Interview by SafBaby Founders Sandra Blum and Samantha Fox Olson

Interview with Carol S. Kopf, Media Officer at the Fluoride Action Network (FAN)

SafBaby: What kind of fluoride is being used to fluoridate drinking water?

FAN: Silicofluorides

SafBaby: What are silicofluorides?

FAN: Silicofluorides are waste products of the phosphate fertilizer industry which are dumped, unpurified, into drinking water and allowed (by NSF International, the regulatory body over water additives) to have trace amounts of lead, arsenic, mercury and other toxins present.  (Download the NSF fact sheet).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) fluoridation page explains:

Community water systems in the United States use one of three additives for water fluoridation, based on cost of product, product-handling requirements, space availability and equipment.

  • Fluorosilicic acid: an aqueous solution used by most water fluoridation programs in the United States. Fluorosilicic acid is also referred to as hydrofluorosilicate, FSA or HFS.
  • Sodium fluorosilicate: a dry additive, dissolved into a solution before being added to water.
  • Sodium fluoride: a dry additive, typically used in small water systems, dissolved into a solution before being added to water.

Over 91% of US fluoridating communities use the first two listed. The shorthand for both is silicofluorides because they contain silicon and fluoride. However, the CDC’s site says that all three are derived from the phosphate fertilizer industry.

fluoride-from-industry

By Combustion2016 (Own work)[CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Fluoride In Drinking Water Comes From Hazardous Waste!

SafBaby: Does fluoridated toothpaste contain silicofluorides or calcium fluoride? Is one less harmful than the other?

FAN: I don’t think I’ve seen fluoridated toothpaste that contains either. The following are FDA approved for toothpaste and topical application (not ingestion):

  • stannous fluoride;
  • sodium fluoride; and
  • sodium monofluorophosphate (MFP)

Even natural fluoride can be harmful to people. See what it’s done to the people of Nalgonda, India here.

“Fluoridation is not about children’s teeth, it is about industry getting rid of its hazardous waste at a profit, instead of having to pay a fortune to dispose of it.”

How To Reduce The Intake Of Fluoride For The Well Being Of Babies and Children

SafBaby: What can parents do to reduce the intake of fluoride at home besides purchasing a reverse osmosis or other fluoride-removing water filter?

FAN: I am not a physician but this is my opinion: AVOID fluoridated water and toothpaste or any other obvious fluoride sources. Breastfeed infants and/or use ready-to-feed infant formula. Use fluoride-free bottled water if necessary.

Fluoride varnishes contain a hugely toxic 26,000 parts per million fluoride. Some parents may want to avoid them even though dentists are applying varnishes as soon as baby teeth erupt. Even though most of the varnish sticks to the teeth, some fluoride gets absorbed into the system anyway.

Check food labels for mechanically deboned meat. Meat separated by machines from the bone invariably gets fluoride-containing bone dust into the finished product. Mechanically deboned chicken, such as some chicken baby foods and formed meats such as vienna fingers and McNuggets have unexpectedly high fluoride contents.

Parents should become familiar with the USDA Fluoride Database (see our chart below) to learn how much fluoride is in the foods they give their children daily. They might want to rotate foods in and out of the diet with the fluoride content in mind. Fluoride is also at high levels in tea and fish. Boiling water concentrates fluoride and doesn’t eliminate it.

“It’s hard to believe but the US Food and Drug Administration has never safety tested fluoride for ingestion. Fluoride was grandfathered in before the 1938 law requiring drug safety testing. Pre-1938, sodium fluoride was sold solely as a rat poison. The FDA regulates fluoridated toothpaste as a drug. Look at the warning on the back of the tube.

Feed children organic produce because fluoride-containing pesticide residues remain on many foods. As a result, some non-organic grape juices have a very high fluoride content. If juices and other beverages are made or reconstituted in a fluoridated area they will probably contain fluoride. It’s a good idea to call the manufacturer to find out.

Chart Showing Common Foods Containing High Amounts Of Fluoride

Click on this link to access the chart from the USDA National Fluoride Database of Selected Beverages and Foods.

