Your Drinking Water: Understanding Why Fluoride in Water is Controversial

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Wait a minute... what's this? A significant percentage of health experts say Fluoride is bad for you? But fluoride is in toothpaste, and dentists prescribe fluoride rinses, and fluoride is even in our drinking water, isn't it? Learn why fluoride in water in controversial and decide for yourself if you are comfortable drinking water that is supplemented with fluoride or if you'd rather remove fluoride from your water.

Three Very Different Opinions on Fluoride and Health

If you perform a simple google search, you'll find health experts hold one of three views. About one third of health experts believe fluoride is only effective in preventing tooth decay if used by topical application only, and these experts will tell you that fluoride should never be consumed and therefore should not be added to drinking water. An equal number of health experts believe fluoride is ineffective in preventing dental decay and that fluoride is toxic in general and should never be added to water or used in any way. Approximately one third of health experts think fluoride in drinking water is both effective in preventing tooth decay and is safe to consume in small quantities.

Who is right and who is wrong? You can easily find studies linking fluoride to diabetes, kidney disease, tooth discoloration, male infertility and more. However, you will quickly find many studies debunking all of these health risks. Ultimately the choice is yours. Do you trust the government mandated consumption of fluoride, or do you want to remove fluoride from the water you and your family consume?

Read on to understand how it even came about that fluoride is added to public water.

Brief History of Fluoride

Fluoride is a very common mineral that naturally occurs in  the earth’s crust. In 1786, a chemist named Henri Moissan figured out how to isolate Flouride and received the Nobel prize in chemistry. However, he died shortly after receiving the honorable award, ironically dying from fluoride poisoning.

Fluoride was not even considered for dental health until 1923, when, ironically, a health expert named Frederick McCay was challenged to determine why residents in Colorado Springs, Colorado were experiencing deeply stained teeth. Many of the people suffering from this affliction had what looked like ‘dark chocolate’ covering their teeth.

A dental researcher, Dr. G.V. Black, joined McCay in the research. While Dr. Black agreed that the brown staining was unsightly, he noted that these teeth also resisted decay. As they began investigating other communities that had reported similar staining of teeth, it was determined that while fluoride was causing the brown stains, it also was strengthening the teeth.

Communities began adjusting their water fluoride levels to 1.0 ppm in 1945 in hopes that this infusion of fluoride would protect dental health without delivering adverse health effects. , the recognized level for maintaining dental care without adverse effects. By 1960 fluoride was added to public water supplies across the nation. However, concerned communities have tried to have fluoride removed from the public water supply with very limited success. It is a regular topic that is voted upon in many communities, but only Portland, Oregon has actually passed legislation to stop adding fluoride to the water.

The Truth About Fluoride

The following are facts you may find enlightening:

1. Most developed countries do not add fluoride to the public water supply. Approximately 97% of Western Europe does not supplement water with fluoride.

2. Tooth decay statistics are the same in countries that add fluoride and countries that do not add fluoride to their public water systems.

3. Fluoride consumption has been linked to lower IQs in addition to thyroid disease, arthritis, dementia and increased risk for cancer.

4. While fluoride naturally occurs in some water supplies, naturally occurring fluoride levels do not approach the levels currently added to the public water supply. Also, natural does not always mean healthy. Many naturally occurring chemicals, bacteria, etc. are toxic.

5. Fluoride becomes toxic at higher levels.

6. Fluoride has never been approved by the FDA as a dental tool.

8. Proven fluoride benefit appears to come only from topical applications (think: toothpaste), not ingestion.

Remove Fluoride from Your Drinking Water

It's actually not easy to remove fluoride from your drinking water. Most water filtration systems (like the one on your fridge or a Britta filter) will not remove fluoride. That's why we are fans of Pelican whole house water filtration systems which remove up to 96% of fluoride from water. We typically recommend this type of water filter system to homeowners concerned about toxic chlorine byproducts, fluoride and other contaminants because it is easy to maintain and very effective.

Interested in a Whole House Water Filtration System?

Give us a call to discuss how a water filtration system can improve the taste, odor, feel and safety of the water your family uses to drink, cook with and bathe in. We look forward to helping you protect your family from water quality problems!

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Article Summary

Quick question & answer: Why is fluoride in water controversial?

Fluoride in water is controversial because most developed countries do not add fluoride to the public water supply. It naturally occurs in some water supplies, but the levels currently added to the water supply are higher. Fluoride becomes toxic at higher levels and has not been approved by the FDA as a dental tool.

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