Fluoridation – Friend or Foe?
By Dr Kate Wood
Fluoride was first introduced to drinking water in Australia in 1953 at Beaconsfield in Tasmania, with over 80% of Australian water supplies now fluoridated. Organisations such as the World Health Organization and Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), endorse water fluoridation as a safe and effective public health measure.
The debate as to whether fluoride is safe for consumption has been going on for years and is very hotly debated. Despite research supporting that fluoride is a dangerous and toxic poison that can accumulate in the body over years, the Australian Government and many dentists and health professionals still advocate the use of fluoride to prevent dental decay. According to Professor of chemistry, Paul Connett, in the documentary An Inconvenient Tooth (http://www.aninconvenienttooth.org) there are many things that the public don’t know about fluoride when the research is scrutinised. I have summarised some of his major points below amongst other information, so you too can scrutinise the “facts” you have been fed and believed for a long time about the safety of fluoride and make an educated decision for yourself.
- Many developed countries do NOT fluoridate their water supply
- Fluoridated countries do NOT have less tooth decay than non-fluoridated countries (according to WHO there has been a decline in dental health across the board despite some countries having fluoridated water and other not)
- Fluoride does not just affect the teeth but is an endocrine disrupter that affects hormones, bone, brain and blood sugar levels (Fluoride Action Network, National Research Council Findings 2006)
- There is not a single process in your body that ‘requires’ fluoride
- Fluoridation is NOT a natural process and the fluoride that is added is usually fluorosilicic acid as opposed to the naturally occurring substance
- Formula fed babies (formula mixed with tap water) consume 100-250 times the levels of fluoride than breastfed babies and studies show they not only have more likelihood of developing dental fluorosis but over exposure to fluoride has been linked to lower IQ scores as well. (Environ Health Perspect. 2012 October; 120(10): 1362–1368) which is supported by another 25 studies!
- Fluoridated water is the only ‘drug”to be added to public water meaning mass medication of the public without informed consent.
- Fluoride toxicity is exacerbated by conditions that occur frequently in low socio-economic areas such as nutrient deficiencies, infant formula consumption, kidney disease and diabetes
- Scientists from the EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a "chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.”
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis—unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride.
- A study done in mice showed that fluoride damages sperm chemotaxis, the process by which sperm are attracted toward an egg, which plays a critical role in allowing fertilization to occur. This is believed to significantly affect male fertility in humans. (Archives of Toxicology July 24, 2013)
- Over 100 animal studies have also linked fluoride to brain damage (Fluoridealert.org, Brain Effects)
- According to Dr Mercola (http://articles.mercola.com) regular daily monitoring of fluoride levels in Australia drinking water shows as much as 2.8mg of fluoride per litre when the recommended safe guidelines are 1.5mg/L! Its seems ridiculous that you need to call poison control if someone swallows 0.25mg of fluoride from toothpaste yet a glass of tap water could potentially contain this amount of fluoride!
It is most likely our modern western lifestyle with the addition of processed foods and drinks, that has increased the incidence of dental decay. Since western food was introduced there was a shift away from natural, unprocessed, organic foods where people ate foods that grew in their native environment including unpasteurized dairy products, fermented foods, significant portion of their food was eaten raw and the whole animal was eaten including animal products, organ meat and full fat butter! It would be hard to believe that this shift has not impacted our dental health not to mention a whole myraid of other lifestyle diseases.
Combating Fluoridated Water
The best way to avoid fluoridated water is to get a water filter. Activated carbon filters that are found in water bottles and jig type filters such as Brita and Pur do NOT remove fluoride (or much else for that matter). The three types of filters that can remove fluoride are reverse osmosis, deionizers (which use ion-exchange resins), and activated alumina. Each of these filters should be able to remove about 90% of the fluoride.
Unfortunately you can’t always avoid drinking tap water when you are out of your own home so taking lycopene (which is a carotenoid antioxidant) has been found to counteract and protect against the toxic effects of fluoride (Pharmaceutical Biology 2012 Jun;50(6):707-11).