Why is there Fluoride in my Water?
Is it Good for me? Doesn’t the Government ensure that my Drinking Water is Safe?
The debate around fluoride has been going on since water fluoridation started in 1945. At least half of all Americans are currently drinking fluoridated water in spite of a growing body of scientific evidence showing it to be a dangerous toxin that bio-accumulates in your body. The evidence of its benefits, by contrast, is inconclusive.
The United States has experienced a decline in cavities since fluoridation, and so the CDC hails this program has a great success. However, most western, industrialized countries—including most of Europe—do not fluoridate their water, and have experienced the same decline in childhood dental decay as fluoridated countries. There are other factors contributing to this decline, such as nutrition.
In 2009, fluoride was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of chemicals with substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.
What is Fluoride?
There is a naturally occurring form of fluoride, and some early studies seemed to indicate a possible benefit to teeth. However, this is not the form of fluoride presently added to your drinking water. It is also not the pharmaceutical grade fluoride added to your toothpaste.
Sodium fluoride—a waste material— was initially used for fluoridation. This is the pharmaceutical grade compound used in toxicology studies and other research into the potential health dangers of fluoride. Sodium fluoride is used in rat and cockroach poisons, anaesthetics and psychiatric drugs.
The other two—sodium silicofluoride and hydrofluorosilicic acid—are the compounds used today for water fluoridation, according to the CDC. Both are waste products from wet scrubber systems of the fertilizer industry and are classified as hazardous wastes. Hydrofluorosilicic acid is a highly reactive chemical and its toxicity is well known among chemists. It eats through metal and plastic pipes and corrodes stainless steel and other materials. It can dissolve rubber tires and melt concrete.
What does Fluoride do to your Brain?
There are over 40 human studies linking fluoride exposure with reduced intelligence and 12 human studies linking fluoride with neurobehavioral deficits. There are also three human studies linking fluoride exposure with impaired fetal brain development, and about 100 animal studies linking it to brain damage—most notably, evidence that fluoride lowers the ability of animals to learn and remember.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have extensively documented the impact of fluoride on neurological development. You can read about it here.
Other Dangers to your Health
Besides affecting the brain, fluoride is linked to premature puberty due to accumulation in the pineal gland, reduced thyroid function and thyroid disease, damage to bones and arthritic symptoms and even bone cancer (osteosarcoma); also, sperm damage and reduced fertility, as well as impaired kidney function. The list goes on. To learn more about the dangers of fluoride, check out 50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation.
A Troubling History: Corporate Interests and Consumer Deception
Christopher Bryson, author of The Fluoride Deception (2004) describes the shared interests of the aluminum industry, the US nuclear weapons program, and the dental industry in the 1940s and 50s. Producing bomb-grade uranium results in large amounts of fluoride waste. The Aluminum Company of America was embroiled in lawsuits due to pollution which was affecting crops, livestock, and people living downwind from its plant. Disposing of fluoride – the toxic waste product from aluminum plants — was quickly turning into a very costly problem. At the same time, Harold Hodge, a scientist at the University of Rochester, was asked to produce medical information about fluoride that would help defend the government from lawsuits over fluoride pollution. Thus a PR campaign was created to convince the public that fluoride was not only safe, but beneficial. The endorsement of fluoride as a dental health prophylactic was a way to rescue multiple industries and the government from mounting political and financial backlash relating to fluoride pollution. You can buy the book here.
A 1943 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association explains that fluorides are general protoplasmic poisons that change the permeability of the cell membrane by certain enzymes. A 1944 editorial published in the Journal of the American Dental Association is prescient: “Drinking water containing as little as 1.2 ppm fluoride will cause developmental disturbances. We cannot run the risk of producing such serious systemic disturbances. The potentialities for harm outweigh those for good.”
What you can do:
- Find out if the water in your city is fluoridated. How? You can hunt down the information on this page from the CDC (ignore their praises of fluoride). You can call your water service provider, or you can order a fluoride test kit here or here (and elsewhere on the internet). You can also have your water professionally tested by a local company.
- If your find fluoride, buy a reverse osmosis water filter. This company has a range of solutions, so call them up and talk to them. This website offers a lot of information.
- Call or write to your city council member to express concern about being forcibly medicated without scientific justification. You can include some information from this blogpost.
- I know, it’s not fun to complain, but we are talking about your health and the health of your family and community. This is an opportunity for you to do something powerful for the greater good. If no one speaks up, nothing will change. Big powerful interests always win unless there are enough little guys speaking up. If we all speak up, change will happen. You can also make a donation to the Fluoride Action Network, which is fighting the good fight.
Watch this new short film about fluoride.
“Compelling and convincing, this film overturns the industry dogma on fluoride, exposing the toxic truth about what we put in our drinking water.”
-Lois Gibbs, Love Canal Hero and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Many longterm studies in China, India, Iran, Mexico, and Canada have yielded similar results about the dangers of fluoride. This article references studies that identify two outcomes of fluoridating water: lower IQ in children, and ADHD.