Five Ways to Protect Your Child
The five most important things you can do to protect your newborn child from fluoride exposure are the following:
1) Breast feed, Breast feed, Breast feed!
Without question, the single most important way to protect a baby from fluoride exposure is to breast feed. Human breast milk almost completely excludes fluoride and thus an exclusively breast-fed baby will receive virtually no fluoride exposure. Breast feeding your child will thus significantly reduce his or her risk of developing dental fluorosis and possibly other effects, including brain damage.
2) If Breast feeding Is Not Feasible, Do NOT Use Fluoridated Water
Since breast feeding is not always a feasible option, infant formula must sometimes be used. When this is the case, it is critically important that you do not use fluoridated drinking water to prepare your baby’s formula. Fluoridated water, which contains up to 300 times more fluoride than breast milk, is by far the single largest source of fluoride for infants. When formula must be used, therefore, make sure to use a water source that has low levels of fluoride (less than 0.1 ppm). Low-fluoride water can be obtained in one of three ways:
- purchasing bottled water (most bottled waters have low levels of fluoride);
- filtering the water with a system that uses reverse osmosis, deionization (with ion exchange resins), or activated alumina technology;
- distilling the water with a countertop distiller.
3) Use Milk-Based Formulas Instead of Soy-Based Formulas
Infant formulas generally contain elevated levels of fluoride, even before the addition of fluoridated water. Some types of formula, however, tend to have higher levels than others. Soy-based formulas, for example, generally have higher levels of fluoride than cow milk-based formulas. To reduce a baby’s exposure to fluoride, therefore, it is generally best to use milk-based formulas. For further information on how to select the right formula, see FAN’s “Top 5 Ways to Reduce Fluoride Exposure from Infant Formula.”
4) Do NOT Use Non-Organic Grape Juice
Due to heavy use of a fluoride pesticide known as “cryolite,” U.S.-made grape juices — particularly white grape juice — have consistently high levels of fluoride. According to the USDA, the average level of fluoride in white grape juice exceeds 2 ppm, which is over 600 times more fluoride than a baby receives from breast milk. If you purchase grape juice for your child, therefore, make sure to buy organic varieties, since cryolite is not allowed in organic juice. Also, since many juice drinks use white grape juice as a filler material, it is important to be mindful of the ingredients in the juices you buy: if the label says it has white grape juice, do not purchase the product unless it is organic. For more information on fluoride exposure from pesticides, click here.
5) Use More Fresh Food, Less Processed Food (and Avoid Processed Chicken)
When your baby is old enough to eat solid food, it is best to provide as much fresh food (e.g., fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats), and as little pre-made food you can. As a general rule, fresh fruits and vegetables, and to a lesser extent meat, contain very low levels of fluoride. By contrast, pre-made foods are generally higher in fluoride content, particularly in heavily fluoridated countries such as the United States where it is common for food companies to use fluoridated water in the food-making process.
Although fluoride intake from solid food is far less of a significant concern than fluoride intake from beverages (e.g., water, formula, and grape juice), there is one type of processed food that should be consistently avoided. Specifically, you should avoid purchasing pre-made infant foods made with chicken. Most infant foods that are made with chicken (e.g., pureed chicken) contain high levels of fluoride-laden bone particles due to the use of mechanical-deboning processes. As a result, pureed chicken meals have been found to have an average fluoride content of about 4 ppm, with some products having as much as 8 ppm fluoride. At 8 ppm, two ounces of the chicken would contribute 0.48 mg of fluoride to the baby’s daily exposure. This is more than half the benchmark level (0.72 mg/day) that the EPA has established “to protect against severe dental fluorosis in children.” To reduce your baby’s fluoride exposure from chicken, try to make your own chicken meals instead of purchasing the pre-made varieties. For more information, click here.
- Top 5 Ways to Reduce Fluoride Exposure from Infant Formula
- FAN’s Grocery Store Guide: 7 Ways to Avoid Fluoride in Beverages and Food
- Top 10 Ways to Reduce Fluoride Exposure
New Hampshire Passes First State-Wide Fluoride Warning Law
Beginning August 4, 2012, New Hampshire will require notification that 6-month-olds should not be routinely fed infant formula mixed with fluoridated water to avoid discoloring babies' unerupted teeth (fluorosis), reports the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Passed by the House, 253-23, unanimously by the Senate, and signed by the Governor, HB-1416 reads:
Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Lowers IQ
Harvard University researchers' review of fluoride/brain studies concludes "our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children's neurodevelopment."
Impact of Fluoride on Neurological Development in Children
In a meta-analysis, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and China Medical University in Shenyang for the first time combined 27 studies and found strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. Based on the findings, the authors say that this risk should not be ignored, and that more research on fluoride’s impact on the developing brain is warranted.
The Fluorosis Risk: Infant Formula Made with Fluoridated Water
Babies who ingest infant formula made with fluoridated water have a significantly elevated risk of developing dental fluorosis in their permanent teeth. The fluorosis caused by infant exposure will generally appear on the child's front teeth, the teeth most likely to embarrass and cause anxiety for the child if they have fluorosis stains. The following
Fluoride Is Not an Essential Nutrient
In the 1950s, dentists believed that fluoride was a “nutrient.” A nutrient is a vitamin or mineral that is necessary for good health. Dentists believed that fluoride ingestion during childhood was necessary for strong, healthy teeth. A “fluoride deficiency” was thus believed to cause cavities, just like a deficiency of calcium can
Infants Have Impaired Ability to Excrete Fluoride
"Approximately 80% of an absorbed dose of fluoride is retained in young children compared to 50% in adults. This is supported by the finding that renal fluoride excretion rate is lower in children than adults. This difference in fluoride retention is due to high fluoride uptake in developing bones." SOURCE: Agency
Relationship between municipal water fluoridation and preterm birth in Upstate New York
Monday, November 9, 2009 Abstract #: 197468 TITLE: Relationship between municipal water fluoridation and preterm birth in Upstate New York AUTHORS: Rachel Hart, MPH, Division of HIV Health Care, NY State Department of Health AIDS Institute, Albany, NY Jonathan Feelemyer, MS, The Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute, Beth Israel Medical Center, NY, NY Christina
Top 5 Ways to Reduce Fluoride Exposure from Infant Formula
For situations where breast feeding is not a feasible option, this page provides 5 concrete ways to reduce your baby's exposure to fluoride when preparing infant formula.
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