Dr. Joseph Mercola
May 26, 2018
- Fluoride Action Network (FAN) is among a coalition of environmental, medical and health groups suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban artificial water fluoridation
- FAN has recently won two major legal victories, defeating efforts by the EPA to dismiss the case and limit the evidence that can be considered
- Fluoride is an endocrine-disrupting chemical linked to thyroid disease, impaired memory, attention-deficit hyperactive disorder and lowered IQ in children
- A long-term study sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found a correlation between fluoride exposure in utero and subsequent reductions in cognitive function
- As the level of fluoride increased, IQ decreased — across the full range of exposures — which means there’s no level at which there is no detrimental effect on cognition; it’s only a matter of degree
Since 1945, it’s been claimed that adding fluoride to drinking water is a safe and effective way to improve the public’s dental health. Since then, many have bought into this fallacy hook, line and sinker, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
One of the reasons why it’s so important to eliminate water fluoridation is because this chemical is very difficult to remove. You can remove some or a significant amount using distillation, reverse osmosis and special filtration media, but the vast majority of water filters that people have access to will not remove fluoride. So, you might filter your water, thinking you’ve purified it, but you haven’t eliminated fluoride.
This is particularly problematic for low-income parents of small children, who need to use fluoride-free water for mixing baby formula. Fluoridated water contains 250 times more fluoride than mother’s milk, significantly raising the child’s risk of fluorosis and other health problems, including developmental and neurological problems.
Michael Connett, an attorney specializing in toxic tort practice, is the son of Paul Connett, Ph.D., toxicologist, environmental chemist and the founder and former director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) — an organization that has fought to remove toxic fluoride from the water supply across the world. Over the past 18 years, FAN has facilitated the removal of fluoride from the water supplies of hundreds of communities in North America, Canada and Europe.
In the featured Newsbud video report, Paul and Michael discuss the known dangers of fluoride, and how FAN is now taking on government by suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to end the deliberate addition of fluoride to drinking water in the U.S.
Water Fluoridation Jeopardizes Public Health
Scientific investigations have revealed fluoride is an endocrine-disrupting chemical,1 and have linked it to the rising prevalence of thyroid disease,2 which in turn can contribute to obesity, heart disease, depression and other health problems. In fact, in the ‘50s and ‘60s, fluoride was used as a drug to lower thyroid activity in patients with overactive thyroid.
Even more importantly, fluoride has been identified as a developmental neurotoxin that impacts short-term and working memory, and contributes to rising rates of attention-deficit hyperactive disorder3 and lowered IQ in children.4 Many of these studies have found harm at levels within the range, or precariously close to, the levels millions of American children receive on a regular basis. In all, there are more than 300 animal and human studies demonstrating fluoride can cause:5
- Brain damage, especially when coupled with iodine deficiency or excessive levels of aluminum
- Reduced IQ
- Impaired ability to learn and remember
- Neurobehavioral deficits such as impaired visual-spatial organization
- Impaired fetal brain development
Government Study Confirms IQ Loss Following Prenatal Exposure
This evidence includes a long-term multimillion-dollar study6,7,8,9 sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which was published last year. This study found a correlation between fluoride exposure in utero and subsequent reductions in cognitive function at the ages of 4 and 6 through 12.
The authors, hailing from several universities in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, followed over 300 mother-child pairs in Mexico City for 12 years. The urine levels of the pregnant women in the study (0.5 to 1.5 mg/Liter), were basically identical to those found in pregnant women in the U.S. (0.6 to 1.5 mg/L). The mean level of fluoride in the urine of the mothers included in the study was 0.9 mg/L.
At these levels the authors reported a staggering loss of five to six IQ points. (From the low end of that range to the high end is a difference of 1 mg/L, which is what caused the five to six IQ-point difference in the children of the study mothers.) More specifically, each 0.5 mg/L increase in fluoride over 0.8 mg/L in the mother’s urine was associated with a 2.5-point reduction in IQ and a 3.15-point reduction in general cognitive index scores in the child, leading the authors to conclude that:
“… higher prenatal fluoride exposure, in the general range of exposures reported for other general population samples of pregnant women and nonpregnant adults, was associated with lower scores on tests of cognitive function in the offspring at age 4 and 6-12 y[ears].”
