Fluoride, also known as sodium fluoride, is a derivative of salt. It’s known that fluoride helps strengthen the teeth. Fluoride is a natural element found in the environment.
Though beneficial when ingested in a low dose, prolonged exposure and consumption can lead to serious health problems. Ingestion of fluoride can cause gastrointestinal disturbances at a dose of at least 100 mg for a 50 kg individual.
True indeed, fluoride is helpful in dental health, yet large consumption can interfere with bone formation. The commonly affected individuals are children and pregnant women.
Fluoride is naturally found in groundwater. Though there are synthetic fluorides that are chemically created and combined with certain products such as toothpaste to help strengthen and whiten teeth, the waste materials from these products coming from certain industries can leak through the soil and can contaminate the public water supply.
Some countries that depend on groundwater as a source of drinking water are gravely affected since groundwater have naturally occurring fluoride.
The Lethality of Fluoride in the Body
As recommended by the World Health Organization, the therapeutic level of fluoride to produce optimal dental health is within 0.5 to 1.0 mg/L (milligrams per liter), and that depends on the climate as well. The recommended maximum amount of fluoride in water should be within 0.7 milligrams per liter to 1.2 mg/L.
The fluoridation process was added to the public water system to ensure that the community is receiving a beneficial amount to help teeth and bone formation.
Though fluoride is excreted mainly through urine and feces, it still isn’t advisable to take larger doses. Fluoride is usually the product of dissolved granite rocks that seep through the soil and combine with water. Fluoride toxicity is noticeable due to the excessive bone formation by the affected individual, especially seen in children.
Similar to other countries, water fluoridation in America is controversial. As of May 2000, 42 of the cities in America had water fluoridation. The first cities to fluoridate are Michigan and Grand Rapids in January 1945 to prevent tooth decay in their communities.
In 1951, the US Public Health Service made it an official policy to fluoridate the public water system. Meanwhile, in the 1960s, it had become widely used and reached around 50 million people. By 2012, 67.1% of the population in America are consuming water from the community water systems that have fluoride within or above the recommended levels.
The water fluoridation in the communities of America is partly because of the research spearheaded by Dr. Frederick McKay. He ignited the curiosities of the community and started an investigation on the ‘Colorado Brown Stain.’ Today, this is known as the Dental Fluorosis which is characterized by pitting and cracking of the teeth.
In 1909, Dr. McKay examined 2,945 children from the Pikes Peak region. He found out that this is due to poor nutrition, radium exposure, and calcium deficiency in the water.
Meanwhile, the researchers from the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) said that the Colorado stain was due to high fluoride ion concentration in the water. The Pikes Peak region contain cryolite which contains fluoride. When it rains or snows heavily, the dissolved fluoride made its way to the water system.
In the next years, experts determined the safe level of fluoride which must be added to water supplies. The research aims to warn areas with high fluoride concentration. Also, it targets those communities with low fluoride to add more in the water to prevent tooth decay.
Fluoridation is one of the common subjects of court cases where activities sued various municipalities. They said that there is an infringement of their rights on due process and medical treatment by having compulsory water fluoridation.
Many people sued authorities due to illnesses that they think were due to fluoridation. In the majority of the cases, the court held that there are no connections between water fluoridation and health problems.
As of today, there is no federal or state court has found the water fluoridation to be unlawful. More often, the courts held in favor of the cities or municipalities.
Supporters of the pro-fluoridation believe that the treatment is effective and safe even for the children. It is endorsed by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention and the American Dental Association.
On the other hand, the cons say that it is unethical since it does not ask for individual consent. Many people don’t even know about it. For them, fluoridation is unnecessary since there are products like toothpaste that can be purchased by parents for their children.
Is Fluoride Bad For The Body?
Fluoride is toxic at various concentrations. In 2006, a research done by the National Research Council supported by the Environmental Protection Agency found out that the upper limit for fluoride is at 4 ppm. However, it was too high for kids thus they can develop severe dental fluorosis. The EPA recommends to lowering the ppm level.
Meanwhile, the CDC believes that 1 ppm of fluoride, when added to water, is safe and effective.
However, here are some of the health risks that the overexposure to fluoride poses:
The authorities recommend that fluoride content must be within 0.7 ppm only. If the concentration is above 4.0 ppm, it can be already hazardous.
Children exposed to high concentrations of fluoride during the developmental stage of childhood can lead to mild dental fluorosis. It is when little white streaks begin to form in the enamel of the teeth. Although dental fluorosis may not affect the health of the teeth, however, it can be a big threat to the discoloration. Furthermore, the staining is noticeable.
Apart from dental fluorosis, overexposure to fluoride can cause skeletal fluorosis. This is where the bones and the joints are very painful, which can happen over the years.
The bones may become less elastic and it may harden. As such, the risk of fractures increases. If the bone tissue accumulate and it thickens, it can add to the impaired joint mobility.
