Overexposing Americans to Fluoride
In April, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) admitted that the fluoride levels, which they promoted and encouraged as safe, has damaged children’s teeth. Because of the major increase in dental fluorosis (white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth) on the teeth of 41 percent of teenagers, HHS says that water fluoride levels should be lowered to 0.7 mg/L (formerly most communities used 1 mg/L while the guideline was 0.7 – 1.2 mg/L) and in 10 years they’ll check children’s teeth to see if they were right about this new level.
In January 2011 when the HSS first announced this recommendation, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water released documents to substantiate the safety of continuing water fluoridation. However, the EPA has not yet responded to the many substantive comments they received.
So while HSS has finalized the guideline for the level of fluoride in fluoridation schemes, the safety of the issue has not yet been addressed. The HSS response to these concerns was to whitewash them. HHS ignored hundreds of animal studies that reported adverse health effects from fluoride and the 43 studies linking fluoride to children’s lowered IQ. When fluoridation began, officials had no idea that fluoride could affect cognitive functions.
We Can Reduce Our Exposure to Fluoride
There are currently a few ways to eliminate fluoride from our tap water. Reverse osmosis has been the treatment of choice for many years, but activated alumina and bone char are two medias used with a great amount of success for reducing fluoride. Bone char, in particular, can also be constructed in point-of-entry systems to reduce fluoride in the entire home. A three-stage point-of-use water filtration system with bone char will give fluoride-free, clean drinking water. Besides removing fluoride from drinking water, non-fluoridated toothpastes are readily available, and parents should consider these products especially for younger children. Consumers do have a choice today, and it is up to us to continue the fight for our health and welfare.