By Dr. Mercola
Jeff Green has been an activist in the movement to eliminate a toxic fluoride from your water supply for the past 15 years.
With more than 60 percent of U.S. water supplies currently fluoridated, chances are you're one of the 170 million Americans who drink fluoride on a daily basis.
In a previous interview, Green delved into the sordid history that made water fluoridation a reality in the first place.
If you missed it, I highly recommend taking the time to watch it now.
But fluoridated water is not the sole source of harmful fluoride. Here, the discussion focuses on some of the lesser known sources of fluoride exposure.
A Primary Source of Fluoride: Your Food!
While toothpaste and drinking water would appear to be the leading sources of fluoride exposure, probably the most common source of exposure is actually non-organic foods! The reason for this is because of the widespread use of fluoride-based pesticides.
According to Green, non-organic food could account for as much as one-third of the average person's fluoride exposure!
This is important, as many people are under the mistaken assumption that by avoiding fluoridated water, they've eliminated the primary source of fluoride. But if you're still eating conventionally-farmed foods, your fluoride exposure is still likely very high.
"Cryolite is actually sodium aluminum fluoride... This sodium aluminum fluoride is especially effective at killing bugs," Green explains. "It's also very sticky, so when they spray it, it's more likely to stick on your produce, unless you're... really working at trying to get it off of it. As time has gone on, and... everybody said fluoridation must be really great, they ramped up the amount of residue [allowed on food] from these fluoride-based pesticides. They have petitioned the EPA to be able to allow it, and they come out with larger and larger [allowable] amounts."
Amazingly, based on the assumed safety of such fluoride-based pesticides, iceberg lettuce can now contain a whopping 180 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride—that's 180 times higher than what's recommended in drinking water!
"The assumption is that on a head of lettuce, you're going to peel off those outer layers and you're not going to eat much of that. Whether you do or not; that's up to you... Romaine lettuce and what we call leaf lettuce are allowed to have 40 ppm, with the assumption that it's down inside there and you're going to have to do more cleaning. But because it's so sticky, it's almost impossible [to wash off] unless you go back to the old ideas of the Fuller brush... produce brushes that you... scrape this stuff off with. The majority of people don't make that extra effort to be able to take it off."
Citrus fruits are allowed to be contaminated with 95 ppm's of sodium aluminum fluoride. Potatoes may have 22 ppm's on the outside and up to two ppm's on the inside. Raisins can have up to 55 ppm's. But of all the foods, grapes are perhaps one of the foremost sources of fluoride exposure.
Bet you would not have guessed that!
Grapes are a major source of fluoride because, first of all, they're heavily sprayed with cryolite, and second, white grape juice is typically used as the base, or filler juice in all sorts of juice drinks. So if you drink any kind of juice on a regular basis, you're probably getting hefty doses of cryolite, i.e. fluoride-based pesticide... Cereals, mechanically deboned meats, and black or green tea are a few other sources that may surprise you.
"Wheaties for example was measured at 10 parts per million," Green says. "Shredded Wheat: 9.4 parts per million. Why is it so high? One, they use pesticides on the grains. Two, they use [fluoridated] water... So you actually have higher concentrations than you ever found in the water where it was being made.
As for mechanically deboned meats, the source of the fluoride is the animal itself, which is exposed in the same manner as humans—through feed and water—which then comes out during the manufacturing process. Black and green teas are naturally high in fluoride, even if organically-grown without pesticides. This is because the plant readily absorbs fluoride thorough its root system, including naturally-occurring fluoride in the soil. According to Green, there are reports of people who have developed crippling skeletal fluorosis from drinking high amounts of iced tea alone.
Is Bottled Water More Pure than Tap Water?
Besides food though, drinking water is certainly a primary source of fluoride exposure. Many mistakenly believe that bottled water is the answer, but this is a serious misconception.
As a general rule, I don't recommend or encourage using bottled water on a regular basis—for a number of reasons. Not only does it contribute to profound amounts of environmental pollution, but a variety of toxins can leach from the plastic, contaminating your water. Not to mention the fact that you're not guaranteed a more pure product to begin with. An estimated 40 percent of all bottled water is just bottled tap water that may or may not have received additional water treatment. No, buying bottled water certainly is not a guarantee of getting either pure or fluoride-free water!
For pure drinking water, your best bet, from a practical perspective, is to filter the water coming into your own home. Unfortunately, fluoride can be quite difficult to remove from the water once added in. Reverse osmosis systems have typically been recommended to remove fluoride, but according to Green, many home systems may not be very efficient at this task. Commercial systems are typically much better, as they have redundancy features not found in smaller-scale residential models.
"[Y]ou've got to remember that the free fluoride ion, which is the part that we are concerned with... is smaller than the water molecule. You can't... "filter" it out. You can't screen it out because of the size, obviously... If you look at what the literature tells you, when you're looking at reverse osmosis, they almost always say that if you had eight parts per million of fluoride [which is eight times higher than recommended]... they could bring it down to 0.9. So you get a 90 percent reduction.
But nobody says take your 0.9 and take it down to 0.1. Because what it's basically doing is it's taking out the fluoride compounds, which is still a good thing in some ways, especially if you had eight parts per million in it... but you're still not getting out that free fluoride ion."
To Distill or Not to Distill... That is the Question...
Distillation is another alternative. However, while distilled water is very clean, it also lacks structure and minerals, which is inadvisable for long-term daily use as it can deplete your body of essential trace minerals. Distilled water can be quite useful for short-term detoxification though.
