We have been brought up to believe that fluoride is not only good for us, but necessary.
Dentists promote it as a way to keep our teeth healthy and strong. It’s in practically every brand of toothpaste on the market and almost every US city and town adds it to their water systems in an effort to ensure good dental hygiene—at least that’s what we are told (1).
But is fluoride really safe?
Unfortunately, it depends on who you ask.
Fluoride is among one of many controversial additives in our food and water that studies show is not as healthy as we are led to believe. In fact, fluoride is downright dangerous, especially for children.
Have you ever wondered why there are implicit warnings on your toothpaste tube about allowing young children to use it? The reason is that fluoride can cause an array of serious health issues, and is even more poisonous than lead (2).
When it comes to fluoride, it’s not typically acute poisoning from a single high-level incident that causes concern for health advocates. It’s the continuous ingestion of the lower levels we are subjected to in our drinking water, whether we want it or not. And if you think that using bottled water is safer, think again. A vast number of bottled waters contain fluoride, even when all other additives are removed.
Did you know that close to 97 percent of the world does not add fluoride to their drinking water?
You heard that right -the US is one of the only countries that subjects people to fluoridated water. Why? We are told it is because fluoride is necessary to prevent tooth decay but the truth, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is that there is actually no real difference in the amount of tooth decay in developed countries compared to those that do not add fluoride to their water.
Any decline in tooth decay in the US in the last 60 years, is comparable to that in all developed countries. Better hygiene, fluoride toothpaste, and improved diet are the biggest determinants of declining tooth decay—not fluoride added to drinking water.
So, why is fluoride still being added to your water?
Interestingly, while fluoride is added to water to supposedly prevent tooth decay, this concept is based on an incident that occurred in the early 1900s, which ironically, also reveals the dangers of excessive fluoride in water.
In 1901, Frederick McKay, a recent dental school graduate, opened a practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Upon arriving in the pristine town, he quickly noticed that the majority of the people who had grown up in the town, had distinct brown stains and splotches on their teeth, some as dark as chocolate, and even covering the entire tooth.
At a loss for the phenomenon that did not appear in neighboring townsfolks, Dr. McKay persuaded the Colorado State Dental Association to bring Dr. Green Vardiman Black, a renowned dental researcher at the time, to the 1909 convention where McKay presented his findings on the subject, which included a study by the Colorado Springs Dental Society showing that almost 90 percent of the city’s locally born children had signs of the brown stains. Even more surprising was that fact that while the teeth of the Colorado Springs’ population were badly discolored, they oddly enough, lacked any decay. Intrigued, Black agreed to look into the matter further and the two men began what would ultimately take decades to unravel, although their research would become the cornerstone of modern day fluoridation beliefs.
After years of theories and testing, it was revealed that the water source for the town contained natural fluoride. And while the fluoride prevented tooth decay in the population, the high levels in the water also caused a condition known as fluorosis, which is characterized by extreme discoloration of the tooth enamel (3).
Ultimately, researchers determined that by adding fluoride to the public water system, they could prevent widespread tooth decay. Today, studies show that fluoridated water is directly or indirectly responsible for 40 percent of all cases of fluorosis (4).
Despite this and other studies that reveal the other negative effects caused by fluoride, as of 2012, it was still being added to 74.4 percent of all drinking water sources in the United States (5).
How Does Fluoride Affect You?
While the vast majority of the population is led to believe that consuming fluoride (as we do in our drinking water), only affects your dental health, research clearly shows fluoride is “an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels (6).
Currently, there are more 300 studies linking fluoride to brain damage (7). Many of these studies even show fluoride can cause lower IQ in children. It’s true: a study by Harvard University researchers in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that children who live in areas with highly fluoridated water have “significantly lower” IQ scores than those who live in low fluoride areas (8).
Because of this and other studies, many well-respected dentists currently advise parents not to use fluoridated water in baby formula.
