Fluoride: Friend or Foe?

It's more toxic than lead, red dye no. 3 or the pesticide Alar, and only slightly less toxic than arsenic — and it's probably been added to your drinking water. In 1945, American municipalities began treating public water supplies with fluoride compounds in a process called fluoridation.

For more than 50 years, health agencies including the Public Health Service and the American Dental Association have promoted the dental health benefits of fluoridated water. The Centers for Disease Control estimated that by the end of 1992, 62 percent of the U.S. population connected to public water supplies received fluoridated water. At the same time, researchers have warned that too much fluoridated water may cause weakening of the bones, muscles, joints and tooth enamel, as well as cancer and poisoning.

Fluoridation proponents argue that the amount of fluoride in drinking water supplies is kept below harmful levels. However, fluoride accumulates in human tissues; the combined amount of fluoride from toothpaste, fluoridated water and pesticide residues found in foods and beverages may be exposing millions of Americans to potentially toxic levels of fluoride.

Ironically, the National Treasury Employees Union — representing employees at the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) headquarters — has asked the EPA to provide unfluoridated water to its employees. One press release from the union stated, "Our opposition to drinking-water fluoridation has grown, based on the scientific literature documenting the increasingly out-of-control exposures to fluoride, the lack of benefit to dental health from ingestion of fluoride and the hazards to human health from such ingestion." The statement added that continued governmental endorsement of fluoridation and pushing for more exposure to fluoride "is irrational and irresponsible at best."

— Mike Ligouri

What can you do?

Contact Citizens for Health at 800-357-2211 or visit its website at www.citizens.org for more information about this topic.

Legislative news is provided by Citizens for Health, a national grassroots organization committed to expanding and protecting consumer natural health choices.

Photography by Joe Hancock