Avoiding Fluoride


By Dr. David S. Banks, DDS

Local water supplies have been contaminated with the industrial pollutant, hydrofluosilicic acid that over time will build up in the body with the potential to cause or aggravate many adverse health conditions.  Hydrofluosilicic acid is not a natural form of fluoride and is far more dangerous than naturally occurring calcium fluoride.

First and foremost, avoid drinking tap water. Especially avoid giving fluoridated water to an infant or small child.  Many of the best methods of protecting your family such as whole house filtration do involve substantial costs, but many things you can do involve making the right choices and putting up with a bit of inconvenience.

Fluoride is absorbed both by being swallowed and by dermal transfer from contact with the skin or oral mucous membranes.  So another strategy one needs to apply is to minimize skin contact with fluoridated water when possible and to avoid or reduce oral contact through toothpaste and especially to avoid fluoride treatments or varnishes applied in the dental office.  Many natural toothpastes are available that do not contain fluoride but do contain herbal ingredients that will inhibit tooth decay.  Jason and Weleda are excellent brands you may wish to consider using.

If you want to avoid dermal absorption entirely you will need to purchase a whole house filter but if you do not wish to go this expense you can reduce skin exposure by taking quick showers instead of soaking in a bath tub and keeping the water temperature on the cool side so that skin pores are not opened by hot water thereby increasing the amount of fluoride transferred though the skin.

Filtration of fluoride is difficult because the size of the ion is so small that it readily passes though most filter media.  We are left with either distillation or passing the fluoride though a media such a bone char that binds to the fluoride molecule.  Bone char is made from charred cattle bones and just as fluoride binds to and eventually weakens the bones in your body, it is attracted to the bone char and filtered out of the water.  Reverse osmosis also works to a degree but its effectiveness is dependent on frequent filter membrane replacement, as the fluoride will eventually eat holes through the membrane.

Two good sources of filters containing bone char are www.equinoxproducts.com and www.promolife.com.  Both whole house and smaller faucet type filters are available from these sources.  If you chose a distillation method you will need to add back the beneficial minerals lost in distilling to your water.

The most economical source of safe water is the Glacier filtration devices found outside many grocery stores.  These filters are well maintained and have been tested at low or zero fluoride levels.  Palomar bottled water has been tested at zero fluoride levels and comes from one spring at Palomar moutain.  Other spring waters may or may not be safe to drink depending on the source of the spring with some Arrowhead samples testing as much a 2.0ppm or over twice the level in city water.  Desani water is another filtered source that is relatively fluoride free.

Another way to reduce the fluoride burden is to reduce intake of foods and beverages that are known to contain high concentrations of fluoride.  Fluoride pesticides are used on grape crops so grape juice and wine have very high levels of fluoride.  Organic products are a better choice.

Black tea has extremely high levels of fluoride and aluminum, as does green tea to a lesser degree.  White tea, which comes from a younger plant that has not taken up much fluoride or aluminum from the soil, is a much better choice.  Never use lemon juice in your tea to avoid an increase in aluminum absorption.

Commercial cereals manufactured in fluoridated areas are especially notorious for high fluoride levels.  Soy products are also high in fluoride and in most cases should be avoided or eaten in moderation.  Any product manufactured or reconstituted in a fluoridated area will likely have high fluoride levels, especially soups and sauces where concentration of fluoride occurs as liquid is evaporated off.

As an added protection, make sure there is adequate iodine in your diet.  Good sources are sea vegetables or fish (small fish to avoid mercury).  Dulse may be used as a seasoning for a convenient source of iodine.  An iodine supplement may be appropriate, as most people tend to be deficient in iodine.  Iodine competes with the fluoride molecule in the body and will aid in fluoride elimination.  Excess fluoride depresses thyroid activity by attaching to receptor sites that should be occupied with iodine, so make sure you have plenty of iodine to compete.  Iodine is an essential nutriment.  Fluoride is not.

If you are fortunate enough to grow your own fruits and vegetables, consider switching to a drip irrigation system to reduce the fluoride uptake from water spayed directly on the plants.

The fluoride content of many foods is documented on the excellent resource site, www.fluoridealert.org.  Both filtration companies listed above have good information on fluoride risks and filtration methods on their web sites.

The highest risk for fluoride overdose comes to our youngest children, so especially do what you can to protect your kids and to educate other parents.   NEVER mix tap water with baby formula as the blood brain barrier is wide open in infants and small children and they are easily overdosed.

By taking the above precautions you can still provide a degree of protection for yourself and your family, but it is impossible to totally avoid fluoride exposure.  Only those who are educated and affluent enough to make the correct choices will take many of the precautions. Obviously not everyone can afford bottled water or a filtration system so efforts to end the misguided practice of water fluoridation are still critical, especially to protect those less fortunate.