Modern Diet Myth No. 7: Fluoride is a toxic drug

Cursed with having studied nutrition at university I had been labouring under the misunderstanding that fluoride was a nutrient that helps prevent tooth decay when consumed in small amounts. But after a quick surf through the net I now realise that fluoride is actually a toxic drug that causes many serious health problems, including thyroid dysfunction, weight gain, osteoporosis, infertility, neurological harm, impaired visual-spatial organisation, early onset of puberty, arthritis, hip fractures, depression and behavioural problems.

Yikes! Why are our so-called health authorities putting this dreadful toxin in our drinking water?

Fluoridation: the pollution of our precious bodily fluids

An enlightened few have known about the dangers of water fluoridation for decades and have tried to warn us. In Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film, Dr Strangelove, there is a telling scene in which General Jack D. Ripper, played by Sterling Hayden, ignores a hail of bullets from his own troops and asks a cowering colleague whether he has ever heard about water fluoridation.

Ripper then explains that “… fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face … I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids”.

Of course, General Ripper has totally lost it. Prior to the fluoridation scene he ordered the 34 B52 bombers under his command to make an unprovoked nuclear strike on Russia.

Early anti-fluoridation campaigner General Jack D. Ripper (source)

The crazification factor

Why does anyone listen to the modern day General Rippers and their bizarre claims about fluoridation? Dentist and public health epidemiologist Michael Foley puts it down to the crazification factor i.e. ‘the percentage of the population with a tenuous grasp on rational thought and an eagerness to embrace the conspiracy theory de jour’. Although willing to accept many conspiracy theories as harmless nonsense, Foley draws the line at those things that have the potential to adversely affect public health.

The NHMRC position on fluoridation

And public health is what fluoridation is all about. The National Health and Medical Research Council states that ‘… water fluoridation is the adjustment of the natural fluoride concentration in fluoride-deficient water to that recommended for optimal dental health.

Most of the world’s water naturally contains between 0.2 -10 mg/litre of fluoride, Australian water supplies being at the lower end of the scale i.e. fluoride-deficient. The fluoridation levels in Australian states vary between 0.6 and 1.0 mg/litre, the aim being to provide the Australian people with the Goldilocks level of fluoride – enough to prevent tooth decay but not enough to cause ‘fluorosis of aesthetic concern’ i.e. the mottling of the teeth that can occur at higher intakes of fluoride intake.

New review by NHMRC

The NHMRC is currently reviewing its policy on fluoridation but don’t expect any radical changes – the cool, calm world of science is a far cry from the hysteria on the internet. In a recent media release an NHMRC spokesman said “Based on the work already conducted in the review, NHMRC is expected to maintain its support for the fluoridation of water supplies.”

Better grab your gun! Our precious bodily fluids remain under threat!


28 thoughts on “Modern Diet Myth No. 7: Fluoride is a toxic drug

    • Hello Thekla. I’m trying to keep my posts concise so, sadly, that one ended up on the cutting room floor. Regards, Bill

  1. You are making a fool of yourself. I have asked many forced-fluoridation fanatics to tell me how much accumulated fluoride in the body they think is safe. So far not a single one of them has been able to answer the question.

    • Hello Dan. Yes, fluoride accumulates in the body – in bones and teeth – that’s its job. I guess you could say that calcium accumulates in the body too, also in bones and teeth. Regards, Bill

      • Bill, comparing fluoride to calcium in that way is ludicrous. Evidently you don’t understand what a cumulative poison is. The calcium content of the body increases while people are growing, after which it is fairly stable in healthy people. If it keeps accumulating throughout a person’s adult life the way that fluoride does, there is a problem. Calcium is also a nutrient, unlike fluoride. No biological process requires fluoride. The idea that it is an essential nutrient was officially debunked by the US National Research Council in the mid-1980s. The idea that an increased fluoride content of enamel prevents dental caries was also debunked, around the turn of the century. You are a long way behind. A chemical can only be a nutrient without being an essential nutrient if it is required by the body, but not required in the diet because it can be produced in the body from other chemicals. Fluoride is not required by the body, and is a chemical element, so it cannot be produced in the body. It is simply not a nutrient. What you were told in your little nutrition course is irrelevant. Unlike you, I have an actual science education, from one of Australia’s Group of Eight universities.

