How Traditional Chinese Martials Arts and Chinese Medicine are linked. An interview with Shifu Zak Zivanovic, Head Instructor at the Traditional Chinese Martials Arts Institute (UK) and Physician of Chinese Medicine.
Journal of the International Society of Fluoride Research Volume 31, Number 2, Pages 103-128 DISCUSSION SECTION
To explain how I came to change my opinion about water fluoridation, I must go back to when I was an ardent advocate of the procedure. I now realize that I had learned, in my training in dentistry, only one side of the scientific controversy over fluoridation. I had been taught, and believed, that there was really no scientific case against fluoridation, and that only misinformed lay people and a few crackpot professionals were foolish enough to oppose it. I recall how, after I had been elected to a local government in Auckland (New Zealand’s largest city, where I practised dentistry for many years and where I eventually became the Principal Dental Officer) I had fiercely – and, I now regret, rather arrogantly – poured scorn on another Council member (a lay person who had heard and accepted the case against fluoridation) and persuaded the Mayor and majority of my fellow councillors to agree to fluoridation of our water supply. A few years later, when I had become the city’s Principal Dental Officer, I published a paper in the New Zealand Dental Journal that reported how children’s tooth decay had declined in the city following fluoridation of its water, to which I attributed the decline, pointing out that the greatest benefit appeared to be in low-income areas . My duties as a public servant included supervision of the city’s school dental clinics, which were part of a national School Dental Service which provided regular six-monthly dental treatment, with strictly enforced uniform diagnostic standards, to almost all (98 percent) school children up to the age of 12 or 13 years. I thus had access to treatment records, and therefore tooth decay rates, of virtually all the city’s children. In the study I claimed that such treatment statistics “provide a valid measure of the dental health of our child population” .
That claim was accepted by my professional colleagues, and the study is cited in the official history of the New Zealand Dental Association . I was so articulate and successful in my support of water fluoridation that my public service superiors in our capital city, Wellington, approached me and asked me to make fluoridation the subject of a world study tour in 1980 – after which I would become their expert on fluoridation and lead a campaign to promote fluoridation in those parts of New Zealand which had resisted having fluoride put into their drinking water. Before I left on the tour my superiors confided to me that they were worried about some new evidence which had become available: information they had collected on the amount of treatment children were receiving in our school dental clinics seemed to show that tooth decay was declining just as much in places in New Zealand where fluoride had not been added to the water supply. But they felt sure that, when they had collected more detailed information, on all children (especially the oldest treated, 12-13 year age group) from all fluoridated and all nonfluoridated places  – in formation which they would start to collect while was I away on my tour – it would reveal that the teeth were better in the fluoridated places: not the 50 to 60 percent difference which we had always claimed resulted from fluoridation, but a significant difference nonetheless. They thought that the decline in tooth decay in the nonfluoridated places must have resulted from the use of fluoride toothpastes and fluoride supplements, and from fluoride applications to the children’s teeth in dental clinics, which we had started at the same time as fluoridation. Being a keen fluoridationist, I readily accepted their explanation. Previously, of course, we had assured the public that the only really effective way to reduce tooth decay was to add fluoride to the water supply.
WORLD STUDY TOUR
My world study tour took me to North America, Britain, Europe, Asia, and Australia . In the United States I discussed fluoridation with Ernest Newbrun in San Francisco, Brian Burt in Ann Arbor, dental scientists and officials like John Small in Bethesda near Washington, DC, and others at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. I then proceeded to Britain, where I met Michael Lennon, John Beale, Andrew Rugg-Gunn, and Neil Jenkins, as well as many other scientists and public health officials in Britain and Europe. Although I visited only pro-fluoridation research centers and scientists, I came across the same situation which concerned my superiors in New Zealand. Tooth decay was declining without water fluoridation. Again I was assured, however, that more extensive and thorough surveys would show that fluoridation was the most effective and efficient way to reduce tooth decay. Such large-scale surveys, on very large numbers of children, were nearing completion in the United States, and the authorities conducting them promised to send me the results.
LESSON FROM HISTORY
I now realize that what my colleagues and I were doing was what the history of science shows all professionals do when their pet theory is confronted by disconcerting new evidence: they bend over backwards to explain away the new evidence. They try very hard to keep their theory intact – especially so if their own professional reputations depend on maintaining that theory. (Some time after I graduated in dentistry almost half a century ago, I also graduated in history studies, my special interest being the history of science – which may partly explain my re-examination of the fluoridation theory ahead of many of my fellow dentists.) So I returned from my study tour reinforced in my pro-fluoridation beliefs by these reassurances from fluoridationists around the world. I expounded these beliefs to my superiors, and was duly appointed chairman of a national “Fluoridation Promotion From – www.fluorideresearch.org/312/files/FJ1998_v31_n2_p059-128.pdf Committee.” I was instructed to inform the public, and my fellow professionals, that water fluoridation resulted in better children’s teeth, when compared with places with no fluoridation. Surprise: Teeth Better Without Fluoridation? Before complying, I looked at the new dental statistics that had been collected while I was away for my own Health District, Auckland. These were for all children attending school dental clinics – virtually the entire child population of Auckland. To my surprise, they showed that fewer fillings had been required in the nonfluoridated part of my district than in the fluoridated part. When I obtained the same statistics from the districts to the north and south of mine – that is, from “Greater Auckland,” which contains a quarter of New Zealand’s population – the picture was the same: tooth decay had declined, but there was virtually no difference in tooth decay rates between the fluoridated and non fluoridated places. In fact, teeth were slightly better in the nonfluoridated areas. I wondered why I had not been sent the statistics for the rest of New Zealand. When I requested them, they were sent to me with a warning that they were not to be made public. Those for 1981 showed that in most Health Districts the percentage of 12- and 13-year-old children who were free of tooth decay – that is, had perfect teeth – was greater in the non-fluoridated part of the district. Eventually the information was published .
Over the next few years these treatment statistics, collected for all children, showed that, when similar fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas were compared, child dental health continued to be slightly better in the non-fluoridated areas [5, 6]. My professional colleagues, still strongly defensive of fluoridation, now claimed that treatment statistics did not provide a valid measure of child dental health, thus reversing their previous acceptance of such a measure when it had appeared to support fluoridation. I did not carry out the instruction to tell people that teeth were better in the fluoridated areas. Instead, I wrote to my American colleagues and asked them for the results of the large-scale surveys they had carried out there. I did not receive an answer. Some years later, Dr John Yiamouyiannis obtained the results by then collected by resorting to the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, which compelled the authorities to release them. The surveys showed that there is little or no differences in tooth decay rates between fluoridated and nonfluoridated places throughout America . Another publication using the same database, apparently intended to counter that finding, reported that when a more precise measurement of decay was used, a small benefit from fluoridation was shown (20 percent fewer decayed tooth surfaces, which is really less than one cavity per child) . Serious errors in that report, acknowledged but not corrected, have been pointed out, including a lack of statistical analysis and a failure to report the percentages of decay-free children in the fluoridated and nonfluoridated areas . Other large-scale surveys from United States, from Missouri and Arizona, have since revealed the same picture: no real benefit to teeth from fluoride in drinking water [9, 10]. For example, Professor Steelink in Tucson, AZ, obtained information on the dental status of all schoolchildren -26,000 of them – as well as information on the fluoride content of Tucson water . He found: “When we plotted the incidence of tooth decay versus fluoride content in a child’s neighborhood drinking water, a positive correlation was revealed. In other words, the more fluoride a child drank, the more cavities appeared in the teeth” . From other lands – Australia, Britain, Canada, Sri Lanka, Greece, Malta, Spain, Hungary, and India -a similar situation has been revealed: either little or no relation between water fluoride and tooth decay, or a positive one (more fluoride, more decay) [12-17]. Over 30 years Professor Teotia and his team in India have examined the teeth of some 400,000 children. They found that tooth decay increases as fluoride intake increases. Tooth decay, they decided, results from a deficiency of calcium and an excess of fluoride .
