A National Research Council (NRC) report on fluoride toxicity released today gives powerful evidence that many Americans are being over-dosed with harmful levels of fluoride. A wide range of health problems are cited in the report, with bones and teeth being the foremost, but not sole, targets of concern.
The current “maximum contaminant level” for fluoride, 4 parts per million (ppm), was set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect adults from crippling skeletal fluorosis, a severe arthritic bone disease. The NRC advises EPA to lower this standard because of strong evidence linking fluoride to bone fracture, joint pain, and damage to teeth.
The NRC also notes a growing body of scientific research linking fluoride exposure to disruption of the nervous and endocrine systems, including the brain, thyroid and pineal gland. According to data presented in the report, the doses of fluoride associated with thyroid disturbances are now exceeded by many Americans – particularly children – living in so-called “low fluoride” (1 ppm) areas.
“The crucial message of this report is that the highest scientific authority in the US has determined that low levels of fluoride in drinking water may have serious adverse health effects,” says Dr. Paul Connett, professor of chemistry at St Lawrence University and Executive Director of the Fluoride Action Network.
According to Dr. William Hirzy, a chemist at American University and vice president of EPA’s Professionals Union in Washington D.C., “the difference between the levels of fluoride causing toxic effects and the levels added to water to prevent tooth decay is vanishingly small and deeply troubling.”
Fluoride is found in processed food, beverages, dental products, pesticide residues and polluted air. “The end result is that some people drinking water with just 1 ppm fluoride may ingest enough fluoride from all sources to experience a health problem,” says Hirzy.
Because of concerns over fluoride’s health risks, the NRC report calls on government agencies to introduce nationwide monitoring of fluoride levels in people’s urine and blood. The report also recommends research to clarify the relationship between fluoride and many chronic diseases including cancer, arthritis, dementia, diabetes, and thyroid disease.
“The NRC’s report should change the fluoride debate for many years to come,” notes Connett. “It shows that the best, and most recent, medical evidence provides reason for profound concern about current fluoride exposures.”
The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) is the leading science and advocacy group focused on health issues surrounding fluoride from water, food, air, pesticides, and industrial exposures. FAN’s director was an invited presenter at the initial meeting of the NRC panel and FAN researchers submitted extensive scientific information throughout the panel’s proceedings.