        If someone retains 2 mg of fluoride per day, which can easily happen in those subjected to forced-fluoridation, over 40 years that amounts to 29 g of accumulated fluoride. That is enough to put their bone ash fluoride concentrations far above what is required to cause the crippling third stage of skeletal fluorosis, not taking into account a pathological increase in bone mass resulting from fluoride accumulation, let alone the first stage of the disease. It is hardly surprising that Australia, the US, and Ireland, which have had quite high rates of forced-fluoridation since the 1960s, have high rates of joint problems. If you had bothered to read my short article maybe you would have gained a clue, but apparently you prefer to continue making a fool of yourself.

        • You really are a nasty germ aren’t you Dan Germouse!
          Bill Shrapnel is a dietitian and dietitians don’t study ‘little nutrition courses’. They study either a bachelor of nutrition and dietetics which is a 4 year course, or a bachelor of science (minimum of 3 years) followed by a masters in nutrition and dietetics (2 years). Last time I checked, this is more years than your average science degree! And many of these degrees are also run through the ‘group of eight’ universities. But who really gives a [expletive deleted] about that last comment since I’m sure that was only thrown in to make yourself sound more credible and impressive.
          I, being a rational person prefer to take my health advice from major public health organisations that are led by the biggest and best scientists in the country. I, being a rational person do not believe that our governments, government organisations or non-government organisations are trying to kill us through slow poisoning with fluoride!
          So, mad scientist Germouse, I do encourage you to get out more and try to develop some clear thinking and social skills, for you are the one making a fool of yourself

          • Kooly Fool, I can guarantee that I have a stronger education than Bill. Evidently you don’t understand the difference between blind faith and reason. If you were paying attention, you would know that Australian governments and public “health” organisations have a long history of failing to protect public health.

        • Hello Dan. Our problem is that we read different literature. For me, it’s the scientific stuff and it does not support your point of view. You say the idea that fluoride is a nutrient has been debunked yet both the NHMRC’s Nutrient Reference Values (Australia) and the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes (United States) list fluoride as a nutrient.
          You say that no biological process requires fluoride? What about the formation of fluorhydroxyapatite, which is less acid-soluble than hydroxyapatite, which explains the protective effect of fluoride against dental caries? That’s a biological process.
          The important thing is that the literature on fluoride is again under review by the NHMRC. I’m happy to accept their findings, one way or the other. But are you? Regards, Bill

          • Bill, you are so stupid it’s embarrassing. I thought you had cut your losses instead of choosing to dig a deeper hole for yourself, but obviously you are not that smart. Unlike you, I don’t have to rely on corrupt organisations spouting propaganda, because I have read systematic reviews and many original research studies on the subject in full, and can think for myself. People’s teeth do not require fluoride, Bill. People have perfectly healthy teeth without it. What part of that don’t you understand? Even the ardently pro-forced-fluoridation US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped claiming that the incorporation of fluoride into enamel prevents dental caries, and now claims that the action of fluoride in saliva at the tooth surface is the mechanism. However, the idea that fluoride concentrations in bone five orders of magnitude higher than those in saliva are safe, while those in saliva are effective, is beyond ridiculous. And no, I’m not happy to accept the findings of the NHMRC, because the people involved are criminals who are employed to pretend to properly assess the evidence, while actually doing everything they can to cover it up. The whole idea of using public water supplies to deliver medication is ridiculous to everyone with some common sense anyhow. It’s an abuse of human rights, and pharmacologically nonsensical.

