Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Clean Drinking Water: Part One

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Read PART TWO here.

As the mother of a child with food allergies, I am hypersensitive about the things that go into her mouth.  Reading labels and asking questions (and asking again) is my mode of operation.  Can you relate?  I am also convinced that my daughter, along with many other individuals with food allergies, is more sensitive to things in food and beverages such as preservatives, additives, pesticides and the like.  

While many of my daughter’s symptoms resolved once we figured out what she couldn’t eat, some still linger.  That keeps me always on the lookout for other things that could potentially be disrupting her system.  This vigilance is what led me to discover the alarming information circulating about the fluoride added to our drinking water.

While this information is relatively new to me, I realize the controversy over water fluoridation has been around for a long time.  And controversy is the right word.  It seems a rather heated battle rages over the merits versus the dangers.  After doing a good bit of research, I am quite disturbed that such an untested and potentially dangerous substance has been forced on us and our children for so long.  I feel so strongly about this that I want to share what I’ve learned with as many people as possible.  I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions, but here are some of the facts that led my husband and I to install a reverse osmosis water filter on our kitchen sink.

Lacking Evidence of Safety:  The chemical used in most fluoridation programs - silicon fluorides - are hazardous waste products from the phosphate fertilizer industry.  The U.S. EPA officially characterizes it as such.  It has been shown to  increase leaching of lead from brass fittings (on pipes) and increase the uptake of lead into children's blood.1  The FDA calls fluoride an "unapproved drug", meaning that it has not gone through rigorous trials to establish either its effectiveness or its safety. 2  Although the CDC, the ADA, and many other professional bodies promote and endorse fluoridation, none accept responsibility for any damages that may occur.3

Lacking Evidence of Effectiveness:  According to studies, there is no significant difference in the number of dental carries between communities that fluoridate their water and those that  do not.  The recent consensus is that fluoride's benefit comes from putting fluoride on teeth, not from ingesting it.

Unethical/Poor Medical Practice: It is unethical to add anything that can be called a drug into the public's drinking water.  Good medical practice requires the use of informed consent before any drug can be administered to an individual, let alone an entire group of people.  I don't recall being asked if I'd like to consume fluoride.  Then there's the issue of dose.  With fluoride added to tap water, there is no way to control how much individuals are consuming.  Babies and adults should not be given the same dose of vitamin C or tylenol so why should they be given the same amount of fluoride?  And what about the petite woman who drinks 8-10 glasses of water a day vs. the larger man who drinks less?  If fluoride were a safe and effective drug, surely the dose would need to be customized based on the age and/or size of the individual.  Of even greater concern are the warnings now issued on some local water authority websites suggesting parents not prepare their infant's formula with fluoridated tap water.

Evidence of Harm:  Although the studies done exploring the harmful effects of fluoride have not all been conducted as double-blind clinical trials, neither have the studies promoting it as safe and effective.  There is a heavy weight of studies pointing to probable (and even definite) harm caused by oral fluoride intake.  Here are a few.
Dental Fluorosis - Have you ever noticed either white or brown speckles on someones teeth?  That's caused by fluoride (both me and my food-allergic daughter have this).  In moderate to severe cases, the discoloration of the enamel comes with pitting and brittleness.4  This also happens in the bones and is known as skeletal fluorosis.  One study showed a link between the severity of dental fluorosis and the frequency of bone fractures in children.5
Thyroid Function - Did you know that prior to water fluoridation, doctors commonly prescribed fluoride in cases of hyperthyroidism?  And it worked.  Although there are no definative studies proving this, the studies that do exist suggest that fluoride alters thyroid function by elevating TSH and altering T4 and T3 concentrations.6  This effect can happen at very low doses of fluoride similar to what a small child would consume by drinking one to two glasses of water fluoridated at 1 ppm (the usual amount added to tap water).7  This one bothers me a lot, considering the large number of people who are dealing with hypothyroidism.  A thyroid depressant is the last thing they need!
Melatonin and the Pineal Gland - Okay, this one is the biggie in my eyes!  Melatonin (the hormone responsible for the quality of sleep, among other things) is produced by the pineal gland.  In addition to sleep, melatonin has an affect on the onset of puberty, with low melatonin levels triggering early-onset puberty.  Guess what!  Fluoride accumulates in the pineal gland and likely reduces melatonin production.8  Could this be why girls in the USA are experiencing puberty so much earlier than their mothers and grandmothers did?  There is mounting evidence that points to this fluoride-early puberty connection.  This one also hits home for me since my daughter's recent blood tests showed that she has a very low melatonin level. This matches up with her symptoms of poor quality of sleep and daily fatigue.  This may or may not be related to fluoride, but its got me wondering. 
There's more.  But don't take my word for it.  Please do a little research on your own.  To get you started, check out FluorideAlert.comNoFluoride.com as well as the book The Case Against Fluoride (which surprisingly I found at my local library).

What can you do about it?  You can let your opinion be known by signing this online petition to stop water fluoridation.  You can purchase a water filtration system designed to remove fluoride from your drinking water.  I've posted a a follow-up article about choosing a home water filtration system.

All footnotes reference the book The Case Against Fluoride by Paul Connett
1. pg 22;  2. pg 7;  3. pg 27;  4. pg 109;  5. pg 219;  6. pg 161;  7. pg 161;  8. pg 165-166, 168

Disclaimer:  I wrote this article because I feel strongly about this issue and want to share this important information with as many people as possible.  I am an affiliate of APEC Water Filter Systems because I believe they are one of the best options for removing fluoride and other harmful chemicals in tap water.  I will receive a small portion of any purchase of APEC water filters that is generated through links on this blog.

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  1. Interesting...and yes some waters believe it or not affect my system. When I go on vacation I always drink bottled water (a certain brand) because then I dont get tummy aches!

  2. Good information. Thank you for you investigation. My oldest son was allergic to the fluoride tx that the dentist gave him. He became dizzy and lightheaded. Never again did he receive that.

    We may have met by chance...but we become friends by choice.

  3. This is something that I need to educate myself on! I am behind the game with this! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! Thanks for being one of my early birds and getting this party started Thursday night! WOOT! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) I hope that you'll join us this week! Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

    PS I have been voting for you!

    1. Thanks Cindy! I too have been voting for you! Way to go being near the top of the list!

  4. The city of Portland is debating this question right now and the argument for putting fluoride in the water is that poor people who can't afford dental care do benefit from fluoride in the water. I think this is a short sited solution to a national problem with medical care... but it is the first time I've heard this argument.

    1. Diane - I have heard the "poor people need fluoridated water" argument and you're right - its short sighted. Its really those less fortunate that are hurt most by fluoridated water as they 1) may not know the health dangers of it and 2) they don't have the means to buy water filters or non-fluoridated bottled water. Plus, the recent studies show no significant difference in dental cavities between fluoridated vs non-fluoridated communities, so it's really not helping anyone.

  5. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  6. very interesting post, love. i've heard for years about the fluoride in our water but honestly didn't give it too much thought. your post has caused me to think a little more about it. well done writing about a topic that just isn't talked about enough in the realm of "good food". our water matters!!

    thank you for sharing your post with us at the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up! I hope to see you again this week with more incredible seasonal and whole/real fresh food ideas :) xo, kristy

  7. Thanks for this informational post! We just recently got a water filter for out shower and we feel so much better now and can even drink from the shower if we want to! lol!

    And thank you so much for linking up with Healthy 2day Wednesdays as always! Hope you have a blessed week and hope you’ll be linking up this week!


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