FIGURE 1 – 50-year decline in tooth decay of 5-year-olds. SOURCE – Compiled from Health Department records of 5-year-olds’ tooth decay 1930-1990, fluoridation, and fluoride toothpaste sales.
CAUSE OF DECLINE IN TOOTH DECAY
At first I thought, with my colleagues, that other uses of fluoride must have been the main cause of the decline in tooth decay throughout the western world. But what came to worry me about that argument was the fact that, in the nonfluoridated part of my city, where decay had also declined dramatically, very few children used fluoride toothpaste, many had not received fluoride applications to their teeth, and hardly any had been given fluoride tablets. So I obtained the national figures on tooth decay rates of five-year-olds from our dental clinics which had served large numbers of these children from the 1930s on . They show that tooth decay had started to decline well before we had started to use fluorides (Fig. 1). Also, the decline has continued after all children had received fluoride all their lives, so the continuing decline could not be because of fluoride. The fewer figures available for older children are consistent with the above pattern of decline . So fluorides, while possibly contributing, could not be the main cause of the reduction in tooth decay. So what did cause this decline, which we find in most industrialized countries? I do not know the answer for sure, but we do know that after the Second World War there was a rise in the standard of living of many people. In my country there has been a tremendous increase in the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables since the 1930s, assisted by the introduction of household refrigerators . There has also been an eightfold increase in the consumption per head of cheese, which we now know has anti-decay properties [19, 20].
These nutritional changes, accompanied by a continuing decline in tooth decay, started before the introduction of fluorides. The influence of general nutrition in protection against tooth decay has been well described in the past , but is largely ignored by the fluoride enthusiasts, who insist that fluorides have been the main contributor to improved dental health. The increase in tooth decay in third-world countries, much of which has been attributed to worsening nutrition , lends support to the argument that improved nutrition in developed countries contributed to improved dental health. Flawed Studies The studies showing little if any benefit from fluoridation have been published since 1980. Are there contrary findings? Yes: many more studies, published in dental professional journals, claim that there is a benefit to teeth from water fluoride. An example is a recent study from New Zealand , carried out in the southernmost area of the country . Throughout New Zealand there is a range of tooth decay rates, from very high to very low, occurring in both fluoridated and nonfluoridated areas.
The same situation exists in other countries. What the pro-fluoride academics at our dental school did was to select from that southern area four communities: one nonfluoridated, two fluoridated, and another which had stopped fluoridation a few years earlier. Although information on decay rates in all these areas was available to them, from the school dental service, they chose for their study the one nonfluoridated community with the highest decay rate and two fluoridated ones with low decay rates, and compared these with the recently stopped fluoridated one, which happened to have medium decay rates (both before and after it had stopped fluoridation). The teeth of randomly selected samples of children from each community were examined. The chosen communities, of course, had not been randomly selected. The results, first published With much publicity in the news media, showed over 50 percent less tooth decay in the fluoridated communities, with the recently defluoridated town in a “middle” position (see left side of Fig. 2). When I obtained the decay rates for all children in all the fluoridated and all the nonfluoridated areas in that part of New Zealand, as well as the decay rates for all children in the recently defluoridated town, they revealed that there are virtually no differences in tooth decay rates related to fluoridation (see right side of Fig. 2).
FIGURE 2. – Left: results of South Island dental survey of samples of 5-year-olds from selected areas. See . Right: Results for all 5-year-olds in all nonfluoridated, fluoridated, and defluoridated areas. (School Dental Service records).
When I confronted the authors with this information, they retorted that the results of their study were consistent with other studies. And of course it is true that many similar studies have been published in the dental professional literature. It is easy to see how the consistent results are obtained: an appropriate selection of the communities being compared. There is another factor: most pro-fluoridation studies (including this New Zealand one) were not “blind” – that is, the examiners knew which children received fluoride and which did not. Diagnosis of tooth decay is a very subjective exercise, and most of the examiners were keen fluoridationists, so it is easy to see how their bias could affect their results. It is just not possible to find a blind fluoridation study in which the fluoridated and nonfluoridated populations were similar and chosen randomly.
EARLY FLAWED STUDIES
One of the early fluoridation studies listed in the textbooks is a New Zealand one, the “Hastings Fluoridation Experiment” (the term “experiment” was later dropped because the locals objected to being experimented on) . I obtained the Health Department’s fluoridation files under my own country’s “Official Information” legislation. They revealed how a fluoridation trial can, in effect, be rigged . The school dentists in the area of the experiment were instructed to change their method of diagnosing tooth decay, so that they recorded much less decay after fluoridation began. Before the experiment they had filled (and classified as “decayed”) teeth with any small catch on the surface, before it had penetrated the outer enamel layer. After the experiment began, they filled (and classified as “decayed”) only teeth with cavities which penetrated the outer enamel layer. It is easy to see why a sudden drop in the numbers of “decayed and filled” teeth occurred. This change in method of diagnosis was not reported in any of the published accounts of the experiment. Another city, Napier, which was not fluoridated but had otherwise identical drinking water, was at first included in the experiment as an “ideal control” – to show how tooth decay did not decline the same as in fluoridated Hastings. But when tooth decay actually declined more in the nonfluoridated control city than in the fluoridated one, in spite of the instructions to find fewer cavities in the fluoridated one, the control was dropped and the experiment proceeded with no control. (The claimed excuse was that a previously unknown trace element, molybdenum, had been discovered in some of the soil of the control city, making tooth decay levels there unusually low , but this excuse is not supported by available information, from the files or elsewhere, on decay levels throughout New Zealand). The initial sudden decline in tooth decay in the fluoridated city, plus the continuing decline which we now know was occurring everywhere else in New Zealand, were claimed to prove the success of fluoridation.
These revelations from government files were published in the international environmental journal, The Ecologist, and presented in 1987 at the 56th Congress of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science . When I re-examined the classic fluoridation studies, which had been presented to me in the text books during my training, I found, as others had before me, that they also contained serious flaws [28-30]. The earliest set, which purported to show an inverse relationship between tooth decay prevalence and naturally occurring water fluoride concentrations, are flawed mainly by their nonrandom methods of selecting data. The later set, the “f1uoridation trials” at Newburgh, Grand Rapids, Evanston, and Brantford, displays inadequate baselines, negligible statistical analysis, and especially a failure to recognize large variations in tooth decay prevalence in the control communities. We really cannot know whether or not some of the tooth decay reductions reported in those early studies were due to water fluoride. I do not believe that the selection and bias that apparently occurred was necessarily deliberate. Enthusiasts for a theory can fool themselves very often, and persuade themselves and others that their activities are genuinely scientific. I am also aware that, after 50 years of widespread acceptance and endorsement of fluoridation, many scholars (including the reviewers of this essay) may find it difficult to accept the claim that the original fluoridation studies were invalid. That is why some of us, who have reached that conclusion, have submitted an invitation to examine and discuss new and old evidence “in the hope that at least some kind of scholarly debate will ensue” . However, whether or not the early studies were valid, new evidence strongly indicates that water fluoridation today is of little if any value. Moreover, it is now widely conceded that the main action of fluoride on teeth is a topical one (at the surface of the teeth), not a systemic one as previously thought, so that there is negligible benefit from swallowing fluoride .
