How Dangerous Is Fluoride In Water?

Water fluoridation is practiced by many developed countries as a public health measure Over 400 million people around the world receive artificially fluoridated water

According to the latest figures, fluoride can prevent tooth decay by up to 40% It has therefore been an official policy of the US Public Health Service since 1951 to add fluoride to the public water supply, and it costs just over $1 per person per year The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the twentieth century

Yet many activists and political parties across the world campaign against water fluoridation They claim that it simply isn't safe, and point to possible side effects like the outbreaks of fluoride poisoning that occurred three times in the 1990s Since its introduction in 1950, 9 countries have outlawed water fluoridation Is fluoride a potential health risk? And are there ulterior motives behind its implementation? In 1987 Ian Stephens claimed that fluoride consumption through the water supply was a method of mind control He believed that prolonged ingestion of fluoride would make a person docile and susceptible to orders, and even claimed the Nazis and Soviets had used it on prisoners of war

Historians strongly refute his claims Stephens probably got his ideas from the Red Scare of the 1940s and 50s During this time, paranoid right wing Americans accused fluoridation of being a Communist plot to either poison or brainwash the American population There is no evidence to support these claims, and in fact Soviet Russia didn't adopt fluoridation until a decade after it was begun in America The only proven side effect of water fluoridation is dental fluorosis, which is a discolouration or staining of the enamel in your teeth

This usually forms in children up to the age of 4, and a study by the CDC shows rates of fluorosis increased by 9% between 1987 and 2002 Fluorosis may be harmless, but is virtually impossible for children to avoid in countries where the entire water supply is fluoridated Meanwhile, scientific studies arguing in favour of fluoridation have been criticised as insubstantially researched, and dismissive of the long-term effects of excessive consumption of fluoride, which could potentially include weakened bones This has raised the ethical issue of whether or not it is right to fluoridate water Doctors Howard Cohen and David Locker argue that fluoridation is a method of medication against tooth decay, and since forced medication is illegal, it is therefore morally wrong to compel people to drink fluoridated water even if it is medically sound

Meanwhile, the UK's Green Party opposes the fluoridation of community water supplies on the grounds that its potential medical disadvantages have not been fully investigated In addition, they say ""there are further concerns over the links with the chemical industry that supplies artificial fluoride and the compulsory nature of its addition to drinking water that denies consumers choice" The truth is that no-one knows for sure what the pros and cons of mass water fluoridation are On the one hand, it is scientifically likely that fluoridation reduces tooth decay, and has no link to either cancers or bone fractures On the other hand, the long-term effects of ingesting fluoride have not been researched, and there are massive questions over whether it is morally right to take away people's choice over what kind of water they drink

It may never have been a Communist plot, but it may certainly be worth peeking behind the scenes of water fluoridation

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