Whenever something like fluoride is added to a water supply, it causes concern among parents. The spread of fluoridation has been accompanied with major public relations efforts to influence the public. From the beginning the message was that this additive could prevent or lower the incidence of tooth decay and that it is safe for all to use.
In reality, some feel that fluoride is more poisonous or similar to known problem elements such as lead or arsenic. In the well-known Physicians Desk Reference, commentary suggests that some individuals could be hypersensitive to fluorides and that use of it could cause skin and gastric problems, headaches or weakness. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine in March of 1990 reported that researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that when fluoride was used in the treatment of osteoporosis that the hip fracture rate increased, as did bone fragility. Other studies show genetic damage strong enough to cause worry and further investigation.
What Should Be Done?
What are parents to do when the media, dentists and other officials tell them city water treated with fluoridation is safe and will help their children have better tooth health? The obvious answer is to do some personal investigation into this additive. Studies can be found easily on the Internet in minutes, along with references to individual studies.
For example, the National Cancer Institute contends that cancer deaths of over 10,000 persons annually can be linked to use of fluoridation. Other studies in 1989 and 1991 show a connection between fluorides and liver cancer in mice, and other cancers including bone cancer in male rats. Since those studies, the same findings have been found to occur in young men that were exposed to water that had been fluoridated.
How Much Fluoride is Dangerous?
It appears that as little an amount as 1 part per million can harm enzyme and immune systems. Another negative effect is that some children can develop discolored teeth, just the opposite effect than is desired from fluoridation of water supplies. Low-income families are prone to receiving fluoridated water with no other alternative due to their lack of income to purchase alternative water supplies in the cities where they reside. Dental fluorosis causes ugly white, yellow or brown spots on teeth that have been exposed to continual fluoridation in water supplies. The other negative found in these studies is that tooth decay was not reduced at all.
When Did Fluoride Use Begin?
Before 1945, this element was viewed as a pollutant in the environment. It had been included in many industrial uses, such as aluminum and fertilizers. The fluoride was actually a waste product produced by these industries. As a waste product, it was produced in large quantities and was expensive to dispose of without harming the environment. Animals and crops were harmed by the fluoride in fertilizers, so it needed to be removed.
Since that time, various public relations campaigns were able to turn the tide of favor towards fluoridation of water supplies as a product good for teeth. Modern water filters remove many substances like chlorine, but not fluoride. Many experts are now saying the public should not use vitamins that contain fluoride, they should not get fluoride treatments from their dentist, and that no one should use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
As a result of clever public relations campaigns, fluoride was transformed from an environmental pollutant to an essential nutrient necessary for producing healthy teeth.
How to Get Rid of Fluoride
Boiling water removes chlorine, but concentrates fluoride. Water filters do not remove fluoride, unless there is a reverse osmosis component. Some experts recommend that children should avoid fluoridated vitamins and fluoride treatments at the dentist and that everyone should avoid fluoridated toothpaste. Avoiding it in drinking water is a bit harder because about 60 percent of the U.S. water supply is treated with fluoridation. The best way to rid the household of products with fluoride is to not purchase them and to use a drinking water supply that is non-fluorinated.
It is estimated that the average person consumes 8 times the optimum level of fluoride because it is hidden in many things besides toothpaste. Beverages, fruits, vegetables, vitamins, mineral supplements, and processed food all can contain additional fluorides. Becoming involved in local community politics is a good way to help prevent excessive fluoridation in an area.
Some Cities Are Stopping Water Fluoridation
Most water supplies that contain fluorides are on the Eastern side of the U.S. Many cities are beginning to stop adding fluoride to their water supplies. In 1999, the City Council in Santa Barbara, Calif., joined other cities in voting to reject a State decision that city waters should be fluoridated. Health conscious citizens choose to purchase unfluoridated bottled water for their drinking supply.
What is the Basic Problem?
Fluoride has now been proven to cause risk to organs such as the brain and thyroid gland, bones and kidneys. It is actually a chemical waste product from heavy industry. Alleged benefits of its use have been highly exaggerated and studies have shown little or no benefit from using it to improve teeth health. Cavities did not increase when usage was stopped. Fluorides can cause tooth discoloration and unsightliness. Low-income families tend to be housed in cities where fluoridation in drinking water is their only option.
The dangers of fluoride in water are not well publicized. This is a problem for parents who want the best for their children but need to depend on city water that may be fluoridated and on dentists that push for fluoridation as a method to reduce cavities. This article is meant to alert consumers about this problem — always do your own research and consult with your physician when you have specific health questions, including whether you should be using fluoridated water.
What are your thoughts and concerns?