Fluoride

water photo illustration. June 21, 2012 Darryl Webb/AFN

Darryl Webb

In an effort to reassess water fluoridation, some City Council members have requested new data on Phoenix’s fluoride-treated water that serves more than 1.4 million residents.

The Water Services Department will provide City Council and a subcommittee with information about the total cost of fluoridation as well as expert opinion of fluoride’s oral health benefits, said Ken Kroski, a spokesman for the Water Services Department.

Such information will be presented to the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee in September.

The report, as requested by a few council members, will also include the effects of drinking fluoridated water and whether the widespread use of bottled water has changed recommendations of fluoride, Kroski said.

Phoenix’s water supply has a natural level of fluoride that measures about 0.3 parts per million gallons of water (ppm). The city increases that level to 0.7 ppm during the water’s treatment process, which is the lowest range recommended by health experts for dental benefits, according to the Water Services Department.

“We’ve been way ahead of the game, nowhere near the upper levels of what is allowed,” Kroski said of Phoenix’s fluoride levels compared to the rest of the country.

Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said fluoridation is a good, common sense public health measure that’s inexpensive.

Supporters of the city’s fluoridated water, which advocate for its dental health advantages, are said to also benefit financially.

Two studies sponsored by the Center for Disease Control found in 2001 that in communities of more than 20,000 people, which Ahwatukee would fall under at a population of more than 77,000, it cost about 50 cents per person to fluoridate the water. For every dollar spent, it yielded approximately $38 in annual savings on average dental treatment costs per person, according to the Water Services Department.

The $582,000 that Phoenix spends annually on water fluoridation could return more than $22,000,000 of savings in annual average dental treatment costs to residents, based on those studies.

Of that annual cost, $420,000 is for the actual chemical, according to the Water Services Department. Broken down, it costs an annual 39 cents per person for the fluoridated water supply.

But those against fluoridation, however, like Ahwatukee resident John Jurik, insist the costs don’t match up.

“We don’t drink all the water that comes into our house,” said Jurik, who added that his household drinks less than 1 percent of the fluoridated water that comes in and the rest is used to wash clothes, fill pools and do the dishes.

“So for every $100 we spend on fluoridation, over $99 goes to something other than our teeth,” Jurik said.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who said he has also “never been a fan” of water fluoridation, insists that the issue be brought back to the council’s table.

The debate over water has not been addressed formally among council members since the decision to increase the fluorine level of water supply in 1990.

Ultimately, decision rests with the Phoenix City Council once data is presented by the Water Services Department.

“We want to do what’s best for customers, and if the health experts say it’s OK, then we trust it,” Kroski said.

• Diana Martinez is freelancing this summer for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Reach her at thedianamartinez@gmail.com.

(12) comments

jwillie6

Fluoride is neither a nutrient nor essential for healthy teeth. No adult has ever walked out of their doctor's office with a prescription for the fluoride drug because it is deadly poison and the body has no known use for it. Drinking it to prevent tooth decay is as foolish as drinking sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Every toothpaste tube carries the warning "if swallowed, call a poison control center."

Read the best scientific information on fluoridation in Dr. Paul Connett's book "The Case Against Fluoride," published last year. It contains over 1200 peer reviewed studies and sound scientific reasoning showing the ineffectiveness and dangers to health from fluoride.
Also see his very informative site here (www.fluoridealert.org).

You will see a petition at this site signed by over 4000 professionals, including hundreds of dentists, hundreds of doctors, and other medical researchers calling on governments everywhere to stop fluoridation; also scientific evidence to show that it causes cancer, thyroid & pineal gland damage, broken hips from brittle bones, lowered IQ, kidney disease, and other serious health problems.

MotherVoltaire

Mr. Jurik wrote: “So for every $100 we spend on fluoridation, over $99 goes to something other than our teeth." For argument's sake we'll say that Mr. Jurik is right about this.

Nonetheless, studies show that for every $1 spent on fluoridation, $38 is save in dental bills. So that $100 will save $3800 in dental bills. The $38 is a figure that was determined in the early 1990s, so you can probably figure that the savings are considerably more now. Also few people have dental insurance, so this is a direct savings to citizens.

In cities that have been fluoridated, dentists are seeing children grow up without cavities or very few. Fewer and fewer people need caps, root canals and dentures.

