A few years ago, before I dove into a more natural lifestyle, my husband said something to me that I'll never forget.
I had just come home from the grocery store, when he reached into a bag and pulled out a box of toothpaste. He then said:
"I'm not using this."
At the time,I was penny pinching, and probably got whatever no-name brand that was on sale. But really, isn't all toothpaste the same?
Then he clarified. He said it wasn't the brand he was concerned about.
"This shit is poisonous, and we're not using it anymore."
I thought he had lost his mind.
"Honey, it's toothpaste. It helps keep our teeth clean and prevents them from rotting out of our head. It's not poisonous!"
I brushed off his "conspiracy theories" about how the government is dumping toxic waste into our water supply. I rolled my eyes at the idea that we, as parents were being told to expose our children to something (twice a day) that could actually cause neurotoxicity.
Fluoride is safe and necessary. Right?
If you're parent, you would do ANYTHING to protect the safety and health of your children.
You buy the best car seats, make your kids eat their vegetables, slap sunscreen on them, and make sure they're brushing those pearly whites (even if it means bribing them with candy, or so I've heard).
And I'm sure at some point your dentist, mother-in-law, or Crest commercial told you that in order to maintain good dental health, fluoride should be included in your toothpaste.
The push for healthy gums and teeth has even found it's way into our drinking water, by the purposeful dumping of Fluorosilicic acid, Sodium fluoride, or Sodium fluorosilicate in 40-60% of ALL water in the United States.
However, we aren't getting the whole truth.
About a year ago, I kept coming across articles from Natural News, Dr. Mercola, and Natural Society about the "dangers of fluoride", and I decided maybe there was something to the 'craziness' that my husband was spewing.
I have to say that I was SHOCKED by what I learned. I couldn't believe that a country which prides itself on being ahead of the curve in human rights, could knowingly subject its people to such a toxic substance. Especially one that is used in rat poison and insecticides.
Here are 6 Facts About Fluoride that FLOORED me:
1. 97% of all European countries have chosen NOT to fluoridate their water.
I could be wrong, but living in this information age I would assume that
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland all have access to the SAME scientific data as the U.S.A. which exposes the dangers of fluoride. So why are WE not following suit?
3. Fluoride has no medical benefits from being swallowed.
I think anyone who reads the side of a toothpaste tube would agree with this assumption. Since we are warned "do not swallow" and to call Poison Control if more than what is used for brushing is ingested, why is a steady stream of this stuff in our drinking water OK?
The FDA and many scientific journals have concluded that fluoride is NOT essential for healthy human growth and development.
4. In 2006 the American Dental Association stopped supporting the use of fluoride on babies.
But I guess the rest of our children are fair game. After studies were published pointing to dental fluorosis (a cosmetic defect) in babies exposed to fluoride and evidence that it can cause damage to a developing brain (which extends past infancy) they decided to withdraw their support of its use.
5. Ingestion of fluoride has more risks than benefits.
In order to make an informed decision, about anything, you must have ALL the facts and determine if the potential benefits outweigh any possible side effects.
When applied topically to human teeth (not ingested), fluoride does create a protective layer. However, according to a recent study published in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal, Langmuir, this layer is "at least 10 times thinner than previous studies indicated. The scientists question whether a layer so thin, which is quickly worn away by ordinary chewing, really can shield teeth from decay...".
Here is a partial list of harmful side effects associated with the consumption or use of fluoride:
- Lowers IQ in humans and impairs learning and memory in animals.
- It is an endocrine disruptor, causing damage to the thyroid gland, which can lead to loss of mental acuity, depression and weight gain
- It diminishes bone strength and can increase fractures.
- The Harvard School of Dental Medicine has found a connection between fluoride and a serious form of bone cancer (osteosarcoma).
- Many studies have suggested that fluoridation of community water actually causes kidney disease.
No really. I thought this one was a little far-fetched too. But the reality is fluoride is a hazardous waste by-product from aluminum, steel, fertilizer factories, and coal burning power plants.
Previously, companies like Cargill disposed of this chemical waste by burning it off through a factory smoke stack, allowing it to pollute the air. But, current government regulations prohibit them from removing fluoride in this manner.
The companies were presented with two options: Pay millions of dollars to have the waste properly disposed of, OR get paid by our cities and towns to slowly dilute it into our drinking water, therefore minimizing the environmental impact.
I'm sure you can guess which route they chose.
"It is illegal to take this fluorosilicic acid and bury it in the ground or dump it in rivers or streams in this country, but it is perfectly legal to sell it to cities that drip it into the water supply with the intended purpose of it being ingested by human beings." (source)What's even scarier is that over 90% of the agents used in US fluoridation schemes are not pharmaceutical grade sodium fluoride, on which nearly all of the toxicological testing has been performed.
Instead, it is industrial grade hexafluorosilicic acid obtained from the air pollution scrubbing systems of the superphosphate industry (e.g. Cargill Fertilizer).
It just seems crazy to me that fluoride is still used for ANYTHING involving human consumption, considering that, "At doses of 5 to 10 grams for an adult, or 500 mg for a child, fluoride poisoning can damage major organs and cause death." (source)
Luckily, there are products on the market that will clean our teeth, without possibly poisoning us.
You can find many different fluoride-free brands in your local natural food store and even in some grocery store chains.
We also live in a home out in the country, which means we can get water from our well, not from a city. But for those towns and families who aren't so lucky, there are a growing number of organizations helping to ban the use of fluoride in public water systems.
This post is by no means a complete account of the history and issues surrounding fluoride. My intention, as always, is to give you a taste (no pun intended) of the information available, so that YOU can make the best decisions for your family.
For more information about fluoride, check out the documentary, The Great Culling: Our Water. You can view the first 33 minutes here.
Did you have any idea about the dangers of fluoride? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.