Top 12 reasons to stop fluoridation

Here are our Top 12 reasons to discontinue the absurd process of fluoridation
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"After spending three years on the US National Research Council panel reviewing the damage that fluoride can do to other tissues, I am even more convinced that fluoride should be banned as a systemic drug (which includes water fluoridation) and classified as a prescription drug for topical use on teeth that only dentists can prescribe.”
Hardy Limeback, PhD, DDS
Emeritus Professor, former Head of Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto, past president of the Canadian Association for Dental Research, and Member of the 2006 National Research Council panel which reviewed the toxicology of fluoride.
  1. Fluoridation doesn’t work;
  2. Fluoridation chemicals are highly-toxic, industrial waste products;
  3. Most of the world’s population doesn’t receive fluoridation chemicals;
  4. Fluoridated countries do not have less tooth decay than non-fluoridated countries;
  5. Fluoride is a neurotoxin;
  6. Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor;
  7. Fluoride causes dental fluorosis;
  8. The dose of fluoride cannot be controlled;
  9. Bottle-fed babies receive up to 250 times more fluoride than breast-fed babies;
  10. Fluoridation is very clearly a violation of medical ethics;
  11. Fluoride is bio-accumulative;
  12. There are responsible alternatives to fluoride;
  13. (Bakers’ dozen): Fluoride has never been approved by the TGA or FDA.
1. The first and most obvious reason is that fluoride doesn’t work

At least it doesn’t work at protecting our teeth. Unfortunately it does work at providing a false sense of security which ironically may result in more tooth decay. If we believe we are protected from fluoride, as a society, we might be less inclined to reduce our sugar consumption, maintain a healthy overall diet, adhere to a disciplined and quality dental hygiene regime and of course visit a dentist regularly. These are the responsible actions that will protect our teeth. Not surprisingly they are also actions that will greatly benefit our general health.

Several major, large-scale studies clearly show that fluoride is not effective. These studies stack up against many comparatively small-scale studies (starting with the original poor-quality studies conducted in the US back in the 1940s and 1950s), heavily relied on by fluoride advocates, that are notoriously lacking in appropriate scientific methodology – especially the lack of control for confounding factors.

The 1940s theory that fluoride needed to be incorporated into the tooth enamel by swallowing it has been thoroughly discredited by both supporters and opponents of fluoridation. It is not even touted anymore by those pushing fluoridation today – at least not by anyone with any modicum of professionalism. Fluoride promoters now claim that if there is any benefit from fluoride it is only topical, i.e. via direct contact with the surface of the teeth. So why then would any responsible government force its population to ingest a toxic, non-pharmaceutical chemical substance at any dilution, especially in light of this evidence together with many hundreds of international studies showing at least potential harms of fluoride?

According to the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC, 1999, 2001), “fluoride prevents dental caries predominately after eruption of the tooth into the mouth, and its actions primarily are topical for both adults and children.” The CDC went on to say, “Ingestion of fluoride is not likely to reduce tooth decay.” The US National Research Council (NRC) also stated in 2006 that “the major benefit of fluoride is topical and not systemic”.

"Ingestion of fluoride is not likely to reduce tooth decay."
US Centres for Disease Control
2001, 2006

Further, given that around 98% of the fluoride in water doesn’t even come in contact  with the surface of the teeth and is instead ingested through the body’s organs, tissues and bones, the notion of fluoride protecting against tooth decay is actually absurd. Supporting that notion, the US National Research Council reported that saliva/fluoride levels in individuals consuming 1mg/L fluoridated water is only 0.016mg/L  which is 75,000 times less concentrated than fluoride contained in toothpaste and therefore drinking fluoridated water is completely unable to affect teeth topically. Even Colgate, the world’s largest manufacturer of fluoridated toothpaste, says that application of high-strength fluoride toothpaste twice per day will not provide 24-hour protection against decay.

Read more on the ineffectiveness of fluoride.

"the major benefit of fluoride is topical and not systemic".
"...drinking fluoridated water is completely unable to affect teeth topically".
US National Research Council
2. Fluoridation chemicals are highly-toxic, hazardous, industrial waste products

It’s quite reasonable for most Australians to assume the chemicals used in the fluoridation process are pharmaceutical grade and especially produced for the sole purpose of fluoridating our drinking water. Many people are therefore surprised if not shocked to learn that “fluoride” used for this purpose is in fact a highly toxic and contaminated industrial waste product. The substance used for fluoridation in Australia is derived from the scrubbing or removal of extremely toxic gasses produced as a by-product in the manufacture of superphosphate fertilizer. If these dangerous gasses were not scrubbed or removed they would escape into the atmosphere and decimate the environment, animals and humans, as they did in the United States in the 1940s before the process of scrubbing occurred.