Regarding a comment below by "jwillie6": The Institute of Medicine, no less, classifies fluoride as a "nutrient." Toothpaste has about 1500 times the concentration of fluoridated water which is why you don't want to eat it. That old petition signed by 4000 professionals on the anti-fluoridation website has less than 50 dentists signing it, out of 175,000 working dentists in the USA today.

junebug172

So when is the government responsible for involuntarily prescribing medication?

Are you aware of where the fluoride that is used in our water comes from?

Are you aware that the acid used to fluoridate our water is an industrial waste product?

Have you ever questioned where the "studies" came up with $38 in savings? I have insurance so how am I saving anything? I also use toothpaste and rinse that has fluoride in it.

Did you know that the ADA says topical fluoride treatment is most effective? Why is it that we fluoridate our teeth systemically? Why does my thyroid, liver, and kidneys need to be fluoridated as well?

Did you know that infants less than six months old should NOT be exposed to fluoride at all?

Why was the level of fluoridation cut down to .7 milligrams? Was it because of the adverse effects such as fluorsis were presenting themselves at higher rates?

The government has no business medically treating its population involuntarily. The money that's allegedly saved is irrelevant and has no business in the decision process of the government when it comes to an individuals medical choices.

Here's a great link to how industrial fluoride is made:

http://www.waterloowatch.com/hydrofluorosilicic%20acid.html

And here's a great site on why we need to stop fluoridating now:

http://www.fluoridedebate.com/

MotherVoltaire

Response to "junebug172":

US courts have recognized that fluoridation is not "involuntary medication" but rather an adjustment of a naturally occurring mineral in the water supply. This is done with other minerals, as well.

What fluorosilicic acid is chemically is all that is important. Calling it "industrial waste" is just a scare-mongering tactic.

I have long suspected that the anti-fluoridationists have dental insurance. But that aside, any savings in dental costs for the community will be reflected in your dental insurance premiums. But who wants cavities with or without dental insurance? These will also cost taxpayers via Medicaid expenditures.

Ingested fluoride ions show up in saliva. That means that teeth will be continually remineralized. Toothpaste doesn't provide this level of exposure. Humans' thyroids, livers and kidneys evolved over thousands of years with fluoride, one of the most common elements on earth, and because of that, we are not harmed by fluoridation because of its very low concentration.

Children need exposure to fluoride so that unerupted primary and secondary teeth develop their strongest.

Public health studies are always gauging the typical fluoride intake from various sources, such as diet; even climate is figured into the mix. The recommended level was lowered merely to help avoid very mild and mild fluorosis - a cosmetic condition that is barely noticeable. Since fluorosis is caused by fluoride from other sources, many experts question if the lower recommended level of 0.7ppm was really necessary. The EPA has recommended fluoride be removed from source of drinking water only when it exceeds 4.0ppm.

Tooth Truth

The FDA warning label is a requirement by the FDA called a "monograph protocol". Anything that has the potential of ingestion to a toxic level has this requirement on it. Look at the side of your Tylenol, ibuprophen, or vitamin bottles, and you will see the same warning label. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs has checked every toxicological data base in the U.S., and there has been a total of zero, nada, zilch reported hospital admissions due to toothpaste ingestion.

Regarding the 4000 signatures signing a petition to end fluoridation, you need to look at the denominator; they include physicians, nurses, dentists, lawyers, engineers, chiropractors, naturopaths, etc. WORLDWIDE !! Now we're talking millions in the denominator. It probably is around 0.0000000000001%

There are over 100 national and international medical, dental, public health, and scientific research organizations that recognize the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation. The anti's have yet to convince a single one of these organizations to reverse their position and call for an end to fluoridation.

Picker22

The jwillie and other fluoridation opponents statements here are simply mistaken.

The semantic arguments about "nutrient" really have nothing to do with the public health intervention decision for fluoridation. The National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine publication "Evolution of Evidence for Selected Nutrient and Disease Relationships"
makes it clear that at the highest level of expertise, fluoride in water is considered a nutrient mineral which prevents disease.

What ordinary Americans want to know is this: Is fluoridation really going to help protect my teeth and is it safe?

The crystal clear expert opinion from scientists specializing in public and oral health "YES" to both questions.

It seems to me the American Academy of Pediatrics fairly and correctly represent what is good for kids. The American Public Health Association knows what is the best public health science. Because of these and many other prestigious academic, expert organizations, fluoridation reaches 74% of Americans on public water systems.

