This article was originally published on October 11, 2011, on Dr. Mercola’s website – click here to see.
Dr. Bill Osmunson is an avid supporter of fluoride opposition in the US. He’s particularly suited to discuss the health dangers of fluoride, not just because he’s been a full-time dentist for over three decades, but also because he has a Masters in Public Health (MPH).
He’s also a missionary kid. His parents were missionaries in Africa. Growing up in Kenya, he’s had the opportunity to see life from a different perspective than most of us.
So, how did a dentist come to the conclusion that fluoride—which is so heavily promoted within dentistry—is detrimental to your health?
Dr. Osmunson’s Story of Discovery
“I promoted fluoridation for 25 years,” Dr. Osmunson admits. But then his patients began questioning it and urging him to review the science once again.
“One of the earlier gentlemen that worked with me… said, “Bill, what about the freedom of allowing people to choose fluoride or not?” I remember my mouth opening up to respond and nothing came out, because I’m very much in favor of freedom. I want people to have the freedom to choose the chemicals, the drugs, whatever they’re doing.
Fluoridation removes that freedom.
… I was certain fluoride was beneficial. I could see it in my patients’ teeth. I was just absolutely certain that it was. When you have a tooth that’s really hard and shiny and looking good, and no decay, that’s the one that’s had fluoride, right?
Well, I found out I was wrong.
I thought I was seeing the effects of fluoride when it really wasn’t…Based on the science, people who have a higher socioeconomic bracket, people who are eating better, they have better teeth. I was looking at it and guessing, “well, this person is benefiting from fluoride” when they really weren’t.”
Too Much Fluoride Negates Any Potential Benefit…
According to Dr. Osmunson, there are some studies suggesting benefit, but “if you combine them all together, I am convinced that where there was a benefit, it’s no longer there, in part because we’re ingesting far too much fluoride.”
In essence, there may be some minor benefit up to a certain point and even that is highly debatable. The bottom line is that the drawbacks and health risks begin to far outweigh any benefit from using fluoride…
“Is it appropriate to put in the substance into water, where some people may drink less than a liter a day and others drink up to 19 liters a day?” he asks. ”That’s a huge difference in the dosage amount of fluoride that they are getting. And what about the other sources?
Once fluoride became accepted as wonderful, we started putting it in toothpaste and of course there are the pesticides, the creolite, and the post-harvest fumigants. And then there are the dental fillings, the dental topical treatment, the fluoride varnishes in the medical products, and the Teflon pans…
I started to look at how much are we getting. We’re getting much more; two-three times more than what we were when they started fluoridation.”
What’s the Best Way to Reduce Fluoride Intake?
Water fluoridation, which eliminates individual choice, should be removed as a first step. But, avoiding fluoride toothpaste can be another important factor.
As you probably know, mercury in dentistry is a massive health threat. Dr. Osmunson recounts a number of health problems he frequently saw in his patients, such as temporomandibular disorders, migraines and headaches. But he began to question whether fluoride, in addition to mercury, might be part of these problems.
“I was looking down at this basket of Crest toothpaste and said, okay Bill, you’re a nutritionist. You got your Masters in Public Health in Nutrition. What does it say?
So I reached down and read the label on it: “Keep out of the reach of children under six years of age.” Okay, that sounds reasonable. “Adults, apply a pea sized amount”… and “Contact poison control center if you swallow”…
Hang on a second!”
So, he started doling out pea-sized amounts of toothpaste onto a piece of paper to check how much toothpaste they’re actually referring to, and to his great shock, he realized that “pea size” really means a “tiny baby pea size”—about half the size of a regular pea.
At that recommended rate, one tube of toothpaste should actually last you several years! That’s how little you should use to remain within safe limits.
According to the research literature, you should brush with no more than one-quarter of a milligram of fluoride, and call Poison Control if you swallow that amount… When you see a toothpaste ad, that long swirl of toothpaste is actually more than one month’s worth!
How Much Fluoride is in Your Water?
What’s worse, one-quarter milligram of fluoride also equals just one glass of Chicago tap water…
“There seems to be a disconnect there,” Dr. Osmunsen says. “They tell me not to swallow a quarter milligram of fluoride in my toothpaste, but they are forcing me to swallow a quarter milligram in just one glass of water.
