By Dr. Mercola
In a nearly unprecedented about face, U.S. federal health officials admit Americans are getting too much fluoride. It's causing spots on children's teeth (dental fluorosis) and could be resulting in other, more serious problems.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced plans to lower the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water for the first time in nearly 50 years. The change in policy is based on a fresh review of the science. Yahoo News reports:
"The announcement is likely to renew the battle over fluoridation ... The Environmental Protection Agency released two new reviews of research on fluoride Friday. One of the studies found that prolonged, high intake of fluoride can increase the risk of brittle bones, fractures and crippling bone abnormalities."
In related news, the U.S. EPA has proposed to grant the petition of three environmental groups, and end the use of the insecticide sulfuryl fluoride. The decision cited concerns about children's health and noted their current overexposure to fluoride through tap water.
Things are definitely getting interesting now as fluoride is suddenly getting some well-deserved attention. For 50 years, US government and health agencies have refused to engage in a dialogue about fluoride, let alone reevaluate its position on the purported health benefits of fluoride.
So the fact that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced plans to lower the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water by nearly 50 percent in some areas of the country is no small victory.
The new recommended level of fluoride in drinking water will be reduced to 0.7 mg/L, from a previously recommended range of between 0.7 to 1.2 mg/L. For many communities around the US, this new level means a significant reduction in exposure to this hazardous neurotoxin.
But this good news needs to be tempered with the fact that 0.7 mg/L (or 0.7 parts-per million) is still too high. According to the Fluoride Action Network:
The DHHS is making this recommendation on the basis that the levels of dental fluorosis is skyrocketing, a clear sign of fluoride overexposure. A recent government report estimated that 41 percent of adolescents aged 12-15 have dental fluorosis (Beltrán-Aguilar et al.).
While this is serious enough, the government has not investigated if these adolescents have suffered any other effects from overexposure to fluoride, nor have they factored in any of the other serious effects associated with fluoride over-exposure.
For example, an infant who receives formula reconstituted with fluoridated tap water at this new level (0.7 ppm), will receive approximately 175 times more fluoride than a breast-fed infant. Formula-fed infants are not being protected with this proposed new level and CDC, EPA and ADA must clearly inform parents, caregivers, and health providers that infant formula should only be reconstituted with non-fluoridated water.
The public will have an opportunity to submit their own comments to the DHHS. Public comments on the proposal to lower fluoride in drinking water to 0.7 ppm are due on February 14. You can easily submit your comments by using the Fluoride Action Network's online comment form. I urge you to take a moment and do so right now!
Submitting your comments is extremely important and can make a big difference. For example, when the USDA solicited comments on the first draft of organic standards they received a quarter of a million replies because it was so bad. They were stunned by the response, saying it was the largest ever received by any government agency, and as a result, they made modifications to create acceptable standards. We're hoping to do the same with fluoridation.
But the good news doesn't end there. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also initiating a review of the maximum amount of fluoride allowed. Depending on their findings, the maximum amount of fluoride allowed may also be revised. I'm actually quite hopeful that this issue will not just disappear this time around!
According to a recent press release by Daniel Stockin of The Lillie Center, Inc. "Fluoridegate" is fast approaching as it's becoming clear that dental fluorosis is "just the tip of the iceberg." The press release states:
"A series of disclosures are surfacing about the actions of water fluoridation promoters that point to a likely tsunami of Fluoridegate investigations, hearings, and explosive courtroom entanglements. Tennessee state legislator Frank Niceley states, "There is a real Fluoridegate scandal here. Citizens haven't been told about harm from fluorides, and this needs to be investigated by the authorities and the media."
Washington D.C. toxic tort attorney Chris Nidel says, "I think when we look back we'll ask why Fluoridegate didn't surface earlier. There are serious concerns about possible conflict of interest and heavy editing of information being fed to the public about fluoride risks and impacts."
In a way these statements are ironic, since I and many others have been warning people about the countless and obvious dangers of fluoride, year in and year out, for decades! But it's gratifying to finally see this issue get some real traction.
First it is Ridiculed, then Violently Opposed, Then...
