January 7th, 2011
By: Mike Stobbe
Fluoride in drinking water – credited with dramatically cutting cavities and tooth decay – may now be too much of a good thing. It’s causing spots on some kids’ teeth.
A reported increase in the spotting problem is one reason the federal government will announce Friday it plans to lower the recommended limit for fluoride in water supplies – the first such change in nearly 50 years.
About 2 out of 5 adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness because of too much fluoride, a surprising government study found recently. In some extreme cases, teeth can even be pitted by the mineral – though many cases are so mild only dentists notice it.
Health officials note that most communities have fluoride in their water supplies, and toothpaste has it too. Some kids are even given fluoride supplements.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is announcing a proposal to change the recommended fluoride level to 0.7 milligrams per liter of water. And the Environmental Protection Agency will review whether the maximum cutoff of 4 milligrams per liter is too high.
The standard since 1962 has been a range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the splotchy tooth condition, fluorosis, is unexpectedly common in kids ages 12 through 15. And it appears to have grown much more common since the 1980s.
“One of the things that we’re most concerned about is exactly that,” said an administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly before the release of the report. The official described the government’s plans in an interview with The Associated Press.
The government also is expected to release two related EPA studies which look at the ways Americans are exposed to fluoride and the potential health effects. This shift away from government’s long-standing praise of the benefits of fluoride is sure to re-energize groups that still oppose it.
Fluoride is a mineral that exists naturally in water and soil. Scientists in the early 1940s discovered that people who lived where water supplies naturally had more fluoride also had fewer cavities. Some locales have naturally occurring fluoridation levels above 1.2.
November 17th, 2010
By: Dr. Mercola
A new study in the Journal of the American Dental Association finds once again that, contrary to what most people have been told, fluoride is actually bad for teeth.
Exposure to high levels of fluoride results in a condition known as fluorosis, in which tooth enamel becomes discolored. The condition can eventually lead to badly damaged teeth. The new study found 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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is of a similar opinion. According to their website:
“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.”
October 21st, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
Advocates of fluoridated water insist that the chemical additive is good for teeth, but actual science routinely shows otherwise, including a new study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association confirming fluoride as a toxic substance that actually destroys teeth, particularly those of developing young children and babies.
When people are exposed to excessive levels of fluoride through sources like drinking water, foods and beverages and even swallowed toothpaste, it often results in a condition known as dental fluorosis. The internal uptake of fluoride into teeth over time causes their enamel to become mottled and discolored, the end result being damaged teeth that have essentially rotted from the inside out.
Dr. Steven Levy, D.D.S., and his team found during their study that “fluoride intakes during each of the first four years (of a child’s life) were individually significantly related to fluorosis on maxillary central incisors, with the first year more important.” They went on to warn that “infant formulas reconstituted with higher fluoride water can provide 100 to 200 times more fluoride than breast milk, or cow’s milk.”
In other words, young children have the highest risk of severe tooth damage from fluoride, especially those that are six months of age or younger, a time during which children’s blood-brain barriers have not fully formed. Even low ingestion levels cause the direct depositing of fluoride into the teeth, brain and other bodily tissues and organs which, besides causing fluorosis, also causes disorders of the brain and nervous system, kidneys and bones.
And the American Dental Association (ADA) has known that fluoride exposure causes dental fluorosis since at least 2006, but the group has done nothing to warn the 200 million Americans that live in communities with fluoridated water to avoid its use in babies and infants. Many dentists still recommend that children and adults not only drink fluoridated water, but even advise parents to add fluoride drops to their children’s drinking water if the family lives in unfluoridated areas or drinks private well water.
Fluoride causes serious health problems
In 2006, a study published in The Lancet identified fluoride as “an emerging neurotoxic substance” that causes severe brain damage. The National Research Council (NRC) wrote that “it is apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain and the body by direct and indirect means.”
About a month later, another study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found a definitive link between fluoride intake and reduce IQ levels, indicating once again that fluoride intake causes cognitive damage.
At Harvard University, researchers identified a link between fluoride and bone cancer. Published 14 years after it began, the study found that the highest rates of osteosarcoma, a fatal form of bone cancer, were occurring most in populations drinking fluoridated water. The findings confirmed those of a prior government study back in 1990 that involved fluoride-treated rats.
Kidney disease is another hallmark of fluoride poisoning. Multiple animal studies have found that fluoride levels as low as 1 part per million (ppm) — which is the amount added to most fluoridated water systems — cause kidney damage. And a Chinese study found that children exposed to slightly higher fluoride levels had biological markers in their blood indicative of kidney damage.
The NRC has also found that fluoride impairs proper thyroid function and debilitates the endocrine system. Up until the 1970s, fluoride was used in Europe as a thyroid-suppressing medication because it lowers thyroid function. Many experts believe that widespread hypothyroidism today is a result of overexposure to fluoride.
Since fluoride is present in most municipal water supplies in North America, it is absurd to even suggest that parents avoid giving it to their young children. How are parents supposed to avoid it unless they install a whole-house reverse osmosis water filtration system? And even if families install such a system, fluoride is found in all sorts of food and beverages, not to mention that it is absorbed through the skin every time people wash their hands with or take a shower in fluoridated water. Perhaps these are some of the reasons why the ADA has said nothing about the issue despite the findings.
There simply is no legitimate reason to fluoridate water. Doing so forcibly medicates an entire population with a carcinogenic, chemical drug. There really is no effective way to avoid it entirely, and nobody really knows how much is ingested or absorbed on a daily basis because exposure is too widespread to calculate. But political pressure and bad science have continued to justify water fluoridation in most major cities, despite growing mountains of evidence showing its dangers.
Ending water fluoridation is a difficult task, but concerted efforts by citizens, local authorities, and even dentists, have resulted in some significant victories.