Monday, April 25, 2011

Why Fluoride is NOT good for our kids

Key Findings - Fluoride & the Brain:

1) Fluoride's ability to damage the brain represents one of the most active areas of research on fluoride toxicity today.

2) The research on fluoride and the brain has been fueled by 18 human studies from China, India, Iran, and Mexico finding elevated levels of fluoride exposure to be associated with IQ deficits in children. Fluoride's impact on IQ is exacerbated among children with low-iodine exposure.

3) The impact of fluoride on children's IQ has been documented even after controlling for children's lead exposure, iodine exposure, parental education and income status, and other known factors that might impact the results (Rocha-Amador 2007; Xiang 2003 a,b).

4) In addition to IQ studies, 3 studies (Yu 1996; Du 1992; Han 1989) have found that fluoride accumulates in the brain of the fetus, causing damage to cells and neurotransmitters and 1 study (Li 2004) has found a correlation between exposure to fluoride during fetal development and behavioral deficits among neonates.

5) Several recent studies have found that even adult exposures to fluoride may result in central nervous system disturbances, particularly among industrial workers.

5) The findings of neurological effects in fluoride-exposed humans is consistent with, and strengthened by, recent findings from over 40 animal studies published since 1992. As with the studies on humans, the studies on animals have reported an impairment in learning and memory processes among the fluoride-treated groups.

6) The animal studies have also documented considerable evidence of direct toxic effects of fluoride on brain tissue, even at levels as low as 1 ppm fluoride in water (Varner 1998). These effects include:

-- reduction in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors;
-- reduction in lipid content;
-- impaired anti-oxidant defense systems;
-- damage to the hippocampus;
-- damage to the purkinje cells;
-- increased uptake of aluminum;
-- formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer's disease);
-- exacerbation of lesions induced by iodine deficiency; and
-- accumulation of fluoride in the pineal gland.

Articles of Interest - Fluoride & the Brain:

* NEW: FAN's Translation Project: Chinese Research on Fluoride's Neurotoxicity
* New Evidence on Fluoride & the Developing Brain - FAN, January 17, 2008
* Excerpts from NRC Report - FAN, March 28, 2006
* Yet more research on fluoride and the brain - FAN Science Watch June 25, 2004
* Fluoride's effects on the brain - Ellen Connett, Director, Fluoride Action Network Pesticide Project, April 19, 2004
* Fluoride Linked to Low IQ, Studies Show - Fluoride Action Network August 25, 2003
* In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility May 2000
* On the Neurotoxicity of Fluoride Phyllis Mullenix, Ph.D., September 14, 1998
* Fluoride & The Brain: An Interview with Dr. Phyllis Mullenix Interview by Paul Connett, PhD, October 18, 1997
* Fluoride & the Pineal Gland IFIN Bulletin, March 2001
* Rat Studies Link Brain Cell Damage With Aluminum and Fluoride in Water Wall Street Journal October 28, 1992

Ways to Remove Fluoride from Water
  • Reverse Osmosis Filtration
    This is used to purify several types of bottled water (not all), so some bottled waters are unfluoridated.
AquaCera Quick Change Reverse Osmosis System $600

Sierra Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System, by New Wave Enviro $250

5 Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System with Storage Tank $155

Watts WP5-50 Premier Five-Stage Manifold Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment System $200

  • Activated Alumina Defluoridation Filter
    These filters are used in locales where fluorosis is prevalent. They are relatively expensive (lowest price I saw was $30/filter) and require frequent replacement, but do offer an option for home water filtration.
  • Distillation Filtration
    There are commercially available distillation filters that can be purchased to remove fluoride from water. On a related note: When looking at bottled water, keep in mind that 'distilled water' does not imply that a product is suitable for drinking water and other undesirable impurities may be present.
These Do NOT Remove Fluoride
  • Brita, Pur, and most other filters.
    Some websites about fluoride removal state otherwise, but I checked the product descriptions on the companies' websites to confirm that fluoride is left in the water.
  • Boiling Water
    This will concentrate the fluoride rather than reduce it.
  • Freezing Water
    Freezing water does not affect the concentration of fluoride.


