Once upon a time, in a land called America, there was an aluminum giant. Its name was ALCOA. Unfortunately, ALCOA had a really bad habit. Instead of doing its business in a clean manner, the giant preferred to throw lots and lots of its waste around. After a while, it got so bad that a lot of the children living nearby had stained teeth. Needless to say, ALCOA's neighbors were not happy.
Now, wouldn't it be great for ALCOA if its waste no longer caused everyone to get angry at it? Wouldn't it be even greater for ALCOA if everyone also paid it for its waste? For that to happen, they would obviously need to believe that it's worth paying for.
As luck would have it, a few years later, ALCOA's chief chemist made a discovery. This discovery eventually led to the Public Health Service concluding that sodium fluoride, waste from ALCOA, is good for people's teeth in small amounts.
Funnily enough, Andrew W. Mellon, who helped create ALCOA, happened to be in charge of the Public Health Service when it decided to research fluoride's effect on teeth. He ran the Treasury Department until 1932, of which the agency was still a part back then.
In 1950, the agency then endorsed the fluoridation of community water supplies. It did so even though, a few years earlier, the editor of the American Dental Association's journal, L. Pierce Anthony, reminded everyone that "sodium fluoride is a highly toxic substance." He concluded that the potential benefits of decreasing dental decay in children are smaller than the risk of creating "serious systemic disturbances."
If an academic paper I refer to has been put behind a paywall, it may still be available for free on Sci-Hub (whose domain name may change someday). Also, all links in this article are archived on archive.org and/or archive.today.
Fun Fluoride Facts
1. The estimated lethal dose of sodium fluoride for an adult weighing 70 kg (≈154 lb) is just 5-10 g (≈0.18-0.35 oz).
"Most disturbing, however, is the fact that even bubble-gum and fruit-flavored toothpastes for children contain sufficient amounts of fluoride to kill a child." - Michael Connett
2. Most developed countries don't add any fluoride to their drinking water.
3. Over time, the exposure to around 0.7 mg (≈0.000025 oz) of fluoride per liter of fluoridated tap water can cause quite a few health problems. Not to mention, the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended maximum safe level is actually 4 mg (≈0.00014 oz) per liter.
4. The majority of the fluoride added to water supplies today is not sodium fluoride, but fluorosilicic acid. It's captured in air pollution control devices of the phosphate fertilizer industry, and it "may impose additional risks."
Most water treatment facilities made the change to the more affordable fluorosilicic acid in the early 1950s. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, ALCOA's last sale of sodium fluoride was in 1952.
6. According to the database the World Health Organization refers to, children's tooth decay rates in countries that fluoridate and countries that do not are virtually the same.
To be clear, the World Health Organization still promotes water fluoridation.
7. Fluoride can reduce children's IQs:
8. We only get rid of around 50 percent of the fluoride we consume every day (mostly via our kidneys). The rest accumulates in, for example, the pineal gland. It's the part of the brain that's responsible for producing the sleep hormone melatonin, among other things. To many people who practice spirituality, it's also the most interesting part of the brain:
Fortunately, when you lower your fluoride intake, you also lower the fluoride content of your blood plasma, which may then be able to draw fluoride from already-calcified tissues. Eating vitamin K-rich foods (like leaf vegetables) with a few grams of fat possibly helps with that. Doing so can, to some extent, even prevent the calcification of soft tissues in the first place, as can, potentially, not taking high-dose supplements of calcium, phosphorus, or vitamin D.
Ways to Reduce Your Fluoride Exposure
1. Drinking raw surface water that's continuously tested for elevated levels of fluoride, bacteria, etc. (good luck finding a source).
2. Drinking bottled water that's sourced from surface waters, since they're typically much lower in fluoride than tap water is. However, in the U.S., corporations don't have to disclose the fluoride content of their bottled water.
5. Showering or bathing in purified water, since the skin can absorb fluoride from fluoride-containing water. Whole house water purification systems are an option, as are, of course, things such as buckets. Unfortunately, there are no working fluoride filters for showerheads, as far as I know. (There are working chlorine filters though.)
6. Avoiding processed foods, since they're often made with fluoridated water (if they're made in countries that fluoridate their water).
7. Avoiding non-organic foods, especially non-organic grapes and grape products, since some of the commonly used pesticides contain fluoride.
8. Avoiding mechanically deboned meats, since the process increases the amount of fluoride-containing bone fragments in the meats.
9. Avoiding Camellia sinensis teas, especially black, green, pu-erh, and oloong tea.
11. Avoiding industrial workplaces where fluoride is a common air pollutant, like aluminum, fertilizer, iron, oil refining, semi-conductor, and steel industry workplaces.
12. Moving to a place that does not (yet?) fluoridate its water.
"Physicians are required by law and medical ethics to obtain the informed consent of their patients before initiating treatment." - Paul S. Appelbaum
Ways to Get Rid of Consumed Fluoride
2. Potentially, chelation therapy (via, for example, humic acids). However, I think this should probably only be done under medical supervision (if at all). That's because, as the American Cancer Society put it, "chelation therapy can be toxic and has the potential to cause kidney damage, irregular heartbeat, and even death."
3. Eating tamarind fruit, which is used as a laxative and febrifuge in traditional African medicine. The fruit may also strongly increase aspirin and ibuprofen absorption, and therefore also their side effects.
4. Eating foods rich in iodine, like sea vegetables, plums, and bananas. However, you only want to consume so much of the mineral. Exceeding the tolerable upper intake via plums and bananas is practically impossible though. But that typically doesn't apply to sea vegetables, so it's a good thing they're often sold with a label that indicates the iodine content.
5. Eating boron-rich foods, like peaches, apples, and oranges, or at least supplementing with the boron compound borax (of which 11.36 percent is boron). Doing so also lessens the toxicity of fluoride.
Boron's tolerable upper intake for adults age 19 and older is 20 mg (≈0.0007 oz), which can practically only be exceeded via supplements. As for borax's toxicity, the dose at which symptoms start to occur appears to be highly variable, ranging from 0.1 to 55.5 g (≈0.0035-2 oz). The estimated minimum lethal dose of borax for adults is in the range of 5-20 g (≈0.18-0.7 oz).
6. Keeping your kidneys healthy. As in, living a healthy lifestyle, which, at the same time, lessens fluoride's toxicity.
Selenium and Curcumin possibly also lessen at least some of fluoride's negative effects on the brain. One brazil nut alone contains around 175 percent of the recommended daily intake of selenium, though it's not recommended to eat more than two per day.
People who have a biliary tract obstruction or a tendency to form kidney stones shouldn't even consume normal amounts of the curcumin-containing spice turmeric. People with no such problems may still want to stick with consuming normal amounts of turmeric, if any.