Last week a panel of the National Academy of Scientists released the results of a study on fluoride commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Currently the maximum allowable amount of fluoride in drinking water is 4 mg/liter. The study concluded that the amount of fluoride that has been allowed to be present in our drinking water (i.e., 4 mg/liter) is too high and can cause health problems.

The panel said that children consuming water with 4 mg/liter of fluoride risk developing severe dental fluorosis (the discoloration, and in severe cases, pitting of the enamel) and, over their lifetime, risk developing weakened bones with an increased risk of fracture.

Their recommendation to the EPA was to conduct another study to determine by how much the allowable amount of fluoride needs to be reduced in light of their unfavorable findings.

I would have preferred that they ban fluoride in drinking water until a safe level could be determined. That would have been a more prudent response than continuing a fifty year practice of adding a toxic chemical to our drinking water.

I discussed fluoride in a previous newsletter (September 2004). This month with fluoride in the news, I would like to expand upon that topic. 

Did you know that fluoride has never been approved by the FDA? Shouldn’t a rat poison which is being used as a drug to reduce dental decay have undergone FDA scrutiny? 

When fluoride was first used in the 1940’s, the optimal dose was thought to be 1 mg/liter with the average intake of water by an adult male estimated at 1 liter per day. Back then, fluoride wasn’t as widely used as it is today. Now we have fluoride in our toothpastes, in some mouth washes, in reconstituted juices and sodas, in drugs, in Teflon cookware and in our food (through its use as a pesticide).

The original fluoride recommendation was based on upon an adult male. What about the impact of all the fluoride upon the infant or child who only weighs a fraction of what an adult weighs? 

Interestingly, in 1986 the EPA set the maximum allowable amount of fluoride at 4 mg/liter because they determined that levels of fluoride greater than this put children at risk of developing crippling skeletal fluorosis. Now the new report states that 4 mg/liter in drinking water fluoride can cause health problems. The panel did not evaluate the impact upon one’s health with levels of less than 4 mg/liter. Note that 1 mg/liter = 1 ppm (parts per million). There is not a lot of room for safety between 1ppm and 4 ppm. In drugs they look for a safety margin of 100. (In other words, .004 ppm of fluoride would be allowed).

The allowable amounts of lead in drinking water are still being lowered. Speaking of lead, fluoride causes the lead in water pipes to leach at a much higher rate. It has been shown that people in fluoridated areas have higher lead levels than those living in non-fluoridated areas.

Everyone knows how lead affects the developing brain. Fluoride has a similar effect. Fluoride passes the placental barrier and has also been found to be carried in mother’s milk. Studies done in China show that fluoride lowers IQ. In animal studies done here, fluoride was shown to accumulate in the brain and caused behavioral changes.

93% of ingested fluoride is absorbed into the blood stream and accumulates mainly in bone and enamel. Have you ever noticed that in Chinese paintings that there is often a “stooped” old person? Odds are it may actually be a much younger person. High fluoride is endemic to many areas of China. On the farms they dig shallow wells by hand, and they do not dig beyond the rock level which is high in fluoride. This exposure results in severe crippling and bending of the spine and long bones.

Fluoride also accumulates in the tendons and ligaments. It seems to me, more and more young athletes have injuries in these areas. Could there be a relationship?

According to the Center for Disease Control, 22% of all American children have dental fluorosis. According to the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry the rate is much higher in areas where the water is fluoridated. This means that fluoride interfered with the developing enamel. The American Dental Association considers this strictly a cosmetic side effect. 

Well, what else is it interfering with?

Fluoride in drinking water has been shown to increase the risk of hip fracture, cancer, infertility, thyroid dysfunction and arthritis.

What is the saddest thing about fluoride in drinking water? It has never been shown to decrease tooth decay. This is a lie that has been repeated often enough that it is thought be fact.

Why has Western Europe not fluoridated their water? Sweden, after eleven years of testing, in 1971 banned fluoridation of water. Same for France, Germany, Netherlands, and almost all of Western Europe.

We would never think of adding a toxin like lead or mercury to our water. Why add a toxin like fluoride?

© 2006, Mark A. Breiner, DDS

The information presented is for educational purposes only. You should consult a qualified dentist or health practitioner for diagnosis and treatment. 

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