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Fluoride Drinking Water: Boon or Bane?

Question

Task:

How fluoride drinking water is beneficial or harmful to our health?

Answer

Introduction
Fluoride has commonly been used in toothpaste for decades and continues to be the main component added to toothpaste. But fluoride drinking water claims of it having significant benefits to the body. With the public's faith, all invested in the government, few individuals have ever considered contesting or questioning water fluoridization. The 21st century has seen many scientists and researchers examine the inclusion of fluoride drinking water elements (Chilton et al.). This is due to the fluoride drinking water being manufactured from toxic waste, which is considered highly poisonous yet is being added to toothpaste and drinking water.

Understanding the Dangers of Ingesting Fluoride
With most city water supply departments already adding fluoride to their water supply, each individual needs to understand the risks and benefits linked to consuming fluoride. It’s also important to understand two types of fluoride, one naturally occurring in rocks while another produced from toxic industrial processes. Knowing the difference will help an individual better understand the risks linked to fluoride ingestion through the water.

Commercially Produced Fluoride Made From Toxic Waste
Fluoride naturally occurs in rocks across the globe, but industrialization saw the development of a new fluoride source, which was trapped in industrial exhaust scrubbers (Jacobson and Chen). This form of fluoride has been identified to carry many harmful chemical elements that are poisonous to the human body. While naturally occurring fluoride may help protect tooth enamel, the fluoride begins hurting the human body when digested. Memory loss, weak bones, heart problems, reduced sperm count and increased risk of miscarriages, are some of the issues.

Fluoride tends to naturally occur in most groundwater at a different level of concentration. Still, the problem is that the water supply department is adding commercially produced fluoride from industrial and chemical companies. These are made using extremely toxic materials, chemicals and processes. This results in a different strain of fluoride being introduced to water sources, which increases the side effects linked to the fluoride compared to naturally occurring rock fluoride. Fluoride in its natural state tends to be made up of several different components which help balance out the fluoride. It is also found in a very minute amount in natural groundwater, which is not harmful to the human body. When introduced to fluoride drinking water, the fluoride is more concentrated, turning the fluoride from beneficial to poisonous.

Ingesting Fluoride Has No Health Benefits
Due to fluoride having been identified as beneficial towards protecting tooth enamel in the 1930s, health authorities concluded that fluoride drinking water helps improve health. The theory was not tested, and according to historical documentation, the promotion of fluidization of water was influenced by industries producing fluoride as toxic waste. It was due to specific industries producing large amounts of fluoride as their poisonous waste byproduct, making it difficult to dispose of the concentrated solutions. Instead, the commercially produced fluoride was said to carry certain benefits to the body, such as keeping teeth and bones healthy.

No in-depth research was performed to determine the short or long term effects of fluoride on people after ingestion, thus leading to most people worldwide having used fluoride at one time in their lives. At the same time, fluoride used in toothpaste may still benefit the user, fluoride drinking water results in greatly damaging internal organs and weakening the skeleton. Fluoride has been introduced for use in commercial water plants, which has resulted in poisoning a large population without the majority of people even realizing they are being affected. Introducing fluoride to water has been identified to have no significant benefit to the human body and is responsible for increasing the risk of certain medical conditions.

Reduced Mental Strength and Lowered IQ Levels
The intake of fluoride has also been identified to have a significant effect on brain development. People exposed to prolonged fluoride intake have been noted to exhibit the lower mental ability and lower IQ, which has directly been linked to fluoride ingestion. While research is still undergoing about how fluoride affects the brain, it’s likely to intercept nerve signals that cause the brain's slowdown to limb signals. It results in making an individual mental ability weaker, thus resulting in the scoring lower IQ levels. The effects of reduced mental strength among people ingesting fluoride continue to be researched to determine whether the condition can be reversed using specific measures. There is no confirmed method of reversing damage caused by fluoride in the water on the brain. Future research and studies may still offer a more precise perspective linked to changing fluoride effects on the human brain (Xiang et al.).

