Stop water fluoridation, says public health expert

Stop water fluoridation, says public health expert

New research led by a public health expert at the University of Kent suggests water fluoridation in England is linked to higher rates of underactive thyroid.

Professor Stephen Peckham, of the University’s Centre for Health Service Studies, says a switch to other approaches to protecting tooth health should be considered.

In research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, Professor Peckham and the research team identified that water fluoridation above a certain level is linked to 30 per cent higher than expected rate of underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) in England.

The researchers looked at the 2012 levels of fluoride in the drinking water supply, using data provided by the Drinking Water Inspectorate for individual postcodes. They looked at the national prevalence of underactive thyroid diagnosed by family doctors in England in 2012-13 and recorded in their national quality and incentive scheme (QOF) returns. Complete data were provided for 7935 general practices out of a total of 8020.

The researchers also carried out a secondary analysis, comparing two built up areas, one of which (West Midlands) was supplied with fluoridated drinking water, and the other of which (Greater Manchester) was not.

After taking account of influential factors, such as female sex and older age, both of which are linked to increased risk of hypothyroidism, they found an association between rates of the condition and levels of fluoride in the drinking water. In areas with fluoride levels above 0.7mg/l, they found higher than expected rates of hypothyroidism than in areas with levels below this dilution.

High rates of hypothyroidism were at least 30% more likely in practices located in areas with fluoride levels in excess of 0.3mg/l. And practices in the West Midlands were nearly twice as likely to report high rates of hypothyroidism as those in Greater Manchester.

In England, around 10% of the population (6 million) live in areas with a naturally or artificially fluoridated water supply of 1mg fluoride per litre of drinking water.

Professor Peckham said that research was ‘observational’, so no definitive conclusions should be drawn about cause and effect. He also emphasised that the researchers were not able to take account of other sources of fluoride, often found in dental products and food and drink.

But he pointed out that the findings echo those of previous research and that while they were only able to look at diagnosed hypothyroidism, there might also be other cases of impaired thyroid function that have not yet been diagnosed - and treated.

Professor Peckham concluded that consideration needs to be given to reducing fluoride exposure. Public dental health interventions should ‘stop those reliant on ingested fluoride and switch to topical fluoride-based and non-fluoride-based interventions’, he said.

The research is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, which is the official journal of the Society of Social Medicine.

Lyn Mynott: My view is that whether the fluoride comes from other sources, such as dental products and food and drink, or not there is obviously a big problem here and I hope that Public Health England will sit up and take notice.

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34 Replies

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  • At last! Let's hope something will be done about it. Fortunately, fluoride isn't added to the water where I live.

  • About time ! Thank you for the information Lyn but as we know it can take years to change the current mode of thinking. However - we have to hope this is a start. I think there are websites that help you to campaign against fluoride in your water.... I also have read there are different types of fluoride - just as there are different types of thyroid medication :-) So maybe the naturally occurring is OK in our bodies and we cope with it - whereas the residues of the aluminium industry are not....

  • I've always been told by the Thames Water Board that they don't fluoridate the drinking water. Is that true or false? Anyone know?

  • I wrote a letter to my water board years ago and they sent me a letter with all the relevant figures about fluoridation in their water. Luckily, it's natural here.

  • I wouldn't be too relaxed about fluoride in the water in Essex.

    Ainsworth was aware of Churchill's research and decided to compare the water supplies from the endemic staining area around Maldon in Essex with that of the nearby town of Witham. The Witham water proved to have 0.5ppm fluoride, the samples from around Maldon ranged from 4.5 to 5.5ppm.

    nature.com/bdj/journal/v199...

    Those are pretty darned high levels.

    Rod

  • Oh dear! I need to find my paperwork and see what they told me!

  • Yes, Lyn, I hope they sit-up and take notice of the Report. They encourage us to drink more water but we want 'pure' and don't want additions of anything.

  • I hope it has an effect.

    I have a feeling the Public Health England has started to make waves about fluoride - they want it added everywhere.

    The idea of forced medication makes me so angry. And apparently fluoride is very, very hard to remove once it is added to water. Ordinary water filters don't help, and even expensive methods (if I could afford them) are not 100% effective.

  • Think I read somewhere they are thinking about putting an AD into the water - in Scotland I believe. Now where did I read that ? Mushroom Management again.....

  • Marz, Daily Mail article in this post

    healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

  • ..so that is where I read it ! Thanks for putting me out of my misery :-) Perhaps I should be put out to grass :-)

  • Don't be so hard on yourself, Marz. When you read a lot it's hardly surprising you forget where you read it. :)

  • Thank you - :-) You are right I am hard on myself :-(

  • Are the ADs going to complement the statins which I heard at least two doctors, in separate programs on Radio 4, say probably should be added to the water supplies?

