The False Truth About Fluoride:
Why You Need to Know the Facts About Fluoride in Your Water Supply
© 2014 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
For years the United States has supplemented its drinking water with fluoride after scientific experts praised it as a necessary precaution for keeping Americans’ teeth healthy. Yet, how this additive became an accepted part of the U.S. water supply remains a heavily guarded secret surrounded by much speculation and controversy.
The late Albert Schatz, PhD and Nobel Laureate (for his discovery of streptomycin – the first antibiotic remedy used to treat tuberculosis) brought much attention to this debate when he stated:
"Fluoridation is the greatest fraud that has ever been perpetrated and it has been perpetrated on more people than any other fraud has."
Dr. Schatz wasn’t alone in his beliefs – and for good reason. The history surrounding this contentious topic spans decades and requires a deep knowledge of America’s water history.
What is Fluoride and Why is it Supplemented into America's Water Supply?
The fluoride that exists in much of today’s water systems is a man-altered chemical that comes from the base element fluorine.
The World Health Organization defines fluorine as:
"...A common element that does not occur in the elemental state in nature because of its high reactivity. It accounts for about 0.3 g/kg of the Earth’s crust and exists in the form of fluorides in a number of minerals, of which fluorspar, cryolite and fluorapatite are the most common."
When the element is chemically altered it can be used for several industrial purposes. Specifically, the most common uses are:
"...aluminum production and as a flux in the steel and glass fibre industries. [It] can also be released to the environment during the production of phosphate fertilizers (which contain an average of 3.8% fluorine), bricks, tiles and ceramics. Fluorosilicic acid, sodium hexafluorosilicate and sodium fluoride are used in municipal water fluoridation schemes."
What is Hexafluorosilicate and Sodium Fluoride and Why is it in My Water?
Hexafluorosilicate and sodium fluoride are generally the most popular additives that are used to fluoridate the nation's water. Over the decades there have been several variations and dosages applied to the public water systems, always with experts arguing over their pros and cons.
The addition of these compounds into public water systems began in 1945, after several studies were made about children in a region where higher levels of fluoride naturally occurred in water. The research found that minor fluoridation of water prevented tooth decay among the research subjects, and hence forth, it was lauded as a necessary medical feat that could save many nations from poor dental health.
However the legitimacy of these pro-fluoride studies has been increasingly questioned by many groups, doctors, and environmental experts over the years because they are in direct conflict with new studies that prove the opposite.
Specifically, a study completed in 1989 analyzed national survey data collected by the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) and found that children from areas of the United States where the water supplies were fluoridated had tooth decay rates nearly identical with those from non- fluoridated areas. Those statistics aren't the only ones either.
More recently, another study conducted by the International Society for Fluoride Research analyzed The World Health Organization’s data on dental decay trends for 12-year-olds in 24 countries and determined that:
"...data on dental decay trends in 12-year-olds in 24 countries do not support fluoridation as being a reason for the decline in dental decay that has been occurring in recent decades."
So What Studies Can I Believe and Trust When it Comes to Fluoride in My Water?
Many international health and dental organizations advocate water fluoridation's safety and effectiveness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hailed the nationwide fluoridation of America’s water supply as "one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century."
Yet, if this statement were really true, then why is there so much backlash against fluoridation?
The reason why there is so much skepticism is because there is a lot to be skeptical about.
Richard Foulkes, M.D., a former consultant to the Minister of Health of British Columbia, highlighted the importance of screening fluoridation data and information in his address to the California Assembly Committee of Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials.
In his address he stated:
"The [water fluoridation] studies that were presented to me were selected and showed only positive results...The endorsements had been won by coercion and the self-interest of professional elites. Some of the basic "facts" presented to me were, I found out later, of dubious validity."
There are many theories that point to different chemical companies, aluminum companies, and governmental agencies that all benefit from keeping nationwide fluoridation. Yet what is more concerning than knowing about the beneficiaries, is the actual information about the effects that fluoridation can actually have on your body.
Though fluoride naturally occurs in small amounts in water, the amounts are generally nowhere near the amounts seen in artificially fluoridated water. The fact that the government cannot monitor the amounts that people ingest in addition to their fluoridated water raises some major concerns in the professional community.
Dr. Charles Gordon Heyd, past president of the American Medical Association, warned of these dangers when he stated:
"I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs. Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long range basis. Any attempt to use water this way is deplorable."
Does This Mean That Fluoride Is Bad for You?
In low monitored doses, fluoride, like other naturally occurring elements in water, does not pose major health risks to the average person. However, when it is administered in larger doses in chemically altered forms, it can cause several major health risks especially for the young and elderly.
