Geology Home Page physical geology historical geology planetary gems
Roger Weller, geology instructor
Fluoridation: Forget ‘Bout It
I recall as a child, I was relentlessly told that fluoride was
essential for preventing tooth decay. The positive effects of fluoride was
reinforced by everyone I knew and respected. Anyone from my school nurse,
teachers, parents, and even my dear old friends on “Sesame Street.“ My dentist
would tell me “make sure that your toothpaste contains fluoride because it makes
your teeth strong.” Well, the purpose of my paper is to introduce a little
history behind fluoride and some concerns regarding the mass prescribing of
fluoride to the general population through our water supply. Fluoride is the
ionic form of fluorine (calcium fluoride) and is naturally in abundance in our
environment. According to the CDC, fluoride “reduces the incidence of dental
caries (tooth decay) and slows or reverses the progressions of dental lesions
(CDC, 2001).” Fluoride prevents cavities because its negatively charged ions
will bind with the calcium ions found in teeth. Therefore, the matrix of the
teeth has been altered to be more resilient to decay.
Fluoridation is the process of adding organic or inorganic fluoride (usually
Hydrofluosilicic Acid) to water as a dental decay preventative. The initial use
of fluoridation was implemented in the United States during 1945. The man
behind this study was Dr. H. Trendley Dean. He concluded that 1.0 ppm (parts
per million) of fluoride in the water would be safe for human consumption. The
logic behind adding fluoride to water, is that your body will systemically
employ the fluoride and send it directly to you teeth. This so-called
“systemic” use of fluoride is very prevalent in the United States. Over 60
percent of the U.S.’s water supply has been fluoridated. Oddly enough, The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “has now acknowledged the findings of
many leading dental researchers, that the mechanism of fluoride’s benefits are
mainly topical and not systemic (Dr. Connett, 2001).”
Furthermore, fluoride is a highly toxic poison and accumulates in our bodies. “On Average, only 50 percent of the fluoride we ingest each day is excreted through the kidneys. The remainder accumulates in our bones, pineal gland, and other tissues (Dr. Connett, 2001).” Sodium fluoride was a popular rat poison during the 1930’s and it is still in use today.
Shockingly, the fluoride that is being supplemented to our public
water supplies today is not even pharmaceutical grade fluoride. In almost all
cases, the fluoride being used is actually a byproduct of the aluminum or
phosphate-fertilizer industry. In the production of phosphate fertilizers,
sulfuric acid is used to remove fluorine. This left over waste is called
“hazardous waste liquor (silicofluoride/hydrofluosilicic acid).” This “liquor”
is then sold as a product to water companies, which in turn dumps it into our
water supply. Water companies are knowingly putting unnatural substances into
the water because it’s deemed cost-effective. “By law, this waste cannot be
dumped into the sea, but the Environmental Protection Agency allows it to be
diluted down with our public drinking water (E.Bennet, 2001).”
There have been several different health risks associated with overexposure to fluoride. These dangers are not commonly known to the general public and they should be addressed. Many people have been poisoned by fluoride and don’t even know it. I will briefly mention a few of these conditions.
· Dental Fluorosis - Fluoride changes the crystalline structure of the teeth. Tooth enamel is damaged due to overdoses of fluoride. Teeth are discolored and have a irregular texture. No known cures, except for cosmetic dental surgery in some cases. If your teeth look like this, then what about the rest of your bones?
Fluorosis - A crippling disease caused by fluoride, that affects the bones and
joints. Symptoms are similar to arthritis and progresses in stages. Chronic
joint pain, calcification of the ligaments, and spinal deformities are common.
There are no known cures.
- Fluoride inhibits the metabolism of the thyroid hormones. Some symptoms
include fatigue, depression, high bad cholesterol, muscle aches, and hair loss.
- There significant studies out indicating there’s a definite
biological link between fluoride and bone cancer. Tumors have been known to
form where there are large amounts of fluoride are present in the bones. “Most
notably, a recent national case control study conducted by scientists at Harvard
University found a significant relationship between fluoride exposure and
osteosarcoma among boys, particularly if exposed to fluoridated water between
the ages of 6 and 8 (the mid-childhood growth spurt) (fluoride alert, 2006).”
· Premature aging - In India, there are numerous areas where there are high concentrations of naturally occurring fluoride. Men in their 30’s look twice their age, have lack of a sex drive, and premature hardening of arteries. Fluoride has been attributed to collagen breakdown, and a impaired immune system.
In conclusion, one major point is clear: fluoride can be very detrimental to a individual’s health. Always remember that fluoride is a potentially toxic substance and exposure should be maintained to a bare minimum. Fluoridation, whether it may be natural or unnatural causes fluoride to be ever present in our daily lives. Fluoride is in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the sodas we drink, and even in some of our medications. It is up to the individual to educate themselves on the matter because there are too many undisclosed side-effects that overshadow the benefits. Cavities don’t kill you, but fluoride can cause a life-time of pain and sickness.