By Dr. Mercola
Of the 200-odd villagers in the Indian town of Gaudiyan, around 135 have bone deformities. A private doctor who conducts social work in the area termed it as a case of skeletal fluorosis -- the result of excess fluoride content in drinking water.
In another part of India, also partly as a result of fluoride poisoning, children are losing their vision. They have been diagnosed with Lamellar Congenital cataract -- a condition in which the eye lenses are damaged.
According to The Times of India:
"...high fluoride content in water and Vitamin A deficiencies is ruining the lives of children of this taluk."
Other examples of such harm include the village of Sogival where the groundwater contains 4.84 ppm of fluoride and two-thirds of the people suffer from skeletal deformities. And in Bihar, the prevalence of physical deformity is yet another testament to excessive fluoride exposure.
For even more stories from India detailing the harm caused by fluoride, please see this link.
This is an important topic for a number of reasons and one of the most important is that it helps dispel the popular public health myth that fluoride in the water supply is normal and actually prevents dental caries.
Nothing could be further from the truth as fluoride is a toxin and a poison even when it occurs naturally in your water supply.
India is one of several countries known to have dangerously high levels of fluoride in their drinking water. This poison comes into contact with water supplies when rocks containing fluoride erode or volcanic activity spews fluoride-containing ash into the air, allowing the colorless, odorless substance to enter groundwater (of course in some areas, like the United States, fluoride is intentionally added to water supplies).
In areas where naturally occurring fluoride is high, serious health problems usually become apparent, and that is, unfortunately, what's happening now in India. But these events also have potential relevance to the US, as this summary on fluorosis in India explains.
As of 1999, 17 of India's 32 states and territories were known to have high concentrations of fluoride in water, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with concentrations as high as 48 mg/liter reported. For comparison, WHO has capped the upper limit of fluoride in drinking water at 1.5 mg/liter.
Sadly, for many people in India there is no access to safer water supplies or reverse osmosis filters that could remove the fluoride from the water, and now generations of children are growing up with serious health problems as a result.
Blindness and Skeletal Fluorosis
In one Indian village, a disturbing trend of eye diseases in children has emerged. Previously healthy children are suffering from vision deterioration, lens damage, retina deterioration and blindness that cannot be reversed.
Health centers in the area are now launching a study of 29,800 children to determine the cause of the eye disorders, with their initial theory being high fluoride content in water, coupled with vitamin A deficiencies and marrying of close relatives.
In another village of about 200 people, about 135 of them suffer from bone deformities that are also thought to be the result of excess fluoride in drinking water. While children in the area appear normal at birth, they begin developing bone problems as they get older.
Skeletal fluorosis, a crippling bone disease, is well-documented and strongly associated with drinking water that contains high levels of fluoride. The disease is known to be endemic in several parts of the world, including India, China and many parts of Africa.
A Cumulative Poison
In order to understand the long-term dangers of fluoride, it's important to realize that fluoride is a cumulative poison.
Ninety-eight percent of the fluoride you ingest in water is absorbed into your blood through your gastrointestinal tract. From there, it enters your body's cellular tissues. On average, about 50 percent of the fluoride you ingest each day gets excreted through your kidneys. The remainder accumulates in your teeth and bones, pineal gland, and other tissues, such as the aorta.
The amount deposited into your bones and teeth varies depending on your age. In children, more than 50 percent of an ingested dose of fluoride is deposited in bone, but in adults only about 10 percent is stored there.
As with teeth, fluoride is deposited in bone by the ionic exchange with hydroxyl-apatite. It does dissolve from bone over time, but at a slower rate than it is deposited, so if your intake remains constant or high, the level of fluoride in your bones increases linearly with age.
Further, if your kidneys are damaged, fluoride accumulation will increase, and with it, the likelihood of harm.
Basically, if you ingest more fluoride than your body is capable of eliminating, various stages of fluorosis may ensue. Symptoms of early skeletal fluorosis include:
- Pains in your bones and joints
- Burning, prickling, and tingling in your limbs
- Muscle weakness
- Chronic fatigue
- Gastrointestinal disorders
There are numerous other health problems associated with the accumulation of fluoride in your body as well, such as:
- Hyperactivity and/or lethargy
- Dental fluorosis (staining and pitting of teeth)
- Lowered thyroid function
- Lowered IQ, and dementia
- Disrupted immune system
For the people in India and other developing countries who are exposed to dangerously high levels of naturally occurring fluoride, the solution lies in securing safer water supplies or filters to remove the poison.
