What’s in the Water?

There have been recent reports of a relatively new and unstudied contaminant found in the Cape Fear River in Wilmington known as “GenX,” which are known carcinogens and toxins. The chemical has been detected in rainwater, groundwater, crops, and some wells all over the Wilmington area due to a company called “Chemours” dumping GenX in the Cape Fear River for several months. Thankfully, the company is no longer allowed to dump the toxic compound in the river water, but unfortunately, it may be a little too late. The full long-term effects of GenX are still unknown, but all that is known about it is enough to worry many people in the area, including a UNCW biologist, Larry Cahoon, who claims he will not be drinking any tap water until it is proven to be clean and safe. While it is great that the possibly deadly compound has been discovered and is people are actively working to remove it from the river’s water, this situation makes me wonder why this chemical is being taken so seriously when many governments, including the United States’s, allow for the widespread fluoridation of the public water supply.

Not too many people I’ve talked to neither know nor care about the fluoridation of our country’s water supply, which began in 1945 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I feel the public has the right to be more informed on the subject and the dangers involved in this mass medication that is, for the most part, forced upon our citizens without their consent or knowledge. Unnatural fluoride is added to most public sources, meaning you consume fluoride every day from drinking water, processed foods/drinks, toothpaste, and more. The practice of fluoridating drinking water began because of a peculiar situation happening in certain cities and towns in the early 1900’s. Researchers were looking to find out why children who drank from certain water supplies were developing brown-stained teeth when there seemed to be nothing wrong with the water. However, they soon found out what in the water was causing the mottled teeth: high levels of fluoride. The researchers also noticed, however, that teeth enamel affected by high fluoride levels is shockingly resistant to decay, so they were prompted to test if lower levels of fluoride could be added to water to reduce tooth decay and to reduce the chances of people getting “fluorosis,” a chronic condition caused by the excessive consumption of fluoride in which teeth become mottled and ligaments can even calcify. After the discovery that fluoride may be a good candidate for fighting tooth decay, small amounts of the chemical were added to one public water source, and then eventually to sources all over the country. Because of the findings that low fluoride levels may reduce dental problems, roughly seventy-percent of all public water supplies in the United States are currently exposed to this chemical, which is technically classified as a “new unapproved drug” by the FDA,  and most citizens don’t even realize it.

Although fluoride obviously does have benefits in dental care, the negatives severely outweigh the positives and it is time people become more aware of the dangers fluoride is causing. An obvious downside of water fluoridation is fluorosis. This is luckily not too common in American citizens because of how low the levels of fluoride they are being exposed to are, but some people drink a lot more water than others, leading to more fluoride exposure, which may result in fluorosis. Many people today, mostly teenagers, have some sort of mottled teeth due to constant fluoride intake; however, it is usually not overly noticeable or problematic in the long run. Another issue with fluoride is its effects on the stomach and kidneys. Although there are rumors and claims, fluoride is not proven to cause any cancers, but high fluoride exposure to the kidneys can cause fluoride toxicity. Studies have also shown that people exposed to fluctuating amounts of fluoride suffered a variety of gastrointestinal effects, such as mucosal lining of the stomach and ulcers, but most of the people used for the study are believed to have ingested more fluoride than the average citizen would at a given time. Fluoride is actually used as a rat poison due to the gastrointestinal effects it has, as it kills rats via internal stomach bleeding. Why is it assumed to be safe to expose over two-thirds of the country’s population to low levels of a drug used as a rat poison? Just because fluoride does not kill us like it does the rats does not make it safe to ingest small amounts of it every single day! Although there are many more negatives to fluoride exposure, the last one I will touch on is how fluoride builds up in our bodies. Because of how much fluoride an average person consumes on a daily basis, a lot of that fluoride ends up accumulating in your body in certain areas, such as the ever-so-important pineal gland, more commonly referred to as the “third eye.” Fluoride builds up and calcifies the gland, which is responsible for things like melatonin synthesis and converting signals between our nervous and endocrine systems, which can lead to weight gain and trouble sleeping if it becomes too blocked by the chemical. There are also many more uses of the gland, both known and unknown to researchers, including links to intuition, psychic awareness, and expanded mind capacity, so blocking and calcifying this gland can literally make a person less in touch with themselves and the world around them. For how much is known about the dangers and harmful effects of fluoride consumption, it is shocking to think that nearly everyone in certain countries are constantly exposed to it and only the positive aspects of the drug are considered and discussed by many public health officials. Please do your own research and check multiple different sources to formulate your own opinion on the subject as nearly every article on water fluoridation is extremely biased for one way or the other.

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