I cannot believe I haven’t written about water fluoridation before on this blog (I’ve just had to add a new category on the right-hand side!). Well, here goes. I thought I might as well turn a comment I left on Subrosa’s post on the subject into a post of my own.
While growing up in Glasgow in the 70s I remember there were plans to fluoridate the water, but the local opposition to this mass medication prevented it and Scottish water is still free from the poison which was given to prisoners in Nazi concentration camps and Soviet gulags because it made them docile.
More recent studies from China have shown that children growing up in fluoridated areas end up with IQs as much as ten points lower than those from non-fluoridated areas.
But strong local feelings do not necessarily influence political decisions, as we know. 200,000 people in Hampshire are about to have their tap water fluoridated, despite the majority being against it. Most of the people leaving comments show how detested the plan is.
4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use
Duraphat 5000ppm fluoride toothpaste is not intended for use in adolescents and children under 16 years of age.
This toothpaste has a high-fluoride content. Therefore, the opinion of a dental specialist must be sought before the product is used.
An increased number of potential fluoride sources may lead to fluorosis. In order to prevent the accumulation of fluoride, the total intake must be assessed before this fluoride toothpaste is ever used. Fluoride tablets, drops, chewing gum, gels or varnishes and fluoridated water or salt should be avoided during use of Duraphat toothpaste.
The toxic dose, i.e. the lowest dose at which symptoms of intoxication can be induced, is 5mg fluoride per kg body weight. Such intoxication appears in the form of digestive problems: vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain. In extremely rare cases, it can prove fatal. Where a substantial quantity of the medicinal product is ingested accidentally, the patient will need to undergo gastric lavage immediately or vomiting will need to be induced; calcium needs to be taken (large amount of milk) and the patient will need to be kept under medical observation for several hours.
According to their website, a tube contains 51g of toothpaste, so the total sodium fluoride present is 561mg. I calculate that one tube contains the minimum toxic dose for an adult weighing 17½ stone, so “in extremely rare cases” a young child would only need to swallow a small portion to “prove fatal”. So if I have done my sums right then ingesting the majority of the contents of a “normal” tube of toothpaste could be fatal to a child?
And I have known at least one person who eats toothpaste.
Of course, in the USA, Colgate and every other manufacturer of fluoride toothpaste has to carry warnings like this, even on their “normal” products:
In 2006, the prestigious National Research Council of the National Academies of Science released a 450-page review of fluoride toxicity. The report, which was three years in the making, concluded that the safe drinking water standard for fluoride (4 ppm) causes significant damage to teeth, and places consumers at elevated risk for bone damage, including bone fracture and joint pain. Because of this, the NRC recommended that the fluoride safety standard be reduced. In addition to its concerns about tooth and bone damage, the NRC identified a range of other health effects that may be associated with fluoride exposure, including damage to the brain, disruption of the endocrine system (thyroid gland, pineal gland, and glucose metabolism), and bone cancer.
Someone who emailed Subrosa mentioned fluoride in teabags. A recent study suggested that Cheaper Supermarket Teas Could Cause Fluoride Related Illnesses because: Significant differences in fluoride levels were discovered when economy black tea blends from supermarkets Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s were compared with branded black tea blends such as PG Tips, Twining’s, Typhoo; and with green tea blends including Clipper Organic leaf, Green Twining’s bags; pure blends such as Assam, Dilmah and Ceylon; and Oolong and Pu’er blends from India and Sri Lanka.
With regard to fluoride in the water supply, no “authority” has the right to mass-medicate the population, especially when most are against it. Even if it was the best thing since sliced bread, they still would have no mandate to proceed with their project.
In toothpaste, most of the public are not even given a choice at the shops. Out of the dozens of varieties at our largest supermarket, I can’t remember being able to find a single one which didn’t contain fluoride, so have had to buy it from the health food shop at X-times the price.
Fluoride in toothpaste is yet another thing most people take on trust without knowing the first thing about it. Put it in the water, though and the majority is against it. I assume people trust big corporations more than government. Is this because we know most politicians lie to us as a matter of course while corporations are run mainly by persons unknown? Do you trust those glossy TV ads with the gloriously smiley beautiful people with perfect teeth?
CORRECTION – I used the amount of sodium fluoride in my calculations rather than fluoride at 5,000ppm, so the person at minimum risk would need to be eight stone and eat an entire tube of the strong stuff to risk the possibility of death. But a small child could still potentially be at risk from eating a tube of normal fluoride toothpaste.