By Dr. Mercola
A number of towns and districts across the US and Canada have successfully put an end to the fluoridation of communal water supplies, and the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) is tirelessly working to make that a reality for every community, not just in the US but around the world.
Fluoride is a toxic drug, the dangers of which far outweigh any benefit it might have to your teeth. In fact, any anti-cavity benefit you may reap from fluoride comes from topical application.
It does nothing for your teeth when swallowed, and if you read the fine print on your toothpaste, it clearly tells you not to swallow the toothpaste, and to contact poison control in case of ingestion.
Why? Because it’s toxic.
What Kind of Fluoride Is Added to Your Water?
In Vermont, 57 percent of the state’s residents drink fluoridated water. However, only 43 towns in the state fluoridate their water, and in Rutland County, Rutland City, parts of Rutland Town, Poultney, and Proctor are the only areas adding fluoride.
However, as most other areas, none of these water authorities use pharmaceutical grade fluoride; they use hydrofluosilicic acid—a toxic waste product of the fertilizer industry that is frequently contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins.
This is a key point that many fluoride proponents fail to address when arguing for its use. As noted by the Rutland Herald:1
“The recent articles and editorials in the Rutland Herald related to fluoride state that those who support the elimination of fluoridation fail to cite credible research to support such an action.
It never asks the pro-fluoridation community to cite their research. Instead the oral health community parade dentists and community health professionals who discuss anecdotal information but offer no solid data.”
Shifting the Burden of Proof to Where It Belongs
Indeed, holding elected officials accountable for procuring proof that the specific fluoridation chemical used actually fulfills fluoride’s health and safety claims and complies with all regulations, laws, and risk assessments required for safe drinking water, has been a successful strategy for halting water fluoridation in a number of areas around the US.
For example, a few years ago a town in Tennessee stopped adding the hydrofluosilicic acid fluoride product they had been using while still keeping its resolution to fluoridate its water supplies intact, meaning they didn’t even take a stand on whether it might be harmful or beneficial.
Since they were unable to find a replacement product compliant with existing laws, regulations, and safe-water requirements, the water remains un-fluoridated.
Getting back to Vermont, the town of Bennington recently voted down a water fluoridation proposal, despite aggressive campaigning by a well-organized and well-funded pro-fluoridation coalition.2
Pennsylvania Towns Address Water Fluoridation
The Gilford Water Authority in Gilford, Pennsylvania3 also recently decided to end fluoridation after more than 60 years of practicing it. Water Authority officials sent a letter to its customers stating, “We believe we should not put anything into the water that is not required by regulation to maintain the potability and pH balance of your water.”
Brackenridge, PA is also considering removing fluoride from its water supplies, and other Pennsylvanians want it out of their water systems too. “When is the New Kensington Municipal Authority going to remove that poison from our drinking water?” a local news article4 asks, adding:
“In the 1990s, Harvard University conducted a 14-year study that found a link between fluoride and bone cancer. Kidney disease, arthritis, impaired thyroid function, bladder cancer and an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease are all additional risks associated with fluoride toxicity.”
And that’s the short list of health hazards linked to fluoride. Importantly, the National Research Council of the National Academies (NRC) published a 500-page long scientific review5 in 2006, concluding that fluoride is an endocrine disruptor.
As such, it can affect your thyroid function—a risk that has been confirmed by more recent research. Children are at greatest risk for adverse effects from endocrine disrupting chemicals, but researchers recently warned some 15,000 Britons may be needlessly afflicted with hypothyroidism as a result of drinking fluoridated water.6
With thyroid dysfunction rampant in both the UK and the US, it clearly makes no sense from a public health stand point to medicate entire populations against dental caries—which can easily and effectively be addressed through other means—while inducing or exacerbating a more severe disorders such as hypothyroidism.
Fluoride Level Lowered, but Still Ignores Major Health Threats
In April, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it is lowering the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water7,8,9 from 0.7-1.2 milligrams per liter (mg/L) to an upper level of 0.7 mg/L, as 40 percent of US teens show signs of overexposure10 (dental fluorosis).
In some areas, dental fluorosis rates are as high as 70-80 percent, with some children suffering from advanced forms.
