Is adding fluoride to public drinking water a good thing? For many, the answer seems obvious: Yes. Television commercials, oral hygiene products, and even traditional dentists actively endorse fluoride as a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay. Many are surprised to learn, however, that there is no clinical evidence to support such a claim. The tide is beginning to turn, and communities across America are putting an end to water fluoridation programs that are not only a danger to residents, but also an unnecessary cost to the municipality.
Since the early 1900s, American citizens have been led to believe that fluoridated water helps to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. However, there is a wealth of research that indicates fluoride exposure may cause serious bodily harm. Fluoride has been shown to accumulate in vital soft tissues, like the Pineal Gland of the brain, and it may cause severe damage to the kidneys, reproductive system, and may even lower IQ scores among children. In this light, it is easy to see why holistic dentistry professionals and fluoride-free water advocates believe that supplementing public drinking water with fluoride is ineffective, costly, and potentially toxic to residents.
The Fluoride Action Network is perhaps the most well known fluoride-free advocacy group in the world, comprised of licensed medical professionals, scientists, and health professionals united in the fight against unethical water fluoridation (i). Together, the team seeks to spread global awareness for the toxicity of fluoride among citizens, scientists, and policymakers. The organization has compiled hundreds of studies from health professionals and research organizations from across the world. According to their findings, here are 10 of the top 50 reasons to oppose water fluoridation:
The number of United States cities and municipalities that have voted to end water fluoridation grew rapidly in 2012. As awareness for the issue continues to spread, an increasingly large number of communities are lobbying for natural drinking water that is completely free of fluoride additives. Among the primary reasons for discontinuing the controversial practice are concerns for the general health of the community, as well as concerns that it may incur an unnecessary financial burden that may not benefit the public at all.
Over the past year, the anti-fluoride movement has gained substantial momentum as communities from across the United States have begun to vote against public water fluoridation. Just recently, 3 communities in Indiana have voted to end the fluoridation of their water supplies. Those communities are Walkerton, North Liberty, and Lakeville, home to a combined 5,000 or more individuals who are now safe from fluoride exposure. Other communities in which the anti-fluoride movement is strong include Wichita, Portland, and Santa Fe.
For much of the 1900s, very little research was conducted to study the effect of fluoride accumulation on brain health. By the 1950s, the subject started to garner attention among a number of scientists, researchers, and dental health professionals. In 1990, a major milestone was reached when Dr. Jennifer Luke asked the question: How does the accumulation of fluoride affect the hard and soft tissues of the body?
The kidneys are believed to be the most important organ in the human body in the fight against long-term fluoride exposure. Healthy adult kidneys are able to excrete about 50 percent of ingested fluoride and are responsible for preventing toxic levels of fluoride from accumulating in the body. However, adults who have kidney disease excrete about 10 to 20 percent of ingested fluoride, which increases their body burden of fluoride and increases their likelihood of fluoride poisoning.
According to the Journal of Dental Research (Whitford 1987, 1990), there is enough fluoride in a tube of children's fluoride toothpaste to kill an average-weighing child under the age of 9. Why else would the FDA require the following warning label on fluoride toothpaste? "WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately." The 1984 Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products rates lead’s toxicity at 3-4, while fluoride is rated at 4 (3 = moderately toxic; 4 = very toxic).
Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting are the most common early symptoms of acute fluoride poisoning. For people who are sensitive to fluoride, ingesting 1 mg tablets of fluoride or drinking 1 parts per million of fluoridated water can cause these gastrointestinal symptoms. A 5-to-10 gram dose of fluoride for an adult or 500 mg dose for a child can cause damage to the body’s major organs and even cause death.