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What is fluoride?

The term 'fluoride' is typically used to refer to the common salts of the element fluorine. Fluorine is the 13th most abundant element in the earth's crust. It is a pale, yellow-green gas which is so reactive, that it never occurs in its free state in nature. Fluoride salts are formed when fluorine reacts with metals. Some common fluorides are:
  • Calcium fluoride (CaF2)
  • Sodium fluoride (NaF)
Where can it be found naturally?

Fluoride salts/compounds are constituents of minerals in rocks and soil. Water passes over rock formations and dissolves the fluoride compounds that are present, creating fluoride ions. The result is that small amounts of soluble fluoride ions are present in all water sources, including the oceans. Naturally occurring fluoride in water is present as calcium fluoride, varying in concentration from region to region according to the geology of the environment.

And artificially?

Artificial sources of fluoride include:
  • Manufactured fertiliser products introduced into the environment
  • Pesticides
  • Food and beverages produced in fluoridated regions
  • Fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses
  • Water through drinking and skin (dermal) absorption in fluoridated regions
  • See this link for a broader picture of fluoride sources, including baby formula, juice and teflon pans
Its also extremely toxic

Fluoride in all of its compound guises is poisonous to varying degrees. The 1984 issue of Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products lists fluoride as more poisonous than lead and just slightly less poisonous than arsenic. It has been used as a pesticide for mice, rats and other small pests. In 1991, the Akron Regional Poison Center (Ohio, USA) reported that "Death has been reported following ingestion of 16 milligrams per kilogram of fluoride." In other words, one-hundredth (1/100) of an ounce of fluoride could kill a 10 pound child and one-tenth (1/10) of an ounce could kill a 100 pound adult. The Akron Center continues: "Fluoride tooth paste contains up to 1 milligram per gram of fluoride." This means that a family-sized tube of toothpaste contains 199 milligrams of fluoride, more than enough to kill a 25 pound child. Even Proctor and Gamble, the makers of Crest, acknowledge that a family-sized (7 ounce) tube of fluoride toothpaste "theoretically, at least, contains enough fluoride to kill a small child." There are documented deaths of infants and children caused by "normal dosage" of fluoride tablets or treatments.

The human body can only excrete around half of the total fluoride intake through the kidneys. The rest gets stored in calcified tissues such as bones and teeth cumulatively throughout the lifespan of an individual.

What is water fluoridation?

Water fluoridation is the process of adding a fluoride compound to the drinking water we receive in our homes in an attempt to reduce tooth decay (dental cavities) in children. Legal levels of fluoridation vary across the globe, but the UK has adopted an 'optimum' level of 1 Part Per Million (PPM) and a maximum of 1.5PPM. This is equivalent to 1 milligram of fluoride per litre of water (mg/L) and 1.5mg/L respectively. Health Authorities may ask their water providers to fluoridate artificially when natural fluoride levels fall below the 1PPM threshold. Currently, around 10% of the UK is fluoridated.

One of the main objections to the practice of fluoridation is that its not a strategy based on scientific principles. Normally, when dealing with medication along scientific norms, you:

  • establish the maximum safely permitted total daily dose
  • establish the therapeutic dose
  • ensure that there are reasonably strict controls to prevent overdose
With fluoridation, the more water you drink, the more fluoride you receive. This is in addition to fluoride from toothpaste, food and drink and all of the other possible sources mentioned. In short, nobody can tell you your fluoride intake, without testing, and the evidence is that were all overdosing.

Where did it originate?

Water fluoridation originated in the USA. How it originated reads almost like a bad science fiction conspiracy story. The information is, however, now in the public domain, and we have a summary of it in the Worldwide section.

What can legally be put in my water ?

A good question. In the UK, the Water Industry Act 1991 listed 2 fluoride compounds permitted for fluoridation:

These chemicals may be used without specific approval in the UK, if:

  • They conform to the above standards
  • They are used in accordance with the UK Code of Practice (Department of Environment 1987)

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