The HHS said it will evaluate dental fluorosis rates among children in 10 years to assess whether they were correct about this new level being protective against dental fluorosis. But just what is the acceptable level of harm in the name of cavity prevention?
And, more importantly, dental fluorosis—the staining and pitting that appears on your teeth following overexposure to fluoride during tooth formation—is not the only adverse effect of fluoride overexposure. Nor is it the most significant; it’s merely the most visible effect.
A number of studies11,12,13,14 have shown that children who have moderate or severe dental fluorosis score worse on tests measuring cognitive skills and IQ than peers without fluorosis. This adds weight to the 42 human studies15 linking moderately high fluoride exposures with reduced IQ in children, and the 100+ animal studies that have linked it to brain damage.
Recent research16,17 has also linked water fluoridation with an increased prevalence of attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Using a predictive model, the researchers found that every one percent increase in the portion of the US population drinking fluoridated water in 1992 was associated with 67,000 additional cases of ADHD 11 years later, and an additional 131,000 cases 19 years later.
Be Sure to Watch the East Brunswick Fluoridation Debate
If you’re reading this then you most likely oppose fluoridation, and if you oppose fluoridation then sooner or later you’re bound to find yourself debating the issue with friends, family, colleagues, and local government officials. If you want to be prepared the next time a discussion on fluoridation ensues, watch and study the video above of a recent fluoridation debate in New Jersey. In it, FAN’s Director and environmental chemist, Paul Connett, PhD debates periodontist and former President of the New Jersey Dental Association, Richard Kahn, DDS on the safety, ethics, and effectiveness of fluoridation. The video also features legal expert David Lonsky, Esq, who reviews the legal issues stemming from the practice.
After you’re done watching the debate, please share it with your local councilors, water plant employees, and state legislators. It’s a powerful tool for educating local decision-makers about fluoridation, offering them both the scientific case against the practice as well as the rebuttals to claims made by proponents. In fact, please consider sharing this with officials as one of the first steps to take when initiating a local campaign. Local officials will be more likely to reject fluoridation if they’ve already heard the often-repeated pro-fluoridation talking points debunked prior to holding any hearings. So please don’t hesitate. Email the link for this debate to your local and state officials today!
Other Recent Victories in the Fight Against Water Fluoridation
While difficult, ending water fluoridation is not impossible, as the following victories around the US and Canada attest:
- Clarksburg, West Virginia18—Water Board members voted 2-1 in April to end fluoridation due to the growing number of studies showing negative side effects. The decision by the Clarksburg board ends fluoridation for over 25,000 citizens, including residents of Bridgeport and a number of other smaller communities.19
- Oneida, New York20—On May 5th the Common Council voted 5-1 to reject fluoridation for the third time since 2002. For months, the council held public hearings and debates on fluoridation, listening to an array of experts on both sides of the issue, including FAN’s Dr. Paul Connett and NY Dept. of Health’s Dental Representative Jay Kumar, who is a long-time promoter of fluoridation. Despite an aggressive lobbying campaign by the fluoride-lobby, the council and community couldn’t be tricked into believing that the practice was safe, effective, or necessary. The decision will protect the water for over 21,000 residents.
- Kingsville, Ontario21—This Canadian City Council, representing over 20,000 citizens, passed a motion in April reaffirming its stance in opposition to fluoridation. The issue was raised by the former Deputy Mayor, who urged the council to pass the motion to send a message to the provincial government, which is considering mandating the practice. The community of Lakeshore, Ontario22 also recently publicized their opposition to fluoridation, and will be sending a letter to provincial officials opposing a mandate.
- Carl Junction, Missouri23—Councilors voted to end fluoridation in April after considering a number of concerns they had regarding the effectiveness and safety of the practice. The community, which is home to approximately 8,000 residents, started fluoridating the water supply in 2005 after voters approved the use of the additive. Carl Junction isn’t alone in making this decision. According to a recent article,24 “over the past five years, [at least] seven cities and towns in Missouri have removed fluoride from their municipal water systems, and a half-dozen more have put the matter to vote.”
- Sonoma City, California25—In March, City Councilors voted 3-2 to oppose a proposal by the County government to add fluoride to the city’s drinking water. The council will be sending a letter of opposition to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.