Working moms in Omaha obviously want what is best for their babies – and their older children, as well. Time and again, parents are told to take it easy on the milk, and especially juice. Give kids more water. Sounds healthy, right? Well, that depends on what’s in it. Many parents don’t know. Some who do, use nursery water. Sounds better, right? Well, it depends on what’s in that.
In a word? Fluoride. It’s even in some nursery water. (I checked.) Well, fluoride is good, right? WRONG! Fluoride is a poison.
Well, it’s good for children’s teeth, right? Wrong again! Excess fluoride can cause fluorosis, a discoloration of the teeth. Well, so if it’s bad for the teeth, what does it do?
I’ll tell you, but just remember, you asked!
In 2009, 378 cases of fluoride ingestion required emergency room treatment. Approximately 14% suffered notable effects. In 2002, one person actually died due to fluoride ingestion.
After fluoride has been ingested, symptoms begin to show within minutes. Fluoride toxicity may create numerous signs and symptoms. Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, and hyper-salivation. Neurological symptoms include headache, tremors, muscle spasms, and seizures. Cardiovascular symptoms include shock, arrhythmia, and cardiac arrest. Other symptoms stem from electrolyte imbalances such as hypocalcemia, hypomagnesemia, hypoglycemia, and hyperkalemia. These are deficiencies or excesses of various minerals or substances in the blood. Each has its own set of symptoms, with the end result of each being death.
The most common of the symptoms are gastrointestinal. Severe cases of fluoride toxicity can result in multi-organ failure. The most common fluoride-related deaths result from respiratory paralysis, dysrhythmia, or cardiac failure. Children under age 5 are the most commonly treated.
Ingestion may lead to death with amounts as small as 16 mg in children (2 g for adults). Amounts as small as 3 mg may produce symptoms. Toxicity occurs with ingestion of 5-10 mg.
Many commonly used products contain fluoride, such as toothpaste, vitamins, dietary supplements, glass-etching or chrome-cleaning agents, and insecticides and rodenticides. Wait, we drink rat poison? Yes.
In an analysis of data from 27 different research studies spanning 22 years, doctors found that ingestion of high levels of fluoride impairs neurodevelopment in children, with memory and learning problems being the expected result. Comparisons of children in areas where fluoride levels are high showed “significantly lower IQ scores.”
According to these doctors, more research is necessary for several reasons. First, of course, they “want to make sure that cognitive development is considered as a possible target for fluoride toxicity.” Secondly, because fluoride crosses the placenta easily, more information concerning the effects of fluoride on prenatal brain development is important.
The Environmental Protection Agency is considering lowering the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in water. Currently, it is 4 mg per liter. And, yes, symptoms occur at 3 mg. Therefore, less than a quart of water can produce symptoms, slightly more than a quart can cause toxicity, and a gallon can lead to death in a child. Yes, the government purposely adds this to our water and it is not really very good for our teeth. Hmmm…. Thirsty?