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Fluoride recently began flowing through the tap water into millions of Southern California households. But the pipeline of information to warn the public about fluoride exposure is apparently clogged up with something.
any people need to avoid fluoride altogether to preserve their health. We know this because scientists in government agencies have documented it thoroughly. Babies up to 1 year of age; pregnant women; elderly individuals; and anyone with kidney problems, thyroid problems, liver problems, diabetes mellitus, or cardiovascular problems all need to be as fluoride free as possible.
The level of fluoride added to the water, we are repeatedly told, is “optimal” and “safe.” Unfortunately, the level of fluoride in the water is meaningless until we know the actual daily dose an individual receives. People who drink lots of fluoridated water are getting far more fluoride into their bodies than those who drink little.
And water is just the first item on the list, because exposure to fluoride and fluoridated water comes from many sources. Watch for fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash, dental treatments, soft drinks, juice, commercially raised fruits and vegetables (grown with fluorine-containing pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer), processed and canned food, wine, beer, coffee, and tea, to name a few sources—not to mention increasing fluorine pollution in the environment.
The U.S. Public Health Service reported in 1991 that people living in cities with “optimal” water fluoridation can easily receive a total daily fluoride exposure exceeding 6.5 milligrams per person —more than 600 percent higher than the “optimal” amount.
Perhaps our regional health leaders are reluctant or even embarrassed to post warnings about known safety problems with the public water supply caused by the intentional addition of fluoride, or maybe they are just too busy. The government research quoted below is probably in their files. One of them might even be planning to write a press release sooner or later, but who knows? In the meantime, the following notes of caution may help fill the information gap.
In October of 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that fluoridated water marketed for use in infants cannot claim to reduce the risk of dental cavities. One month later, in November of 2006, the American Dental Association (ADA) announced that babies up to 1 year of age should avoid fluoridated water because they are at high risk of developing dental fluorosis. This defect of tooth development can result in staining, pitting, and corrosion of the enamel.
“In Canada, we are now spending more money treating dental fluorosis than we do treating cavities. That includes my own practice,” says Hardy Limeback, PhD, DDS, and former President of the Canadian Association of Dental Research. (Canada is among the tiny number of countries that add fluoride to some of the public water supplies.)
But dental fluorosis is more than a cosmetic problem: It’s the first visible sign of fluoride overdose. The same week the ADA warned about shielding babies from ingesting fluoride, the British medical journal, The Lancet (November, 2006), reported that fluoride may damage a child’s developing brain. The article described fluoride as an “emerging neurotoxic substance” because of evidence linking fluoride exposure to lower IQs in children and brain damage in animals.
Babies and pregnant women are not the only ones who need to avoid fluoride. In 1993, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) listed several groups of people at high risk for fluoride toxicity. Following are excerpts from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, April 1993.