Fluoride: it’s the additive we’re all familiar with. It’s in our toothpaste and our drinking water, and acts as a shield against dental decay. But is fluoride doing more harm than good? A recent British study has found that residents of communities where the drinking water has high levels of the chemical are more likely to have underactive thyroids.An underactive thyroid is linked to depression and weight gain, among other health problems. Scientists at the University of Kent analyzed 98 percent of general practices in England and found that underactive thyroids are 30 percent likely to occur if public drinking water has high levels of fluoride.
After their findings, the scientists warned public health officials to reconsider putting fluoride in drinking water, and to stop altogether, if possible. "Consideration needs to be given to reducing fluoride exposure, and public dental health interventions should stop those reliant on ingested fluoride and switch to topical fluoride-based and non-fluoride based interventions,” Professor Stephen Peckham, lead researcher, said in a statement.
However, according to The Daily Mail, Public Health England shrugged off the warnings, saying that the research methodology was flawed.
“The totality of evidence, accumulated over decades of research, tells us that water fluoridation is a safe and effective public health measure, and shows no association with reduced thyroid function,” Dr. Sandra White, director of Dental Public Health at Public Health England, told Russia Today.
Although there are few areas of England where fluoride is still added to the water supply, proponents of the compound feel that it is not only safe, but could prevent tooth decay. Opponents feel that sodium fluoride, when consumed in large doses, is poisonous over time.