By Dr. Mercola
Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC is one of the world’s largest phosphate mining and fertilizer companies. ;In October 2015, the company agreed to a $2-billion settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection over a 10-year battle over hazardous waste disposal.
The EPA accused Mosaic of improper storage and disposal of waste from the production of phosphoric and sulfuric acids, key components of fertilizers, at the company’s facilities in Louisiana and Florida. The Tampa Bay Times reported:1
“The EPA said it had discovered Mosaic employees were mixing highly corrosive substances from its fertilizer operations with the solid waste and wastewater from mineral processing, in violation of federal and state hazardous waste laws.”
The EPA further noted:2
“The 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste addressed in this case is the largest amount ever covered by a federal or state. . . settlement and will ensure that wastewater at Mosaic’s facilities is properly managed and does not pose a threat to groundwater resources.”
It is ironic that the EPA acknowledges the threat posed to groundwater by Mosaic’s hazardous waste disposal because one of the chemicals classified as hazardous waste is fluorosilicic acid, another waste product of their fertilizer production.
Mosaic is one of the largest sellers of fluorosilicic acid, which is widely used by public drinking water systems across the US to fluoridate water supplies. More than 200 million Americans drink these wastes every day, according to the Fluoride Action Network (FAN).3
If You Drink Fluoridated Water, You’re Likely Drinking Mosaic’s Hazardous Fertilizer Waste
While pharmaceutical-grade fluoride is a harmful-enough drug, this is not the type of fluoride being added to drinking water. If it was, at least then it would be a pure, uncontaminated form.
Rather the fluoride that is typically used to fluoridate local water supplies is a frequently contaminated chemical byproduct created during the phosphate fertilizer manufacturing process.
It’s a concentrated, highly toxic chemical riddled with hazardous impurities, making it extremely expensive to safely dispose of when not sold for profit as a water additive.
Fluoride compounds like fluorosilicic acid are toxic industrial waste products, which can also be contaminated with lead, arsenic, radionucleotides, aluminum, and other industrial contaminants.
In fact, uranium and radium are two known carcinogens found in fluorosilicic acid used for water fluoridation, and radioactive polonium-210 is one of two decay products of uranium.
The now declassified files of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission even show that the original motivation for promoting fluoride and water fluoridation in the US was to protect the bomb-, aluminum-, and other fluoride-polluting industries from liability.
Later, they switched to the even more hazardous waste product, fluorosilicic acid, from the phosphate fertilizer industry. But none of the studies on fluoride actually used the far more toxic and contaminated fluorosilicic acid that is presently added to the water supply.
Rather, they use pharmaceutical-grade fluoride, which while harmful, is not quite as bad as what’s being used for water fluoridation.
Back in 1983, the Deputy Administrator of the EPA Office of Water, Rebecca Hanmer, summarized and defended the EPA’s policy on adding toxic fluoride to drinking water in part because it provides a use for the toxic byproducts of the fertilizer industry:4
“In regard to the use of fluosilicic (fluorosilicic) acid as a source of fluoride for fluoridation, this agency regards such use as an ideal environmental solution to a long-standing problem.
By recovering by-product fluosilicic acid from fertilizer manufacturing, water and air pollution are minimized, and water utilities have a low-cost source of fluoride available to them.” [Emphasis mine]
Fluoride Is One of the Phosphate Fertilizer Industry’s Greatest Liabilities
Mosaic Fertilizer is the world’s largest phosphate mining company. About three-quarters of the phosphate used in the US (an $85-billion industry) comes from Florida. Phosphate rocks are scooped out of the earth and mixed with clay, sand, and water to create a slurry.
That slurry is pumped to a plant where the phosphate is separated from the sand and clay. Not only does this process create a radioactive byproduct called phosphogypsum, which must be disposed of in 150-tall “gyp stacks,” but it’s also a major source of fluoride.5 As reported by FAN:6
“Fluoride has been, and remains to this day, one of the largest environmental liabilities of the phosphate industry.
The source of the problem lies in the fact that raw phosphate ore contains high concentrations of fluoride, usually between 20,000 to 40,000 parts per million (equivalent to 2 to 4 percent of the ore).
