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The Politics of Fluoride





gandalfthegrey
I'm sure most of you have heard of Fluoride. You've probably also heard that Fluoride is supposedly good for your teeth because it helps prevent cavities.

I live in an area with fluoridated water, but I have not used fluoridated toothpaste for years.

Having looked at what evidence there exists, I believe fluoride is dangerous - it is a substance more toxic than lead, and only slightly less toxic than arsenic.

Studies show that their is no significant decrease in the rates of dental cavities.

What I am most curious about though is the politics surrounding fluoride. My European friends are skeptical of fluoride and the claims by North American dentists of cavity reduction. When I first looked into the issue, I was shocked to realize that less than 5% of the world artificially fluoridates their water.
gandalfthegrey
Are you opposed to use of fluoride?
Why do you think such a disparity exists in which areas fluoridate? For instance, in Canada the provinces of British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland fluoridate less than 3% of their water. While other provinces in Canada, such as Ontario and Alberta, have fluoridation rates over 50%. Similarly in the United States, particular regions or states have much higher fluoridation rates. 97% of Western Europe does not fluoridate their water. Neither does Japan anymore. Meanwhile, Australia is increasing fluoridation.
deanhills
I'm worried about the water of the world. The scarcer it gets, probably the more polluted it will be, so if I am to be exposed to the water for showering and cleaning, I would like the local water authorities to zap their water as much as they can. There are some ugly micro organisms that could be much more harmful than fluoride. I live in the Middle East and have not had a glass of water from a tap at all. All my drinking water is from plastic bottles, which of course have their own risks, especially when one considers the great heat during the summer when these bottles are transported without any refrigeration. Temperatures get to the late forties early fifties Celsius in mid summer. We're heading in that direction again with temperatures now getting to the early forties again. They say where we are in the Middle East we are situated close to hell? Wink
ocalhoun
Sounds like it may be another case of governments deciding they "know what's best" for the people... When what's best really is questionable, and should probably be left to the choice of individuals.

Interesting that you point out studies that show fluoride to be ineffective at its stated purpose though... I don't suppose you could provide a link to one, could you?


(Though I do disagree with the various nuts who claim the government is putting fluoride in the water to harm us on purpose- it's far more likely to be a case of misguided good intentions and rampant nanny-state-ness.)
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
(Though I do disagree with the various nuts who claim the government is putting fluoride in the water to harm us on purpose- it's far more likely to be a case of misguided good intentions and rampant nanny-state-ness.)
Agreed. Except one never knows exactly what it is. And whether the stated percentages are really the truth. How could we know? What we do know however is that too much addition of fluoride could be toxic to health. Probably best to live far away from civilization and in the mountains where there is a greater chance of health and good quality water. I would imagine that the quality of water in South Dakota has to be OK? Smile
liljp617
http://www.dhmo.org/dihydrogen-monoxide/index.html


Laughing
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
I would imagine that the quality of water in South Dakota has to be OK? Smile

The water flowing in rivers is pretty good, but the tap water is probably very similar to the rest of the country.

To tell the truth, I trust (unfiltered and untreated) water out of a mountain stream more than I trust tap water. The stream may have a few microbes... but that's what I've got an immune system for.

I generally survive on canned and bottled soda though. The simple (and cheap) kinds with no caffeine and a short list of ingredients. (Though if I'm outside after a heavy snow, I'll often eat the snow if I get thirsty.)

Would I drink water downstream of any major population center (or major agricultural area) though? Not unless I was very desperate!
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
The water flowing in rivers is pretty good, but the tap water is probably very similar to the rest of the country.

To tell the truth, I trust (unfiltered and untreated) water out of a mountain stream more than I trust tap water. The stream may have a few microbes... but that's what I've got an immune system for.

I generally survive on canned and bottled soda though. The simple (and cheap) kinds with no caffeine and a short list of ingredients. (Though if I'm outside after a heavy snow, I'll often eat the snow if I get thirsty.)