Harm from Fluoridation
The other kind of evidence which changed my mind was that of harm from fluoridation. We had always assured the public that there was absolutely no possibility of any harm. We admitted that a small percentage of children would have a slight mottling of their teeth, caused by the fluoride, but this disturbance in the formation of tooth enamel would, we asserted, be very mild and was nothing to worry about. It was, we asserted, not really a sign of toxicity (which was how the early literature on clinical effects of fluoride had described it) but was only at most a slight, purely cosmetic change, and no threat to health. In fact, we claimed that only an expert could ever detect it.
HARM TO TEETH
So it came as a shock to me when I discovered that in my own fluoridated city some children had teeth like those in Fig. 3. This kind of mottling answered the description of dental fluorosis (bilateral diffuse opacities along the growth lines of the enamel). Some of the children with these teeth had used fluoride toothpaste and swallowed much of it. But I could not find children with this kind of fluorosis in the nonfluoridated parts of my Health District, except in children who had been given fluoride tablets at that time. I published my findings: 25 percent of children had dental fluorosis in fluoridated Auckland and around 3 percent had the severer (discolored or pitted) degree of the condition . At first the authorities vigorously denied that fluoride was causing this unsightly mottling. However, the following year another Auckland study, intended to discount my finding, reported almost identical prevalences and severity, and recommended lowering the water fluoride level to below 1 ppm . Others in New Zealand and the United States have reported similar findings. All these studies were reviewed in the journal of the International Society for Fluoride Research . The same unhappy result of systemic administration of fluoride has been reported in children who received fluoride supplements . As a result, in New Zealand as elsewhere, the doses of fluoride tablets were drastically reduced, and parents were warned to reduce the amount of fluoride toothpaste used by their children, and to caution them not swallow any. Fluoridationists would not at first admit that fluoridated water contributed to the unsightly mottling – though later, in some countries including New Zealand, they also recommended lowering the level of fluoride in the water. They still insist that the benefit to teeth outweighs any harm.
Figure 3. – Examples of dental fluorosis in 8- and 9-year old children who grew up in fluoridated Auckland, New Zealand.
Common sense should tell us that if a poison circulating in a child’s body can damage the tooth-forming cells, then other harm also is likely. We had always admitted that fluoride in excess can damage bones, as well as teeth. By 1983 I was thoroughly convinced that fluoridation caused more harm than good. I expressed the opinion that some of these children with dental fluorosis could, just possibly, have also suffered harm to their bones [Letter to Auckland Regional Authority, January 1984]. This opinion brought scorn and derision: there was absolutely no evidence, my dental colleagues asserted, of any other harm from low levels of fluoride intake, other than mottling of the teeth. Six years later, the first study reporting an association between fluoridated water and hip fractures in the elderly was published . It was a large-scale one. Computerization has made possible the accumulation of vast data banks of information on various diseases. Hip fracture rates have increased dramatically, independently of the increasing age of populations. Seven other studies have now reported this association between low water fluoride levels and hip fractures [38-44]. Have there been contrary findings? Yes; but most of the studies claiming no association are of small numbers of cases, over short periods of time, which one would not expect to show any association [45, 46]. Another, comparing a fluoridated and a nonfluoridated Canadian community, also found an association in males but not in females, which hardly proves there is no difference in all cases . Our fluoridationists claim that the studies which do show such an association are only epidemiological ones, not clinical ones, and so are not conclusive evidence. But in addition to these epidemiological studies, clinical trials have demonstrated that when fluoride was used in an attempt to treat osteoporosis (in the belief it strengthened bones), it actually caused more hip fractures [48-52]. That is, when fluoride accumulates in bones, it weakens them. We have always known that only around half of any fluoride we swallow is excreted in our urine; the rest accumulates in our bones [53, 54]. But we believed that the accumulation would be insignificant at the low fluoride levels of fluoridated water. However, researchers in Finland during the 1980s reported that people who lived 10 years or more in that country’s one fluoridated city, Kuopio, had accumulated extremely high levels of fluoride in their bones – thousands of parts per million – especially osteoporosis sufferers and people with impaired kidney function [55, 56]. After this research was published, Finland stopped fluoridation altogether. But that information has been ignored by our fluoridationists.
An association with hip fracture is not the only evidence of harm to bones from fluoridation. Five years ago, animal experiments were reported of a fluoride-related incident of a rare bone cancer, osteosarcoma, in young male rats . Why only the male animals got the bone cancer is not certain, but another study has reported that fluoride at very low levels can interfere with the male hormone, testosterone . That hormone is involved in bone growth in males but not in females. This finding was dismissed by fluoridation promoters as only “equivocal evidence,” unlikely to be important for humans. But it has now been found that the same rare bone cancer has increased dramatically in young human males – teenage boys aged 9 to 19 – in fluoridated areas of America but not in the nonfluoridated areas . The New Jersey Department of Health reported osteosarcoma rates were three to seven times higher in its fluoridated areas than in its nonfluoridated areas . Once again, our fluoridationists are claiming that this evidence does not “conclusively” demonstrate that fluoride caused the cancers, and they cite small-scale studies indicating no association. One study claimed that fluoride might even be protective against osteosarcoma ; yet it included only 42 males in its 130 cases, which meant the cases were not typical of the disease, because osteosarcoma is routinely found to be more common in males. Also, the case-control method used was quite inappropriate, being based on an assumption that if ingested fluoride was the cause, osteosarcoma victims would require higher fluoride exposure than those without the disease. The possibility that such victims might be more susceptible to equal fluoride exposures was ignored. All these counter-claims have been subjected to critical scrutiny which suggests they are flawed [62, 63]. Nonetheless, the pro- fluoride lobbyists continue to insist that water fluoridation should continue because, in their view, the benefits to teeth outweigh the possibility of harm. Many dispute that assessment.
OTHER EVIDENCE OF HARM
There is much more evidence that tooth mottling is not the only harm caused by fluoridated water. Polish researchers, using a new computerized method of X-ray diagnosis, reported that boys with dental fluorosis also exhibit bone structure disturbances . Even more chilling is the evidence from China that children with dental fluorosis have on average lower intelligence scores [65, 66]. This finding is supported by a recently published animal experiment in America, which showed that fluoride also accumulated in certain areas of the brain, affecting behavior and the ability to learn . Endorsements Not Universal Concerning the oft-repeated observation that fluoridation has enjoyed overwhelming scientific endorsement, one should remember that even strongly supported theories have eventually been revised or replaced. From the outset, distinguished and reputable scientists opposed fluoridation, in spite of considerable intimidation and pressure [68, 69]. Most of the world has rejected fluoridation. Only America where it originated, and countries under strong American influence persist in the practice. Denmark banned fluoridation when its National Agency for Environmental Protection, after consulting the widest possible range of scientific sources, pointed out that the long-term effects of low fluoride intakes on certain groups in the population (for example, persons with reduced kidney function), were insufficiently known . Sweden also rejected fluoridation on the recommendation of a special Fluoride Commission, which included among its reasons that: ‘The combined and long-term environmental effects of fluoride are insufficiently known” . Holland banned fluoridation after a group of medical practitioners presented evidence that it caused reversible neuro-muscular and gastrointestinal harm to some individuals in the population . Environmental scientists, as well as many others, tend to doubt fluoridation. In the United States, scientists employed by the Environmental Protection Agency have publicly disavowed support for their employer’s pro-fluoridation policies . The orthodox medical establishment, rather weak or even ignorant on environmental issues, persist in their support, as do most dentists, who tend to be almost fanatical about the subject. In English-speaking countries, unfortunately, the medical profession and its allied pharmaceutical lobby (the people who sell fluoride) seem to have more political influence than environmentalists.