Excessive fluoride levels can lead to the damage of the parathyroid glands, which can further result to hyperparathyroidism. This disease is known as the uncontrolled discharge of the parathyroid hormones.
If fluoride is ingested in large amounts, it can cause depletion in the bone structures and become more susceptible to fractures. Also, it can cause the above normal concentrations of calcium in the blood.
A study published in 2017 shows that overexposure to fluoride before birth can cause poor cognitive problems as the child develops.
The study was done in 299 pregnant women. They have monitored the women during pregnancy and as they give birth to their children. The study also observed children as they age between 6 to 12 years old.
They tested the cognitive ability of the children from 4 years old, 6 years old, and 12 years old. It has been found out that higher fluoride levels are associated to lower IQ scores.
Furthermore, fluoride has been documented as a neurotoxin in 2014. It is hazardous to the development of the child together with various industrial chemicals. These are arsenic, lead, methylmercury, and toluene. As such, parents must prevent products with these contents.
Meanwhile, here are a few of the affected organs in the body when excessive fluoride consumption happens:
Fluoride In Body Parts
Brain – prolonged and high levels of exposure to fluoride can affect the neurodevelopment of children. When ingested by a pregnant woman, it can gravely affect the baby in a way that it interferes with the physical and psychological development of the infant.
Bones – associated with hip and wrist fractures, toxic levels of fluoride can cause bone weakening.
Kidney – due to fluoride-containing drugs, fluoride-induced nephrotoxicity occurs. The most susceptible individuals are those who have impaired kidney functions. Since elimination depends on the glomerular filtration rate, the greater the damage, the higher the risk.
Teeth – yes, teeth are affected too when excessive fluoride is ingested. Medically known as dental fluorosis, it appears as white opaque patches on the enamel of the teeth.
Fluoride Contamination in Drinking Water
Water is also contaminated with fluoride due to chemical waste products of man and sometimes a natural occurrence of the environment.
Since some countries still depend on well water as the source of drinking water and some harmful pathogens are also present, boiling water has become a routine to provide safe drinking water, however, there is no assurance that these pathogens are removed.
Since fluoride also contaminates public water supplies by seeping through the soil, once it goes to the consumer’s home, they will be endangered of fluoride exposure and toxicity, especially pregnant women and children.
The United States is one of the world’s largest fluoride consumers. Americans are gravely exposed to fluoride that is naturally found in the environment and some fluoride-based products. A larger demand for toothpaste and fluoride-based drugs are mostly consumed by Americans to keep them healthy and to aid them in their daily functions.
Most Americans aren’t aware that they have been exposed to large amounts of fluoride. Consuming fluoride-rich water, using fluoride-formulated toothpaste and taking fluoride-based drugs can cause health problems. How can you prevent fluoride toxicity then?
Prevention is Always Better than the Cure
Preventing fluoride toxicity is the only way to maintain your health. As a matter of fact, some Americans have been overdosed on fluoride and have suffered poorly. Here are some tips to prevent fluoride intoxication:
To help prevent fluorosis, the best thing to do is to breastfeed infants. Prepare formula milk using fluoride-free water to help protect babies from fluorosis.
Choose Toothpaste With Lower Fluoride Content
Since fluoride is usually found in toothpaste, and using toothpaste that has lower to no fluoride content is one way to help whiten and strengthen teeth.
Moreover, children ages six years old and below must not use mouthwash that contains fluoride. Parents must supervise their children as they brush their teeth to make sure that they do not ingest the toothpaste.
Consult Your Doctor
Consulting your doctor before taking fluoride-based medicines can also lower your risk of intoxication.
Asking your doctor if there are alternative medicines that doesn’t contain fluoride or have a lower fluoride dose is also a viable solution.
Invest In The Installation Of Water Filter In Your Home
Most importantly, since fluoride is found in water and water is the most consumed beverage, it’s imperative to use a water filter.
Water filter is an effective way of eliminating fluoride from your water. There are a lot of water filters that can aid in removing fluoride from your drinking water so it’s important to make sure that you choose the best product that not only filters chemicals, but also conserve essential minerals naturally present in water.
Berkey Water Filter
Water filtration systems are portable nowadays. Convenient and easy to use, you can have the assurance that you and your loved ones are safe from contaminants that are found in drinking water by using certain water filtering systems.
Thriving along with the advancing technology today, certain water industries made sure that they can give their consumers the quality and safety they require. Guaranteed to filter and purify your drinking water in the safest way possible, Berkey can give you that assurance.
Leaving along only the healthy natural minerals found in water, Big Berkey Water Filter for instance, can filter sediments and clears out the haziness in drinking water.
This is the list of all contaminants that Berkey can filter out.
Purifying water in the safest way possible, you can ensure that no fluoride makes it to your water and that you and your family is safe and healthy.
EcoBlueLife.com is a replacement water and air filter company located in the United States. The views and opinions contained herein are solely those of the original author and do not represent Eco Blue Life or its affiliates. This article was originally published on TheBerkey.com