Published: June 22, 2015

    Concerned about Fluoride in Your Water?

    The issue of fluoride in public drinking water is controversial, and always has been. On one side, you have organizations such as the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who advocate the continued addition of fluoride to drinking water as a means to prevent tooth decay. On the other hand, you have a wide range of concerned citizens and advocacy groups, such as the Fluoride Action Network, who argue fluorinated water is at best an ineffective means of cavity prevention, and at worst the cause of a host of health problems.

    Fluorides act as a catalyst, combining the element fluorine with another substance. In humans, fluorides accumulate in areas high in calcium, such as the bones and teeth. In the USA, roughly 66 percent of the population drinks water containing added fluorides with the decision to add fluorides to water being made at the local municipal level.

    An Outdated Policy?

    Back in the 1950s, when the widespread use of fluorination was first introduced in the US, studies saw a fifty to seventy percent reduction in cavities in children. This was an enormous improvement in dental health.

    Times change however. Today, most toothpaste contains fluoride, and public awareness of the need for proper dental hygiene has increased tremendously. Topical use of fluorides through toothpaste provides effective cavity protection without the potential risks associated with ingesting fluoride.

    Speaking of those risks….

    Health and Fluoride

    Fluorides are related to iodine, a compound vital for the proper production of thyroid hormones. It’s suggested fluorides can interfere with thyroid hormone production, resulting in symptoms of low thyroid function. Such symptoms include:

    • “Brain fog” or difficulty thinking clearly
    • Cold hands and feet
    • Dry skin
    • Fatigue
    • Irregular bowel function
    • Weight gain.

    Studies on rats revealed a possible link between fluoride consumption and an increased risk of rare bone cancers, although further research is needed to prove or disprove this link. Thyroid and liver cancer are also linked, albeit uncertainly, to fluorine ingestion.

    Skeletal and Dental Fluorosis

    The Environmental Protection Agency sets the maximum allowable amount of fluoride in water at 4.0 mg/L. exposure. Higher amounts can, over the long term, cause skeletal fluorosis. Excess fluoride builds up in the bones, causing joint stiffness, pain, and—in the elderly—weak bones and an increased risk of fractures.

    Young children exposed to fluoride may develop a condition known as dental fluorosis. Exposure to high levels of fluoride before age eight can cause discoloration in tooth enamel, ranging in color from a shiny white “stain” to brown-colored teeth. The condition is cosmetic in nature, but hardly appealing.

    Children and Fluorides

    In addition to dental fluorosis, some studies suggest children exposed to high levels of fluoride have lower than normal intelligence. Most of the evidence for these studies comes from China, where in many parts of the country children are exposed to significantly high concentrations of naturally-occurring fluorides in water—so much that natural fluoride levels exceed the EPA’s maximum allowance.

    Whether or not EPA-regulated fluorinated water is damaging children’s IQ levels is a matter of debate. What we do know is this: any public health initiative assumes a standard response by the general population to treatment. The risk is that a child’s developing body reacts to fluorinated water differently than a healthy adult, who reacts differently again when compared to an elderly person. What may be harmless to one person can have dire effects on another.

    Removing Fluoride from Public Water

    At present, it seems unlikely the nation will move to un-fluorinated water, and the argument rages on. If you’re concerned about fluoride, however, you can take steps to remove it from your drinking water.

    Pelican offers a Fluoride Water Filter, a point-of-entry (POE) system that uses bone charcoal to reduce fluoride and can be used with other Pelican POE products. Pelican also offers a compact whole house water filter system or a 6-stage reverse osmosis (RO) system that removes over 96% of Fluoride and adds essential minerals back into the water after removing unwanted contaminants. You can install the 6-stage RO system at the point-of-use (POU) whether or not you already have a POE system in place. If you already have a water filtration system installed, talk to us about adding reverse osmosis to your existing system.

    Disclaimer: The information on this website has not been reviewed by the FDA. Products offered for sale herein are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. No medical claims are being made or implied. Contaminants mentioned are not necessarily in your water. Pelican has no specific view on the Fluoride debate, we are merely commenting on the controversy and providing solutions.