Fluoridation: emotionally misrepresenting contamination

Another attempt by me to put the issue of contamination of fluoridation chemicals into proper context.

This time I am using data placed on-line by Sapphire Eyes Productions. They produced an emotional anti-fluoridation film Fire Water which relies heavily on the argument that fluoridation chemicals are waste products full of contaminating heavy metals. Trouble is – the data they put on-line does not support the argument – rather it destroys it as it shows that the measured levels of contamination are well below regulated limits.

You can find their data at Raw Fluoridation Chemical Analyses – Freedom of Information – South Australia Water Corp.: FOI Fluoridated Water Analyses for South Australia, 2006 – 2010.

I have extracted the relevant data – from the 16 certificates of analysis for fluoroslicic acid they presented. In the table below I compare the range of contaminant levels with the regulated maximum concentrations for New Zealand (quoted in  NZ Water and Wastes Association Standard for “Water Treatment Grade” fluoride, 1997). As mentioned in previous articles the specific impurity limits are calculated from the maximum acceptable value (MAV) of an element taken from the Drinking-Water Standards for New Zealand 1995. A further safety factor is used as described in the regulations:

“Specific Impurity Limits (SIL) have been calculated based on a maximum dosage (MD) of fluoride ion/litre of water and the maximum acceptable value (MAV) of a parameter taken from the Drinking-Water Standards for New Zealand 1995. The safety factor (SF) used in the calculation should be a minimum of 10, which reflects the view that no more than 10 percent of aMAV should be contributed by a given impurity in a water supply chemical.”

Put simply, the contamination from fluoridation chemicals should contribute less than 10% of the maximum acceptable value in the finished water.

Element Regulated maximum – ppm Range 16 certificates – ppm
Antimony 40 0.005 – <2
Arsenic 132 1.1 – 4.3
Cadmium 40 0 – <2
Chromium 660 0.6 – 7.3
Lead 132 <0.001 – <5
Mercury 26 <0.1 – 7.9
Selenium 132 <0.05 – <2

The data clearly shows that contamination is far lower than the regulated maximum in all the relevant cases. Even for mercury the high top end of the range was for only two samples all others would have contributed less than 10%

And remember less than 10% of the regulated maximum means less than 1% of the maximum acceptable value for drinking water.


So, don’t be taken in next time an anti-fluoridation activist goes on about waste products and contamination – even if they refer to specific analytical data. Insist on looking at the actual data and checking the levels against the regulations. Don’t be fooled by their tendency to flash the data and quickly move on (as they did in the Hamilton Fluoride Tribunal).

Remember, these days analytical methods can be extremely sensitive. Just because we can measure a contaminant concentration does not mean we should be concerned about it. After all, all our foods and drinks, natural or not, will contain almost any element at extremely low concentrations.We should always attempt to put the information into its real context.

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10 responses to “Fluoridation: emotionally misrepresenting contamination

  1. Sadly antifluoridationists believe that even one molecule of these micro contaminants are a health hazard, even evil since they come from an industrial source.

    This is certainly true for the rank and file who have never heard of the Law of mass action. Quite amazingly it apparently is true for some of the leadership.

    William Hirzy PhD, the formal FAN Washington DC representative published a paper arguing that money would be saved by using USP grade for water additives because of avoided arsenic caused cancer cases.

    Comparison of hydrofluorosilicic acid and pharmaceutical sodium fluoride as fluoridating agents – A cost-benefit analysis
    Environmental Science & Policy. Volume 29, May 2013, Pages 81-86 J. William Hirzy, et al. American University, Department of Chemistry, 4400 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC,. USA


    Hirzy submitted a petition based on the paper to the EPA to requesting that USP grade rather than water additive grade fluoride be used for fluoridation.

    The EPA found calculation errors which negated the thesis. Hirzy’s rejection by the EPA may be found in the US Federal Register /Vol. 78, No. 155 /Monday, August 12, 2013 / Proposed Rules p 48845.

