U.S. finally admits there is too much fluoride in water

Mild dental fluorosis

Excessive fluoride consumption may lead to dental fluorosis – a condition characterized by splotchy teeth.

Water fluoridation – once considered one of the 20th century’s greatest accomplishments in public health – is now admitted to be a cause for concern by U.S. government officials, dentists and scientific researchers, alike.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced, last Friday, plans to lower the amount of fluoride in drinking water after recent scientific research revealed an increase in levels of fluorosis in young children. Fluorosis is a condition characterized by tooth streaking or spottiness due to excessive fluoride consumption; in most cases it is mild and hardly noticeable, and poses little cause for concern, but in extreme cases, teeth may actually be pitted by the mineral. While fluoride has been found to reduce the risk of cavities, too much of it can lead to dental fluorosis, or worse, skeletal fluorosis, a condition characterized by brittle bones, increased bone fractures and crippling bone defects. (For more information on the water fluoridation controversy, see our most recent article, “All About Water Fluoridation” – a comprehensive collection of educational resources centered on the issue of fluoride in drinking water.)

Fluoride ingestion also occurs when toothpaste is swallowed. Though most children swallow minimal amounts while brushing, over time it adds up. Fluoride may also be found naturally in certain foods. Health officials are finally recognizing that the mineral is more accessible now than it was when water fluoridation first began; adding it to municipal drinking water supplies, therefore, may  not be as necessary as was once thought. Fluoride is now being called “too much of a good thing.” (You know the saying… “everything in moderation… even moderation.”)

The standard amount for fluoride in drinking water, since 1962, has been a range of 0.7 ppm in warmer climates to 1.2 ppm in colder climates where less water is consumed. The new standard would be set at 0.7 ppm regardless of climate. The maximum allowable amount of fluoride is currently 4 ppm. The EPA is reviewing whether to lower this number; however, opponents of fluoridation claim that even 2 ppm is too much.

While water fluoridation may have been a success in the 20th century, the 21st century may soon announce a new victory – the reduction of fluoride in municipal drinking water – a policy that will enable us to live longer, healthier lives; and when we finally do see our graves – an inevitable fate caused by none other than old age – we will do so while flashing a healthy, white, unspotted toothy smile.

If you have not yet done so, please vote in our poll to the right of this post!

Say No to Drugs in our Drinking Water

Studies claim that adding drugs to drinking water could result in cognitive enhancement for the long-term betterment of society. This hypothesis has its roots in the successful fluoridation of water now hailed by some as a “tremendous human advancement.”

More recently, studies are showing that adding trace amounts of lithium to the public drinking water supply could limit suicides. This drug, which is normally used to combat bipolar disorder, some say could do for suicide what fluoride did for cavities.  According to the studies, communities with naturally lower levels of lithium in their drinking water have higher suicide rates than those with higher lithium levels. Scientists claim that the levels in fortified water are too low to be of any harm to humans. However, this claim has also been made about water fluoridation, in spite of the evidence that links fluoride to neurological defects, blindness, bone cancer and thyroid problems.

Opponents of water enhancement argue that lithium is far more dangerous than fluoride. Conspiracy theorists also claim that adding drugs to drinking water could result in a population much like that envisioned in Aldous Huxley’s famous novel Brave New World. Huxley predicts a future dictatorship in which the mass medication of society renders people complacent with slavery and less likely to revolt against the political regime. Whether or not this is likely to occur, we must consider that the automatic fortification of drinking water – with fluoride, lithium, or any other chemicals – is an infringement on the right of humans to give informed consent to medical intervention. Proponents of mass medication say the opposite – suggesting that our right to lithium-free water is no greater than our right to lithium-enhanced water, and that those opposed to it can simply drink bottled water (which opens up an entirely different can of worms…).  What do you think? Should the government add fluoride, lithium, or any other drugs to our drinking water? Vote on this issue in our latest poll!