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Fluoride and your healthNo one questions that fluoride (F) is an important nutrient. In its bond with calcium (calcium-fluoride), it is necessary for hardening of the bone. But here we have decades-long and still unresolved controversy - at least in the U.S. - about the effects of excessive fluoride consumption resulting from its widespread use as a drinking water "supplement".
The intention of adding fluoride to the municipal water distribution systems was to ensure that the population as a whole receives enough of it, which would presumably result in stronger bone and teeth for everyone.
Growing evidence suggests that the effect is rather negative: there is
no significant benefit of increasing fluoride intake
measured by the incidence of fractures and dental cavities in fluoridated vs. non-fluoridated areas. To the opposite, too much fluoride in the bone makes it brittle and weaker, while also causing mottling of the teeth in children (beginning to occur with more than ~2ppm water fluoride level).
Worse yet, the incidence of bone cancer, and some other cancer forms, is significantly higher in fluoridated areas (for instance, incidence of osteosarcoma is 3-7 times higher in fluoridated areas of New Jersey vs. non-fluoridated).
Don't forget, fluoride is potentially very toxic. It is also a major industrial pollutant in the U.S. Estimates are that every year
more than 150,000
tons of it is released into the air, and
All this fluoride waste comes from the production of multitude of basic materials, from metals (needed, in part, by the defense industry), to plastics and fertilizers, which explains why it is not only tolerated, but both protected and promoted by the governmental agencies.
In the meantime, being non-biodegradable, it is increasingly poisoning the environment and its inhabitants. In the course of years, there was a number of fluoride-health-related lawsuits, mostly in areas where the industrial fluoride pollution is at the highest levels.
It is not only its own toxicity that can affect you. For instance, it can many times increase absorption of aluminum, potentially toxic metal to which a large number of people is highly exposed.
Nevertheless, the advocates of water fluoridation still have the upper hand in the U.S. In the meantime, most European countries have abandoned adding it to drinking water.
Fluoride DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes, the most recent set of dietary recommendations set by the government) for an average healthy adult is 2mg a day, with the safe intake up to 3.5 mg. For short-term therapeutic purposes, daily dose can be significantly higher (in excess of 50mg).
While low fluoride level can result in osteoporosis and tooth decay, elevated longer-term intake is not recommended. A number of scientific research papers indicate that fluoride can adversely affect any part of the human body.
Still, excess fluoride intake is rather common. At an average 1ppm in fluoridated water, a 1.5 liter of drinking water supplies 1.5mg of fluoride. Since the Environmental Protection Agency allows up to 4ppm in drinking water,
you may be getting up to 6mg a day -
or more - just from the water you drink.
Add to it fluoride in all the foods that are made using fluoridated water - sodas, teas, juices, wines, meat, fish, canned foods, infant formulas - each at 0.5ppm to 5ppm, approximately (source: Fluoride Action Network). Also, quite extensive fluoride use is allowed in farming (fertilizers, bone meal). Those using fluoridated salt, at 200ppm to 250ppm of fluoride, have another 1.5mg of fluoride with the average 6g daily salt intake.
Then there comes fluoridated toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.
In all likelihood, there is quite a few people in the U.S. whose daily intake of fluoride is significantly greater than the "safe" 3.5mg level. The most vulnerable are, as always, children.Fluoride is also widely present in nature in the form of calcium fluoride. Best natural fluoride food sources are sea food, plants (grains, fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts), animals and natural water.