When this ore is processed into water-soluble phosphate (via the addition of sulfuric acid), the fluoride content of the ore is vaporized into the air, forming highly toxic gaseous compounds (hydrogen fluoride and silicon tetrafluoride).
In the past, when the industry had little, if any, pollution control, the fluoride gases were frequently emitted in large volumes into surrounding communities, causing serious environmental damage.
… They call them ‘wet scrubbers’ – the pollution control devices used by the phosphate industry to capture fluoride gases produced in the production of commercial fertilizer. In the past, when the industry let these gases escape, vegetation became scorched, crops destroyed, and cattle crippled.
Today, with the development of sophisticated air-pollution control technology, less of the fluoride escapes into the atmosphere, and the type of pollution that threatened the survival of some communities in the 1950s and 60s, is but a thing of the past (at least in the US and other wealthy countries).
However, the impacts of the industry’s fluoride emissions are still being felt, although more subtly, by millions of people – people who, for the most part, do not live anywhere near a phosphate plant.
That’s because, after being captured in the scrubbers, the fluoride acid (hydrofluorosilicic acid [or fluorosilicic acid]), a classified hazardous waste, is barreled up and sold, unrefined, to communities across the country.
Communities add hydrofluorosilicic acid to their water supplies as the primary fluoride chemical for water fluoridation. Even if you don’t live in a community where fluoride is added to water, you’ll still be getting a dose of it through cereal, soda, juice, beer, and any other processed food and drink manufactured with fluoridated water.”
Dr. William Hirzy from the EPA has pointed out that if this byproduct goes into the air, it’s a pollutant. If it goes into the local water, it’s pollution. But if the public water utilities buy it and pour it in our drinking water, it’s no longer a pollutant. All of a sudden like magic it’s a beneficial public health measure.
CDC Continues to Support Water Fluoridation Despite Scientifically Proven Risks
In September 2015, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reportedly worked with organized dentistry to promote legislative and legal strategies that would protect and promote water fluoridation in the US.7
This is despite the fact that science continues to show significant adverse effects, and little to no benefit, from this obsolete practice. Paul Connett, PhD, FAN executive director, noted:8
“Clearly, they are creating a PR stunt hoping to revitalize this Orwellian practice that goes against every principle of modern pharmacology. They are protecting fluoridation policy, reputations, and jobs and not the American public.”
Earlier this year, the Cochrane Collaboration released a comprehensive review with points that are nearly impossible to dispute. Fluoride doesn’t work to prevent cavities and it’s proven to cause harm in the form of dental fluorosis.
The Cochrane Collaboration is considered to be the gold standard in evidence-based reviews, and only three studies conducted since 1975 had enough merit to be included. None showed that swallowing fluoride prevents cavities while it was clear that it causes harm (dental fluorosis). Fluorosis – mottled discolorations on teeth – is not purely aesthetic, either. It’s a visible sign that you’ve been exposed to this known developmental neurotoxin at excessive levels.
Worse still, even the “best” studies were not considered to be high quality and nearly all were flawed, for instance failing to control for other contributing factors, such as dietary sources of fluoride aside from tap water, diet and ethnicity. Just last year, Lancet Neurology released a study, authored by a Harvard doctor, among others, that classified fluoride as a developmental neurotoxin.9
The Harvard meta-analysis also clearly showed that children exposed to fluoride in drinking water had lower IQ, by an average of seven points, in areas with raised concentrations.
And the majority of the studies had fluoride levels of less than four milligrams (mg) per liter, which is under the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) allowable level (4 ppm) and offers no adequate margin of safety to protect all children drinking fluoridated water in the US.
When you consider all the steps to limit children to exposure to other neurotoxic substances like lead and mercury it borders on lunacy to deliberately add neurotoxic fluoride to the drinking water of millions. The last children that need their IQ lowered are children from low-income families and these are precisely the children targeted by fluoridation programs.
