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Fluoride is added to water in different amounts depending on the latitude -
i.e. if the part of the country is further south where people tend to drink
more water, the amount in ppm is less than further north. I live in
Toronto where there is 1ppm fluoride in the tap water. However, in parts of
the southern states, where it has been estimated that people drink more
water, the concentration can be as low a 0.3ppm. These amounts were
determined by studies done in the early 60s and they are dependant on the
quantity of fluoride that the average person would consume in a day. I have
done some research on this subject partly because I am a dentist and partly
because of medical-legal reasons.
There are areas in the world where the fluoride level in the water is high
because it is naturally occuring.
Fluoride is also found in regular tea at much higher levels than in drinking
water. Adding milk to tea helps to bind the fluoride with the calcium in
the milk and makes for a safer beverage. There is a problem right now
because a lot of kids are drinking commercial bottled Iced Tea beverages.
They are getting far too much fluoride. Furthermore, toothpaste contains
absolutely tremendous amounts of fluoride (1,000+ppm) which makes it a
deadly poison should someone decide they like the taste and consume a tube
of it. This may seem funny, but the fact that the toothpaste is made to
taste good has wreaked havoc on the teeth of children.
Young children have a very strong swallowing reflex. They are not capable
of rinsing and spitting. Studies done in the early 1960s indicate that only
children at about age 12 are capable of clearing all the toothpaste out of
their mouths. Consequently, children commonly exhibit some degree of
fluorosis on their permanent teeth. These are, in their mildest form,
white, opaque chalky irregular spots. In the extreme, because fluoride is a
poisonous substance, the enamel formation on the teeth is disrupted and
there is pitting, areas of no enamel at all, and rough brown patches. The
underlying dentin is also affected in that the base colour of the teeth is
darker than normal.
The toothpaste manufacturers were aware of these studies but until recently
have done nothing in response. At this time, there are toothpastes
available for young children which do not contain fluoride. There are also
class-action lawsuits against the largest toothpaste manufacturers in the US
and the UK. In anticipation of these, the corporations have subdivided
themselves such that there are now "dental care divisions". They have done
this to protect the larger portion of the corporations from these legal
In marine fish, fluoride from sea water is concentrated in the bones.
Asians who make soup bases from fish carcasses as a regular part of their
diets (e.g. Hong Kong and southern China) also exhibit considerable amounts
of fluorosis, sometimes quite severe.
As for the aquarium, fluoride does not leave the water as does the
chlorine. At the concentrations normally found in drinking water it is not
harmful to fish or fry, or plants.
G. Kadar DDS