Fluoride: The New Lead>
originally from
December 12, 2010
By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

It took decades to "prove" that even low-level lead exposure caused mental
retardation and behavioral problems in children. In 1973 when I graduated from
medical school, there was a mountain of compelling evidence of the terrible
things lead in paint and auto exhaust was doing to kids. However under pressure
from corporate interests (the companies who put lead in gasoline and paint), the
medical establishment still officially proclaimed that at "subclinical levels,"
lead was totally safe.

Fortunately Nixon's newly created Environmental Protection Agency stood up to
the corporate elite in 1973. Taking the emphatic position that even low-level
lead exposure was posing a direct threat to public health, they ultimately
forced the US auto industry (in 1975) to install catalytic converters in cars,
to enable them to run on unleaded fuel. The use of lead-based paint in homes was
banned in 1978.

A Regulatory Agency that Refuses to Regulate
Unfortunately, despite overwhelming evidence that fluoride has the same effect as lead in lab animals and children, In 2010 the EPA has virtually ceased to perform any meaningful regulatory function. Which is most unfortunate, given that many US municipalities still put fluoride in the public drinking water (which can't be removed by simple filtration and is found in many brands of bottled water).
It boggles the mind that communities across the US continue to mass medicate their residents without their consent -" with a substance that has never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (it's actually unpurified toxic waste from the agricultural phosphate industry and contains heavy metals and radionucleotides). Not only does this constitute a major civil rights infringement, but it poses far more danger to human health than the TSA full body scanners at airports.

Established Link to Hip Fractures, Bone Cancer and Liver Cancer
The evidence linking water fluoridation to hip fractures, bone cancer, and liver cancer is unequivocal. In 2006, after three years of study, doctors, chemists, toxicologists and other researchers appointed by the National Research Council concluded the preponderance of evidence showed that water fluoridation was causing an increase in hip fractures and bone and liver cancer, in addition to its neurotoxic effects in children (see They also found strong evidence that it was contributing to an epidemic of hypothyroidism, infertility and arthritis in Americans (1/3 of Americans suffer from arthritis). However they felt more research was needed in these areas. Nevertheless they felt the established health risks were so serious, they strongly recommended all water fluoridation be stopped while additional studies were completed. There is an excellent 98 minute interview with some of these scientists at

Fraudulent Science
One area they didn't explore, which BBC investigative journalist Christopher Bryson covers in his 2004 book Fluoride Deception, is the systematic way that corporate interests have "doctored" fluoride research. One common practice was to selectively publish research favorable to fluoride, while simultaneously firing and blacklisting scientists whose studies showed otherwise. Scientists who research medical problems related to genetically modified foods face the same problem -" their work is suppressed, while they themselves are fired and blacklisted. Thanks to Bryson others, who obtained dozens of secret documents regarding water fluoridation via the Freedom of Information Act, the full extent of this massive fraud is finally in the public domain.

The Decision to Fluoridate the Public Water Supply
As Christopher Bryson outlines in Fluoride Deception, the decision to deliberately dose US municipal water systems with a potent industrial toxin was basically a corporate scam dreamed up by Alcoa, General Motors, and DuPont in the thirties and forties - to stem a tide of lawsuits related to death and injuries from toxic fluoride pollution (by convincing the public that fluoride is good for you). Alcoa was involved because fluoride is an extremely toxic pollutant produced by aluminum smelting. GM and DuPont were involved because GM held the patent on fluoride-based Freon (DuPont manufactured it), a common refrigerant which has since been banned. Unsurprisingly the same corporate researchers who "proved" that fluoride was safe also tried to convince the American public that lead, asbestos, smoking and plutonium were safe.

