Something’s in the Water…Fluoride levels in our water are too high for infants.

Over 4 years ago American Dental Association came out some shocking warnings about fluoridated water.  If your child is younger that one year old you “should consider using water that has not or low levels of fluoride when mixing baby formula.” How many knew about this caution then?  Very few. How many know about it now?   Pediatricians and even the local WIC programs in Wisconsin anyway, are still continuing to green-light fluoridated tap water for formula use.  I know this because they told me it was safe for my son last year.

Thankfully, other more influential organizations are conceding that water fluoridation may not be in our best interest because of a new study put out by the Journal of the American Dental Association: 

All infant formulas, whether ready to feed, concentrated or organic, contain fluoride at levels which can discolor developing teeth. – JADA, 2009

The findings from this study show that the level of fluoride in infant formula combined with fluoridated water are enough to put infants at risk.

A condition called dental fluorosis, a discoloration and damage to the tooth enamel, is the most common result of ingesting too much fluoride.  This is what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention focused on in their report about fluoride in the water.  “Recent evidence suggests that mixing powdered or liquid infant formula concentrate with fluoridated water on a regular basis may increase the chance of a child developing enamel fluorosis.” Over 60% of babies are consuming levels of fluoride that exceed the range considered safe in FL.  Similar findings have been published in major cities across the country. According to the CDC, 48% of children who attend school have mild fluorosis with 4% being severe. They were also quick to note that they are still in favor of water fluoridation and that the fluorosis is more of a mild “cosmetic issue.”   I urge you at this point to look up dental fluorosis on Google images.  Dental fluorosis is not mild to the children and adults who have brown stains all over their teeth.   What pops into my head when I see pictures like this is, “These children’s teeth do NOT look protected to me!” 

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola there are many more dangers to swallowing fluoride than dental fluorosis; those being dementia, bone fractures, hypothyroidism and osteosarcoma (bone cancer).  It is also linked to immune system disruptions, infertility and increased lead absorption (also in our water supply in trace amounts). 

At levels of .9 to 1.2 mg/liter, mild dental fluorosis has been reported.  When I checked out my water’s fluoride level through CDS’s website, this is what I found.


Optimal Fluoride Concentration 1MG/L (Hmmm… that seems to be above .9 mg/L)

Date Fluoridation Started JANUARY 1st, 1950

The fact that our water is supplemented with fluoride to levels that were acceptable in 1950 is unsettling.  The reasons to fluoridate our water are strictly based on tooth decay prevention.  Sure.  We all want to have nice teeth.  That is why we are supposed to brush!  Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is sufficient enough for cavity prevention.  There was a study done in Turkey in areas with high and low levels of fluoride in 2003.  They found that increased fluoride levels were associated with increased incidents of and severity of dental fluorosis.  They also found that highly fluoridated areas had no effect on cavities of children with poor oral hygiene.  Cavities are formed by enamel erosion from acidic sugar bacteria.  Ingesting fluoride alone does nothing to stop this process.  Brushing with topical fluoride toothpaste does because it cleans the acidic bacteria off and applies fluoride directly to the tooth surface.  Fluoride works from the outside in making the reasons to swallow it even less credible.  Unless I’m crazy, it seems counterproductive at best to fluoridate our water supply for tooth protection when fluoride itself can harm teeth and bones if exposure is not carefully regulated.  That is part of the issue here.  Fluoride is in our toothpaste, mouthwash, water, food and formula.  When just two of these components are added together, water and formula, the level reached is too high. 

Though the ADA and CDC recommend that we not give our babies formula mixed with fluoridated water, there have been no news conferences.  I had to search for the sources I used for this article when in reality; I should have heard this information from my son’s doctor.  Instead she told me that tap water was safe to mix into his formula.   Something even more interesting is that infant water sold specifically for making formula with is also fluoridated.  Now that these findings are being acknowledged by the CDC, I’m hoping to see this change very soon. 

We have a hard time changing legislation and policy in our country once we’ve already decided something is a good idea… even if it was 60 years ago.  So don’t rely on your water’s fluoride levels to decrease any time soon without some coaxing.

Fight back against fluoride in your drinking water.

Fluoride in our water is even more of a reason to breastfeed as there is 250 times less in breast milk.  If you are a mom like me who was unable to breastfeed, please make sure the water you use to mix your formula is fluoride free.  The only way to be 100% positive is to install a reverse osmosis water filter.  Filtered water pitchers may remove some fluoride, but not all.  It depends which one you purchase.  You can also find recipes for homemade formula at the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website.  This formula is exponentially better for your baby than premade commercial brands claim to be.   

Make your own formula using filtered water or raw milk with these recipes.

Filter fluoride and other harmful toxins from your water.

Friends of Water is a great resource to purchase reverse osmosis filters from.  On this site, they do have a filtering pitcher that is supposed to reduce fluoride by 75%.  This is their claim not mine, but I think it’s an option to consider if you can’t afford a filtration system fluoride-free bottled water.

Speak up for your family’s health.



About Amanda Hammond

Amanda Hammond, IMI blog contributor,  is the founder of Ready Or Not Baby Planning Services in Wisconsin.

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