Thursday, August 23, 2012

Could Fluoride in Water Harm Your Mental Health?

Does fluoride in drinking water hurt your brain?

Published August 22, 2012 |
Back in 2011, the EPA reversed course and lowered the recommended maximum amount of fluoride in drinking water due to data that the levels then being allowed put kids at risk of dental fluorosis--streaking and pitting of teeth due to excessive fluoride, which also puts tooth enamel at risk.
This conclusion was a discordant note amidst all the accolades fluoride had won, starting with the discovery during the 1940s that people who lived near water supplies containing naturally occurring fluoride had fewer cavities in their teeth.   A massive push ensued, with government and industry encouraging cities and towns to add fluoride to water supplies.
Now, questions about the impact of fluoride on mental health are growing and can no longer be ignored.
A recently published Harvard study showed that children living in areas with highly fluoridated water have "significantly lower" IQ scores than those living in areas where the water has low fluoride levels.  In fact, the study analyzed the results of 27 prior investigations and found the following, among other conclusions:
* Fluoride may be a developmental neurotoxicant that affects brain development (in children) at exposures much below those that cause toxicity in adults.
* Rats exposed to (relatively low) fluoride concentrations in water showed cellular changes in the brain and increased levels of aluminum in brain tissue.
Other research studies in animals link fluoride intake to the development of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic finding in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's dementia).
And research on fluoride also has implicated it in changing the structure of the brains of fetuses, negatively impacting the behavioral/neurological assessment scores of newborns and, in animal studies, impairing memory.
This information is very important, from a psychiatric standpoint, because we have witnessed rising rates of attention deficit disorder, major depression, dementia and many other psychiatric illnesses since the 1940s, and because the United States (which fluoridates a much higher percentage of its drinking water than most countries, including European nations) has some of the highest rates of mental disorders in the world--by a wide margin.
It is not clear, of course, that fluoride is responsible wholly, or even in small measure, for these facts, but the connection is an intriguing one, especially in light of the new Harvard study.
Given the available data, I would recommend that children with learning disorders, attention deficit disorder, depression, attention-deficit disorder or other psychiatric illnesses refrain from drinking fluoridated water, and consult a dentist about the most effective way of delivering sufficient fluoride to the teeth directly, while minimizing absorption by the body as a whole--and the brain, specifically.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Quality of Water Still Important During Drought

Water quality as important as quantity, even during drought

Arkansas Division of Agriculture | Updated: July 31, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – As Arkansas’ drought deepens, many are finding that “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,” said John Pennington, Washington County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Exceptional and severe drought in parts of Arkansas have left some communities without water and have prompted some water systems to put water-use restrictions in place as reservoirs and other waterways become more shallow by the day.
“Water users in northwestern Arkansas are faring a little better, with lake levels that are still at 90 percent full,” Pennington said. “However, the longer we go without 9-23 or so inches of soaking rainfall across the state between now and September to end the drought, a lot more may be mandated to restrict some water uses.
“It’s a strange concept, to go without water, especially so when water is essential to so many things in life as we know it and it’s a resource we take for granted,” he said. “Without enough water we can’t produce food crops, forage for grazing animals, survive, or much less water our lawns.”
However, even at time when water quantity is of prime importance, water quality still matters.
“In times like these, I can certainly understand the perspective of some our neighbors in the western U.S., who think ‘who cares about water quality, when you don’t have enough water quantity?” Pennington said.
“As the pressure mounts on our water supplies, so does the pressure to preserve its quality,” he said. “This means protecting our water as much as we can by tackling the things that can degrade our water quality, including not over-fertilizing our lawns, properly disposing of trash such as cigarette butts, and using other best management practices to prevent runoff from washing pollutants it into the waterways and reservoirs here in the Natural State.”
Pennington said that “as soon as the rains come back and begin to fill the wells and drinking reservoirs around the state, we’ll all be wanting our drinking, fishing, and swimming water to be of high quality.”
To preserve both quality and quantity, many Arkansans are implementing voluntary measures.
For example, some aren’t watering the lawn anymore because they see it as a waste of water or too costly.
Mike Daniels, Extension water quality specialist for the U of A Division of Agriculture said: “I won’t water my lawn with treated water, because treated water has is too high of a quality for that use.”


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