It may be wise to cut down on exposure to fluoride
Fluoride has been touted for a long time as being an optimal substance to use to cut down on cavities. Although concerns have arisen about the potential for toxic effects from overexposure to fluoride, it is generally added to drinking water supplies and to tooth pastes and mouth rinses. However, recent studies indicate being exposed to high levels of fluoride may be associated with adverse health effects.
FluorideAlert.org writes that fluoride is an extremely toxic substance. For example, consider there is now a poison warning that the FDA now requires on all fluoride toothpastes which are sold in the U.S. And there have been reports of tens of millions of people throughout China and India who are suffering from serious crippling bone diseases due to drinking water with elevated levels of fluoride.
A consideration of acute toxicity, or the dose which can cause immediate toxic consequences, finds that fluoride is more toxic than lead, but slightly less toxic than arsenic. In fact this explains why fluoride has long been used in rodenticides and pesticides to kill pests such as rats and insects. Furthermore, accidents which involve over-ingestion of fluoridated dental products, which includes fluoride gels, fluoride supplements, and fluoridated water, can cause serious poisoning incidents, including death.
There are also serious concerns about the possible chronic toxicity of fluoride, or the dose of fluoride that if regularly consumed over an extended period of time can cause adverse effects.Fluoride advocates claim that the safety of fluoride in dentistry is well documented and “beyond debate.” However, the Chairman of the National Research Council’s (NRC) comprehensive fluoride review, Dr. John Doull, has stated that, ”when we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this fluoridation has been going on. I think that’s why fluoridation is still being challenged so many years after it began.”
Fluoride exposure has been implicated as a cause or a contributor to various chronic health ailments. The union of scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Headquarters Office in Washington D.C. stated in 2001, “We hold that water fluoridation is an unreasonable risk.” A growing number of health professionals are beginning to share these concerns about the potential for adverse health effects from fluoride exposure.
The Technical University of Denmark has reported, "Extensive use of fluorinated substances with potentially harmful effects." There have been a significant number of scientific studies which have indicated that perfluorinated substances are carcinogenic or otherwise hazardous to health. In the Nordic countries, new per- and polyfluorinated substances are now being used to replace the ones which are known to be harmful. However, there remains a need for new detection methods and greater knowledge on their exposure and toxicity.
Many ordinary consumer goods contain fluorinated substances in various forms. It is believed that some fluorinated substances, such as the so-called perfluorinated substances, may be problematic to the environment and health. These substances are not found naturally in nature, and they are extremely persistent and accumulate in humans and animals.
A study which has been performed by a number of Nordic research institutions including the National Food Institute, shows the few toxicological data which are available indicates specific toxic effects on humans and on the environment. This study also shows that there are considerable knowledge gaps in regard to most fluorinated substances as to exact chemical composition which is used in commercial products, quantities which are produced and the extent of use in the Nordic market. A possible explanation may be protection of trade secrets of companies which are in the Nordic market.
Xenia Trier,Ph.D., a research chemist at the National Food Institute, has commented, “Currently we lack the methods to detect most of the commercially used fluorinated substances which can end up in food and the environment. Therefore, there is a need to develop such methods and to better understand the biological mechanisms behind the potentially harmful effects of various fluorinated substances." Generally, when a fluorinated substance is considered toxic, it will be substituted with
other fluorinated substances which have similar technical properties. It is necessary to test and understand the mechanisms which make fluorinated compounds toxic, so the mistake of substitution with another similar harmful chemical is not made.
There is some good news to consider in regard to concerns about toxicity of fluorinated substances. Because these substances are created by humans it is possible to decrease their use and thereby exposure to people. Stefan Posner, senior researcher at Swerea IVF AB and lead author of the Nordic study, has said, “There is a need for further regulating the use of fluorinated substances in consumer products both nationally and globally." In the meantime a heightened awareness of the potential for sometimes serious adverse health effects from overexposure to fluorinated substances should alert everyone to be cautious about too much exposure to these substances.