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Traces of arsenic, copper, lead and other impurities were found in samples of chemicals used to fluoridate public water supplies between the years 2000 and 2006, reports the Centers for Disease Control.
Controversial fluoridation schemes are promoted by special-interest groups such as dental associations, claiming adding fluoride chemicals to public water supplies reduces tooth decay.
Arsenic was detected in 43% of the 245 water fluoridation chemicals sampled by NSF International which regulates public water supply additives.
Arsenic may increase cancer risk, according to the EPA which sets the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal of arsenic in water supplies at zero.
Also 3% of the samples contained copper; 2% contained lead; and less than 1% contained barium, chromium, mercury, selenium or thallium. Silicates, the second most prevalent substance in fluoridation chemicals, are not health regulated.
Although no radionuclides or beryllium were found in these samples, 0.4 parts-per-billion is allowed.
Bottled water suppliers, who add fluoride, typically follow the same standards, according to the CDC.
Community water fluoridation uses industrial-waste fluoride (silicofluorides). However, pharmaceutical grade fluoride may also be contaminated. According to the CDC, "Given the volumes of chemicals used in water fluoridation, a pharmaceutical grade of sodium fluoride for fluoridation could potentially contain much higher levels of arsenic, radionuclides, and regulated heavy metals than a NSF/ANSI Standard 60-certified product [the standard that water fluoridation chemicals must meet]."
The FDA regulates bottled water. But it's almost impossible to know how much fluoride is in the bottle, unless you call the manufacturer, because:
- Domestic bottled water with no added fluoride may contain between 1.4 and 2.4 mg/L fluoride
- Imported bottled water with no added fluoride may not contain fluoride in excess of 1.4 mg/L.
- Domestic bottled water with added fluoride can contain between 0.8 and 1.7 mg/L fluoride
- Imported bottled water with added fluoride may not contain more than 0.8 mg/L fluoride.
Bottlers are not required to list any naturally-occurring fluoride on the labels.
"Fluoridation is irrational whether it's coming from the tap or the bottle," says attorney Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. "It's time to leave fluoride chemicals and all their contaminants out of every water source."
Source: New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. 04 09
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