In general, fluoride is linked to (9):
- Increased lead absorption
- Disrupted synthesis of collagen
- Hyperactivity and/or lethargy
- Muscle disorders
- Thyroid disease
- Bone fractures
- Bone cancer (osteosarcoma)
- Inactivation of 62 enzymes and inhibition of over 100 others
- Inhibited formation of antibodies
- Genetic damage and cell death
- Disrupted immune system
- Damaged sperm and increased infertility
- Increased tumor and cancer rate
Fluoride proponents claim fluoride is a naturally occurring substance found in many areas across the US, as such, it must be safe. But not every natural substance is safe. Many of the world’s most deadly poisons are “natural:” Botox, arsenic, mercury, polonium, snake and other animal venoms, just to name a few (10).
And even if this logic was true, the fluoride added to most drinking water supplies is not the naturally occurring type. Shockingly, it is fluorosilicic acid, which is a waste product resulting from the phosphate fertilizer industry. A powdered version of this chemical called sodium fluorosilicate and sodium fluoride is more toxic than rat poison. It is heavily contaminated with toxins and heavy metals, including arsenic, lead and cadmium, as well as a number of radioactive materials (11). Another form of fluoride used is hydrofluoric acid, which is a compound of fluorine and is a chemical by-product of aluminum, steel, cement, phosphate, and nuclear weapons manufacturing (12).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many bottled water products contain fluoride, which is either naturally occurring or that is added in an effort to “prevent tooth decay.” (13)
And if you think you can simply read a label to see if, or how much fluoride any given bottled water contains, you are mistaken. “The FDA does not require bottled water manufacturers to list the amount of fluoride on the label unless the manufacturer has added fluoride within set limits.”
The regulatory agency further adds that the onus is on consumers to contact manufacturers and ask them about the fluoride content of a particular brand. The CDC does say, however, that any bottled water that is labeled as “de-ionized, purified, demineralized, or distilled” has been treated in a way that leaves zero to trace amounts of fluoride, unless it is specifically listed as an added ingredient.
Other studies show the majority of bottled water is simply water, which means it undoubtedly contains fluoride (15). Further, bottled water is often used as an ingredient in other beverages, like diluted juices or flavored waters, in which case any fluoride would not be listed, leaving consumers unable to determine if the products they purchase contain fluoride.
And if you consume “sparkling water,” “seltzer water,” “soda water,” “tonic water,” or “club soda,” these drinks are not considered “bottled water” under FDA’s regulations. As “soft drinks,” the rules regarding fluoride amounts do not apply (16). Once again, the onus lies on the consumer to find non-fluoridated beverages, which can be hard, especially when companies are not required to list it in many cases.
To help you better navigate the mass of fluoride-contaminated bottled waters, here is a list of brands that currently contain this dangerous ingredient.
Companies that Sell Fluoride-laced Bottled Water
- Belmont Springs
- Crystal Rock
- Crystal Springs
- Deer Park
- Diamond Springs
- Hindley Spri
- Ice Mountain
- Kentwood Springs
- Mayer Bros.
- Mount Olympus
- Nursery Water
- Poland Spring
- Pure Flo
- Puritan Springs
- Sierra Springs
How To Protect Yourself
The safest way to assure you and your family are drinking fluoride-free water is to invest in a water filtration system, either as a whole-home system, or portable filtration system that can filter smaller amounts.
If you must purchase store-bought bottled water, there are some companies that guarantee their water is low in fluoride or fluoride-free.