"I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs. Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long-range basis. Any attempt to use water this way is deplorable."
Dr. Charles Gordon Heyd
Past President of the American Medical Association

The resulting synthetic chemical, hexafluorosilicic acid, is classified as a “Level 6” toxin. It does not undergo any further treatment or purification and is contaminated with lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury and sometimes uranium. Most of the liquid hexafluorosilicic acid and the silicofluoride powder are “produced” in Australia, but a significant quantity is also imported from China where water fluoridation is banned. The quality of these substances maybe even more dubious. Now you can see how misleading the name “fluoride” really is!

Read more about the source of fluoride.

3. Most of the world’s population doesn’t use fluoride

Many Australians also naively assume that most of the world is drinking fluoridated water. That’s not exactly the case. In this regard it is somewhat interesting that Australia’s national health advisory body, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), along with the federal and state health departments, never mention in any of their published literature on fluoridation, that less than 5% of the world’s population is still receiving fluoridated water supplies. Nor, for that matter, do they happen to mention:

  • there is a general trend of de-fluoridation worldwide. Since 1990 more than 500 communities worldwide have ended existing fluoridation programs or rejected new efforts to fluoridate;
  • around 98 per cent of Europe has ceased, rejected or banned fluoride based on the toxicity, ineffectiveness and violation of medical ethics of fluoridation;
  • China, Japan and Israel have banned fluoridation. China, India and Senegal remove fluoride from water supplies with more than 1ppm due to the significant adverse health effects;
  • major efforts are well underway in the United States to have fluoridation discontinued, with a united coalition launching a Supreme Court case against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop fluoridation in America altogether; and
  • many people in Australia, New Zealand and other fluoridated countries make concerted efforts to avoid fluoridated water by buying bottled water (a serious environmental problem) or expensive reverse-osmosis filters. These actions involve many millions of dollars and they will only become more common as more people become aware of the above facts and other information about fluoride.

Read more about the global trend of de-fluoridation.

4. Fluoridated countries do not have less tooth decay than non-fluoridated countries

It has often been claimed that fluoride is the main reason for a sustained and significant decline in tooth decay that has occurred over the last 60 years – since the process of fluoridation began. This same decline in tooth decay, however, has occurred in all developed countries, most of which have never added any fluoride to their water. In fact this precipitous decline began in the 1920s or early 1930s, well before fluoride was first added to public water supplies, probably due to improved overall nutrition and dental hygiene. Today, according to data from the World Health Organization, there is no discernible difference in tooth decay between the minority of developed countries that fluoridate their water, and the majority that do not.

Read why Europe has rejected fluoridation.

5. Fluoride is a neurotoxin

A total of 60 international studies have investigated the link between fluoride ingestion and cognitive function, specifically the effect on human intelligence. Hundreds of additional studies have investigated the relationship between fluoride ingestion and learning/memory in animals. Of these research programs, a total of 53 human studies revealed fluoride’s damaging effect via lowered IQ, while 45 animal studies found that fluoride exposure impairs the learning and/or memory capacity of animals. A comprehensive review of 27 of the human IQ studies was conducted by a team of Harvard scientists and the results were published in 2012, concluding that fluoride’s effect on the young brain should now be a “high research priority.”

Read more about the neurotoxicity of fluoride.

“Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain. The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale may be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us.”
Phillipe Grandjean
Professor of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health.
6. Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor

In 2006 the US National Research Council’s, 12-member, three-year review of all fluoride science found that extremely low levels of fluoride affect the human thyroid – between 0.05mg/kg/day and 0.13 mg/kg/day when iodine is adequate and 0.01mg/kg/day and 0.03 mg/kg/day when iodine is inadequate. The NRC said, “Several lines of information indicate an effect of fluoride exposure on thyroid function.”

This is more than a little concerning, given that most Australians will be ingesting between 1.5 and 6mg of fluoride per day and sometimes a lot more, depending on climate, volume of water consumed and other sources of fluoride. It becomes more of a concern given the significant increase in hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) in Australia, the United States and other fluoridating countries. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include depression, fatigue, weight gain, muscle and joint pains, increased cholesterol levels, and heart disease. In 2015, and for several years prior, the most prescribed drug of the year in the United States was Synthroid (sodium levothyroxine) which is a hormone replacement drug used to treat an underactive thyroid.

Read more about the effects of fluoride on the thyroid and endocrine system.

