There have been a number of recent significant scientific changes in what we know about fluoridation. In 2006 the National Academy of Sciences published a 500-page report that highlighted numerous studies linking low fluoride levels in drinking water to a range of human health risks from decreased IQ and thyroid disorders to potential bone cancer risks.1
The study also reported that 41% of U.S. kids are over-fluoridated and have fluorosis2 and that infants fed formula mixed with fluoridated water were receiving too much fluoride.1
In 2011, after decades of promoter's claims that fluoridation concentrations were safe beyond question, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended cutting the maximum fluoridation concentration by 40%,3 and the CDC issued a warning about the exclusive use of fluoridated water to mix infant formula.4
National Academy of Science "Fluoride in Drinking Water, A Scientific Review of EPA's Standard"
This report evaluated many of the recent scientific studies that lead EPA's scientists union to formally oppose water fluoridation.
While the study didn't specifically evaluate artificial fluoridation, it has already resulted in a move by federal government to cut maximum fluoridation concentrations by 40% and made numerous important findings and recommendations including:
“it is apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain.... More research is needed to clarify fluoride’s biochemical effects on the brain.” p. 222
“The possible association of cytogenetic effects with fluoride exposure suggests that Down’s syndrome is a biologically plausible outcome of exposure.” p 197
“More studies are needed on fluoride concentrations in soft tissues (e.g., brain, thyroid, kidney) following chronic exposure.” p. 102
“Fluorides also increase the production of free radicals in the brain through several different biological pathways. These changes have a bearing on the possibility that fluorides act to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
“it is difficult to predict exactly what effects on thyroid function are likely at what concentration of fluoride exposure and under what circumstances.” p.234-5
“Fluoride appears to have the potential to initiate or promote cancers, particularly of the bone, but the evidence to date is tentative and mixed. p.336
“The effect of low doses of fluoride on kidney and liver enzyme functions in humans needs to be carefully documented in communities exposed to different concentrations of fluoride in drinking water.” p.303
Fluoridation’s risk to infants
In the wake of the National Academy of Sciences study reporting infants fed formula mixed with fluoridated water were receiving excessive fluoride levels, federal and state health agencies issued warnings that, “if your child is exclusively consuming infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water, there may be an increased chance for mild dental fluorosis."4 But even mild fluorosis, which appears as white spots on teeth, is a sign of excessive fluoride intake and raises important questions about the overall health risks of such exposure.
The CDC suggests parents can use bottled water to lower fluorosis risks, but purchasing special bottled water is simply not an option for many low-income families.4 This is one of the reasons why a number of civil rights leaders are now speaking out against fluoridation.
U.S. to Lower Fluoridation Levels by 40% in Face of Recent Science
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and EPA called for lowering the maximum fluoridation levels in drinking water by 40% due to wide-scale overexposure in children.3 In fact, 41% of U.S. kids now have fluorosis, which is the visible indicator of excessive fluoride intake.2
Fluoridation promoters had claimed for decades that fluoridation levels were safe and there were no risks from fluoride ingestion. The federal decision to drop the maximum levels of fluoridation chemicals added to drinking water by 40% makes clear that those claims were wrong and highlights the quickly changing understanding about the risks of water fluoridation.