Fluoride, Health, and Drinking Water
The addition of fluoride to the drinking water supply began in the 1950s as a method to fight against tooth decay. Currently, 11 countries in the world have more than 50% of their population drinking fluoridated water. These include Singapore (100%), Hong Kong (100%), Brunei (95%); Australia (80%), Malaysia (75%), the Irish Republic (73%), Chile (70%), Israel (70%), United States (64%), Guyana (62%), and New Zealand (62%). This adds up to roughly 400 million people drinking fluorinated water on a daily basis.
Fluoride works by preventing tooth decay and has some anti-cavity properties. There are mixed reviews on the effectiveness of cavity prevention with fluorinated water consumption. One CDC studies indicate this cavity reduction could be upwards of 40%. Other studies by the WHO, acknowledge this effectiveness, however, when combined with other dental practices and advancements in health indicate no overall conclusive benefit. (See Image Below) The link between fluoride, health and drinking water are not as straight forward as originally presented.
Fluoride is added to drinking water at concentrations of at about 1 ppm. 95% of toothpaste, in addition to dental care products containing fluoride, such as mouth rinses, gels, and varnishes contain amounts of fluoride 10 to 1000 of that added to drinking water. This factor is attributed to the reductions in the non-fluorinated countries reductions in tooth decay displayed in the table above. When all these are used in combination the maximum safe dose can easily be reached. Overall, it’s important to learn that fluoride is as effective as a topical treatment and does not need to be swallowed to be effective.
While adverse health effects are difficult to study in isolation they could include enamel fluorosis, acute fluoride toxicity, and osteosarcoma and many others including arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disease (http://www.fluoridealert.org/faq/#). Enamel fluorosis, a discoloration of the teeth is a cosmetic issue while acute fluoride toxicity is much more serious. Other conditions are far more serious and originate from the unnecessary ingestion of fluoride. Fluoride, health and drinking water reveals alarming studies indicating higher risk of skeletal fluorosis at 1ppm level.
While certain filtration techniques may be effective at removing fluoride from drinking water, such as reverse osmosis, there is an opportunity to sign two petitions to remove fluoride in drinking water in Marin Country and throughout the U.S. Since 2010, over 70+ communities that have banned fluoridation of drinking water in their community. Keeping in mind the precautionary principle and the data indicating other methods of preventing teeth decay, Healthy Building Science strongly supports these efforts to end of the fluoridation of the drinking water supply.