Fluoride Exposure and Human Health Risks 2017-12-13T20:38:35+00:00

Sources of Fluoride Exposure

Since the 1940s, an array of products containing fluoride have been introduced to the average consumer. These sources of fluoride exposure can contribute to human health risks.

Some products that may contain added fluoride and contribute to human health risks include the following:

Artificially fluoridated municipal waterBeverages (made with fluoridated water)
Dental cements with fluorideDental fillings with fluoride
Dental gels with fluorideDental varnishes with fluoride
Floss with fluorideFluoride drugs (“supplements”)
Food (that contains or has been exposed to fluoride)Mouthwash with fluoride
Pesticides with fluoridePharmaceutical drugs with perfluorinated compounds
Stain resistant and waterproof items with PFCsToothpaste with fluoride

Examples of Human Health Risks Associated with Fluoride Exposure

Human Health Risks and Fluoride Exposure

The potential health risks generated from exposure to these sources of fluoride are often overlooked. Additionally, age, gender, genetic factors, nutritional status, weight, and other factors are known to influence each person’s unique reaction to fluoride. For example, children’s exposure to fluoride is extremely important to consider, and this issue was made evident in recent news about a study linking fluoride exposure in utero with lower IQs. As another example, fluoride was recently identified as one of 12 industrial chemicals known to cause developmental neurotoxicity in humans.

This chart includes some of the specific human health risks associated with fluoride exposure:

Acne and other dermatological conditionsArterial calcification
and arteriosclerosis
Bone weakness and risk of fracturesCancer of the bone, osteosarcoma
Cardiac failureCardiac insufficiency
Cognitive deficitsDental fluorosis
DiabetesEarly puberty in girls
Electrocardiogram abnormalitiesHarm to the fetal brain
HypertensionImmune system complications
InsomniaIodine deficiency
Lower fertility ratesLower IQ
Myocardial damageNeurotoxic effects, including ADHD
OsteoarthritisSkeletal fluorosis
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)Thyroid dysfunction

Dental Fluorosis: A Warning Signal of Human Health Risks and Fluoride Exposure

examples of damage to teeth, including staining and mottling ranging from mild to severe, from dental fluorosis caused by fluoride

Photos of Dental Fluorosis, the first sign of fluoride toxicity, ranging from very mild to severe; Photo by
Dr. David Kennedy and used with permission of victims of dental fluorosis.

Exposure to excess fluoride can result in dental fluorosis, a condition in which the teeth enamel becomes irreversibly damaged. Additionally, the teeth become permanently discolored, displaying a white or brown mottling pattern and forming brittle teeth that break and stain easily.

Dental fluorosis is recognized as the first visible sign of fluoride toxicity. It is likewise a warning signal of the human health risks associated with fluoride exposure. According to 2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 23% of Americans aged 6-49 and 41% of children aged 12-15 exhibit fluorosis to some degree. An assessment of the CDC’s data further demonstrates that 58% of children aged 6-19 have fluorosis.

Final Thoughts on Fluoride Exposure and Human Health Risks

Increased sources of fluoride exposure are accompanied by increased human health risks. Therefore, it has become a necessity to reduce and work toward eliminating avoidable sources of fluoride exposure, including water fluoridation, fluoride-containing dental materials, and other fluoridated products.

Click here for a more detailed version of this document with scientific references
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