drinking water

Source: Sally Painter

The controversy over adding fluoride to the US drinking water supplies has been going on for nearly as long as the government has added the toxic chemicals since the 1940s. If fluoride is such a toxic chemical then why does the government mandate its use in community water supplies (1)?

Clearly, some water has naturally occurring fluoride (calcium fluoride) that is different from the additives used in fluoridation processes. Natural fluoride effects on humans have been studied. In examining “several long-term adverse effects” the findings included (2):

–> Dental fluorosis
–> Skeletal fluorosis
–> Weakened bones

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) research scientist and lead author Anna Choi of the Department of Environmental Health and senior author adjunct professor of environmental health Philippe Grandjean wrote a paper on the possible health risks that fluoridation might have on children (3).

The pair evaluated 27 studies, 25 of which were conducted in China, of children exposed to fluoride. The first thing noted was the need to consider the level of fluoride exposure. The paper notes that some information wasn’t available with “some limitations” identified.


Their summation of risks to children included:

–> “Possible risks to brain development in children. Studies have been conducted in China; however, “this possible hazard has not received much, if any, consideration in the U.S.”

–> Intelligence tests of children exposed to fluoride revealed “poorer performance on IQ tests. Fluoride released into the ground water in China in some cases greatly exceeded levels that are typical in the U.S.”

–> 26 of the studies, “documented an IQ deficit associated with increased fluoride exposure.”

–> The results didn’t allow any judgment “regarding possible levels of risk at levels of exposure typical for water fluoridation in the U.S.” The scientists are quick to point out that the absence of that judgment didn’t mean there wasn’t any risk to children in the US. Further research is needed to “clarify what role fluoride exposure levels may play in possible adverse effects on brain development, so that future risk assessments can properly take into regard this possible hazard.”

The practice of fluoridation of drinking water is hailed as a preventative measure for tooth decay in children. However, how much fluoride a child and adult ingest over the period of one day is basically unknown.

That’s because the accumulated amount of fluoride can differ from one person to another based on water, food and air consumption (4).

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