Fluoride Has Failed to Stop Sugar-Caused Tooth Decay
Also revealing, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) there is no discernible difference in tooth decay between developed countries that fluoridate their water and those that do not.10 It’s become clear that swallowing fluoride poses little, if any, benefit along with unacceptable risks. FAN further revealed some striking findings about fluoridation released earlier this year:11
- Researchers uncovered evidence showing the sugar industry colluded with the National Institutes of Health in the 1960s and 1970s to turn attention away from sugar, a proven cause of tooth decay, in favor of other unproven approaches including fluoride.12
- Research published in the Journal of Dental Research showed fluoride hasn’t stopped sugar-caused tooth decay. Researchers wrote, “previous preventive measures have clearly failed.”13
- An American Journal of Public Health article reported fluoridation was adopted prematurely without harms and risks fully explored.1
Is Your Health at Risk from Drinking Fluoridated Water?
Fluoride is a cumulative toxin, which means the more exposure you get, and the longer you get it, the worse your symptoms of fluoride poisoning are likely to be (although children are also at an increased risk of harm). Research conducted earlier this year, for instance, linked fluoridated-water consumption to thyroid dysfunction, weight gain, and depression.
Thyroid function was affected starting at a fluoride level of 0.3 mg/L, which is less than half what the US currently recommends, which is a level of 0.7 mg/L. Your pineal gland also tends to accumulate significant amounts of fluoride, which eventually causes it to calcify.
This may lead to ADHD-like symptoms and may also play a role in Alzheimer’s and bipolar disease. Considering its effect on neurotransmitters, it’s also quite conceivable that it might promote depression and other neurological disorders.15 Further, according to one 500-page scientific review, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can also affect your bones, brain, and even your blood sugar levels.16 There are more than 100 published studies illustrating fluoride’s harm to the brain alone, plus 45 more that directly link fluoride exposure to reduced IQ in children Studies have also demonstrated that fluoride toxicity, caused by overexposure, can lead to:
Increased lead absorption Disrupted synthesis of collagen Hyperactivity and/or lethargy Muscle disorders Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) Increased tumor and cancer rate Arthritis Skeletal fluorosis and bone fractures Genetic damage and cell death Damaged sperm and increased infertility Inactivation of 62 enzymes and inhibition of more than 100 Inhibited formation of antibodies, and immune system disruptions
Do You Want to Decrease Your Fluoride Exposure?
FAN is one of the leading organizations that is working feverishly to eliminate fluoride from the water supply. Dr. Paul Connett is one of our Health Liberty partners and we deeply appreciate and applaud his organization’s hard efforts. We have reprinted their excellent recommendations on how to decrease your fluoride exposure below.
1) Stop Drinking Fluoridated Water:
Tap water consumption is, on average, the largest daily source of fluoride exposure for people who live in areas that add fluoride to the water. Avoiding consumption of fluoridated water is especially critical for infants. If you live in area that fluoridates its water, you can avoid drinking the fluoride in one of three ways:
- Water Filters: One way of avoiding the fluoride from tap water is to purchase a water filter. Not all water filters, however, remove fluoride. The three types of filters that can remove fluoride are reverse osmosis, deionizers (which use ion-exchange resins), and activated alumina. Each of these filters should be able to remove about 90 percent of the fluoride. By contrast, “activated carbon” filters (e.g., Brita & Pur) do not remove fluoride.
- Spring Water: Another way to avoid fluoride from tap water is to purchase spring water. Most brands of spring water contain very low levels of fluoride. Some brands, however, do contain high levels (e.g., Trinity Springs). Before consuming any bottled water on a consistent basis, therefore, you should verify that the fluoride content is less than 0.2 ppm, and ideally less than 0.1 ppm.
You can find out the level of fluoride in some of the popular brands here. You can also find out the fluoride level by calling the number on the water label. (Most companies have this information readily available.)
- Water Distillation: A third way to avoid fluoride from the tap is to purchase a distillation unit. Water distillation will remove most, if not all, of the fluoride. The price for a distillation unit varies widely depending on the size. Small counter-top units cost as little as $200, while large units can exceed $1,000.
If you don’t know if your area is fluoridated, you can find out by contacting your local water department. If you live in the US, you can also find out by going to FAN’s State Fluoride Database.
