Fluoride Action Network

The Problems with Infant Exposure to Fluoridated Water

August 5th, 2012

Breast milk protects Infants from fluoride:

“[P]lasma fluoride is poorly transferred to breast milk and infants thus receive almost no fluoride during breast feeding… The existence of a physiological plasma-milk barrier against fluoride suggests that the newborn is actively protected from this halogen. Hence the recommendation made in several countries to give breast-fed infants fluoride supplementation should be reconsidered.”
SOURCE: Ekstrand J, et al. (1981). No evidence of transfer of fluoride from plasma to breast milk. British Medical Journal 283: 761-2.

Infants Drinking Formula Made with Fluoridated Water receive unnaturally high dose of fluoride:

“On a per-body-weight basis, infants and young children have approximately three to four times greater exposure than do
SOURCE: National Research Council. (2006). Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards. National Academies Press, Washington D.C. p. 3.

“Our analysis shows that babies who are exclusively formula fed face the highest risk; in Boston, for example, more than 60 percent of the exclusively formula fed babies exceed the safe dose of fluoride on any given day.”
SOURCE: Environmental Working Group, “EWG Analysis of Government Data Finds Babies Over-Exposed to Fluoride in Most Major U.S. Cities”, March 22, 2006.

“[I]nfant formulas reconstituted with higher fluoride water can provide 100 to 200 times more fluoride than breastmilk, or cows milk.”
SOURCE: Levy SM, Guha-Chowdhury N. (1999). Total fluoride intake and implications for dietary fluoride supplementation. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 59: 211-23.

“[I]n an area where the fluoride concentration is one part per million the daily fluoride dose in the newborn infant will be about 800-1000 ug/day (micrograms/day) when a milk substitute is used, whereas the fluoride dose for breast-fed children in the same area will not exceed 10 ug/day.”
SOURCE: Ekstrand J, et al. (1981). No evidence of transfer of fluoride from plasma to breast milk. British Medical Journal 283: 761-2.

“[M]ore than 50 percent of infants are currently formula fed by 1 month of age, and these infants are likely to be continuously exposed to high intakes of fluoride for 9 or 10 months – a circumstance quite rare in the 1960s and early 1970s.”
SOURCE: Fomon SJ, Ekstrand J. (1999). Fluoride intake by infants. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 59(4):229-34.

“Fluoride is now introduced at a much earlier stage of human development than ever before and consequently alters the normal fluoride-pharmacokinetics in infants. But can one dramatically increase the normal fluoride-intake to infants and get away with it?”
SOURCE: Luke J. (1997). The Effect of Fluoride on the Physiology of the Pineal Gland. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Surrey, Guildford. p. 176.

Infants have impaired ability to excrete fluoride

“Overall, an average of 86.8% of the dose was retained by the infants, which is about 50% higher than would be expected for adults… There is a clear need for more information about the renal handling and general metabolism of fluoride in young children…”
SOURCE: Whitford GM. (1994). Intake and metabolism of fluoride. Advances in Dental Research 8:5-14.

“the uptake of fluoride into bone is greatest in infants and young children. Thus, infants who drink mainly powdered formula reconstituted with fluoridated water are likely to be a high-risk group for developing both skeletal fluorosis and hip fractures in old age.”
SOURCE: Diesendorf M, Diesendorf A. (1997). Suppression by medical journals of a warning about overdosing formula-fed infants with fluoride. Accountability in Research 5:225-237.

Formula made with fluoridated water IS a risk factor for dental fluorosis

“[F]luoride intakes during each of the first 4 years were individually significantly related to fluorosis on maxillary central incisors, with the first year most important (P < 0.01), followed by the second (P < 0.01), third (P < 0.01), and fourth year (P = 0.03).”
SOURCE: Hong L, Levy SM, et al. (2006). Timing of fluoride intake in relation to development of fluorosis on maxillary central incisors. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 34(4):299-309.

“Our data suggest that the fluoride contribution of water used to reconstitute infant feedings is a major determinant of primary tooth fluorosis.”
SOURCE: Marshall TA, et al. (2004). Associations between Intakes of Fluoride from Beverages during Infancy and Dental Fluorosis of Primary Teeth. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 23:108-16.

