In addition, fluoride-based pesticides are also sprayed on our food supply. We’re also one of the only nations, along with Australia, that allows a fumigant called sulfuryl fluoride (which breaks down into inorganic fluoride) to be applied to certain foods after they have been harvested. Another fluoride-based pesticide, cryolite, is also applied to many crops in this country as well. Most people, including children, are exposed to this through eating green grapes, as cryolite is widely used in many U.S. vineyards.
We are continuously reassured by officials that fluoridating water supplies helps fight cavities. According to the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), more people drink fluoridated water in this country than in the rest of the world combined, yet there is no significant difference in tooth decay between nations that fluoridate water and nations that don’t. Because it’s added directly to the water, there’s no way to tell how much of a “dose” a child is getting through drinking/cooking water when added to all the other sources in a child’s daily life.
Far and away, however, the largest dose of fluoride the average child gets in this country comes from toothpaste. Unfortunately, many children end up swallowing toothpaste when they are young and learning to brush, ingesting dangerously high levels according to FAN:
- Use of fluoride toothpaste during childhood is a major risk factor for dental fluorosis, particularly for children who brush before the age of three and who live in areas with fluoridated water. Children who swallow fluoride toothpaste can reach fluoride levels in their blood that exceed the levels that have been found to inhibit insulin secretion and increase blood glucose in animals and humans.
- All fluoride toothpastes sold in the U.S. must now include a poison label that warns users to “contact a poison control center immediately” if they swallow more than used for brushing.
- Just one 1 gram of fluoride toothpaste (a full strip of paste on a regular-sized brush) is sufficient to cause acute fluoride toxicity in two-year old child (e.g., nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea).
- In 2009, U.S. poison control centers received over 25,000 calls related to excessive ingestion of fluoride toothpaste, with over 378 users requiring emergency room treatment.
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