#poisoning #fluoride #drinking water Cariola Carabel
In Vermont, USA, a few days ago, a town employee was found to have reduced fluoride levels in the municipal water for the last 5 years.
A mother was reported to be outraged because her children’s dentist had recommended against supplemental fluoride because fluoride was already added to the town’s water.
What this shows is that adding fluoride to water is a medical decision that affects everyone, whether someone has had already significant amounts of fluoride or not; whereas taking supplemental fluoride or using fluoridated toothpaste is a personal choice.
It has been argued that poorer people cannot afford fluoridated toothpaste and are thus helped by water fluoridation. In fact, as I shall show, poor people are the ones most harmed by the measure.
In any case, the solution would seem to be to guarantee that poor people have enough money to buy basic necessities, or to prescribe poor people free toothpaste and fluoride tablets where necessary, and educate everyone on the importance of oral health and good diet for avoiding tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.
Does any of this matter?
We assume that fluoride added to water must be innocuous and, of course, good for our teeth. But is it?
In fact fluoride is a neurotoxin that in 21 out of 23 studies was found to reduce children’s intelligence and should be categorised like lead, mercury, arsenic… It is a component of many insecticides and rodenticides (in these cases generally as sodium fluoroacetate).
Excess fluoride causes stains on teeth, hypothyroidism, and possible bone disease (because excess fluoride collects in the body’s calcium, i.e. bones and teeth), including weakened bones.
It also collects in the pineal gland (more of that later) and may cause mental impairment, tiredness and gastrointestinal problems. Those with impaired kidneys are unable to process fluoride, resulting in a greater accumulation in bones.
Fluoride is a neurotoxic mutagen, a compound that can cause genetic damage and, therefore, could conceivably cause cancer.
Though we talk of ‘fluoride’, in fact there are three types added to water supplies: fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate and sodium fluoride. The first is a designated hazardous substance, a severe irritant and an unwanted byproduct from the phosphate fertiliser industry or from the manufacture of aluminium and iron ore.
It is used industrially in the manufacture of ceramics, pesticides and Teflon, and these are highly toxic industries. This byproduct posed a costly and intractable disposal problem until it was solved by adding it to water supplies.
The second and third types of fluoride are obtained by adding table salt or caustic soda to the mix. All these fluorides are extremely corrosive to water pipes.
Amazingly, fluoride products added to water are not pharmaceutical grade, unlike those added to toothpastes, or in tablets. And the few animal studies done on the subject have generally used pharmaceutical grade sodium fluoride, not industrial hexafluorosilicic acid.
For the most prescribed medicine in history, there has never been a double-blind, randomised clinical trial, nor large cohort study completed.
Fluoridated toothpastes by law include warnings that they are not for small infants and that only a pea-sized amount should be used topically, rinsing out with water afterwards. Yet the amount of pharmaceutical grade fluoride in the pea-sized toothpaste is roughly that of industrial-waste-fluoride in a glass of water.
Calcium fluoride, on the other hand, the natural version of fluoride found in some natural water and soils, is relatively harmless, as calcium and magnesium mitigate the harmful effects of fluoride.
The effect to the body of drinking a cup of Indian tea, often naturally high in fluoride, has nothing to do with the toxicity of ingesting fluorosilicic acid.
The addition of fluoride to public drinking water systems has been routine in communities across the United States since the 1940s and 1950s. In the UK, there are cities that add fluoride to water (for example, Newcastle does, Hull doesn’t).
Where I live, Seville, water is fluoridated; but in Madrid it is not. Additionally, Seville is within what is ‘officially’ designated the ‘cancer triangle‘, an area of high cancer incidence.
Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland have stopped fluoridation and oral health has not declined, nor is below that of countries that do fluoridate.
Many other countries have reduced the permitted levels. The US Federal government lowered recommended amounts for drinking water in 2015.
In the UK the best performers in oral health are Brighton, Bristol and Richmond-on-Thames, all cities and towns that don’t fluoridate drinking water. In the West Midlands, where water has been fluoridated since 1964, there has been a massive rise in young children being admitted to hospital for multiple teeth extractions over the last decade. At the same time, rates of tooth decay are coming down equally in fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries.