    Hirzy then issued a “Corrigendum” sticking to his previous conclusion.


    There are additional errors in the paper.

    Like the anti’s who will not agree with your very correct analysis of the non-importance of the negligible concentrations fluoridation micro contaminant, Hirzy assumes a linear cancer risk that continues all the way to zero arsenic.   

    With respect to arsenic and cancer, in 2006 a reexamination of the Taiwanese data upon which the USA’s new arsenic allowable level based, revealed a threshold for arsenic’s carcinogenicity at 151 micrograms/L (PPB).  

    Environ Health Perspect. 2006 July; 114(7): 1077-1082.
    Arsenic Cancer Risk Confounder in Southwest Taiwan Data Set
    Steven H. Lamm, Arnold Engel, Cecilia A. Penn, Rusan Chen, and Manning Feinleib


    Clearly the tiny arsenic exposure is well below the threshold effect which Hirzy fails to cite.

    Hirzy improperly believes that USP necessarily has less arsenic than water additive grade.

    There there are good data documenting the truly minuscule arsenic burden from fluoridation water additives (NSF Fact Sheet on Fluoridation Chemicals


    Hirzy uses only a hand full of data for his USP grade concentration. There really is no actual quality control verification published for the USP purity standard. There are no obligations for independent testing to verify the quality information manufactures provide. 

    Hirzy fails to consider the arsenic load which comes as a normal part of our diets.

    In the US, the arsenic increment difference between non-fluoridated and fluoridated water is immeasurable. The NSF data shows the average arsenic concentration in drinking water from fluoridation is 0.12 ppb. The average adult drinking fluoridated water therefore consumes about 0.24 micrograms more arsenic daily than if the water were not fluoridated. The FDA Food Basket analysis shows that the average daily intake for US adults is 56 micrograms a day. Compared to normal dietary intake the fluoridation increment cannot possibly be biologically important. There are no substances for which a fractional difference of .004 causes measurable biologic effects.

    While there are no human data, arsenic has been shown essential micronutrient for some mammals. Humankind cannot avoid arsenic naturally in food and therefore a deficiency disease has never been observed except in animals on synthetic diets.

    The US EPA’s allowable of 10 ppb As was carefully created to protect the public from adverse health effects. The burden of arsenic from fluoridation is exponentially less than the level which the EPA says is safe for human health.

    Hirzy’s claim that the differential arsenic burden between USP and water additive grade fluoridated water is causing sufficient cancers to be a economic burden has been used extensively around the world oppose community water fluoridation.

    It is mind boggling that the emotional “Fire Water” propaganda film and William Hirzy, published ‘s paper in a supposedly peer reviewed journal both fail to recognize that concentration is a critically important consideration to toxicology.


  2. Clay Tanner II

    You are entitled to state your opinion which in this case is on the losing side because you fail to acknowledge that 1.) human and animal exposure to toxic chemicals in water is cumulative over a lifetime;
    2.) no study exists to show that the particular chemical compound identified in the documentary film “Firewater” has ever been tested and/or approved for human consumption yet it is being pushed as a medical treatment.
    3. you are spinner for the well funded fluoridation pushers and lack objectivity.

    The one good thing you’ve accomplished with your Open Parachute is to expose countless thousands of interested people around the world to a well-done Australian documentary and those who view it will gain greater awareness to the scam that is water fluoridation being done with toxic industrial waste – and that’s not my opinion – that’s a fact which the documentary proves beyond a shadow of a doubt in the first 15 minutes.
    So thanks for bringing greater awareness to the long running fraud which you work hard to perpetuate.


