Water Fluoridation – Dogma vs. Science

I’ll be writing some articles comparing Actual Research vs. Medical Dogma. Here is an excerpt from some research I have been doing for school:

…both the pro- and anti-fluoridation positions are equally dogmatic, and claim to be using unbiased scientific studies to support their claims. Fluoride has been added to water for the past seventy years, and many scientific studies have been performed, so how is it possible for each side to not be in full agreement? Or does either side have an metaphorical axe to grind, a reputation to protect, or a financial interest in the issue?


I’m suspicious of CDC’s statement “The safety and benefits of fluoride are well documented and have been reviewed comprehensively.” Many of the references on the pro-fluoride are of epidemiological observations from the early part of the 20th century, or are reviewing only cancer risk, without regard to other potential health effects. The HHS Review of Fluoride admitted that more research is necessary (HHS, 1991).

I will do an PubMed search on the terms Fluoride and Safety to see if my results are consistent with the CDC’s contention that no credible studies show any health risks of water fluoridations. There were thousands of results, many of them are focused on the efficacy of fluoride in preventing cavities, but I am only looking at safety studies, as well as journal articles. I have browsed the abstracts of several hundred studies from various sources, and these are a few of the results, in no particular order:

  1. “Low-dose fluoride … is unlikely to be an effective therapy for osteoporosis” (Grey A, 2013).
  2. Most people [in the United States] perceive water fluoridation as safe (Mork N, 2015)
  3. The vast majority of Europeans oppose water fluoridation (Griffin M, 2008)
  4. “Fluoride … impairs learning and memory… in rats” (Jiang S, 2014).
  5. “…fluoride has a potential to cause major adverse human health problems, while having only a modest dental caries prevention effect” (Peckham S, 2014)
  6. “There is overwhelming evidence that reports … how safe fluoride application is when used appropriately” (Miller FY, 2012)
  7. “Meta-analysis of published studies on developmental fluoride neurotoxicity support the hypothesis that exposure to elevated concentrations of fluoride in water is neurotoxic during development.” (Choi AL, 2015)
  8. “…fluorine and fluorides likely represent a form of chemistry that is incompatible with biological tissues and organ system functions…. [evidence offers] strong support for an immediate reconsideration concerning risk vs benefit.” (J, 2011)
  9. “it seems justifiable to recommend the use of fluoridated dentifrices to individuals of all ages” (Pessan JP, 20113)
  10. “A higher prevalence of hip fractures in elderly osteoporotic women and osteosarcoma in teenagers has been reported in areas where excess fluoride exists in the drinking water. However, none of the many independent professional committees reviewing the negative aspects of fluoridation have found any scientific evidence associating fluoridation with any ill-effects or health problems.” (S, 2003)
  11. “No dose-related anomalies in internal organs were observed in F2 fetuses” [mice study] (Collins TF S. R., 2001)
  12. A review of four studies showed no significant associations between the incidence of Down’s syndrome and water fluoride level and two studies by the same author found a significant (p < 0.05) positive association. (Whiting P, 2001)
  13. “…prolonged exposure to sodium fluoride in drinking water at the doses administered in this study does not adversely affect spermatogenesis or endocrine function in the P and F1 generation male rats” (Sprando RL, 1997)
  14. Fetal growth in rats was not affected by the administration of sodium fluoride (Collins TF S. R., 1995)
  15. “…inverse correlation between the AUC and either body surface area (BSA) or glomerular filtration rate (GFR)” [kidney function] in the elderly. (Jeandel C, 1992)
  16. “A study group was formed … to consider the possibility of reducing dental caries by adding fluoride to sugar.” (Bratthall D, 1995)
  17. “…selected dental products … contain quantities of fluoride sufficient to exceed the PTD [probably toxic dose] for young children. (GM, 1987)

Due to the conflicting evidence and the inherent difficulty in establishing the safety of any xenobiotic, I am not able to concur with the CDC’s contention that water fluoridation has been found to be safe. I believe that it is best to follow the precautionary principle with this, or any other unnatural substance added to food or drinking water.


Bratthall D, B. D. (1995). Adding fluoride to sugar–a new avenue to reduce dental caries, or a “dead end”? Advances in Dental Research.

CDC. (2005). Fluoridation Facts. Retrieved from American Dental Association: http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/advocating-for-the-public/fluoride-and-fluoridation/ada-fluoridation-resources/fluoridation-facts-publication

Choi AL, Z. Y. (2015). Association of lifetime exposure to fluoride and cognitive functions in Chinese children: a pilot study. Neurotoxicology and Teratology.

Collins TF, S. R. (1995). Developmental toxicity of sodium fluoride in rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Collins TF, S. R. (2001). Developmental toxicity of sodium fluoride measured during multiple generations. Food and Chemical Toxicology.

DAMS.org. (2014). Second Look. Retrieved from SLweb.org: http://www.slweb.org/

GM, W. (1987). Fluoride in dental products: safety considerations. Journal of Dental Research.

Grey A, G. S. (2013). Low-dose fluoride in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab.

Griffin M, S. D. (2008). European citizens’ opinions on water fluoridation. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

HHS. (1991, Feb). REVIEW OF FLUORIDE: BENEFITS AND RISKS. Retrieved from DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: http://health.gov/environment/ReviewofFluoride/

J, P. (2011). Fluorine–a current literature review. An NRC and ATSDR based review of safety standards for exposure to fluorine and fluorides. Toxicology Mechinasims and Methods.

Jeandel C, L. F. (1992). Effect of age on the disposition of sodium fluoride. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Jiang S, S. J. (2014). Fluoride and arsenic exposure impairs learning and memory and decreases mGluR5 expression in the hippocampus and cortex in rats. PLoS One.

Lee, J. (1995). The Truth About Mandatory Fluoridation. Retrieved from Fluoride Issues: http://www.sonic.net/kryptox/politics/ab733lee.htm

Miller FY, C. G. (2012). Topical fluoride for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents. Current Pharmaceutical Design.

Mork N, G. S. (2015). Perceived safety and benefit of community water fluoridation: 2009 HealthStyles survey. J Public Health Dent.

Peckham S, A. N. (2014). Water fluoridation: a critical review of the physiological effects of ingested fluoride as a public health intervention. ScientificWorldJournal. .

Pessan JP, T. K. (20113). Topical use of fluorides for caries control. Monographs in Oral Science.

S, B. (2003). [Water fluoridation and public health]. Harefuah.

Sprando RL, C. T. (1997). Testing the potential of sodium fluoride to affect spermatogenesis in the rat. Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Whiting P, M. M. (2001). Association of Down’s syndrome and water fluoride level: a systematic review of the evidence. BMC Public Health.



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