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51 413-420 1980. 56 Arnala I, Alhava EM, Kauranen EM. Effects of fluoride on bone in Finland. Histomorphometry of cadaver bone from low and high fluoride areas. Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica
56 161-166 1985.
57 Maurer JK, Cheng MC, Boysen BG, Anderson RL. Two-year carcinogenicity study of sodium fluoride in rats. Journal, National Cancer Institute 82 1118-1126 1990. 58 Kanwar KC, Parminderjit SV, Kalla NR. In vitro inhibition of testosterone synthesis in the presence of fluoride ions. IRCS Medical Science II 813-814 1983.
59 Hoover RN, Devesa S, Cantor K, Fraumeni Jr JF. Time trends for bone and joint cancers and osteosarcomas in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program, National Cancer Institute. In: Review of Fluoride: Benefits and Risks, Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Fluoride of The Committee to Coordinate Environmental Health and Related Programs. US Public Health Service, 1991. FI-F7.
60 Cohn PD. A brief report on the association of drinking water fluoridation and the incidence of osteosarcoma among young males. New Jersey Department of Health, November 8 1992.
61 Gelberg KH, Fitzgerald EF, Hwang S, Dubrow R. Fluoride exposure and childhood osteosarcoma: a case-control study. American Journal of Public Health 85 1678-1683 1995.
62 Lee JR. Review of report by K H Gelberg et al. Fluoride 29 237-240 1996.
63 Yiamouyiannis JA. Fluoridation and cancer. Fluoride 26 83-96 1993.
64 Chlebna-Sokol D, Czerwinski E. Bone structure assessment on radiographs of distal radial metaphysis in children with dental fluorosis. Fluoride 26 37-44 1993. 65 Li XS, Zhi JL, Gao RO. Effect of fluoride exposure on intelligence in children. Fluoride 28 189-192 1995.
66 Zhao LB, Liang GH, Zhang DN, Wu XR. Effect of a high fluoride water supply on children’s intelligence. Fluoride 29 190-192 1996.
67 Mullenix PJ, Denbesten PK, Schunior A, Kernan WJ. Neurotox.icity of sodium fluoride in rats. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 17 169-177 1995 (Cf. Editorial: Neurotoxicity of Fluoride. Fluoride 29 57-58 1996).
68 Martin B. Scientific Know1edge in Controversy: The Social Dynamics of The Fluoridation Debate. State University of New York Press, Albany NY 1991.
69 Waldbott GL, Burgstahler AW, McKinney HL. Fluoridation: The Great Dilemma. Coronado Press, Lawrence KS 1978. Chapter 18. 70 Nyt fra miljøstyrelsen (Newsletter of National Agency of Environmental Protection, Denmark). Special issue (in English), February, 1977.
71 Fluor i karies- förebyggande syfte (Report of Swedish Fluoride Commission). Statens Offentliga Utredningar, Stockholm 1981. English-language summary pp 21-30.
72 Grimbergen GW. A double blind test for determination of intolerance to fluoridated water (preliminary report). Fluoride 7 146-152 1974.
73 Hirzy W. Press releases. Fluoride 26 279-281 1993; Fluoride 30 258-259 1997. Reprinted, with permission, from Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 41 29-44 1997 by the International Society for Fluoride Research. Editorial Office: 81A Landscape Road, Mount Eden, Auckland 1004, New Zealand
First published by NPWA circa 1960
Do growers have anything to fear from water fluoridation? While the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food insist that there is nothing to worry about, their reassurance seems to be based on the minimum of research using only a handful of plant varieties.
The chief danger is likely to lie in the use of hydroponic cultures but, so far as can be ascertained, no research at all has been done with this or with plants grown in a sand and peat mixture which might also be susceptible.
Recent research by J. A. Tolley has shown that crops of cress (rape) became poorer and more stunted as the fluoride level in which they were grown increased. This crop was selected because it grows quickly, is easy to handle and a good yield can be obtained within a small area. Using samples of Liverpool tap water, which contains fluoride at 0.1 ppm for comparison, he made up solutions containing 1.0 and 4.0 ppm (milligrams per litre), growing samples in each simultaneously under standard conditions of light and air.
Sparse and stunted
While the crop grown in ordinary tap water was healthy and prolific, growth in the other two samples was comparatively sparse and stunted, particularly the cress grown in the water containing the highest level. There were also signs of necrotic fluorosis on the roots of both these crops. This would indicate a considerable reduction in yield where fluoridated water is used for irrigation purposes, though obviously the effects on other crops are likely to vary.
Analyses were made to discover the actual amount of fluoride which had entered the fibres of the plant. These showed a considerable increase. The cress grown in the tap water with 0.1 ppm contained 0.05 mg per kg while the corresponding figures for the 1.0 and 4.0 concentrations were 0.2 and 0.4 mg per kg respectively.
This experiment demonstrates clearly that plants are able to concentrate fluoride and possibly other poisons from the water supply and it seems possible that slower growing crops might assimilate even more.
Where a cumulative poison such as fluoride is concerned which has neither taste nor smell and with no known antidote, and which is considered so dangerous that its addition is banned by law from all foods except baking powder, the possible long-term effects on people eating such crops must cause concern, particularly in view of the fact that fluoride from water is only one of several sources of this chemical to be taken up by food crops.
The Dutch Growers’ Association was largely instrumental in getting fluoridation stopped in the Netherlands and experiments there and in the United States have shown that the keeping qualities of cut flowers are affected by the fluoride content of the water in which they stand. The leaf tops and flower sheaths of gladioli browned after only four days while the heads of roses tended to droop rather than open. Other flowers which have also proved sensitive to fluoridated water include freesias, gerberas, poinsettia bracts and dracaena cuttings.1-12
Growing onion bulbs
An experiment with growing onion bulbs, placing them in fluoridated water, was carried out by Professor A. H. Mohamed of Missouri University.13 He found chromosomal aberrations after only six hours. Admittedly he used a strong concentration. It was a solution 180 times more concentrated than artificially fluoridated tap water. But the chemicals used in water fluoridation are of necessity highly soluble and little is known of the long term effects of water on the soil. That it might eventually affect the seed bearing quality of plants should not be overlooked. Because this does not happen in naturally fluoridated areas cannot necessarily count as reassurance, for natural fluoride nearly always occurs as the highly insoluble calcium fluoride.
Industrial pollution from fluoride occurs in many areas and cattle have been frequent sufferers through the years. Only last November several farmers near the aluminium smelting plant at Invergordon lost herds through fluorosis because of polluted grazing. It is not unknown for Borough Environmental Health Officers to advise that fruit and vegetables cultivated in certain areas should be well washed before consumption. Residents in parts of Tamworth, for instance, have for some years been advised that all locally grown produce should be washed before being eaten because of high fluoride levels in fall-out from several brick and ceramic works and an aluminium recovery plant in the area. But this is considered a local issue and there is no information available as to how many other areas in the country are affected.
Not only do we have all this pollution but fluorine is also taken up from superphosphate fertilizers. An application of 1,000 Ib of superphosphate to one acre has been estimated to add approximately 17.5lb of fluorine, which would increase the soil content down to plough depth to 7.5 ppm while a similar quantity of rock phosphate would roughly double the amount.14
In 1970 Soviet soil scientists reported that the regular application of superphosphates over a long period increased the fluorine content and decreased the productivity of certain crops, particularly maize.15 Similar fluorine accumulations in soils had already been noted in the United States.16
Amounts of fluorine in 28 plant products grown in Virginia on soils fertilized with superphosphate over a period of 15 years showed spinach containing 28.3 ppm and lettuce and parsley 11.3 ppm.16 A study at Aichi in Japan showed a jump in the fluorine levels of food during the seven-year period ending 1965, with pumpkin and watermelon increasing by 429 and 831 percent respectively.17 If these plants take up fluorine, it seems likely that marrow and courgettes will be similarly affected.
A correlation between the geographical distribution of mortality from gastric cancer and the fluorine content of the population’s staple diet, rice, was also shown.17 In normal years potatoes might be considered a basic ingredient of our diet and it would be interesting to know whether these also take up fluorine.
Variety of factors
What happens when fluorine is added to the soil seems to depend on a variety of factors such as the form in which it is applied, the amount added at any one time, now much lime and phosphate are also present, the species of plants grown and the soil type and its geology.14
So, do we really want fluoride in the water supply as well? While there is no suggestion that its use would kill any crop, it is possible that in certain conditions yields might be reduced, as happened with Mr. Tolley’s cress. Yields normally fluctuate from year to year and a grower might not immediately realise that fluoridation was the cause of a poor crop and would
certainly find it hard to prove. Certainly it would seem advisable for much more research to be carried out before this additional pollutant is inflicted upon us.
- Hitchcock, A. E., Zimmerman, R. W., and Coe, R. R., 1962. Results of ten years’ work (1951-1960) on the effects of fluoride on gladiolus. Contrib. Boyce Thompson Inst. 21 (5): 303-344.
- Spierings, F., 1969. Injury to cut flowers of gladiolus by fluoridated water. Neth. J. Path. 75: 281-286.
- Marousky, F. J., and Woltz, S. S., 1971. Effect of fluoride and a floral preservative on quality of cut gladiolus. Proc. Florida State Hort. Soc. 84: 375-380.
- Woltz, S. S., and Marousky, F. J., 1972. Effect of fluoride and a floral preservative on fluoride content and injury to gladiolus florets and injury to poinsettia bracts. Proc. Florida State Hort. Soc. 85: 416-418.
- Waters, W. E., 1968a. Influence of water salinity and fluorides on keeping qualities of ‘Tropicana’ roses. Proc. Florida State Hort. Soc. 81: 355-359.
- Waters, W. E., 1968b. Relationship of water salinity and fluorides to keeping quality of chrysanthemums and gladiolus cut flowers. Proc. Am. Soc. Hort. Sci. 92: 633-640.
- Marousky, F. J., and Woltz, S. S., 1975. Relationship of floral preservatives to water movement, fluoride distribution and injury in gladiolus and other cut flowers. Acta Horticulturae. No. 41, 171-182.
- Sytsema. W., 1972. De invlood van fluor op levensduur en kwaliteit van snijbloemen. Proefstation voor de Bloemisterij, Aalsmeer, Netherlands.
- Roorda van Eysinga, J. P. N. L., and Nederpel, W. A. C. Het vaasleven van freesia op gefluorideerd water. Proefstat. Gr. Fr. teelt o. gl., Naaldwijk, Intern rapport 5, 1972.
- Bruyn, J. W. de, and Hulsman, A. N. Fluorschade bij gerberasnijbloemen. Bedrijfsontw. 3, 1972: 209-211.
- Fluoride, 1970, v. 3, p. 66.
- Neth. J. PI. Path. 75 (1969), 281-286.
- Canadian Jnl. of Genetics and Cytology (1966), v. 8, 241.
- Albert Schatz and Vivian Schatz. Use of Compost instead of Chemical Fertilizer to avoid Fluorine Contamination of Soil, water and Food. Compost Science—Journal of Waste Recycling, March-April 1972. Vol. 13, No. 2.
- Kudzin, Yu. K., and Pashova, V. T. Fluorine Content in Soil and Plants after Prolonged Application of Fertilizers. Pochvovedeniye (U.S.S.R.), 2: 74-79. 1970.
- Robinson, W. O., and Edgington, G. Fluorine in Soils. Soil Science 61: 341-353, 1946.
- Okamura, T., and Matsuhisa, T. The Fluorine content in Favourite Foods of Japanese. Japanese Jour. Publ. Health 14: 41-47, 1967.
In 1986, California voters approved the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act known as Proposition 65. https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65 The purpose of Proposition 65 is to ensure that people are informed about exposure to chemicals known by the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and/or other reproductive harm.
Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list has grown to include approximately 800 chemicals since it was first published in 1987. It must be updated at least once a year.
It also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water.
Additionally, it requires businesses who sell products in the State of California to notify Californians about significant amounts of these listed chemicals that may exist in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment.
The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be by products of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust.
Over 800 chemicals https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/chemicals have been listed under California Prop 65. They include pesticides, heavy metals, and Vitamin A at certain levels.
Certain listed chemicals, such as lead, are widely distributed through the environment in air, soil, water, and rocks. As a result, these types of chemicals are often found in commonly eaten foods and throughout the food supply even though these chemicals are not intentionally added to foods or nutritional supplements.
To check the whole list click here. https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/chemicals
Who is listing them?
A chemical can be listed if it has been classified as a carcinogen or as a reproductive toxicant by an organization deemed “authoritative” on the subject. For carcinogens, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer are deemed authoritative. With respect to reproductive toxicants, the authorities are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and International Agency for Research on Cancer. A chemical can also be listed if it is required to be labeled or identified as a carcinogen or as a reproductive toxicant by an agency of the state or federal government.
How are chemicals added to the list?
There are four ways https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/how-chemicals-are-added-proposition-65-list for a chemical to be added to the Proposition 65 list.
A chemical can be listed if either of two independent committees of scientists and health professionals finds that the chemical has been clearly shown to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. These two committees-the Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) and the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant (DART) Identification Committee-are part of OEHHA’s Science Advisory Board. The committee members are appointed by the Governor and are designated as the “State’s Qualified Experts” for evaluating chemicals under Proposition 65.
When determining whether a chemical should be placed on the list, the committees base their decisions on the most current scientific information available. OEHHA staff scientists compile all relevant scientific evidence on various chemicals for the committees to review. The committees also consider comments from the public before making their decisions.
A second way for a chemical to be listed is if an organization designated as an “authoritative body” by the CIC or DART Identification Committee has identified it as causing cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. The following organizations have been designated as authoritative bodies: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Toxicology Program, and International Agency for Research on Cancer.
A third way for a chemical to be listed is if an agency of the state or federal government requires that it be labeled or identified as causing cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. Most chemicals listed in this manner are prescription drugs that are required by the U.S. FDA to contain warnings relating to cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.
A fourth way requires the listing of chemicals meeting certain scientific criteria and identified in the California Labor Code as causing cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This method established the initial chemical list following voter approval of Proposition 65 in 1986 and continues to be used as a basis for listing as appropriate.
How does Proposition 65 influence on business?
If a Proposition 65 warning is posted, it means that the business issuing the warning knows that one or more listed chemicals is merely present in its product. A warning must be given unless a business demonstrates that the exposure it causes poses “no significant risk.”
