It is Illegal to add fluoride to food or salt in the U.S.
In 1909 the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a law that prohibited the addition of any fluoride chemical to food. By then fluoride was well known as an industrial pollutant that harmed plants, animals, and humans. This was known long before skeletal and dental fluorosis were described in the scientific literature.
In 1945 a brewing company was discovered to be adding a small amount of fluoride to their beer. The FDA had the company prosecuted. The owner got a suspended jail sentence and a fine. The jury was instructed that fluoride was harmful and poisonous, and that it was unimportant to show how much beer had to be consumed to demonstrate harmful effects.
Fluoridation means more fluoride in food and drinks
When fluoridation started fluoride was added to food and drinks despite the 1945 federal court case, because fluoridated water was being used in manufacturing. It became legal to add fluoride to beer, as long as the fluoride came from the fluoridated water used to make the beer. Using fluoridated water for food manufacturing meant far more fluoride was contained in processed foods. Today, much higher legal levels of fluoride pesticides are also adding more fluoride to food.
Fluoride intake in humans has risen dramatically. Fluorosis is at an all time high in the U.S. When fluoridation began it was estimated that an adult drinking fluoridated water would ingest about 1.5 milligram (mg) per day, but in 1997 the Institute of Medicine recommended 4mg for adult males and 3mg for adult females. That just happens to be close to what adults in fluoridated areas were ingesting in 1997, which is probably why those numbers were selected.
Just like some countries add fluoride to water to reduce tooth decay, other countries add fluoride to salt for the same reason. In Mexico, fluoridated salt is supposed to be distributed only in areas with low water fluoride levels, but it also being sold in areas with high water fluoride levels.
There is naturally fluoridated salt being sold in the U.S. today. That is legal, because the fluoride was not artificially added. Himalayan salt is often high in fluoride, sometimes more than artificially fluoridated salt. It is commonly called rock salt and is mined in Pakistan.
The FDA prohibits the addition of fluoride except for water
In the U.S., adding fluoride to food and salt has been made illegal according to the Department of Health and Human Services. They wrote: “it is in the interest of the public health to limit the addition of fluoride compounds to foods (a) to that resulting from the fluoridation of public water supplies (b) to that resulting from the fluoridation of bottled water….”
Limiting fluoride intake is a good idea that seldom reaches the public because of fears it might turn them away from fluoridated water or fluoride toothpaste.
Today none of the federal health agencies promoting fluoridation claim that consuming fluoridated water does anything good for people without teeth in their mouth, such as newborn infants and toothless adults. They also do not claim that it’s beneficial for adults after it is swallowed. Unfortunately, today there are very few effective programs to reverse the trend of increasing fluoride ingestion. People have to educate themselves about fluoride to avoid the risks.
Sources for this article include:
* Department of Health and Human Services (FDA) response to questions about fluoride:
* Chronology of Fluoridation by Val Valerian
* Parents of Fluoride Poisoned Children fluoridated salt FAQ: