TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. WHAT IS FLUORIDE?
2. HOW FLUORIDE IS PRODUCED
3. A BRIEF HISTORY
4. LEGALITY AND REGULATION
6. OPPONENTS AND PROPONENTS
7. HEALTH CONCERNS
9. PRODUCTS/SOURCES THAT CONTAIN FLUORIDE
10. REDUCING FLUORIDE CONSUMPTION AND CONTAMINATION
11. IN CONCLUSION/MY OBSERVATIONS
12. SOME INTERESTING QUOTES
I am biased, but have attempted to state the information provided here objectively. My subjectivity and observations are with held until the conclusion section of this post.
1. WHAT IS FLUORIDE?
Fluoride is a chemical ion composed of fluorine and another element. Fluorine is an element that has an electron charge of -1, so it will naturally bond with an element that has an extra electron.
Water systems in the United States, and Canada typically use one of three additives for water fluoridation. These additives are:
- Fluorosilicic Acid - (H3O)2[SiF6]: An inorganic, colorless liquid rarely undiluted. It is corrosive to metals and tissue. The fumes and short contact can cause severe and painful burns. It is used in water fluoridation, in hardening cement and ceramics, and as a wood preservative.
- Sodium Fluoride - NaF: An inorganic, colorless, or white solid that is readily soluble in water. It is a dry salt additive, which is typically dissolved into a solution before being added to water. It is corrosive to aluminum, and used as an insecticide. It is also used to fluorinate water supplies, as a wood preservative, in cleaning compounds, manufacture of glass, and for many other uses.
- Sodium Fluorosilicate - Na2[SiF6]: An inorganic, fine, white, odorless, powdered solid. It is a dry salt additive, dissolved into a solution before being added to water. It is toxic by inhalation, skin absorption and ingestion. It is also used as a rodenticide.
To summarize, proponents claim that fluoride is used in public water supplies as a preventative measure to reduce tooth decay, develop and maintain oral health and strong bones. Opponents claim that chronic consumption of fluoride results in accumulation of toxic amounts and can interfere or interrupt many important biological processes and cause irreparable harm to the immune system.
I will talk more about the scientific literature, and the claims of opponents, and proponents after more information is introduced to the reader.
2. HOW FLUORIDE IS PRODUCED:
The salts used to fluoridate the water supply are industrial by-products that are never found in nature. There is a form which occurs naturally, known as Calcium Fluoride, however this form is not used to fluoridate water.
- Fluorosilicic Acid - (H3O)2[SiF6]: Captured in the air pollution control devices of the phosphate fertilizer industry.
- Sodium Fluorosilicate - Na2[SiF6]: Created by neutralizing fluorosilicic acid with sodium chloride or sodium sulfate.
- Sodium Fluoride - NaF: Some sodium fluoride is obtained as a byproduct of the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers. In that process, apatite (a form of calcium phosphate that also contains fluorides and/or chlorides) is crushed and treated with sulfuric acid (H2SO4). The compound can also be produced by treating hydrogen fluoride with sodium carbonate (Na2CO3)
3. A BRIEF HISTORY:
Fluoride research began in 1901, when Frederick McKay opened a dental practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Shortly after he arrived, McKay discovered that a majority of residents had disfigured teeth, with notable brown stains, now known as fluorosis. McKay contacted and invited Dr. Greene Vardiman Black to help him understand and document the cause.
Dr. G.V. Black was a dental researcher, who studied dentistry for 20 months and followed up with an apprenticeship. In 1909, Dr. G.V. Black accepted McKay's invitation and moved to Colorado to begin research. They had initiated a 15-year follow-up study and concluded that most children (approximately 90%) had fluorosis.
H.V. Churchill was a chief chemist who worked for ALCOA, and in 1931 he analyzed the water with more effective tools and techniques than what was available to Dr. McKay. Churchill discovered high levels of fluoride in the water from Bauxite, Arkansas. He was in disbelief and ordered a second sample. After the second test showed the same results, Churchill had written a 5 page letter to McKay. In this letter, Churchill had informed McKay of his findings, and urged him to test samples from Colorado Spring and Oakley for high levels of fluoride. McKay obliged and within months, he found that increased levels of fluoride was the cause of the fluorosis.
Henry Trendley Dean was a dentist, and worked as director for the NIDCR (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research). In 1931, Dean was urged and asked by Dr. McKay to make his research into fluoridation as his first assignment at the institute. During the 1930s and early 1940s, Henry Trendley Dean and his colleagues published a series of studies which described the relationship between the fluoride naturally present in drinking water, and the prevalence and severity of dental fluorosis and dental caries.
Fluoride was then added into the water since the 1940s. Dental products began to contain fluoride after this. As a result of each product entering market, it is likely that exposure to fluoride increased over time.
In 1951, fluoridation became an official policy of the U.S. Public Health Service. By 1960, water fluoridation had been widely adopted, and had reached approximately 50 million residents.
As early as 1961, as recorded in the congressional record, fluoride was exposed as a "lethal poison".
4. LEGALITY AND REGULATION:
Fluoridation of water is supported by many national and international organizations, such as:
- The World Health Organizations
- World Federation of Orthodontists
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- US Department of Defense
- US Public Health Service
- American Association of Dental Schools
- American Dental Association
- American, Canadian and provincial dental associations
- Health Canada
- National Cancer Institute, among many others (see more here: https://www.dentalwatch.org/fl/orgs.html)
Today, most cities in the US and Canada fluoridate their water supplies. In many states it is required. Fluoridated water has become the standard rather than the exception.
In the United States, approximately 72% of the population has access to fluoridated water. Municipalities across Canada have the choice of whether to fluoridate their water. As of 2017, around 40% of Canadian residents have fluoridated water. Canada is one of the most fluoridated countries in the world. In comparison, only 5.7% of the world’s population has their public water supply fluoridated.
According to the British Fluoridation Society, 25 countries fluoridate their water supplies. It is reported that 11 of these countries have less than 20% of their population consuming it (a list can be found here: https://fluoridealert.org/content/bfs-2012/). There are more people drinking fluoridated water in the United States than the rest of the world combined.
I had found two different primary scientific sources of information on dosage, so I will share them both.
Source 1) In 1942, the PHS defined set the maximum tolerance of fluoride in public water supplies as 1.0 ppm. It was raised to 1.5 ppm in 1946, and raised again to 2.4 ppm in 1961. According to the EPA, the current enforceable drinking water standard for fluoride is 4.0 mg/L. The permissible fluoride limit was quadrupled.
Source 2) Since 1962, the United States Public Health Service (PHS) recommended that public water supplies contain between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter (mg/L or PPM) of drinking water.
In many places, the levels of fluoride are carefully monitored, however in many other places, you can find 8 ppm and sometimes higher.
6. PROPONENTS AND OPPONENTS
Proponents typically claim:
It occurs naturally
It prevents dental diseases
It remineralizes tooth enamel and helps to develop and maintain strong bones and teeth.
May also inhibit acid production by oral bacteria.
There is no risk to health when water fluoridation is monitored and remains at an appropriate concentration.
Money is recouped in savings due to diminished tooth decay
Opponents typically claim:
When fluoridated water is consumed regularly, toxic levels of fluorine accumulate in the body, causing irreparable harm to the immune system.
There is a vast array of health concerns associated with chronic ingestion (listed below)
It can interfere with many important biological processes.
These are also norotiously toxic compounds, so much so that they are commonly used in rat poison, insecticides and rodenticides.
Fluoride is the extreme electron scavenger, the most corrosive of all elements, as well as the most-reactive. Fluoride appears to attack living tissues, via several mechanisms.
Departments of health and state legislators have not read, or have discounted scientific studies which document the harm from fluoridation chemicals.
Most developed countries do not fluoridate their water. More people drink fluoridated water in the U.S. alone than in the rest of the world combined. The reduction in tooth decay is not linked to consumption of fluoride, because it is has likewise occurred in all developed countries, and only 5% of the world fluoridates their water supplies.
7. HEALTH CONCERNS:
Over 300 studies have concluded that fluoride is a neurotoxin. Depending on the dosage, there may be a wide variety of effects, such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Acne and other dermatological conditions,
- Arterial calcification
- Bone deformities
- Bone weakness and risk of fractures
- Brain damage
- Calcification of tendons and ligaments
- Cardiac failure or insufficiency
- Damaged sperm and increased infertility
- Dental fluorosis
- Disrupts synthesis of collagen
- Down syndrome
- Early puberty in girls
- Electrocardiogram abnormalities
- Genetic damage and cell death
- Harm to the fetal brain
- Heart failure
- Hyperactivity and/or lethargy
- Immune system complications
- Inactivates 62 enzymes and inhibits more than 100
- Inhibited formation of antibodies
- Increased lead absorption
- Increased tumor and cancer rate
- Iodine deficiency
- Lowered fertility rates
- Lower IQ
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness and disorders
- Myocardial damage
- Nausea and vomiting
- Nervous system complications
- Neurological problems
- Pineal gland dysfunction
- Skeletal fluorosis
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- Thyroid dysfunction and disease
The cost of water fluoridation is estimated to be between $0.35 and $0.80 per person per year. If you consider large cities, this cost can really add up. For example, water fluoridation costs $0.77 annually per person in Toronto, Canada. This city has a population of approximately 2.8 million residents. The cost of water fluoridation for Toronto alone is approximately $2,156,000.
There are approximately 326.76 million residents in the United States. It is approximated that 72% has access to fluoridated water. This would equate to approximately 235,267,200 residents being serviced with an expense of approximately $209,126,400 per year on the highest end, and $82,343,520 on the lowest end.
There are approximately 36.95 million residents in Canada. It is approximated that 40 % has access to fluoridated water. This would equate to approximately 14,780,000 residents being serviced with an expense of approximately $11,824,000 per year on the highest end, and $5,173,000 on the lowest end.
In 2011, the U.S. phosphate industry reported sales of 65,900 tons of hydrofluorosilicic acid (HFSA) for water fluoridation. Water authorities in the U.S. report the prices paid ranges from between $500 to $2300 per ton. If the average sale costs $1000 per ton, then the revenue, and cost for taxpayers for fluoridation would be approximately $275,000,000 annually.
9. PRODUCTS/SOURCES THAT CONTAIN FLUORIDE:
Sources: municipal drinking water, bottled water, tea, food residue, processed beverages/foods, infant formulas, cow milk (due to livestock raised on fluoridated water, feed and soil), cigarette smoke, pesticides and some soils, aluminum-containing antacids or medications, deodorants, cosmetics, some glassware, non-stick coating, grease/oil/water resistant packaging, phosphate fertilizers, airborne emissions from industrial activities, nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons.
Dental sources: toothpaste, prophy paste, mouthwash/rinse, dental floss, fluoridated tooth picks, interdental brushes, topical fluoride gel/foam, dental material for fillings (glass ionomer cements, giomers, compomers, composites, dental mercury amalgams), dental material for orthodontics, dental material for pit and fissure sealants, dental material for tooth sensitivity/caries treatment.
Pharmaceutical sources: 20-30% of pharmaceutical compounds have been estimated to contain fluorine. Some of the most popular drugs include Prozac, Lipitor, Ciprobay (ciprofloxacin), as well as the rest of fluoroquinolone family (gemifloxacin [marketed as Factive], levofloxacin [marketed as Levaquin], moxifloxacin [marketed as Avelox], norfloxacin [marketed as Noroxin], and ofloxacin [marketed as Floxin and generic ofloxacin]). The fluorinated compound fenfluramine (fen-phen) was also used for many years as an anti-obesity drug.
Knowing many of these sources are used in the daily life of an average individual, it is easy to see how many individuals may be ingesting excessive amounts of this toxic substance.
10. REDUCING FLUORIDE CONSUMPTION AND CONTAMINATION:
If your tap water contains fluoride, and you wish to remove it, you can use a reverse osmosis, distillation, or activated alumina filtration system to eliminate almost all of the fluoride from your water.
11. IN CONCLUSION / MY OBSERVATIONS:
I can see where the usage of fluoride may be useful. However, I believe it is overly accessible and can accumulate to toxic levels when chronically consumed due to usage in multiple products and water supplies. If we have an excessive dose of fluoride, it is a serious problem. Education and other preventative measures should take precedence if we are going to continue consuming it.
I have this question: Why put a diluted corrosive poison into your body in efforts to improve dental health? We have made a lot of scientific progress since the early 1900s, and it seems appropriate that we could/should adopt a safer, more effective, and cheaper alternative to accomplish this task.
I am uncomfortable when I see many "widely-respected" scientific communities disregarding the documented health concerns associated with fluoridation and toxic accumulation.
12. A couple interesting quotes:
“Fluoridation is mass medication without parallel in the history of medicine.” - Delaney Congressional Investigation Committee
"Fluoride is the extreme electron scavenger, the most corrosive of all elements, as well as the most-reactive. Fluoride appears to attack living tissues, via several mechanisms. Fluoride renders strong evidence that it is a non-biological chemical, demonstrating no observed beneficial function or role in organic chemistry, beyond use as a pesticide or insecticide. Fluorine has a strong role to play in industry, having been utilized extensively in metals, plastics, paints, aluminium, steel, and uranium production. - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21288074"
Resources and reading material:
Burt, Brian, Steven Eklund. Dentistry, Dental Practice, and the Community, 6th Edition. W.B. Saunders Company, 2005. VitalBook file. Page 4
Smith, Delos (November 5, 1952). "Science At Work". Albany Democrat-Herald. United Press – via Newspapers.com.
Meiers, Peter. "HT Dean´s epidemiology of Mottled Teeth". The History of Fluorine, Fluoride and Fluoridation. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
Fejerskov, Ole; Kidd, Edwina (March 16, 2009). Dental Caries: The Disease and Its Clinical Management. John Wiley & Sons. p. 290. ISBN 978-1-4443-0928-7.
Lennon MA (September 2006). "One in a million: the first community trial of water fluoridation". Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 84 (9): 759–60. doi:10.2471/BLT.05.028209. PMC 2627472. PMID 17128347.
Stokinger H E and Woodward R L, Toxicologic Methods for Establishing Drinking Water Standards. J A W W A, April 1958, p 518.
Dean H T et al, Domestic Water and Dental Caries, If Pub. Health Rep. 56: 756-792. (Apr 11) 1941 p 762.