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Fluoride In Our Water

fluoride in our water

A Convenient Way To Dispose of Hazardous Waste:

  • It is not really just fluoride, it is a pollution concentrate that contains a lot of fluorosilicic acid.
  • Technically, the fluoride we are talking about is fluorosilicic acid, originally from aluminum manufacturing, but now it is generally a by-product from phosphate fertilizer manufacturing.
  • The unrefined waste material collected from phosphate manufacturing scrubbers is sold to communities to put in their drinking water.
  • This fluorosilicic acid used in the water can also be contaminated with small amounts of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, sulfates, iron, phosphorous, lead, as well as radium and uranium due to these all being collected together in the scrubbers as the scrubbers remove this pollution from the air so it does not cause as many health issues to the community around the factory as took place prior to installing scrubbers to keep the air cleaner.
  • Fluoridation in water is from industrial-grade fluoride, not medical grade. Even if we added calcium fluoride (naturally occurring) to the water, it is still toxic. It is not an essential nutrient.
  • Options available for fluoride purchase are usually, hydofluorosilicic acid (HFSA) derived from phosphate, HFSA derived from calcium fluoride, powdered Sodium Fluorosilicate, powdered Sodium Fluoride, and Pharmaceutical Grade Sodium Fluoride.
  • HFSA is inexpensive compared to the phamaceutical grade and would cost too much for municipal water treatment, plus as stated by Rebecca Hanmer, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water, 1983, “In regard to the use of fluorosilicic (aka fluorosilicic – hydrofluorosilicic) acid as a source of fluoride for fluoridation, this agency [U.S. EPA] regards such use as an ideal environmental solution to a long-standing problem. By recovering by-product fluorosilicic acid from fertilizer manufacturing, water and air pollution are minimized, and water utilities have a low-cost source of fluoride available to the communities.”
  • Hydrofluorosilicic acid is a classified bio-accumulative toxin. I have read animal and human research showing it accumulates in bone, and the brain, and in the brain seems attracted to the pineal gland.
  • Most industrial nations do not fluoridate their water
  • According to FluorideAlert.org,  97% of Western Europe does not fluoridate their water.
  • The World Health Organization says there is no difference in tooth decay between the minority of western nations that fluoridate and the majority that do not. See chart here.
  • Fluoride is available in toothpaste readily for anyone who wants it and is not necessary in the water.
  • It appears there are few reliable studies that show fluoride can prevent tooth decay by ingesting it. The Cochrane Research Group has reviewed studies on fluoridating water and shown them to be biased, inconsistent and poorly executed. They are also mostly very old and don't relate to the current social situation where fluoride is available in many dental products including toothpaste. Just try to buy toothpaste without fluoride. It is a specialty product.
  • Fluoride has not been shown to be an essential nutrient, so why add it to the water? The EPA even has a maximum allowable amount in water, due to the toxicity of fluoride. The amount added by  municipalities is under this toxic level, but I am still not comfortable with the added fluoride.

A Few Details On How The Fluoride In The Drinking Water Is Created

  • Fluorosilicic acid is composed of tetrafluorosiliciate gas and other species of fluorine gases captured in pollution scrubbers and concentrated into a 23% solution during wet process phosphate fertilizer manufacture. Generally, the acid is stored in outdoor cooling ponds before being shipped to US cities to artificially fluoridate drinking water.
  • The phosphate fertilizer business is big business. Much of the worlds supply comes from Florida and is also where most of the fluorosilicic acid is from.
  • Fluorosilicic acid would be classified as a hazardous toxic waste product in a  superfund list of toxic substances
  • Luckily for the companies making phosphate fertilizer, they can remove it with scrubbers and sell it to water municipalities to put in our water. This is a cost-effective means of disposing of toxic waste for them and saves the government who might have to pay for cleanup of it otherwise. So you and I pay with our health and pocket-book one way or another.
  • Radium and uranium waste (a naturally occurring radioactive material that ends up being concentrated during the process) is also made by the phosphate fertilizer companies and its disposal is another issue, but we won't go into now.

 

Beautiful photo of water splashing.

