In my first posting on fluoride from earlier in the week, I took a brief look at the common use of fluoride as an additive in toothpaste, as well as other commonly consumed products (soda, tea, and bottled beverages). I made it fairly clear that fluoride, while it is arguably effective in strengthening teeth and bones when taken in small doses (under 1 part per million), becomes counterproductive and even life threatening when consumed in excess (more than 4 parts per million) and could lead to degradation of teeth, as well as serious gastrointestinal problems (fluoride taken in excess enters the stomach and forms hydrofluoric acid, which can irritate and seriously corrode the stomach lining). However, this only occurs when fluoride is directly consumed via generous amounts of toothpaste, insecticides, or pharmaceutical grade fluoride, if you have it.
For many, this is a child-proofing issue that requires supervision with any household product containing significant amounts of fluoride (beware of those candy-colored fluoride mouthwashes that are oh-so tempting to the young and the curious), or for some, it is a matter of consciously refusing to have any fluoride products in the house. However, short of cutting off the municipal water supply to your house and digging a well, you will be getting your ADA recommended dose of fluoride from your water supply.
To be clear, the fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash (sodium fluoride salt) is pharmaceutical grade fluoride, and completely different from the hexafluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) added to fluoridate our water supply. While they are the same molecularly, the far less expensive fluoride that has been added to our municipal water supply since the 1940s is qualitatively very different. The most common fluoride additive, hexafluorosilicic acid, is an industrial byproduct that is scrubbed from smokestacks during the production of phosphate fertilizer and sold to most of the major cities in North America. These fluorosilicates have never been tested for safety in humans and have been known to be contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals. I kid you not!
How do the federal and local governments without any true debate or recourse continually sanction this fluoridation practice? Some of the more conspiracy-minded individuals would say that the roots of water fluoridation are deceitful and fraudulent at best. There are stories of the US Government taking interest in German POW camps that heavily fluoridated water to keep prisoners “stupid and docile.” Some see a direct connection between the production of atomic bombs (of which, supposedly, fluoride is a byproduct) and the promotion and implementation of fluoride as a means toward stronger bones and healthier teeth. Most notably, many individuals and communities in the 1950s were seething and up in arms over the idea that their water supply was being fluoridated–seeing the tinkering of their water supply as being part of a larger communist conspiracy.
However, I cannot lend any genuine credibility to each one of these theories and conspiracies, as they often lack some of the factual data and credible motives to back them up. Conspiracies aside, this may be an extreme case of disregard and neglect carried out far too long, as it is proven that fluoride in excess is indisputably dangerous. Many European countries have ceased water fluoridation due to public health concerns (Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands) or opted out altogether (France). In March 2006, the National Research Council declared that the U.S. EPA is allowing levels of fluoride in drinking water that could damage children’s teeth. Studies have also shown that infants who drink fluoridated water are at significant risk for dental fluorosis. But drinking is not the only issue here. Obviously, as I had mentioned before, fluoride is present, not only in toothpaste, but in just about anything made with water, and a water supply liberally dosed with fluoride easily makes its way into the body via washing and bathing as well. Dr. William Hirzy, Senior VP of EPA Headquarters Union in Washington DC definitively stated, “”…fluoride (that is added to municipal water) is a hazardous waste product…for which there is substantial evidence of adverse health effects and, contrary to public perception, virtually no evidence of significant benefits.”
So, are you spooked? I wish I could say that all of this is just a cynical way to drive traffic to the website, but sadly, it is not. Our problematic relationship with fluoride continues to flow without much change on the horizon. With every sip or and every daily brushing, we are complicit in something that we know very little about or are able to genuinely control.
Is this just paranoid lunacy? Are there better things to worry about (no doubt)? Is it time we take a long hard look at fluoride and ask it, “What the hell are you doing in my water glass?” I would love to hear from everyone and anyone who has an opinion or concern.
Note: A few of you had made comments last time wanting some sort of substantiation to the claims. Here is a collection of links and referrals for those of you who would like to study up:
Review Of Fluoride: Benefits And Risks. Report Of The Ad Hoc Subcommittee On Fluoride. Diane Pub Co. (1992)
The Fluoride Deception by Christopher Bryson, Seven Stories Press (2004)
The Fluoride Wars: How a Modest Public Health Measure Became America’s Longest-Running Political Melodrama by RA Freeze and JH Lehr, Wiley (2009)