        • Dan, are you really saying that fluoride doesn’t prevent dental caries? Here’s a little extract from the Australian Dental Association’s website:

          A major 2012 Australian study (Rugg-Gunn 2012) analysed all studies published worldwide from 1990-2010, in any language, which reported the effects of water fluoridation. The authors found 59 studies from 10 countries, yielding 83 separate evaluations into the effectiveness of water fluoridation (30 for primary teeth and 53 for permanent teeth). Thirteen of the studies were conducted in Australia. Every one of these 59 studies without exception showed a significant reduction in tooth decay from water fluoridation, with most showing reductions of around 20-60%.

          Rugg-Gunn AJ, Do L. Effectiveness of water fluoridation in caries prevention. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2012 Oct;40 Suppl 2:55-64.

          How can you say the association between fluoride and prevention of tooth decay has been debunked? Regards, Bill

          • Bill, what I said is that the idea that fluoride is a nutrient has been debunked. I didn’t say that the association between fluoride and prevention of tooth decay has been debunked. Pay attention, if you can. It’s possible that there is a small reduction of tooth decay from forced-fluoridation, but there is no credible evidence for it, and it is just as likely that there is a small to moderate increase in tooth decay from forced-fluoridation. The Australian Dental Association is a lobby group, which exists to promote the interests of its members, not the public interest. Australian dentists make a lot of money from cosmetically treating dental fluorosis, which is very common in force-fluoridated areas. If you bothered to read any of those 59 studies, and were capable of understanding them, you would see that they are poor quality studies. Did you learn anything about statistics, the difference between correlation and causation, or systematic error in your mickey mouse nutrition course?

  2. Fluoride is not a toxic drug it is a Schedule 6 Poison (not a Schedule 7 Dangerous Poison, so it is not a dangerous poison it is just a poison). It is however a good option for people with poor diets and bad oral hygiene. Now you can try and follow the WHO guidelines but they are a bit confusing as the teeth people say “fluoride, fluoride, fluoride!” and the endocrine people say “goitre, goitre, goitre! (avoid the fluoride as it inhibits uptake of iodine)”.
    Now personally I avoid it as directed my dentist and my doctor (I have thyroid abnormalities). I am just slightly horrified by the tone and lack of scientific rigour of your article but seriously don’t care because I have bigger fish to fry! Personally I think it is as reasonable to minimise fluoride as it is to minimise arsenic and lead (also in Schedule 6). AND on a serious note if your child eats a whole tube of fluoridated toothpaste you do need to take them to the hospital.

    • Hello Jenny. Your comment that fluoride is a Schedule 6 poison is the sort of alarmism I was trying to highlight. There is a relationship between many nutrients and health that goes something like this:
      * deficiency disease at low levels of intake
      * optimal health across a broad range of moderate intakes
      * toxicity at high levels of intake
      That’s exactly what we see with fluoride.
      If I wanted to scare people I could say that vitamin A is a poison or that vitamin D is a poison – the toxicity of both at high levels of intake is well understood. But to make that argument would be irresponsible, just as it is with fluoride.
      I wasn’t attempting scientific rigour with this article. On the contrary, I was trying to highlight that alarmism about fluoridation has been around for decades. By highlighting that the NHMRC was reviewing the topic my intention was to encourage readers to leave the issue to learned people who are reviewing the evidence in a calm, systematic way. Regards, Bill

      • Bill Vitamin A and Vitamin D are not Schedule 6 poisons that is a ridiculous comparison.

        Tooth enamel is calcium hydroxyapatite: Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2 it is what your teeth should be made of! If you have a crappy diet (read: too much sugar, lack of basic minerals etc) then your teeth will experience the acid attack and dissolve. If you throw some fluoride into the mix (or rather the saliva) you will end up with some precipitation of calcium fluoroapatite. It can look a different colour (the reason why some people get speckled teeth- especially bright white spots). ANSWER: avoid sugary anything and have a diet high in the minerals and vitamins that your body needs! You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to be concerned about fluoridation! Understanding even a tiny bit of chemistry will get you there! Thus my highly qualified, highly respected, Martin Place dentist distributes non-fluoridated toothpaste to her patients!