Why Fluoride Is Unsafe In Water

The chemicals used to fluoridate are not natural. Natural is how they are found in the environment as nature made them. Natural means they are not concentrated into a chemical soup. Who knows how they interact with each other in this soup. This scrubber concentrate is an industrial waste by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry contaminated with cancer causing elements that are not removed during the dilution process. They are still hazardous even at the dilutions used in fluoridation.

Fluoridation causes dental fluorosis. Many kids have teeth that are permanently damaged by dental fluorosis. Because public health declares fluorosis is ‘only cosmetic’ they not only disregard the treatment of fluorosis in their cost analyses of use of fluoride in water, but dental insurance companies exclude the treatment of fluorosis from their dental plans.

  • Where the fluoride level in water is 0.7 ppm, there is a chance of around 12% of people having dental fluorosis when exposed as a child. Increased levels of fluoride increases the amount and severity of fluorosis. Fluorosis goes up considerably as people are exposed to increased levels of fluoride.
  • Animal and human studies of fluoride have been published reporting adverse cognitive and behavioral effects.
  • Chinese populations have reported IQ deficits in children exposed to fluoride at 2.5 to 4 mg/L in drinking water.
  • Ecological studies suggest children who live in areas with high fluoride exposure (ranging from 0.88 to 11.0mg/L fluoride in water, when reported) have lower IQ scores than those who live in low-exposure or control areas (ranging from 0.20 to 1.0mg/L fluoride in water.
  • There is a 2017 study showing pregnant moms who have more fluoride (measured in urine) compared to those with less in their urine, will give birth to babies that are later measured (at 4 and 6-12 years old) as having as much as 5-6 points lower IQ.
  • Read about a similar pregnant mom study in 2019 that also showed lower IQs.
  • Some studies on molecular, cellular, and anatomical changes in the nervous system are found after fluoride exposure, suggesting that functional changes could occur.
  • One of the better run studies on hip fractures related to fluoride in drinking water is a Finland study showing an increased rate in hip fracture in populations exposed to concentrations above 1.5 mg/L.
  • In a 2006 review of fluoride in drinking water by the EPA, there was consensus among the committee that there is scientific evidence that under certain conditions fluoride can weaken bone and increase the risk of fractures.
  • May decrease thyroid function.
  • Skeletal fluorosis is a bone and joint condition associated with prolonged exposure to high concentrations of fluoride. Fluoride increases bone density and appears to exacerbate the growth of osteophytes present in the bone and joints, resulting in joint stiffness and pain.There is not enough research available to understand if current levels allowed in water would be problematic.
  • People with renal impairments retain more fluoride than healthy people do.
  • We know that fluoride accumulates in the bones, but I was surprised to see a research study that found higher ratio levels of fluoride to calcium (fl:Ca) in the pineal gland in human, aged cadavers than is normally found in bone.
  • Genotoxicity studies are mixed with contradictory evidence.
  • There is an association between fluoride exposure in drinking water during childhood and the incidence of osteosarcoma (a rare cancer) among males but not consistently among females.
Woman Blowing Bubbles in Water

Does Adding Fluoride To Water Prevent Cavities

The Cochrane review (Cochrane is known for completing high quality reviews of research) fluoridated water and tooth decay said 97% of the studies that have been used to support fluoridated water showed issues with the methods used in the studies and how the results were reported. They usually did not even take into account many of the other factors that could affects a child's risk of tooth decay or dental fluorosis. Most took place prior to introduction of fluoride toothpaste. The author of the cochrane study review said there was insufficient information to determine the affect fluoridation has on dental caries.

The EPA has a maximum standard of allowable levels of Fluoride in the water. It is considered a toxin and thus has to be kept under allowable limits by law.

As long as the amount of contaminants added to the drinking water (including radionuclides in fluorosilicic acid) do not exceed the limits set forth in the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA has no regulatory problem with the use of any contaminated products for drinking water treatment.

The 2006 EPA review made the suggestion that the legal MCLG of 4 mg/L should be lowered. This would prevent children from developing severe enamel fluorosis and reduce the lifetime accumulation of fluoride accumulation in bone that the majority of the committee concludes is likely to put individuals at increased risk of bone fracture and possibly skeletal fluorosis. The panel also recommended that EPA update its public health goal to be protective of pitting of tooth enamel, clinical stage II skeletal fluorosis, and bone fractures, in addition to the stage III skeletal fluorosis that is addressed by the current public health goal.

