Fluoride: Leading the Silent Pandemic of Neurodevelopmental Toxicity

Fluoride has been used in our water supply for decades to prevent cavities but now a widely-known medical journal has declared it a neurotoxin. Learn more here.

 

 

Photo from Flickr by seven1917.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance in groundwater and has been added to commercial brand toothpastes and approximately 70% of the public drinking water supply in the United States and other countries. The widely-recognized reason for adding fluoride to toothpaste and drinking water is that it strengthens enamel and helps prevent cavities and tooth decay.

The Holes in the Pro-Fluoride Argument

It is thought that adding fluoride to the drinking water would benefit a much larger part of the population, helping reduce the frequency of cavities and other dental health problems and thereby lowering the expense for dental care. But many countries, including China and Germany, have banned fluoride in their drinking water.

These countries believe that fluoride is harmful to the population and has a negative impact on health. What is even more interesting is that countries that have banned fluoridated water have still seen improvements in dental health while the United States has seen a decrease in dental health since the induction of water fluoridation.

According to Dr. Mercola, fluoride's predominant action occurs on the surface of the teeth, not from inside the body. The effectiveness of the fluoride on the tooth's surface has even been brought into question. The bigger question is this: why are Americans still drinking the fluoridated water for the purpose of dental health when its effectiveness, if effective at all, is supposed to be greater while directly on the surface of the teeth?

Studies have shown that it isn't the fluoride in our drinking water supply or in our toothpaste that aids in dental health…it's our diet.

Dr. Weston A. Price found native tribes who were eating their traditional diet had nearly perfect teeth and were almost 100 percent free of tooth decay. They did not have toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, or root canals and fillings. But when sugar and white flour were introduced, their health and dental health rapidly declined. As it turns out, when most people avoid sugar and processed foods, they experience low rates of tooth decay.

Fluoride: Declared a Neurotoxin

Regardless of improvements or setbacks regarding dental health, fluoride has been declared a neurotoxin. The Lancet, the world's oldest and best known general medical journal, published a review in the March 2014 issue that stated that fluoride is one of the main developmental neurotoxicants.

Additionally, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and China Medical University in Shenyang combined 27 studies and discovered strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. All but one study suggested that high fluoride content in water may negatively affect cognitive development, potentially contributing to a loss in IQ (intelligence quotient). The National Institutes of Health concluded that children in areas with highly fluoridated water have significantly lower IQ scores than children living in areas with low amounts of fluoride in the water supply.

According to Harvard University, extremely high levels of fluoride are known to cause neurotoxicity in adults, and negative impacts on memory and learning have been reported in rodent studies, but little is known about the substance's impact on children's neurodevelopment.

One of the studies by Harvard researchers, however, analyzed children's intelligence in two towns - one with fluoridated water and one without. The results revealed that about 28% of children in the low-fluoride area scored as "bright, normal or higher intelligence." Only 8% of the children in the high-fluoride area scored that high. Fifteen percent of children in the high-fluoride area had signs of mental retardation compared to only 6% in the low-fluoride area.

Interesting Facts About Fluoride and Neurodevelopment

According to Dr. Mercola, there have been over 23 human studies and 100 animal studies linking fluoride to brain damage. And the fluoride in the water supply in the United States isn't even pharmaceutical grade; it is a waste product from China's phosphate fertilizer industry.

Many people believe that the Nazis added fluoride to the water given to the Jews for the purpose of keeping them docile while in the concentration camps. However, according to PolitiFact, a fact-checking website run by editors and reporters of the Tampa Bay Times, Holocaust experts have found no evidence to support that claim.

According to a United Nations (UN) report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), up to one billion people, nearly one in six of the world's population, suffer from neurological disorders. This includes Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, strokes, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, migraines, brain injuries, and neuroinfections. Approximately 6.8 million people die of these maladies each year.

