How Safe is Your Toothpaste?

According to the handbook, Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, fluoride is more poisonous than lead and just slightly less poisonous than arsenic. It is a cumulative poison that accumulates in bone over the years. According to the Physicians Desk Reference, “in hypersensitive individuals, fluorides occasionally cause skin eruptions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, or urticaria. Gastric distress, headache, and weakness have also been reported. These hypersensitive reactions usually disappear promptly after discontinuation of the fluoride.”

From 1990 to 1992, the Journal of the American Medical Association published three separate articles linking increased hip fracture rates to fluoride in the water. In the March 22, 1990 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Mayo Clinic researchers reported that fluoride treatment of osteoporosis increased hip fracture rate and bone fragility.
97% of western Europe has chosen fluoride-free water. This includes: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland. (While some European countries add fluoride to salt, the majority do not.) Thus, rather than mandating fluoride treatment for the whole population, western Europe allows individuals the right to choose, or refuse, fluoride.

Contrary to previous belief, fluoride has minimal benefit when swallowed. When water fluoridation began in the 1940s and ’50s, dentists believed that fluoride needed to be swallowed in order to be most effective. This belief, however, has now been discredited by an extensive body of modern research (1).According to the Centers for Disease Control, fluoride’s “predominant effect is posteruptive and topical” (2). In other words, any benefits that accrue from the use of fluoride, come from the direct application of fluoride to the outside of teeth (after they have erupted into the mouth) and not from ingestion.

Adverse effects from fluoride ingestion have been associated with doses attainable by people living in fluoridated areas. For example:
• Risk to the brain. According to the National Research Council (NRC), fluoride can damage the brain. Animal studies conducted in the 1990s by EPA scientists found dementia-like effects at the same concentration (1 ppm) used to fluoridate water, while human studies have found adverse effects on IQ at levels as low as 0.9 ppm among children with nutrient deficiencies, and 1.8 ppm among children with adequate nutrient intake. (7-10)
• Risk to the thyroid gland. According to the NRC, fluoride is an “endocrine disrupter.” Most notably, the NRC has warned that doses of fluoride (0.01-0.03 mg/kg/day) achievable by drinking fluoridated water, may reduce the function of the thyroid among individuals with low-iodine intake. Reduction of thyroid activity can lead to loss of mental acuity, depression and weight gain (11)
• Risk to bones. According to the NRC, fluoride can diminish bone strength and increase the risk for bone fracture. While the NRC was unable to determine what level of fluoride is safe for bones, it noted that the best available information suggests that fracture risk may be increased at levels as low 1.5 ppm, which is only slightly higher than the concentration (0.7-1.2 ppm) added to water for fluoridation. (12)
• Risk for bone cancer. Animal and human studies – including a recent study from a team of Harvard scientists – have found a connection between fluoride and a serious form of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in males under the age of 20. The connection between fluoride and osteosarcoma has been described by the National Toxicology Program as “biologically plausible.” Up to half of adolescents who develop osteosarcoma die within a few years of diagnosis. (13-16)
• Risk to kidney patients. People with kidney disease have a heightened susceptibility to fluoride toxicity. The heightened risk stems from an impaired ability to excrete fluoride from the body. As a result, toxic levels of fluoride can accumulate in the bones, intensify the toxicity of aluminum build-up, and cause or exacerbate a painful bone disease known as renal osteodystrophy. (17-19)^

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