The World Health Organization recently echoed these cautious sentiments in their report on "Fluorides and Oral Health." In this report they state that:
"Dental and Public health administrators should be aware of the total fluoride exposure in the population before introducing any additional fluoride programme for caries prevention."
Their concerns are not unfounded because there are many dangers associated with excessive fluoride ingestion. Some of the most prevalent risks related to fluoride are:
Dental fluorosis (a defect in the enamel structure of the teeth)
Kidney problems or failure
Skeletal fluorosis (a weakening and deformation of the skeleton)
Acute fluoride poisoning
Those against fluoridation are often mocked and ridiculed for doubting the general norm, despite their extensive credentials and medical experience. One notable critic who has garnered a lot of attention recently is Dr. Hardy Limeback, a leading Canadian fluoride authority, former fluoride advocate and long-standing consultant to the Canadian Dental Association. Now a professor of dentistry at the University of Toronto, Limeback cautioned that:
"Fluoride may be destroying our bones, our teeth and overall health ... it doesn't need to be added to our water and we may be taking unnecessary risks by doing so."
I Live in an Area That Has Fluoridated Water, What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
There are several ways that you can get water that is not fortified with fluoride. Some of these methods include:
Water filters: The two best filters to remove fluoride from water are reverse- osmosis (RO) filters and activated alumina filters. These filters are different than the ones commercially sold in supermarkets, because they are much more effective at removing fluoride and longer lasting. RO filters will remove fluoride from your drinking water, which many other filters will not. However, RO is so efficient at removing compounds from your water that it also removes all minerals, producing essentially mineral-free water.
This is not ideal because some minerals in your water are healthy and essential to your body.
Water distillation: Distillation units are sold all across America, and they vary in price and quality. Generally smaller distillation units are cheaper and larger ones are more expensive, but all of them should effectively be able to remove all traces of fluoride from the water. However, like RO, distillation strips water of natural trace minerals that your body needs, so using this as your primary water source may not be advisable.
Research and information: There is a host of information about companies, products, water brands, watersheds, and water systems that are affected by fluoridation. Accurate research involves time and careful combing of information. The best resources are professional medical journals, although you can find trusted resources online as well.
Should I Be Concerned about Fluoride in Other Parts of My Life?
Unfortunately, fluoride is added to much of what we ingest daily. Fluoride traces have been found in:
It is always hard to discern the safe amount of anything that you put into your body. Different doctors and experts all have conflicting opinions on the matter, but what is important to note is that you can be proactive about limiting your consumption of fluoride by educating yourself. Always read labels, and be aware of what type of water and other products you are ingesting. For instance, you can find very effective toothpastes that are fluoride-free. As always, if you are concerned about what goes in and out of your body, and if you are planning to make changes to your diet, contact your medical professional so that they can assist you. They can monitor you, give you advice, and provide you with helpful alternatives and resources that will help you on you quest to detoxify your life.
The controversy surrounding the nationwide fluoridation of America’s water is far from over. There is not enough evidence to conclusively identify the pros and cons of the national program in a consistent matter. What people do know though is that adding fluoride to water should be a choice. The public should have the right to have their water free from chemicals if they choose to have it so – especially since fluoride is not a compound that prevents life-threatening diseases, and may in fact contribute to disease.
With strong numbers and proper education, there are many programs, groups, and networks that are lobbying for America’s public to have their water free of fluoride.
Many dentists and doctors are also advocating better assessment standards to the norm, and as one doctor noted in Journal of Public Health Dentistry:
"Current standards for water fluoridation in the United States have stood since 1962. Many things have changed since then, however, and these data suggest that perhaps it is time to reconsider these standards."
To get more information about what you can do to take action you can start with the Fluoride Action Network website.
CDC. Ten great public health achievements—United States. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep.;48(12):241–3. PMID 10220250. Reprinted in: JAMA.;281(16):1481.
Fawell J, Bailey K, Chilton J, Dahi E, Fewtrell L, Magara Y. Fluoride in Drinking-water [PDF]. World Health Organization; ISBN 92-4-156319-2. Guidelines and standards. p. 37–9.
Fluoride in Drinking-water: Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking- water Quality. World Health Organization, page 2.
Heller KE, et al. Dental Caries and Dental Fluorosis at Varying Water Fluoride Concentrations. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 57: 136-143.
Alvarez JA, Rezende KMPC, Marocho SMS, Alves FBT, Celiberti P, Ciamponi AL. Dental fluorosis: exposure, prevention and management [PDF]. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal.;14(2):E103–7. PMID 19179949.
Martin B. The sociology of the fluoridation controversy: a reexamination. Sociol Q. 1989;30(1):59–76. doi:10.1111/j.1533- 8525.1989.tb01511.x.
Fluoride Action Network http://www.fluoridealert.org