According to the UN, global statistics show that 50 million people suffer from epilepsy, 62 million from cerebrovascular disease, 326 million from migraine, and 24 million from Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

Recent years, according to the Harvard study, have seen an increase in the diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disabilities including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dyslexia.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that based on parental responses to survey questions, approximately 15% of children in the United States ages 3 to 17 years were affected by neurodevelopmental disorders in 2006 through 2008. These disorders include ADHD, learning disabilities, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, autism, seizures, stuttering or stammering, moderate to profound hearing loss, blindness, and other developmental delays.

While genetics can play an important role in many neurodevelopmental disorders, most of these disorders have complex and multiple contributors rather than any one clear cause. A combination of genetic, biological, psychosocial, and environmental risk factors may be the likely cause.

Environmental risk factors may affect neurodevelopment. These include maternal use of alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs during pregnancy; lower socioeconomic status; preterm birth; low birthweight; the physical environment; and prenatal or childhood exposure to certain environmental contaminants.

Studies have already discovered that lead, methylmercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are associated with adverse effects on a child's developing brain and nervous system, and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) concluded that lead exposure during childhood is associated with reduced cognitive function, including lower IQ and reduced academic achievement; attention-related behavioral problems including inattention, hyperactivity, and diagnosed ADHD; and increased incidence of problem behaviors including delinquent, criminal, or antisocial behavior.

The EPA has determined that methylmercury is known to have neurotoxic and developmental effects in people. In extreme cases, as seen with people prenatally exposed during two high-dose mercury poisoning events in Japan and Iraq, mercury can cause severe adverse health effects including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, deafness, and blindness.

Prenatal exposure to elevated levels of PCBs has been linked to neurodevelopmental conditions including lowered intelligence, behavioral deficits such as inattention and impulsive behavior, and deficits in learning and memory. While most of the studies found that the effects were associated with exposure in the womb, other studies have reported a link between adverse effects and PCB exposure during infancy and childhood.

So, when will the EPA recognize fluoride as a dangerous neurotoxin?

The EPA already recognizes fluoride as a dangerous toxin, but only in higher doses. Low doses, up to 20 mg per day of elemental fluoride, appear to be safe for most people, according to the EPA. Higher doses, however, are unsafe and can weaken bones and ligaments, cause muscle weakness and nervous system problems, and can cause tooth discoloration in children before their permanent teeth have erupted.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a disruptive behavior disorder, affects 11% of American children ages 4 to 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That equates to approximately 6.4 million children in the United States. The diagnosis rate has increased over the years. It has gone from 7.8% in 2003 to 11% in 2011.

ADHD can occur in several settings and more frequently and severely than is typical for other individuals. It can make family and peer relationships difficult, diminish academic performance, and reduce vocational achievement. Signs and symptoms of ADHD can be similar to those of anxiety disorders, depression, and learning disabilities.

Neurodevelopment in Children

Children are more susceptible to neurological disorders because their brain and nervous system go through a long developmental process that starts shortly after conception and continues through adolescence.

This complex developmental process requires the precise coordination of cell growth and movement. If exposed to pollutants and environmental contaminants, even with short-term exposure, this developmental process may be disrupted, potentially leading to neurodevelopmental disorders. While it may not result in a diagnosable disorder, neurodevelopmental deficits can still affect a child's achievements and behavior.

It seems that an unborn child may experience the effects of fluoride that its mother consumes or allows into her bloodstream during regular teeth brushings with a fluoride toothpaste or through consumption of fluoridated drinking water. Unfortunately, however, it is unknown just how much fluoride affects an unborn child. Many sources claim that fluoride causes miscarriages, low birth weights, and other neurodevelopmental conditions.

The Pathway to Good Dental Health

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet that avoids sugar and processed foods while getting regular dental cleanings can do wonders for your dental health. You owe it to yourself to set yourself up for success. If you are ready for a dental visit, be sure to check out Carefree Dental's dental discount plan.

Resources:

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(13)70278-3/fulltext#article_upsell

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=21689&cr=neurological#.VvCAEX0rJH0

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/fluoride-childrens-health-grandjean-choi/

http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2011/oct/06/critics-water-fluoridation/truth-about-fluoride-doesnt-include-nazi-myth/

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/Fluoride/TheStoryofFluoridation.htm

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/14/fluoride-health-effects.aspx

 

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