  • ...the alternative agenda looms large :-) Guess when everyone is medicated in various ways they are more easily managed :-( From what I have read there is already an excess of medication in the water. In particular hormones from the pill and goodness knows what else we are ingesting. Then there's all the hormones in cows/chickens/sheep that seep into the rivers as well as the ones we eat. Best not to think about it....

  • Oh no! I can't do campaigning for all these but I really want to! :-(

  • Me too ! I worry about all the grandchildren ! You do lots so that's alright ! :-)

  • anh-europe.org/Sins+of+omis...

    Found this from last year.....

  • I'd noticed last year that fluoridation was being looked at uncritically and benignly by "the authorities" and it scared me witless at the time at how little complaint was being made. Thanks for the links.

  • Ooh - Hello Marz - nice to put a face to the name!

    I'm sure there was a fluoride map posted here somewhere...

    Severn Trent area here...

    stwater.co.uk/my-supplies/m...

  • Was growing out my colour at the time so had it all scraped back - big step ! Have not regretted it and more dosh in the kitty :-)

  • You can go onto the website of your local water company and download info about "what is in your water" makes interesing reading whether it is natural or added! I was particularly interested because I was looking at taking Iodine as my levels are very low. David Brownstein book explains it all but my understanding is that Halides, such as chlorine-used to disinfect water and fluoride can displace the Iodine in our bodies. Our thyroids need Iodine and Selenium to function properly, so I woud say if you are defficient in Iodine the likely cause is displacement by the Halides. DB book explains how to flush out the Halides. Let's hope that this research is the "starter for ten" on this topic!

  • There's a Lancet paper citing that fluoride is a neurotoxin too. I just cannot seem to find a free link to it so you can all check it out :(

    At least there is mounting evidence against fluoridating the water! I was fuming when I found out my GPs surgery was pushing for our water company to do it!

  • And the Daily Mail has put this story up:

    dailymail.co.uk/health/arti...

    (Don't worry, tomorrow they'll be campaigning for fluoridation to protect the teeth of our poor defenceless babies and children.)

  • It was Alcan - the big American company - that sponsored the research on fluoride - trying to say it would be good for teeth. Removing fluoride as an end product from their manufacturing process of aluminium was causing a huge problem - and now we are stuck with it. Difficult to change an idea once it has been planted and - then it is believed.

    It is an endocrine disruptor and should be banned....

  • ALCOA!

    (Alcan is Canadian. :-) )

    As in link I posted earlier up-thread:

    nature.com/bdj/journal/v199...

  • ..so over the border then. Sorry did not see you higher up thread - was just off to sleep. Thank you for the correction - think they are all in it together whoever they are :-(

  • I don't think my link was there when you posted. :-)

    The comment was more to identify that it was the same link for anyone reading through - not suggesting you should or would have seen it.

  • :-)

  • And, don't forget, fluoride destroys bones - skeletal fluorosis - lowers IQ and causes calcification of the pineal gland, leading to Alzheimers and other problems! Are these people all mad???

  • Unfortunately this study does not prove causality, any more than the higher rates of crime in Manchester prove that Mancunians have a crime gene. This is just linkage, and a very tenuous link at that. There could be a myriad of other things, just in the water alone, that MIGHT be causing thyroid problems. Or they could be environmental, from the air quality due to exhaust toxins in the air or the use of agricultural pesticides in the area. Or they could be social, even from damaged genes caused by longstanding economic differences. In short, anything. He shouldn't be advising anything on a study that he himself admits is merely "observational". It's like me observing fat people eat a lot of chocolate therefore chocolate causes obesity. Not true.

    While this study is interesting, all it does is proves this theory needs a LOT more robust research before conclusions can even be thought about let alone reached.

  • Several studies show that fluoride from water can lead to fluorosis. Earlier dentists said fluoride can fight cavity. Researchers say that fluoridated water, as well as its daily intake, have a weak link with your tooth decay. You have done a wonderful g concern. I really hope the water board considers it and stop adding fluoride to the water where I live. My sister Laura has written a letter to the water board years ago but they say it’s natural!!!

  • I had fluoride treatments on my teeth as a child, does this have any long term health effects? I'm 36 with a tentative diagnosis of fibromyalgia and im aware some research links this to thyroid issues. Could this be a reason for my issues? Does anyone know? Thanks

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