Fluoride and Fluoridation

Here’s what the American Dental Association says about fluoridation on their website:

“Welcome to your best resource for information on fluoride

More than 65 years ago – on January 25,1945 – Grand Rapids, Michigan became the world’s first city to adjust the level of fluoride in its water supply.  Since that time, fluoridation has dramatically improved the oral health of tens of millions of Americans.  Community water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.  Approximately 72.4% of the U.S. population served by public water systems receive the benefit of optimally fluoridated water.

Fluoridation of community water supplies is simply the adjustment of the existing, naturally occurring fluoride levels in drinking water to an optimal fluoride level recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service (0.7 – 1.2 parts per million) for the prevention of tooth decay.  Water that has been fortified with fluoride is similar to fortifying milk with Vitamin D, table salt with iodine, and bread and cereals with folic acid.

Studies conducted throughout the past 65 years have consistently shown that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe and effective in preventing dental decay in both children and adults. Simply by drinking water, children and adults can benefit from fluoridation’s cavity protection whether they are at home, work or school.

Today, studies prove water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing tooth decay by 20-40%, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoridation is one public health program that actually saves money.   An individual can have a lifetime of fluoridated water for less than the cost of one dental filling.

The American Dental Association continues to endorse fluoridation of community water supplies as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay.  This support has been the Association’s position since policy was first adopted in 1950.  The ADA’s policies regarding community water fluoridation are based on the overwhelming weight of peer-reviewed, credible scientific evidence.  The ADA, along with state and local dental societies, continues to work with federal, state and local agencies to increase the number of communities benefiting from water fluoridation.”

Now read this article and this article on fluoride poisoning. Now why would you want to put fluoride in your water? Don’t we have a choice? Here’s an excerpt from one of the articles on chronic toxicity:

Chronic toxicity

The only generally accepted adverse effect of fluoride at levels used for water fluoridation is dental fluorosis, which can alter the appearance of children’s teeth during tooth development; this is mostly mild and usually only an aesthetic concern. Compared to unfluoridated water, fluoridation to 1 mg/L is estimated to cause fluorosis in one of every 6 people (range 4–21), and to cause fluorosis of aesthetic concern in one of every 22 people (range 13.6–∞). Here, “aesthetic concern” is a term used in a standardized scale based on what adolescents would find unacceptable, as measured by a 1996 study of British 14-year-olds.[10]

Consumption of fluoride at levels beyond those used in fluoridated water for a long period of time causes skeletal fluorosis. In some areas, particularly the Asian subcontinent, skeletal fluorosis is endemic. It is known to cause irritable-bowel symptoms and joint pain. Early stages are not clinically obvious, and may be misdiagnosed as (seronegative) rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis.[11]

Other adverse effects may be possible at fluoride intake levels above the recommended dosage, and defluoridation is recommended in these cases. In 1986, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for fluoride at a concentration of 4 milligrams per liter (mg/L), which is the legal limit of fluoride allowed in the water. In 1993, a review by the National Academy of Sciences conducted at the behest of EPA concluded that the 4 mg/L MCL was appropriate.[12] However, in 2006, a 12-person committee of the US National Research Council (NRC) reviewed the health risks associated with fluoride consumption[13] and came to the differing conclusion that the MCL should be lowered. In response to these studies, the EPA has made no change to the MCL.[14][15]

Excess fluoride consumption has been studied as a factor in the following:

  • A weakening of bones, leading to an increase in hip and wrist fracture. At the level used in fluoridated water, decreased fractures are expected,[10] but the U.S. National Research Council found the overall evidence “suggestive but inadequate for drawing firm conclusions about the risk or safety of exposures at [2 mg/L]”, but states that fractures do seem to increase as fluoride is increased from 1 mg/L to 4 mg/L, suggesting a “continuous exposure-effect” dose-response relationship at these levels.[13]:170
  • Adverse effects on the kidney. Within the recommended dose, no effects are expected, but chronic ingestion in excess of 12 mg/day are expected to cause adverse effects, and an intake that high is possible when fluoride levels are around 4 mg/L.[13]:281 Those with impaired kidney function are more susceptible to adverse effects.[13]:292
  • Little research has been done on possible liver damage, although some studies suggest negative effects at chronic ingestion of 23 mg/day.[13]:292
  • Chromosomal damage and interference with DNA repair.[13]:304 Overall, the literature from in vitro and rodent studies does not indicate genotoxicity, but the in vivo human studies are inconsistent.[13]:316
  • Four epidemiological studies have noted a correlation between increased fluoride and low IQ.[13]:205-223 The most rigorous of these compared an area with mean water concentration of 0.36 ± 0.15 mg/L (range 0.18–0.76 mg/L) to an area with 2.47 ± 0.79 mg/L (range 0.57–4.50 mg/L). Most of these studies did not publish important details, making them difficult to evaluate. If these correlations are caused by fluoride, the mechanism is not known, but the National Research Council speculates that effects on the thyroid could lead to poor test results.[13]:208 Two Chinese meta-analyses which included the previously mentioned studies have also noted this correlation.[16][17] The high-fluoride areas studied had fluoride levels above those used in water fluoridation.
  • The NRC report stated that “many of the untoward effects of fluoride are due to the formation of AlFx [aluminum fluoride] complexes”.[13]:219 This topic has been identified previously as cause for concern.[18] The NRC noted that rats administered fluoride had twice as much aluminum in their brains.[13]:212 When water (1 ppm fluoride) is boiled in aluminum cookware more aluminum is leached and more aluminum fluoride complexes are formed. However, an epidemiological study found that a high-fluoride area had one-fifth the Alzheimer’s that a low-fluoride area had,[19] and a 2002 study found that fluoride increased the urinary excretion of aluminum.[20]
  • Fluoride’s suppressive effect on the thyroid is more severe when iodine is deficient, and fluoride is associated with lower levels of iodine.[18] Thyroid effects in humans were associated with fluoride levels 0.05–0.13 mg/kg/day when iodine intake was adequate and 0.01–0.03 mg/kg/day when iodine intake was inadequate.[13]:263 Its mechanisms and effects on the endocrine system remain unclear.[13]:266

Ways To Reduce Fluorine Exposure.

Want to remove most of the fluoride from your water? Check out Berkey Water Purifiers.

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12 Responses to Fluoride and Fluoridation

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