An international group of dentists are warning against the effects of fluoride in our drinking water and calling attention to the dangers of water fluoridation.
On January 25th, 1945 Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city in the world to add fluoride to its public water supply in order to prevent tooth decay. Now, seventy plus years later approximately sixty-six percent of Americans are drinking fluoridated water. Yet the debate over the safety and the effects of fluoride added to our water supply continues on. On one side stands the traditional dental community and the powerful CDC and ADA (American Dental Association) organizations. On the other side stands activist groups like the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) and The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).
Dentists fight back.
While the CDC and the ADA tries to push the anti-fluoridation movement to the fringes, the IAOMT fights back with research and position papers. The IAOMT is a collective organization of over 800 dentists, research professionals and physicians in fourteen countries world wide. They advocate for “biological dentistry”. Biological dentistry is, according to their website, a “thought process and an attitude” that always seeks the “safest, least toxic way” of practicing modern dentistry. In late September, just before the start of October’s Dental Hygiene Month, the IAOMT issued a new position paper updating their stance against water fluoridation. They called for “eliminating avoidable sources of fluoride exposure, including water fluoridation, fluoride containing dental materials, and other fluoridated products.” Now with the IAOMT’s new position paper and resources available on their website a community of dentists are taking on the CDC and ADA and calling for an end to water fluoridation.
What the research says about the effects of fluoride in our water.
Organizations like FAN and the IAOMT believe research disproves the benefits of water fluoridation and proves the danger of excessive fluoride exposure. Both point out that the decrease in tooth decay over the past several decades “has occurred both in countries with and without systemic application of fluoridated water.” In one FAN article written by a former proponent of water-fluoridation he references multiple studies where children in the non-fluoridated regions had better and healthier teeth. One study he cites even found a positive correlation between fluoridated water and cavities: the more fluoride a child was exposed to the more cavities appeared.
The potential adverse effects of fluoride in our water are numerous and largely acknowledged. What’s at debate is what is the safe level of fluoride rates in our water. The EPA which sets the standards for the allowable level of fluoride in our water says it’s 4 parts per million (ppm). However, both the National Research Council and the U.S. Public Health Service have recommended much lower levels of fluoride and have warned against the dangers of the current EPA levels. The NRC found possible effects of excessive fluoride exposure include: osteosarcoma (a bone cancer), musculoskeletal effects, reproductive and developmental effects, neurotoxicity and neurobehavioral effects, genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, and effects on other organ systems. Another study that just came out last September linked fluoride exposure in utero to decreased IQ.
Is fluoride in our water safe?
The number of studies and arguments over the effects of fluoride in our water are endless. IAOMT’s position paper has over 500 citations alone. The CDC and ADA still claim water fluoridation is one of the great public health achievements of our time. Interestingly, in the 1980’s the EPA’s acceptable fluoride level jumped from 2.4 to 4 ppm. When this happened the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued the EPA over the increased fluoride level. In an unusual move the the union representing the scientists and professionals working at the EPA sided with the NRDC and filed a brief on behalf of the NRDC to oppose the new EPA fluoride levels. The union President Robert J. Carton himself at the time stated:
“Our responsibility to defend EPA professionals’ reputations and to protect public health in this situation requires us to put loyalty to the public interest and to moral principle above loyalty to persons or to [a] government department.”
The EPA’s own employees disagreed with the new elevated levels of fluoride.
Fortunately the Environmental Working Group (EWG) just came out with a tap water database. You can enter your zip code and it will show you what/if any contaminants are in your water based on municipal water quality reports. From there you can look for water filtration systems that filter out the particular contaminants in your water. The EWG drinking water report showed that drinking water is a national problem. It’s not just Flint, Michigan. Much of our country has unsafe levels of contaminants in our water.