Safety of Fluoridation
Fluoridation of municipal drinking water has aroused some controversy from its beginnings in 1945. There is no doubt high concentrations of fluoride are toxic to the human body. But it’s important to remember that the toxicity of any material depends on the dose amount and the exposure duration. In the case of municipal water fluoridation, the overwhelming weight of evidence shows the dose (~1 part per million) to be safe.
It is interesting that the fluoride controversy through the decades reflects the medical concerns of the day. Early on, concerns focused on a possible fluoride connection with Down’s syndrome. Present day concerns focus more on allergies and cancer.
When the entire body of information is examined, there is simply no statistical evidence that fluoridation has caused any significant decline in societal health. On the contrary, the period in which fluoride exposure has been increasing has been a period of steady health improvement in the U.S. Age-adjusted mortality rates for almost all diseases, including heart disease and most cancers, have been decreasing. The notable exceptions are lung cancer and melanoma, which are lifestyle diseases.
Well-constructed experiments have generated data that imply research should continue on fluoride’s possible side effects. DMWW and the water industry will continue to examine and react to this research. But at the current time, the weight of evidence overwhelmingly supports continued fluoridation of municipal drinking water. There really is no controversy right now among the medical and water industry establishments.
We do know that good dental health is important to our overall physical well being. Good teeth enable us to eat a healthy diet throughout our life and into old age, helping lengthen our lifespan. Fluoridation of municipal drinking water is endorsed by:
- American Dental Association
- American Medical Association
- American Heart Association
- American Cancer Society
- American Water Works Association
- Centers for Disease Control
Every U.S. Surgeon General and every sitting President since Kennedy have publicly endorsed fluoridation. As the Centers for Disease Control has recognized, municipal drinking water fluoridation is one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century.