Oral health is almost entirely determined by socioeconomic status. The poor have disproportionately bad oral health in all cases, and are more susceptible, due to bad diet, to fluoride’s toxicity.
In Oceania, Australian and New Zealand health authorities recommend fluoridation, and in some areas like Queensland that have discontinued the practice the press is in general pressing for its reintroduction.
There is little reliable data on whether oral health has been impacted, as no studies have compared similar populations, nor taken into account access to dental care, nor if fluoridating authorities actually do add fluoride in the claimed amounts.
European countries that have never fluoridated – like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway… -, and countries that have discontinued fluoridation – like the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany (East and West), the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland – do not have worse oral health than those that do – like Ireland (70% of the population drinks fluoridated water), the UK (around 10%) and Spain (less than 10%). In countries that stopped, tooth decay continued to decline.
Ireland, where most people are forced to drink fluoridated water, has relatively bad oral health as measured by the average number of teeth that have been decayed, lost (missing) or filled-in at the age of 12:
And, unlike chlorine in water, fluoride molecules are very small and almost impossible to remove without complicated processes like reverse osmosis or distillation, which themselves bring unwanted health risks for drinking water.
Many U.S. municipalities and other countries don’t fluoridate water for a variety of reasons, including opposition to the universal medication of a population, feasibility, technical problems and the ability to get fluoride other ways.
Fluoride is indisputably toxic in large amounts and any debate on the subject is also highly toxic, almost a taboo; but is fluoride itself toxic in the authorised amounts?
Is fluoride toxic?
Tooth decay is a widespread chronic disease and the result of sugary diets. Caries can easily lead to toothache, tooth loss, problems with chewing and infection.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention claim that fluoride in water decreases cavities or tooth decay by about 25%, and reported in 2018 that 73% of the U.S. population was served by water systems with adequate fluoride to protect teeth.
When a large proportion of municipalities are drinking fluoridated water, comparison between similar populations on a socioeconomic level becomes less viable. However, using the water system to medicate people most importantly goes against the Nuremberg Code and, additionally, is a remarkably inefficient way to do this, as 99,5% of the fluoride will go to environmental pollution.
So why is it done, especially since EU countries show no advantage to those countries that fluoridate compared to those that do not?
Adding fluoride to water is Big Business and appealing to our authorities and highly attractive for the phosphate fertiliser industry, which gets to sell its waste chemicals instead of having to environmentally dispose of them.
But given the 70-odd years since its introduction as a grand public intervention, it is significant that there is simply no killer evidence to convince the anti-fluoridation crowd.
Like so many pharmaceutical and corporate-friendly decisions made by government, there is simply not the will for serious follow-up studies. After all, what government wants to find that they have indeed been poisoning their citizens for decades?
What government wants to take on big vested interests and its own captured health authorities? Or alienate voters over a mostly invisible topic especially since water fluoridation is unpopular when the question is properly debated. It is an extremely hot political potato.
The phosphate fertiliser industry is itself a result the industrialisation of farming that came out of excess industrial capacity post-WWII, together with a wish to recondition all those industrial plants that had been previously used for the war, and to boost all those chemical industries that had been producing nerve gases and other unpleasant products that would henceforth be used to kill insects and other organisms.
Till the 1970s, around phosphate fertiliser plants, all vegetation was decimated and cattle were left crippled by the release of toxic gases.
Nowadays, companies have to recover their toxic waste and the industry uses ‘wet scrubbers’ (a spray of water) to remove two highly toxic gases, hydrogen fluoride (HF) and silicon tetrafluoride (SiF4) from the stacks.
The resultant H2SiF6, diluted to 23%, is sent to chemical plants and onwards to water companies. Phosphate rock is also mined for uranium and produces the radioactive Uranium 238 and Radium 226 (that in turn produces carcinogenic Radon).
No systematic control is made of how much radioactivity ends up in water supplies. Equally awful, after dilution up to 1.66 ppb (parts per billion) arsenic can also end up in our water, having been added deliberately.
Ironically, the waste that is used to fluoridate water is considered too hazardous to dump in the sea! Large amounts of sodium hexafluorosilicate are imported from China to the USA, in solid form, leading to reports that after dilution there remains an unidentified sludge.
