Aug 04

Dangers Of Fluoride In Drinking Water

 

Public Health Safety of Fluoride in Drinking Water

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Article by Dr. Deryck D. Pattron, Ph.D

Summary:

Fluoride is common household name. It is found in drinking water, toothpaste, mouth washes, household chemicals and cosmetics to name a few. Recent research has shown that fluoride may actually be dangerous to human health and well being. Some researchers have reported no significant difference between the use of fluoridated and non-fluoridated water with regards to reduction in tooth decay. In addition, fluoride is associated with cancer, tumor formation, skeletal fluorosis, accelerated aging and a whole range of medical conditions. It is highly questionable and of great public health concern whether the minuscule health benefits if any derived from the use of fluoride in drinking water and in other products out weights the much larger negative health effects.

Introduction:

The Problem:Fluoride has been used as an important tooth-decay fighting chemical found in water, mouth washes and toothpaste. Recently, the FDA has approved the claim on bottled water containing fluoride at a concentration of 0.6 mg to 1.0 mg per liter to include the statement that “drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of tooth decay”. But how safe is fluoride in drinking water? What is the possible health risks associated with the use of fluoride? And how effective is fluoride in preventing tooth decay? These unanswered questions further highlight the need for scientifically sound information on the possible relationship between fluoride and potential health risks.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) policy on fluoridated tap water supports the view that widespread use of fluoride has been a major factor in the decline in the prevalence and severity of tooth decay. This policy is in accordance with the UK Food Standards Agency and the FDA findings that fluoridated water may reduce tooth decay. But, these findings have been questioned recently and there now exist a growing body of information/evidence that suggest that fluoride use may in fact be dangerous to human health and does not significantly reduce tooth decay in controlled studies.

The purpose of the present study is to educate and to inform the public and consumers about the health significance with particular reference to health risks associated with the use of fluoride in drinking water and other fluoride containing products.

Agencies/bodies that provided evidence against fluoride use are:

 The National Institute of Environmental and Health in 1990 found that fluoride causes cancer.

 US Environmental Protection Agency during 1989-1993 found that fluoride does not reduce tooth decay and may cause cancer.

 The American Chemical Society in 1988 questioned the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation.

 The New England Journal of Medicine in 1990 reported the fluoride treatment of osteoporosis patients resulted in higher hip facture rates.

 Clinical Toxicology in 1984 list fluoride as being more poisonous than lead, but slightly less than arsenic.

 US CDC and The Safe Water Foundation estimated 30,000 to 50,000 deaths per year for people who consume at least 1 p.p.m. of fluoride in drinking water.

The use of fluoride has been associated with the following health conditions:

 A greater incidence of hip fracture.
 Cancer.
 Browning of teeth.
 Joint and hip pain.
 Premature hardening of arteries.
 Loss of appetite.
 Loss of sex drive.
 Increased rate of stillbirth.
 Accelerated aging.
 Immune suppression.
 Poor rate of healing and/or repair.

Symptoms of fluoride intoxication according to the United States Pharmacopoeia:

 Nausea.
 Bloody vomit.
 Faintness.
 Stomach cramps.
 Tremors.
 Constipation.
 Aching bones.
 Stiffness in joints.
 Skin rashes.
 Weight loss.
 Brown/black discoloration of teeth.

Pathophysiology of fluoride:

Fluoride is a toxin and its mode of action occurs at the both cellular and molecular level causing significant enzyme inhibition involved in biochemical, cellular and molecular processes. This serves to initiate collagen breakdown, causing immense genetic damage, and disruption of the immune system.

Fluoride at a concentration of 1 p.p.m in drinking water can lead to the generation of highly destructive free radicals such as superoxide radicals that can damage cell membranes and lead to oxidative stress resulting in a cascade of events that may prevent the migration of white blood cells into infected areas, thus interfering with phagocytosis and compromising cellular defense mechanisms. These changes lead to increased susceptibility to infections and other abnormal changes in the body. Damage to collagen, one of the body’s main structural proteins can form altered proteinaceous structures that can attract the body’s own white blood cells thus causing an autoimmune response. This process uses up the immune resources of the body and further adds to stress causing accelerated premature aging and death.

