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American Dental Association concedes: Excessive fluoride a risk to children

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

After years of downplaying the risks of excessive fluoride intake, the American Dental Association (ADA) has just released new guidelines that dramatically reduce the recommended fluoride exposure for infants and children. Though not ready to condemn fluoride entirely for its role in enamel fluorosis, the ADA has issued an “interim” advisory on fluoride intake until more research can be done. This is a promising step for the ADA, which has resolutely promoted the fluoridation of water in the past. While it's commendable that the Association is alerting parents to the risks of fluorosis, a primarily cosmetic condition, it would be even better to issue a similar moratorium on account of the recent research tying fluoridated water to bone cancer in boys.

Until further notice, ADA recommends the following measures to reduce the risk of fluorosis:

Infants
- Feed infants breast milk whenever possible.
- For infants who get most of their nutrition from formula, choose ready-to-feed formula over formula mixed with fluoridated water.
- If liquid or powdered concentrate infant formula is the primary source of nutrition, mix with water that is fluoride free, including water that is labeled purified, demineralized, deionized, distilled or reverse osmosis filtered water.

Children
- Stay away from fluoride toothpaste before two years.
- No fluoride mouth rinse or supplements unless prescribed by a dentist.
- Check with your water supplier to make sure the fluoride level in your drinking water does not exceed the recommended 1.2 parts per million.

Related:
USA Today, Report raises flag on fluoride, 5/22/06
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Excess fluoride can hurt teeth, bones, IQ, 5/23/06
Recent Enviroblog posts about fluoride.

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