Fluoride: Poison or Panacea?

by Gene Eberts, Ph.D., Health Psychologist

Here is the question.

Are you slowly killing yourself and your children with one of the most toxic substances on Earth, or merely benefiting from a substance that the American Dental Association (ADA), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims is a safe and effective way to reduce cavities?

If you are like most people, you would probably vote for “safe and effective.” After all it has been added to our public water supply for almost 50 years; how bad could it be?

Well… have you read the back of a tube of toothpaste lately? On the back of every tube you will find a warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to, “keep out of the reach of children and contact poison control if accidentally swallowed.” So how safe is this fluoride that is protecting us from cavities?

Investigating the Health Effects of Fluoride

In may of 2001, the U.S. Congress expanded its probe into the health effects of the fluoridation (adding fluoride) of public water systems. This controversial issue is far from dead.

Opponents of fluoride have concluded that fluoride does not prevent cavities and that it is dangerous to public health. Supporters of fluoride including the ADA, the NAS and the EPA would have you believe that all opponents of fluoride are half-crazed, muddle-brained, right-wing idiots who don’t know the first thing about real science. While neither side may be completely right, the scientific evidence is beginning to stack up against fluoride.

The Evidence Against Fluoride

In the United States the rate of cavities in children has been declining for at least the past 70 years. However, the addition of fluoride to public drinking water and toothpaste has had no discernable effect on this rate of decline.

Several recent scientific reports, including a comprehensive study of 39,000 school children have failed to show any difference in cavity rates in fluoridated vs. non-fluoridated communities.

Studies in the Journal of Dental Research recently concluded that rates of tooth decay have declined as much in Western Europe as they have in the United States in recent decades. The problem is that Western Europe is 98% non-fluoridated.

Both the Pasteur Institute and the Nobel Institute oppose fluoridation and as a result most Western European nations, including Germany, France, Sweden and Holland prohibit fluoride.

Even if all of these studies were flawed, and I have mentioned only a few of hundreds of studies that are out there, and even if we conclude that fluoride does protect against cavities, there is still one glaring problem with ingesting fluoride – fluoride overdoese.

Fluoride overdose

We have been dumping fluoride into our public water systems for almosts 50 years. This has created what is now called the “multiplier effect.” Fluoride from our drinking water is transferred during manufacturing into processed food and beverages. For example, a 12 ounce can of Coke contains 1/3rd of the recommended Total Daily Amount of fluoride.

In 1991, the U.s. Health and Human Services agency reported that even non-fluoridated communities get 1 to 2 times the

recommended amount of fluoride and fluoridated communities were overdosing on as much as 7 times the recommended amount of total daily fluoride intake.

This overdosing is the most likely cause of the only significant difference in dental health found between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities: Fluoridated communities show almost double the incidence of dental Fluoridosis.

Dental Fluoridosis, caused by ingesting an overdose of fluoride, is a condition in which the cells that lay down tooth enamel are poisoned. In less severe cases the damage shows up as chalky white areas on the teeth. In more severe cases the teeth exhibit yellow, brown and black stains and pitting of the enamel. Eventually this structural weakness leads to breakage of the tips of the teeth.

There are studies that support the cavity fighting effects of fluoride. After all, fluoride is a poison and it will kill the cavity creating bacteria that infect the teeth. However, most leading dental researchers also agree that the benefits of fluoride come from the tropical application of fluoride, not the ingestion (eating or drinking) of it.

The Side Effects of Fluoride and its’ Contaminants

Another lesser known aspect of the controversy over fluoride has to do with the source of the fluoride itself.

To maintain scientific control over the dosage, practically every clinical experiment on the effects of fluoride has used pharmaceutical grade sodium fluoride. But more than 90% of the fluoride added to public water supplied in this country is extracted from the waste water collected in the smokestack scrubbers used by the phosphate fertilizer industry. This toxic waste contains lead, cadmium, arsenic, radium and other poisonous substances. By law this toxic waste could not be dumped into rivers, lakes or the sea, but it is added to our public water supply.

The picture is even bleaker when we turn to the safety of fluoride itself. Scientific evidence from around the world continues to link fluoride to severe health risks. If these studies were reporting high doses of fluoride this would not be surprising. After all, fluoride is second to arsenic in toxicity and more toxic than lead. Among its other uses, fluoride has been quite effective in killing bugs and rats.

What is shocking is that these studies report on fluoride use that is equal to or less than the amounts commonly placed in our public drinking water. Chronic fluoride use has been linked to bone cancer, kidney cancer, Alzheimer’s, hip fractures in the elderly and other health problems.

The Union of scientists at the EPA wrote a white paper (a short authoritative report or treatise prepared to educate readers about a specific topic) outlining why scientist members working at the EPA oppose drinking water fluoridation. The following is a quote from that paper.

“…our opposition to drinking water fluoridation has grown, based on the scientific literature documenting the increasingly out-of-control exposures to fluoride, the lack of benefit to dental health from ingestion of fluoride and the hazards to human health from such ingestion. These hazards include acute toxic hazard, such as to people with impairred kidney function, as well as chronic toxic hazards of gene mutations, cancer, neurotoxicity, bone pathology and dental fluorosis.”

Click to read this white paper


The final chapter in this controversy about the health effects fluoride hasn’t been written yet, but my advice is: why take the chance? At least 12 Nobel Prize winners in the fields of chemistry and medicine (you know, those “idiots who don’t know the first thing about real science”) have expressed reservation about using fluoride in public water systems. Why expose yourself to this toxic substanvce anymore than you have to?

Article by Gene Eberts, Ph.D., Health Psychologist

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