Fluoride Declared Hazardous Waste in 1930
According to Bryson, scientists have known for decades that fluoride is extremely toxic - in fairly low doses - to all mammals, including humans. In fact the FDA first declared fluoride a serious health hazard in the early thirties. The result was scores of lawsuits by aluminum workers crippled and killed by fluoride poisoning and by farmers near aluminum plants, whose livestock were killed by fluoride emissions.
Public Relations: Cheaper than Pollution Controls
Rather than encouraging his employer to institute pollution controls, an Alcoa researcher named Francis Frary decided a better solution was to alter public perception of fluoride - by convincing Americans that it improved dental health. Frary approached Mellon Institute researcher Gerald Cox, who performed a single study in rats (who don't really suffer much tooth decay) in 1937 and "proved" that fluoride strengthened teeth. Around the same time, the same Gerald Cox also "proved" that mesothelioma (a rare lung cancer that killed Steve McQueen) wasn't caused by asbestos.
Back then the concept of peer reviewed research was unknown, and the American Medical Association declared that the "case for fluoride" was proved. It's clear that corporate largesse (from General Motors) was instrumental in getting the American Dental Association on board with water fluoridation. Whether the AMA also benefited from corporate generosity remains unclear.
Kettering Bribes the American Dental Association
Frary and Cox were soon joined in their little scam by Charles Kettering, who was both GM's research director and a Freon magnate. Kettering was the first to approach the American Dental Association with their proposal to fluoridate public water systems. He also began funding many of their activities and got appointed to their three member Advisory Committee on Research in Dental Caries.
Meanwhile GM and DuPont hired scientist Robert Kehoe to perform safety studies on both fluoride and tetra ethyl lead, a gasoline additive co-manufactured by the two companies. And for obvious reasons, Kehoe declared both lead and fluoride safe at "low levels."
Enter the Atomic Energy Commission and the Father of Public Relations
In the 1940s these corporate researchers were joined in their scheme to promote water fluoridation by Dr Harold Hodge the chief toxicologist of the Manhattan Project (the secret US project to build and atomic bomb).Hodge became involved in "Project F" because large amounts of fluoride are used in the construction of the atomic bomb, and the Atomic Energy Commission was concerned about heading off a flood of lawsuits from Manhattan Project scientists exposed to toxic levels of fluoride. This was the same Harold Hodge who, in his role as chief Manhattan Project toxicologist, experimented on unsuspecting patients at Rochester 's Strong Memorial Hospital , by injecting them with plutonium.
Nevertheless the most prominent villain in this sordid history of lies and secrecy was the infamous father of the public relations industry (i.e. the sophisticated use of propaganda to sway public opinion) Edward Bernays. There was massive public opposition to water fluoridation from the very beginning -" led mainly by doctors who were well aware of fluoride's toxicity. Bernays' answer was to enlist even more prominent doctors to declare it safe, starting with famous baby doctor Benjamin Spock.