According to lead author Howard Hu, founding dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, this is one of the largest, longest and most rigorously executed studies on fluoride and neurodevelopment ever conducted. While Mexico does not fluoridate drinking water, Mexicans are still exposed to many other sources of fluoride, including naturally-occurring fluoride in water, fluoridated salt, dental products, supplements, pesticides and tea.
Importantly, the researchers found that prenatal exposure was far more influential with respect to cognitive function than subsequent fluoride exposure during childhood. As noted by Hu, “The fetal system tends to be more sensitive to environmental toxicants than once the child is born,” and this study supports that view.
FAN Sues EPA
In November 2016, FAN along with Food & Water Watch, Organic Consumers Association, American Academy of Environmental Medicine, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, Moms Against Fluoridation and several individual mothers, filed a petition10 calling on the EPA to exercise its authority to prohibit the deliberate addition of fluoridation chemicals to public drinking water under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The EPA issued its response11 February 27, 2017, stating that the petition had failed to present “a scientifically defensible basis” to conclude that anyone had in fact suffered neurotoxic harm as a result of fluoride exposure. In response, FAN and its coalition partners filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, legally challenging the EPA’s denial of their petition.
Importantly, it will be a “de novo” proceeding, meaning the court cannot simply defer to the EPA but must independently evaluate the scientific evidence presented. So far, FAN has won two important court battles:
- December 21, 2017, United States District Judge Edward M. Chen denied the EPA’s motion12 to dismiss the case.
- February 7, 2018, Chen denied the EPA’s motion to limit the scope of discovery.13 The agency was basically trying to prohibit the coalition’s attorneys from obtaining internal EPA documents and prohibit coalition experts from relying on studies published after our petition was submitted in November 2016. This includes the landmark U.S. government-funded study14,15 mentioned earlier, which was published in September 2017.
Why the 2017 NIEHS Study Is so Important for This Case
The 2017 NIEHS study is really important for this case because it demonstrates that the IQ loss that can be anticipated from fluoride exposure at current levels is quite significant. In short, a child of a mother drinking water with 1 part per million (ppm) of fluoride can be predicted to have an IQ that is five to six points16 lower than a child born to a mother who drank fluoride-free water.
Another really important finding is the fact that there was no threshold below which fluoride did not affect IQ. In a nutshell, this means that as the level of fluoride in urine increased, IQ decreased — across the entire range of exposures, from lowest to highest. This in turn means there’s no level at which there will not be some kind of detrimental effect on cognition — it’s just a matter of degree. The study explains this as follows:
“The smooth plot of the association between GCI [editor’s note: IQ test at age 4] and maternal prenatal urinary fluoride from an adjusted GAM model [editor’s note: a model that corrects for extraneous factors] suggested a linear relation over the exposure distribution (Figure 2).”
Another important point is that they measured fluoride in urine, which is a far more accurate indicator of total fluoride intake than simply measuring the concentration of fluoride in drinking water and then calculating how much water is being consumed. When drinking water is the dominant source of fluoride, then fluoride concentrations in urine and water are typically about the same.
Hence, a mean urine fluoride level of 0.9 mg/L implies these women were ingesting the same amount of fluoride as women drinking water with a fluoride level of 0.9 mg/L — just 0.2 mg/L above the currently recommended level for drinking water in the U.S. When you factor in the range of fluoride exposures in the study, the exposure is likely very close to the range found in many fluoridated areas of the U.S.
They also controlled for a wide range of factors — including lead, mercury, socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol use and pregnancy-related problems — that could potentially skew the results or produce a false effect. Importantly, the researchers were able to largely rule out the influence of these confounding factors.
