For years, it has been said that fluoride has clear health benefits: it prevents cavities and encourages healthy gums. Furthermore, a healthy mouth can prevent other ills like heart disease. Yet, some feel that fluoride is not entirely beneficial. In fact, recently there have been studies revealing possible hazards of fluoride lurking in tap water. Here some of the arguments against having fluoride in tap water and why it may be dangerous.
According to nofluoride.com, there are undesirable chemicals in fluoride. Among these chemicals are heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and chromium. These toxins are all known carcinogens.
These “poisons” are said to “accumulate” in bone. In fact, one study from the New Jersey Department of Health concluded that the rate of osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, in young males was much higher than those who were not exposed to fluoridated water. Another Mayo Clinic study said when fluoride was used to treat osteoporosis, “hip fracture rate and bone fragility” increased.
Having too much fluoride in the water cause fluorosis or spots on teeth. Typically, this happens to children during the formative years of tooth development. This can happen if the child swallows too much fluoride in the form of toothpaste, drinking water, fluoride supplements or a combination. Acute fluorisis can pit teeth and cause them to turn brown.
Too Much Fluoride
Based on loss of enamel studies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency want to lower the levels of fluoride in drinking water. Currently, the recommended levels of fluoride are between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams per liter of water. The new level would be closer to 0.7.
The Other Side
There are many dentists and doctors that believe fluoride is necessary for preventing tooth decay. KidsHealth.org says that among those that are in favor of fluoride in community water sources are ” the American Dental Association (ADA), the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), the American Academy of Pediatric (AAP), and the World Health Organization (WHO).” Furthermore, the same website advocates fluoride in the water because it is “estimated to reduce tooth decay by 20-40%.”
How to Check
Regardless of your view on the dangers of fluoride in tap water, it is still important that people do not consume too much fluoride. To find out more about what is in your water, go to water.epa.gov. Many areas have water quality reports online. Additionally, you can look on your water bill for the phone number, call and ask for your water to be tested. Another option is to have a certified lab test your water.
The bottom line: be aware of what you are drinking and never assume your drinking water is safe.
Eliza Barclay Feds To Lower Fluoride Limits For Water too Avoid Tooth Damage npr.org
Michael Schachter M.D., F.A.C.A.M. The Dangers of Fluoride and Fluoridation mbschachter.com