When I was on Dr. Oz earlier this month, he asked me why I was so controversial, and I told him I operate in a different model than conventional medicine and then I shared Arthur Schopenhauer's observation on the shifting of human views on truth:
- First, it is ridiculed.
- Second, it is violently opposed.
- Finally, it is accepted as self-evident
I then discussed the major victories discussed in this report, but unfortunately, it was edited out of the program that eventually aired. I believe we're now finally beginning the final stage of this shift, and it's just a matter of time before the dangers of water fluoridation will become "self-evident."
Meanwhile, the truth has always been that fluoride is biologically active in the human body and plays havoc with enzymes. We have known for decades that fluoride crosses the placenta and we now know it enters the fetal brain. More than a hundred published animal studies reported on fluoride's harm to the brain and in the last 10 years there have been 24 published studies associating fluoride exposure to a lowering of IQ in children.
On April 12, 2010, Time Magazine included fluoride in its "Top Ten Common Household Toxins" and described fluoride as "Neurotoxic and potentially tumorigenic if swallowed".
EPA Bans Fluoride Fumigant
Another sign of shifting awareness is the EPA's decision to also end the use of the food fumigant sulfuryl fluoride. Their decision was based on the position of three environmental groups that "children's aggregate exposure to fluoride is unsafe, and that additional exposure through pesticide residues is unlawful."
Fluoride Action Network had objected to the use of sulfuryl fluoride as a food fumigant (trade name ProFume) for nine years. During this time they were joined by Beyond Pesticides and the Environmental Working Group. It was the threat of a lawsuit from these groups that forced the Department of Health and Human Services to announce their proposal to lower the level of fluoride in drinking water three days prior to the sulfuryl fluoride decision. http://www.fluoridealert.org/sf.victory.html
While this is another great victory and the second major federal action in recent days to address the safety of fluoride for children, a political battle is brewing over EPA's decision. (See the response from the Fluoride Action Network.) Dow AgroSciences, who makes the food fumigant, has indicated it will fight EPA's decision.
Disturbing Results of Two Recent Studies on Fluoride Fuel the Debate
The revised recommendations by the Department of Health and Human Services and the new review initiated by the EPA came on the heels of several highly damning studies. Two of the most shocking included one showing fluoride's detrimental impact on children's IQ, and another raising serious questions about fluoride's ability to protect against cavities when applied topically.
Water Fluoridation Lowers IQ
In December 2010, a study reporting an association with exposure to fluoride and lowered IQ in children was pre-published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.
According to the authors, "our study suggested that low levels of fluoride exposure in drinking water had negative effects on children's intelligence and dental health and confirmed the dose–response relationships between urine fluoride and IQ scores as well as dental fluorosis." This study indicates a 5 point lowering in IQ as the fluoride level in drinking water went from about 0.3 ppm to 3.0 ppm.
Amazingly, as Dr. Connett states, there are no less than 23 more studies from four different countries indicating that even moderate exposure to fluoride lowers IQ in children.
Fluoride Might Actually Be Useless When Applied Topically...
In addition to having compelling evidence of fluoride's detrimental impact on IQ, another study adds to the drama by raising questions about the usefulness of fluoride in topical applications as well.
The reason why water fluoridation takes place at all is because it's been hailed as a preventive health measure against cavities. The idea that fluoride is beneficial for dental health has spawned an entire industry of fluoridated oral hygiene products, from toothpastes to mouthwashes and professionally applied fluoride treatments.
Has it all been a big waste of time and money? Maybe. According to the findings of a groundbreaking study published in the journal Langmuir, the benefits of topical application of fluoride are highly questionable. The study discovered that the fluorapatite layer formed on your teeth when you apply fluoride is a mere six nanometers thick. To put that into perspective, you need 10,000 of these layers to get the width of a strand of your hair!
Scientists now question whether this beyond-thin layer can actually protect your enamel and provide any discernible benefit, considering the fact that simple chewing will quickly eliminate it.
Other Recent Studies Confirm: Fluoride Does More Harm than Good
If topical application turns out to be of little or no benefit, then the case against water fluoridation—the ingestion of fluoride—becomes even stronger than ever before. And it was already quite strong!
