In its purest form, sodium fluoride is capable of eating through concrete
Does the type of fluoride matter?
The first thing to know about fluoride is that not all fluoride is created equal. There are many types—both naturally occurring and synthetic—that you will come across while researching water. Fluoride is an inorganic, monatomic anion, whose salts are typically white or colorless. Fluoride salts typically have distinctive bitter tastes and are odorless. Fluoride is classified as a weak base since it only partially associates in solution, but concentrated fluoride is corrosive and can attack the skin.
The most common misconception is that the small amounts of natural fluoride found in water are extremely harmful. Fluoride is naturally present at low concentration in most fresh and saltwater sources and may also be present in rainwater. Of course, like anything else consumed in excess, this type of fluoride does have the potential to cause health problems.
Synthetic fluoride, more commonly known as sodium fluoride, has been shown to be more harmful. With all the speculation surrounding the topic, it is widely believed that the sodium fluoride that is found in consumer products, pesticides, and drinking water contains cancer-causing properties. In its purest form, sodium fluoride is capable of eating through concrete. Although sodium fluoride was the first compound to be used within our country’s tap water system in 1945, it has since been changed to a different compound called fluorosilicic acid.
So why did they add it to the water in the first place?
Water fluoridation began in some parts of the United States in 1945, after scientists noted that people living in areas with higher water fluoride levels had fewer cavities. Starting in 1962, the United States Public Health Service (PHS) recommended that public water supplies contain fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is now used in the public drinking water supplied to about 3 out of 4 Americans.
However, the quality of evidence supporting this has been poor over the years and since the start of fluoridation, many topical fluorides, such as toothpaste, have become more widely used making water fluoridation unnecessary.
It is interesting to note that according to Flouridealert.org, 97% of Western Europe is using non-fluoridated water. Tooth decay has declined in the past 50 years in Western Europe just as it has in the United States.
Can you reduce your fluoride exposure?
Even without fluoridation, the natural levels of fluoride in water in some places can be even higher than 4 mg/L. Community water systems in such areas are required to lower the fluoride level below the acceptable standard. But the levels in private water sources, such as wells, may still be higher.
For people concerned that their families may be exposed to too much fluoride, there are some steps you can take to reduce your exposure.
- Know the level of fluoride in your drinking water. If your drinking water comes from a public source, you can find out about the levels of fluoride in your drinking water by contacting your local community water system. People who get their drinking water from a private source such as a well can have the fluoride levels tested by a reputable laboratory.
- People who live in areas with high levels of fluoride in the water might consider using a water filter. While most bottled water has some fluoride, you can acquire a complete peace of mind with the water in your home with any of our many systems that remove fluoride. If fluoride is from a natural water source such as a well please speak with a Crystal Quest® Associate for system recommendation.
Is it better to be safe than sorry?
In our opinion, the research we currently have available about the dangers of fluoride is inadequate and there is no real way of knowing any of the potential consequences or lack thereof until it’s too late. Spending time with your family and enjoying various experiences is how we should be living our lives, not worrying about the quality of water we consume. Let us help you make the safe choice.
If you live in a major city, finding out what's in your water is simple as a search on the EPA's website by your zip code.
If you were unable to find your City's Water Report, please contact us at 800-934-0051 to find out more information.