For those of you in the United States, you should know, too, that this toxin is being intentionally added to your drinking water supplies.
Fluoridated Drinking Water Pawned Off as "Healthy"
Given the well-known health risks of naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water, you may be wondering why the practice of adding fluoride to your tap water began back in 1945 and endorsed by the US Public Health Service in 1950 before any significant health studies of either naturally or artificially fluoridated communities had been published.
Amazingly, the United States is only one of eight countries in the entire developed world that fluoridates more than 50 percent of its water supply. (The other seven are: Australia, Colombia, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.) Canada has a little over 40 percent of its population drinking fluoridated water and that percentage is falling as more and more communities are halting the practice.
Most likely, your dentist – along with countless government and public health officials -- has praised and promoted the use of fluoride, both in toothpaste and drinking water, as one of your must-do regimens to promote strong and healthy teeth.
Unfortunately, they've all bought into the public deception of fluoridation's so-called "safety and effectiveness" and have unwittingly participated in and perpetuated perhaps one of the grandest public health frauds and toxic cover-ups in U.S. history.
As you may know, the theory behind the introduction of fluoride in your water supply initially seems beneficial – to reduce the incidence of dental caries in children.
However, the health dangers of fluoride are so numerous, they far outweigh any potential benefit to your teeth. Dr. Paul Connett, known throughout the world as a leader in the movement against water fluoridation, said in our recent interview:
"First of all, water fluoridation is very bad medicine because once you put it in the water, you can't control the dose. You can't control who gets it. There is no oversight. You're allowing a community to do to everyone what a doctor can do to no one, i.e. force a patient to take a particular medication."
Fluoride Has No Benefits When Ingested
Today, even promoters of fluoridation concede that the major benefit, as far as fighting tooth decay is concerned, is topical; fluoride works from the outside of the tooth, not from inside of your body, so why swallow it?
There is practically no difference in tooth decay between fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries, and no difference between states that have a high- or low percentage of their water fluoridated.
Yet in the United States, children are being exposed to concerning levels of fluoride daily. Dr. Connett says:
"We know that 32 percent of American children have been overexposed to fluoride because you have this telltale sign of dental fluorosis, which in its mildest form is little white specs. But when it gets more serious, it affects more of the surface of your teeth and it becomes colored; yellow, brown and orange mottling of the teeth."
Promoters of fluoridation scoff at these signs, saying that they're "just cosmetic."
But, since we already know that water fluoridation does NOT effectively reduce dental caries, this is an unnecessary cosmetic defect, and, worse yet, it is a worrisome indication that your body has been overexposed to fluoride.
If it's having a detrimental, visual effect on the surface of your teeth, you can be virtually guaranteed that it's also damaging something else inside your body, such as your bones, as is the case in India.
What to Do if You Want to Avoid Fluoridated Water
If you live in the United States and want to avoid drinking municipal tap water that is fluoridated, using a reverse osmosis system in your home will rid your water of fluoride. You are still going to get fluoride when you have meals and beverages downtown, at work, or at a friend's house. Or if you have an organic garden, do you really want to put this poison on your fruits and vegetables?
Also, remember there are many who simply don't have the resources or the know-how to protect themselves and their young children from this pervasive toxin.
This is why The Fluoride Action Network is working hard to pressure the U.S. government to halt the support it gives to fluoridation and also help communities end this outdated, unnecessary and dangerous practice.
If you and your friends and neighbors want to help get fluoride out of your community's water supply please contact the Fluoride Action Network at email@example.com . Simply give them your name, state and email address and they will do their best to supply you with contacts in your area and provide you with other supporting material.
Promoters of fluoridation would like you to believe that there are no doctors, dentists, scientists or other professionals opposed to water fluoridation, but this is simply not true.
A statement calling for an end to fluoridation worldwide has been signed by over 3000 professionals.
We encourage all medical and science professionals to sign this statement.
Over a dozen of the professionals who have signed can be seen talking about this issue in the video "Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation" which is accessible online at www.FluorideAlert.org.
Dr. Connett has also co-authored a book with two other scientists dealing with the full scientific and ethical arguments against fluoridation that will be published in early October: The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics that Keep it There. (Chelsea Green publishers.) Advance orders can be placed on Amazon.com.
If you haven't already done so I would also encourage you to watch my recent video with Dr. Connett below on this topic where he expands on this information further and discusses some simple practical measures you can take.
If you want to speak with Dr. Connett in person simply email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and give him your phone number.
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.