        WHO have a great website, check out their Vitamin and Mineral Requirements in Human Nutrition Second Edition it is a 341 page document that does not include fluoride as a micronutrient!!! OMG why?? Because fluoride deficiency is insignificant and unlikely and debatable, whereas fluoride toxicity is a problem. More importantly calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and vitamin D are the requirements for healthy teeth and bones. NOW there are different ways of handling problems, you can go downstream or upstream! Fluoridation of drinking water is a downstream strategy. Improved oral hygiene, high nutrient diets, dealing with the sugar issues is an upstream strategy. Now obviously all strategies are attempted because Coca-Cola has vending machines everywhere (and other similar reasons)!! I’m afraid you just can’t get away from the fact that fluoride is a poison, literally a poison S6 Poison on the MSDS as opposed to calcium carbonate (not a poison). So wouldn’t it be better to put calcium in the water instead of fluoride! YES and NO it would ruin the pipes! So we have a little bit of poison to help the people with the bad diets and the bad oral hygiene. So for those of us with good diets and good oral hygiene we don’t need it! And more importantly and personally those of us with Iodine deficiency, thyroid issues, other endocrine issues we should filter our water and use non-fluoridated toothpaste.

        I don’t know why you are ditching basic chemistry and basic human nutrient requirements to take this very wishy washy stand Bill. But I personally am not going to disregard my years of study and pursuit of scientific knowledge to go with the flow when I know the flow is poison!

        • Camomile tea is good, Jenny. Calms you down. Much better than black tea, or green tea for that matter – both natural sources of fluoride. How have cultures – both east and west – survived while consuming this Schedule 6 poison-laden beverage?
          Maybe that old saying ‘it’s the dose that makes the poison’ is relevant at this point. Regards, Bill

        • Jenny, please tell me, why do you think the following Australian health and scientific authorities endorse fluoridation?

          National Health and Medical Research Council
          Australian Dental Association
          Australian Medical Association
          Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
          Royal Australasian College of Physicians
          Australian Academy of Science
          Public Health Association of Australia
          Alzheimer’s Australia
          Arthritis Australia
          Australian Cancer Council
          Osteoporosis Australia
          Diabetes Australia
          Kidney Health Australia
          All Australian state and territory Departments of Health

          • Obviously because they think Australians generally have poor diets and inadequate oral hygiene!

  3. A bit of lead and arsenic and mercury are fine too Bill! Oh sorry Mercury is a Schedule 7 Poison (a dangerous poison)! But a bit of arsenic and lead are probably good for us!

  4. It is a good thing that goitre is unheard of in Australia and thyroid issues are rare otherwise your advice would be irresponsible!

  5. Bill please understand that you are giving people (especially those with endocrine issues) poor advice. Check out Table 1.4. Examples of EDCs with low dose effects (in animals) (Vandenberg et al., 2012). State of the Science of
    Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals – 2012 page 13 World Health Organisation.

  6. Hi there – I just read the exchange above and decided to go on over and have a look at the Poisons Standard (full title “Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons”) which is where you find the list of Schedule 6 and 7 posions mentioned by Jenny. Sadly, it seems that Jenny’s information is rather misleading.

    Fluoride (like a number of other substances in the Poisons Standard) appears in a number of different schedules in the Standard, depending on the formulation, concentration and intended use.

    Fluorides for human use, in specified low concentrations and packaging, are listed in Schedule 2 (the ‘pharmacy medicines’ schedule), except for formulations with a concentration below 15mg/kg. This excludes most toothpastes, which in Australia generally contain around 10-11mg/kg. Also in schedule 2 are aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen in low concentrations, and various herbal medicines.

    Fluorides intended for human topical use, in slightly higher concentrations, are listed in schedule 3 (the ‘pharmacist only medicines’ schedule), which also lists Vitamin D. This includes toothpastes with a higher concentration of fluoride.

    Vitamin A appears in Schedule 4 (the ‘prescription only medicines’ schedule), along with Vitamin D again in higher concentrations, as well as formulations of paracetamol when combined with ibuprofen or aspirin. other medical formulations of fluoride also make an appearance in Schedule 4.

