The Fluoride Debate

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

HISTORY/
ENVIRONMENT

CENSORSHIP

THE FLUORIDE
DEBATE

BENEFITS
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7
Question 8

ALTERNATIVES
Question 9
Question 10
Question 11
Question 12


SAFETY
Question 13
Question 14

OVERDOSE
Question 15
Question 16
Question 17

DISEASES
Question 18
Question 19
Question 20
Question 21
Question 22
Question 23
Question 24
Question 25
Question 26
Question 27
Question 28
Question 29
Question 30
Question 31
Question 32
Question 33

PUBLIC
POLICY

Question 34
Question 35
Question 36
Question 37
Question 38
Question 39
Question 40

COST
EFFECTIVENESS
Question 41
Question 42
Question 43

CONCLUSION

ALTERNATIVES

Question 12.
Can home water treatment systems (e.g. water filters) affect optimally fluoridated water supplies?

ADA's Fluoridation Facts Short Answer
Yes. Some types of home water treatment systems can reduce the fluoride levels in water supplies potentially decreasing the decay-preventive effects of optimally fluoridated water.

ADA's Fluoridation Facts Long Answer
There are many kinds of home water treatment systems including carafe filters, faucet filters, reverse osmosis systems, distillation units and water softeners. There has not been a large body of research regarding the extent to which these treatment systems affect fluoridated water. Available research is often conflicting and unclear.

However, it has been consistently documented that reverse osmosis systems and distillation units remove significant amounts of fluoride from the water supply.16, 89 On the other hand, a recent study regarding water softeners confirmed earlier research indicating the water softening process caused no significant change in fluoride levels.90, 91 With water filters, the fluoride concentration remaining in the water depends on the type and quality of the filter being used, the status of the filter and the filter's age.

Individuals who drink water processed by home water treatment systems as their primary source water could be losing the decay preventive effects of optimally fluoridated water available from their community water supply. Therefore, consumers should seek advice from their dentist about specific fluoride needs.

Consumers using home water treatment systems should have their water tested at least annually to establish the fluoride level of the treated water. More frequent testing may be needed. Testing is available through local and state public health departments. Private laboratories may also offer testing for fluoride levels in water.

Information regarding the existing level of fluoride in a community's public water system can be obtained by asking a local dentist, contacting your local or state health department, or contacting the local water supplier.

Consumers should seek advice from their dentist about specific fluoride needs.

Repeat of Question 12.
Can home water treatment systems (e.g. water filters) affect optimally fluoridated water supplies?

Opposition's Response

The fluoride molecule is smaller than the water molecule, therefore, it cannot be removed by filtration —nly by distillation. Reverse osmosis, however, will remove 80 to 90% of the fluoride. ("Intake and Metabolism of Fluoride," G. Whitford, from Adv. Dental Research, 8 (1):5-14, June 1994.)

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First Edition
February 2001

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