by Lynn Landes, (215) 493-1070 and MariaBechis, updated July 1998

The widespread and uncontrolled use of fluoridein our water, food, juices, beverages, and dental products iscausing widespread overexposure to fluoride in the U.S.

For three consecutive years, The Journal of theAmerican Dental Association (see JADA’s Dec. 1995, July1996, July 1997) has published studies reporting on pervasiveoverexposure to fluoride due to "the widespread use offluoridated water, fluoride dentifrice, dietary fluoridesupplements and other forms of fluoride...{There is} an increasedprevalence of dental fluorosis, ranging from about 15% to 65% influoridated areas and 5% to 40% in non-fluoridated areas in NorthAmerica."

In February of 1997, The Academy of GeneralDentistry (AGD) warned parents to limit their children’sintake of juices due to excessive fluoride content.

In April of 1994, the ADA's Council onScientific Affairs approved a new Fluoride Supplementation DosageSchedule with the following cautions, "All sources offluoride must be evaluated with a thorough fluoride history ...Patient exposure to multiple sources can make proper prescribingcomplex...Caries reduction benefits must be balanced with riskfor mild and very mild fluorosis." The multiple sources forfluoride ingestion makes any assessment of patient exposure tofluoride, highly speculative.

Today, over 50% of the United States populationdrink fluoridated water. Most developed countries have bannedfluoride in water. Less than 2% of Western Europe drinkfluoridated water. In general, Americans are not warned of therisks of fluoride. Food and beverage labels do not includefluoride concentrations.

Fluoride is the only chemical added to U.S.municipal water that is used to mass medicate, rather than torender water safe to drink. It is not an essential nutrient. Ithas never received "FDA Approval"(U.S. Food and DrugAdministration). It is listed as an "unapproved newdrug" by the FDA, and as a "contaminant" by theEPA. Although fluoride can occur naturally in some watersupplies, the type of fluoride added to water is a hazardouswaste of the aluminum, uranium, and phosphate fertilizerindustries.

Fluoride accumulates throughout the body, overan individual’s lifetime. It effects all age groups withboth long and short-term harmful health consequences. Fluorosisis symptomatic of an over-exposure to fluoride. Its visiblecharacteristics are the discoloration, white flecks, or pittingof the teeth. Fluorosis can lead to decay in teeth and bone, andhas been linked to Alzheimer's, kidney damage, cancer, geneticdamage, neurological impairment, and bone pathology.

In 1993, U.S. Dept. of Health and HumanServices (HHS) stated in its Toxicological Profile on Fluoride,"Existing data indicate that subsets of the population maybe unusually susceptible to the toxic effects of fluoride and itscompounds. These populations include the elderly, people withdeficiencies of calcium, magnesium, and/or vitamin C, and peoplewith cardiovascular and kidney problems... Postmenopausal womenand elderly men in fluoridated communities may also be atincreased risk of fractures."

Is there a margin of safety for exposure tofluoride? In the 1940’s, when fluoridation of municipalwater began, the "optimal" level of exposure tofluoride for dental benefit was determined to be 1 milligram/day.Even at the 1 mg/day exposure level, 10% of the population wereexpected to contract dental fluorosis. It was estimated thatindividuals drank 1 liter of water per day. At that time, othersources of fluoride were scarce.

In 1986, the EPA set new "maximumcontaminant levels (MCLs)" for fluoride. Above 2 mg/liter"children are likely to develop objectionable dentalfluorosis" and parents must be officially notified. Above 4mg/liter, individuals are at risk of developing "cripplingskeletal fluorosis." It is against federal law to fluoridatewater above 4 mg/liter.

(U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services,Review of Fluoride Benefits and Risks, 1991). Below is a summaryand analysis of fluoride exposure levels from food, beverages,toothpaste, and mouthwash. This data indicates that dentists should no long prescribesupplements.

Fluoride Concentration in Drinking Water                          Fluoride Intake                     % Over 1 mg "Optimal"Dosage

Unfluoridated Communities   < 0.3 mg/L                                 0.88- 2.20 mg/day                                              asmuch as 120 %
"Optimally" Fluoridated       0.7-1.2 mg/L                                 1.58- 6.60 mg/day                                              asmuch as 560 %
Fluoridatedcommunities         > 2.0 mg/L                                 2.10- 7.05 mg/day                                               possible >605 %

(Table does not include: Fluoride supplements, pharmaceuticals,emissions, and workplace exposures to fluoride)

ZWA RECOMMENDATION:The FDA should be required to put fluoride through the rigorous"controlled studies" necessary for "FDAApproval." If fluoride gains FDA Approval, then it should betreated as a prescribed medication in order to prevent patientoverexposure.