Fluoride is routinely added to our drinking water as it is believed to provide certain health benefits. But is this really the case? A study conducted by a team of Russian and Australian scientists, which was recently published in the Journal of Analytical Chemistry, reveals that fluoride added to toothpaste and drinking water may in fact increase the likelihood of Urinary Stone Disease – an excruciatingly painful disease of the urinary tract.
Urinary stones can form in the kidneys (kidney stones) or bladder (bladder stones) as a result of dehydration, which causes minerals that are present in the food we eat to form concentrated crystals rather than be flushed from the urinary system. Urinary stones typically consist of minerals such as magnesium, calcium and fluoride ions, as well as cystine and uric acid.
To gain a better understanding of which minerals are responsible for the formation of urinary stones to enable us to take preventative measures, the research team analyzed a sample of 20 urinary stones from Russian patients using ion chromatography technology. Their analysis revealed that 80% of the urinary stones contained fluoride ions, mostly at low concentrations; but two stones consisted of high concentrations (> 0.5 mg) of fluoride. They attributed this to high concentrations of fluoride present in the patient's urine, which could stem from fluoridated drinking water or from ingesting toothpaste with fluoride added.
According to the researchers, fluoride ions are known to possess an exceptional affinity to calcium ions, which leads them to believe that hyperfluorosis – chronic disease developing due to excessive amounts of fluorine and its compounds being absorbed into the body over a long period – to be a possible cause of Urinary Stone Disease.
Fluoride is added to municipal drinking water in the belief that it helps combat tooth decay. However, according to the Fluoride Action Network, drinking water fluoridation actually involves adding a concoction of chemicals – sodium fluoride, sodium fluorosilicate, and hydrofluorosilicic acid – that are in fact unpurified waste products from industry and mining, which in some cases are contaminated with other toxic pollutants, such as arsenic. Hydrofluorosilicic acid is highly corrosive and is also associated with leaching lead from lead pipes, resulting in higher exposure to lead – another toxic drinking water contaminant.
Fluoridation of municipal drinking water is a controversial issue, with some believing that it promotes tooth health, while others hold a completely different view. Drinking water fluorination is known to cause dental fluorosis – discoloration of the teeth – in children exposed to high levels of fluoride, and has also been associated with other health issues, including bone cancer. A study conducted by the World Health Organization showed that European countries who do not fluoridate their drinking water do not have elevated levels of tooth decay, and in some cases fare better than countries that do.
Some people consider fluoridation of drinking water to be a form of forced mass medication. If you would prefer to not have these chemicals forced upon you, you can take steps to remove them from your drinking water by filtering your water with a good quality water filter. The Berkey range of filter systems will remove lead and other contaminants, and can be fitted with additional fluoride and arsenic filters in the lower chamber to remove these contaminants from your drinking water.