With respect to carcinogens, the “no significant risk” level is defined as the level which is calculated to result in not more than one excess case of cancer in 100,000 individuals exposed over a 70-year lifetime. In other words, if you are exposed to the chemical in question at this level every day for 70 years, theoretically, it will increase your chances of getting cancer by no more than 1 case in 100,000 individuals so exposed.
With respect to reproductive toxicants, the “no significant risk” level is defined as the level of exposure which, even if multiplied by 1,000, will not produce birth defects or other reproductive harm. In other words, the level of exposure is below the “no observable effect level,” divided by 1,000. (The “no observable effect level” is the highest dose level which has not been associated with observable reproductive harm in humans or test animals.)
The California government has also clarified that “The fact that a product bears a Proposition 65 warning does not mean by itself that the product is unsafe.” The government has also explained, “You could think of Proposition 65 more as a ‘right to know’ law than a pure product safety law.”
Because businesses do not file reports with OEHHA regarding what warnings they have issued and why, OEHHA is not able to provide further information about any particular warning. The business issuing the warning should be contacted for specific information, such as what chemicals are present, and at what levels, as well as how exposure to them may occur.
To further assist businesses, OEHHA develops numerical guidance levels, known as “safe harbor numbers” (described below) for determining whether a warning is necessary or whether discharges of a chemical into drinking water sources are prohibited.
OEHHA has developed safe harbor levels to guide businesses in determining whether a warning is necessary or whether discharges of a chemical into drinking water sources are prohibited. A business has “safe harbor” from Proposition 65 warning requirements or discharge prohibitions if exposure to a chemical occurs at or below these levels. These safe harbor levels consist of No Significant Risk Levels for chemicals listed as causing cancer and Maximum Allowable Dose Levels for chemicals listed as causing birth defects or other reproductive harm. OEHHA has established over 300 safe harbor levels to date and continues to develop more levels for listed chemicals.
Businesses are required to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. This warning can be given by a variety of means, such as by labeling a consumer product, posting signs at the workplace, distributing notices at a rental housing complex, or publishing notices in a newspaper. Once a chemical is listed, businesses have 12 months to comply with warning requirements
Sometimes you will see a product for sale that has a label with a warning along the lines of the following:
This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm.
You may also see this warning at the point of purchase at an online retailer or for a catalog item.
California has two different types of warnings – those for cancer and those for reproductive health effects. Some products have one or the other of these warnings and some products have both warnings.
These warnings are required by California labeling law Proposition 65 (or Prop 65 for short), which is meant to notify individuals in California of exposures to Prop 65-listed chemicals. Prop 65 does not ban the sale of any products containing these chemicals; it only requires warnings.
What’s the difference between cancer and reproductive toxicity?
A chemical listed under Prop 65 as a carcinogen has been shown (often in laboratory animal studies) to cause cancer. A chemical listed under Prop 65 as a reproductive toxin has been shown (again, often in laboratory animal studies) to cause male or female reproductive toxicity or developmental toxicity. These tests are often performed with very high doses of chemicals. NOTE: NOW Foods does not test its products on animals.
Why do I see Proposition 65 if I don’t live in California?
Modern supply chains typically distribute products throughout the U.S. or a region of the U.S. It can be very difficult for companies whose products are distributed both inside and outside of California to arrange for the warning to be delivered only to customers in California. Many companies include the warning on their product label itself, in other widely-distributed literature or on their website, in which case the warning may appear no matter where the actual sale occurs.
Food grown near roads or old buildings may be contaminated with lead due to historical use of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint18, 19. Food grown near, downstream, or downwind from industrial sites, landfills, and military bases may also be contaminated with various chemicals; for example, much of the U.S. mid-west is contaminated with traces of radioactive fallout from the nuclear tests in Nevada in the 1950’s20, 21. Food from the ocean, lakes, and rivers often contains trace levels of various contaminants, such as mercury and pesticides in fish.
Since everyone consumes water each day in one form or another, drinking water can be a source of daily exposure to Prop-65 listed chemicals. Lead, arsenic, pesticides, radioactive isotopes, chlorination by-products, and other chemicals may be found at low levels in many water supplies.
When a food product or any other consumer product made with drinking water contains a Prop 65-listed chemical, any portion of the chemical contributed to the product by drinking water is not used to determine whether a Prop 65 warning is needed.
Where to get more information?
A great deal of information is available from authoritative sources regarding chemicals in food. Here are a few sources to consider.
- State of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) website:www.oehha.ca.gov/
- U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry:www.atsdr.cdc.gov/
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations regarding mercury in seafood: www.fda.gov/food/foodborneillnesscontaminants/metals/ucm351781.htm
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency information regarding mercury and fish: www.epa.gov/choose-fish-and-shellfish-wisely
- State of California recommendations regarding chemicals in fish: www.oehha.ca.gov/fish/chems/index.htmlhttp://www.oehha.ca.gov/fish/general/broch.html
- EPA data on maximum contaminant levels in drinking water:http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm
- Study on the cancer-causing potential of chlorinated water and chlorination by-products:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8487327
This information is provided by the American Herbal Products Association
All of plastic water bottles are made with chemicals known as plasticizers which makes plastic that we use everyday durable and flexible. There are two main forms of plastic.
First one is called PolyVinyl chloride (PVC) and the other one is polycarbonate plastics.
PVC contains the most common used commercial plasticizer called phthalates.
Commercial products like water and soda bottles are made from PETE or PET – polyethylene terephthalate. The ingredients have flame retardants and UV stabilizers added. It’s the most commonly recycled plastic by most cities.
Some cling wrap you use to preserve food, plastic containers, plumbing pipes, soft beverage bottles, shower curtains, some children toys, vinyl windows, and many other items are made from PVC or V – polyvinyl chloride. Made from petroleum resins and have flame retardants added too.
Polycarbonate plastic is mostly used for electronic equipment, automobiles, sports safety equipment and medical devices, for reusable bottles and food storage containers that can be conveniently used in the refrigerator and microwave. Also used in tableware, 5 gallon water bottles, some baby bottles, and lining of metal food cans and others.
The primary building block used to make polycarbonate plastic is bisphenol A (BPA).
Many researchers have studied the potential for trace levels of BPA to migrate from polycarbonate into food and beverages under conditions typical for uses of polycarbonate products. These studies include ones conducted by government agencies in the US, Europe and Japan, as well as studies conducted by academic researchers and by industry.
Although the study data and analyses shows that potential human exposure to BPA from polycarbonate products in contact with foods and beverages is very low and poses no known risk to human health there are opposite reactions from the public and some free media.
You probably can’t avoid bisphenol A (BPA). They are all around us, in compact discs, car parts, carpets, floor tiles, cosmetics – the list is endless. If you see plastic that is soft and pliable, then it is because of phthalates.
Have you ever noticed how a re-used water bottle becomes brittle over time? That is because the phthalates have leached out of it – and you have drunk them.
They mimic estrogen, which can change the way your endocrine system functions. In humans, exposure has been linked to chronic diseases, including diabetes, asthma, and cancer
Some of the researches that are known in US are influencing people’s opinions.
Sheela Sathyanarayana, MD, associate professor of paediatrics at the University of Washington /Seattle Children’s Research Institute who researches endocrine-disrupting chemicals, says that although more research is needed, the results suggest that when BPA imitates estrogen, it interferes with different stages of pregnancy, such as fertilisation and implantation.