Would I drink water downstream of any major population center (or major agricultural area) though? Not unless I was very desperate!
I'm always worried about the quality of the pipes as well. If the pipes are very old and rusty, that could also not be very good for the water. I like your suggestion about soda water. I usually only have canned soda water as an accompaniment with my whiskey, but maybe I should try it out neat instead of the bottled water over here, that gets exposed to too much heat during transportation.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
I'm always worried about the quality of the pipes as well. If the pipes are very old and rusty, that could also not be very good for the water.

Iron oxide (rust) won't hurt you. (Unless perhaps it gets so bad that it's visible in the water.)
Old plastic or PVC pipes might though... and lead pipes (if you can still find any) would be horrible.
Also, I don't entirely trust copper pipes, given how they're soldered together.
Voodoocat
Code:
... and lead pipes (if you can still find any) would be horrible.
Also, I don't entirely trust copper pipes, given how they're soldered together.


You are correct about lead and copper pipes and solder. That is why all public water systems have been required to monitor copper and lead since 1991: http://www.epa.gov/leadcopperrule/

I'll pass on drinking untreated water- too many bugs and things like to swim, pee and poo in flowing water for my taste Very Happy

The risk of Cryptosporidium infection is quite high when drinking untreated water as the oocyst is found in most untreated water supples: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss189
JessieF
Couldn't one just boil untreated water. I have always heard that was a good way to kill microbes in the water. If that is the case wouldn't that be safer than tap water? : )
ocalhoun
Voodoocat wrote:

The risk of Cryptosporidium infection is quite high when drinking untreated water as the oocyst is found in most untreated water supples: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss189


Countless animals drink untreated water, (and for thousands, if not millions of years, so did humans) and they don't frequently get sick or die from it. You may have problems at first, but once the body adapts to the new water composition, it's safe enough.
nyscof
Organized dentistry is at the forefront of virtually all fluoridation initiatives. It gives the illusion that they care and are actively pursuing the dental health crisis facing too many Americans today - not from lack of fluoride but from lack of dental care. 80% of dentists refuse Medicaid patients and 130 million Americans lack dental insurance. Dentists prefer treating their water instead of their teeth.

The American Dental Association and all its many constituent dental organizations are heavily subsidized by corporations who profit from tooth decay and from the sale of fluoridated dental products. This money has made organized dentistry very rich and sadly as a result very politically powerful. They often get whatever they ask for at state legislators. Anyone who takes the time to look will find that virtually all the laws that get passed at the state level involving dentistry benefits dentists and not the people who pay the taxes. Fluoridation is no exception.

Modern science shows that ingesting fluoride is ineffective at reducing tooth decay, harmful to health a huge waste of tax payers money. People need to contact their legislators and take back their water supplies from the politics of special interest groups.

See how California dentists manipulated legislators to have their own way in getting a state wide fluoridation law passed without the knowledge of the people who will be drinking that water.

http://fluoridedangers.blogspot.com/2005/12/how-dentists-manipulate-legislators-to.html

for more info http://www.FluorideAction.Net

Fluoridation 101
http://www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof
Nick2008
I also disagree with fluoridation, people should have a choice of whether or not they want the water traveling to their homes fluoridated. The way it is now is that "Take this and use it, there's no other choice." You could use bottled water for all your brushing needs and possibly showering and bathing, if you're that concerned, but who's willing to spends hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars a year for bottled water replacing tap water on top of the bottled water you already buy to drink?

Remember, the American Dental Association (ADA) is a trade union, a lobby who's only interest is to further the economic development of the dental profession. The dental health is not in it's best interest.

But I'm wondering, if you use tap water only for brushing and showering needs, and you use bottled water for all your cooking and drinking needs, then you are ingesting tap water at a bare minimum. Fluoride is dangerous in large quantities, is it of any concern in small quantities?
nyscof
Nick - fluoride is neither a nutrient nor essential for healthy teeth. It's regulated as a drug by the food and drug administration. Like all drugs, fluoride has adverse health effects. It is possible to be harmed by just a little fluoride. since doctors aren't trained to diagnose fluoride toxicity, its hard to tell which people get problems from fluoride - from skin rahes ands stomach aches to arthritis and cancer.

