Fluoride’s damaging effects on the brain has been documented by both human and animal studies. Eighteen human studies from China, India, Iran and Mexico and more than 40 animal studies show evidence that fluoride toxicity negatively affects the brain. A Chinese study [Wang SX, ZH Wang, XT Cheng, J Li, ZP Sang, XD Zhang, LL Han, SY Qiao, ZM Wu and ZQ Wang. 2007. “Arsenic and fluoride exposure in drinking water: children’s IQ and growth in Shanyin County, Shanxi province, China.” Environmental Health Perspectives 115(4):643-7.] examined 524 children, ages 8 to 12, for “fluoride exposures in relation to intellectual functioning and growth.” The children who were exposed to high concentrations of fluoride through well water — as high as 8.3 (mg/L)—were compared to a control group of children from neighboring villages whose well water contained 0.5 mg/L of fluoride. The high fluoride group had a four-point IQ score reduction compared with the control group, and the high fluoride group’s urine fluoride level was five times higher than the control group.
The study concluded that fluoride can affect brain development in children and lower overall IQ scores. The CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 2008 Water Fluoridation Statistics says that 64.3% of the U.S. population receives fluoridated water. This is alarming when a 1998 animal study [Varner JA, et al. (1998). “Chronic administration of aluminum-fluoride and sodium-fluoride to rats in drinking water: alterations in neuronal and cerebrovascular integrity.” Brain Research 784: 284-298.] shows the following effects of fluoride on the brain:
- Accumulation of fluoride in the pineal gland
- Damage to the hippocampus
- Damage to the purkinje cells
- Exacerbation of lesions induced by iodine deficiency
- Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer’s disease)
- Impaired anti-oxidant defense systems
- Increased uptake of aluminum
- Reduction in lipid content
- Reduction in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
Another study [Chen J, Chen X, Yang K, et al. “Studies on DNA damage and apoptosis in rat brain induced by fluoride.” Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2002 Jul;36(4):222-4.] looked at the DNA damage and apoptosis –programmed cell death—in the brains of rats that were treated with fluoride compared with rats that were not treated with fluoride. The rats that were exposed to fluoride showed increased DNA damage in parts of the brain that are related to cognition –the cerebellum, hippocampus and pallium.
“Studies in animals and human populations suggest that fluoride exposure, at levels that are experienced by a significant proportion of the population whose drinking water is fluoridated, may have adverse impacts on the developing brain. Though no final conclusions may be reached from available data, the findings are provocative and of significant public health concern.” [Schettler T, et al. (2000). “Known and suspected developmental neurotoxicants.” pp. 90-92. In: In Harms Way – Toxic Threats to Child Development. Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility: Cambridge, MA.]
Protecting Against Fluoride Toxicity
One way to reduce your exposure to fluoride is to filter your drinking, bathing and cooking water, but typical water filter systems do not remove fluoride from the water. A fluoride certified filter system is needed to safely remove fluoride.
Here is a brief Q&A to help individuals understand how fluoride may be removed from water:
Q: Will using a drinking water filter help to reduce my exposure to fluoride?
A: Yes, and no. A drinking water filtration device removes only the water you filter for drinking purposes. In this way, a filtration device for drinking water reduces the amount of fluoridated water you drink. However, a 1980 study by Drs. H.S. Brown, D.R. Bishop, and C.A. Rowan demonstrated that about 64% of water contaminants (like fluoride) are absorbed through the skin. This happens when washing the hand, taking a shower, or taking a bath. In this regard, filtration devices for drinking water fall short of providing adequate protection from fluoride absorption.
Q: Can you sterilize fluoridated water by boiling it?
A: No, you may not. Boiling fluoridated water causes a portion of the water to evaporate, but fluoride molecules remain in the liquid water. This increases the concentration of fluoride in the water.
Q: What is the best way to protect my family from fluoride toxicity?
A: Since a majority of water contaminants are absorbed through the skin (see Q1 above), a “whole house filtration” device is needed to completely remove fluoride from the household water supply. These systems range in price, and a local professional must be consulted for details regarding installation and maintenance. It is important to note, however, that these systems also remove a variety of other water contaminants that are also harmful. Many individuals find the broad removal of contaminants from their household water supply to be worth the added cost of such systems.
Visit a Holistic Dentist to Learn More About Fluoride
Fluoride was first added to public water supplies as a means of improving the oral health of the public. Dental professionals are well educated in both the history of water fluoridation and methods of limiting exposure. Miami dentist Dr. Theodore Herrmann, DMD has more than 20 years experience in holistic dentistry and has led numerous fluoride awareness campaigns to help individuals in South Florida recognize the dangers of fluoridated water while limiting exposure. Readers are invited to schedule an appointment with Assure a Smile to learn more, or visit the Miami Dentist Blog’s Fluoride Research Section to read about this dangerous chemical.