So prevalent is BPA that tests by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention in 2004 found it in 93 per cent of urine samples taken from a group of 2,517 people.
Furthermore, a landmark report on BPA published in 2008 by the U.S. National Toxicology Program concluded that there were concerns over BPA’s effects on the brain, behaviour and prostate gland development in foetuses, infants and children. It also found that because of the ratio of body weight to exposure, ‘the highest estimated daily intake of Bisphenol A in the general population occurs in infants and children’.
Over the past few decades an estimated £150million has been spent on research into BPA, resulting in the publication of more than 5,000 papers – and scientists are still arguing over whether or not it is harmful.
Such concerns also extend to phthalates – there are 25 different kinds and several are already banned in children’s toys in the EU and for certain types of food packaging.
If you are concerned, you could avoid plastic mineral water bottles and use glass or stainless steel bottles filled from your tap or purifier. You could microwave meals in ‘microwave safe’ glass or on a plate instead of plastic containers. And if you want to store food in plastic containers, hunt down those that are labelled as BPA-free.
After all, it’s ridiculous (economically and environmentally) to constantly buy bottled water only to throw the bottle away each time. And even if you end up reusing those bottles, they could still potentially be harmful due to the leaching of chemicals into the water.
In fact, a Harvard study showed participants’ BPA levels increase after just one week of drinking from plastic bottles. But even removing just this one compound may not be enough.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the main polymer used to produce plastic bottles, and has previously been shown to affect the hormonal system.
How can you reduce your exposure to toxins released by plastic?
- Exchange your plastic bottles for stainless steel or glass
- Invest in a good quality carbon water filter and filter your tap water and store it in glass or ceramic containers
- It takes years for nature to completely break down these products even though manufacturers claim that they have a half-life of ten days.
- But have you seen plastic water bottles disintegrate in a few weeks? Rather, they seem to accumulate over a number of years. It takes a significant length of time for nature to disassemble the components of plastic. Then all the toxic matter is released into the surrounding environment to further poison soil, water, and air.
Osmio Water offer a variety of choice for you to have the purest water possible by technology.
Our whole house filter systems are designed to remove a wide array of water impurities (chlorine, toxins, heavy metals, etc) and to also remove any unpleasant tastes or odour issues which may be present in your water supply.
Glass and stainless steel bottles are reusable and do not contaminate the environment, also using filter systems is an alternative we all need to embrace with diligence.
Terrible to the environment:
Around the world, people throw away roughly four million tons of trash every day; that’s enough to fill 350,000 garbage trucks or 10 Empire State Buildings. About 12.8 percent of that waste is plastic, which causes big problems for wildlife: some animals mistake plastic for food, while others can become entangled in the trash. But all those plastic bottles use a lot of fossil fuels and pollute the environment.
In fact, Americans buy more bottled water than any other nation in the world, adding 29 billion water bottles a year to the problem. In order to make all these bottles, manufacturers use 17 million barrels of crude oil. That’s enough oil to keep a million cars going for twelve months.
Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about how much oil was needed to produce the bottle.
So why don’t more people drink water straight from the kitchen faucet? Some people drink bottled water because they think it is better for them than water out of the tap, but that’s not always true.
People love the convenience of bottled water. But maybe if they realized the problems it causes, they would try drinking from a glass at home or carrying water in a refillable steel container instead of plastic.
Unfortunately, for every six water bottles we use, only one makes it to the recycling bin. The rest are sent to landfills. Or, even worse, they end up as trash on the land and in rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Plastic bottles take many hundreds of years to disintegrate.
Osmio Water offer reverse osmosis filters that provide a unique filtration method used to produce clean good tasting water for the whole house and even the garden – for plants, paddling pools and so on, keeping your environment safe too.
Contaminants bottled water may have in it
There’s no official list of contaminants of bottled water, but you can find some unofficial reports in the US under FDA standards.
FDA allows certain levels of contaminants in bottled water under the standard of quality (21 CFR, 165.110[b]).
- Coliform. Coliform are rod-shaped bacteria, such as E. coli, that are normally present in the human intestine. The FDA says that bottled water may have up to 9.2 coliform organisms per 100 millilitres. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
- Arsenic. Arsenic is a poison. The FDA says that bottled water may have up to 0.05 milli-grams per litre of arsenic. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
- Chloride. Chloride is a compound of chlorine, a substance used to disinfect tap water. The FDA allows up to 250.0 milligrams per litre of chloride in bottled water. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
- Iron. Iron is a metallic element. Your body needs some iron, but not too much. The FDA permits bottled water to contain up to 0.3 milligrams per litre of iron. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
- Manganese. Manganese resembles iron and is used in fertilisers. Bottled water may contain up to 0.05 milligrams per litre of manganese. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
- Phenols. Phenols are corrosive, poisonous acidic compounds. Your bottled water may contain up to 0.001 milligrams per litre of phenols. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
- Dissolved solids. “Dissolved solids” is a catch-all phrase. The FDA allows bottled water to contain up to 500 milligrams per litre of dissolved solids, of whatever type. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
- Zinc. Zinc is a metallic element. Your body needs some zinc, but not too much. The FDA permits bottled water to contain up to 5.0 milligrams per litre of zinc. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
- Fluoride. Fluoride is purposely added to some bottled water. If so, the label should say so. In addition, bottled water that is not labelled as containing fluoride may contain up to 2.4 milli-grams per litre of fluoride. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
Chemical contaminants bottled water may have in it.
The FDA allows set levels of the following chemical contaminants in all bottled water. Amounts vary, but some are shocking, such as Barium or Cyanide.
Here is a sampling of chemical contaminants bottled water has in it, along with the permitted milligrams per litre.
- Barium……………………………… 2.0
- Chromium……………………………. 0.1
- Copper……………………………… 1.0
- Cyanide…………………………….. 0.2
- Nickel……………………………… 0.1
- Ethylbenzene (100-41-4)………………. 0.7
- Monochlorobenzene (108-90-7)………….. 0.1
- Styrene (100-42-5)…………………… 0.1
- Toluene (108-88-3)…………………… 1.0
- Xylenes (1330-20-7)………………….. 10.0
Bottled may have Pesticides in it.
The FDA allows set levels of pesticides in bottled water. There are set limits for each of 29 different pesticides. People who purchase bottled water believe, normally, that they are avoiding pesticides by doing so. For a listing of these pesticides, see 21 CFR 165.110[b].
Disinfectants bottled water may have in it.
The FDA allows bottled water to contain set levels of residual disinfectants and disinfection byproducts. Examples from 21 CFR 165.110[b]:
• Bromate…………………………… 0.010
• Chlorite………………………….. 1.0
• Haloacetic acids (five) (HAA5)………. 0.060
• Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM)………… 0.080
• Chloramine………………………… 4.0 (as Cl2)
• Chlorine………………………….. 4.0 (as Cl2)
• Chlorine dioxide…………………… 0.8 (as ClO2)
Bottled water may have Radioactive materials in it.
The FDA allows bottled water to contain set levels of radioactive material. See 21 CFR 165.110[b]. Three examples:
- “The bottled water shall not contain a combined radium-226 and radium-228 activity in excess of 5 picocuries per litre of water.”
- “The bottled water shall not contain a gross alpha particle activity in excess of 15 picocuries per litre of water.”
- “The bottled water shall not contain uranium in excess of 30 micro-grams per litre of water.”
Bottled water has in it more than regulations allow.
When bottled water does not meet the standards set out by the FDA, it might still be sold. By law in , it should bear a suitable label.
