Does fluoride in drinking water hurt your brain? Here is proof that is does harm.

Back in 2011, the EPA reversed course and lowered the recommended maximum amount of fluoride in drinking water due to data that the levels then being allowed put kids at risk of dental fluorosis–streaking and pitting of teeth due to excessive fluoride, which also puts tooth enamel at risk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to classify fluoride as an “unapproved new drug.”

This conclusion was a discordant note amidst all the accolades fluoride had won, starting with the discovery during the 1940s that people who lived near water supplies containing naturally occurring fluoride had fewer cavities in their teeth.   A massive push ensued, with government and industry encouraging cities and towns to add fluoride to water supplies.

Related: Dental health linked to dementia risk

Now, questions about the impact of fluoride on mental health are growing and can no longer be ignored.

A recently published Harvard study showed that children living in areas with highly fluoridated water have “significantly lower” IQ scores than those living in areas where the water has low fluoride levels.  In fact, the study analyzed the results of 27 prior investigations and found the following, among other conclusions:

  • Fluoride may be a developmental neurotoxicant that affects brain development (in children) at exposures much below those that cause toxicity in adults.
  • Rats exposed to (relatively low) fluoride concentrations in water showed cellular changes in the brain and increased levels of aluminum in brain tissue.


Other research studies in animals link fluoride intake to the development of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic finding in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s dementia).

And research on fluoride also has implicated it in changing the structure of the brains of fetuses, negatively impacting the behavioral/neurological assessment scores of newborns and, in animal studies, impairing memory.

This information is very important, from a psychiatric standpoint, because we have witnessed rising rates of attention deficit disorder, major depression, dementia and many other psychiatric illnesses since the 1940s, and because the United States (which fluoridates a much higher percentage of its drinking water than most countries, including European nations) has some of the highest rates of mental disorders in the world–by a wide margin.

It is not clear, of course, that fluoride is responsible wholly, or even in small measure, for these facts, but the connection is an intriguing one, especially in light of the new Harvard study.

Given the available data, I would recommend that children with learning disorders, attention deficit disorder, depression, attention-deficit disorder or other psychiatric illnesses refrain from drinking fluoridated water, and consult a dentist about the most effective way of delivering sufficient fluoride to the teeth directly, while minimizing absorption by the body as a whole–and the brain, specifically.

Fluoridation is a bad medical practice

1) Fluoride is the only chemical added to water for the purpose of medical treatment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies fluoride as a drug when used to prevent or mitigate disease (FDA 2000). As a matter of basic logic, adding fluoride to water for the sole purpose of preventing tooth decay (a non-waterborne disease) is a form of medical treatment. All other water treatment chemicals are added to improve the water’s quality or safety, which fluoride does not do.

2) Fluoridation is unethical. Informed consent is standard practice for all medication, and one of the key reasons why most of Western Europe has ruled against fluoridation. With water fluoridation we are allowing governments to do to whole communities (forcing people to take a medicine irrespective of their consent) what individual doctors cannot do to individual patients.

Put another way: Does a voter have the right to require that their neighbor ingest a certain medication (even if it is against that neighbor’s will)?

3) The dose cannot be controlled. Once fluoride is put in the water it is impossible to control the dose each individual receives because people drink different amounts of water. Being able to control the dose a patient receives is critical. Some people (e.g., manual laborers, athletes, diabetics, and people with kidney disease) drink substantially more water than others.

4) The fluoride goes to everyone regardless of age, health or vulnerability. According to Dr. Arvid Carlsson, the 2000 Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology and one of the scientists who helped keep fluoridation out of Sweden:

“Water fluoridation goes against leading principles of pharmacotherapy, which is progressing from a stereotyped medication — of the type 1 tablet 3 times a day — to a much more individualized therapy as regards both dosage and selection of drugs. The addition of drugs to the drinking water means exactly the opposite of an individualized therapy” (Carlsson 1978).

5) People now receive fluoride from many other sources besides water. Fluoridated water is not the only way people are exposed to fluoride. Other sources of fluoride include food and beverages processed with fluoridated water (Kiritsy 1996; Heilman 1999), fluoridated dental products (Bentley 1999; Levy 1999), mechanically deboned meat (Fein 2001), tea (Levy 1999), and pesticide residues (e.g., from cryolite) on food (Stannard 1991; Burgstahler 1997). It is now widely acknowledged that exposure to non-water sources of fluoride has significantly increased since the water fluoridation program first began (NRC 2006).

6) Fluoride is not an essential nutrient. No disease, not even tooth decay, is caused by a “fluoride deficiency.”(NRC 1993; Institute of Medicine 1997, NRC 2006). Not a single biological process has been shown to require fluoride. On the contrary there is extensive evidence that fluoride can interfere with many important biological processes. Fluoride interferes with numerous enzymes (Waldbott 1978). In combination with aluminum, fluoride interferes with G-proteins (Bigay 1985, 1987). Such interactions give aluminum-fluoride complexes the potential to interfere with signals from growth factors, hormones and neurotransmitters (Strunecka & Patocka 1999; Li 2003). More and more studies indicate that fluoride can interfere with biochemistry in fundamental ways (Barbier 2010).

7) The level in mothers’ milk is very low. Considering reason #6 it is perhaps not surprising that the level of fluoride in mother’s milk is remarkably low (0.004 ppm, NRC, 2006). This means that a bottle-fed baby consuming fluoridated water (0.6 – 1.2 ppm) can get up to 300 times more fluoride than a breast-fed baby. There are no benefits (see reasons #11-19), only risks (see reasons #21-36), for infants ingesting this heightened level of fluoride at such an early age (an age where susceptibility to environmental toxins is particularly high).

8 ) Fluoride accumulates in the body. Healthy adult kidneys excrete 50 to 60% of the fluoride they ingest each day (Marier & Rose 1971). The remainder accumulates in the body, largely in calcifying tissues such as the bones and pineal gland (Luke 1997, 2001). Infants and children excrete less fluoride from their kidneys and take up to 80% of ingested fluoride into their bones (Ekstrand 1994). The fluoride concentration in bone steadily increases over a lifetime (NRC 2006).

9) No health agency in fluoridated countries is monitoring fluoride exposure or side effects. No regular measurements are being made of the levels of fluoride in urine, blood, bones, hair, or nails of either the general population or sensitive subparts of the population (e.g., individuals with kidney disease).

10) There has never been a single randomized clinical trial to demonstrate fluoridation’s effectiveness or safety. Despite the fact that fluoride has been added to community water supplies for over 60 years, “there have been no randomized trials of water fluoridation” (Cheng 2007). Randomized studies are the standard method for determining the safety and effectiveness of any purportedly beneficial medical treatment. In 2000, the British Government’s “York Review” could not give a single fluoridation trial a Grade A classification – despite 50 years of research (McDonagh 2000). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to classify fluoride as an “unapproved new drug.”

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About CareMan
I am the CareMan, have been for 7 years now. I really do care about YOU and getting YOU back to great, natural health, so long as you have an open mind.

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