  3. Clay, that’s just too stupid to respond to.


  4. I consider the whole blog here unworthy of too much comment on either for or against because unless we have informed consent; we have no human rights at all.
    Which means Acts can be passed in parliament without our constitutional rights being met. Vic. Aus. 1973 Fluoridation Act states (sic) no one putting this medication in our water supply can be held accountable for any health problem which may/may not occur. If it is so safe and effective, why does this Act have so much prominence and why should this rider be required, doesn’t make sense unless someone knows or shall I say suspects that due to the fact there has only been data supplied taking healthy people’s response, that people with existing health concerns will most certainly fail to cope with extra added chemicals in their lives?


  5. Steve Slott

    Clay Tanner

    Assuming that the “chemical compound” to which you refer in the propaganda video is hydrofluorosilic acid (HFA), this compound does not exist at the tap in fluoridated water. It is not ingested. Thus there is no requirement, or need, for “testing and/or approved for human consumption”. Even if it were somehow possible to test a non-existent substance, it is not consumed. Additionally, as fluoride at the optimal level is not “medication” there is no fluoridating substance “being pushed as a medical treatment”.

    Your statement that fluoridation is a “scam being done with toxic industrial waste” is not “fact” under any circumstances. It is simply your own, misguided, erroneous opinion.

    Steven D. Slott, DDSS


  6. Steve Slott


    “Informed consent” is irrelevant to the public health initiative of water fluoridation. The “forced medication” ruse has been attempted by antifluoridationists in court since the very beginning of this initiative 69 years ago. It has been rejected each and every time. Fluoride at the optimal level is simply a mineral identical to that which already exists in water. There is no requirement, or need for “informed consent” any more than is there for chlorine, ammonia, or any other routine water additives.

    There are no “existing health concerns” which require additional “coping” in regard to the raising of the existing fluoride content of a given water system by a minuscule few parts per million.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS


  7. Cindy: Regarding your concerns about rights.

    For city dwellers to it’s impossible for everyone to have their own well and sewer system. We city dwellers necessarily partake of a *community* water source. That means we all get the same water, prepared by a community water treatment plant.

    And as a community source of water, it would be wise to have our water engineers and health department guided by the best science in making our water safe and healthful for the community

    Water engineers may have to add a variety of chemicals to the water to insure its safety – and to adjust the mineral content. Hard water can clog our plumbing, for example. Water fluoridation is also an adjustment of a mineral, so that we don’t get too much or too little of fluoride.

    Fluorosilicic acid (FSA), the chemical most often used to supplement fluoride, is monitored for safety with standards that exceed those of the USA’s Food and Drug Administration. It is a co-product with the production of fertilizer from earth minerals. FSA breaks down immediately into three things: 1.) water, 2.) a bit of silica (sand) which is filtered out, and 3.) fluoride ions (identical to those in ground water). Those fluoride ions, when they are in saliva, are attracted to the surface of the tooth and make it resistant to decay. This is important because the surface of teeth are constantly being eroded. (Fluoridation is unique in that it can help remineralize teeth continually.)

    If there are contaminants in a community water supply, it is highly unlikely it comes from upping the fluoride content a smidgen.

    Citizens who don’t trust science have the option of filtering their water or buying bottled water. But it is very hard to avoid fluoride since it is a common earth mineral.

    I like what Dr. John Harris of the Department of Ethics and Social Policy at the University of Manchester, UK
, had to say about this, which turns around the rights question:

    “We should ask not are we entitled to impose fluoridation on unwilling people, but are the unwilling people entitled to impose the risks, damage & costs of the failure to fluoridate on the community at large? When we compare the freedoms at stake, the most crucial is surely the one which involves liberation from pain and disease.”


  8. We’re dealing with morons.


  9. Steve Slott

    Now, that’s not fair, Cedric. Not all of them are morons. Some are illiterate morons.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS


  10. Kurt Ferre DDS, Portland, OR USA

    I did some scrolling through the You Tube video called “Fire Water”. It’s so awful, so unprofessional, but I do recommend scrolling to 1:52:08, when this fatso guy in the dark of night is putting up an anti sign, and his butt crack is showing.
    Totally cracked me up……no pun intended.


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