Fluoride Toxicity - a campaign to end water fluoridation

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If you are concerned about toxicity of fluoride and health risks of water fluoridation, the Fluoride Action Network has a wealth of information on the subjects in its webpages.

Fluoride Action Network

In August 2007 the Fluoride Action Network published a joint Statement of over 600 professionals expressing concerns about water fluoridation and calling for an end to the practice.


2014 Study by Stephen Peckham and Niyi Awofeso

You can locate this study online - Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review of the Physiological Effects of Ingested Fluoride as a Public Health Intervention

Here is a precis of the conclusions:

Executive Summary:

The authors conclude that the available evidence base suggests that fluoride has a potential to cause major adverse human health problems, while having only a modest benefit to dental health. As part of efforts to reduce hazardous fluoride ingestion, the practice of artificial water fluoridation should be reconsidered globally, while industrial safety measures need to be tightened in order to reduce unethical discharge of fluoride compounds into the environment. Public health approaches for global dental health issues that do not involve systemic ingestion of fluoride are urgently needed. The authors reference 92 studies in their review.

Important Notes:

  • The study highlights the important distinction that should be made between naturally occurring fluoride (calcium fluoride CaF2) found in water supplies and added fluoride compounds (sodium fluoride NaF and fluorosilicic acid H2SiF6). It is the added fluoride compounds that this study is concluding upon.
  • The study observes that most analyses of fluoridation focus on observational epidemiological data to demonstrate effectiveness. These observational data are rarely sensitive enough to expose potential issues of harm.
  • Although fluoride, used in artificial water fluoridation, is promoted as a medicine for preventing tooth decay, it is not subject to the [strict] guidelines of medicines statutes in the nations that implement artificial water fluoridation.

Potential Areas of Harm:

COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT - All but one study reviewed by the authors suggested that high fluoride content in water may negatively affect cognitive development. The average loss in intelligence quotient (IQ) was reported as a standardized weighted mean difference of 0.45, which would be approximately equivalent to seven IQ points.

HYPOTHYROIDISM - In a 2005 study, it was found that 47% of children living in a New Delhi neighbourhood with average water fluoride level of 4.37 ppm have evidence of clinical hypothyroidism attributable to fluoride. They found borderline low FT3 levels among all children exposed to fluoridated water. The mechanisms through which fluoride exacerbates hypothyroidism include competitive binding with iodine, as well as synthesis obstruction of T3 and T4. These mechanisms ALSO explain the use of fluoride at doses above 5mg/day in the treatment of hyperthyroidism. Thus, fluoride-induced hypothyroidism is likely to be more common in iodine deficient settings. Iodine-deficient children ingesting fluoridated water have been found to demonstrate intellectual deficits even at water fluoride levels of 0.9ppm

DENTAL [and sometimes SKELETAL] FLUORISIS - Dental fluorosis, also called mottling of tooth enamel, is a developmental disturbance of dental enamel caused by the consumption of excess fluoride during tooth development. In its mild forms, fluorosis often appears as unnoticeable, tiny white streaks or specks in the enamel of the tooth. In its most severe form, tooth appearance is marred by discoloration or brown markings. The enamel may be pitted, rough and hard to clean. The spots and stains left by fluorosis are permanent and may darken over time. For example, about 41% of children in the United States, where water has been fluoridated at an average level of 1 ppm, have varying degrees of dental fluorosis—levels of over 50% in some fluoridated areas.

CANCER – The study concludes that population-based-studies strongly suggest that chronic fluoride ingestion is a possible cause of uterine cancer and bladder cancer; there may be a link with osteosarcoma— and these cancers are highlighted as an area where there is evidence of problems requiring further research. There have been a number of studies that link fluoride and cancer - more than 50 population-based studies have examined the potential link between water fluoride levels and cancer and these have been reported in the medical literature. Most of these studies have not found a strong link between chronic fluoride ingestion and cancer, in general. In a major review of the topic published in 1987, the International Agency for Research on Cancer labelled fluorides as “. . . non-classifiable as to their ability to cause cancer in humans” and that the studies reviewed “. . . have shown no consistent tendency for people living in areas with high concentrations of fluoride in the water to have higher cancer rates than those living in areas with low concentrations”. However, this review also concluded that the evidence was inadequate to draw conclusively one way or another and that the evidence linking fluorides with cancer was deemed “inadequate”. There are appeared to be a certain amount of “fudging” here!


The evidence for fluoridation associated problems regarding poor cognitive development, hypothyroidism and dental fluorosis is strong. With regard to a potential link with cancers there is quite strong evidence with regard to uterine cancer and bladder cancer and possibly osteosarcoma. The link with cancers in general is less strong but this may be due to a lack of good published studies rather than an actual lack of causality.

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