Fluoride Myths & Facts

Boy Smiling with TeethFact #15: Water fluoridation has been thoroughly studied, and the evidence shows it is safe and effective.

  • The National Research Council (NRC) raised the possibility of health concerns about areas of the U.S. where the natural fluoride levels in well water or aquifers are unusually high. These natural fluoride levels are two to four times higher than the level used to fluoridate public water systems.
  • The NRC itself explained that its report was not an evaluation of the safety of water fluoridation.
  • The CDC reviewed the NRC report and stated, “The report addresses the safety of high levels of fluoride in water that occur naturally, and does not question the use of lower levels of fluoride to prevent tooth decay.”

Fact #16: Some studies are better than others. Many studies were poorly designed, gathered unreliable data, and were not peer-reviewed by independent scientists.

  • The foreign studies that anti-fluoride activists cite to claim that fluoride is linked to lower IQ scores in children involved fluoride levels that were at least double or triple the level used to fluoridate drinking water in the U.S.
  • British researchers who evaluated these studies from China and other countries found “basic errors.” These researchers pointed out that the lower IQs could be traced to other factors, such as arsenic exposure, the burning of high-fluoride coal inside homes and the eating of contaminated grain.

Fact #17: Much of the fluoride used to fluoridate public water systems is extracted from phosphate rock.

  • Much of the fluoride used to fluoridate water is extracted from phosphate rock, and so is phosphoric acid—an ingredient in Coke and Pepsi. After fluoride is extracted from phosphate rock, much of that rock is later used to create fertilizers that will enrich soil. Opponents use this message a lot, maybe because they want to create the false impression that fluoride comes from fertilizer.