Fluoride is a topic that has sparked contention for some time. Is fluoride toxic? Does it offer great health benefits?
Are both things true, or neither?
As the controversy has waged on, you may have wondered which "side" to believe and have been waiting to see what eventually shakes out.
Environmental Working Group is one of several organizations that have been convinced for many years that fluoride is toxic for people and the environment.
By 2011, EWG had invested six years in bringing pressure to bear on the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce exposure of the American people and the environment to fluoride. That year, some things began to change.
According to a January 2011 article on the EWG website, the American Department of Health and Human Services delivered a proposition for water utilities to begin adding less fluoride to water.
Within a matter of days, the Environmental Protection Agency issued their own proposal for change, that the food fumigant and insecticide sulfuryl fluoride be no longer used.
Health and Human Services said that too much fluoride poses health risks such as pitting and mottling tooth enamel, bone fractures and skeletal fluorosis. People with skeletal fluorosis experience bone fractures, joint pain and stiffness.
EWG was gratified to hear that the HHS and the EPA had conceded that American children have been exposed to an excessive amount of fluoride.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the top health official in the United States, made the announcement that the HHS would be reducing fluoride in water from 1.2 mg per liter to 0.7.
This announcement paved the way for the EPA to then lower its legal limit on the amount of fluoride that is allowed in the drinking water.
Fluoride has been in the water since the 1940s. The CDC has said that about 70 percent of all Americans, or 184 million people, drink water containing fluoride.
This use of fluoride was intended to stop tooth decay. But numerous studies since that time have indicated a possible link between being exposed to fluoride and bone cancer, thyroid problems and neurotoxicity.