Community Water Fluoridation: The Outlook in Kansas

6 | Oral Health

In 1945, Grand Rapids, MI, became the first city in the United States to add fluoride to its public water supply and, since then, other communities have followed suit. Over the past 65 years, this practice, known as community water fluoridation, has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing cavities.

Yet, many Kansans do not have access to fluoridated water supplies. Over 60 percent of public water systems in the state have water with fluoride concentrations below recommended levels.

This fact sheet examines community water fluoridation in Kansas, and discusses the national recommendations, dental health benefits and safety concerns related to the practice. To accompany the fact sheet, KHI has produced a brief video clip in which senior analyst Tatiana Lin discusses water fluoridation from a public health perspective.


PeetPeet (Peter Sharpe)June 19, 2012 at 2:33 a.m.

Pardon this concerned citizen, but there is some suspicion regarding adding Flouride to drinking water, partly because it is fatal when ingested in doses as little as 5 grams.
The notion that Kansas Health Institute is somehow doing the state a favor by adding flouride to our drinking water solely to prevent cavities is dishonest; the real motivation as with most flouride-adding programs around the world, is probably to address the expensive Flouride disposal problem.

PeetPeet (Peter Sharpe)June 19, 2012 at 2:33 a.m.

Over 90 percent of the fluoride added to drinking water is industrial-grade hexafluorosilicic acid, which comes from the air pollution scrubbing systems of the fertilizer industry. This form of fluoride is 85 TIMES more toxic than pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride approved by the FDA for topical dental applications. Tests on this latter form of fluoride are the ONLY ones used to provide evidence on the benefits of fluoride.

PeetPeet (Peter Sharpe)June 19, 2012 at 2:46 a.m.

The safe level of water fluoride content, according to the EPA, is a generous 4.0mg/L. If it must be added to our water, just keep the concentration as low as possible, and well below the EPA limit - because it is a POISON.

Just a side note - for the cost of the 'add fluoride to our water' lobbying campaign, the state probably could have subsidized dental care for kids, with free toothpaste and toothbrushes provided at schools and education about the impact of consuming soda and candy. That would have far more impact on the state's young dental health than dumping industrial waste into our drinking water, but I expect the lobbyists aren't interested in paying for that.

tlin (Tatiana Lin)July 10, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.

Thank you for your comments. We refer the reader to a number of publications from credible, scientific sources — including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — each of which concludes that drinking optimally fluoridated water is a safe and effective way to reduce tooth decay. Interested readers may want to visit examples of these reports, including:

nyscof (Nys Cof)November 17, 2012 at 5:59 a.m.

ABC-TV investigative report uncovers evidence linking US studies to fluoride and health dangers aired 11/15/2012

nyscof (Nys Cof)November 26, 2012 at 6:18 a.m.

Thank you for directing us to the CDC's website where it lists under 'safety' the 2006 National Research Council report which points out some really serious health risks from ingesting fluoride. For example:

“…it is apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain and the body by direct and indirect means. To determine the possible adverse effects of fluoride, additional data from both the experimental and the clinical sciences are needed.”

“Fluorides also increase the production of free radicals in the brain through several different biological pathways. These changes have a bearing on the possibility that fluorides act to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.”…”Studies of populations exposed to different concentrations of fluoride should be undertaken to evaluate neurochemical changes that may be associated with dementia. “

“The conclusion from the available studies is that sufficient fluoride exposure appears to bring about increases in blood glucose or impaired glucose tolerance in some individuals and to increase the severity of some types of diabetes.”

“Further effort is necessary to characterize the direct and indirect mechanisms of fluoride’s action on the endocrine system”

“The primary symptoms of GI [Gastro-Intestinal] injury are nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Such symptoms have been reported in case studies and in a clinical study involving double-blind tests on subjects drinking water artificially fluoridated at 1.0 mg/L.”

“It has long been suspected that fluoride, even at concentrations below 1.2 mg/L in drinking water, over the years can increase the risk for renal calculi (kidney stones). Research on this topic, on humans and animals, has been sparse…”

“Genotoxicity tests indicate the potential for fluoride to cause mutations, affect the structure of chromosomes and other genomic material; affect DNA replication, repair, and the cell cycle; and/or transform cultured cell lines to enable them to cause tumors when implanted into host animals.”

“Further research on a possible effect of fluoride on bladder cancer risk should be conducted.”

“Additional research is needed on fluoride concentrations in human bone as a function of magnitude and duration of exposure, age, gender, and health status.”

“The current MCLG [maximum contaminant level goal for fluoride in water set by the EPA] was designed to protect against stage III skeletal fluorosis [includes increased risk of fracture]….the committee judges that stage II [which is reached with lower levels of fluoride] is also an adverse health effect, as it is associated with chronic joint pain, arthritic symptoms, slight calcification of ligaments, and osteosclerosis of cancellous bones.”

“On the basis of this information, all members of the committee agreed that there is scientific evidence that under certain conditions fluoride can weaken bone and increase the risk of fractures.

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