Does fluoride drinking water cause damage to the kidney and heart function?
Ingesting even small amounts of fluoride (1%) through water has also been associated with damaging critical internal organs. The most sensitive to fluoride poisoning are the kidneys and heart (Shashi, Sharma, and Bhardwaj). Each is affected differently, but both experience considerable amounts of damage when exposed to fluoridated water over the long term perspective. Kidney functions will begin being disrupted with reduced purification and the increased development of kidney stones. This is linked to the accumulation of fluoride inside the kidney, which results in the development of kidney stones. The hearts muscle strength and function is also affected by the ingestion of fluoride, which increases the risk linked to heart failure and other heart-related conditions.

How to Prevent or Limit Fluoride Poisoning?
Fluoridation of water is being done in most metropolitan cities worldwide, thus exposing the residents to fluoride poisoning through the water. This also makes it very difficult to manage the situation since many approaches can be considered to extract the fluoride from water. Some precautions which can be considered include:

Use of Water from Wells Directly
With fluoride not being added artificially to water supply systems, it has become difficult to limit and avoid consumption in many urban areas. This makes it advisable to avoid consuming water from the urban water supply and turn to another water source, such as underground water wells, if available. For residents who have access to clean, well water, it best to consider opting to drink well water as it is made up of natural dissolves fluoride, which is less harmful to the body (Keeler et al.). For residents living on the outskirts of cities, it’s advisable to consider sinking a fresh well which can be used to draw drinking water. Fluoride drinking water or fluorinated water from the central water supply authorities can be used for other purposes like washing and bathing. This is also important for farmers to do since fluoridated water has been noted to have serious health effects on farm animals which exhibit several medical conditions linked to fluoride consumption. While considering well water sources it’s also important to keep in mind many underground water sources contain hard water which may have other health concerns for consumers making it important to test the water to determine the most suitable water for consumption.

Use of Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Systems
For residents living in cities and with no access to well water, reverse osmosis purification systems is another effective way of removing fluoride from the water. This is achieved by the RO membrane, only allowing water molecules to pass and filtering all other elements found in the water. It’s important to carefully adjust the purification level to ensure the water being purified eliminates all the water's impurities. While certain minerals found in water are essential, they can be replenished through external sources, or water purifier must be adjusted to deliver only pure water, thus helping remove any fluoride in the water. Research is underway to develop special fluoride filters, but for now, the reverse osmosis purification system, which is an effective method of removing fluoride from fluoride drinking water (Greenlee et al.). It should be known the boiling water doesn’t remove fluoride and results in concentrating the fluoride in the remaining water. This makes boiling more dangerous, thus making the RO water purifier the most suitable option to consider.

Conclusion
Fluoride has been identified to benefit tooth enamel when applied to the surface of the teeth. Low-quality research and investigations resulted in fluoride being considered suitable for the human body, thus prompting small fluoride quantities to fluoride drinking water. This has been a trend for over 80 years, and only recent studies showed that ingesting fluoride would significantly affect an individual's health over the long term. With the concern being raised across most states, individuals must take action to help limit the damage caused by fluoride drinking water. Taking precautions such as investing in a high-quality reverse osmosis filter will help remove the fluoride from water immediately. It’s also essential to take immediate action linked to the banning of water fluoridation on a national scale to prevent future generations' adverse effects. There are legal obligations that the public must fulfil to stop the use of fluoride drinking water.

References:

Chilton, J et al. Fluoride in Drinking-Water. Vol. 408. N.p., 2006. fluoride drinking water Web.

Greenlee, Lauren F. et al. "Reverse Osmosis Desalination: Water Sources, Technology, and Today's Challenges." Water Research, 2009: 2317–2348. Web.

Jacobson, Orit, and Xiaoyuan Chen. “PET Designated Flouride-18 Production and Chemistry.” Current topics in medicinal chemistry 10.11 (2010): 1048–1059. Web.

Keeler, B. L. et al. “Linking Water Quality and Well-Being for Improved Assessment and Valuation of Ecosystem Services.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2012. Web.

Shashi, Aggarwal, S. Sharma, and M. Bhardwaj. “Oral Health Status in Students Exposed to Flouride in Drinking Water.” Asian Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Environmental Sciences 10.2 (2008): 323–328. Print.

Xiang, Quanyong et al. “Effect of Fluoride in Drinking Water on Children’s Intelligence.” fluoride drinking water Fluoride 36.2 (2003): 84–94. Print.

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