The Fluoride Debacle

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In a move that screamed “too little too late,” the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency announced earlier this month that they were working together to lower the amount of fluoride both suggested and allowed in drinking water.

It was their knee-jerk reaction to findings that have indicated a rise in the occurrence of dental fluorosis, the discoloration or spotting of teeth that comes with excess fluoride. Citing the addition of fluoride to everything from toothpaste to health supplements, they finally admitted that we have too much of the substance in our diets. To overcome that, HHS suggests that the chemical be added to water at a rate of 0.7 milligrams per liter of water, which is at the absolute minimum of their current standard of 0.7 to 1.2 mg.

It’s too bad that it took visual defects – we are, after all, a nation obsessed with appearance – to twist the federal government’s arm into cutting fluoride levels. Their sudden change of mind ignores the ample, conclusive evidence showing that most of the damage wreaked by the chemical isn’t of a dental nature, but is instead found deep within the body, in our bones and organs.

In her 2001 study that appeared in the May 2006 issue of Cancer Causes and Control, Elise Basin, DDS, made the discovery that osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, was most prevalent in young boys who drank from the most fluoridated water supplies. Those boys were 5.5 times more likely to develop the deadly ailment than their counterparts who ingested lower amounts of fluoride.

This past December yet another study was released – the 24th of its sort – indicating that the additive has an adverse effect on the intelligence of children. In a report for the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, Paul Connett, Ph.D. looked at Chinese populations newly exposed to fluoride and found that 28% of the children in the low-fluoride village of Xinhuai (.36 mg/L) were possessed of bright, normal or high intelligence. There, the mental retardation rate was only 6%. Conversely, in the high-fluoride community of Wamaio (2.47 mg/L) only 8% fell into the bright, normal or high intelligence category while mental retardation grew to a staggering 15%.

Fluoride also has a known effect on the thyroid. A 2008 study released by the National Research Council found that fluoride concentrates in that gland, creating numerous ailments which result from a compromised thyroid, such as fatigue, weight gain, labored thinking, low blood pressure, fluid retention, and depression.

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