A Systematic Corporate Cover-Up
As Christopher Bryson outlines clearly in the Fluoride Deception, the whole notion of fluoride being safe and good for teeth is based on decades of corporations paying researchers to produce the scientific results they want -" and burying research and firing and blacklisting scientists whose studies show otherwise.
As Bryson points out, it was actually mass fluoride poisoning that kick-started the environmental movement, following an air pollution disaster in 1948 that killed 20 people and sickened hundreds more. A temperature inversion and air pollution from a US Steel factory is blamed for the Donora ( Pennsylvania ) Death Fog. However owing to extreme pressure from the steel and aluminum industry, public health authorities colluded in a systematic cover-up of the autopsy results - which revealed that the victims had toxic fluoride levels in their blood (see
GM fluoride researcher Charles Kettering also deliberately suppressed the results of his own lab's 1962 studies demonstrating that fluoride produced lung damage in beagles.
This sordid history also includes deliberate smear campaigns against extremely reputable doctors and scientists who published research and clinical findings showing that water fluoridation has adverse health effects:
* Dr. George Waldbott - a world famous doctor who first identified penicillin allergy and the link between smoking and emphysema. Waldbott published numerous double blind studies in the fifties showing that fluoride is harmful to human health. The result was a massive corporate smear campaign that destroyed his reputation by marginalizing and demonizing him.
* Dr William Marcus - a senior EPA toxicologist in the Office of Water, fired in 1992 for attempting to publicize studies revealing that fluoride causes bone and liver cancer (see In 1994 Marcus won lawsuit against the federal government and was reinstated. While the EPA still refuses to ban water fluoridation, the unions representing EPA scientists have called for a moratorium (see
* Dr Phyllis Mullinix - research toxicologist hired by Forsyth Dental Institute to study the effect of fluoride on the brain. In the mid-nineties, Mullinex was first fired and then blacklisted in the when she published research showing that fluoride produces memory and behavior problems in children.
Where Does Fluoride Comes From?
Although fluoride is added to municipal water systems as a "drug" - that allegedly improves dental health - it has never been approved by the FDA. In fact most communities source their fluoride from the phosphate fertilizer industry, as hydrofluorosilicic acid. This is an extremely toxic, hazardous waste, and the EPA requires phosphate manufacturers to capture it via "wet scrubbers" in their chimneys (to prevent toxic fluoride gas from being released into the air). The resulting liquid is then loaded, unpurified, into tanker trucks and sold to cities to be added to their public water supply. In addition to fluoride, it also contains a number of heavy metals and radionucleotides (radioactive elements - mainly uranium-238, uranium-234, thorium-230, radium-226, radon-222, lead-210, and polonium-210).

Why 98% of European Communities Have Banned Water Fluoridation
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden all ban water fluoridation - for five main reasons:

1. The preponderance of independent research reveals that fluoridation (at levels as low as 0.7 parts per million) increases the risk of hip fracture, liver and bone cancer and lowered IQ in children - as well as being strongly implicated in an American epidemic of hypothyroidism, arthritis and infertility. The concentration used in most American cities is 1.0 parts per million.

2. It's an absolute violation of medical ethics for a doctor to prescribe a drug, in unlimited doses (people who eat processed foods or drink large amounts of fruit juice, soft drinks and tea get much higher doses), to someone they have never met, without informed consent or ongoing monitoring of their response.

3. The World Health Organization has compared communities with and without water fluoridation and found the rate of cavities is no higher in communities who don't fluoridate their water (and doesn't increase when they remove it). In fact communities who don't fluoridate seem to have somewhat better dental health. Individuals who accumulate toxic levels of fluoride (known as dental fluorisis) actually have weaker tooth enamel. (Americans have the highest rate of dental fluorosis in the world - 33% overall and 41% in teenagers between 12-15). Research has consistently shown that fluoride only reduces tooth decay when it's applied directly to the teeth - drinking fluoride weakens the enamel.

4. All medical and dental authorities worldwide agree that infants are at risk of fluoride toxicity if their formula is made up with fluoridated water (see This poses a real health hazard to low income families, who can't afford the luxury of distilled water.

5. The vast majority of Europeans don't want fluoride in their water when the risks are explained to them. (The administration of any drug requires informed consent - and they don't consent.)
Thus far 60 US communities (as a result of citizen activism) have ended fluoridation of their public water system. For support in getting the fluoride out of your water go to There is also an excellent interview with Bryson regarding his book at
Author's Website:

CDC and ADA Now Advise to Avoid Using Fluoride
from Dr. Mercola | November 13 2010 |

A new study in the Journal of the American Dental Association finds once again that, contrary to what most people have been told, fluoride is actually bad for teeth.