… It’s unbelievable. We know that we’re getting some neurologic damage at very low levels. However, the latest research is even worse than that. We’re finding an 8-point IQ drop when the serum blood level of fluoride goes from 0.04 to 0.08.
… The American Dental Association recommends that a woman have about 3 mg per day of fluoride as optimal and men about 4 mg per day as optimal. That is the same amount that causes between a 0.8 and a 0.12 level of fluoride in the blood.
The same level showing an 8-point IQ drop!”
Water Fluoridation = Profitable Toxic Waste Disposal!
China, in contrast, does NOT allow water fluoridation because it’s too toxic and causes damage, according to their studies. Instead, the waste product from their phosphate fertilizer industry is shipped to the United States, where we add it to ourwater supply!
This is a very important point: the fluoride added to your water is NOT pharmaceutical grade. It’s a toxic industrial waste product, which is also contaminated with lead, arsenic, radionucleotides, aluminum and other industrial contaminants.
About 75 percent of Americans get fluoridated water, and just over 65 percent have artificially fluoridated water with hydrofluorosilicic acid; the toxic waste product from phosphate industries. Meanwhile, naturally occurring fluoride is found in many water supplies, especially in volcanic regions and areas with harder water.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not distinguish between these two types of fluoride, but they should.
Naturally occurring fluoride in hard water areas often has a calcium fluoride. Calcium and fluoride bond very well and are not absorbed well by your body. Hydrofluorosilicic acid, on the other hand, dissolves easier and is absorbed by your body at a greater rate.
Natural calcium fluoride is about 1,000 times less toxic than hydrofluorosilicic acid or sodium fluoride, and this is because your body can’t absorb nearly as much. (Note: Sodium fluoride is pharmaceutical grade fluoride, which is used in most studies, but NOT the kind added to water supplies.)
Evidence of Brain Damage from Fluoride Exposure is Mounting
Amazingly, as Dr. Connett states, there are no less than 23 more studies from four different countries indicating thateven moderate exposure to fluoride lowers IQ in children.
As recently as December 2010, a study reporting an association with exposure to fluoride and lowered IQ in children was pre-published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. According to the authors:
“Our study suggested that low levels of fluoride exposure in drinking water had negative effects on children’s intelligence and dental health and confirmed the dose–response relationships between urine fluoride and IQ scores as well as dental fluorosis.”
This study indicates a 5 point lowering in IQ as the fluoride level in drinking water went from about 0.3 ppm to 3.0 ppm. Dr. Osmunsen also expresses deep concerns about the economic impact of brain damage, stating that you lose about $500 to $1000 dollars per year in income for every IQ point that is dropped.
“No one fixes IQ,” he says. ”This is an irreparable, irreversible damage that’s happening to our public.
When you look at the bell curve of human distribution of intelligence, at the very bottom, way down there at the end, is what we scientifically call the mentally retarded. When you skew IQ five points down, that means that you’re doubling the number of mentally retarded and you’re halving the number of gifted and everybody else moves on down.”
In a nutshell, everyone drinking fluoridated water on a regular basis is getting less intelligent across the board…
So, Does Fluoride Benefit Your TEETH?
The early historic studies on fluoridation found that naturally occurring fluoride also happens to be found in areas that are high in calcium and other minerals. According to Dr. Osmunson, many dentists at the time theorized that this higher mineral content might be the real reason for the reduction in tooth decay.
There were some compelling studies showing that fluoride made teeth harder and more able to withstand acids. However, upon further review of the research literature, Dr. Osmunson realized that the evidence supporting fluoride really wasn’t as strong as initially touted, and fluoride did not appear to reduce tooth decay to any significant degree.
In fact, he discovered plenty of scientific evidence showing that areas with LESS fluoride had less decay.
“One of the things we found out is that socioeconomics is a key factor,” he says. ”You can’t compare the rich and the poor, otherwise you’re going to find a change. And you must get the [tooth] eruption cycles correct. There are many other confounding factors that play a role.
So I said, “What’s a logical way of looking at this?
A public health intervention should be measured in the community at large.
That’s one of our precepts and rules. You should be able to measure the effectiveness of the public health intervention in the public at large. You should see a reduction in cost for treatment.
We have fluoride that we’re in essence giving like a vaccination. We’re giving it to people. And what do we find?
