Fluoride toxicity is characterized by a variety of signs and symptoms. In the US, poisoning most commonly follows ingestion (accidental or deliberate) of fluoride-containing products. However, in many parts of the world (e.g., regions of India and China), elevated levels of fluoride in groundwater result in chronic fluoride toxicity (the condition is termed fluorosis). Potentially toxic levels of fluoride have also been found in well water in the US.
Fluoride of many varieties is found in many common household products, including the following:
- Toothpaste (e.g., sodium monofluorophosphate)
- Dietary supplements (with sodium fluoride)
- Glass-etching or chrome-cleaning agents (e.g., ammonium bifluoride)
- Insecticides and rodenticides (with sodium fluoride)
Historically, most cases of serious acute fluoride toxicity have followed accidental ingestion of insecticides or rodenticides.
Symptom onset usually occurs within minutes of exposure, but may be delayed. Manifestations of fluoride toxicity are predominantly gastrointestinal (GI), but neurologic and cardiovascular effects also occur.
Tests for measuring fluoride levels are not available in the emergency department. Assessment of patients with suspected fluoride toxicity is directed toward the consequences of the toxicity, and may include the following:
- Electrolyte levels
- Fingerstick glucose assay
Treatment and medication of fluoride harmfulness
No antidote for fluoride toxicity exists, and fluoride does not get absorbed by activated charcoal. Treatment includes gastric aspiration and lavage, and correction of electrolyte abnormalities.
Removal of industrial sodium fluoride
The movement to remove industrial sodium fluoride from the world’s water supply has been growing in recent years, with evidence coming out against the additive from several sources.
Now, a report from the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, has officially classified fluoride as a neurotoxin, in the same category as arsenic, lead and mercury.
The news was broken by the author Stefan Smyle and disseminated by the Facebook Page Occupy Food, which linked to the report published in The Lancet Neurology, Volume 13, Issue 3, in the March 2014 edition, by authors Dr. Phillippe Grandjean and Philip J. Landrigan, MD. The report can be viewed by clicking here.
Sodium fluoride ordered along with mercury, lead and other neurotoxic agents
As noted in the summary of the report, a systematic review identified 5 different similar industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene.
The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, has just classified sodium fluoride as a neurotoxin.
The summary goes on to state that 6 additional developmental neurotoxicants have also now been identified: manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers. The authors added that even more of these neurotoxicants remain undiscovered.
Also in the report, they note that neurodevelopmental disabilities, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments, are now affecting millions of children worldwide in what they call a “pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity.”
Global sodium fluoride prevention strategy recommended
In the Lancet report, the authors propose a global prevention strategy, saying that “untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity.”
They continue: “To coordinate these efforts and to accelerate translation of science into prevention, we propose the urgent formation of a new international clearinghouse.”
The report coincides with 2013 findings by a Harvard University meta-analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health that concluded that children in areas with highly fluoridated water have “significantly lower” IQ scores than those who live in areas with low amounts of sodium fluoride in their tap water.
Sodium fluoride in drinking water has also been closely linked to various types of cancers. It is functionally different than the naturally-occurring calcium fluoride, and commonly added to drinking water supplies and used by dentists and in dental products who posit that it is useful for dental health.
Fluoridation is actually uncommon in Europe
Currently, sodium fluoride is added to water supplies across much of North America, but as this list of countries that ban or reject water fluoridation below shows, the practice is actually not too common, or banned entirely throughout most of Europe and in several other developed nations across the world.
Countries that have banned or rejected water fluoridation include:
-Austria, where “toxic fluorides” are not added
-Belgium, which says that those who want fluoride should acquire it themselves
-Finland, where authorities have noted that there are better ways to stop cavities (through natural methods most likely)
-Japan, which notes that calcium fluoride is the type needed and not industrial sodium fluoride, and regulates the amount as well
– Among the countries that reject or ban fluoride is also China, home to the largest population of people on Earth, according to the website fluoridation.com.
(Note: all facts are from the website Fluoridation.com). Israel recently announced a ban as well, as have parts of Africa.
In Europe, only Ireland (73%), Poland (1%), Serbia (3%), Spain (11%), and the U.K. (11%) fluoridate their water supplies according to the Fluoride Action Network.
Take control over your own life!
Water fluoridation may be the norm in North America, but it doesn’t have to be the norm in your own life if you don’t want it to be! The good thing is that we do have a choice, and we also have a (collective) voice that is proving to be more and more powerful by the day!