24 August 2011

What's in Your Water?

Imagine if I told you that you could reduce or eliminate cavities just by ingesting a small bit of industrial waste every day. You would tell me I was nuts, right? What if I published all sorts of studies that said such a small amount of the toxin was harmless and would only affect your teeth, nothing else? What if there were just as many studies that said the opposite? Would you want to risk it?

Now, suppose I managed to convince the government to force everyone to use it, whether they want to or not. That the people in charge of your well-being took away your right to decide for yourself if you want to medicate with this toxic substance.

This is being done everyday in this country. Fluoride is a toxic compound, a byproduct of the production of fertilizer. And the government puts it in our water, making it the only compound NOT added to increase the safety of the water itself. It is considered to be a medical intervention, which, according to the CDC, is more important than the discovery of the link between cigarettes and cancer. You probably grew up "knowing" how good fluoride was for you.

You see, there is a (very small) benefit to the use of fluoride. Basically, the enamel on your teeth is getting eroded and re-built every day due to acid wear and the normal mechanics of the mouth. When exposed to fluoride during the rebuilding process, the teeth incorporate it into the new enamel, making them marginally more acid resistant. However, this leads to, at most, the prevention of about 20% of possible decay, or less than one cavity, and this is based on studies done at the same time doctors told patients to smoke for their health.  Also, there is NO benefit to the ingestion of fluoride, as it needs to be present in the mouth for the teeth to make use of it.

What CAN result from the drinking of fluoridated water? Dental fluoridosis, a discoloration of the teeth. Reduced thyroid function. Bone fracture. Cancer. If fluoridated water is used to make infant formula for babies under one year of age, it can suppress brain development.

Don't believe me? Good! See for yourself:

I'm not saying fluoride is the devil. I'm not suggesting its use be banned.  I'm just concerned over our lack of choice in the matter. The choice to use fluoride is one that should be made by the individual, after carefully weighing the pros and the cons, not forced upon us from birth, never being taught more than the propaganda.  I don't want to have my right to be informed, and to object, stripped away "for my own good."  I don't want the government to decide to medicate me without my consent. It isn't their job.