Fluoride attacks DNA or DNA repair enzymes thus reducing the rate of repair and increases the likelihood of mutations in cells, appearance of cancer, tumors, and birth defects and may even shorten life expectancy.

Conclusion:

Fluoride is a toxic chemical that has been used in many health care products. But, what is the health risk associated with the use of such products? Research has shown that chronic use of fluoride may cause demineralization of bone, browning of teeth, tumors, cancers and death. The use of fluoride in drinking water or bottled water should be re-considered in light of existing evidence. Fluoride is toxic and can significantly affect health and well being in susceptible individuals. Consumers and the general public should always adopt the precautionary principle that states that if there is likelihood that something can be dangerous to health, then it should be avoided at all cost, until proven otherwise.

References:

 A.K. Susheela and Mohan Jha, “Effects of Fluoride on Cortical and Cancellous Bone Composition,” IRCS Medical Sciences: Library Compendium, Vol. 9, No.11, pp. 1021-1022 (1981). A. K. Susheela and D. Mukerjee, ” Fluoride poisoning and the Effect of Collagen Biosynthesis of Osseous and Nonosseous Tissue,” Toxicological European Research, Vol.3, No.2, pp. 99-104 (1981). A. S. Kozlyuk, et al., “Immune Status of Children in Chemically Contaminated Environments,” Zdravookhranenie, Issue 3, pp. 6-9 (1987). Alfred Taylor and Nell C. Taylor, “Effect of Sodium Fluoride on Tumor Growth,” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, Vol. 119, p. 252 (1965). Charles Wax, ” Field Investigation Report,” State of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, March 19, 1980, 67 pages; George Waldbott, ” Mass Intoxication from Over-Fluoridation in Drinking Water,” Clinical Toxicology, Vol. 18, No.5, pp. 531-541 (1981). D. J. Newell, ” Fluoridation of Water Supplies and Cancer – An Association?,” Applied Statistics, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 125-135 (1977). D. W. Allman and M. Benac, “Effect of Inorganic Fluoride Salts on Urine and Cyclic AMP Concentration in Vivo,” Journal of Dental Research, Vol. 55 (Supplement B), p. 523 (1976). Donald Hillman, et al., “Hypothyroidism and Anemia Related to Fluoride in Dairy Cattle,” Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 62, No.3, pp. 416-423 (1979); V. Stole and J. Podoba, “Effect of Fluoride on the Biogenesis of Thyroid Hormones,” Nature, Vol. 188, No. 4753, pp. 855-856 (1960). Irwin Herskowitz and Isabel Norton, “Increased Incidence of Melanotic Tumors Following Treatment with Sodium Fluoride,” Genetics Vol. 48, pp. 307-310 (1963). J. Yiamouyiannis, Fluoride, The Aging Factor. Health Action Press, (1993). John Curnette, et al, “Fluoride-mediated Activation of the Respiratory Burst in Human Neutrophils,” Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vol. 63, pp. 637-647 (1979). Y. D. Sharma, “Effect of Sodium Fluoride on Collagen Cross-Link Precursors,” Toxicological Letters, Vol. 10, pp. 97-100 (1982). Y.D. Sharma, “Variations in the Metabolism and Maturation of Collagen after Fluoride Ingestion,” Biochemica et Biophysica Acta, Vol. 715, pp. 137-141 (1982). Y. Yoshisa, “Experimental Studies on Chronic Fluorine Poisoning,” Japanese Journal of Industrial Health, Vol. 1, pp. 683-690 (1959). J.K. Mauer, et al., “Two-Year Cacinogenicity Study Of Sodium Fluoride In Rats,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 82, pp. 1118-1126 (1990). J. David Erikson, “Mortality of Selected Cities with Fluoridated and Non-Fluoridated Water Supplies,” New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 298, pp. 1112-1116 (1978); ” The Village Where