Hey! Did you know that the fluoride American cities gleefully add to our drinking water is actually hazardous waste? If that isn’t enough of a reason to keep you from drinking it, how about this: A recent study examined links between water fluoridation and Type 2 diabetes, and you aren’t going to like what they found out.
Published in the Journal of Water and Health, the research found that fluoridation with sodium fluoride could be a contributing factor to diabetes rates in the US, as the chemical is a known preservative of blood glucose.
Kyle Fluegge, PhD, performed the study as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
The press release describes the method and findings:
In the study, Fluegge used mathematical models to analyze publicly available data on fluoride water levels and diabetes incidence and prevalence rates across 22 states. Fluegge also included adjustments for obesity and physical inactivity collected from national telephone surveys to help rule out confounding factors. Two sets of regression analyses suggested that supplemental water fluoridation was significantly associated with increases in diabetes between 2005 and 2010.
“The models look at the outcomes of [diabetes] incidence and prevalence being predicted by both natural and added fluoride,” said Fluegge.
Fluegge found that a one milligram increase in average county fluoride levels predicted a 0.17% increase in age-adjusted diabetes prevalence. He also found differences between the types of fluoride additives used by each region. The additives linked to diabetes in Fluegge’s analysis included sodium fluoride and sodium fluorosilicate.
Counties that relied on naturally occurring fluoride in their water and did not supplement with fluoride additives also had lower diabetes rates.
Fluegge discovered the positive association between fluoridation and diabetes when he adjusted fluoride exposure levels to account for estimated per capita tap water consumption:
“The models present an interesting conclusion that the association of water fluoridation to diabetes outcomes depends on the adjusted per capita consumption of tap water,” explained Fluegge. “Only using the concentration [of added fluoride] does not produce a similarly robust, consistent association.” For this reason, Fluegge adjusted his calculations to incorporate tap water consumption, instead of sticking to calculations that rely on “parts per million” measurements of fluoride in the water.
These findings, Fluegge said, should serve as a sign that more research is needed.
He concluded with an intriguing bit of information:
“The models indicate that natural environmental fluoride has a protective effect from diabetes. Unfortunately, natural fluoride is not universally present in the water supply.”
However, this information isn’t new…
Previous research has shown that fluoride can increase blood glucose levels and impair glucose tolerance, which often leads to Type 2 diabetes, and it doesn’t take high levels:
Impaired glucose tolerance, often a precursor to type 2 diabetes, has been found to occur in humans with fluoride intakes of only 0.07-0.4 mg/kg/day—a dose that can be reached in areas of “optimally” fluoridated water. Current fluoride intake, therefore, may contribute or exacerbate some types of diabetes. According to the National Research Council (2006), “any role of fluoride exposure in the development of impaired glucose metabolism or diabetes is potentially significant.” (source)
Why is fluoride added to so many water supplies, anyway?
Despite growing resistance and concern over related health issues, the US – which fluoridates over 70% of its water supplies – has more people drinking fluoridated water than the rest of the world combined, according to the Fluoride Action Network (FAN).
Supporters say the addition of fluoride to the water supply is a safe and effective way to reduce the development of cavities, particularly in children from lower income families. A common claim is that the only negative side effect from drinking fluoridated water is a condition called fluorosis:
Children aged eight years and younger have an increased chance of developing dental fluorosis. In mild cases, this shows in white streaks on the teeth. In severe cases, it can include brown stains, pitting, and broken enamel. As of 2010, 41 percent of children from ages 12 to 15 had some level of dental fluorosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (source)
But should we really trust health claims “officials” make about our water supply?
A peek at some recent headlines suggests we should be very wary…
If you are not familiar with exactly what fluoride is and why consuming it can be hazardous to health, please take the time to watch this informative (and disturbing!) video from FAN.
Last year, the US government decided to lower the recommended amount of fluoride added to water supplies. The regulation advises municipalities to maintain fluoride levels at 0.7 milligrams per liter, which is the lowest end of the previous recommended range, which was between 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter.
It was the first time in the over 50-year history of water fluoridation that a recommendation to lower levels was made.
If you would like to know the level of fluoride in your water, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides the information for participating states. However, the best source of information on fluoride levels in your water system is your local water provider: all water utilities must provide customers with an annual Consumer Confidence Report that provides information on a system’s water quality. Another option is to test your water yourself. (Here’s how!)