Besides fluoride builds up in the body. So just consuming a little bit over a longer period of time could have consequences for some people.

The recent NRC report definitely shows that the low level of fluoride in public water supplies coupled with Americans lack of iodine can easily create thyroid problems.

Fluoride is already in many foods either naturally like tea and ocean fish, or from pesticide residues such as on potatoes and graps and because fluoridated tap water is used to make restaurant and supermarket foods. Fluoride is also a component of many medicines and air emissions.

We are all overloaded on flluoride. Some of it we can't avoid. But we don't need to have our water companies purposely adding it into our drinking water
deanhills
nyscof wrote:
We are all overloaded on flluoride. Some of it we can't avoid. But we don't need to have our water companies purposely adding it into our drinking water
Where does all of this stop however? Walk past any Kentucky Fried Fast Food place and you have to pinch your nose not to get nauseous from the rancid oil smells. Food is so mass produced these days. I have potatoes in my kitchen that have survived two months outside a fridge without sprouting. They still look exactly the same as the day I bought them. Everything is also tightly wrapped in plastic. So when I read about the fluoride, which I'm sure is right on, I just wonder where all of this is going to end collectively. It probably means we don't have much of a life expectancy these days?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
It probably means we don't have much of a life expectancy these days?


Life expectancy in developed countries -- despite the mass-produced food and added chemicals -- is still higher than in underdeveloped countries without these things.

Could it be improved? Certainly. But simply throwing away everything modern would probably not be helpful overall.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
It probably means we don't have much of a life expectancy these days?


Life expectancy in developed countries -- despite the mass-produced food and added chemicals -- is still higher than in underdeveloped countries without these things.

Could it be improved? Certainly. But simply throwing away everything modern would probably not be helpful overall.
Agreed. I'm grateful however that people are putting pressure on the water agencies with regard to the health hazard of fluoride, as hopefully that would keep them on their toes. In the meanwhile I am never sure how much fluoride I am consuming, including with the use of tooth paste. Probably a hit and miss affair.
Alaskacameradude
Interesting stuff, I was actually working on a campaign in my town to do TV spots about this very issue. On one side, the pro fluoride people, say that the amount of fluoride added is strictly controlled to limits set as 'safe' by the agency which governs these things. On the other side are people who
want NOTHING added to their water (although they seemed to ignore the fact that almost all 'city' water
has something (like chlorine) added to their water already). Personally, I live in an area with GREAT
natural water and like my water the way it comes from the stream. Grab a filter bottle at the local
hiking shop and you are set grabbing water from any of the many glacier fed rivers. But obviously,
this is not a option in many cities. I think that people becoming aware of just what things the city
puts in their water, is a good thing, because many people would be surprised just how many chemicals go into city water.
deanhills
Alaskacameradude wrote:
Personally, I live in an area with GREAT
natural water and like my water the way it comes from the stream. Grab a filter bottle at the local
hiking shop and you are set grabbing water from any of the many glacier fed rivers. But obviously,
this is not a option in many cities. I think that people becoming aware of just what things the city
puts in their water, is a good thing, because many people would be surprised just how many chemicals go into city water.
I envy you your water Alaska, is that in Alaska? I've been living so long on water from plastic bottles, wonder what damage that has to do, before we even think about looking at ingredients such as fluoride. And you are right about the chlorine. It becomes a bit ironic after that. Smile
toasterintheoven
keep yourself healthy, mentally and physically, I recently came upon a theory that fluoride accumulates in the pineal gland which may lead to depression
Aredon
toasterintheoven wrote:
keep yourself healthy, mentally and physically, I recently came upon a theory that fluoride accumulates in the pineal gland which may lead to depression
There's been lots of theories thrown out. I recall one of them being that fluoride, in general, made populations less aggressive when it was in their water supply. The postulate was that the government allowed it as a means of slight control of the population. Of course, this was likely skewed by the conspiracy-theory opinion that wrote it, but I'd be interested to hear more.

