Fluoride Action Network

Columbia: Five things residents should consider about fluoride

Source: The Daily Herald | Letter to the Editor | September 17th, 2013 | By Karyn French, RN, BSN, Fluoride Free Tennessee

Water is for everyone. Fluoride is not.

Fluoridation chemicals are added to 70 percent of U.S. public drinking water supplies to aid in the prevention of cavities. This benefit is dubious at best, as there is practically no difference in tooth decay rates between fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries or U.S. states. While fluoride in drinking water does not decrease rates of tooth decay, numerous studies show that these chemicals have a wide array of devastating health effects, as well as environmental and economic concerns.

On Sept. 25, the Columbia Power and Water System Board of Public Utilities will vote for or against removing fluoride from the city’s water. Several cities in Tennessee and across the nation have had similar choices before them.

Here are five facts for Maury County residents to consider as a recipient of municipal water with added fluoridation chemicals.

1. Health: Fluoridation chemicals are bio-accumulative and especially harmful to babies, elderly, kidney patients and diabetics. The chemicals settle in bone, teeth and soft tissue and damage endocrine glands (kidney, thyroid, etc.) as well as decreasing testosterone levels and lowering IQ. Some of the ingested fluoride is excreted in the urine but most stays in our body permanently.

2. Medial ethics: Fluoridation chemicals in water are being used as a medical treatment for dental caries. No medical doctor would prescribe a one–size-fits-all dosage (preventive or otherwise) for the entire population and force it on them. This would be mass treatment without informed consent. Furthermore, science tells us fluoride’s benefit to teeth has a very low margin of safety and is best used topically, if at all.

3. Toxicity: Because fluoridation chemicals are generally toxic waste, they attract other harmful products (arsenic and lead) during the manufacturing process and gathering of the waste at the fertilizer plant. Since fluoride’s toxicity level is between lead and arsenic, why would any level of fluoridation chemical be appropriate in our municipal water?

4. Economics: Water fluoridation was originally intended for a 1 percent of the demographic, impoverished children ages 6-18 with limited access to dental care. CPWS serves 30,000 people, therefore only 300 or so of those receiving fluoridated water are the intended recipient. Each of those 300 young people in Columbia are thought to only ingest approximately 1 liter of water a day. Whether it is good for your teeth or not, nearly $39,000 of Columbia’s $40,000 of fluoridation chemicals are wasted every year. For some vulnerable people, many dollars are also spent to avoid the fluoridation chemicals.

5. Environment: Fluoridation chemicals that are not ingested are dumped back into our environment when toilets are flushed, cars are washed, clothes are laundered, baths are taken, etc. These harmful chemicals literally go back into the environment as an unregistered pollutant.

The FDA has never approved any fluoride supplement as either safe or effective. Loaded guns and toothpaste need to stay out of the reach of children. There is as much fluoride in a large glass of water as there is in a dab of toothpaste. Note the warning on your fluoride toothpaste tube instructing you to call poison control if more than a pea sized amount is swallowed.

Fluoride, at best, is a topical drug, not a nutrient and has not been determined essential to human health. Children should not brush with fluoridated toothpaste until they are able to spit without swallowing the product.

Fluoride Free Tennessee believes it is neither appropriate nor safe for your municipal water company to provide everyone with medication in their water when the same could be obtained ­— by choice and under supervision — from your physician or dentist.

Columbia Power and Water System Board of Public Utilities needs to be commended for questioning fluoridation policy and their responsibility to the people of Columbia. CPWS board members will discuss whether to continue this policy or not at their work session Sept. 18 and vote on its use Sept. 25. Both public meetings are at 3:30 p.m. in the CPWS building at 201 Pickens Lane. Those opposing fluoridation chemicals in their water are encouraged to attend and share their concerns.

Karyn French, RN, BSN
Spokesperson, Fluoride Free Tennessee