Exposure to high levels of fluoride results in a condition known as fluorosis, in which tooth enamel becomes discolored. The condition can eventually lead to badly damaged teeth. The new study found that fluoride intake during a child's first few years of life is significantly associated with fluorosis, and warned against using fluoridated water in infant formula.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is of a similar opinion. According to their website:

"Recent evidence suggests that mixing powdered or liquid infant formula concentrate with fluoridated water on a regular basis may increase the chance of a child developing ... enamel fluorosis."

Journal of the American Dental Association October 14, 2010; 141(10):1190-1201
CDC May 28, 2010

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

It was 2007 when the American Dental Association (ADA) first warned that parents of infants younger than a year old "should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride" when mixing baby formula, due to concerns about fluorosis.

Now the Journal of the American Dental Association has published a study that found increased fluorosis risk among infants who were fed infant formula reconstituted with fluoride-containing water, as well as used fluoridated toothpastes.

The authors noted:

"Results suggest that prevalence of mild dental fluorosis could be reduced by avoiding ingestion of large quantities of fluoride from reconstituted powdered concentrate infant formula and fluoridated dentifrice."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also followed suit, warning on their Community Water Fluoridation page that mixing powdered or liquid infant formula concentrate with fluoridated water on a regular basis may increase the chance of a child developing enamel fluorosis.

They also state:

"In children younger than 8 years of age, combined fluoride exposure from all sources—water, food, toothpaste, mouth rinse, or other products—contributes to enamel fluorosis."

This is as far as the CDC warnings go, however, and they continue to state that water fluoridation is safe -- and dental fluorosis is only a "cosmetic" problem. In reality, neither of these assertions is true.

Dental Fluorosis is a Sign of Excessive Fluoride Intake

Dental fluorosis results in white and brown spots on your teeth. It is only caused by fluoride -- typically due to ingesting too much fluoride during your developing years, from birth to about 8 years of age. According to the CDC, about one-third of U.S. children aged 12 to 15 years have very mild to mild forms of enamel fluorosis on their teeth.

Promoters of fluoridation say that these markings are "just cosmetic," but it can also be an indication that the rest of your body, such as your bones and the rest of your organs, including your brain, has been exposed to too much fluoride also.

As Dr. Paul Connett, a chemist specializing in environmental chemistry, explained in our recent interview:

"We know that 32 percent of American children have been overexposed to fluoride because you have this telltale sign of dental fluorosis, which in its mildest form is little white specs. But when it gets more serious, it affects more of the surface of your teeth and it becomes colored; yellow, brown and orange mottling of the teeth …

The teeth are the window to the bones. If you've seen the damage to the teeth, what damage can you not see?"

In other words, if fluoride is having a detrimental, visual effect on the surface of your teeth, you can be virtually guaranteed that it's also damaging something else inside your body, such as your bones.

Bone is living tissue that is constantly being replaced through cellular turnover. Bone building is a finely balanced, complicated process. Fluoride has been known to disrupt this process ever since the 1930s.

Why it's Dangerous to Swallow Fluoride

The United States is one of only eight countries in the entire developed world that fluoridates more than 50 percent of its water supply. It is added under the guise that it helps prevent and control tooth decay …

This is in spite of the fact that there never been any demonstrated difference in tooth decay between countries with fluoridated and non-fluoridated water, and no difference between states that have a high- or low percentage of their water fluoridated.

Even promoters of fluoridation concede that the major benefits are topical; fluoride works from the outside of the tooth, not from inside of your body, so why swallow it?

The fluoride added to your drinking water is in fact a chemical waste product! It is NOT something you should use as a supplement to your diet.

There are plenty of studies showing the dangers of fluoride to your health, such as:

* Increases lead absorption
* Disrupts synthesis of collagen
* Hyperactivity and/or lethargy
* Muscle disorders
* Brain damage, and lowered IQ
* Arthritis
* Dementia
* Bone fractures
* Lowers thyroid function
* Bone cancer (osteosarcoma)
* Inactivates 62 enzymes
* Inhibits formation of antibodies
* Genetic damage and cell death
* Increases tumor and cancer rate
* Disrupts immune system
* Damages sperm and increases infertility

As far as tooth decay is concerned, this is not caused by lack of fluoride.

