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      How Safe is Your Drinking Water?  >  Contaminants Resulting from Municipal Additives  >  Fluoride - Recent Discoveries

Fluoride - Recent Discoveries

The debate over water fluoridation has been incredibly spirited and volatile for nearly 60 years. Water fluoridation trials began in the United States in 1945 as a means to prevent tooth decay in children. It was believed that children who were too poor to receive proper dental care could reap similar benefits by drinking fluoridated water. The adverse effects of fluoridated water against the larger population were seen to be minimal. Fluoridated drinking water seemed moderately successful at preventing and/or decreasing tooth decay in children, and the practice of water fluoridation escalated until 56% of municipal water systems were treated with fluoride in 1992 (Centers for Disease Control, 1993). By 2000, this number had risen to nearly 66%.

Recently, health officials have begun to question the cost/benefit ratio of water fluoridation. It is certainly true that levels of tooth decay in children have dropped in the last half-century, but decreasing levels of tooth decay cannot necessarily be attributed to water fluoridation. Statistics of decreasing tooth decay in children are comparable in both areas receiving fluoridated water and areas receiving non-fluoridated water (Hileman, 1988). This finding leads many to believe that the perceived benefits of fluoride may have been greatly inflated. Also, new evidence contradicts earlier beliefs that fluoride had to be swallowed in order to be effective. The Centers for Disease Control (1993) have now acknowledged that fluoride does not need to be swallowed in order for one to reap its small benefits in preventing tooth decay. A fluoride-enriched toothpaste can be just as effective, if not more effective, as fluoridated water.

Preventing tooth decay is the only benefit of fluoridated water, and this benefit may have been greatly inflated. Recently, several adverse health effects have been linked to fluoridated drinking water. See the next page to learn more about the problematic nature of fluoride in the body.

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How Safe is Your Drinking Water?
Introduction - The Value of Drinking Water
Groundwater and Surface Water
Herbicides and Insecticides - History & Occurrence
Herbicides and Insecticides - Specific Chemicals and Health Effects
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs)
Chlorine Byproducts
Fluoride - Recent Discoveries
Fluoride - Adverse Health Effects
Mercury and Arsenic
Bacteria and Viruses
Human and Animal Feces
Conclusion - The Importance of Drinking Filtered Water
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