Scientists in England have found that fluoride could be causing depression and weight gain and have urged councils to stop adding it to the drinking water. The new findings directly contradict a report released by Public Health England last year that called fluoride a “safe and effective” way of improving dental health.
According to a study of 98 percent of GP practices in England, high rates of underactive thyroid were 30 percent more likely in areas of the greatest fluoridation.
The Telegraph reports that up to 15,000 people are needlessly experiencing thyroid problems, which include depression, weight gain, pain, and fatigue.
Approximately 10 percent of the population in England live in areas with a naturally or artificially fluoridated water supply, according to the Telegraph. Researchers from the University of Kent suggest that the number of cases of underactive thyroid was higher in areas such as the West Midlands and the North East of England. Professor Stephen Peckham of the Centre for Health Service Studies, lead author of the study, asserts that the findings should be particularly disconcerting for those who reside in those regions.
“The difference between the West Midlands, which fluoridates, and Manchester, which doesn’t was particularly striking,” Peckham noted. “There were nearly double the number of cases in Manchester.”
Advocates of fluoridation contend it helps to fight tooth decay by making enamel more resistant to bacteria; however, studies have shown that the adverse effects of fluoridation far outweigh any purported good it does.
The University of Kent study found that fluoride inhibits the production of iodine, which is necessary for the health of the thyroid gland, resulting in an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism.
“Underactive thyroid is a particularly nasty thing to have and it can lead to other long term health problems," stated Professor Peckham. He added, "I do think councils need to think again about putting fluoride in the water. There are far safer ways to improve dental health.”
What’s worse is that the levels of fluoride analyzed in that study were less than four milligrams per liter, less than the amounts permitted to be used in water fluoridation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Our very great concern is that children worldwide are being exposed to unrecognized toxic chemicals that are silently eroding intelligence, disrupting behaviors, truncating future achievements and damaging societies, perhaps most seriously in developing countries,” added the authors, who also warned of additional problems associated with exposure to these kinds of substances, including autism.
As a result of those findings, a 2014 report in the medical journal The Lancet labelled fluoride a dangerous developmental neurotoxicant, placing it alongside other toxins such as lead, mercury, and arsenic.
Critics have seized upon the various findings against fluoride to call for a complete end to water fluoridation.
“In light of the new classification of fluoride as a dangerous neurotoxin, adding more fluoride to Americans’ already excessive intake no longer has any conceivable justification,” declared Fluoride Action Network Executive Director and retired chemistry professor Dr. Paul Connett in a statement. “We should follow the evidence and try to reduce fluoride intake, not increase it.”