EPA has proposed a reference dose (RfD) of 0.08 mg/kg/day for protection against pitting of the tooth enamel (severe dental fluorosis) and concluded that this value is also protective against fractures and skeletal effects in adults. The reference dose is the estimate of the daily exposure that is likely to be without harmful effect during a lifetime.

However, at this time the level remains the same. There is a secondary standard of 2.0 mg/L which is a non-enforceable standard recommended to protect children against tooth discoloration and/or pitting that can be caused by excess fluoride exposure during tooth formation, prior to eruption of the teeth.

In India and China they have areas where the water contains large amounts of fluoride and causes a public health issue. They list the level that is unsafe and may cause fluorosis as being anything greater than 1.5 mg/L.

 

Is Fluoride An Essential Mineral/Element

Fluorine (as Fluoride) is not generally considered an essential mineral element because humans do not require it for growth or to sustain life. You will note, it is not on the FDA's list of essential nutrients and has no daily value that is needed.

It is possible and probable that the body can make use of fluoride in minute amounts, but this has not yet been proven.

It appears that both lack of any fluoride and excess fluoride may predispose a person to bone fractures, but there is not enough evidence yet. The weight of evidence indicates that, although fluoride might increase bone volume, there is less strength per unit volume.

Fluoride does exist naturally in many water supplies as it is commonly found in small amounts in various rocks and leaches into the water over time.

A glass of water being poured from a pitcher.

What Can You Do To Protect Your Health If Your Water Is Fluoridated

  • Use a different drinking water source
  • Do not boil it as fluoride will not evaporate and will concentrate in the water.
  • Remove the fluoride and other contaminants from the water.

Some Common Types of Removal Methods Are:

  • Distillation
  • Ion Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Bone Char filters
  • The Berkey fluoride filter claims to remove 95% of the fluoride when used as an attachment to their carbon filters.

Some Interesting Methods  Used Past and Present:

  • Mud Pots? In ancient times mud pots were used to remove fluoride from water. Clay pots were prepared, heated and water was collected in them and the clay in the pot used as an adsorbent media. I don't know how much fluoride was removed though.
  • Other natural adsorbents currently being used in areas with high fluoride are plants. Some of the plants being used currently are:
    • Seeds of the Drumstick - Moringa Oleifera
    • Roots of Vetiver grass
    • Tamarind seeds
    • Tea ash
    • Not a plant, but also egg shell powder.

Details on some of these methods can be found in this review of fluorosis.

  • Move to a town where they do not fluoridate water.

If you are already moving and looking for a new place to live, check to see if the town you are considering fluoridates their water. I always look at water reports for any town I consider moving to. Although, I can remove fluoride from the tap water, it is easier and less expensive to simply move to a town without natural or added fluoride in their water. Remember water can naturally have fluoride in the water too. As the levels increase, so can the negative health effects, same as with added fluoride.

  • Change the laws on fluoridated water.

This is a great alternative. A community in Canada decided to sue their government to get them to stop putting the toxin, hydrofluorosilicic acid into the water. I have heard other law suits are being started also.

  • Fluorosis is considered impossible to treat.

Some toxins are harder to remove from the body than others. Fluoride likes to settle in your bones. It has been noted that removal of the fluoride source will allow the person to start leaching fluoride from their bones and removing it via the urine. This is a slow process though. There is no treatment known to increase the removal.

Fluorosis of teeth is permanent damage.  There is no way to reverse it and it requires expensive procedures which may include capping the teeth if it can not be repaired otherwise.

In areas where fluorosis is endemic, it has been thought that various nutrient deficiencies might add to the severity of fluorosis but this has not been well studied. I saw a rat study by Zhonghua Bing in 1997  that showed low levels of dietary calcium intake increased the severity of skeletal fluorosis.

Obviously, the best way to approach this is preventatively. We should not be fluoridating our water. If you live in an area with naturally high fluoride you may want to consider fluoride removal or getting another source of drinking water.