In the court of public and governmental consensus, however, the debate rages on.
There has been a case slowly moving through the courts regarding the EPA’s reluctance to update water fluoridation standards in the US.
In 2006 the National Academy of Sciences (NRC) put out an extensive document recommending the EPA reduce the maximum allowed concentration of fluoride in drinking water. For context, the NRC is responsible for assessing risk, while the EPA is responsible for managing it.
The most recent court proceedings show the judge leaning towards the opinion the EPA has received sufficient “assessment” from the NRC and other resources that they should have updated the regulations by now (at present in 2023 that means they have been sitting on the recommendation from the NRC for almost 17 years).
If you are interested in that 2006 NRC report, you can read all 400+ pages of it for free here. And keep in mind, that means we also now have many more studies on top of what is cited in that report (such as more recent studies I have cited here at Brighter Days, Darker Nights).
By ignoring new evidence, the judge has stated they believe the EPA has NOT lived up to their duty or purpose of protecting the public. However, the judge has also given the EPA yet more time to review evidence and update the regulation. Thus, the court case is not yet settled.
Many insiders have made comments suggesting the current EPA standards—and the pushback against changing them—are politically motivated, rather than scientifically. And, if you look at the risk assessment vs risk management chart above, “economic and social factors” are allowed to play a part in the EPA’s decision-making.
The goal of those pushing the lawsuit against the EPA is to have water fluoridation levels lowered to a standard that would not have the possibility of causing harm to developing fetuses in the womb, or young children.
Yet the public descriptions of this lawsuit continually downplay the neurological research in favor of the dental argument (for example: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/lawsuit-forces-early-release-ntp-s-draft-report-fluoride-and-its-potential).
If you read this, do compare their legal summary to the actual NTP report which is attached deeper in this post and let me know in the comments what you notice.
And, of course, none of this data or reporting digs into the much more provable facts about fluoride’s affect on melatonin and the downstream consequences within that pathway.
The effect of fluoride on the human body is characterized by a very narrow margin of safety, which means that even relatively low concentrations may cause various adverse or even toxic effects [1–5]. The risk naturally increases with the intensity and duration of the exposure, with long-term exposure resulting in chronic poisoning [6,7]. One of the defense mechanisms protecting the body against the effects of fluoride toxicity seems to be its deposition in calcified tissues . The most important role is played by hard tissues; bones; and teeth [2,8–10], in which fluoride accumulates in the form of fluorohydroxylapatite and fluoroapatite, replacing hydroxyl ions in the hydroxylapatite structure [11,12].
These processes may occur at any point in life, starting as early as in the prenatal period [13–15], and their effects are observed even in the skeletons and dentition of archaeological excavations from the times when exposure to fluorine compounds was incomparably lower to modern times [16–18].
Significantly, the deposition of fluoride in hard tissues may have its own adverse effects. The symptoms of excessive fluoride accumulation in bones and teeth are known and well documented, classified as skeletal fluorosis and dental fluorosis, respectively [19–24]. In addition to deposition in hard tissues, fluoride may also be found in calcification areas in soft tissues such as the aorta [25–29], coronary arteries [30,31], placenta [32–41], tendons [42–44], or cartilage [42,45,46]. In these cases, however, this accumulation may not be classified as a defense mechanism triggered by an excessive exposure to fluoride.
Unlike in hard tissues, calcium accumulation in soft tissues is never a physiological phenomenon and almost always leads to some undesirable effects, e.g.,
complications in pregnancy [47,48].
This systematic review identified studies that assessed the association between fluoride exposure and cognitive or neurodevelopmental effects in both adults and children, which were evaluated separately.
In adults, only two high-quality cross-sectional studies examining cognitive effects were available.
The literature in children was more extensive and was separated into studies assessing intelligence quotient (IQ) and studies assessing other cognitive or neurodevelopmental outcomes.
Eight of nine high quality studies examining other cognitive or neurodevelopmental outcomes reported associations with fluoride exposure.
Seventy-two studies assessed the association between fluoride exposure and IQ in children. Nineteen of those studies were considered to be high quality; of these, 18 reported an association between higher fluoride exposure and lower IQ in children.
The 18 studies, which include 3 prospective cohort studies and 15 cross-sectional studies, were conducted in 5 different countries.
Forty-six of the 53 low quality studies in children also found evidence of an association between higher fluoride exposure and lower IQ in children.
Does fluoride calcify the pineal gland (and what would that mean)?
Yes, fluoride exposure is positively correlated with calcification of the pineal gland. The pineal gland is responsible for the circadian control of melatonin. Thus, calcification of the pineal gland may be responsible for the decline in melatonin secretion seen across the lifespan in modern humans. For more, read this paper:
Fluoride Exposure in Early Life as the Possible Root Cause of Disease In Later Life (2018)
Tapp and Huxley 53 examined calcium contents of various age group from pineal gland. They have found that significant amounts of calcium are present in the pineal glands of children. Further, the higher weights of female glands could be accounted for in part by their higher calcium content. The pineal gland is a mineralizing tissue and the calcified concretions are composed of hydroxylapatite (HA) 54. It is likely that extremely high level of substitution in the crystal structure of pineal HA by fluoride. The Aged human pineal gland was found the positive correlation between fluoride content and calcium of the pineal gland 54. Apparently fluoride accumulates freely in the pineal gland, although the amount of fluoride present differs from one sample to others. Therefore, it is likely the age independence of pineal calcification. The pineal gland produces melatonin, a hormone related to setting the rhythms and duration of sleep. The degree of calcification has been associated with a decreased secretion of melatonin 55. Thus, this could result in the disturbance of circadian rhythms and sleep patterns 56.
Yes, depending on where it was bottled. For sources in the United States, here’s where you can search by state and county to find out the fluoride levels in that water supply: Search Water Fluoride by Water System.
Can infant formula contain fluoride?
Yes, formula-fed infants in areas with fluoridated water supplies receive significant quantities of fluoride. The Journal of American Dental Association (JADA) admits newborns have lower tolerance for fluoride and recommend using water sources with less fluoride for reconstituting infant formulas.
Infants, Formula And Fluoride From The Journal Of American Dentistry
The ADA offers these recommendations to reduce fluoride intake from reconstituted infant formula.
- Breast milk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends human milk for all infants (except for the few for whom breast-feeding is determined to be harmful).
- For infants who get most of their nutrition from formula during their first 12 months, ready-to-feed formula is preferred to help ensure that their fluoride intake does not exceed the optimal amount.
- If liquid concentrate or powdered infant formula is the primary source of nutrition, it can be mixed with water that is fluoride-free or contains low levels of fluoride to reduce the risk of fluorosis. These include water labeled as purified, demineralized, deionized or distilled, as well as reverse osmosis filtered water.