The Many Ways in Which Fluoride Harms Children’s Brain Function
As mentioned, there are now hundreds of studies showing fluoride damages brain function, in a variety of different ways. Among the proposed mechanisms of harm, studies have shown fluoride can:17
|Interfere with basic functions of nerve cells in the brain||Reduce nicotinic acetylcholine receptors||Reduce lipid content in the brain|
|Damage the pineal gland through fluoride accumulation||Impair antioxidant defense systems||Damage the hippocampus|
|Damage purkinje cells||Increase uptake of aluminum, which has neurotoxic effects||Encourage formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer’s disease)|
|Exacerbate lesions induced by iodine deficiency||Increase manganese absorption, which has also been linked lower IQ in children||Impair thyroid function, which can also affect brain development|
Fluoride Exposure Not Limited to Fluoridated Water
In April 2015, the U.S. government admitted the “optimal” level of fluoride recommended since 1962 had been excessive, causing over 40 percent of American teens to develop dental fluorosis, a clearly visible sign of fluoride overexposure. As a result of these findings, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lowered its recommended level of fluoride in drinking water from an upper limit of 1.2 mg/L to 0.7 mg/L.18
However, even if 0.7 mg/L lowers incidence of dental fluorosis, the 2017 NIEHS study clearly shows this level still poses significant risks — and a completely unnecessary one at that. It’s important to realize that fluoride exposure is not limited to fluoridated water or even dental products. Many foods and beverages also contain high levels of fluoride.
In the featured interview, Michael Connett addresses some of the most prominent yet hidden sources, which include white grape juice and white wine, thanks to the use of cryolite, a fluoride-based pesticide. Grapes grown with cryolite can produce wine with fluoride levels that are higher than that found in fluoridated water. Ditto for grape juice. Many teas also contain fluoride, and the fluoride content is directly proportional to the age of the plant, so to minimize your fluoride exposure from tea, select white tea.
By Jon Rappoport
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them…”
* Paranoid psychosis
* Hypomanic and manic symptoms, amphetamine-like psychosis
* Activation of psychotic symptoms
* Toxic psychosis
* Visual hallucinations
* Auditory hallucinations
* Can surpass LSD in producing bizarre experiences
* Effects pathological thought processes
* Extreme withdrawal
* Terrified affect
* Started screaming
* Since Ritalin is considered an amphetamine-type drug, expect amphetamine-like effects
* Psychic dependence
* High-abuse potential DEA Schedule II Drug
* Decreased REM sleep
* When used with antidepressants one may see dangerous reactions including hypertension, seizures and hypothermia
* Brain damage may be seen with amphetamine abuse.
By Dr. Mercola
Millions of US children are taking powerful mind-altering drugs, often before they’re even old enough to attend school.
Oftentimes the side effects are far worse than the conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for which they’re prescribed, and rival illegal street drugs in terms of their dangerous risks to health.
In children, the long-term effects are often largely unknown, while in the short term, we’ve seen shocking increases in violent and aggressive acts committed by teens taking one or more psychotropic drugs.
With the problem getting increasingly worse instead of better, now is a perfect time to view Gary Null’s excellent documentary, The Drugging of Our Children.
The number of prescriptions for psychotropic drugs for children more than doubled between 1995 and 2000; the documentary details the devastating consequences of this excessive medicating of our children, with a focus on children who have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Most Children Diagnosed with ADHD Are Given Drugs Even Though Misdiagnosis Is Common
As the documentary points out, many of you reading this probably don’t remember any kids in your class at school who were taking mind-altering drugs. And that’s likely because the vast majority were not.
In contrast, one in 10 US children is now claimed to have ADHD, which is a 22 percent increase since 2003.1 About two-thirds of the children diagnosed with ADHD are on some form of prescription medication, which is unfortunate not only because there are far better (and safer) treatment options but also because many are misdiagnosed.
ADHD seems to have become more or less the catchall designation for children who do not “behave well” — and one study determined that about 20 percent of children have likely been misdiagnosed.2 That’s nearly 1 million children in the US alone.
The study found that many of the youngest children in any given grade level are perceived as exhibiting “symptoms” of ADHD, such as fidgeting and an inability to concentrate, simply because they’re younger and being compared to their older, more mature classmates.
The documentary, too, points out that an ADHD diagnosis is often made, in part, on the highly subjective observations of teachers or guardians, based on signs nearly every child will display at some point (fidgeting, easily distracted, difficulty waiting his or her turn, and so on), and with little regard for other factors that could be aggravating a child’s behavior, such as diet or home environment.
The outcome is, sadly, typically the same: another child placed on powerful drugs, of which parents are often completely unaware of the extreme side effects they carry.
We’re Talking Hard-Core ‘Class 2’ Narcotics
Drugs prescribed for ADHD are not “mild” by any means. These are hard-core, “class 2” narcotics, regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a controlled substance because they can lead to dependence. The majority of kids diagnosed with ADHD will be prescribed these potentially dangerous drugs, the most common being Ritalin.