    Fluorides do indeed appear again in Schedule 6 (the ‘poisons’ schedule), but not if in preparations for human use (where they appear in the lower schedules noted above), or in preparations of less than 15mg/kg. So if you have a 20kg sack of (say) 100% sodium fluoride in powdered form , that will be a Schedule 6 poison (as it should be). But that tells you absolutely nothing about the health consequences of fluoride in toothpaste, which is not scheduled at all, or medicinal mouthwashes, which appear in Schedule 2.

    Given that both Vitamin A and D both appear in the Poisons Standard, in equivalent or higher schedules as high-concentration medicinal formulations of fluoride, and ordinary fluoride toothpaste is not schedule at all, Bill’s remark that using this information to claim that fluoride is a poison is just like saying that Vitamin A or D are poisons, appears to be spot on.

    Some more information about the scheduling of fluorides in the Poisons Standard can be found here:
    Some information about toothpaste content in Australia, courtesy of the ABC, can be found here:

    Great blog, BTW.

    • Hello Tim.
      Thanks for this excellent contribution. It highlights the research and thought that has gone into how fluoride, vitamin A and vitamin D are controlled for human use. Sadly, the toxicity of nutrients is used and abused to further confuse an already confused general public, and to undermine faith in our health institutions. The truth is that these institutions do a good job. Regards, Bill

  7. Bill gives good moderate advice for average individuals. 85% of Australian women are not iodine deficient and 90% of men and so if any of those individuals have poor diets or poor oral hygiene they may benefit from some fluoride. And older people with good diets and good oral hygiene would be best to avoid fluoride because of their higher levels of thyroid issues. And as long as babies are breastfed or their bottles are filled with filtered water they should be ok. And clearly it is only the ‘smart’ countries that are fluoridating: and China is being downright ridiculous researching the effect of fluoride levels on cognitive development: I stand by my opinion IT IS NOT THE BEST WAY TO LOOK AFTER YOUR TEETH and IT IS DETRIMENTAL FOR THOSE OF US WITH DEFICIENCIES (particularly iodine) AND THYROID ISSUES.

    • Hi Jenny. With public health activities like fluoridation the focus is on the population, the idea being to do the greatest good for the greatest number. Individual health is a different matter. Regards, Bill

      • Bill I love living in Australia and will continue to live in Australia but am disappointed that Australia has followed the US on this issue when the majority of other countries have not. And I am disappointed that you think that it is reasonable to be so mocking and disrespectful towards those concerned about fluoridation when there are genuine health issues to be concerned about. I suggest you do some more research!

        • I’ve been reading the above discussion with interest. Jenny, I understand your perspective, particularly coming from a minority on the population with having been diagnosed with a thyroid condition that is affected by fluoride.
          The thing is, all generalised information given in this context (the blog) is targeted for the general healthy population. The generalisation of advice is not limited to Bill. Every industry does this. For example, any financial advice given in the main stream always includes some kind of statement such as ‘This is general advice only. For more individualised information, please consult a financial advisor’.
          Essentially, this situation is the same. If you have something specific, that means you cannot follow the advice generally given to the public, you need to seek specific advice from professionals qualified in the area to treat your condition.
          Bill’s blog was not saying he has all the answers, nor was he saying that individual conditions should be ignored. He was saying ‘leave it to the specialists’. Which I think is the best advice anyone can give right now in this world where everyone thinks they are the expert because they read something on the internet somewhere.

          • Hi Jo,
            That is an interesting perspective. I thought the tone of Bill’s article was more ‘people concerned about fluoridation are idiots’ than ‘leave it to the specialists’. But perhaps I am a bit sensitive!
            And I agree that there is a considerable amount of misinformation about a great many issues (especially those relating to nutrition and public health). My personal approach is to get educated and examine all sides of issues and make informed decisions rather than ‘leave it to the experts’. Actually my approach would include ‘consult with some experts’. As a teacher (Science, Food Technology and Learning Difficulties) I would see thinking for yourself as important and equipping students to think for themselves as very important.

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