The majority of public drinking water in America is fluoridated. However, this practice is highly controversial. Sodium fluoride is a byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry, and there's mounting evidence that it's bad for our health.
The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) is the leading voice behind efforts to remove this chemical. This group, comprised of scientists and other concerned citizens, also works to help people reduce their overall exposure. Commercial toothpaste and dental treatments are among the many ways we ingest excess amounts of this toxic ingredient.
Fluoride is also found in soda, bottled juice and some prescription drugs. So, it takes a certain level of effort to avoid it.
For at least a couple of generations, we've been led to believe that fluoride is good for us, and that it helps prevent tooth decay. Now, though, this is being called into question. Sodium fluoride is poison, and it can lead to a number of health problems, including cancer, according to FAN.
Currently, about 70 percent of cities and towns throughout the United States have fluoride in their water. But you won't find this in most of Europe, nor in many other parts of the world. The United States has the dubious distinction of being the most fluoridated nation on the planet.
Resistance to this practice is growing. If you visit the FAN website, you'll now see a list of communities in North America that have stopped using this chemical, after citizens successfully mobilized to have it removed.
The FAN Advisory Board
Founded in 2000, FAN has a team of scientists, along with an executive director named Paul Connett, PhD. There are volunteers, as well as paid employees, working toward a common goal of cleaning up the nation's drinking water.
Dr. Hardy Limeback, DDS, former president of the Canadian Association for Dental Research, is one of a number of health experts who sits on the advisory board. Some international researchers have signed on as well.
Much of the action comes at the grassroots level, as individuals and smaller groups across the country have also organized to ban fluoridation.
Anti-fluoride advocates were once considered on the fringe of society. However, that perception is changing, as groups such as FAN gain more legitimacy.
One thing that's helped is that FAN's work has been publicized in mainstream media outlets, such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
How to Reduce Your Fluoride Intake
If you're interested in finding ways to reduce your intake of fluoride, FAN has published an online guide called Top 10 Ways to Reduce Fluoride Exposure.
Heading the list is not drinking fluoridated water. If you live a community where this is added, one option is to purchase a water filter that removes this chemical. (We use a counter-top filter shown below.)
The FAN guide explains that the only types of filters that work for this purpose use either reverse osmosis technology or activated alumina. You can't rely upon a pitcher-style filter to do the job.
Although reverse osmosis units probably work best, they are expensive, and likely require a plumber to install them under the sink.
Bottled spring water is not always a good option, according to FAN, because some brands may contain significant amounts of fluoride. If you decide to buy bottled water, choose "all natural spring water." Purified water is typically drawn from the tap and filtered. This process may not remove fluoride.
What Fluoride Does to Our Bodies
Years ago, before I realized that fluoridation is a public health threat, I thought the anti-fluoride contingent needed to find another cause. In my mind, they seemed foolish to be fighting something that was supposed to be good for us.
Now, I know differently.
According to FAN, sodium fluoride is quite dangerous. Instead of helping to build healthy teeth, in sufficient concentrations, it can lead to a condition that causes the teeth and bones to deteriorate. The medical name for this is fluorosis. Actually, if you see someone with mottled teeth, it's a sign of fluoride overdose.
FAN also notes that fluoride is a highly effective pesticide, lethal to rats and mice. Although it's added to toothpaste, mandatory labels also warn against the dangers of small children accidentally swallowing too much. When this happens, parents are told to contact a poison control center.
A number of studies have uncovered evidence that fluoridated water leads to an increase in kidney disease, bone problems, digestive issues and even some types of cancer, as noted on the FAN website.
It's very well known that fluoride suppressed the production of thyroid hormones. At one time, European doctors prescribe this chemical to treat patients with hyperthyroidism.