The Dangers of Fluoride
I regularly get asked questions about the dangers of fluoride and water fluoridation (often misspelled as flouride and flouridation). In fact, one of my employees was recently speaking with me about the sodium fluoride drops his daughter’s pediatrician had prescribed.
In response to the questions and concerns, I’ve put together this article which is loaded with information about fluoride (flouride), symptoms of fluoridation, and the dangers of consuming fluoride.
I hope this helps answer your questions!
- The fluoride used for water fluoridation does not have FDA approval and is considered by the FDA as an “unapproved drug”. The proper use of any drug requires an understanding of how much is too much. Since fluoride is already in many foods and beverages, an estimated total intake of existing fluoride amounts is imperative. Research shows fluoridation is unnecessary since we’re already receiving 300% or more of the American Dental Association’s recommended daily amount.#
- The chemicals used for fluoridation are not high purity, pharmaceutical quality products. Rather they are byproducts of aluminum and fertilizer manufacturing and contain a high concentration of toxins and heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and chromium. All proven to be carcinogens.#
- Newsweek Magazine advised the public that “political decisions [about fluoridation] were at odds with expert advice” and “fluoride from your tap may not do much good-and may cause cancer.” Then, in 1992, Newsweek published another fluoride safety related article, “Is Science Censored?, a look at how political considerations influence what scientific studies get published.”#
- The first noticeable signs of excessive exposure to fluoride in contaminated water, air, and food products include discolorations of the enamel. Dental fluorosis during tooth growth and loss of dentition in adulthood are two consequences of chronic intoxication with fluorine compounds. Abnormalities in mineralization processes affect by and large the osteoarticular system and are associated with changes in the density and structure of the bone presenting as irregular mineralization of the osteoid.*
- Children’s sodium fluoride anti-cavity supplements were never found safe or effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They were never even tested.
So why are these prescription drugs allowed despite no FDA approval? Because fluoride supplements were “grandfathered in” before the 1938 law was enacted requiring drug testing.
So, products on the market before 1938 were presumed safe by the FDA who allowed grandfathered drugs to be sold without any testing. Once a drug is on the market for any reason, doctors can use them to treat any disease or condition.
Sodium fluoride was on the market pre-1938, but not to stop cavities and not for any medical reason. Sodium fluoride sold as a rat poison.
So, in effect, the FDA says – since sodium fluoride safely and effectively killed rats before 1938, the FDA considers it is safe to give to little children to prevent tooth decay.From a 1951 American Dental Association brochure:
“There is no proof that commercial preparations such as tablets, dentifrices, mouthwashes or chewing gum containing fluorides are effective in preventing dental decay. Unfortunately such preparations are being offered to the public without adequate scientific evidence of their value.”*
- 97% of western Europe has chosen fluoride-free water. This includes: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland. (While some European countries add fluoride to salt, the majority do not.) Thus, rather than mandating fluoride treatment for the whole population, western Europe allows individuals the right to choose, or refuse, fluoride.^
- Contrary to previous belief, fluoride has minimal benefit when swallowed. When water fluoridation began in the 1940s and ’50s, dentists believed that fluoride needed to be swallowed in order to be most effective. This belief, however, has now been discredited by an extensive body of modern research (1).According to the Centers for Disease Control, fluoride’s “predominant effect is posteruptive and topical” (2). In other words, any benefits that accrue from the use of fluoride, come from the direct application of fluoride to the outside of teeth (after they have erupted into the mouth) and not from ingestion. There is no need, therefore, to expose all other tissues to fluoride by swallowing it.^
- Ingestion of fluoride has little benefit, but many risks. Whereas fluoride’s benefits come from topical contact with teeth, its risks to health (which involve many more tissues than the teeth) result from being swallowed.