As a result, the health effects of fluoride in water are not well known. When entire communities are drenched in controversial chemical products, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine if a specific one is carcinogenic for the general population.
According to 2020 data from the American Cancer Society, men have a 40.14 percent—or approximately one in two—chance of developing cancer in their lifetime, which in itself in an absolute scandal. For women, the odds are slightly lower at 38.7 percent. And it’s not only the old people and an increase in longevity.
In the UK, since the early 1990s, incidence rates for all cancers combined have increased for all the broad age groups in the UK. The increase is largest in people aged 25-49 where rates have increased by more than a fifth (22%) (2016-2018).
Quietly debated for years has been the relationship between fluoridated water and cancer, a fact observed in rats, especially male rats. The US National Cancer Institute states that a link cannot be found for humans, although there have been studies that have found an osteosarcoma link for males diagnosed before the age of 20 and exposed to fluoridated water during the mid-childhood growth spurt (6-, 7- and 8- years old).
The evidence of a link between fluoride and cancer is strong enough to urge extreme caution and, indeed, is stronger than the proven link between cancer and DDT.
In its review published in 1987, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, labelled fluorides as “non-classifiable as to their carcinogenicity [ability to cause cancer] in humans.”
They noted that the studies “have shown no consistent tendency for people living in areas with high concentrations of fluoride in the water to have higher cancer rates than those living in areas with low concentrations,” but also noted that the evidence was inadequate to draw conclusions one way or the other.
Additionally, supporters of fluoridation point to naturally occurring fluoride in some water supplies but, as shown above, the fluoride artificially added to water is not the same a natural fluoride.
Fluoride is hard to remove once added, especially for lower-income people, and no account is taken of how much fluoride is ingested via other means, nor the amount-of-water-to-bodily-weight ratio.
Bottle-fed babies receive a far higher dosage of what is a drug (but not an approved one, and certainly not an essential nutrient, as some would try to suggest).
According to the US CDC, 32% of children have dental fluorosis (excess fluoride before the eruption of the second set of teeth, leading to staining and discoloration). Worse still for a drug ingested by whole populations when topical options exist is the fact that topical use is far, far more appropriate than drinking it.
As the USA CDC state:
‘Fluoride’s caries-preventive properties initially were attributed to changes in enamel during tooth development … However, laboratory and epidemiologic research suggests that fluoride prevents dental caries predominantly after eruption of the tooth into the mouth, and its actions primarily are topical.’
A small risk spread over a very large population becomes a real risk, especially for susceptible populations, which goes against the precautionary principle. Currently some 400 million people in the world drink fluoridated water, and one in a hundred is potentially hypersensitive to it.
As the EU’s Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine puts it:
Article 5 – General rule
An intervention in the health field may only be carried out after the person concerned has given free and informed consent to it. This person shall beforehand be given appropriate information as to the purpose and nature of the intervention as well as on its consequences and risks. The person concerned may freely withdraw consent at any time.
Fluoride also accumulates in the pineal gland because this gland has the highest calcium concentration of any soft tissue in the body, with a high metabolic activity and a profuse blood supply. It is also outside the blood-brain barrier. For children, the accumulation of fluoride at an earlier age reduces melatonin production, affecting among other things puberty. More interestingly, the pineal gland is thought to be associated with spirituality and enlightenment. Might our governments wish us to be less enlightened, only able to think inside the box?
The most neoliberal countries have authorities keen on mandating fluoridation. The US, Canada and Australia have all recently pressed for mandates to fluoridate water.
The UK grants indemnity to water providers against legal liability. If this sounds like the indemnity given to vaccine manufacturers, it is because it is. And the question is why private companies, making huge profits off drugs given universally to healthy people, need indemnity from prosecution.
In countries mandating fluoride no government agency seems to accept legal liability for possible adverse health effects.
Perhaps Dr B Havlik, Minister for Health of the Czech Republic, put it best: fluoridating water is:
- toxicologically debatable.
For those readers who wish to know more about this subject, some of the above data is from the excellent book The Case Against Fluoride by Paul Connett.