Despite these drawbacks, Green prefers the distilled water over reverse osmosis, primarily because the amount of water that is wasted with the reverse osmosis (R/O) filtration systems. A reverse osmosis system can use anywhere between three to eight gallons of water to create one gallon of drinkable water.
I disagree with Green's recommendation as the example he gave is quite skewed. The typical level of fluoride in most fluoridated municipal water supplies is about one part per million, not eight, like the example he gave. So if you reduce that by 90 percent with an R/O system you are in relatively safe range of 0.1 parts per million. You can use distilled water to remove nearly all of it, but the distillation process is a form of more severe processing than R/O and it is more difficult to restore the water minerals and structure.
Add Fluoride, and Other Chemicals Become More Dangerous...
Interestingly, not to mention importantly, fluoride has the ability to affect other toxins and heavy metals; in some cases making them even more harmful than they would be on their own. For example, when you combine chloramines with the hydrofluorosilicic acid added to the water supply, they become very effective at extracting lead from old plumbing systems—essentially, together; they promote the accumulation of lead in the water supply!
"In fact the two of them have been combined, and I believe patented to be put together so that they could extract lead," Green says. "... In fact, you've seen from reports in Washington D.C. about the lead content [in the local water] that this combination can have tremendous effects."
Studies have also showed that hydrofluorosilicic acid increases lead accumulation in bone, teeth, and other calcium-rich tissues. According to Green, this is because the free fluoride ion acts as a transport of heavy metals, allowing them to enter into areas of your body they normally would not be able to go, such as into your brain.
"Industry prizes what we call fluoride compounds," Green says. "What's amazing is there is so much [information] out there that's never explained to the general public. But [fluoride] is… the most aggressive seeker of another electron. It's the most electromagnetically negatively charged element in the entire world. It basically is the most interactive of all the elements… It will give up whatever it's with to be with something else…
So it's prized by industry because it actually disrupts molecular bonds… Industry also wants it because it creates tighter molecular bonds. So Scotchgard, Stain Master, Gore-Tex, ski gear… These are all fluoride-type compounds as well because they actually make it a tighter molecular bond that is more impervious to penetration.
… By the time you get to the enzyme activity, and knowing what it can do to disrupt enzyme activity, the effects are so widespread, it's just amazing... Once [people] learn the nature of fluoride, they would never want to put it in their water."
Are Health Epidemics Spurred by Water Fluoridation and Pesticides?
While fluoride has been linked to a long list of health problems, two that are currently epidemic are thyroid disease and neurodegenerative diseases.
"I think the important thing is to realize that fluoride affects your endocrine system," Green warns. "... [I]n December 2006... the National Academy of Sciences... came to the unanimous conclusion that the levels of fluoride thought to be the maximum contaminant level and was safe to be in the water, weren't protective of human health at all... and that the places where you could see that very dramatically would have to do with the endocrine system."
Fluoride also calcifies your pineal gland, which can lead to a number of health problems, from precocious puberty to cancer—both of which are also burgeoning epidemics... So, what, if anything, can you do to protect your health if you suspect you're getting too much fluoride?
One early sign of over-exposure to fluoride is dental fluorosis, which typically begins as white specks on your teeth, which then progress to more unsightly yellow and brown mottling of the enamel. At the first signs of dental fluorosis, if you haven't done so already, you'll want to immediately eliminate as many sources of fluoride as possible.
But, according to Green, you also need to make sure you have certain nutrients in your system. These three will help bind the free fluoride ions, allowing it to be excreted from your body more effectively:
- Vitamin C
Join the Fight to Get Fluoride Out of Drinking Water
In summary it would seem like most rational people would conclude you should avoid using fluoride for its "preventive" benefits. You can easily choose not to take fluoride supplements or buy fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash. You can also dramatically reduce your fluoride exposure by opting for organic foods, on which fluoride-based pesticides are not permitted to be used. However, you're still going to be stuck with whatever your community puts in the water, and as discussed, 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.
It's really time to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation.
Earlier this year I joined forces with Dr. Paul Connett to help put an END to water fluoridation in the U.S and Canada. The Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to do just that. Our fluoride initiative will primarily focus on Canada since 60 percent of Canada is already non-fluoridated. If we can get Calgary and the rest of Canada to stop fluoridating their water, we believe the U.S. will be forced to follow. I urge you to join the anti-fluoride movement in Canada and the United States by contacting the representative for your area below.
Contact Information for Canadian Communities:
- If you live in Ontario, Canada, please join the ongoing effort by contacting Diane Sprules at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The point-of-contact for Toronto, Canada is Aliss Terpstra. You may email her at email@example.com.
- The point-of-contact for the Peel region in Ontario, Canada is Rob Brewer. You may email him at FluorideFreePeel@ymail.com. Also see Fluoride Free Peel's Facebook page1.
Contact Information for American Communities:
We're also going to address three US communities: New York City, Austin, and San Diego:
- New York City, NY: The anti-fluoridation movement has a great champion in New York City councilor Peter Vallone, Jr. who introduced legislation on January 18 "prohibiting the addition of fluoride to the water supply."
A victory there could signal the beginning of the end of fluoridation in the U.S. If you live in the New York area I beg you to participate in this effort as your contribution could have a MAJOR difference. Remember that one person can make a difference.
The point person for this area is Carol Kopf, at the New York Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF). Email her at NYSCOF@aol.com. Please contact her if you're interested in helping with this effort.
- Austin, Texas: Join the effort by contacting Rae Nadler-Olenick at either: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or by regular mail or telephone:
Austin, Texas 78713
Phone: (512) 371-3786
- San Diego, California: Contact Patty Ducey-Brooks, publisher of the Presidio Sentinel at firstname.lastname@example.org.