Fluoride & Health
|TABLE of CONTENTS|
|Brain Effects||Kidney Disease|
|Cardiovascular Disease||Pineal Gland|
|Endocrine Disruption||Thyroid Disease|
Fluoride is a highly toxic substance. Consider, for example, the poison warning that the FDA now requires on all fluoride toothpastes sold in the U.S. or the tens of millions of people throughout China and India who now suffer serious crippling bone diseases from drinking water with elevated levels of fluoride.
In terms of acute toxicity (i.e., the dose that can cause immediate toxic consequences), fluoride is more toxic than lead, but slightly less toxic than arsenic. This is why fluoride has long been used in rodenticides and pesticides to kill pests like rats and insects. It is also why accidents involving over-ingestion of fluoridated dental products–including fluoride gels, fluoride supplements, and fluoridated water–can cause serious poisoning incidents, including death.
The debate today, however, is not about fluoride’s acute toxicity, but its chronic toxicity (i.e., the dose of fluoride that if regularly consumed over an extended period of time can cause adverse effects).
Although fluoride advocates have claimed for years that the safety of fluoride in dentistry is exhaustively documented and “beyond debate,” the Chairman of the National Research Council’s (NRC) comprehensive fluoride review, Dr. John Doull, recently stated that: ”when we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this [fluoridation] has been going on. I think that’s why fluoridation is still being challenged so many years after it began.”
In this section of the website, we provide overviews of the scientific and medical research that implicates fluoride exposure as a cause or contributor to various chronic health ailments. In 2001, the union of scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Headquarters Office in Washington D.C. stated: “we hold that water fluoridation is an unreasonable risk.” The research in this section helps to demonstrate why EPA’s own scientists reached this conclusion, and why a growing number of health professionals do so as well.
The primary concerns with fluoride’s impact on human health can be summarized as follows:
- Current safety standards only protect against the most obvious forms of harm: Current safety standards for fluoride are based on the premise that severe dental fluorosis and crippling skeletal fluorosis are the first adverse effects that fluoride can have on the body. These effects represent the crudest, most obvious harm caused by fluoride. In the words of American University chemistry professor, Dr. William Hirzy, it would be a “biological miracle” if fluoride did not cause other harm prior to producing these end-stage forms of toxicity. Research already shows, in fact, that fluoride can cause arthritic symptoms and bone fracture well before the onset of crippling fluorosis, and can affect many other tissues besides bone and teeth, including the brain and thyroid gland.
- The current “safe” daily dose for fluoride fails to withstand scrutiny: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) states that anyone over 8 years of age — irrespective of their health condition — can safely ingest 10 milligrams of fluoride each day for their entire life without developing symptomatic bone damage. Ten milligrams, however, is the same dose that the IOM concedes can cause clinical signs of skeletal fluorosis within just 10 to 20 years of exposure. People with clinical signs of fluorosis can suffer significant symptoms, including chronic joint pain and overt osteoarthritis. The IOM’s safety standard instills little confidence in the medical understanding that currently underlies fluoride policies in the U.S.
- Some people are particularly susceptible to fluoride toxicity: It is well known that individual susceptibility to fluoride varies greatly across the population, and yet, the National Research Council has recently found that breathtakingly large gaps still exist in the safety literature on the effects these populations may be experiencing as a result of current fluoride exposures. The bewildering degree of uncertainties identified by the NRC stands in stark contrast to the IOM’s conclusion that 10 mg/day is so definitively safe that no “uncertainty factor” needs to be applied to protect vulnerable members of the population.
- The margin between the toxic and therapeutic dose is very narrow: The NRC concluded that the allegedly “safe” upper limit of fluoride in water (4 mg/l) is toxic to human health. While the NRC did not determine the safe level, their conclusion means that the safe level is less than 4 times the level added to water (0.7-1.2 mg/l) in community fluoridation programs. This is far too slim a margin to protect vulnerable members of the population, including those who consume high amounts of water.
- FAN’s Health Database
- Fluoride & Dental Fluorosis
- Fluoride & Tooth Decay
- Fluoride & Environmental Justice
- Sources of Fluoride Exposure
Allergy to Fluoride Toothpaste - Additional Info
Information about allergic skin reactions to fluoride toothpaste.
Fluoride bioassay study under scrutiny
A recent animal study by the National Toxicology Program that failed to give fluoride a totally clean bill of health is now being questioned as being maybe too lenient on the widely used tooth decay preventative. Also, a government panel appointed to assess the risks and benefits of human exposure to fluoride and to put the NTP study into broader perspective is apparently running into some problems and has delayed its final report.
Skeletal Fluorosis in India & its Relevance to the West
While the elevated consumption of water in warm climates such as India along with the increased incidence of malnutrition make direct comparisons of the Indian experience to the "West" difficult, it is striking to observe how narrow the margin is between the doses which cause advanced fluorosis in India and the doses that people are now regularly receiving in fluoridated communities.
Kidney: A potential target for fluoride toxicity
The kidneys are the organ responsible for clearing fluoride from the body. In the process of doing so, the kidneys are exposed to concentrations of fluoride that exceed, by a factor of 50, the concentration of fluoride in human blood. As such, the kidney have long been considered a potential
Fluoride & Electrocardiogram Abnormalities
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a diagnostic test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. An ECG can reveal heart rate, heart rhythym (i.e. steady or irregular), and the strength and timing of the heart’s natural electrical signals. ECGs are described in terms of “waves” (e.g. amplitude and duration). Problems
Allergy to Fluorides
Rather than simply denying the validity of his reports, it would be to the advantage of all concerned to have them thoroughly analyzed. This could best be done if a small number of unbiased, qualified physicians, agreed upon by both "sides," would independently examine and diagnose several of the patients who are reportedly allergic to fluoride.
Interview with EPA's Dr. William Hirzy About Fluoride & Cancer
The following is an excerpt of Michael Connett's interview with Dr. J. William Hirzy, Senior Vice President of EPA's Headquarters Union in Washington DC. The interview took place on July 3, 2000, a couple days after Hirzy testified before the US Senate calling for an independent review of the tumor slides from
The 'Altered Recommendations' of the 1983 Surgeon General's Panel
"We believe that EPA staff and managers should be called to testify, along with members of the 1983 Surgeon Generals panel and officials of the Department of Human Services, to explain how the original recommendations of the Surgeon Generals panel were altered to allow EPA to set otherwise unjustifiable drinking water standards for fluoride."
Fluoride & the Pineal Gland: Study Published in Caries Research
The wheels of science grind very slowly. Finally, the first half of the work that was the subject of Jennifer Luke's Ph.D. thesis; presentation in Bellingham, Washington (ISFR conference) in 1998 and a videotaped interview I had with her, has been published in Caries Research. In my view this work is
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