I have personally avoided fluoride toothpastes for years, and I usually insist that my water be filtered through reverse-osmosis where possible. Mostly based on the chemistry of it.

Quote:
Fluorine is not an essential element in the diet. Sharpless and McCollum
[1933] proved that fluorine-free diets were better for teeth formation, in rats, than
diets containing relatively small amounts, e.g. 0005 %, of fluorine. The occurrence
of fluorine in drinking waters, to the extent of more than about two parts per
million, is now recognised as the cause of that condition known as "mottled
teeth." Such teeth show either a dull opaque chalky appearance or characteristic
unsightly brown stains on the enamel. A more detailed description is to be found
in a paper by Ainsworth [1933].

source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1266462/pdf/biochemj01077-0114.pdf
ocalhoun
Aredon wrote:
There's been lots of theories thrown out. I recall one of them being that fluoride, in general, made populations less aggressive when it was in their water supply.

Have any experiments been made to test this hypothesis?

Given a modest budget, it wouldn't be too hard to investigate the short-term psychological effects of fluoride... and even long term affects could be studied, given cooperative participants.
Aredon
ocalhoun wrote:

Have any experiments been made to test this hypothesis?

Given a modest budget, it wouldn't be too hard to investigate the short-term psychological effects of fluoride... and even long term affects could be studied, given cooperative participants.

You know I can honestly say I don't remember if there's been any research toward that effect. I remembered reading it in an article somewhere. It could just as easily be a false claim as a true one (since I'm quoting it as hearsay).

I'll poke around on google this afternoon or tomorrow and see what I can find, and then let you guys decide whether or not it's legitimate. Smile
Edit: here's one about hypoactivity, which I'd say is about the same as "less aggressive".
Quote:
The study basically found three things. First of all, that if you put sodium fluoride in the drinking water of young animals, that with time - meaning a period of weeks in a rat's lifetime - they would develop changes in their behavioral patterns. And that pattern change was a hypoactivity pattern. They became slower, 'couch potatoes' if you like. But it was definitely a hypoactivity pattern. And it had a specific pattern to it which was very, very strikingly similar to the pattern that I had seen in substances or drugs that they used to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia in children, which clinically cause IQ deficits. And when I saw that specific pattern... that I was getting when I exposed animals to radiation or chemotherapy and steroids... that was very striking.

So, that was one thing - in young animals that were exposed, they became hypoactive.

I also found that if I started the exposure at a little later age, I would get the same pattern, but I would get it at a blood level of fluoride that was lower, even, than the young animals. So it suggested that, in particular females, that the older animal was more susceptible to this fluoride in the drinking water.

source: http://www.fluoridealert.org/mullenix-interview.htm

Water fluoridation by geographic location.

source: http://www.infowars.com/world-fluoridated-water-map/
standready
Very interesting subject. I am glad I have my own well so no fluoride in my water. Previous home had a well also. I am sure there are small amounts of toxins in my water like most other water. I do my best filter the water.
deanhills
standready wrote:
Very interesting subject. I am glad I have my own well so no fluoride in my water. Previous home had a well also. I am sure there are small amounts of toxins in my water like most other water. I do my best filter the water.
That sounds like a fantastic dream to me. I would love to have a borehole with natural water. I've been living on plastic bottle water for much too long, and I'm almost certain that some of the chemicals do leach into the water. Especially where I am. As those plastic bottles get transported on the back of trucks in the worst of heat. One can sometimes smell "plastic" in the water.

We had a very good water supply when I was a kid, I think the quality of water is enormously important in health. Maybe even more important than quality of food. That and good quality air to breathe.
c'tair
We could compare a few stats to see if that thing is true - check out the statistics for suicide, depression, dental problems per capita of two countries where one uses and the other doesn't use fluoride.

Also, just to point out - fluoride is JUST AS TOXIC as any other element. If you ingest too much sodium, you will die, if you ingest too much chloride, you will die, if you ingest too much sodium chloride - you will die. It's as simple as that.

