By Dr. Mercola
Each year we highlight one of our Health Liberty partners for a week, and this week we celebrate the achievements of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Fluoride, a prescription drug and a dangerous neurotoxin, is put into many water supplies across the U.S., all without permission from residents.
Ostensibly this is done to protect your teeth from cavities, but the science behind this strategy is flimsy at best, and many studies suggest water fluoridation causes far more harm than good.
After all, this drug is administered without any dosage recommendations or medical follow-up, and intake can vary wildly from one individual to the next depending on how much water you drink, your age, and any health issues you may have.
In the featured video, Michael Connett, executive director of FAN, provides an update on a new petition and summarizes some of the organization's many successes and accomplishments over the years.
Michael recently took over this position after his father, Paul Connett, Ph.D., retired. Paul is still very active within the organization though, and still travels extensively to give presentations.
The Fluoride Action Network Mission
Ever since its inception, FAN has strived to ignite and elevate the public discussion on fluoride by providing the latest most credible information on the subject.
They're continuously monitoring the medical literature to publicize the latest studies, including the research showing fluoride's impact on brain development and IQ, which is a major area of concern today. You can find all of this information on FluorideAlert.org.
By educating yourself, you will be able to make more informed decisions about whether you want to use fluoride, and how to use it safely to minimize the risks, because there are indeed substantial risks involved.
Fluoride Supplements Are Unapproved Drugs, Sold Without FDA Approval
FAN's latest project is a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the selling of fluoride supplements, even though the FDA has never approved them.
By FDA definition, fluoride is a drug, since it's used to prevent a disease, namely tooth decay. The FDA, however, has never approved fluoride supplements as safe and effective, and so FDA still classifies them as "unapproved new drugs." Federal law prohibits the sale of unapproved new drugs, and so companies that manufacture and sell fluoride supplements are violating the law.
We've known about this situation for about 25 years, but when pressed, the FDA has always come up with some excuse for not taking action against these fluoride products. That all changed on January 13, when the FDA issued a warning letter to one of the manufacturers of fluoride supplements.
"The FDA sent out a warning letter to this company saying, 'You must cease making this product because these are unapproved drugs. We've never approved them as safe or effective.
They're not generally recognized as safe and effective. Without an application, without providing the requisite data to the FDA, which we approve, you cannot sell these,' Connett says."
This is a curious situation indeed, because while the selling of fluoride drugs is illegal, fluoride is still being added to water supplies across the U.S. for the purpose of preventing tooth decay — a purpose that in the eyes of the FDA renders it a drug, and one which they've never approved as safe or effective.
Pharmacies Called Out for Selling and Misrepresenting Unapproved Fluoride Drugs
Over the past couple of months, FAN conducted an investigation to determine whether the four big pharmacies in the U.S. — CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart — are selling these unapproved drugs.
"We've confirmed that they are selling them. Not only that, but when customers go into these pharmacies and ask them, 'Are these products FDA approved?' they consistently say, and they misrepresent to consumers, that they are FDA-approved," Connett says.
FAN has written letters to these four pharmacies, informing them that they are violating federal and state law by selling these unapproved drugs. The letter, which you can read in full here, also notes that:
"The imperative for removing these non-FDA approved drugs takes on an added urgency in light of recent medical research linking fluoride ingestion during infancy and early childhood to serious health effects, including learning and behavioral disorders, thyroid disruption, impaired insulin production, and possibly pediatric cancer.
Further, although the sole purpose of these drugs is to prevent tooth decay, current research shows they actually do more harm than good to teeth, by causing a disfiguring condition of the enamel known as dental fluorosis, while providing a "marginal at best" reduction in cavities."
Call to Action: Please Sign Citizen's Petition to the FDA
Together with the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, FAN has also filed a citizen's petition with the FDA, asking the FDA to extend the same warning to all other fluoride drug manufacturers.
The aim of the petition is to get the FDA to take further action and completely eliminate these unsafe and ineffective products from the market. To support this important initiative, please sign the petition.
The fact that the FDA has taken action against a fluoride tablet manufacturer, telling them to discontinue marketing of these unapproved drugs, is a big step. But they really need to take it all the way, and make sure that these dangerous drugs are taken off the market.
50 Studies Link Fluoride to Cognitive Dysfunction
Despite ongoing efforts to educate the public, many are still unaware of the link between water fluoridation and cognitive effects such as reduced memory function, learning disabilities, and decreased in IQ.
This is tragic, considering the fact there are now 50 published studies showing these connections. Fluoride is indeed a neurotoxin that impairs brain and cognitive functions.
"This spring, the 50th study has been published linking fluoride exposure to reduced IQ scores in children. That's a pretty incredible number of studies," Connett says.
"Out of a total of 57 IQ studies, 50 have found an association between fluoride exposure and reduced IQ scores. (There are also 36 animal studies showing that rodents exposed to fluoride have impaired ability to learn and remember.)
