By Dr. Mercola
Up until the 1990s, no research had ever been conducted to determine the impact of fluoride on the pineal gland -- a small gland located between the two hemispheres of the brain that regulates the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the onset of puberty and helps protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals.
It is now known -- thanks to the meticulous research of Dr. Jennifer Luke from the University of Surrey in England -- that the pineal gland is the primary target of fluoride accumulation within your body.
After finding that the pineal gland is a major target for fluoride accumulation in humans, Dr. Luke conducted animal experiments to determine if the accumulated fluoride could impact the functioning of the gland -- particularly the gland's regulation of melatonin.
Luke found that animals treated with fluoride had lower levels of circulating melatonin, as reflected by reduced levels of melatonin metabolites in the animals' urine. This reduced level of circulating melatonin was accompanied -- as might be expected -- by an earlier onset of puberty in the fluoride-treated female animals.
U.S. girls are reaching puberty at younger ages than ever before. In the 1990s, breast development -- the first sign of puberty in girls -- at age 8 was considered an abnormal event that should be investigated by an endocrinologist.
However, by 1999, following a 1997 study that found almost half of African Americans and 15 percent of whites had begun breast development by age 8, the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society suggested changing what is viewed as “normal.”
Instead of acknowledging that girls reaching puberty at increasingly younger ages is a sign that something is wrong, some “experts” would rather just change the definition of what’s considered normal!
In reality, something is wrong, very wrong, when 5-, 6- and 8-year-old girls are starting puberty. Some studies have even found girls as young as 2 who are starting sexual development.
Not only do these children have to deal with an unfairly increased risk of breast cancer down the road, but they lose precious years of their childhood because their bodies have matured faster than their minds.
What is Causing Early Puberty?
There are likely numerous factors contributing to this phenomenon, but one is certainly environmental chemicals. Along with endocrine-disrupting chemicals (BPA, phthalates, PFOA (Teflon)) and PCBs, fluoride has also been suggested.
Fluoride has been added to the U.S. water supply for so long -- and has been thoroughly hoisted upon people around the world for its supposed benefit to teeth -- that hardly anyone thinks twice about it.
Well, this was not always the case. In 1944, LP Anthony, DDS editor of the Journal of the American Dental Association, said: "Fluoride is a highly toxic substance … "
Before that, in 1936, an article in the Journal of the American Dental Association stated that fluoride at the 1 ppm (part per million) concentration is as toxic as arsenic and lead.
The Journal of the American Medical Association also stated in their September 18, 1943 issue that fluorides are general protoplasmic poisons that change the permeability of the cell membrane by certain enzymes.
And, an editorial published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, October 1, 1944, stated:
"Drinking water containing as little as 1.2 ppm fluoride will cause developmental disturbances. We cannot run the risk of producing such serious systemic disturbances. The potentialities for harm outweigh those for good."
Others, too, have tried to spread the word about the dangers of fluoride, including Christopher Bryson, the author of The Fluoride Deception, who has recently called the widespread promotion of fluoride “scientific fraud on a grand and global scale.”
Yet, this element, or as some may call it, this caustic industrial chemical, is deliberately added to about two-thirds of U.S. public water supplies. For people living in these areas, fluoride is a part of every glass of water, every bath and shower, and every meal cooked using that water.
In the UK, meanwhile, 42 schools have decided it is a good idea to add fluoride to children’s milk in schools. And some of you may also think that the fluoride treatments offered by your dentist are a good idea.
Well, it’s time to shed this myth once and for all.
Fluoride is the Active Toxin in Rat Poisons and Cockroach Powder
Common sense would dictate, then, that this can’t be a good thing to put in your body, and your instincts would be correct.
Once inside your body, fluoride destroys your enzymes by changing their shape. You may remember that your body depends on thousands of enzymes to perform various cell reactions, and without these enzymes, we would all die. They are able to perform their reactions because they have a specific shape that allows them to work with other elements in your body, like a lock and key.
Once fluoride destroys their shape, however, your body does not recognize the enzymes, and in fact will view them as foreign invaders and attempt to attack them.
When your enzymes are damaged, it can lead to collagen breakdown, eczema, tissue damage, skin wrinkling, genetic damage, and immune suppression. It can also cause problems with your:
- Immune system
- Digestive system
- Respiratory system
- Blood circulation
- Kidney function
- Liver function
- Brain function
- Thyroid function
Studies from China have even confirmed that elevated fluoride exposure leads to reduced I.Q. in children. This is understandable when you consider that even at levels as low as 1 ppm, studies have demonstrated direct toxic effects on brain tissue, including:
- Reduction in lipid content
- Impaired anti-oxidant defense systems
- Damage to your hippocampus
- Damage to your purkinje cells
- Increased uptake of aluminum
- Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer"s disease)
- Accumulation of fluoride in your pineal gland
This last effect is completely in correlation with the research of Dr. Jennifer Luke, which suggests that fluoride impacts your pineal gland’s regulation of melatonin, and this may contribute to the early onset of puberty.
All of These Risks, and it Doesn’t Even Help Your Teeth!
Clearly risks as serious as those above would not justify preventing a few cavities, yet, fluoride does not even do that.
Figures from the World Health Organization show the same declines in tooth decay that have been experienced in fluoridated countries since the 1960s have occurred equally in non-fluoridated countries.
In another study from 2004, pro-fluoridation dental researchers from the University of Aderlaide in South Australia were unable to demonstrate any difference in the permanent teeth between children who had lived all their lives drinking fluoridated water and those who had drunk rain or bottled water.
What does fluoride do to your teeth, then?
Well, it’s known that it interferes with the development of tooth enamel, a condition called “dental fluorosis.” Those in favor of fluoride like to say that fluorosis is a purely “cosmetic condition,” but rarely do symptoms appear for no reason.
In this case, the white spots that form on your teeth after consuming too much fluoride are likely a warning sign that other tissues are being impacted. Studies have shown, for instance, that children with severe dental fluorosis are more likely to have bone fractures.
The Environmental Working Group even reported a finding from a Harvard PhD thesis that showed boys exposed to fluoridated water when they were between the ages of 6 and 8 had a seven-fold increased risk of developing osteosarcoma, a form of frequently fatal bone cancer.
If you’re wondering how to keep your teeth healthy, remember that fluoride was never the answer in the first place. Instead, look to your diet for naturally healthy teeth. In fact, most people whose diet includes very little sugar and few processed foods have very low rates of tooth decay.
As for how to get toxic fluoride out of your drinking water, regular carbon-based filtration will NOT work. About the only way to remove this toxic chemical from your water is to use a reverse osmosis filter.
Other Hidden Sources of Fluoride
If you have any non-stick pans, the moment you start to heat them they will start to volatilize fluoride as that is the polymer that makes them “non-sticky.” The higher the heat, the more fluoride you will have in your home. So do yourself a favor and get rid of all of your non-stick pots and pans.
Join the Fight to Get Fluoride Out of Drinking Water
There's no doubt about it: fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a "chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.” Furthermore, 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. Clearly, children are being overexposed, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why?
At least when it comes to topical application, you have a choice. You can easily buy fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash. But you're stuck with whatever your community puts in the water, and it's very difficult to filter out of your water once it's added. Many do not have the resources or the knowledge to do so.
The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation, both in the United States and Canada. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, support the anti-fluoride movement by making a donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.