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FDA Wants to Lower Amount of Fluoride in Bottled Water, but Scientists Say it is Still Too High

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FDA Fluoride Bottled Water
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Rather than combating the high levels of pesticides found in much of the food grown in the United States, the negative effects of factory farming, or the lack of clean water available to numerous communities across the country, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing slightly lowering the standard for fluoride content in bottled water.

Thankfully, scientists and environmental organizations alike are pushing back on the proposed changes, saying the new standard will still be too high for safe consumption.

The FDA’s current standard straddles 0.8 and 1.7 milligrams per liter. The new regulation, if finalized, will lower the standard for both imported and domestically packaged bottled water to 0.7 milligrams per liter. The new regulation only addresses bottled water with fluoride added during the process, not bottled water that contains fluoride from the source.

For years, critics of the fluoridation of drinking water have maintained that it is not safe nor helpful in combating tooth decay. As long as critics of fluoride have existed, so has a campaign to mock those same people as conspiracy theorists or science deniers.
In 2015, the U.S. Public Health Service suggested that 0.7 milligrams per liter was the optimal concentration for fluoride in community water. According to the FDA, the proposed rule “is based on findings from evolving research on optimal concentrations of fluoride that balances fluoride’s benefits in preventing tooth decay with its risk of causing dental fluorosis, a condition most often characterized by white patches on teeth.” Dental fluorosis is caused when too much fluoride is consumed while teeth are still developing.
Some scientists are now speaking out, expressing concerns extending beyond tooth health and instances of dental fluorosis.
Christopher Neurath, research director of the American Environmental Health Studies Project, published a study this year highlighting a “dramatic increase in fluorosis” over the last decade. Over 30% of adolescents involved in the study showed “moderate and severe dental fluorosis” with 35% showing lesser, but still significant, signs of dental fluorosis.
Neurath maintains that the slight decrease in bottled water fluoridation that would result if the standard were approved would do little to reduce occurrences of dental fluorosis.
Dental fluorosis is a visible sign of overexposure to fluoride, but there are other nonvisible signs and adverse health effects that are much more serious,” Neurath said. “Currently, there are rapidly increasing scientific studies showing neurotoxicity to fluoride.”
Dr. Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, wrote:
Given that fluoride can damage brain development, I would recommend that the maximum fluoride concentration in bottled water be kept at a lower level than 0.7 mg/L.”
Neurath calls the link between IQ and fluoride exposure in the womb their “largest concern.” Neurath insists the effects of prenatal exposure to fluoride on IQ is “very large,” adding that “on a population basis, that’s very concerning.”
As reported by CNN:
Morteza Bashash, an assistant professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, found that higher fluoride levels as measured in urine samples of pregnant women are associated with both lower IQ and increased risk of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder among children in Mexico.”
Bashash founda drop in children’s scores on intelligence tests for every 0.5 milligram-per-liter increase in fluoride exposure beyond 0.8 milligrams per liter detected in a pregnant mother’s urine.”
Despite concerns, the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics “fully support the public health benefits of community water fluoridation.”
Dr. Grandjean maintains, “Given that fluoride is added to toothpaste to secure that the enamel surface of the teeth is properly protected against caries, there is no need to supplement the dietary fluoride intake.”
For those in the know about the potential effects of water fluoridation, avoiding bottled water in the United States is one way to avoid its ill effects. While many adults and parents choose to avoid toothpaste and dental treatments that include fluoride, many remain unaware or helpless when it comes to municipal water supply fluoridation, meaning the water consumed directly or used in cooking in homes, schools, and restaurants alike contains invisible and odorless fluoride.
More and more Americans are combating municipal water fluoridation by using filtration systems that remove fluoride like reverse osmosis, gravity filters, distillers, and pitchers. While all four types remove fluoride, each has advantages and disadvantages including cost, ease of use, mineralization and more.
In addition to individuals, since 1990 more than 400 communities across the United States and Canada have opted to end municipal fluoridation. A list of those communities can be found here. When it comes to reversing municipal fluoridation, the process usually begins with one concerned citizen making their neighbors and city council aware. Visit the Fluoride Action Network to learn how to start a successful local fluoride-free campaign.

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Health

Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People

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The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.

Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.

Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.

Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.

Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.

“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”

However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.

In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”

“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”

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Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say

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With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.

According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.

The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.

While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.

Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.

“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.

Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced

However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.

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Health

Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact

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Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.

And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.

Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.

Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.

Death Toll, by Percent of Population

In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.

Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.

The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.

Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.

History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning

While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.

In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.

What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?

Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics

Republished from ZH with permission.

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