2) Don’t Let Your Child Swallow Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride toothpaste is often the largest single source of fluoride intake for young children, and is a major risk factor for disfiguring dental fluorosis. This is because children swallow a large amount of the paste that they put in their mouth. In fact, research has shown that it is not uncommon for young children to swallow more fluoride from toothpaste alone than is recommended as an entire day’s ingestion from all sources.
If you have a young child, therefore, we recommend that you use a non-fluoride toothpaste. If, however, you do use fluoride toothpaste, it’s very important that you supervise your children while they brush to make sure they use no more than a “pea-sized amount” of paste, and that they fully rinse and spit and after they finish. And, lastly, do not purchase candy-flavored toothpaste (e.g., bubble-gum and watermelon) as these toothpastes (which still contain adult-strength concentrations of fluoride) increase the risk that your children will swallow it (and actually want to swallow it).
3) Do NOT Get Fluoride Gel Treatments at the Dentist
Although dental researchers have stated on numerous occasions that fluoride gel treatment should ONLY be used for patients at highest risk of cavities, many dentists continue to apply fluoride gels irrespective of the patient’s cavity risk. The fluoride gel procedure requires the patient to clamp down on a tray for 4 minutes and uses an extremely concentrated, acidic fluoride gel (12,300 ppm).
Because of the fluoride gel’s high acidity, the saliva glands produce a large amount of saliva during the treatment, which makes it extremely difficult (both for children and adults) to avoid swallowing the gel.
Even when dentists use precautionary measures such as suction devices, children and adults still ingest significant quantities of the paste, which can cause incredibly high spikes of fluoride in the blood (for up to 15 hours). These fluoride levels place patients, particularly children, at risk for stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting, and places a person at risk for short-term kidney damage, harm to the reproductive system, and impairment to glucose metabolism. The next time your dentist asks you whether you want a fluoride gel treatment, say NO.
4) Eat More Fresh, Less Processed Food
When water is fluoridated, it is not just the water that is fluoridated, but all beverages and foods that are made with the water. As a general rule, therefore, the more processed a food is, the more fluoride it has. The good news is that the naturally occurring levels of fluoride in most fresh water (e.g., spring water) and most fresh food (e.g., fruits, vegetables, grain, eggs, milk) are very low.
Use this fact to your advantage by trying to shift as much as you can from processed foods to fresh. Also, since processed beverages (e.g., sodas, reconstituted juices, and sports drinks) contribute far more to fluoride intake than processed foods, it is most important to focus on reducing your consumption of processed beverages. For more detailed information on how you can cut down on your fluoride intake from processed foods, see “FAN’s Grocery Store Guide: 7 Ways to Avoid Fluoride in Beverages and Food.”
5) Buy Organic Grape Juice and Wine
In the US, many vineyards use a fluoride pesticide called cryolite. As a result, the levels of fluoride in US grape juice and wine (particularly white grape juice and white wine) are consistently elevated. Indeed, in 2005, the USDA reported that the average level of fluoride exceeded 2 ppm for both white wine and white grape.
The levels of fluoride in red wine are also elevated (1 ppm), and so are raisins (2.3 ppm). If you buy grape juice and wine, or if you are a heavy consumer of raisins, buy organic. In the case of wine, if you don’t want to spend the extra money on organic ones, consider purchasing a European brand, as Europe uses far less cryolite than the US.
6) Reduce Your Tea Consumption (and/or Drink Tea with Younger Leaves)
Be careful of drinking too much tea, particularly bottled and instant varieties. The tea plant accumulates high levels of fluoride, and excess intake of tea is known to cause a painful bone disease called skeletal fluorosis. Some teas though contain high levels of health-boosting antioxidants. Not only are antioxidants good for health in general, they also help to protect you from fluoride toxicity.
In the ideal scenario, one could drink tea with high levels of antioxidants but low levels of fluoride. Recent research suggests that this might be a somewhat obtainable goal. It has recently been shown that the antioxidant levels in tea are far higher in young leaves, than old leaves. This is important because young leaves also happen to have lower levels of fluoride. Indeed, it has been proposed that the fluoride content of tea is an indicator of its quality: the higher the fluoride, the lower the quality, and vice versa.
