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Green Tea Linked to Decreased Risk for Dementia

This article was previously published April 23, 2015, and has been updated with new information.

Aside from water, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world.1 In the U.S., black tea is by far the most popular, but green tea (which accounted for just 14% of the tea consumed in America in 20152) may have particularly powerful health benefits.

Regardless of variety, black and green tea (as well as oolong, dark and white teas) come from the same plant, an evergreen called Camellia sinensis. It is the processing method and degree of oxidation (exposure to oxygen) that creates the different tea types and the antioxidants available in them.

Black tea is highly oxidized, both naturally when it’s picked, and deliberately when it’s later crushed to speed up the oxidation process. Often incorrectly referred to as “fermentation,” oxidation of black tea is carefully controlled to avoid fermentation, which actually is a process used with some oolongs and other aged teas, such as Pu-erh, that involves very little oxygen.3

“Full” oxidation is also avoided with black tea making, as that would make it stale. Green tea, on the other hand, is either lightly steamed or not manually oxidized at all after the leaves are harvested.

Black tea gets its color from the abundance of tannins that it contains, which are a form of antioxidants. The rest of the antioxidants emerge as black tea oxidizes, chemically converting into complex flavonoids called Epigallocatechin gallate polyphenols (EGCGs).4

Commonly referred to as theaflavins and thearubigins, they are powerful antioxidants that some studies have shown may have significant health benefits, such as improved anti-inflammatory responses and lowered risk of coronary heart disease.5

Both black and green teas contain a similar amount of flavonoids and beneficial antioxidants; it is the minimal oxidation of green tea that may help to keep significant levels of its natural phenols and antioxidants, or catechins, intact.

As explained by the World of Tea,6 catechins are in all tea — it’s the controlled oxidation of the tea that changes the composition of catechins in the individual teas. This process usually begins after tea leaves are rolled or macerated, which breaks down the cell walls in tea leaves. The resulting reaction converts tea catechins into the theaflavins and thearubigins of black tea:

“Theaflavins provide tea with its briskness and bright taste as well as its yellow color, and thearubigins provide tea with depth and body and its orange-brown color.

… Also, during oxidation chlorophylls are converted to pheophytins and pheophorbides (pigments that lend to the black/brown color of dry oxidized tea leaves); and lipids, amino acids and carotenoids degrade to produce some of tea’s flavor and aroma compounds.”

This conversion of catechins to theaflavins and thearubigins means that the longer the oxidation, the lower the amount of catechins in the finished tea. Hence, oxidized black tea has fewer catechins but an abundance of EGCG polyphenols, while green tea, because it’s not oxidized, is full of catechins — naturally occurring polyphenols that are catching the attention of the world of science.

What Gives Green Tea Its ‘Super Powers?’

Researchers believe that catechins give green tea its “super powers.” Green tea is rich in naturally occurring plant compounds called polyphenols, which can account for up to 30% of its dry leaf weight.

Within that group of polyphenols is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), one of the most powerful catechins — the same polyphenol that is in black tea, and which has been shown to positively impact a number of illnesses and conditions. Like black tea, green tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier and has psychoactive properties.

Theanine increases levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin, dopamine, and alpha wave activity, and may reduce mental and physical stress and produce feelings of relaxation.7 Theanine may also help to prevent age-related memory decline8 and has been shown to affect areas of your brain involved in attention and complex problem-solving.9

Green tea’s popularity has led many researchers to study its effects on the human body, and their findings confirm it possesses a myriad of health benefits that reaches throughout your body. So what is green tea good for? The following section details green tea’s most powerful benefits from studies published around the world.

9 Holistic Benefits of Green Tea

Drinking green tea is associated with reduced mortality due to all causes, as well as mortality due to heart disease.10 Research also shows holistic benefits from green tea consumption, including lower blood pressure, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation.11

Heart Health — Green tea, like black tea, improves both blood flow and the ability of arteries to relax, with research suggesting a few cups of green tea each day may have a beneficial effect on endothelial function, which in turn may also lower cardiovascular risk.12

These study results also show EGCG can be helpful for the prevention of arteriosclerosis, cerebral thrombus, heart attack and stroke — in part due to its ability to relax your arteries and improve blood flow. And, according to a report in the Harvard Heart Letter, which compiled a list of green tea studies:13

“People who drank the most green tea in an observational study had a 28 percent lower risk of coronary artery disease than those who drank the least green tea. Black tea had no effect on heart risk. [Emphasis mine.]