Adverse effects from fluoride ingestion have been associated with doses attainable by people living in fluoridated areas. For example:
- Risk to the brain. According to the National Research Council (NRC), fluoride can damage the brain. Animal studies conducted in the 1990s by EPA scientists found dementia-like effects at the same concentration (1 ppm) used to fluoridate water, while human studies have found adverse effects on IQ at levels as low as 0.9 ppm among children with nutrient deficiencies, and 1.8 ppm among children with adequate nutrient intake. (7-10)
- Risk to the thyroid gland. According to the NRC, fluoride is an “endocrine disrupter.” Most notably, the NRC has warned that doses of fluoride (0.01-0.03 mg/kg/day) achievable by drinking fluoridated water, may reduce the function of the thyroid among individuals with low-iodine intake. Reduction of thyroid activity can lead to loss of mental acuity, depression and weight gain (11)
- Risk to bones. According to the NRC, fluoride can diminish bone strength and increase the risk for bone fracture. While the NRC was unable to determine what level of fluoride is safe for bones, it noted that the best available information suggests that fracture risk may be increased at levels as low 1.5 ppm, which is only slightly higher than the concentration (0.7-1.2 ppm) added to water for fluoridation. (12)
- Risk for bone cancer. Animal and human studies – including a recent study from a team of Harvard scientists – have found a connection between fluoride and a serious form of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in males under the age of 20. The connection between fluoride and osteosarcoma has been described by the National Toxicology Program as “biologically plausible.” Up to half of adolescents who develop osteosarcoma die within a few years of diagnosis. (13-16)
- Risk to kidney patients. People with kidney disease have a heightened susceptibility to fluoride toxicity. The heightened risk stems from an impaired ability to excrete fluoride from the body. As a result, toxic levels of fluoride can accumulate in the bones, intensify the toxicity of aluminum build-up, and cause or exacerbate a painful bone disease known as renal osteodystrophy. (17-19)^
I hope this helps answer some of your questions about fluoride, fluoridation, and fluorosis. If there are questions this article didn’t answer, please leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to do my best to provide ou with the info you’re looking for!
1. Featherstone JDB. (2000). The Science and Practice of Caries Prevention. Journal of the American Dental Association. 131: 887-899. (Additional references available at: www.fluoridealert.org/health/teeth/caries/topical-systemic.html )
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2001). Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States. Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Review. (MMWR). August 17. 50(RR14):1-42.7. National Research Council. (2006). Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards. National Academies Press, Washington D.C. p. 173-188.
8. Varner JA, et al. (1998). Chronic Administration of Aluminum-Fluoride and Sodium-Fluoride to Rats in Drinking Water: Alterations in Neuronal and Cerebrovascular Integrity.Brain Research. 784: 284-298.
9. Lin Fa-Fu, et al. (1991). The relationship of a low-iodine and high-fluoride environment to subclinical cretinism in Xinjiang. Iodine Deficiency Disorder Newsletter. Vol. 7. No. 3.
10. Xiang Q, et al. (2003a). Effect of fluoride in drinking water on children’s intelligence. Fluoride 36: 84-94; 198-199.
11. NRC (2006). p. 189-224.
12. NRC (2006). p. 107-148.
13. National Toxicology Program. (1990). Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of Sodium Fluoride in F344/N Rats and B6C3f1 Mice. Technical report Series No. 393. NIH Publ. No 91-2848. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, N.C.
14. Hoover RN, et al. (1991). Time trends for bone and joint cancers and osteosarcomas in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program. National Cancer Institute In: Review of Fluoride: Benefits and Risks. US Public Health Service. Appendix E & F.
15. Cohn PD. (1992). A Brief Report On The Association Of Drinking Water Fluoridation And The Incidence of Osteosarcoma Among Young Males. New Jersey Department of Health Environ. Health Service: 1- 17.
16. Bassin EB, Wypij D, Davis RB, Mittleman MA. (2006). Age-specific Fluoride Exposure in Drinking Water and Osteosarcoma (United States). Cancer Causes and Control 17: 421-8.
17. Johnson W, et al. (1979). Fluoridation and bone disease in renal patients. In: E Johansen, DR Taves, TO Olsen, Eds. Continuing Evaluation of the Use of Fluorides. AAAS Selected Symposium. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado. pp. 275-293.
18. Ittel TH, et al. (1992). Effect of fluoride on aluminum-induced bone disease in rats with renal failure. Kidney International 41: 1340-1348.
19. Ayoob S, Gupta AK. (2006). Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Review on the Status and Stress Effects. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology 36:433–487