By definition, Ritalin stimulates your central nervous system and may certainly interfere with the delicate and complex workings of your brain and personality. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),3 side effects include:
Sudden death in people who have heart problems or heart defects Stroke and heart attack Increased blood pressure New or worse behavior and thought problems New or worse bipolar illness New or worse aggressive behavior or hostility New psychotic symptoms (such as hearing voices, believing things that are not true, are suspicious) New manic symptoms Increased heart rate Slowing of growth (height and weight) in children Seizures Eyesight changes or blurred vision
There are reports of children committing suicide while taking the drug, and the long-term effects are unknown. Researchers have also revealed that Ritalin appears to delay puberty, an effect that was previously unknown, raising questions about what other effects may have yet to be uncovered. Another common ADHD drug is Adderall, which contains amphetamine (aka “speed”) and dextroamphetamine, and is used to reduce impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD. Like Ritalin, Adderall can cause potentially life-threatening side effects. Among them:
Aggressive behavior or hostility Bipolar illness Worse behavior or thought problems Psychotic symptoms (hearing voices, believing things that are not true) or manic symptoms Sudden death in patients who have heart problems or heart defects Stroke or heart attack Increased blood pressure and heart rate Seizures and eyesight changes Slowing of growth in children
Kids Turned Into ‘Lifetime Paying Patients’
As Drugging of Our Children reveals, there is big money to be made in prescribing medications to kids – especially when those medications are intended to be taken for life, as many psychotropic drugs are. What happens to kids once they become medicated at a very young age, during some of his or her key formative years?
Do these children grow up never knowing who they really are? What passions they may have had if not under the drug’s influence? And will they be able to quit when they are older, or will they be turned into life-long addicts? The answers to these questions are unknown.
Further, a prescription for one medication has a tendency to snowball into more prescriptions. If a child isn’t responding to a medication, for instance, or is displaying side effects from the drug, additional mind-altering drugs like antidepressants (which are linked to suicide in kids and teens), sleeping pills or anxiety medications may be prescribed.
The Diagnosis of Mental Illness in Kids Is Often Subjective
Remember, what makes this all the more appalling is that the diagnosis of mental illness in children is far from an exact science. Modern psychiatry has expanded its reach to the point that even the most normal of emotions and mental states now fall under one labeled “disorder” or another. They have been able to cleverly redefine mental illness with the use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This book is created by members of the American Psychiatric Association.
You would think that diseases are put in this book after evaluating carefully executed scientific trials, but nothing could be further from the truth. Additions and changes to this manual are determined by votes by its members. This categorization is NOT based on science at all!
It is well documented that psychiatric drugs in general and atypical antipsychotics specifically, are misused across the board. Children as young as 18 months are now receiving antipsychotic drugs, despite the fact that the diseases they’re designed to treat rarely develop before adolescence. So why are toddlers receiving these potent drugs? Sadly, one of the key reasons these drugs are used is because of their sedative effect. They’re typically prescribed to control “disruptive” behavior – not to treat severe mental illness.
It’s also come to light recently that the Harvard psychiatrists who invented the pediatric bipolar diagnosis were disciplined for conflicts of interest4 after it was revealed they’d all received millions of dollars in undeclared drug company monies.
Parents Jailed for Not Wanting Their Kids on Drugs?
Perhaps one of the most disturbing trends covered in the documentary are parents being treated like criminals, and in some cases sent to prison, for making a conscious decision to keep their kids off drugs.
While certain US states have already enacted legislation to protect against this very issue, and prevent schools and child protection officials from forcing parents to give their children drugs, it still happens more often than you might think. More and more, we’re seeing courts siding with misguided government officials in closed family-court proceedings. Parents are increasingly cut out of the decision-making process about what’s in their child’s best interest with regard to their health.
And it’s not only an issue in the US, either. Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) issued controversial draft guidelines last year that imply a child could be taken into protective custody if a parent refuses to give their child ADHD drugs. In the case of Australia’s NHMRC, the committee’s guidelines were already mired with controversy, as its original chairman, Daryl Effron, reportedly resigned because he was affiliated with drug companies that produce ADHD drugs!