“Several lines of information indicate an effect of fluoride exposure on thyroid function.”
US Natonal Research Council
7. Fluoride causes dental fluorosis

Even fluoride promoters acknowledge that dental fluorosis is an adverse consequence of fluoridation, although (especially in Australia) they generally downplay the extent of this condition and often refer to an “optimum level” for water fluoride concentration and “achieving a balance between decay and fluorosis”. Dental fluorosis is the damage to tooth enamel directly caused by swallowed fluoride. Fluorosis occurs especially in young children while their teeth are still forming up in their gums. Dental fluorosis causes imperfectly formed tooth enamel which is more porous than normal enamel. This increased porosity leads to cloudy spots, streaks and sometimes brown stains and tooth erosion. Teeth with moderate and severe fluorosis also have very pronounced staining which can deeply disfigure a child’s smile. Ironically, fluoride is supposed to protect our teeth, when in fact any acidic substance that reduces the strength of the enamel and increases porosity may even increase the chance of tooth decay.

In 2016 the results of the 2011-2012 NHANES survey, released by the Centres for Disease Control, showed that American adolescents with any form of fluorosis had jumped to a staggering 65 per cent. Even more concerning was the huge increase in combined moderate and severe fluorosis, from 3.7 per cent previously to a massive 30.4 per cent. In some areas these rates are even higher.

In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health admits that 40% of children in NZ have some form of dental fluorosis. 

In 2017, fluoridation promoters who reviewed fluoridation for Australia’s NHMRC, claimed that children’s fluorosis rates had decreased to around 17% (16.8%) and the level of moderate fluorosis was now only 0.8 %. But do these figures really reflect the true rates of dental fluorosis and the damage fluoride is causing in Australia?

Read more about dental fluorosis and what hides behind the apparent decline in our rates of fluorosis.

“Fluoride is a slow poison, causes dental, skeletal and non-skeletal fluorosis. It affects almost all the organs in the body. Most serious is its damage to the brain. There is strong evidence that it lowers IQ in children.”
Dr. Arjun Khandare, Ph.D.
President, International Society for Fluoride Research, Director of Food Toxicology Research Centre, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderebad, India
8. The dose cannot be controlled

It is quite disappointing that fluoride promoters in Australia stubbornly continue to refer to, and focus on, the concentration of fluoride. This is yet another misleading tactic used. Concentration is the amount of fluoride (in milligrams) contained in a unit of water (litre). The acceptable concentration range in Australia is 0.6 – 1.1mg of fluoride per litre of water. However it is the dose and especially the total dose (mg/day) of fluoride that is of utmost importance. As public drinking water is used to administer the fluoride, the volume of water consumed and therefore the dose of fluoride cannot be controlled. The average person, for example, might drink between 1.5 and two litres of water per day, while a labourer or tradesperson working outdoors in Australia’s sweltering summer might consume five or six litres of water, or quite possibly more, each day. And this is just considering the fluoride delivered in water. Most canned and processed foods use mains fluoridated water in processing and therefore contain fluoride; tea is often high in fluoride; pesticides used on our fruit and vegetables are often fluoride based, various commonly-prescribed medications can also contain fluoride and of course most toothpaste contains fluoride. This multi-source exposure and total dose means that many Australians certainly are surpassing the acceptable level of fluoride ingestion.

“Fluoridating public water supplies is now demonstrated to be ineffective at preventing dental caries, to be toxic for various body systems and damaging to the development of the central nervous system. Furthermore, it is medically unethical because it is being approved by unqualified authorities, delivers an uncontrolled dose, without medical monitoring. All of this without the informed consent of recipients and without their ability to easily or cheaply avoid exposure once the fluoride is added to their drinking water.”
James Beck
MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Medical Biophysics, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
9. Fluoride and bottle-fed babies

Leading on from the issue of uncontrolled dose, we need to introduce bodyweight into the equation. Even more relevant than total daily dose of fluoride is the total daily dosage of fluoride per kilogram of bodyweight. Essentially this means that a baby, weighing only a few kilograms, is naturally far more susceptible to the same dose of fluoride as an adult. What is even more concerning is the comparison between mother’s milk, which typically contains between zero and 0.004mg of fluoride per litre, and fluoridated tap water (often used to reconstitute baby formula) containing between 0.6 and 1.1mg per litre of fluoride. This means a baby fed using fluoridated water in Australia will receive between 175 and 275 times the amount of fluoride contained in mother’s milk! And often mother’s milk has no fluoride. That’s precisely why the American Dental Association publicly warned parents in 2006, stating, “If using a product that needs to be reconstituted, parents and caregivers should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride.” This is also of particular concern in light of the findings of the Basash study (2017).

Read more on the effect of fluoride on young.

“If using a product that needs to be reconstituted, parents and caregivers should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride.”
American Dental Association
10. Fluoridation is very clearly a violation of medical ethics

The commitment taken by the international medical community to “first do no harm”, is arguably the best known element of the Hippocratic Corpus. Rather reassuringly, it provides a vital foundation for the practice of medicine worldwide. Before even considering the Precautionary Principle, which obviously applies when there is any reasonable doubt that harm might be caused, the growing body of research showing the link between fluoride and a variety of adverse health effects, is more than enough to demonstrate how mandatory fluoridation is a violation of medical ethics.