Tooth decay is caused by acids in your mouth, typically created from sugar being metabolized by bacteria (Streptococcus mutans), and as you may already know, the number one source of calories in the United States is high fructose corn syrup.

The acid produced then attacks your enamel. Eventually the bacteria can get into the dentine, at which point tooth decay sets in. So there are far better options for decreasing tooth decay than using a topical or ingested poison, with a chief one being minimizing your intake of sugary foods and eating a healthful diet.

You typically don't find dental caries in more primitive societies that do not consume vast amounts of sugar like in the United States.

Make Sure Your Children are Not Exposed to Fluoride

One of dentist Bill Osmunson's main concerns is water fluoridation for infants. The ADA and the CDC now both recommend that infants NOT receive fluoridated water for drinking, nor for making their formula, as fluoridated water contains 250 times more fluoride than mother's milk.

"We shouldn't fluoridate water and harm our most vulnerable," Dr. Osmunson says.

It is my strong belief and recommendation to avoid giving your children fluoridated water.

Unfortunately, the only way to ensure your water is pure enough to drink is by installing ahigh quality water filtration system in your house, such as a reverse osmosis filter that can filter out much of the fluoride and other dangerous water contaminants like disinfection byproducts (DBPs).

Remember that most bottled water also typically contains fluoride, even though it's not stated on the label, and whatever you do, avoid using "nursery water," which is fluoridated water sold specifically for infants.

Fluoride in your drinking water is one more reason why breastfeeding your infant is so essential. Nature has kept breast milk virtually fluoride-free for a reason.

If you are unable to breastfeed and are instead using formula, make sure the water you use is fluoride-free. Again, for now the best way you can provide pure, fluoride-free water to your family is by using a reverse osmosis filter, which you can install in your home.

Even better, if you are unable to breastfeed use this recipe to make homemade infant formula using raw milk and no water at all.

Keep in mind also that if you are a pregnant woman it is equally important for your water to be fluoride-free, as this chemical can harm your developing fetus.

The Ultimate Solution is to Get Fluoride Out of Tap Water

Even though the ADA and the CDC have issued warnings that parents not use fluoridated tap water to make infant formula, neither of them has openly informed the public!

So there are millions of parents out there using tap water to make up formula, oblivious of the fact that the agencies that promote fluoridation in this country have issued a specific warning against using fluoridated water for this purpose.

Not only that, but by fluoridating the municipal water supply you doom many low-income families to fail to protect their young children from this dangerous drug, even if they have this information, as they simply don't have the resources to install a reverse osmosis system.

This is why the only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the United States.

The Fluoride Action Network is an absolutely phenomenal resource for further education, and they're doing much to pressure the US government for change. We will be working together to devise a complete game plan to tackle this issue head on. Once we reach the tipping point, which may be as little as 5 percent of the population, we will be able to reverse the policies of water fluoridation.

Our strategy will begin with addressing Canada, because 60 percent of Canada is already un-fluoridated. If we can get the rest of Canada to stop fluoridating their water, we believe the U.S. will be forced to follow.

You can visit for the most recent updates and progress, as well as tips on how you can get involved and take action in this important cause.

In addition, I highly recommend getting a copy of Dr. Connett's new book, The Case Against Fluoride, for more information on the bad science and political agendas that got this toxic chemical in our drinking water and is, at least for now, keeping it there.

Prozac is a fluorinated drug called "fluoxetine"

In animals chronic administration of fluoxetine resulted in a decrease in both T4 and T3 levels. The authors reported that the major effect of the drug “seems to be stimulation of TSH synthesis and release via the inhibition of T4-mediated thyroid-pituitary feedback” (Golstein et al, 1983).

