Top Ten Arguments Against Water Fluoridation
- Fluoridation is a violation of the individual’s right to informed consent to medication.
- Fluoride is not an essential nutrient. No biological process in animals or humans has been shown to depend on it. On the contrary, it is known that fluoride can interfere with many important biological processes and vital cellular constituents, such as enzymes and G-proteins. This makes fluoride potentially toxic even at low doses.
- Children in fluoridated countries are greatly over-exposed to fluoride. When fluoridation began in 1940s, 10% of children were expected to develop dental fluorosis (damage to the enamel involving discoloration and/or mottling) in its very mild form. Today, the prevalence in fluoridated countries is much higher—41% of all American children aged 12-15 are now impacted with some form of dental fluorosis (CDC, 2010), with over 10% in categories (mild, moderate and severe) that may need expensive treatment.
- The chemicals used to fluoridate water supplies are largely hazardous by-products of the fertilizer industry. These chemicals cannot be disposed of into the sea by international law, and have never been required to undergo randomized clinical trials for safety or effectiveness by any regulatory agency in the world. The U.S. FDA classifies fluoride as an “unapproved drug.”
- There is mounting evidence that swallowing fluoride causes harm. Fluoride has been found to damage soft tissues (brain, kidneys, and endocrine system), as well as teeth (dental fluorosis) and bones (skeletal fluorosis). There are now 24 studies that show a relationship between fairly modest exposure to fluoride and reduced IQ in children. Two of these studies suggest that the threshold for damage may be reached at fluoride levels similar to those used in water fluoridation.
- Swallowing fluoride provides little or no benefit to the teeth. Even promoters of fluoridation agree that fluoride works topically (on the outer surface of the teeth), and not via some internal biological mechanism (CDC, 1999). A recent U.S. study found no relationship between the amount of fluoride a child ingested and level of tooth decay (Warren et al., 2009). Topical treatment in the form of fluoridated toothpaste is universally available, so it is a mistake to swallow fluoride and expose all the tissues of the body to its harmful effects.
- Human breast milk is very low in fluoride. Breast milk averages only 0.007 ppm F (NRC, 2006). Even in areas with high fluoride levels, nursing children receive only a small fraction of the mother’s fluoride intake, ensuring that the sensitive brains and bodies of breast-fed infants are protected from the developmental effects of this toxin. In contrast, a bottle-fed baby in a fluoridated area (0.7-1.2 ppm F) gets up to 200 times more fluoride than a breast-fed baby, resulting in an increased risk of dental fluorosis and other adverse effects.
- Once fluoride is added to water, there is no way to control who gets the drug or how much is ingested. No medical follow-up or monitoring of fluoride levels in citizens’ urine or bones is being carried-out by health agencies and so no record is being kept of adverse effects or daily or accumulated exposures.
- Certain subgroups are particularly affected by fluoridation. People vary considerably in their sensitivity to any toxic substance, including fluoride. Infants, the elderly, diabetics, those with poor nutrition (e.g. low calcium and low iodine), and those with kidney disease are especially vulnerable to specific adverse effects of fluoride. Black and Mexican-Americans have a higher prevalence of the more severe forms of dental fluorosis (see Table 23, CDC, 2005).
- Fluoridation discriminates against those with low incomes. People on low incomes are least able to afford avoidance measures (reverse osmosis or bottled water), or treatment of dental fluorosis (see Point 3) and other fluoride-related ailments (see Point 5).
For more information see the webpage of the Fluoride Action Network www.FluorideAlert.org; the videotape, “Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation” and The Case Against Fluoride by Connett, Beck and Micklem (Chelsea Green, 2010).