Sources of Fluoride Toxicity and Exposure

Fluoride is hazardous and can cause toxicity.

The sources of human exposure to fluoride have drastically increased since community water fluoridation began in the U.S. in the 1940’s, and this means that the potential for cases of fluoride toxicity is also increasing. In addition to water, sources of fluoride now include food, air, soil, pesticides, fertilizers, dental products used at home and in the dental office (some of which are implanted in the human body), pharmaceutical drugs, cookware, clothing, carpeting, and an array of other consumer items used on a regular basis. Click here to see a list of sources of fluoride.

Hundreds of research articles published over the past several decades have demonstrated potential harm to humans from fluoride at various levels of exposure, including levels currently deemed as safe. Fluoride is also known to impact the cardiovascular, central nervous, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary, renal, and respiratory systems, and exposure to fluoride has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, and many other adverse health outcomes. Click here to read more about the health effects of fluoride.

The First Sign of Fluoride Toxicity: Dental Fluorosis

Examples of Dental Fluorosis, Fluoride Toxicity

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 in children is known to result in dental fluorosis, a condition in which the teeth enamel becomes irreversibly damaged and the teeth become permanently discolored, displaying a white or brown mottling pattern and forming brittle teeth that break and stain easily. The first sign of fluoride toxicity is dental fluorosis and that fluoride is a known enzyme disruptor.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released in 2010, 23% of Americans aged 6-49 and 41% of children aged 12-15 exhibit fluorosis to some degree. These drastic increases in rates of dental fluorosis were a crucial factor in the Public Health Service’s decision to lower its water fluoridation level recommendations in 2015.

Cases of Fluoride Toxicity

The first large scale case of alleged toxicity from fluorine involved a disaster at Meuse Valley in Belgium in the 1930s. Fog and other conditions in this industrialized area were associated with 60 deaths and thousands of people developing illnesses. Evidence has since related these casualties to fluorine releases from the nearby factories.

Another case of toxicity occurred in 1948 in Donora, Pennsylvania, due to fog and temperature inversion. In this instance, gaseous releases from zinc, steel, wire, and nail galvanizing industries have been suspected of causing 20 deaths and six thousand people to become ill as a result of fluoride poisoning.

fluoride toxicity from water fluoridation

Cases of fluoride toxicity have occurred from
water that was overly fluoridated.

Fluoride toxicity from a dental product in the United States occurred in 1974 when a three-year old Brooklyn boy died due to a fluoride overdose from dental gel. Several major cases of fluoride poisoning in the United States have achieved attention in recent decades, such as the 1992 outbreak in Hooper Bay, Alaska, as a result of high levels of fluoride in the water supply and the 2015 poisoning of a family in Florida as a result of sulfuryl fluoride used in a termite treatment on their home.

Individuals experiencing fluoride toxicity from water have also been reported. In 1979, after up to 50 ppm fluoride was added to the Annapolis, Maryland, public water system, Dr. John Yiamouyiannis worked with another doctor to conduct a clinical survey on 112 people who believed they were experiencing reactions to the fluoride. 103 were diagnosed with fluoride poisoning.