by: Joanne Suresh - for Dogs Naturally magazine

Our environment is constantly bombarded with toxic waste, by-products and gases from large manufacturing corporations, pharmaceutical companies and a host of other industries. The earth’s most precious resource, its water supply, is also laden with toxic pollutants, including our public water supply. What is it in water that makes it so toxic to humans and pets?

Fluoride – the enemy within

Fluoride is a chemical ion of the element fluorine. Fluoride can be found in the earth’s crust, water, soil and in minerals such as fluorite and fluorapatite. In its natural state, fluoride is harmless. The fluoride that is added to our water however, is synthesized fluoride. We are all familiar with this form of fluoride as it is present in toothpaste and mouthwash and is purported to prevent tooth decay. Opponents of fluoride however, claim that this it has been proven to be ineffective and does not provide any significant cavity-protecting effects.

Fluoride is a by-product of fluorine gas which is common to both aluminum and nuclear industries. The cost of neutralization and disposal for this hazardous industrial waste is about $1.40 per gallon. Not surprisingly, campaigns were initiated to promote Fluoride as a wonder product with the ability to prevent tooth decay. As a result of this marketing strategy, many municipalities now pay these corporations to add fluoride to their water supply. Because the use of fluoride has become so widespread, a significant amount of the fluoride found in municipal water supplies is imported from China to meet demand. This fluoride has been found to be contaminated with heavy metals.

Fluoride is a Class 2 environmental toxin, second only to arsenic in its danger as a biochemically reactive poison. Fluoride’s primary use is as a rat and cockroach poison and it is a known carcinogen. Historically, fluoride was also used in Nazi Germany ghettos and prison camps to sterilize the human inmates. Research chemist Charles Perkins stated that repeated ingestion of low doses of fluoride over a long period of time destroyed areas of the human brain that trigger resistance so it also functioned to make inmates more docile.

More recent research shows that fluoride ingestion can cause dental fluorosis (disease of the teeth), weakening of bones, bone loss, bone cancer, kidney disease, osteosarcoma and hormone disruption. It can also lead to reduced IQ levels and cognitive damage. Due to the controversial findings on the fluoridation of water, a number of western European countries such as Austria, Germany, and Belgium have prohibited the practice of adding fluoride to their water. In fact, 98% of Europe is now free of fluoridated water.

When the water supply is fluoridated, it follows that the food supply will be as well. Water is consumed by our food animals, it is used for agriculture and crops, and it will wash into our rivers and oceans, affecting marine life. As we consume fruits, juices, meat and eggs, we are constantly ingesting small amounts of fluoride. It is difficult to estimate just how much fluoride each person is consuming on a daily basis. It is important to note however, that the effects of fluoride are cumulative and irreversible, so even small amounts can wreak havoc over time.

Racetracks in Southern CA such as Santa Anita, Del Mar and Hollywood Park have reported significant rises in bone breakage in horses. Fluoridation in the water causes horses to develop pathological bone structure and other irreversible damage which worsens with consumption. Since the San Diego Wild Animal Park began using fluoridated water, the elephant show has been permanently cancelled with one animal reportedly having mental derangement. Their zebras were also isolated in a separate pen for sudden and unusually aggressive behavior. The Australian state of Victoria announced the recent euthanization of hundreds of Kangaroos due to acute fluoride poisoning. The poisonings resulted from emissions of fluoride from the Alcoa aluminum smelter which were absorbed by local vegetation on which the kangaroos forage. It was reported that more than 200 kangaroos suffered from lameness caused by fluorosis, had developed dental fluorosis and they also suffered from excessive bone growth and lesions on their ankles, calves and paws.

Significant amounts of fluoride can also be readily found in pet foods and the consequences are just as dire for our pets. A study conducted by the EPA (Environmental Work Group) found high levels of fluoride contamination in eight major brands of dog food. The primary source of fluoride contamination appeared to be bone meal and other animal by-products used as filler. One vegetarian brand and one brand by a small manufacturer tested negative for fluoride contamination.

Osteosarcoma, which can be caused by fluoride, is the most common primary bone tumor in dogs, occurring in over 8, 000 dogs each year in the United States. Osteosarcoma occurs primarily in larger breeds, probably due to large breed dogs being exposed to higher levels of fluoride compared to smaller sized dogs. When selecting a dog food, it is important to avoid by-products from beef, chicken and turkey as these contain the highest amounts of fluoride. The safest option is to switch to a raw or home prepared diet which allows you to be in control of the ingredients.

As for eliminating fluoride from water, you may want to consider distilled water or installing a reverse osmosis system. Avoid toothpaste with fluoride, and if feeding your dog fruits and vegetables, try to obtain organic produce that is organic.

Boron can function to remove fluoride from drinking water. Larger amounts can be toxic, but a small pinch added to drinking water is enough to safely remove any fluoride. Iodine can also detoxify the body from fluoride accumulation. Kelp and iodine supplements combining iodine and potassium iodide are most effective. Because iodine can cause calcium depletion, it is important to note that calci- um/magnesium may need to be added to the diet. Other substances purported to help remove fluorine from the body include apple pectin, zeolite minerals, turmeric, cayenne, parsley, chlorella and cilantro. Even though synthesized fluoride is almost impossible to avoid, there are options available to detoxify and reduce exposure.

Municipalities throughout North America are practicing medicine without a license by injecting this toxic substance into the public water supply without the consent of the people drinking the water. This practice is in violation of FDA regulations, state medical laws and federal laws. Thankfully, there are some cities in the United States and Canada that have rejected the fluoridation of their water supply. If you are not sure if your city water is fluoridated, you can obtain a water report from your water department website. All water services must post an annual water quality report and the levels of all chemicals and additives must be reported.

If you are concerned about fluoride exposure, you may wish to write a letter to your state officials, your local senator, or a state board. You can opt to join your town meeting and educate the public about the dangers of fluoridating your city’s water. Individual cities have the option of removing fluoride from their water supply, so your participation in council meetings and public education can make a difference and end the senseless poisoning of ourselves, our children and our pets.