Good Chemistry: Green Tips for Better Health, from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Flouride: Healthful or Harmful?

I was scanning through a breastfeeding support forum and came across something kind of scary. As you can imagine, most breastfeeding moms who would visit such a forum are pretty down on formula. I started reading an article and then I started reading the comments. I don’t normally do this as they tend to rile me up, but I found an interesting comment from a woman in Ireland.

Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe that fluoridates their water.  The mom on the forum was upset about the fact that formula is made even more inferior to breastmilk by mixing it with fluoridated water. She didn’t get into details, so I looked into it myself.

There is an interesting website about fluoride called the Fluoride Action Network (FAN).  I like this website. They cite everything.

Apparently, fluoride is not as harmful when applied topically, like with toothpaste or as a mouth rinse. Drinking it is bad for you. It does nearly nothing to save your teeth as it spends so little time in contact with the surfaces of your teeth. Internally, it decalcifies bones and teeth, causes problems with livers and kidneys, and damages sperm. In nearly all animal trials, it reduced fertility in both male and female subjects.  I guess the warning about swallowing your toothpaste isn’t unwarranted. Actually, it’s more serious than that: if a kid under the age of about 9 ate an entire tube of standard fluoride toothpaste, the fluoride could kill them. Hence the warning, mandated by the FDA, on your toothpaste:  "WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately."

All that said, I’m going to send you the CDC’s website where you can see if your community fluoridates its water. Despite the warnings about consuming fluoride from the FDA and all the studies that FAN cites, the CDC is still down with the fluoride in your drinking water.

The EPA has a webpage on fluoride and it has two recommendations for removing fluoride from your tap water: distillation and reverse-osmosis.

I feel like we’re getting mixed signals from our government. CDC thinks fluoride is neater than sliced bread, but the FDA and the EPA have warnings about it. Personally: when in doubt, leave it out (or in this case, get myself a filter to take it out).

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 at 12:37 pm and is filed under personal care products. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


2 Responses to “Flouride: Healthful or Harmful?”

  1. Bill Christian Says:

    The Fluoride Action Network is not a legitimate source of information about fluoride. It contains a great deal of untruths and partial truths used incorrectly to scare people. It is easy to scare people about their health by using big words and “studies” from unsound sources. Fluoride in the proper amount in drinking water is exceedingly safe, as determined over and over by many actually high quality peer reviewed studies. Here is an example of a partial truth used to tell a lie. “Sodium fluoride is a neurotoxin”. True. But sodium fluoride has nothing at all to do with the fluorine atoms in water. This is as crazy as saying “don’t drink water because it contains hydrogen, which is a key ingredient in deadly hydrogen peroxide”. The link below takes you to a very good article about anti-fluoride scaremongering. Elsewhere on this site, you can also read the tragic story of John Yiamouyiannis, PhD, who did the largest and most often quoted “study” before his untimely death.

  2. Stacie Says:

    Although, admittedly, I only skimmed the posts here, I didn’t see anything about the chemistry of fluoride (see the period table and fluoride’s properties) nor did I see anything about fluoride being one of the elements that will “hijack” the receptor sites in the thyroid, preventing necessary iodine from getting to its proper receptor sites (we are also lacking in iodine – perhaps explains the explosion in thyroid problems (along with mercury, bromide, and chloride contributing).

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