“Our results suggest that breastfeeding infants may help to protect against fluorosis. This is consistent with other studies that suggest that consuming infant formula reconstituted with tap water increases the risk for dental fluorosis. Importantly, this study shows that the protective effect of breastfeeding is important not only in fluoridated communities but also in nonfluoridated areas. Parents should therefore be advised that they may be able to protect their children from dental fluorosis by breastfeeding their infant and by extending the duration for which they breastfeed.”
SOURCE: Brothwell D, Limeback H. (2003). Breastfeeding is protective against dental fluorosis in a nonfluoridated rural area of Ontario, Canada. Journal of Human Lactation 19: 386-90.

“The findings of this investigation suggest that nearly 10 percent of the enamel fluorosis cases in optimally fluoridated areas could be explained by having used infant formula in the form of a powdered concentrate during the first year.”
SOURCE: Pendrys DG. (2000). Risk of enamel fluorosis in nonfluoridated and optimally fluoridated populations: considerations for the dental professional. Journal of the American Dental Association 131(6):746-55.

“The findings indicate that early mineralising teeth (central incisors and first molars) are highly susceptible to dental fluorosis if exposed to fluoride from the first and – to a lesser extent – also from the 2nd year of life.”
SOURCE: Bardsen A, Bjorvatn K. (1998). Risk periods in the development of dental fluorosis. Clinical Oral Investigations 2:155-160.

“There was a strong association between mild-to-moderate fluorosis on later forming enamel surfaces and infant formula use in the form of powdered concentrate (OR=10.77, 95% CI 1.89-61.25).”
SOURCE: Pendrys DG, Katz RV. (1998). Risk factors for enamel fluorosis in optimally fluoridated children born after the US manufacturers’ decision to reduce the fluoride concentration of infant formula. American Journal of Epidemiology 148:967-74.

“[T]he odds ratio of fluorosis on enamel zones that began forming during the first year of life was 8.31 (95% CI = 1.84, 38.59) for children exposed since birth or during the first year of life relative to those exposed after 1 year of age. The odds that a child had a maxillary central incisor with fluorosis were 5.69 (95% CI = 1.34, 24.15) times higher if exposure occurred during the first year of life compared with exposure after 1 year of age. Only those exposed to the high-fluoride water during the first year of life developed fluorosis on the mandibular central incisors… The first year of life was a significant period for developing fluorosis on the mandibular and maxillary central incisors.”
SOURCE: Ismail AI, Messer JG. (1996). The risk of fluorosis in students exposed to a higher than optimal concentration of fluoride in well water. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 56:22-7.

“It appears that, at least under some circumstances, high intakes of fluoride during the early months of life may make the difference between developing or failing to develop dental fluorosis. A study conducted in Sweden of 12- and 13-year-old children who had lived since birth in a community with 1.2 ppm of fluoride in the drinking water demonstrated that dental fluorosis was less common in those who had been breast-fed during the first 4 months of life than in those who had been fed powdered formulas reconstituted with tap water (Forsman, 1977). A somewhat similar study in the United States demonstrated that among 7- to 13-year-old children (most of them living in a community with fluoride concentration of the drinking water 1 mg/L), the prevalence of mild enamel fluorosis was significantly greater in those who had been fed concentrated liquid formula diluted with tap water during the first 3 months of life than in those who had been breast-fed during this time (Walton and Messer, 1981). It seems reasonable to conclude that the lower prevalence of fluorosis of the permanent teeth of individuals who were breast-fed during the early months of life is related to the low fluoride concentrations of human milk – concentrations less than 7 ug/L regardless of the concentration of fluoride in the women’s drinking water.”
SOURCE: Ekstrand J, et al. (1994). Absorption and retention of dietary and supplemental fluoride by infants. Advances in Dental Research 8:175-80.

A Risk to the Developing Brain

‘[F]luoride exposure, at levels that are experienced by a significant proportion of the population whose drinking water is fluoridated, may have adverse impacts on the developing brain… The findings are provocative and of significant public health concern.”
SOURCE: Schettler T, et al. (2000). Known and suspected developmental neurotoxicants. pp. 90-92. In: In Harms Way – Toxic Threats to Child Development. Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility: Cambridge, MA.

“Infant foods mixed with water pose a special problem… One wonders what a 50-fold increase in the exposure of fluoride, such as occurs in infants bottle-fed with water-diluted preparations, may mean for the development of the brain and other organs… There is reason to be aware of the possibility that fluoride may affect the somatic and mental development of the child.”
SOURCE: Carlsson A. (1978). Current problems relating to the pharmacology and toxicology of fluorides. Lakartidningen 25: 1388-1392.