In rat brain, fluoxetine has also been shown to interfere with local T3 metabolism (Eravci et al, 2000; Baumgartner et al, 1994).... In the 1930s is was first observed that all fluoride compounds, organic and inorganic ones, inhibit thyroid hormones. Prof. Kurt Kraft exposed tadpoles(bufo vulgaris, rana temporaria) to fluoride compounds including sodium fluoride, fluorotyrosine and fluorobenzoic acid (Kraft, 1937). Litzka’s experiments (1937) showed that the thyroid inhibition was due to activity in the liver (similar to PTU). Numerous fluoride compounds were used subsequently as the first line of treatment for hyperthyroidism in various countries, for several decades.... Fluoxetine is a known inhibitor of multiple P450 isoenzymes, thus interfering with the metabolism of other substances (Thompson et al, 1997; 2003).

... Fluoxetine has been shown to cause severe liver dysfunction such as hepatitis (Cai et al, 1999; Johnston & Wheeler, 1997; Mars et al, 1991; Friedenberg & Rothstein, 1996).

Fluoxetine has also been shown to cause secondary hyperthyroidism - originating from pituitary dysfunction (Martinez & Ortiz, 1999)



Fluorine is also found in mind-affecting drugs like Prozac and the "date rape" drug Rohypnol. Click here for a more complete list of drugs containing fluorine. :

Organofluorine compounds.

Today the chemical industry is making more and more organofluorine compounds which are used as solvents, propellants, refrigerants, (e.g the CFCs or chlorinated fluorcarbons), plastics (e.g. teflon), pharmaceuticals (e.g. prozac) and pesticides. The problem with these organofluorine compounds along with their organochlorine cousins, is that they produce very dangerous byproducts when burned, are fat soluble, are highly persistent in the environment, resist detoxification in our bodies, frequently interfere with hormonal signals, accumulate in our fat and are transferred to the fetus during pregnancy.

So just like the organochlorine compounds, which were often exploited for their "apparent" non-toxicity and their persistence, it is their very persistence which is coming back to haunt us as well as their more subtle toxicity.

In this connection, of particular concern are the perfluorinated octanyl compounds or PFOs e.g. PFOA (perfluorinated octanoic acid). These substances comprise a chain of 8 carbons completely saturated with fluorine at all positions (this is what the prefix "per" means) except the terminal group. These substances are being found throughout the environment and in human tissues throughout the world (See a recent discussion of this topic entitled "Fluorine Persists" by Stephen Ritter in C &EN, June 14, 2004). The PFOs are thought to be strong endocrine disrupters (i.e. they interfere with various hormonal signals in both animals and humans). One example is perfluorinated octanyl sulfonate (PFOS) which was manufactured by 3M corporation (skotchguard) but which it voluntarily ceased manufacturing in May, 2000.

The fluorine atom is very small and so when pharmaceutical companies develop a therapeutically active molecule (i.e. a drug) they will often put fluorine into the molecule in place of an hydrogen atom and usually at a place where the molecule is normally metabolized because the C-F bond is much more stable to enzymatic attack than a C-H bond. They do this in order to increase the time the body takes to metabolize the drug and thus enable the prescription of smaller doses. This is where we get into a highly contentious issue among those opposed to fluoridation. Some have assumed that the fluorine present in these drugs (such as prozac) represent another source of fluoride in our daily lives. However, this would only be the case if the drug is actually metabolized at the C-F bond. However, for most pharmaceuticals, this is unlikely. Other sites in the molecule are more likely to be attacked and the excreted water soluble metabolites are thus likely to still contain the fluorine atom covalently attached to the molecule. However, this is not always the case as has been demonstrated for some of the fluorinated anesthetics and propellants. To resolve the issue for drugs like prozac we need to have confirmation from the drug companies (and/or the FDA) that based upon mass balance studies all the fluorine can be accounted for in the excreted water soluble metabolites for the drug in question.

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