Seek Effective Alternatives Before Resorting to Drugs
As a parent, you must be your child’s advocate and fight against allowing the profit of powerful corporations to come before your children’s health. If your child is suffering from an emotional or mental challenge, please seek help, but do so from someone who does not regard psychotropic drugs as a first line of defense. Please understand that behavioral problems in children – including what might appear to be serious mental disorders – are very frequently related to improper diet, emotional upset and exposure to toxins.
Increasingly, scientific evidence shows that nourishing your gut flora with the beneficial bacteria found in traditionally fermented foods (or a probiotic supplement) is extremely important for proper brain function, and that includes psychological well-being and mood control. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has successfully demonstrated the power and effectiveness of this theory. In her Cambridge, England clinic, she successfully treats children and adults with a wide range of conditions, including autism, ADD/ADHD, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems using the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) Nutritional Program, which she developed.
Her GAPS theory – which is fully explained in her excellent book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome – is an elegant description of how such conditions can develop as a direct result of gastrointestinal toxicity. Another helpful tool is my three-part interview with renowned children’s health expert, the late Dr. Lendon Smith, on Non-Drug Treatment of ADD/ADHD. Here are a few additional guidelines to help you address underlying toxins in your child, without, or at least BEFORE, you agree to any kind of drug therapy:
- Severely limit or eliminate fructose from your child’s diet as sugar/fructose has been linked to mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia.
- Avoid giving your child ANY processed foods, especially those containing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. This includes lunchmeats and hot dogs, which are common food staples in many households.
- Replace soft drinks, fruit juices, and pasteurized milk with pure water. This is HUGE since high fructose corn syrup is a primary source of calories in children.
- Make sure your child is getting large regular doses of healthy bacteria, either with high-quality fermented organic foods and/or high-quality probiotic supplements.
- Give your child plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil. Also, make sure to balance your child’s intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, by simultaneously limiting their intake of vegetable oils.
- Include as many whole organic foods as possible in your child’s diet, both to reduce chemical exposure and increase nutrient content of each meal. See my nutrition plan for a comprehensive guide to healthful eating.
- Also reduce or eliminate grains from your child’s diet, especially wheat. Beyond the fact that even healthy organic whole grains can cause problems as they too break down into sugars, gluten-containing grains have pharmacologically active peptides that can contribute to cognitive and behavioral issues in susceptible children.
Additionally, whole and even sprouted wheat contains physiologically significant amounts of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which can have adverse effects on mental health due to its neurotoxic actions. Wheat can also interfere with the production of serotonin, the largest concentration of which can, again, be found in your intestines, not your brain. Try eliminating all gluten-containing grains first for 1-2 weeks and see if you don’t notice a significant improvement in your child’s behavior.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners and colors of all kinds.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise and outdoor playtime, remembering that midday sunlight provides the UVB wavelengths necessary to produce vitamin D3.
- Get them out into the sun to help maintain optimal vitamin D levels. Scientists are now beginning to realize vitamin D is involved in maintaining the health of your brain, as they’ve recently discovered vitamin D receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system. There’s even evidence indicating vitamin D improves your brain’s detoxification process. For children and pregnant women, getting enough vitamin D is especially crucial, as it may play a major role in protecting infants from autism.
If natural sun exposure is not feasible, for whatever reason, you can use either a safe tanning bed or an oral vitamin D3 supplement.
- Give your child a way to address his or her emotion health. Even children can benefit from the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which you or an EFT practitioner can teach them to use.
- Be sure you are also providing positive praise to your child. Dr. Smith believed parents should be able to say nice things to their child twice as often as they give commands or ask questions. If you are shouting and scolding more than you are complimenting and rewarding your child, it could be contributing to psychiatric problems.
- Prevent exposure to toxic metals and chemicals by replacing personal care products, detergents and household cleaners with all natural varieties. Metals like aluminum, cadmium, lead and mercury are commonly found in thousands of different food products, household products, personal products and untold numbers of industrial products and chemicals. Also be aware of exposure to metals from vaccinations and dental fillings. The presence of toxic metals in your child’s body is highly significant, as they are capable of causing serious health problems by interfering with normal biological functioning. The health effects range from minor physical ailments to chronic diseases, and altered mood and behavior.