And I don't see people attacking table salt saying that it's toxic - it's toxic as hell since we use it to preserve food because it kills all the microorganisms, that's how toxic it is.
deanhills
c'tair wrote:
And I don't see people attacking table salt saying that it's toxic - it's toxic as hell since we use it to preserve food because it kills all the microorganisms, that's how toxic it is.
Completely agreed. Although just like your reference to fluoride, salt is only really toxic if it is taken in excess, ditto fluoride. The worst part for salt I think is that it is very acid forming. If one does not eat a lot of acid forming cooked foods, then some salt is probably good, as a too alkaline system is not good either. But there is probably enough natural salt in certain foods without having to add lots of it.

I don't mind a touch of fluoride as that may up my chances with being able to rely on uncontaminated water. But in excess, like with the salt, it can not be that good. I sometimes wonder how we can ever ensure that we get just the right balance of minerals, as each body is different from the other. Some of us can be sensitive to fluoride, others seem to be quite OK. And ditto salt. Smile
standready
deanhills wrote:
I've been living on plastic bottle water for much too long, and I'm almost certain that some of the chemicals do leach into the water. Especially where I am. As those plastic bottles get transported on the back of trucks in the worst of heat. One can sometimes smell "plastic" in the water

That has to suck, dean. Here in the States, we have been warned about certain types of plastic bottles that contain Bisphenol A (BPA). Yet, the government has done little to nothing to stop it's use.
So many people here still buy those individual bottled waters and ignore the warnings. Not only that - it is expensive.
deanhills
standready wrote:
That has to suck, dean. Here in the States, we have been warned about certain types of plastic bottles that contain Bisphenol A (BPA). Yet, the government has done little to nothing to stop it's use. So many people here still buy those individual bottled waters and ignore the warnings. Not only that - it is expensive.
It does suck! Smile I am probably overdue for packing up and moving so I guess that good quality water should be on top of my list for my next home. Still have to figure out where that is to be. Maybe I should take off a few months in between jobs so I can go and have a good look. Guess the best place would be one with a mountain, regular rain fall, not too developed, wonder whether there is a nice place in South America? Or an island not too far from civilization? Maybe Cyprus or Malta .... probably need to go check out those places ....
standready
deanhills wrote:
... probably need to go check out those places ....

I was thinking about Costa Rica for myself as a getaway. Still close enough that I could drop back into the States for visit.
deanhills
standready wrote:
deanhills wrote:
... probably need to go check out those places ....

I was thinking about Costa Rica for myself as a getaway. Still close enough that I could drop back into the States for visit.
Do they have good potable water there? How does Costa Rica do with Hurricanes?
ocalhoun
c'tair wrote:

And I don't see people attacking table salt saying that it's toxic - it's toxic as hell since we use it to preserve food because it kills all the microorganisms, that's how toxic it is.


One major difference is that salt is a required part of one's diet.
You'll die if you don't eat enough salt, but you can live just fine without fluoride.
Bikerman
Hmm, fluorine is a necessary trace element in the diet. I'm not sure if fluoride would replace it (fluoride is the ion of fluorine)...
SonLight
If I remember right, early studies showed that people who grew up in areas with natural flourides in the water had few cavities, however the flouride also tended to stain the teeth. I don't know that they made much of an effort to check for negative health effects of the natural flourides.

Unfortunately, the flouride additives tend to be more toxic than the natural ones. While there was thought to be some benefit to growing children from flouridation, there was clearly no benefit to the majority of the population.

Bikerman, I don't remember the amounts involved, but I suspect that the amount of flouride needed to reduce cavities is many times the amount needed for human nutrition. I think some of the highest levels of natural flouride was something like 800 parts per billion, but my memory might be faulty.
Bikerman
Well, fluorine is used by the body to bind with calcium, so it is important for bone and tooth formation.
I think you are probably correct - the amount needed by the body is tiny, and I'm not even sure that Fluoride can actually replace fluorine...
Aredon
ocalhoun wrote:

One major difference is that salt is a required part of one's diet.
You'll die if you don't eat enough salt, but you can live just fine without fluoride.

Quoted for truth. Cool Couldn't agree more.
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