Canadian Report Urges Cuts in Children's Fluoride Exposure

anti fluoride t shirt photo

Anti-fluoridation T-shirt

Whenever we write about bottled water or toothpaste, we get deluged with comments from anti-fluoridation crazies out of Dr. Strangelove activists pointing out the dangers of the stuff; meanwhile our health officials and the dental profession assured us that all was fine. Now, a new expert panel advising Health Canada has suggested that the amount of fluoride added to water should be dialed back significantly, and that children should use low-fluoride toothpaste.

Martin Mittelstaedt reports in the Globe and Mail that Fluoride " has recently emerged as a controversial chemical for some public-health advocates because of contested research linking it to intelligence-quotient deficits in children; osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer in young boys and the mottling of youngsters' teeth, a condition known as fluorosis.

Although the panel concluded the "weight of evidence" supports neither an association between fluoride and cancer, nor the findings of IQ deficits, its three recommendations would lead to reduced exposure if implemented, particularly for children."

british anti-fluoride poster photo

UK anti-fluoride poster

Some municipalities had already cut back on the amount of fluoride in their water; Toronto, which used to have as much as 1.2 parts per million, has cut that in half. Toothpaste has far higher concentrations, as much as 1,500 ppm, on the assumption that it is spit out. However kids often swallow it, so the recommendation is that they use low-fluoride toothpastes, which are available in Europe but evidently not in North America.

"Health Canada said it is aware that youngsters might swallow toothpaste and, as a safeguard, already recommends that those under 6 be supervised when brushing and be given only pea-sized amounts on their brushes. The department also said parents should contact a poison-control centre or other medical help "right away" if more toothpaste than is used for brushing is swallowed." ::Globe and Mail
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