Here they are:
- A Better Water
- Agromas Natural Mineral Water
- American Fare
- American Star
- Aqua Fresca
- Aqua Panna
- Aqua Pure
- Aquarius Natural Mineral Water
- Arbor Springs
- Arlington Springs
- Aquafina Water
- Aqua Systems
- Aqua Von
- Artesian Wells
- Augusta Medical – Daniels
- Badger Water
- Besco Pure Premium Drinking Water
- BIOTA Colorado Pure Spring Water
- Black Berry Farms
- Blue Ice Natural Mineral Water
- Callaway Blue
- Century Springs
- Chippewa Spring Water
- Citi Stop
- Classic Selection
- Clearly Arctic
- Clear Mountain Spring Water
- Clover Company Limited
- Cold CountryCohutta Mountain Spring Water
- Cowboy Squeeze
- Crowne Plaza Drinking Water
- Crowne Plaza Natural Mineral Water
- Cruel Jacks Spring Water
- Crystal Mountain Spring Water
- Crystal Point
- Crystal Ridge
- Crystal Spring Natural Spring Water
- Culligan Water
- Dakota Splash
- Deep Rock
- Deep Rock Crystal Drop
- Deep Rock Fontenelle
- Deja Blue
- Desert Quench
- East Phils
- Eco Quest
- Equatorial Natural Mineral Water
- Essentia Water
- E Water
- Family Pantry
- Famous Ramona Water
- Flowing Springs
- Food Club
- Founders Square Bank
- Fresh Brands Artesian
- Fresh Brands Distilled Water
- Fresh Brands Drinking Water
- Fresh Market
- Glacier Bay
- Glen Summit Springs Water
- Glen Summit Distilled Water
- Glenwood Inglewood
- Gordon Food Service
- Great Bear
- Great Value
- Hidden Valley Natural Mineral Water
- Hillcrest Distilled Water
- Hillcrest Drinking Water
- Hillcrest Spring Water
- Hilton PJ Natural Mineral Water
- Hinckley Springs
- Hi-Sprint Drinking Water
- Hi-Sprint Natural Mineral Water
- Hog Wash
- Hon Less Natural Mineral Water
- Ice Jam
- Istana Natural Mineral Water
- Joe Muggs
- Joe Ragan’s Pure Water
- Junior Johnson
- Just Squeezed
- KLGCC Natural Mineral Water
- Kroger Bottled Water (Reverse Osmosis)
- Krystal J Artesian Water
- Krystal J Distilled Water
- Leroy Jenkins Ministries
- Logansport Savings Bank
- Masafi Pure Natural Mineral Water
- Mercurio Produce
- Mesra Drinking Water
- Mesra Natural Mineral Water
- Misty Mountain
- Monadnock Mountain Spring Water
- Mountain Energy
- Mountain Forest
- Mountain Valley Spring Water
- Mutiara Natural Mineral Water
- Nantze Springs
- New Frontier Bank
- Niagra Mist
- Nicolet Distilled
- Northern Illinois University
- Oasis Pure Drinking Water
- Oasis Sparkling Water
- Ogallala – Clear Cool Water
- OUI Drinking Water
- OUI Natural Mineral Water
- PaigesParmer Pure H2O
- Patriots Choice
- Pelangi Natural Mineral Water
- Penta Ultra Premium Purified Drinking Water
- Piggly Wiggly
- Polaris Water
- Pristine Natural Artesian
- Purely Sedona
- Quick Stop
- Rain Soft
- Refresh Natural Mineral Water
- Reiser Drinking Water
- Request Foods, Inc.
- Rip Time
- Roundy’s “Purified Water”
- Safeway – Refreshe
- Sam’s Wine & Spirits
- San Faustino Natural Mineral Water
- San Pellegrino
- Santee Springs
- Scheopner’s Water
- Sequoia Springs
- Silver Creek Purified Water
- Silver Creek Spring Water
- Sky Drinking Water
- Smart Water
- Snow Valley
- Stator Bros. Markets
- Summit Mountain
- Summit Springs
- Summit Valley
- Teton Mountain Lodge Spring Water
- United Dairy Farmers
- Vitamin Water
- Veta Drinking Water
- Whistler Water
- Whole Foods 365
- Woodland Spring Water
- Wyoming Machinery “Catipillar” Spring Water
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