Fluoride is a naturally-occurring compound that is present in water and soil. Some communities add fluoride to their municipal water supplies to prevent tooth decay in children. It is ironic that a public health measure designed to promote health has led to a myriad of deleterious health issues in children and animals. Fluoride has been implicated in dental fluorosis, ADHD and organ damage in children and kidney, reproductive and bone issues in animals.
Dental fluorosis is a condition that occurs when an individual ingests excessive amounts of fluoride during tooth formation. According to the EPA, children 8 years and younger who are exposed to excessive fluoride levels are at risk for developing pitted teeth and a range of other cosmetic effects. In mild cases, fluorosis leaves thin white lines or specks on the enamel. Severe fluorosis mottles the enamel with brown and black stains. It will also crack and pit the teeth.
Lead exposure is a well-recognized risk factor for ADHD and other neurological disorders. Children in municipalities that fluoridate the public water have higher levels of lead in their blood than their peers who live in areas with non-fluoridated water. Children who use fluoridated toothpaste and live in communities that don’t fluoridate the public water supply are also at risk. The swallowing reflex in children is not well-developed. As they brush their teeth, they can ingest more fluoride than the Adequate Intake levels set by the Institute of Medicine.
A Chinese study concluded that fluoride levels that exceed 2.0 mg per liter can cause liver and kidney damage in children. Numerous case reports suggest that switching to fluoride-free water can relieve the clinical signs and symptoms of kidney disease.
Animals that drink fluoridated water can develop debilitating health issues. Kidney damage has been detected with fluoride levels as low as one mg per liter. The most alarming case of chronic fluoride poisoning occurred at a Quarter Horse operation in Colorado. After five years of ingesting fluoridated drinking water, the horses had problems with reproduction and developed crooked leg bones. Blood test revealed abnormally low levels of thyroid gland hormone. The operation lost five horses to chronic fluoride poisoning. A post-mortem examination confirmed that the animals had chronic dental fluorosis and that the condition destroyed their tooth-supporting bone.
The Merck Veterinary Manual describes numerous adverse health issues for chronic fluoride poisoning. According to the manual, low levels can produce tooth enamel changes before skeletal signs are evident. Skeletal fluorosis accelerates bone turnover in the mandible and long bones. The animals become lame and they reduce their intake of food and water.
Fluoride is a toxic substance with serious and potentially life-threatening consequences for children and animals.
Written by Dan Jones a Health writer from London helping spread good information about keeping in tip top condition.