Back in 1945, government officials began including fluoride in our tap water to improve our dental health.
Found in many name brand toothpastes, it’s thought to help prevent tooth decay. But recent studies have revealed that the chemical can actually do more harm than good, like causing fluorosis — permanent deformation of the teeth.
Overexposure to fluoride, leading to fluorosis, is typically seen in children during the first eight years of their life, when their permanent teeth are beginning to form. The physical deformities caused include yellow to dark brown staining of the teeth, irregularities in the surface of the teeth, and large, noticeable pits that can form holes in the teeth.
Fluoride can also negatively impact their cognitive development. In fact, a study conducted in China found that children who grew up in areas with high levels of fluoride in their drinking water scored, on average, significantly less on IQ tests than children in lower-fluoride areas.
Senior study author Philippe Grandjean attributed the lower IQ scores to the toxic effect that fluoride has on the developing brain. “Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain,” Grandjean explained.
“The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us.”
Nearly 75 percent of the U.S. population receives drinking water that contains 0.7-1.2 parts per million (ppm) fluoride to prevent tooth decay. These levels are based on recommendations from the federal government made more than four decades ago.
“Just because we did studies over the last 70 years, it doesn’t mean that we did everything that is necessary to know for sure that fluoridation is not toxic to some processes in the body or development of the brain. Those studies have actually not been done,” noted Grandjean, who is also an adjunct professor of environmental health and the head of the Research Unit at the University of Southern Denmark, and author of Only One Chance: How Environmental Pollution Impairs Brain Development – and How to Protect the Brains of the Next Generation.
In light of these revelations, you’d think bottled water would be the safe bet, right? That’s why we make sure to skip filling up from the tap and invest our money in brands that claim to have the best quality water for our health. Unfortunately, it seems that bottled versions aren’t always as pure as we’ve been led to believe.
Many brands actually use municipal tap water and could contain fluoride, while certain spring water is reported to also contain the chemical, according to the Arab Tribune.
A study published in the Journal of Epidemiological & Community Health discovered that those who consume fluoridated water are more likely to suffer from thyroid issues.
“In many areas of the world, hypothyroidism is a major health concern and in addition to other factors—such as iodine deficiency—fluoride exposure should be considered as a contributing factor. The findings of the study raise particular concerns about the validity of community fluoridation as a safe public health measure,” the study authors concluded.
To avoid buying a bottled water brand that contains fluoride, do not purchase the following brands:
Alhambra, Sierra Springs, Sparkletts, Arrowhead, Mount Olympus, Belmont Springs, Poland Spring, Crystal Rock, Crystal Springs, Shenandoah, Deer Park, Diamond Springs, Nursery Water, Hindley Spri, Ice Mountain, Kandiyohi, Puritan Springs, Kentwood Springs, Mayer Bros., Ozarka, Pure Flo, and Zephyrhills.
Safer bets for water bottle brands that do not contain fluoride include:
Aquafina, Crystal Point, Dannon, Deja Blue, Evian, Fresh Market, Great Value, Smart Water, Summit Mountains, and Summit Springs.
Important Facts About Bottled Water
1. Bottled Water is More Expensive Than Tap Water
According to Business Insider, the bottled water industry “grossed a total of $11.8 billion on 9.7 billion gallons (of water) in 2012, making bottled water about $1.22/gallon nationwide and 300x the cost of a gallon of tap water. If we take into account the fact that almost 2/3 of all bottled water sales are single 16.90z (500mL) bottles, though, this cost is much, much higher: about $7.50 per gallon, according to the American Water Works Association. That’s almost 2,000x the cost of a gallon of tap water and twice the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline.”
The article goes on to mention several other shocking statistics, like the fact that bottled water consumption and sales have increased approximately 350% respectively since the tracking of the dollar amounts in 1991. In that year alone, Americans spent $2.5 billion on 2.4 billion gallons (about $1.07/gallon).
The plastic bottles of water we buy every week in the United States alone could circle the globe five times. That’s not a comfortable thought, and it should have us questioning our activities on the planet, and whether or not the convenience is worth the cost in ecological damage.
2. Potentially Harmful Chemicals In Bottled Water
Truth is, it takes a lot of oil to make plastic bottles. The amount of oil it takes to make plastic water bottles in the United States alone could fuel approximately one million cars and light trucks for a year. (source)
Not long ago, German researchers discovered endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), that could adversely affect development and reproduction, to be contained in 18 popular name brand bottled water products.
Of the 24,520 suspect chemicals found to be present in bottled water, the one that showed consistent results and illustrated anti-androgenic and anti-estrogenic activity was di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate (DEHF). Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the hormone system; they can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, cardiovascular disorders, metabolic disorders, and, as mentioned earlier, other developmental disorders.
“An increasing number of in vitro studies reports the presence of EDCs in bottled water , , , , . With previous studies focusing on estrogenicity, the present work provides evidence for an additional contamination with steroid receptor antagonists. Using an optimized extraction procedure, we detected antiestrogens and antiandrogens in the majority of analyzed bottled water products. Moreover, the antagonist activity was very potent. An equivalent of 3.75 mL bottled water inhibited estrogen and androgen receptor by up to 60 and 90%, respectively. . . . From a broader perspective, bottled water from six different countries has been found to contain estrogenic , , , , , antiestrogenic, and antiandrogenic (this study), as well as androgenic, progestagenic, and glucocorticoid-like chemicals . This demonstrates that a popular beverage is contaminated with diverse-acting EDCs.” (source)
Researchers used spectrometric simulation to narrow down their findings to DEHF as the only possible EDC giving rise to harmful activity. DEHF is also known as an anti-estrogenic compound, which means that another unidentified EDC must be present in the samples that showed anti-androgenic activity
3. Bottled Water Could Potentially Be of Lower Quality Than Tap Water
Not long ago the city of Cleveland conducted a test on the Fiji Water brand and discovered that their water actually contained traces of arsenic, while the city’s own water supply did not.
How is this possible?
“Bottled water manufacturers are not required to disclose as much information as municipal water utilities because of gaps in federal oversight authority, according to reports released yesterday by government auditors. Bottom line: The Food and Drug Administration oversees bottled water, and U.S. EPA is in charge of tap water. FDA lacks the regulatory authority of EPA, John Stephenson of the Government Accountability Office told a House panel.” – Sarah Goodman of the New York Times
The list is a long one, and it’s pretty ridiculous when you think about the fact that there are almost one billion people on this planet who do not have access to clean drinking water. More frustrating still is the reality that it doesn’t need to be this way. Children are dying by the minute from waterborne diseases and we have spent billions of dollars trying to vaccinate these populations, yet the same level of effort is not being made to provide clean drinking water to various communities around the world.
Our greed seems to be the source of this problem… what do you think?