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Fluoride in Drinking Water: What Are the Risks?

Wednesday, 02 April 2014 10:03 PM

Addition of fluoride compounds to public drinking water is undertaken to help prevent or reduce tooth decay or cavities. The process is termed drinking water fluoridation. Though this process is adopted on a wide scale, various health experts are concerned about the toxicity involved in it. When water has high levels of fluoride compounds, it may cause risks to health or life. Neurotoxicity or toxicity related to neurons is one of the most frequently studied toxicity conditions emerging from adding fluoride to drinking water. There are also research studies concerning the dangers of increased cancer risk caused by fluoride. Let us focus on various risk factors or dangers of fluoride in drinking water.

Various Risk Factors and Dangers of Fluoride in the Drinking Water

Though many people and governments consider fluoride in drinking water safe and effective, others speak about the toxicity caused by an excess of fluoride in the drinking water. The latter group tags this as a danger to health that can cause various risks. Therefore, controversies abound regarding the safety of drinking water levels of fluoridation. These are the risk factors of this compound in drinking water, which may be a potential danger to human health.
  • Neurotoxicity (toxicity related to neurons): Studies have found that additional amounts of fluoride in the body can cause toxicity to neurons in adults and create issues in memory and learning. Adding this compound in drinking water can also cause visible neurotoxicity in children and be a risk to their proper neurodevelopment. Adults and children face the danger of IQ loss due to an excess of these compounds. Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard School of Public Health, states that, “Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other chemicals that cause chemical brain drain.”
  • Toxicity related to cancer: There has been concern about whether fluoride in drinking water can cause an increased danger of cancer or any risk related to it. Many research studies indicate that fluoridation may cause the risk of developing a type of cancer called osteosarcoma, which involves the toxicity related to cancer beginning from the bones. There are greater risks of this type of cancer toxicity developing more in children. Studies state that when fluoride from drinking water reaches growth plates (the specific part of bones where osteosarcoma can develop), it causes the cells in this portion to grow faster than their normal rate, creating the danger or risk of developing osteosarcoma.
  • Other toxicity: There are many other toxicity conditions caused by an excess of fluoride compounds in drinking water. There are risks of hip fractures, dangers related to dental fluorosis or skeletal fluorosis, and raised instances of kidney diseases. Statistics also show a growing risk of hypersensitivity and some birth defects that can be linked with too much fluoride in the drinking water.
Therefore, toxicity related to high levels of fluoride in the drinking water is well known and remains in controversy. Considering all these, precaution against the risk and dangers of fluoridation must be taken.

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Fluoridation is a process of adding fluoride compounds to public drinking water. An optimal level of fluoride helps reduce tooth decay. However, toxicity involved in the process of water fluoridation can cause health hazards.
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 10:03 PM
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