For example, as this recent study done on children in India shows, fluoride is anything but a cavity fighter. It's is in fact a cumulative poison that leads to an increased risk of cavities and can cause a wide range of health problems, including bone deformities, blindness, weakening of your immune system and accelerated aging due to cellular damage.
A second study confirming that fluoride is actually bad for teeth was published in October of last year in the Journal of the American Dental Association. That study concluded that fluoride intake during a child's first few years of life is significantly associated with fluorosis, and warned against using fluoridated water in infant formula. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the information on their website, stating:
"Recent evidence suggests that mixing powdered or liquid infant formula concentrate with fluoridated water on a regular basis may increase the chance of a child developing ... enamel fluorosis. "In children younger than 8 years of age, combined fluoride exposure from all sources—water, food, toothpaste, mouth rinse, or other products—contributes to enamel fluorosis."
So, at this point, four agencies—the CDC, ADA, DHHS, and the EPA—have all conceded that fluoride is not as beneficial as previously believed, and fluoride poses health risks—at least to certain vulnerable segments of the population.
It's a good start, but there's enough damning evidence against fluoride to ban its use entirely, once and for all. And hopefully "Fluoridegate" will sufficiently open up the channels for all of that evidence to see the light of day. There is in fact overwhelming evidence indicating that fluoride is a potent, toxic drug—which is administered without prescription to anyone and everyone with fluoridated community water—that can cause a wide array of severe health problems once ingested.
Fluoride-Induced Health Problems
It's important to realize that fluoride is an accumulative toxin, which, over time, can lead to far more serious health concerns than dental fluorosis (spotting on your teeth). Studies have shown that fluoride toxicity can lead to:
✓ Disrupts synthesis of collagen
✓ Hyperactivity and/or lethargy
✓ Muscle disorders
✓ Brain damage, and lowered IQ
✓ Inactivates 62 enzymes
✓ Inhibited formation of antibodies
✓ Genetic damage and cell death
✓ Increased tumor and cancer rate
✓ Disrupted immune system
✓ Damaged sperm and increased infertility
How You Can Help End Water Fluoridation in Canada and the United States
Folks, these are great victories, but this is not a time to rest. The DHHS has lowered the recommended fluoride level in tap water to 0.7 ppm, but this is STILL far too high!
An infant who drinks formula reconstituted with fluoridated tap water at this new level still gets 175 times more fluoride than a breast-fed infant. DHHS is still ignoring the adverse effects of fluoride in drinking water aside from dental fluorosis, including the fact, shown by more than 100 studies, that fluoride damages animal brains and is associated with lowered IQ in children.
Earlier this year I joined forces with Dr. Paul Connett to publicize his game plan to END water fluoridation in Canada and the United States. Trained as a chemist specializing in environmental chemistry, Dr. Connett is known throughout the world as a leader in the movement opposing water fluoridation because of his knowledge base. His organization, the Fluoride Action Network, contains a wealth of information on this topic.
Our fluoride initiative will primarily focus on Canada, because 60 percent of Canada is already non-fluoridated. If we can get the rest of Canada to stop fluoridating their water, we believe the U.S. will be forced to follow.
Contact Information for Canadian Communities:
- If you live in Ontario, Canada, please join the ongoing effort by contacting Diane Sprules at email@example.com.
- The point-of-contact for Toronto, Canada is Aliss Terpstra. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Information for American Communities:
We're also going to address three US communities: Austin, San Diego and New York City:
- Austin, Texas. Join the effort by contacting Rae Nadler-Olenick at either: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com .
IMPORTANT New York City UPDATE
With the recent victory in Calgary New York City is the new big emphasis. If we are successful here it could have dramatic impact on the rest of the United States effort to eliminate fluoride from tap water. 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.
New York City, New York. NYC council member Peter Vallone, Jr. introduced legislation on January 18 "prohibiting the addition of fluoride to the water supply." It's now in the council's Committee on Health for consideration. The ensuing debate alone could have major significance for our efforts in the US, considering that NYC is the nation's largest city.
Therefore, New York City is now also on our list of targeted cities in North America. 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. We've got a couple of recent victories beneath our belt now, but remember, we're not done! So please, get informed and stay involved!