Fluoride Exposure From Bathing And Humidifiers

SafBaby: Can a high amount of fluoride get into my child’s body by bathing and showering with fluoridated water?

FAN: I have never seen studies to show how much fluoride gets absorbed from bathing and showering. But it makes sense to assume fluoride does get absorbed and inhaled via baths, showers and cold mist humidifiers with fluoridated water as it has been reported that fluoride is inhaled from ocean mist. (Ocean water contains 1.4 ppm fluoride)

Are There Safe Limits Of Fluoride Exposure For My Child?

SafBaby: How much fluoridated water is too much for my baby or toddler?

FAN: This is a question you should ask the CDC or the American Dental Association. We advocate NO FLUORIDE.

According to the National Academy of Sciences and reported by the American Dental Association, adequate intake of fluoride to avoid moderate fluorosis (yellow teeth) is:

— 0.01 mg/day for 0 to 6-month-olds
— 0.5 mg/day for 7 through 12 months
— 0.7 mg/day for 1 to 3-year-olds

Mild fluorosis is white spots, lines or blotches to the teeth. So most parents would probably want less fluoride than the above.

By Matthew Ferguson 57 (Own work)
CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

While ingested fluoride was thought to reduce cavities when fluoridation began in the 1940’s, modern science shows that ingested fluoride confers no benefits, delivers risks and that fluoride gets into tooth enamel by topical means alone which means swallowing fluoride makes as much sense as drinking suntan lotion to prevent sunburn.

It’s hard to believe but the US Food and Drug Administration has never safety-tested fluoride for ingestion. Fluoride was grandfathered in before the 1938 law requiring drug safety testing. Pre-1938, sodium fluoride was sold solely as a rat poison. The FDA regulates fluoridated toothpaste as a drug. Look at the warning on the back of the tube.

SafBaby: I wash salads with fluoridated tap water and sometimes cook pasta with it. I am worried that my child is getting too much fluoride.

FAN: I agree. That is all part of your child’s daily fluoride intake. This is one of the main reasons water fluoridation should be stopped whether or not one agrees about its beneficial effects. Some people will cook their pasta, rice and other absorbent foods with fluoride-free bottled water.

How to Find Out How Much Fluoride Is In Your Public Drinking Water

SafBaby: What states do not supplement tap water with fluoride?

FAN: They all do to different extents. You can find that information here.

Silicofluorides As Toxic As Arsenic and Lead

SafBaby: I read this statement by George Glasser below. Is this true?

“Only calcium fluoride occurs naturally in water; however, that type of fluoride has never been used for fluoridation. Instead what is used over 90 percent of the time are silicofluorides, which are 85 times more toxic than calcium fluoride. They are non-biodegradable, hazardous waste products that come straight from the pollution scrubbers of big industries. If not dumped in the public water supplies, these silicofluorides would have to be neutralized at the highest rated hazardous waste facility at a cost of $1.40 per gallon (or more depending on how much cadmium, lead, uranium and arsenic are also present). Cities buy these unrefined pollutants and dump them–lead, arsenic and all–into our water systems. Silicofluorides are almost as toxic as arsenic, and more toxic than lead.” (George Glasser, Journalist, St. Petersburg, FL, “Fluoridation: A Mandate to Dump Toxic Waste in the Name of Public Health,” July 22, 1991.)

FAN: Fluoridation is not about children’s teeth, it is about industry getting rid of its hazardous waste at a profit, instead of having to pay a fortune to dispose of it.

George Glasser is an expert on that issue. But I think it’s become more complicated than that. Calcium fluoride is what’s found in nature. However, as I said earlier, people have been harmed from naturally fluoridated water, see here.

SafBaby: Which countries do not fluoridate their tap water?

FAN:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Northern Ireland
  • Norway
  • Scotland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Only about 10% of England’s and Spain’s population has fluoridated tap water as well as some parts of Ireland.

What You Can Do To Protect Yourself and Your Family

Invest in a water filter that removes fluoride. This Crystal Quest Countertop Replaceable Triple Fluoride Water Filter System is one option.

Find out more about fluoridation. The Fluoride Action Network website contains a wealth of information. To find out how you can get involved, visit their page on Taking Action.