Most people are aware that tap water isn’t the safest when it comes to a beverage of choice. Pesticides from farming run-off, heavy metals from industrial pollution, and the waste products of your neighbour metabolizing her birth control pill all end up in the municipal water supply and are not removed by the filtering systems in place. But perhaps one of the most harmful ingredients in the public water of most municipalities is actually added to it. It’s fluoride. And it is added to tap water in most places in order “to protect teeth from decay.” When was the last time you read your tube of Crest? It literally says Do Not Swallow in bold lettering, with a warning to never give children under 6 more than a pea-sized amount and supervise them brushing. Ever wonder why?
Fluoride does protect teeth from cavities when it is applied directly to the surface of your teeth. This is true. The problem is that when you ingest the stuff, it becomes a very toxic nerve poison and plays games with your hormones and most of your internal organs. Studies show that fluoride leaches lead and aluminum from water pipes; it’s been found to be more toxic than lead and only slightly less toxic than arsenic.
Further, it’s never been approved by the FDA.. Not to get political, but we’ve been putting this stuff in the mass water supply since the 70s, and there isn’t any substantial proof that it is effective against cavities when added to water?
There are a few reasons to consider getting a good water filter that can remove this ingredient from your drinking water. Consider the following:
-Fluoride causes fluorosis, a malformation of tooth enamel and inappropriate deposition of fluoride in the bones that is a sign of systemic fluoride poisoning. When these findings were first investigated, researchers thought that fluoride might protect against bone fracture, since it increased bone density. But study after study proved that exactly the opposite was true – patients who took fluoride drugs had more dense bones, but suffered more fractures in the long run (bones break when they lose their pliability, not their density; more on this in another post).
-There is well documented research showing the negative effects of fluoride on thyroid function. Fluoride binds preferentially to the thyroid gland, replacing iodine which is essential for proper production of the thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are involved in thousands of body processes, perhaps most notably in metabolism and energy usage, and play a crucial role in ovarian function, fertility, adrenal and mental functioning. The thyroid hormones even affect your digestion.
-In the past 30 years, over 100 articles have been published documenting fluoride’s negative effects on brain function. Human studies show impaired fetal brain development, correlation with reduced intelligence, and a link between fluoride and neurobehavioral deficits.
-Fluoride affects sperm quality. As documented in a human clinical trial from Poland, systemic absorption of fluoride (through the skin, in this study) causes an almost immediate decrease in sperm motility. Another study showed fluoride inhibits testosterone production from the male testes.
Convinced yet? If you want to read more on the subject, visit Fluoride Action Network. They are a great resource for up to date research on the health effects of fluoride.
Bottom line is: tap water is not safe for use cooking or drinking due to the many harmful chemicals it contains. Beyond this, it’s also a good idea to have a filter on your shower head (remember my post on Clean Beauty? Your skin absorbs the majority of what you put on it).
My favourite solution for the kitchen is an above-the-counter Reverse Osmosis water filter. Reverse osmosis water is free of any and all contaminants, and it has an osmolarity equal to that of the water in your body (unlike distilled water, which over time will leach minerals from your cells). The reason I vote for above-the-counter units is because there is no holding tank for bacteria or other uninvited guests to proliferate. It takes a few seconds for the water to get going through the system, but it’s totally worth it.