What the many respected dental, medical, public health and disease prevention organizations say in their own words about fluoridation can be conveniently read at:

http://www.ilikemyteeth.org/fluoridation/respected-organizations/

It Matters

Anti-fluoride activists have no evidence proving that fluoride is harmful at the level used for fluoridating water. They will make all kinds of claims, but the science doesn't back them up. If you want to know what the evidence shows about fluoridation, visit this site:
http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/initiatives_detail.aspx?initiativeID=85899367159

junebug172

Nonsense. There's plenty of evidence that fluoride is harmful.

The very fact that the CDC DROPPED the dosing level to .7 milligrams is an obvious red flag.

Fluoride causes fluorsis, thyroid issues, and has caused cancer in rat cancer models. It is also recommended that infants not be exposed to fluoride at all!!

And going beyond that, doesn't the fact that this stuff is an industrial waste product bother you at all? Phoenix is putting a non-pharma grade acid into our drinking water which brings up another issue: WHY IS GOVERNMENT INVOLUNTARILY MEDICATING US?

What was once thought to be OK, through experience, may do more harm than good. Just because we've been doing it since the 50's doesn't mean it shouldn't be questioned.

junebug172

MotherV,

Can you then please tell us where fluorosilicic acid comes from?

And there is a huge difference between "naturally occurring" and fluorosilicic acid.

Jakenow

Fluoride exists naturally in water. Several of the posters seem to be unaware of this. They also ignore the fact that not a single major medical/health organization opposes community water fluoridation. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dental Association, the Mayor Clinic, the Institute of Medicine and a host of other highly respected organizations that have examined this issue ALL support water fluoridation. That's because they focus on what the science says -- and not on the wild, unsubstantiated claims made by a handful of websites.

Look closely at the websites that attack fluoridated water. Many of them also attack vaccines, claim 9/11 was an "inside job," etc. The anti-fluoride conspiracy crowd is so paranoid and fearful that they'll attack a proven health practice that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called one of the "great public health achievements of the 20th century."

It Matters

Copied and pasted directly from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/fact_sheets/engineering/wfadditives.htm

Some consumers have questioned whether fluoride from natural groundwater sources, such as calcium fluoride, is better than fluorides added “artificially,” such as FSA or sodium fluoride. Two recent scientific studies listed below demonstrate that the same fluoride ion is present in naturally occurring fluoride or fluoride drinking water additives and that no intermediates or other products were observed at pH levels as low as 3.5. In addition, fluoride metabolism is not affected differently by the chemical compounds nor are they affected by whether the fluoride is present naturally or artificially.

The ionic speciation study conducted in 2006 mentioned previously (Finney WF, Wilson E, Callender A, Morris MD, Beck LW. Re-examination of hexafluorosilicate hydrolysis by fluoride NMR and pH measurement. Environ Sci Technol 2006;40:8:2572)
The pharmacokinetics of ingested fluoride was studied by a 2008 study (G.M. Whitford, F.C. Sampaio, C.S. Pinto, A.G. Maria, V.E.S. Cardoso, M.A.R. Buzalaf, Pharmacokinetics of ingested fluoride: Lack of effect of chemical compound, Archives of Oral Biology, 53 (2008) 1037–1041).

Tooth Truth

Junebug172,
There have been 22 broad-based scientific reviews of fluoridation, the latest in 2011 by a European committee of scientists called SCHER (Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks).

http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/environmental_risks/docs/scher_o_139.pdf
Here's just one statement that refutes the issue of IQ and Thyroid:

Pages 17-18 summarize the studies on these two allegations of the anti's:

“Conclusion

Available human studies do not clearly support the conclusion that fluoride in drinking water impairs children’s neurodevelopment at levels permitted in the EU. A systematic evaluation of the human studies does not suggest a potential thyroid effect at realistic exposures to fluoride. The absence of thyroid effects in rodents after long-term fluoride administration and the much higher sensitivity of rodents to changes in thyroid related endocrinology as compared with humans do not support a role for fluoride induced thyroid perturbations in humans. The limited animal data can also not support the link between fluoride exposure and neurotoxicity at relevant non-toxic doses.
SCHER agrees that there is not enough evidence to conclude that fluoride in drinking water at concentrations permitted in the EU may impair the IQ of children. SCHER also agrees that a biological plausibility for the link between fluoridated water and IQ has not been established.”

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