Now, in many of these studies, the exposures the children are receiving are more than American children receive, but not that much more. The margin between the doses causing these IQ effects is very close to what American children are receiving.
Also, in 2014 the Lancet Neurology, which is a prominent journal, published a review of all the chemicals currently known to damage the developing human brain (developmental neurotoxins). There are only 11 chemicals currently classified as developmental neurotoxins, and fluoride is one of those 11 chemicals. So it's not a huge number of chemicals we now know can do this. Fluoride is one of them."
One of the most serious concerns is parents who use fluoridated water to reconstitute infant formula. They're exposing their babies to very high doses of fluoride at a very vulnerable stage of life. The impact that could have on brain development and subsequent IQ warrants very serious attention.
Fluoride Is an Endocrine Disruptor
The prestigious National Research Council has also classified fluoride as an endocrine disruptor, capable of interfering with thyroid function, insulin production, and glucose metabolism. In fact, in years past, sodium fluoride tablets were prescribed to reduce thyroid function in hyperthyroid patients.
This too is a significant concern, especially with regards to young children, as a growing number of organizations — including the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics and the American Endocrine Society task force — are now warning people of the necessity to take steps to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Water Fluoridation Is a Particular Concern for Low-Income Groups
Aside from children in general, one group that is particularly prone to damage from water fluoridation are people in lower income brackets. Pro-fluoridation lobbyists have campaigned to divert Medicaid funding into fluoridation programs, and this is a very disconcerting development considering these people are already at increased risk for harm from fluoride.
"It's happening right now in New York State where there is an initiative to use Medicaid funding to pay for new fluoridation programs, to pay for the fluoridation chemicals, to pay for the fluoridation equipment, and in doing so target low-income communities with fluoridation," Connett warns.
"The idea is that these communities have higher rates of tooth decay and need more dental care. But adding industrial fluoride chemicals to water is not dental care. Low-income communities need dentists who will treat them, diets that won't rot their teeth, and early education initiatives to promote healthy oral health behaviors.
Adding fluoride to their water is particularly dangerous, because low-income communities have higher rates of poor nutrition and other disease statuses that make them more vulnerable to fluoride toxicity. It's precisely the population that we should not be targeting with fluoride."
Poorer communities also lack the financial means to install water filtration systems capable of filtering out fluoride, such as reverse osmosis systems, and the use of infant formula is also higher, particularly in communities of color.
Between 1999 and 2004, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a national survey of dental fluorosis (staining and pitting of the teeth resulting from overexposure to fluoride). Their findings showed that a majority, 58 percent, of black children had dental fluorosis, compared to 36 percent of Caucasian children. So the issue of fluoride overexposure in the black community is very real, and it's a problem that needs to be addressed.
Adding Drugs to the Water Supply Violates All Principles of Modern Pharmacology
When you consider the fact that medications require appropriate dosing, not only for therapeutic effect, but also to avoid adverse side effects, it's incredibly irrational to add fluoride to the municipal water supply. Dosing needs to be based on a dose per bodyweight basis, but here we have a situation in which infants fed formula reconstituted with fluoridated water are receiving higher doses of fluoride than adults!
This violates all principles of modern pharmacology, which calls for the dose to be tailored to the patient based on a number of different factors — size generally being one of the most important.
With fluoridation, it's a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone is being medicated through the water, and no one is tracking the effects on individuals. It's a completely backwards way of providing medicine to those who might actually want it. This is also one of the reasons why most industrialized nations have rejected fluoridation, because it's widely recognized that the water supply is not an appropriate way to deliver a drug.
"You can get fluoride through toothpaste and other dental products, so there's no need to be forcing on everyone when it's so readily available for those who actually want it," Connett says.
Why FAN Is Worthy of Your Generous Support
Over the past decade, more than 200 communities in the U.S. have rejected fluoridation. That includes communities that opted to not fluoridate in the first place, and communities that worked to end the use of fluoride. In nearly every instance, this meant taking on the pro-fluoridation lobby, which is still working hard to get fluoride into every municipality. FAN has been a key player through all of this, working with local communities to provide them with information and advice on how to stop fluoridation.
"We're also always doing research and investigations to unearth the information so that people have [access to it]. For example, we found a Harvard study that was suppressed, which linked fluoride to bone cancer in children. It was completed in 2001. It was funded by the federal government, and it was never published until the Fluoride Action Network found the data, released it, and initiated an investigation as to why the Harvard research team had buried it," Connett says.
"We're always going out there, trying to find the information that is not being presented, that's not being shared by the health agencies pushing [water fluoridation]. Because we're consistently finding that the people promoting fluoridation are not presenting the other side of the story. They're not presenting the full spectrum of the information. They're giving a very slanted, biased view of what we now know about fluoride."