1. “Contains Excessive Bacteria”
2. “Contains Excessive Arsenic”
3. “Excessively Radioactive”
Water is good for you, so keep drinking it. But think about how often you use water bottles, and see if you can make a change.
Aquarium water quality can be a difficult topic especially for people new to fish keeping. pH measures the water’s acidity/alkalinity. The pH scale runs from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline) and pH7 is an ideal level for the majority of fish (and also humans as our blood pH is around 7.3). Some fish do prefer different pH levels so make sure you check this before you buy.
A temperature of 24-26 degrees is standard for a tropical aquarium and is regulated by a thermostat in the heater.
A thermometer should be visible in the tank to ensure the temperature does not fluctuate. Ammonia and nitrite levels should be regulated and although they both occur naturally from fish waste, bacteria living inside your filter convert these dangerous chemicals intro nitrates which is less harmful.
Regular water changes should keep these levels close to zero. However, bacteria take time to build up and new tanks are particularly susceptible to high levels of dangerous chemicals. A filter boost can be added to promote the growth of bacteria and speed up the process.
To maintain ideal water conditions and prevent the build-up of dangerous chemicals in the new aquariums, perform water changes at least once per week removing 20% of the tank’s volume and replacing it with clean and dechlorinated water. You can reduce the frequency of water changes to once fortnightly when the chemical levels have settled down. You will need to rinse the filter media on a regular basis to remove large sediment and the impellor inside the filter from sludge, but in both cases you must ensure you rinse with water from your tank and not from the tap.
Everything you need to know about the push fittings used on water filter systems, water coolers and fridges.
In the last two years, Osmio Water has been developing a system to enable owners of river or canal boats to pump water from the canal or river and treat it to potable water standards for perfect drinking water – our boat water filter system. But not just that, we have co-developed the system with pioneering canal boat and river boat owners and been through some trial and error to ensure the right specification of filters are used.
Why take water from the canal or river?
For any canal or river boat owner the answer is obvious. Filling the boats tank with fresh drinkable water is one of the main concerns when living on a boat. This is a huge limiting factor to where you can go as a boat owner and also where you can dock to refill your tank. Docking at a point where you can refill your tank can also be highly troublesome, a bit like finding a parking space in a busy shopping centre during the Christmas rush!
The Osmio Boat Filter System gives the boat owner complete flexibility to travel and dock wherever they want to because they will never be stuck for water, and even have the capability to refill the tanks for other fellow boat owners.
Designing our boat water filter systems
We have to hand it to our first ever customer who suggested this to us! Brave does not do them justice. The customer has in the middle of restoring their narrow boat and wanted a system to filter the canal water. This was a great challenge for us and an experiment we couldn’t turn down.
We started by making some assumptions about the nature of the water which the customer would bee pumping from the canal. Obviously canal water is much worse quality than river water and contains a huge amount of sediment and turbidity. We knew the water would also contain weil’s disease, bacteria, micro-organisms, diesel fuel, and lots of other type of chemical pollution.
We then set about to put together a system which would first start by removing thee suspended solids and sediments to make the water clear. After this we then put together a system to make the water free from any disease or bacteria, hydrocarbons and industrial chemicals. This in all made the water acceptable for non-drinking purposes.
Finally to make the water drinkable, we used a reverse osmosis system which filters down to 0.0001 microns to ensue the purity of water for drinking and cooking:
Once the system was installed, the next steep was to start it up and flush it for 30 minutes after which we take a sample of the water and have it tested by a local scientific services lab.
Once the water passed he lab tests and complied with the UK water quality regulations the system is good to go.
Total costs of the above system; £1086.00
Total costs of lab test: £110.00
Total annual maintenance cost: £250.00
Find out about our boat water treatment system today and how you can be liberated on your boat!
Limescale in basically composed of the bonding of calcium, magnesium salts and bicarbonates and forms as a result of heating water where there is a presence of these minerals.
When the water is heated, these dissolved minerals breakdown and become less soluble and precipitate out of the water to form solid limescale.
In kettles, or any other boiling water heater, limescale can flake and cause the presence of chalky particles or flakes. These can either be white in colour or become a slight creamy colour due to the presence of other minerals and heavy metals which bond. Traces of copper from plumbing materials can turn it grey, green or blue while traces of rust from pipework can turn it orange, brown or black.
Can limescale in kettles harm you?
How to get rid of limescale in your kettle
There are many different ways you can use to clean the kettle and reduce the presence of limescale, which include emptying the kettle more frequently, using vinegar or a descaling solution and so on. Regardless, the best way is to remove it from the water completely.
Removing this completely is very simple and requires the installation of a reverse osmosis water filter system.
Reverse osmosis water filter systems are the only type of water filter systems which remove 100% of limescale. They filter to sub-micron levels and remove very high levels of dissolved solids.
The result will be a perfectly clean kettle forever!
We recommend buying a system using certified components and with an alkaline filter to ensure the water is well-pH balanced. Very pure water can be corrosive and so pH balancing helps to prevent corrosion of your heating elements.
Browse our range of reverse osmosis systems – click here!
Don’t you find that the same drink consumed from a plastic bottle versus a glass or aluminium can has a different taste? I certainly do!
Chemicals in bottled water
A German study published in August 2013 has now proven the presence of additional “previously unknown” chemicals and in doing so raised serious questions about the science and, more importantly, the regulation to date.
The are collective known as “Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)”. EDCs are man-made compounds which can interfere with hormone signalling and thereby adversely affecting human health. By interfering with the organism’s complex hormone signalling endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) might adversely affect development and reproduction.
Moreover, recent research suggests an implication of EDCs in cancer, cardiovascular, and metabolic disorders. While research generates an ever-growing list of potential EDCs, few compounds, namely Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, attract particular scientific attention and public controversy. Used in a vast variety of consumer products, these chemicals are ubiquitously detected in the environment as well as in human samples. With numerous studies documenting adverse effects, public health concerns have led to a voluntary or regulatory removal of BPA and phthalates in some products (e.g., baby bottles, toys) and countries.
Recent reports provide evidence for the presence of EDCs in commercially available bottled water, including steroid receptor agonists and antagonists.
However, since these findings are based on biological data the causative chemicals remain unidentified and, therefore, inaccessible for toxicological evaluation.
The recent German study comes from Martin Wagner and Jorg Oehlmann of the Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, and Michael Schlusener and Thomas Ternes of the German Federal Institute of Hydrology.
“We detected significant antiestrogenicity in 13 of 18 products. 16 samples were antiandrogenic inhibiting the androgen receptor by up to 90%. Nontarget chemical analysis revealed that out of 24520 candidates present in bottled water one was consistently correlated with the antagonistic activity.
We confirmed the identity and biological activity of DEHF and additional isomers of dioctyl fumarate and maleate using authentic standards. Since DEHF is antiestrogenic but not antiandrogenic we conclude that additional, yet unidentified EDCs must contribute to the antagonistic effect of bottled water. Applying a novel approach to combine biological and chemical analysis this is the first study to identify so far unknown EDCs in bottled water. Notably, dioctyl fumarates and maleates have been overlooked by science and regulation to date.”
The key point about this research is that it has provided a new way to detect EDCs which had previously been ignored and can now open up a new way for the directed identification of EDCs in beverages, foodstuff, and consumer products which, in the end, will help providing a more holistic picture of human exposure to EDCs.
The key question now is, who is doing anything about it? I assure you it isn’t the bottled water industry which represents some of the most unethical businesses around.
For a link to the original research – click here