Since the 1940’s, fluoride has been introduced to municipal drinking supplies across the country. Approximately 67.1% of the US population receives fluoridated water for the purpose of reducing cavities.
Flouride prevents cavities by binding to tooth enamel, making the tooth more resistant to acid attack from bacteria. As a result, fluoride is often included in toothpastes and other oral hygiene products.
How much is too much?
Fluoride is added to public water supplies at an average concentration of about 1 part per million (1 ppm). To put this in perspective, imagine 4 drops of fluoride per 55 gallon barrel of water. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends the optimal fluoride level should be 0.7 milligrams per liter of water.
If you take that same 55 gallon barrel and add another 4 drops of fluoride (2 ppm), you would have exceeded CDC recommended safe levels of fluoride in drinking water.
Too much fluoride can lead to many problems. For children up to eight years old, overexposure to fluoride can lead to a condition known as dental fluorosis: leading to subtle lacy white marking or spots on teeth. Severe cases can result in stains ranging from yellow to dark brown, surface irregularities, and pitting. Fluorosis affects nearly one in four Americans aged 6 to 49. Of these cases, only 2% are considered ‘moderate,’ while only 1% are considered ‘mild.’
Skeletal fluorosis is another condition related to excess fluoride exposure. This condition can occur at any age, and involves a hardening of the bone. This reduces bone elasticity, resulting in an increased risk of fractures.
Toxic exposure levels to fluoride may lead to lower IQ scores in children, according to a Harvard meta-analysis of children in areas of highly fluoridated water.
People with kidney disease may be at greater risk of fluoride toxicity, as the kidney is responsible for preventing fluoride from accumulating in the body. This increased accumulation may damage the kidney itself, as fluoride is highly concentrated in the kidneys.
Take Control of Fluoride Exposure
Overexposure of fluoride is often the result of inappropriate use of fluoride-containing dental products such as toothpaste and mouth rinses. Children may swallow these products on accident or on purpose. This is why it’s important to follow instructions on toothpaste labels, ensuring that children use only the proper amount for their size, and spit it out when finished.
Other causes include taking a higher-than-prescribed amount of a fluoride supplement or taking a fluoride supplement in combination with fluoride-fortified beverages or fluoridated water.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is released into the water table and aquifers via rocks and soil. Certain areas in the US and throughout the world have a naturally high concentration of fluoride that can reach toxic levels. In Colorado, for example, the effects of fluoride on teeth were first discovered in the early 1900’s when Dr. Frederick McKay investigated a condition known as “Colorado Brown Stain.” Children of the Pikes Peak region of Colorado suffered from stained, cracked, and pitted teeth. It was later discovered that the Pikes Peak region had a high concentration of naturally occurring fluoride in their drinking water.
For this reason, it’s very important for homeowners to test their well water for fluoride levels and take the appropriate measures to filter their water or arrange for water from other sources.
Even EPA regulated public water suppliers may be a source of overexposure to fluoride. Public water in the US is regularly monitored for fluoride levels. Water suppliers must take steps to reduce fluoride levels if the exceed the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 4 ppm. The supplier is required to notify customers within 30 days of violations to MCL. This leaves a window of time where overexposure may occur without notification.
We recommend that homeowners have their water regularly tested for fluoride and other contaminates. For those with elevated levels of fluoride, beyond the CDC and EPA recommendations, an appropriate water filtration system may be warranted. We offer stoneware water filtration crocks that utilize Aquacera Cerametix filters, rated to reduce fluoride by 85%, in addition to reduction of bacteria, heavy metals, VOC’s, pesticides, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and other contaminates.
It is important to note that with any carbon filtration system, contaminate reduction will slowly diminish over time, which is why it is recommended to change your filter on a regular basis.
Facts about Fluoridation: http://www.livescience.com/37123-fluoridation.html
Basic Information about Fluoride in Drinking Water: http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/fluoride.cfm
Community Water Fluoridation, CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation
Harvard Study Confirms Fluoride Reduces Children’s IQ: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/fluoride_b_2479833.html
Fluorosis, WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/children/fluorosis-symptoms-causes-treatments
Is Fluoride in Private Wells Causing an IQ Decline? http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-fluoride-in-private-wells-causing-an-iq-decline1/
Fluoride as a cause of kidney disease in humans: http://fluoridealert.org/studies/kidney07/