The Link Between Fluoride and Bone Cancer

For years, dentists and other professionals have told us that water fluoridation (using fluoride treatment in water) prevents tooth decay and builds stronger bones. In reality, the science reveals again and again that our bone tissue and fluoride just don’t mix. In fact, one new study shows a significant correlation between fluoridated water intake and the risk of bone cancer in young males.

In this article we'll take a closer look at what's in our water and have you rethinking how important reverse osmosis.

Links to Osteosarcoma

Dr. Elise Bassin, DDS, completed a study which analyzed data concerning water fluoridation levels and the risk of developing osteosarcoma—a rare but commonly fatal bone cancer that is 50% more prevalent in boys. This study was published online on April 5, 2006 in the official journal of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention (Cancer Causes and Control).

Bassin focused specifically on the fluoride intake of boys between the ages of 6 and 8, a typical period of rapid bone growth that would cause fluoride to accumulate more quickly than normal. Her results were quite troubling: boys who drank water fluoridated below (30% to 99%) of the recommended level (1 mg/liter) were 5.46 times more likely to develop osteosarcoma by age 20 than those consuming water without fluoride. Once the level rose above 1mg/liter, the increased risk rose to sevenfold.

The method:

Dr. Bassin reviewed childhood fluoride exposure for 103 osteosarcoma patients under the age of 20, and compared them to 215 similar people who didn't have bone cancer. She accounted for variables such as how much fluoride was in the water when and where the children lived, and their usage history of municipal, bottled, or well water.

This study was undertaken as Bassin's doctoral dissertation at Harvard. Bassin was "surprised by the results …Having a background in dentistry and dental public health, [I] was taught that fluoride at recommended levels is safe and effective for the prevention of dental [cavities]," Bassin said in her prepared statement.

Though he originally signed off on the dissertation topic, Harvard professor Chester W. Douglass, DMD, PhD, adds a commentary to Bassin's article that tries to undermine the conclusion. He warns that because she studied only a small subset of the population, it doesn't translate to increased bone cancer risk for the general populace.

How Fluoride Interacts With Bone

The initial recommendation to fluoridate water was made after observing that fluoride ions exchanged for calcium in the tooth enamel. Enamel is composed mostly of calcium hydroxyapatite. When fluoride ions exchange for calcium, the resulting compound, fluorapatite, will be mixed into your enamel.

This new compound was assumed to be stronger than natural enamel. Yet this layer of artificial enamel, once touted as superior in resistance to acid-initiated decay, has been shown to be so thin that it can’t withstand the action of everyday chewing! At just 6 nanometers thick—over 100 times thinner than a human hair—is this really the protection we need to keep our teeth from decay?

The effects of fluoride overdose are undeniable. Dental fluorosis begins with staining--usually white, yellow, or orange-- before the teeth turn brown and begin to crumble. Evidence of fluorosis indicates that the bone structure is already oversaturated with fluoride.

Since fluoride is known to accumulate in bones, the same ion exchange can and does occur there. Studies show that high bone fluoride accumulation is associated with a higher risk of bone fractures in the elderly, especially women. Fluoride does not unilaterally strengthen bone or enamel; it interferes with enzymatic processes, the full scope of which interference can’t be known. Fluoride toxicity ranks right between lead and arsenic, and one of the world's most prestigious journals classifies it as a neurotoxin. Unlike lead, it doesn’t easily come back out of the bone once stored there.

How Do We Get Rid of Harmful Flouride?

Getting rid of flouride in your water is surprisingly simple. Most 5-6 stage Reverse Osmosis systems offer filters like a reverse osmosis membrane that actually removes the majority of harmful fluoride from you water. Simply install one under your sink and you’ll be able to taste and feel the difference in your water.

Why take the risk of harming your household with fluoride? Protect your family from exposure to fluoride by using purified water to drink, cook with, and make tea and coffee. Reverse osmosis offers the best removal rate for fluoride, so look into getting a water purification system so that you can enjoy fresh, clean water and the health benefits that come with it!