WARNING - Keep out of the reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow [this substance], seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.
The warning statement above comes from a household product that is in almost every home. You have it in your house right now. Can you guess where it comes from?
Is it a cleaning product? No. What about paint? No, not that either. Motor oil? Nope, not motor oil. Okay, here are some hints.
There is a good chance you put this in your mouth this morning. Didn’t you read the poison warning? This product is marketed to children, in flavors like watermelon. Adults usually prefer it flavored with cinnamon or peppermint.
You have probably guessed that I’m talking about toothpaste. Specifically, I’m talking about fluoride, the poison that is in it. Fluoride is a poison? Yes, it is, hence the warning above.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Dental Research showed that a tube of bubble gum-flavored “Colgate for Kids” toothpaste contained 143 mg of fluoride. This is about twice the lethal dose for an average-weight child of five.
It seems hard to believe. After decades of advertisements and government propaganda, most of us have positive associations with fluoride. It is a benign substance that prevents cavities. It is added to the water supplies by a protective government that cares about our dental needs.
And that’s what I would like to talk about today – adding fluoride to the water…
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At least there is a poison warning on toothpaste, advising you not to ingest it. Don’t be fooled though. According to the International Society of Fluoride Research, brushing with fluoridated toothpaste results in the absorption of fluoride (through the mouth and gingival tissue) equal to a day’s worth of fluoridated water.
When fluoride is added to the municipal water supplies, however, it comes with no warning not to ingest it. In fact, it is placed in the water so you will ingest it. Is that such a bad thing?
We would never intentionally add lead to the water supply, would we? Of course, not. And not in a million years would we add arsenic to the water supply. But we do add fluoride – a chemical that is more toxic than lead and only slightly less toxic than arsenic!
Granted, the amount the amount that is added does not constitute an acute dose. But it is a poison nonetheless. And if you ingest unfiltered, fluoridated municipal water, you are chronically ingesting a poison. Year, after year, after year.
This has been shown to have numerous toxic effects…
The most common outward sign is dental fluorosis, resulting in permanently stained, brown mottled teeth. If you want to know what this looks like, do a Google image search for “dental fluorosis.”
According to a report published by The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, at least 22% of American children have dental fluorosis. The CDC puts the number at up to 48% of children. And in certain areas, the prevalence is even higher. In one report, just over 80% of children 12-14 years old in Augusta, Georgia showed signs of fluorosis.
But the systemic effects are far more serious than the cosmetic damage it can cause. Fluoride is a powerful developmental and neurological toxin. According to Paul Connett, PhD, Executive Director of the Fluoride Action Network, “There have been over 40 animal studies which show that fluoride can damage the brain. There are no less than 18 studies which show that fluoride lowers IQ in children, and only two that don’t.”
A government-sponsored report by the National Research Council (NRC) warns that fluoride can also damage the thyroid. The report states that ingestion of an amount easily obtained from drinking water is associated with low levels of thyroid and parathyroid hormones, and an abnormally enlarged thyroid gland.
According to Kathleen Thiessen, co-author of the study, “A low level of thyroid hormone can increase the risk of cardiac disease, high cholesterol, depression, and, in pregnant woman, decreased intelligence of offspring.”
Cancer is another risk. After a Battelle animal study showed a dose dependent increase in oral cancer, the National Cancer Institute performed a follow-up study. The NCI study showed similar results.
One of the latest findings comes from Harvard researcher Elise Bassin’s PhD study. She discovered greatly increased rates of bone cancer among U.S. boys consuming fluoridated water during their years of growth. Bassin’s supervisor – who incidentally had ties to Colgate – was investigated for attempting to suppress her work.
And that brings us to the political side of this issue. Fluoridation began in the U.S. in the 1940s. Today, about ten countries fluoridate the water for about half the population. So, how in the world did we come to put a substance only slightly less toxic than arsenic in our water?
Toxic Waste is Good for You – Pollution by Dilution
For many years, fluoride was the problem child of industry. Its toxicity was recognized as far back as the 1850s, when iron and copper factories poisoned plants, animals, and people by discharging it into the environment.
As the Industrial Revolution progressed, more industries began to create fluoride waste products. Industrial waste was largely unregulated. But early environmental watchdogs began to cry foul. Lawsuits were launched against companies like Alcoa and Reynolds Metals.
Archived materials show that the industrialists and their attorneys were very concerned. But they showed no interest in seeking fluoride-free technologies or paying for safe disposal. Instead, they launched a systematic project to whitewash the dangers. When scant evidence was discovered that there could be a benefit to dental health, a campaign was launched to turn the pollutant into a panacea.
It is noteworthy that the first public proposal that the U.S. should fluoridate its water supplies was not made by a doctor or dentist. Rather it was a scientist working for Alcoa – a company directly threatened by anti-fluoride litigation.
The campaign worked. Instead of paying significant costs to safely dispose of this poison, industry could now SELL it to municipal governments.
In an article about the early days of water fluoridation, activist, David McRae points out a sinister twist of logic. “Alcoa advertised their fluoride in water industry journals to be added to water supplies,” McRae writes. “Simultaneously they were advertising in chemical journals for its use as a rat poison.”
Fluoride is so toxic that the EPA considers it hazardous waste. It can only be disposed of in Class I “double-lined” landfills. It is a severe violation of environmental laws to dump it into a river. And yet it is perfectly legal to drip it into the water supply for the population to drink!
I am not going to discuss the supposed benefits of fluoridation at any length in this essay. Most studies show that the only difference in fluoridated and un-fluoridated areas is an increase in dental fluorosis. Few studies show any beneficial difference in cavity rates in fluoridated communities, although many studies show fewer cavities in areas that do not add it.
Furthermore, the only benefits that have ever been shown for the use of fluoride are the result of topical application in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the “predominant effect is post-eruptive and topical.” Post-eruptive means after the teeth have broken through the gums.
However, it should be noted that the negligible topical benefits should be weighed against the risks. And regardless of any alleged benefits, there are many safe ways to protect your teeth that do not involve swishing an arsenic-substitute in the mouth.
Sun exposure strengthens the bones and teeth. A low-sugar diet prevents the bacteria that cause cavities. And mouthwashes with sugar alcohols, like xylitol, can make the mouth inhospitable to these bacteria.
And finally, NO benefits have ever been proven for the systemic ingestion of fluoride – only risks. Therefore, drinking fluoride in water makes about as much sense as swallowing sunscreen to prevent sunburn or eating condoms to prevent pregnancy!
The claims that are made about fluoride essentially classify it as a drug – a “drug” has never been approved by the FDA. Mass fluoridation of the water supply equals mass medication with toxic industrial waste. It is a clear violation of informed consent laws, which stipulate that medication can only be given with someone’s clear consent and only after they have received full and truthful information.
If you value your health, avoid products that contain fluoride (toothpaste, mouthwash, bottled water). And if you do drink municipal water, buy a reverse osmosis filter or a media-based water filter that is designed to filter fluoride. Most filters will remove chlorine easily, but not fluoride. Crystal Quest is one brand that offers this type of filter, but there are many.