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Fluoride and infants - Why parents are not being told about fluorosis

Thursday, October 20, 2011 by: Doug Cragoe
Tags: fluoride, infant health, health news

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(NewsTarget) Millions of infants have been overdosed with fluoride due to powdered infant formula being combined with fluoridated tap water. Parents, who prepare infant formula, have been deliberately kept in the dark regarding the risks of this overdose, for the simple reason that it casts doubt on water fluoridation. Because newborns only consume liquids, they receive much larger doses of fluoride than adults when you factor in body size. This overdose increases the risk of fluorosis.

In 2006 the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association posted warnings on their websites advising caution when preparing powdered infant formula. They suggested parents use non-fluoridated water to avoid the increased risk of fluorosis. Fluorosis is a developmental disturbance that causes permanent spots or streaks to appear on a child`s teeth. Today there is increasing scientific evidence that fluorosis also results in a lowered IQ and more bone fractures. Called a "low grade chronic poisoning" by H. Trendly Dean, the father of fluoridation, fluorosis has always been a negative side effect of water fluoridation. It was accepted as a trade-off for reducing tooth decay through fluoridation. But the latest survey showed that 40% of American teenagers have fluorosis. This year the federal government proposed lowering the amount of fluoride added to tap water to reduce fluorosis.

Yet in the midst of this great increase in fluorosis most public health agencies have decided not to do anything except post web pages. They have not called for warnings to be placed on infant formula packaging. They have not called for educating doctors, dentists and parents about this issue. The WIC programs (Women, Infants, Children) hand out free powdered infant formula to low-income parents. But very few WIC programs will inform parents about the fluorosis risk when the formula is prepared with fluoridated tap water. A typical example is in Mississippi where a state dental official wrote:

"Based on the critical need to reduce the impact of untreated dental disease on children in Mississippi, the Oral Health Program does not advise the WIC Program to discuss fluorosis and community water fluoridation. We should make consumer-friendly information on fluorosis available as the need arises. But our goal is to eradicate tooth decay and we appreciate the WIC programs support to encourage not discourage the use of optimally fluoridated water."

In other words, the idea that fluoridated water is a bad choice for infants could "discourage the use of optimally fluoridated water" for other age groups. Here is what parents should know about this issue:

1 Very few in the public health or the scientific community say that newborn infants receive a benefit from the fluoride found in tap water. Of the few that advocate fluoride for this age group, none has said how much benefit infants might expect because no studies have been done that show a benefit for infants.

2 Mother`s breast milk is acknowledged as the best nutrition for infants. Breast milk is extremely low in fluoride. Nobody in public health is advocating that parents give fluoride supplements to infants on breast milk. Nobody is saying infants consuming breast milk will have more tooth decay than infants consuming formula made with fluoridated tap water.

3 For decades public health agencies have said that fluorosis is only a "cosmetic effect." But the cosmetic dentistry required to fix ugly fluorosed teeth can be expensive. And there now is increasing evidence that fluorosis causes more harm than simply malformed teeth.

The truth is that public health agencies have refused to inform the public about this risk to infants for the simple reason that it casts doubt on fluoridation.

Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/FLUORIDATION/safety/infan...
Vermont Department of Health: http://healthvermont.gov/family/dental/fluor...
Fluoride Action Network: http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/infant/i...

About the author

Doug Cragoe is an activist concerned with the increasing level of fluoride exposure in the United States.

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