Much confusing information surrounds the issue of fluoridation of municipal water supplies. There are four points I wish to clarify.
1. The oft quoted National Academy of Sciences report of 2006 does address the toxicity of fluoride but very clearly points out that adverse health effects are observed only after lifetime exposure to fluoride at levels very greatly in excess of those encountered in municipal drinking water.
2. Fluoride is often mentioned as a “waste product” of fertilizer manufacture as if this wasa negative attribute. Fertilizer manufacture does provide a major source of fluoride as do other mining and extractive processes. Many other bi-product minerals of value, such as calcium and magnesium, also derive from these manufacturing processes and if they are of proven quality their source is irrelevant.
3. There are municipalities that do not fluoridate drinking water. Many of these water sources, for example those drawn from some major bodies of water or wells, already have sufficient levels of naturally occurring fluoride and do not require supplementation.
4. While fluoride is generally not described as a “nutrient”, the latest National Academy of Sciences report “Earth Materials and Health” concludes that fluoride is essential for human life based on its role in cellular metabolic functions, and the report also states the beneficial effects of fluoride in drinkingwater at the concentration recommended by the Center for Disease Control.
National Academy reports (conducted by the National Research Council) are available online via www.nasonline.org.
Member, National Academy of Sciences