This article was submitted by guest contributor Derrick Broze.

In the last week two very different decisions on water fluoridation have come from two different continents. Recently the American Dental Association is now recommending fluoride toothpaste to children at the first sight of a tooth. At the same time Bantry, Ireland has now become the country’s first fluoride free town.

American Dental Association Guidelines

The ADA issued their new guidelines through The Journal of the American Dental Association(http://jada.ada.org/content/145/2/190) on February 10th. Prior to the new rules parents were recommended to use water to brush children under the age of 2, and to brush with with fluoridated toothpaste for those from 2 to 6 years old. Under the new guidelines the ADA recommends “a smear” of fluoride toothpaste for children 3 and under and a “pea-sized dab” for those aged 3 to 6.

The latest changes are sure to spark debate between the pro-fluoride and clean-water camps. Most readers are familiar with the warning label that appears on the back of fluoridated toothpastes:

“WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”

According to the Fluoride Action Network, “One strip of fluoridated toothpaste on a child-sized toothbrush contains between 0.75 and 1.5 mg of fluoride”. It is unclear whether “a smear” or a “pea-sized dab” meets those measurements but what has been found is that those who brush with fluoridated toothpaste, especially children, are at risk of dental fluorosis, a yellowish staining of the teeth.

When an unsupervised child brushes their teeth there is a high probability they will swallow higher amounts of the toothpaste than an adult. This puts them at risk not only for dental fluorosis but also acute fluoride toxicity. Since the symptoms of toxicity mimic other common illnesses such as the flu or upset stomach many people may According to the Journal of Public Health Dentistry:

“Estimating the incidence of toxic fluoride exposures nationwide also is complicated by the existence of biases. Parents or caregivers may not notice the symptoms associated with mild fluoride toxicity or may attribute them to colic or gastroenteritis, particularly if they did not see the child ingest fluoride. Similarly, because of the nonspecific nature of mild to moderate symptoms, a physician’s differential diagnosis is unlikely to include fluoride toxicity without a history of fluoride ingestion.” Shulman JD, Wells LM. (1997). Acute fluoride toxicity from ingesting home-use dental products in children, birth to 6 years of age. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 57: 150-8.

It seems rather difficult for a parent to guarantee the size and portion of the fluoride their child is receiving from the “smear” or “pea-sized dab” now recommended when their first tooth erupts. The Institute of Medicine recommends (http://fluoridealert.org/content/toothpaste-exposure/)  children 2 to 3 years old only receive fluoride up to .7 mg from all sources. Even if a parent does give their child less than .7 mg of fluoride through their toothpaste (assuming no more is swallowed) it will be rather difficult to avoid the many other sources of fluoride presently found in the United States, primarily through municipal water supplies. As soon as a parent washes their child’s mouth with sink water they have just increased their child’s chance of acute fluoride toxicity. Add a soda, canned food, or a shower into the mix (all sources of fluoride) and you have an overexposure to the substance and possibility of acute fluoride toxicity.

These dangers have not gone unnoticed. In the last decade hundreds of communities around the United States have rejected fluoride through ballot initiatives and lobbying. Albuquerque, New Mexico is the 32nd largest city in the country and the largest population to remove fluoride from their water supply. The push back against adding fluoride to the water supply has become an international struggle.

Fluoride Free Town Movement

In southwest Ireland, in the area known as West Cork lies a small rural town that has been the center of a new movement against water fluoridation. Bantry, Ireland has become the first fluoride free town in all the country. Owen Boyden, and the West Cork Fluoride Free Campaign launched the effort in Bantry and have plans to take the campaign to other towns in West Fork.

Boyden and the Fluoride Free group took a different route than most cities..Instead of going to city council and attempting to change the law, or gathering petition signatures, the group worked with six local businesses to install water filtration systems so they can offer their customers a choice of food and drinks made without fluoridated water.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has declared fluoride safe to drink, stating that it poses no known medical threat to the population. Boyden called the practice an “outdated and dangerous public health initiative” and hoped more towns would take similar action. He cited reports of a number of illnesses linked to fluoride, including osteoporosis, arthritis, bone fracture, hypersensitivity, kidney disease, pineal gland dysfunction, skeletal fluorosis, thyroid disease, and acute toxicity.

Currently Ireland is the only country in the European Union with a mandatory public water fluoridation policy and, along with the United States and the United Kingdom, one of a few in the entire world with such a policy. While some countries in Europe add fluoride to their table salt, the addition of fluoride in the water creates a greater possibility of overexposure because of the number of products containing fluoridated water. To understand the debate around the dangers of fluoridated water you have to understand what fluoride is.

What Is Fluoride?

The substances added to municipal water supplies known by the name fluoride are actually a combination of unpurified by products of phosphate mining, namely hydrofluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. In the United States thousands of tons of fluorosilicic acid is recovered from phosphoric acid plants and then used for water fluoridation. During this process the fluoride ion is created.

This process of taking waste from the phosphate industry and putting it into drinking water has long been criticized for it’s effects on human health, and that of the environment. It is well known that water fluoridation has led to dental fluorosis for millions of children. This discoloring of the teeth was called “cosmetically objectionable” by the Centers for Disease Control. Beyond the cosmetic effect there have been a number of studies indicating health issues ranging from arthritis, brain problems, reduced thyroid or overactive  thyroid, kidney problems and bone cancers.

While proponents of water fluoridation have long pointed to an apparent drop in tooth decay in fluoridated nations as proof of it’s validity, those claims have been proven wrong by the World Health Organization. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated the fluoride in the water is directly related to better teeth quality however, the WHO released it’s own study showing that tooth decay rates have dropped in all western nations, whether fluoridated or not.

A Fluoride Free Future?

While the ADA now believes Americans should be treating their newborn children with fluoridated toothpaste communities are pushing back against what many see as an outdated practice. The issue has long been stuck in a web of stigma, propaganda, and uninformed science. While many begin to take a new look at the dated policy they find it to be misguided, wasteful, or worse, hazardous to the health of the community and the environment. Whether the mainstream governmental institutions are ready to rethink their policies more individuals are opting for reverse osmosis fluoride free water, fluoride free toothpaste, filters for sinks and showers, and other methods of avoiding the substance. But should a free people have to spend their hard earned money to pay out of something they do not agree with in the first place? Many cities work with Mosaic Co based out of Jacksonville, Florida to purchase their hyrdrofluorosilicic acid. When a citizen pays their water bill they are literally paying to add a poison to their water supply. Outside of the financial waste, and violation of civil liberties, there are also the environmental concerns. The debate is far from over but one thing is clear: The more that people begin to search for personal freedom and look for ways to detach from government, the more often invasive policies such as water fluoridation will be replaced with more sensible policies that respect the freedom of the individual.

For more information on the history of water fluoridation and the phosphate mining industry please check out Christopher Bryson’s The Fluoride Deception.

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Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist, community activist, gardener and promoter from Houston, Texas. He is the co-founder of The Houston Free Thinkers, and co-host of Free Thinker Radio. Broze also hosts and produces a weekly podcast under the name the Conscious Resistance Live. His writing can be found on TheConsciousResistance.com , The Liberty Beat, the Anti-Media, Activist Post, and Ben Swann.com

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