What’s your poison?

Like mercury (dental fillings), fluoride is not an obvious choice for dental health. The reason for this: It’s a poison – more poisonous than lead and slightly less poisonous than arsenic.

The fluoride used in toothpaste, mouth rinses and dental gels usually is sodium fluoride – a waste product from the aluminium industry.

The fluoride added to our water supply is hydrofluorosilic acid or sometimes silicofluoride – waste products of the fertiliser and glass industries.

Professor Kaj Roholm , former Chief of the Toxicology Committee for the National Research Council classified hydrofluorosilic acid and hexafluorosilic acid as “extremely toxic.” One chemical company selling fluoride to water suppliers describes it as “a colourless to straw yellow, transparent, fuming, corrosive liquid with a pungent odour and irritating action on the skin.”

Hydrofluorosilicacid is listed as a Part II poison under the Poisons Act 1972. As such its use as a commercially ingestible product in water violates UK and EU pharmaceutical legislation governing the regulation of medicinal substances, as well as the Poisons Act.

Worldwide rejection

Since 1990, 54 US and Canadian cities have rejected hydrofluorosilic acid, but almost 60 per cent of the US remains fluoridated. In these areas, there has been a dramatic increase in bone cancer in young males aged between 9-19. A National Cancer Institute Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results Programme recorded an increase of 79 per cent of bone cancer in young men living in fluoridated areas of Iowa and Seattle. But in the unfluoridated areas the incidence of bone cancer decreased by 4 per cent.

Professor Hardy Limeback, studied the health effects of fluoride on children and he warned that children under three years should never drink fluoridated water or use fluoride toothpaste or products, and that fluoridated water must never be used for making baby formula.

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway , Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands and Italy have all banned the addition of hydrofluorosilic acid to drinking water and so have Japan and India.


Dental fluorosis caused by drinking fluoridated water is a very visible example of the toxic effect that fluoride can have on our bodies. A study of five primary schools around Birmingham in the UK, indicated that 34 per cent of young children had dental fluorosis.

Peter Mansfield, former President of The National Pure Water Association (NPWA) tested over 500 volunteers in the West Midlands and found that 60 per cent had four times the ’safe’ level of fluoride in their urine.

The quantity of fluoride in toothpastes for children is even more of an issue as children, because of their smaller size, naturally can be poisoned with far lower levels. There is, for example, enough fluoride in a tube of fluoride toothpaste to kill a small child. Even more surprising, is that when it comes to dental hygiene, fluoride actually does more harm than good.


* Accumulates in bones, making them brittle and more easily fractured

* Damages tooth enamel (’dental fluorosis’) and may lower fertility rates

* Increases the uptake of aluminium into the brain and lead into the blood

* Inhibits antibodies from forming in the blood

* Confuses the immune system, causing it to attack the body’s tissues, which can increase the risk of cancerous growths

More than you bargained for

We don’t ingest fluoride just simply by drinking water or brushing our teeth but it also enter our bodies through other sources such as processed food, some cheaper (lower- end of the market) vitamin tablets, and drinks like fruit juice, soda and tea. So how do we control the amount of fluoride that we ingest? It’s simple: We don’t!

There is no control over how much water people consume. Thirsty children weighing 28 – 42 lbs could be receiving the same amount of fluoride as adults four times their size. And that is just by drinking water. Tea (and we do love our tea in Britain) is a major source of fluoride even when made with non-fluoridated water. The Department of Health recognises that: “Those consuming large volumes of tea would have an intake of 4.4 – 12mg depending on whether tea was prepared from fluoridated water.” These levels are considered far above those generally recognised as safe.

The 1 part per million (ppm) level of fluoride in UK water supplies deemed ’safe’ by the government is 100 times higher than that normally found in mother’s milk. Prof Paul Connett, a leading authority on fluoride, spoke at the Science, Medicine and The Law conference in London in January 2005. He said: “There are no benefits, only risks, for infants ingesting heightened levels of fluoride at such an early age, [when] susceptibility to toxins are particularly high.”

What can you do?

There are some measures you can take to control the amount of fluoride you ingest.

* Always read the label on any products such as toothpaste, mouthwashes and dental floss

* Use only non-fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes

* Refuse fluoride treatments from your dentist

* Eat a healthy organic diet and avoid processed foods.

* Avoid drinking fluoridated water.

* If you cannot avoid drinking fluoridated water, implement an activated alumina defluoridation filter or a distillation filtration at home.

Taken from the HSI Newsletter