Fluoride Action Network

Not all these claims about fluoride are accurate

Source: FullFact.org | June 27th, 2019
Location: United Kingdom


There are many claims made about fluoride in this “fact checked article” from “The UK’s independent factchecking charity”, but only one was from Bill Osmunson, DDS, MPH, a member of the Board of Directors of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). The fact-checkers are unclear as to whether they conclude that Dr Osmunson is correct or wrong, but their conclusion could easily be misinterpreted to suggest that he is wrong.

However, Dr Osmunson is correct. Here are the facts behind his statement:

  • There are four 8-ounce-glasses of water in a liter of water.
  • Dr Osmunson said the fluoride concentration in the water was 1.0 ppm (not the 1.5 ppm the “factcheckers used to check his claim”)
  • The fact checkers say it would take “four to six” pea-sized amounts of toothpaste to equal the amount of F in a liter of maximum fluoridated water which they define as 1.5 ppm. That is exactly what Dr Osmunson claimed:  0.25 mg per pea size portion in an 8 ounce glass.  Four 8 ounce glasses per liter equals 1.0 mg.  So, four pea-size amounts to give 1 mg and 6 pea-size amounts would give 1.5 mg which is the amount in 1 liter of 1.5 ppm water.




According to Dr. Bill Osmunson, the amount of fluoride in an 8-ounce glass of fluoridated tap water is equivalent to the “pea-sized” amount needed to call the Poison Control Center, as recommended on the back of any fluoridated toothpaste. In the UK, you would need to brush your teeth four to six times a day with a ‘pea-sized amount’ of toothpaste, and swallow that toothpaste, to consume the same amount of fluoride as found in a litre of tap water with the maximum levels of fluoride allowed.

“According to Dr. Bill Osmunson, there’s the same equivalence of fluoride in an 8 ounce glass of fluoridated tap water as there is in a “pea-sized” amount needed to call the Poison Control Center, as recommended on the back of any fluoridated toothpaste.”

Dr Bill Osmunson is an American dentist and senior advisor of the anti-fluoride campaign group Fluoride Action Network.

In an interview Dr Osmunson did say that a pea-sized amount of toothpaste works out at around one quarter milligrams of fluoride—as much as is contained in a glass of Chicago tap water.

A ‘pea-sized amount’ is thought to be around 0.25g of toothpaste, although there isn’t much guidance available on this. The usual strength of fluoride in a normal tube of toothpaste is between 1,000 and 1,500 parts per million, according to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (the “leading journal and database for systematic reviews in health care”). If someone was using regular over-the-counter toothpaste available for adults in the UK this would mean they’d consume between roughly one quarter and one third of a milligram (mg) of fluoride every time they brushed their teeth.

In the UK drinking water that is deliberately fluoridated (rather than water where fluoride occurs naturally) must not exceed 1.5mg per litre. That’s 1.5 parts per million. So in the UK you would need to brush your teeth four to six times a day (with a pea-sized amount, and swallow all that toothpaste) to consume the same amount of fluoride as in a litre of tap water (if it was fluoridated to the maximum amount.)

Below are some (not all) other questions and responses from the Fact-checkers:



From the Fact-checkers:
The NHS says: “There have been some concerns that fluoride may be linked to a variety of health conditions. Reviews of the risks have so far found no convincing evidence to support these concerns.”Public health England also says that: “At the levels allowed by UK legislation, the only potential negative impact is a greater risk of dental fluorosis, which is a mottling on the teeth usually in the form of white lines or patches.” It adds that dental fluorosis can happen in areas where the water isn’t fluoridated too. 

The Fact-checkers were wrong to give the NHS’ statement a pass. The “Reviews of the risks” have been done mainly by pro-fluoridation-policy agencies. There are hundreds of published studies to attest to the legitimacy of health concerns – see FAN’s Study-Tracker.

No regulatory agency, including the NHS, has ever performed a health risk assessment on the consumption of fluoridated water by pregnant women and its symbiotic effect on the fetus. We now know that the fetus is the most vulnerable to fluoride’s neurotoxicity as seen in the Mother-Offspring studies.

We also know from the 2006 report of the National Research Council of the National Academies that the non-nursing infant (consuming formula made with fluoridated water) receives the highest levels of fluoride out of all population subsets (Tables 2-10 and 2-11) and exceeded EPA’s safe limit for exposure (Figure 2-8). Yet, more than 10 years later, no regulatory agency, including the NHS, has performed a health risk assessment on non-nursing infants fed formula made with fluoridated water.

Q. “Fluoride CALCIFIES he pineal gland, otherwise known as the third eye which literally has rods and cones, just like your other eyes!”

A. Fact-checkers: … Calcium can sometimes be deposited in the pineal gland over the course of a person’s lifetime and fluoride can bind to calcium. Studies that have looked at the impact of fluoride on the pineal gland have been inconclusive.

FAN recommends that one reads the published studies on fluoride’s effect on the pineal gland. One of the most important studies is Lukes PhD thesis of 1997.

The Fact-checkers referenced the opinions from a 2015 report by an Australian regulatory agency (NSW Health: Water Fluoridation: Questions and Answers). Unfortunately, getting information from pro-fluoridation bodies does not insure that the information is correct.

Q. “Fluoride is so TOXIC that it is considered a hazardous waste by the EPA.”

A. Fact-checkers: Fluoride is toxic at high concentrations, but in the amounts added to water it is not…

FAN disagrees with the Fact-checkers. Fluoride at the level added to drinking water is biologically active and, as we learned from the Mother-Offspring studies, is neurotoxic to the fetus. Of importance is the national survey of urinary fluoride levels in pregnant women by Till et. al. (2018). They found the same fluoride levels in the urine of Canadian women living in fluoridated communities that was associated with a loss of 5-6 IQ points in the Bashash et al. (2017) study.

Q. “HITLER fluoridated the water in the concentration camps to SEDATE the prisoners.”

A. Fact-checkers: There is no evidence that Hitler or the Nazi Party ever used fluoride in the water in concentration camps, according to US factchecking organisation Politifact.

We agree with the Fact-checkers on this.

Q. “Fluoride is the same ingredient used in rat POISON and Prozac.”

R. Factcheckers: … According to academics at McGill University in California, a rat “would have to drink roughly a hundred liters of fluoridated tap water before suffering the same fate if the water had the usual fluoride concentration of 1 part per million.”


Many modern pharmaceuticals (e.g. Prozac, Paxil) are “organofluorine compounds.” An organofluorine is a chemical compound that contains both carbon and fluorine. The fact, however, that a pharmaceutical is made with an organofluorine does not mean that it will increase your exposure to fluoride. This is because the fluorine in the drug forms a very strong bond with the carbon and this bond resists metabolizing into fluoride ion. It is generally believed, therefore, that most organofluorine drugs do not contribute to daily fluoride exposure. On the other hand, fluorinated anesthetics are well know to create a significant surge of fluoride in the blood of the patient as well as exposing the operating and recovery room personnel.

There are some organofluorine drugs, however, that do metabolize into fluoride. This is evident by studies finding elevated levels of fluoride showing up in the urine or blood following use of the drug. Because organofluorine drugs contain high quantities of fluorine, any drug that metabolizes into fluoride will likely be a very large source of daily exposure. Drugs that are known to break down into fluoride ion include: fluorinated anesthetics, Ciprofloxacin, Niflumic acidm (a, b, c), Flecainide, and Voriconazole.  It is possible, and indeed likely, that other drugs do so as well, but have not yet been discovered.

*Original article online at https://fullfact.org/online/fluoride-claims/