Of late, we’ve once again learned that health officials sometimes change their minds about what is considered healthy and safe. The recent warnings from the Food and Drug Administration about previously approved pain medications and over-the-counter diet aids and cough suppressants demonstrate this.
Have you ever wondered what medications and health practices that we accept today will later be known to have harmed us rather than helped us? Here is one: fluoridating our drinking water to prevent cavities.
We’ve said for 50-plus years that fluoride is safe, effective and necessary. But now information is pouring in from around the world and the U.S. that shows that fluoridated drinking water may actually be causing many of the “diseases of aging” — hip fractures, thyroid disease and joint pain — and disorders that affect persons of all ages.
Most of the fluoride we’ve been injecting into our drinking water is silicofluoride, a substance that has never been tested or approved by any federal agency. It is a fluoride-containing air pollutant emission captured by smokestack “scrubber” equipment at phosphate fertilizer factories.
If it is emitted into the air, it is a pollutant; if it is discharged into a lake or river, it is a pollutant and it is regulated by EPA as a water “contaminant.” But if it is in our drinking water and we ingest it into our bodies, it is somehow called a “nutrient.” Because of the industrial processes and raw material used as its source, the fluoride also comes contaminated with radioactive uranium decay compounds, arsenic, lead and mercury.
“Why weren’t we told this?” people ask. Well, we were … but not really. Buried in many water agencies’ quality reports amongst a dizzying list of chemical names is a little-observed statement that the source of the “contaminant” fluoride is “discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories.”
The pro-fluoride people tell us the toxic fluoride, arsenic and radioactive compounds are diluted in the water, therefore they pose no harm. But what we haven’t been told is that these compounds are cumulative poisons. The small amounts we ingest accumulate in our bodies and can cause bone cancer, thyroid disease, kidney damage and joint pain. If your kidneys work well, approximately half of the fluoride you ingest goes out in your urine, but the remaining half is stored — cumulatively and potentially harmfully — in your body.
How do you feel that your body and the bodies of your loved ones are being used as the final resting place of the toxic discharges of industry? As a public health professional with a background in hazardous materials management and assessment, I can tell you that I am now firmly against fluoridation. And a growing number of other medical, dental and public health professionals are also calling for a halt to fluoridation, including 11 EPA employee unions representing 7,000 EPA scientists, lab workers and other employees across the U.S.
In 2000, dentists conceded that fluoride helps prevent cavities primarily topically, while in the mouth — not by your body’s systemic absorption of the chemical. So, why continue drinking a toxic chemical throughout your whole body if its main action against cavities occurs when it touches your teeth in the mouth? To continue supporting the drinking of primarily-topically-acting fluoride would be like your doctor handing you a bottle of liquid sunscreen and telling you, “Drink this to prevent sunburn.”
You and your family also receive fluoride in foods — in your cereal, bread, baby food, canned foods, tea, sodas, pasta and frozen foods (because they’re made with fluoridated water), as well as from toothpaste and antibiotics. A number of government agencies are reconsidering the safety of fluoridation, and the fact that we absorb it cumulatively from so many unmonitored sources is one of the reasons for their doing so.
Large numbers of countries around the world reject water fluoridation (such as Japan, Germany, and Belgium). World Health Organization statistics show that countries with no form of fluoridation have similar drops in overall cavity rates as the United States.
The dental industry and public health agencies are fearful and defensive, and one can understand why. It is projected that the health effects and lawsuit costs from fluoridation will dwarf those of tobacco.
An increasing number of Americans believe an individual does not need to be a scientist or doctor to understand the dangers of fluoridation. It flies in the face of common sense, they say. They do what many Tennesseans who read this article may want to do: Contact their water district and governing officials and tell them, “Stop the fluoride!”