Water fluoridation is the practice of adding industrial-grade fluoride chemicals to water for the purpose of preventing tooth decay. One of the little known facts about this practice is that the United States, which fluoridates over 70% of its water supplies, has more people drinking fluoridated water than the rest of the world combined. Most developed nations, including all of Japan and 97% of western Europe, do not fluoridate their water.
In the United States, the Oral Health Division of the Centers Disease Control (CDC) hails fluoridation as one of the “top ten public health achievements of the 20th century.” However, comprehensive data from the World Health Organization reveals that there is no discernible difference in tooth decay between the minority of western nations that fluoridate water, and the majority that do not. In fact, the tooth decay rates in many non-fluoridated countries are now lower than the tooth decay rates in fluoridated ones.
As is becoming increasingly clear, fluoridating water supplies is an outdated, unnecessary, and dangerous relic from a 1950s public health culture that viewed mass distribution of chemicals much differently than scientists do today. The few nations that still fluoridate their water should end the practice. Here’s three reasons why:
Three Reasons to End Water Fluoridation
Reason #1: Fluoridation Is an Outdated Form of Mass Medication
Unlike all other water treatment processes, fluoridation does not treat the water itself, but the person consuming it. The Food & Drug Administration accepts that fluoride is a drug, not a nutrient, when used to prevent disease. By definition, therefore, fluoridating water is a form of medication. This is why most western European nations have rejected the practice — because, in their view, the public water supply is not an appropriate place to be adding drugs, particularly when fluoride is readily available for individual use in the form of toothpaste.
Reason #2: Fluoridation Is Unnecessary and Ineffective
The most obvious reason to end fluoridation is that it is now known that fluoride’s main benefit comes from topical contact with the teeth, not from ingestion. Even the CDC’s Oral Health Division now acknowledges this. There is simply no need, therefore, to swallow fluoride, whether in the water, toothpaste, or any other form. Further, despite early claims that fluoridated water would reduce cavities by 65%, modern large-scale studies show no consistent or meaningful difference in the cavity rates of fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas.
Reason #3: Fluoridation Is Not a Safe Practice
First, there is no dispute that fluoridation is causing millions of children to develop dental fluorosis, a discoloration of the teeth that is caused by excessive fluoride intake. Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control have even acknowledged that fluoridation is causing “cosmetically objectionable” fluorosis on children’s front teeth–an effect that can cause children embarrassment and anxiety at an age when physical appearance is the single most important predictor of self-esteem.
Second, it is known that fluoridated water caused severe bone disease in dialysis patients up until the late 1970s (prior to dialysis units filtering fluoride). While dialysis units now filter out the fluoride, research shows that current fluoride exposures are still resulting in dangerously high bone fluoride levels in dialysis patients and patients with other advanced forms of kidney disease. It is unethical to compromise the health of some members in a population to obtain a purported benefit for another — particularly in the absence of these vulnerable members’ knowing consent.
And, finally, a growing body of evidence reasonably indicates that fluoridated water, in addition to other sources of daily fluoride exposure, can cause or contribute to a range of serious effects, including arthritis, damage to the developing brain, reduced thyroid function, and possibly osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in adolescent males.
Communities Are Starting to Get the Message
In recent years, communities throughout the United States and Canada have started to reassess the conventional wisdom of fluoridating their water. Many of these communities, including over 50 since 2010, are reaching the obvious conclusion: when stripped of its endorsements, well-meaning intentions, and PR-praise, fluoridation simply makes no sense.
Europe reached this conclusion a long time ago. It is now time for the U.S. and other English-speaking nations to follow suit.
Need More Reasons?
- 10 Facts About Fluoride – Fluoride Action Network
- 50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation – Dr. Paul Connett, FAN’s Executive Director (Updated August 2012)
- The Absurdities of Water Fluoridation – Dr. Paul Connett, FAN’s Executive Director
- Why EPA’s Headquarters Professionals Union Opposes Fluoridation – Dr. J. William Hirzy, Senior Vice President, EPA HQ Union
- Medical Ethics
- Fluoridation Chemicals
- Who Opposes Fluoridation?
- A Response to Pro-Fluoridation Claims
Fluoride: Commie Plot or Capitalist Ploy
[Click here to see photocopy of article] Covert Action Quarterly Fall, 1992 Fluoride: Commie Plot or Capitalist Ploy by Joel Griffiths Cows crawled around the pasture on their bellies, inching along like giant snails. So crippled by bone disease they could not stand up, this was the only way they could graze. Some died kneeling,
The Absurdities of Water Fluoridation
[caption id="attachment_10205" align="alignleft" width="190"] Paul Connett, PhD[/caption] Water fluoridation is a peculiarly American phenomenon. It started at a time when Asbestos lined our pipes, lead was added to gasoline, PCBs filled our transformers and DDT was deemed so "safe and effective" that officials felt no qualms spraying kids in school classrooms
Why I am now officially opposed to adding fluoride to drinking water
April, 2000 To whom it may concern: Since April of 1999, I have publicly decried the addition of fluoride, especially hydrofluosilicic acid, to drinking water for the purpose of preventing tooth decay. The following summarize my reasons. New evidence for lack of effectiveness of fluoridation in modern times. [caption id="attachment_10211" align="alignleft" width="150"] Dr. Hardy
Fluoride & IQ: The 43 Studies
As of February 2015, a total of 50 studies have investigated the relationship between fluoride and human intelligence, and a total of 33 studies have investigated the relationship fluoride and learning/memory in animals. Of these investigations, 43 of the 50 human studies have found that elevated fluoride exposure is associated
Fluoride's Effect on Fetal Brain
The human placenta does not prevent the passage of fluoride from a pregnant mother's bloodstream to the fetus. As a result, a fetus can be harmed by fluoride ingested pregnancy. Based on research from China, the fetal brain is one of the organs susceptible to fluoride poisoning. As highlighted by the excerpts
Fluoride's Neurobehavioral Effects in Humans & Animals
In addition to studies linking fluoride to reduced IQ in humans, and impaired learning/memory in animals, human and animal studies have also linked fluoride to a variety of other neurobehavioral effects. These studies, which are excerpted below, provide yet further evidence that fluoride is a neurotoxin. The importance of considering other
Email Exchange with FDA re: Fluoride Supplements
Email exchange regarding FDA's reasons for not approving fluoride supplements.
Harvard's Statement on Chester Douglass/Scientific Misconduct
Statement Concerning the Outcome of the Review into Allegations of Research Misconduct Involving Fluoride Research BOSTON-August 15, 2006-The Harvard Medical School and School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) review of Chester Douglass, DMD, PhD, professor of oral health policy and epidemiology at HSDM, has concluded that Douglass did not intentionally omit, misrepresent,
The 'Altered Recommendations' of the 1983 Surgeon General's Panel
"We believe that EPA staff and managers should be called to testify, along with members of the 1983 Surgeon Generals panel and officials of the Department of Human Services, to explain how the original recommendations of the Surgeon Generals panel were altered to allow EPA to set otherwise unjustifiable drinking water standards for fluoride."
Related Miscellaneous Content: