By: Sandeep Godiyal
Fluoride, an element that is often naturally occurring in drinking water, is also added to water that contains only trace amounts of the compound. It had been espoused for years as being a solution to the problem of weak bones. In addition to its purported benefits in strengthening bones, fluoride is touted as a key element in fighting tooth decay by making the teeth stronger. This is particularly true in the cases of children.
In addition to being added to many municipal water supplies, fluoride is also added to toothpaste, mouthwashes and vitamins. Fluoride also often occurs naturally in foods, such as fish and tea. In severe cases, a dentist or other medical professional could recommend that prescription fluoride be taken on a regular basis. These prescriptions formulations are available in creams, pastes and tablets.
Fluoride and its dangers
Not everything about increasing the amount of fluoride that children ingest is positive, though. In 1988, Chemical & Engineering News ran an article that detailed the suppression of evidence that fluoride is actually a highly poisonous substance. This report cautioned that the ingestion of fluoride, especially by children, was as poisonous as lead and only slightly less harmful than arsenic. It charges that the United States Health Service has known since the 1950s that the levels of fluoride are cumulative, building up over the years that a person ingests it.
Side effects of fluoride
Numerous studies have shown that fluoride can cause a number of ills. These range from gastrointestinal woes to headaches and feelings of weakness. Individuals who are hypersensitive to its effects are particularly vulnerable. Perhaps most telling of all is a study published in March 1990 in the New England Journal of Medicine which found that treating osteoporosis with fluoride actually increases the fragility of bones and the rate of hip fractures.
Recent studies show chilling effects on children
According to a study released by the United States National Research Council, after analyzing data contained in 27 studies from around the world, researchers determined that the accumulation of fluoride within the bodies of children is associated with reductions in their intelligence. Targeting studies that focus on children living in rural China, researchers found that the results complemented earlier studies. These results showed that the children suffered a toxicity of the neurons at fluoride exposure levels significantly lower than those that can be tolerated by adults.
Some of the effects that repeated exposure to fluoride has on the brain include:
- increased aluminum uptake
- reduced lipid content
- fluoride accumulation in pineal gland
- hippocampus damage
- Purkinje cells damage
- compromised defense systems consisting of antioxidants and more.
Though more studies are needed, current research continues to deliver evidence that calls into question the safety of the continued use of fluoride in drinking water. With children’s brains developing at lightning speed, any disruption could prove to be irreparable.
About the author:
Sandeep is an mountain climber, runner, and fitness coach. He shares his tips for staying in shape and eating healthy on quickeasyfit.