But there are more reasons that are just as violating. Administering any treatment or drug must always involve warning an individual of at least potential harms before obtaining their consent. In Australia and elsewhere neither of these obvious requirements occurs. Normally, before recommending or administering a treatment or drug, a prescription must also be given according to the individual’s specific circumstances. However, there is no consideration or regard whatsoever for those who may be more susceptible to the damage of fluoride, especially for example, infants and the young, the elderly, those with any degree of impaired kidney function, and potentially anyone with moderate to serious health issues. As previously mentioned, the dose cannot be controlled and of course the dosage must be included in an individualised prescription process.

Read more about the violation of ethics.

“First of all, it is an obvious and flagrant violation of medical ethics because it constitutes medication without consent. Second, I am a professional research scientist, have spent quite some time going through the literature on the subject, and am absolutely shocked by the dishonesty of the people promoting the practice.”
Dominic Berry
11. Fluoride is bio-accumulative

Australia’s NHMRC has publicly implied that fluoride does not accumulate in the body. And yet several studies show that around 50% of fluoride ingested does accumulate. This accumulation occurs especially in the bones and the pineal gland. In 2006, the US National Research Council also stated that fluoride concentration in bone steadily increases over a lifetime. Infants and children excrete less fluoride and up to 80% can accumulate in their bones. As the kidneys process and expel this toxin from the body, of course anyone with any form of renal disease or just impaired kidney function is likely to retain more fluoride than a healthy person. This sub population must not be ignored.

Read our response to the NHMRC regarding the bio-accumulation of fluoride.

"Fluoride concentration in bone steadily increases over a lifetime."
US National Research Council
12. Responsible alternatives to fluoride

There are several successful international dental programmes that put fluoridation to shame in every way, saving money as well as reducing pain and suffering. Countries such as Scotland, Wales and Japan have targeted programmes which include appropriate dental hygiene in schools and pre-schools, a detailed and strategic education program for parents and children, and ensuring all children are seen every 6 to 12 months by a dental professional. Dental health of children in Scotland is now superior to Australian and New Zealand. How can any responsible government continue to ignore these alternatives?

(OK we said 12 reasons, but here’s one more…)

13. Fluoride has never been approved by the TGA or FDA

Hexafluorosilicic acid or sodium silicofluoride, the two main non-pharmaceutical substances used to fluoridate public drinking water, have never been approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration or by the US Federal Drug Administration. Synthetic fluoridation chemicals are added to the drinking water for the sole purpose of providing a claimed therapeutic benefit to teeth. In other words, fluoride is added to water to treat an individual, not to treat the water itself. Chlorine, on the other hand, is used to treat the water to render it safe for consumption. And yet the TGA (which is responsible for assessing and certifying any potentially harmful substance that is used to treat any form of medical condition or disease) has specifically excluded fluoridation chemicals from its jurisdiction. Some fluoridation proponents even claim that fluoridated water is not a medication because it is similar to adding iodine to salt or vitamin D to milk. This claim, which has been made by Australia’s NHMRC and some state health departments, is not only preposterous, it is misleading and deceptive and reveals how desperate our health institutions are to defend the process of fluoridation.

The FDA has never approved the use of fluoride supplements and in 1975 it ruled that fluoride is considered unsafe to add to foods, that it is not a mineral nutrient but is a contaminant of the blood and that in water, fluoridation chemicals are an “uncontrolled use of an unapproved drug”. Also, as long ago as 1963, the FDA banned the sale of all fluoride compounds intended for ingestion in pregnant women.

In the United States the Federal Drug Administration, similar to our TGA, has also sheepishly avoided the responsibility of assessing and approving the use of fluoridation chemicals as a therapeutic substance. However, it is relevant that the FDA has never approved the use of fluoride supplements and that in 1975 it ruled that fluoride is considered unsafe to add to foods, that it is not a mineral nutrient but is a contaminant of the blood and that in water, fluoridation chemicals are an “uncontrolled use of an unapproved drug”. Also, as long ago as 1963, the FDA banned the sale of all fluoride compounds intended for ingestion in pregnant women. This decision is particularly relevant in light of the Bashash study 2017, and shows an awareness of the potential damage that fluoride could cause to the fetus more than 54 years ago!

"My own conclusion is that there are, at best, real unresolved and serious questions about the safety and benefits of water fluoridation and related uses of fluoride. The most recent evidence suggests it is not particularly beneficial, and certainly not safe. The most charitable interpretation that one can put on the situation is that old habits die hard, and the medical/dental establishment is slow to adapt to the realities of modern research, and is fearful of losing both face and law suits if they admit they made a mistake."
David R. Hill
P.Eng., Professor Emeritus, The University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada