Fluoride & Health
|TABLE of CONTENTS|
|Brain Effects||Kidney Disease|
|Cardiovascular Disease||Pineal Gland|
|Endocrine Disruption||Thyroid Disease|
Fluoride is a highly toxic substance. Consider, for example, the poison warning that the FDA now requires on all fluoride toothpastes sold in the U.S. or the tens of millions of people throughout China and India who now suffer serious crippling bone diseases from drinking water with elevated levels of fluoride.
In terms of acute toxicity (i.e., the dose that can cause immediate toxic consequences), fluoride is more toxic than lead, but slightly less toxic than arsenic. This is why fluoride has long been used in rodenticides and pesticides to kill pests like rats and insects. It is also why accidents involving over-ingestion of fluoridated dental products–including fluoride gels, fluoride supplements, and fluoridated water–can cause serious poisoning incidents, including death.
The debate today, however, is not about fluoride’s acute toxicity, but its chronic toxicity (i.e., the dose of fluoride that if regularly consumed over an extended period of time can cause adverse effects).
Although fluoride advocates have claimed for years that the safety of fluoride in dentistry is exhaustively documented and “beyond debate,” the Chairman of the National Research Council’s (NRC) comprehensive fluoride review, Dr. John Doull, recently stated that: ”when we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this [fluoridation] has been going on. I think that’s why fluoridation is still being challenged so many years after it began.”
In this section of the website, we provide overviews of the scientific and medical research that implicates fluoride exposure as a cause or contributor to various chronic health ailments. In 2001, the union of scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Headquarters Office in Washington D.C. stated: “we hold that water fluoridation is an unreasonable risk.” The research in this section helps to demonstrate why EPA’s own scientists reached this conclusion, and why a growing number of health professionals do so as well.
The primary concerns with fluoride’s impact on human health can be summarized as follows:
- Current safety standards only protect against the most obvious forms of harm: Current safety standards for fluoride are based on the premise that severe dental fluorosis and crippling skeletal fluorosis are the first adverse effects that fluoride can have on the body. These effects represent the crudest, most obvious harm caused by fluoride. In the words of American University chemistry professor, Dr. William Hirzy, it would be a “biological miracle” if fluoride did not cause other harm prior to producing these end-stage forms of toxicity. Research already shows, in fact, that fluoride can cause arthritic symptoms and bone fracture well before the onset of crippling fluorosis, and can affect many other tissues besides bone and teeth, including the brain and thyroid gland.
- The current “safe” daily dose for fluoride fails to withstand scrutiny: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) states that anyone over 8 years of age — irrespective of their health condition — can safely ingest 10 milligrams of fluoride each day for their entire life without developing symptomatic bone damage. Ten milligrams, however, is the same dose that the IOM concedes can cause clinical signs of skeletal fluorosis within just 10 to 20 years of exposure. People with clinical signs of fluorosis can suffer significant symptoms, including chronic joint pain and overt osteoarthritis. The IOM’s safety standard instills little confidence in the medical understanding that currently underlies fluoride policies in the U.S.
- Some people are particularly susceptible to fluoride toxicity: It is well known that individual susceptibility to fluoride varies greatly across the population, and yet, the National Research Council has recently found that breathtakingly large gaps still exist in the safety literature on the effects these populations may be experiencing as a result of current fluoride exposures. The bewildering degree of uncertainties identified by the NRC stands in stark contrast to the IOM’s conclusion that 10 mg/day is so definitively safe that no “uncertainty factor” needs to be applied to protect vulnerable members of the population.
- The margin between the toxic and therapeutic dose is very narrow: The NRC concluded that the allegedly “safe” upper limit of fluoride in water (4 mg/l) is toxic to human health. While the NRC did not determine the safe level, their conclusion means that the safe level is less than 4 times the level added to water (0.7-1.2 mg/l) in community fluoridation programs. This is far too slim a margin to protect vulnerable members of the population, including those who consume high amounts of water.
- FAN’s Health Database
- Fluoride & Dental Fluorosis
- Fluoride & Tooth Decay
- Fluoride & Environmental Justice
- Sources of Fluoride Exposure
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10 Facts About Fluoride
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NRC (2006): Fluoride's Effect on Glucose Metabolism
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Fluoride Enhances Toxicity of Beryllium
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Relationship between municipal water fluoridation and preterm birth in Upstate New York
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The following 10 tips will allow you to significantly reduce your daily exposure to fluoride. 1) Stop Drinking Fluoridated Water: Tap water consumption is, on average, the largest daily source of fluoride exposure for people who live in areas that add fluoride to the water. Avoiding consumption of fluoridated water is especially
A Second Look at Fluoride Exposure and Hip Fractures
In critiquing the York Review I spent a considerable time reading the literature on Hip Fractures and exposure to fluoride. I thought readers would find it helpful to have an up-to-date list of the studies published since 1990. While the evidence from these human epidemiological studies is mixed, when the issue is
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