If you love tea, therefore, try to purchase varieties that are made from young leaves (e.g., “White tea”). This will allow you to maximize tea’s known benefits, while reducing its known harm. Towards this end, avoid bottled and instant teas, as they have been to contain low-quality leaves that have very low levels of antioxidants. With bottled and instant tea, therefore, you get the risk (fluoride) without the benefit (antioxidants). Another option is to drink yerba mate – a caffeinated herbal tea from South America that contains very low levels of fluoride (< 0.2 ppm).
7) Avoid Cooking with Non-Stick Pans
Some research has found that cooking with non-stick-coated pans can significantly increase the fluoride content of food. If you have non-stick pans, consider switching to ceramic or another type of safe pan.
8) Don’t Take Cipro and Be Mindful of Other Fluorinated Pharmaceuticals
Many pharmaceuticals are fluorinated, which means they contain something called a “carbon-fluorine bond.” Although the carbon-fluoride bond is strong enough to resist breaking down within the body, this is not always the case. Some fluorinated drugs have been found to metabolize into fluoride within the body and this greatly increases a person’s exposure to fluoride.
The most notable example is Cipro. Other fluorinated chemicals that are currently known to break down into fluoride include fluorinated anesthetics (Isoflurane and Sevoflurane), Niflumic acid, Flecainide, and Voriconazole. If you are taking any of these drugs, find out if there are any safer alternatives available.
9) Minimize Consumption of Mechanically-Deboned Chicken
Most meats that are pulverized into a pulp form (e.g., chicken fingers, chicken nuggets) are made using a mechanical deboning process. This mechanical deboning process increases the quantity of bone particles in the meat. Since bone is the main site of fluoride accumulation in the body, the higher levels of bone particle in mechanically deboned meat results in significantly elevated fluoride levels. Of all the meats that are mechanically deboned, chicken meat has consistently been found to have the highest levels. Thus, minimize consumption of mechanically deboned chicken.
10) Avoid Fluoridated Salt
If you live in a country that allows fluoridated salt to be sold, make sure the salt you buy is unfluoridated. Consumption of fluoridated salt can greatly increase a person’s fluoride exposure. To see a list of countries that allow fluoridated salt, click here. (From: www.fluoridealert.org)
To Protect Your Health, Avoid Fluoride
No matter which scientific studies you examine or which population trends you view, the rational conclusion is that fluoride’s health dangers far outweigh the marginal dental benefits it might offer. Dental caries can be effectively prevented with means other than fluoridation, thereby avoiding the adverse effects of fluoride. It’s important to realize that fluoride is a cumulative toxin, which over time can lead to serious health concerns, from hypothyroidism to skeletal fluorosis, and much more.
The neurological effects are particularly disconcerting. As mentioned, 45 human studies now link moderately high fluoride exposures with reduced IQ.17 We cannot afford to ignore such warnings! Water fluoridation needs to stop. The question is how. Despite all the evidence, getting fluoride out of American water supplies has been exceedingly difficult. It’s not impossible, however, as evidenced in areas that have successfully abolished water fluoridation.
According to the late Jeff Green, National Director of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, a repeated theme in the cases where communities successfully removed fluoride from their water supply is the shifting of the burden of proof.
Rather than citizens taking on the burden of proving that fluoride is harmful and shouldn’t be added, a more successful strategy has been to hold those making claims, and the elected officials who rely on them, accountable for delivering proof that the specific fluoridation chemical being used fulfills their health and safety claims, and is in compliance with all regulations, laws, and risk assessments already required for safe drinking water. To learn more, please see this previous article, which discusses these strategies more in-depth.
Help End the Practice of Fluoridation
There’s no doubt about it: fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a “chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.” Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis — unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride. Clearly, children are being overexposed, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why?
The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation worldwide. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs, and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, protect your drinking water and support the fluoride-free movement by making a tax-deductible donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.
FAN’s latest campaign is to run both billboards and posters depicting a young girl drinking a glass of water with the legend, “Do you really want her drinking a neurotoxic chemical?” The fluoridation proponents have no answer to this. You can see a copy of the billboard currently on display in the Tacoma, Washington area by going to www.FluorideACTION.net. For more information on the billboard contact Stuart Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org and on the poster contact Ellen Connett at email@example.com.