I could only find one study published of measured evidence. All the other studies were estimates based on assumptions. So we don’t really have good measured evidence. The study that measured evidence found… about one-half percent savings.
Interestingly enough, when looking at the two largest communities of the children, the children in the non-fluoridated community has less cavities, less costs, than those in the fluoridated community. But in any case, there was a slight improvement—enough to pay for the repairs of the equipment. Not enough for the chemicals. Not enough for putting in the equipment.
Not enough for any side effects of the fluoride but just enough for repair on the equipment, and almost no health benefit…”
Other Health Hazards of Fluoride
Dr. Osmunson touches on an array of health problems caused by fluoride ingestion and exposure through the skin in this interview. To get all of it, I highly recommend listening to it in its entirety.
For example, fluoride easily accumulates in your pineal gland. In fact, your pineal gland has the highest concentration of fluoride of any organ in your body, even more than your teeth and bones. This can wreak havoc with your melatonin production, which in turn can disrupt your biological clock and even influence your cancer risk.
Another area of great concern is your thyroid gland. As your fluoride load increases, your thyroid hormone production tends to decrease. Not only can this contribute to hypothyroidism, but it also increases your risk of developing goiter. If you’re iodine deficient, the negative effects can be magnified, as fluoride (as well as bromine) has a similar molecular structure as iodine and can take the place of iodine in your thyroid.
Studies have also implicated fluoride exposure to other health problems such as:
Increases lead absorption Disrupts synthesis of collagen Hyperactivity and/or lethargy Muscle disorders Brain damage, and lowered IQ Arthritis Dementia Bone fractures Lowers thyroid function Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) Inactivates 62 enzymes Inhibits formation of antibodies Genetic damage and cell death Increases tumor and cancer rate Disrupts immune system
Folks, Dr. Osmunsen is a wealth of information on this topic, and I’ve only summarized a portion of it here. So please, take the time to listen to the interview, or read through the transcript for more information.
Join the Fight to Get Fluoride Out of Drinking Water
In the end, there’s no doubt about it: Fluoride should not be ingested. When it comes to topical application, at least you have a choice. You can easily buy fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash. But you’re stuck with whatever your community puts in the water, and it’s very difficult to filter out of your water once it’s added. Many do not have the resources or the knowledge to do so.
The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place.
Earlier this year I joined forces with Dr. Paul Connett to do just that. The Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation in both Canada and the United States.
Our fluoride initiative will primarily focus on Canada since 60 percent of Canada is already non-fluoridated. If we can get Calgary and the rest of Canada to stop fluoridating their water, we believe the U.S. will be forced to follow.
I urge you to join the anti-fluoride movement in Canada and United States by contacting the representative for your area below.
Contact Information for Canadian Communities:
- If you live in Ontario, Canada, please join the ongoing effort by contacting Diane Sprules at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The point-of-contact for Toronto, Canada is Aliss Terpstra. You may email her at email@example.com.
Contact Information for American Communities:
We’re also going to address three US communities: New York City, Austin, and San Diego:
- New York City, NY: The anti-fluoridation movement has a great champion in New York City councilor Peter Vallone, Jr. who introduced legislation on January 18 “prohibiting the addition of fluoride to the water supply.”
A victory there could signal the beginning of the end of fluoridation in the U.S. If you live in the New York area I beg you to participate in this effort as your contribution could have a MAJOR difference. Remember that one person can make a difference.The point person for this area is Carol Kopf, at the New York Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF). Email her atNYSCOF@aol.com . Please contact her if you’re interested in helping with this effort.
- Austin, Texas: Join the effort by contacting Rae Nadler-Olenick at either: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com, or by regular mail or telephone:
Austin, Texas 78713
Phone: (512) 371-3786
- San Diego, California: Contact Patty Ducey-Brooks, publisher of the Presidio Sentinel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the Fight to Get Fluoride Out of Drinking Water
There’s no doubt about it: fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a “chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.” Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis—unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride. Clearly, children are being overexposed, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why?
At least when it comes to topical application, you have a choice. You can easily buy fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash. But you’re stuck with whatever your community puts in the water, and it’s very difficult to filter out of your water once it’s added. Many do not have the resources or the knowledge to do so.
The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation, both in the United States and Canada. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, support the anti-fluoride movement by making a donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.