People Are Old Before Their Time,” Stern Magazine, Vol. 30, pp. 107-108, 111-112 (1978). J. A. Disney, et al., ” A Case Study in Testing the Conventional Wisdom: School Based Fluoride Mouth Rinse Programs in the USA,” Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, Vol. 18, pp. 46-56 (1990). Marian Drozdz et al., ” Studies on the Influence of Fluoride Compounds upon Connective Tissue Metabolism in Growing Rats” and “Effect of Sodium Fluoride With and Without Simultaneous Exposure to Hydrogen Fluoride on Collagen Metabolism,” Journal of Toxicological Medicine, Vol. 4, pp. 151-157 (1984). Nicholas Leone, et al., “Medical Aspects of Excessive Fluoride in a Water Supply,” Public Health Reports, Vol. 69, pp. 925-936 (1954). Proctor and Gamble “Carcinogenicity Studies with Sodium Fluoride in Rats” National Institute of Environmenrtal Health Sciences Presentation, July 27, 1985; S. E. Hrudley et al.,” Drinking Water Fluoridation and Osteosarcoma,” Canadian Journal of Public Health, Vol. 81, pp. 415-416 (1990). P. D. Cohn, ” A Brief Report on the Association of Drinking Water Fluoridation and Incidence of Osteosarcoma in Young Males,” New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton, New Jersey, Nov. 1992; M. C. Mahoney et al., ” Bone Cancer Incidence Rates in New York,” American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 81, pp. 81, 475 (1991). Peter Wilkinson, ” Inhibition of the Immune System With Low Levels of Fluorides,” Testimony before the Scottish High Court in Edinburgh in the Case of McColl vs. Strathclyde Regional Council, pp. 17723-18150, 19328-19492, and Exhibit 636, (1982). Pierre Galleti and Gustave Joyet, “Effect of Fluorine on Thyroid Iodine Metabolism and Hyperthyroidism,” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Vol. 18, pp. 1102-1110 (1958). Robert A. Clark, ” Neutrophil Iodintion Reaction Induced by Fluoride: Implications for Degranulation and Metabolic Activation,” Blood, Vol. 57, pp. 913-921 (1981).  Shiela Gibson, “Effects of Fluoride on Immune System Function,” Complementary Medical Research, Vol. 6, pp. 111-113 (1992). S. Jaouni and D. W. Allman, “Effect of Sodium Fluoride and Aluminum on Adenylate Cyclase and Phosphodiesterase Activity,” Journal of Dental Research, Vol. 64, p. 201 (1985). S. K. Jain and A. K. Susheela, “Effect of Sodium Fluoride on Antibody Formation in Rabbits,” Environmental Research, Vol. 44, pp. 117-125 (1987). T. Takamorim “The Heart Changes in Growing Albino Rats Fed on Varied Contents of Fluorine,” The Toxicology of Fluorine Symposium, Bern, Switzerland, Oct 1962, pp. 125-129. Viktor Gorlitzer Von Mundy, “Influence of Fluorine and Iodine on the Metabolism, Particularly on the Thyroid Gland,” Muenchener Medicische Wochenschrift, Vol. 105, pp. 182-186 (1963); A. Benagiano, “The Effect of Sodium Fluoride on Thyroid Enzymes and Basal Metabolism in the Rat,” Annali Di Stomatologia, Vol. 14, pp. 601-619 (1965). Vilber A. O. Bello and Hillel J. Gitelman, “High Fluoride Exposure in Hemodialysis Patients,” American Journal of Kidney Diseases, Vol. 15, pp. 320-324 (1990). W. L. Gabler and P. A. Leong,., ” Fluoride Inhibition of Polymorphonumclear Leukocytes,” Journal of Dental Research, Vol. 48, No. 9, pp. 1933-1939 (1979). W. L. Gabler, et al., “Effect of Fluoride on the Kinetics of Superoxide Generation by Fluoride,” Journal of Dental Research, Vol. 64, p. 281 (1985). W. L. Augenstein, et al., ” Fluoride Ingestion In Children: A Review Of 87 Cases,” Pediatrics, Vol. 88, pp. 907-912, (1991). http://www.all-natural.com http://www.wholywater.com Yngve Ericsson and Britta Forsman, “Fluoride Retained From Mouth Rinses and Dentifrices in Preschool Children,” Caries Research, Vol. 3, pp. 290-299 (1969).

 

About the Author

Dr. Pattron is a Public Health Scientist and Scholar.

Jul 31

Is Your Water Bottle Really BPA Free?

Think your Water Bottle is “BPA Free”? Better double check.

JULY 14, 2011

By Margot Pagan, EWG Summer Press Intern

Is your reusable water bottle aluminum? In an effort to be more sustainable and protect my health, I made the switch from plastic water bottles to my reliable metal bottle that I carry with me every day. I thought this switch was a positive change, which is why I’m a little concerned to read headlines that “Metal Water Bottles May Leach BPA.” Just when I thought I was doing something good for my health and the environment, I learn otherwise. Just my luck!
Aluminum water bottles aren’t just aluminum

The issue is that some aluminum water bottles aren’t just aluminum – they’re lined with a resin meant to prevent that bad aluminum taste in your water. Problem is, the resin is epoxy, and epoxy is made with bisphenol A, or BPA, which is a synthetic estrogen. The epoxy molecule is unstable. It comes apart and releases BPA readily into whatever it touches.

This new study from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine has discovered that switching from polycarbonate to aluminum might not protect you from BPA exposure as well as you thought. Keep in mind – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has called for parents to take action to reduce their children’s exposure to BPA. The chemical isn’t healthy for any age group: it is linked to an alarming list of health conditions – breast and prostate cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The study found that epoxy-lined aluminum bottles (including older SIGG bottles) leached BPA. But SIGG’s new linings, made of a synthetic the company calls Ecocare did not emit the troublesome chemical. Stainless steel bottles, which are unlined, were also free of BPA.

BPA is an essential ingredient of polycarbonate, a hard, clear plastic ideal for safety glasses, safety helmets and computer and cell phone houses. Until a few years ago, Nalgene water bottles were made of polycarbonate. Like epoxy, polycarbonate is unstable and, experiments show, readily leaches BPA into surrounded liquids, even cold water. Nalgene, Camelbak and some other sports bottle makers moved to a non-BPA-based plastic called Tritan. The University of Cincinnati study found bottles made with Tritan did not emit BPA.

BPA leaching by the “worst” water bottles is still less than the amount you’d get from a serving of most canned foods but still important to consider since exposures add up.

The study also examined the effects of BPA on heart muscle cells and found that increasing exposure to this estrogen-like chemical can result in potentially deadly heart arrhythmias in rodents. This finding leads the group to suggest that heart arrhythmias could be an issue for women specifically, because they already have natural estrogen in their bodies.

Does the Claim “BPA Free” Mean Anything?

“BPA free” is not a defined and consistent term, noted the study’s author Scott Belcher in an interview with Science News. For “BPA free” to have a useful meaning for consumers there should be regulations to limit its use, Belcher said.

Legislation to control BPA in food containers, especially those made for infants and children, is making its way through lawmaking bodies, with varying degrees of success.

In Maine, a bill to remove BPA from children’s products became law without the signature of Gov. Paul LePage. Now Maine’s Environmental Health Strategy Center is accusing LePage of foot-dragging and has petitioned the state Attorney General to force LePage to put the law into effect. LePage is famed for declaring that BPA is harmless, except that “some women may have little beards” if exposed to the chemical. (LePage confused it with another sex hormone, testosterone).

Meanwhile, in California, the state assembly is moving the Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act, which would bar BPA in bottles or cups intended for infants or children three years of age or younger.

So what should you do to protect your health?

– Buy a glass or stainless steel bottle without an epoxy liner.

– Examine the inside of a bottle. A golden-orange coating indicates a material that can shed BPA, while a white coating doesn’t. Contact the manufacturer to see if it has tested its product for BPA leaching.

– Don’t put hot liquids in your water bottles.

Remember, BPA is most harmful during pregnancy and early childhood. Pregnant women, babies and children should take extra efforts to avoid BPA. Check out what EWG has been saying about kid-size Klean Kanteen bottles.
Buying a water bottle might seem like a simple purchase (it should be, right?), but doing your BPA research before you buy could grant you peace of mind that your bottle isn’t leaching BPA.