Having fluoride in our municipal water is something most of us accept without question.
Professionals have told us that it’s good for our teeth and that having it in our water saves us time and effort – less time and money spent at the dentist’s office, for example. However, recent findings are telling a different story.
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) found in 2005 that having fluoride in the water has no impact on cavity rates (See chart here: http://ffo-olf.org/usefulFluorideUseCharts.html#2). Worse than that, the presence of fluoride in our bodies can lead to or aggravate illnesses such as hypothyroidism, cataracts, arthritis, fibromyalgia, liver damage, osteosarcoma and other cancers, Alzheimer’s, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and may others, in addition to being linked to higher uptake of lead in children (Masters and Coplan, journal of NeuroToxicology).
This is because of the type of fluoride used to fluoridate our water supply – hydrofluorosilicic acid (a.k.a. hexafluorosilicic acid, hydrofluosilicic acid, fluorosilicic acid or some other synonym, chemical formula H2SiF6), which is the industrial toxic waste scrubbed from the smoke stacks of fertilizer plants extracting their phosphate from the ground in Florida. It is an environmental contaminant banned by he EPA. This acid unfortunately also contains many other detected contaminants, including lead, aluminum, cadmium and arsenic (Neil Carman, Sierra Club statement in The Austin Chronicle (Texas) – November 27, 2009).
There is a dental grade of fluoride (sodium fluoride), which has been tested and approved for dental application, once used for water fluoridation, but it is cost-prohibitive to add to our water supply.
Since we are exposed to fluoride in many places (municipal water, some processed foods, restaurant meals, pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables), it’s hard to gage just how much fluoride any given person is ingesting. This is a problem since fluoride “dosages” need to be specific to the individual.
Further to this, fluoride is best used as a topical treatment, applied directly to the surface of the teeth, and is not effective at all when swallowed (Cheng KK, et al. (2007)).
The question remains: why are we adding a drug to our water supply? And aren’t medicines best used by following a prescribed dosage? And how does one determine the amount of fluoride being ingested on a daily basis? Should a child get the same amount as an adult? There’s no control on the dose.
So why was fluoride ever added to our drinking water? Richard Foulkes, MD was tasked with researching fluoridation in British Columbia in 1973. Based on his 1900 page report and recommendations that fluoridation become mandatory, legislation was passed in favor of fluoridation for all of B.C.
However, by 1992, Foulkes had discovered that many of the statistics that he had used in his research were falsified. He announced his discovery in a statement: “I now hold a different view. …the fluoridation of community water supplies can no longer be held to be either safe or effective in the reduction of dental caries…. Therefore, the practice should be abandoned.”- Foulkes, 1992.
By November of 2008, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment also announced their opposition to fluoridation. Their full statement is accessible on their website (http://www.cape.ca).
Apart from the ethical issue of medicating municipal water and the effectiveness of fluoride in preventing cavities, there is the further issue of just how much of the fluoride that’s in the water becomes available to us. And, of course, there is a cost involved.
The City Of Ottawa spends over $400 000 per year to fluoridate our water supply. Of the fluoride that’s added to the water, less than 1% will make it’s way into our bodies. Even if the fluoride being added to the water were benefiting us, is this really the most cost-effective way to give it to those who are presumes to need it the most, children and adolescents?
Do we have better things to do with taxpayers’ money? What choices do we have if we don’t want to consume medicated water? What about the environmental impact of the fluoride that goes down the drain? These are questions that we all need to consider. Isn’t there a better use of our tax dollars?
If you feel concerned about it and would like to voice that concern, or if you’d like more information on the issue, please visit Fluoridation-Free Ottawa’s website at: http://ffo-olf.org/. and the Facebook group at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/FluoridationFreeOttawa/ and become better informed on the subject.