DetailsCategory: About Our WaterPublished on Friday, 06 July 2012 16:36Written by Tom HornHits: 1503
Fluoridation, or the addition of fluoride to drinking water, has been common practice in the U.S. and other countries for decades. The practice was first launched in the 1940s in the U.S. and has since been adopted by more and more municipal water suppliers around the world, placing the number of individuals who now receive a fluoridated drinking water supply worldwide at more than 400 million.
Proponents of fluoridation believe it helps prevent tooth decay and the development of cavities in children and adults. This concept is based on early studies that documented lower rates of tooth decay in children in areas where the natural levels of fluoride were higher than average; however, recent studies indicate there are several drawbacks to the fluoridation practice, including serious negative health consequences. Studies indicate that fluoride in drinking water can have a range of adverse health effects, particularly for young children, including developmental and intellectual delays, stunted growth and even the increased chance of dental fluorosis.
Children who are consistently exposed to high levels of fluoride from a variety of sources, including drinking water and other beverages, foods consumed, and even toothpaste, have been shown to have intellectual deficits. Children often test lower in IQ. They additionally suffer growth deficits, with kids who are continuously exposed to fluoride being smaller in stature.
High fluoride levels also have effects on bone and teeth development. In fact, a study conducted by the American Dental Association in 2010 actually showed fluoridation as a significant factor in the development of dental fluorosis in infants, a condition in which the teeth basically rot from the inside out due to imbalances in the natural minerals and other substances which are required for healthy tooth development.
Studies conducted in China have shown the most severe detriments associated with fluoridation of drinking water, in which infants born to women who were consistently exposed to high levels of fluoride failed to develop normally. These infants showed neurological toxicity, resulting in brain damage and other serious health complications, including muscle development issues, and issues with central and peripheral nervous system development and function.
Few formal studies have been published by health officials in the U.S. regarding the potentially negative effects of water fluoridation, but many studies have documented negative health consequences associated with the practice in other nations. While water treatment is essential to providing clean and safe drinking water, many believe the addition of fluoride to municipal water supplies is an unnecessary and potentially harmful practice.
For this reason, it’s becoming more and more common for those who receive their water from a treatment facility in which fluoridation is the standard practice often choose to eliminate fluoride from drinking water through the use of home filtration systems and on-tap water filters. It is important to realize though that not every water filter is effective for removing fluoride.
Filters that are the most effective for defluoridation of drinking water include distillation, reverse osmosis and activated alumina defluoridation models. Because there are many other water contamination issues with which consumers must also be concerned, a multi-stage water filtration system that also addresses fluoride may be the most effective for ensuring clean and safe drinking water within the home.
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