Another 2011 meta-analysis of 14 randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials found that green tea significantly lowered LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Many of the studies had been conducted with capsules containing catechins, the active polyphenols in green tea, rather than with the beverage itself.”

The Harvard Heart Letter did issue a caveat, though, if you’re planning to add green tea to your diet in the hopes of helping your heart: because of the high oxalate levels in green tea, too much of it (more than five cups a day) could also raise your risk of kidney stones, which oxalate can cause. “When consumed wisely, though, green tea may improve your cardiovascular health,” the Letter said.

Type 2 Diabetes — While the jury is still out on whether green tea consumption can definitively lower blood glucose levels, several studies are beginning to show a positive light on this theory. For example, one study with oral supplements showed that the EGCG in green tea helped enhance glucose tolerance in genetically diabetic mice.14

Another study by a team of scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden showed that green tea helped moderately diabetic mice as well as, or better, than the popular diabetic drug, Avandia (It had no effect on severely diabetic subjects.)15

Weight Loss — There is some evidence that long-term consumption of green tea catechins is beneficial for burning fat and may work with other chemicals to increase levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis, and thereby help you lose weight.16 Also according to research in Physiology & Behavior:17

“Positive effects on body-weight management have been shown using green tea mixtures. Green tea, by containing both tea catechins and caffeine, may act through inhibition of catechol O-methyl-transferase, and inhibition of phosphodiesterase. Here the mechanisms may also operate synergistically.

A green tea-caffeine mixture improves weight maintenance, through thermogenesis, fat oxidation, and sparing fat free mass … Taken together, these functional ingredients have the potential to produce significant effects on metabolic targets such as thermogenesis and fat oxidation.”

Bone Health — Green tea polyphenols combined with a form of vitamin D called alfacalcidol could boost bone structure and strength, according to a 2010 study in mice. The mixture may reverse damage to bones caused by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced chronic inflammation, which could in turn reduce the risk of osteoporosis.18

Green tea is a relative newcomer in the bone-health arena, but previous studies have also found that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a component of green tea, blocks the activity of two molecules, IL-6 and cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2), which play a role in breaking down bone.

Vision Health — Catechins in green tea could help protect you against glaucoma and other eye diseases, as research found that the compounds travel from your digestive system into the tissues of your eyes. During the study, the catechins found in green tea were absorbed into various parts of the eyes anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours after rats were given tea.19

Cancer — Green tea components have been shown to downregulate the expression of proteins involved in inflammation, cell signalization, cell motility and angiogenesis, while an association between green tea intake and decreased risk of cancers (including ovarian and breast20) have been reported.21

Previous research has shown that green tea polyphenols act on molecular pathways to shut down the production and spread of tumor cells.22 They also discourage the growth of the blood vessels that feed the tumors. EGCG even acts as an antiangiogenic and antitumor agent, and helps modulate tumor cell response to chemotherapy.23

Mental Health — Green tea can benefit your mental health to a certain degree. Specifically, its L-theanine content can relax your mind and make you alert without inducing drowsiness, according to a 2008 study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In the study, participants were asked to consume 50 milligrams of L-theanine, and their levels were measured after 45, 60, 75, 90 and 105 minutes using an electroencephalograph (EEG) test. The researchers noted that the alpha frequency band of participants who took L-theanine was higher compared to those who took a placebo.

This suggests that regular consumption of green tea can improve alertness, since alpha activity plays an important role in your mind’s attention abilities.24

Energy Boost — By mobilizing your fatty acids, the caffeine content in green tea can be a clean, healthy source of energy compared to popular sports drinks. A study tested this hypothesis by having participants drink a caffeine drink an hour before cycling until reaching exhaustion. Compared to the group who took a decaffeinated drink, they lasted longer and also noted that the exercise was easier to perform.25

Antimicrobial Properties — Catechins in green tea possess the ability to kill bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans, a common microbe found in your mouth. In a related study, 30 subjects between the ages of 20 to 25 years old were divided into three groups — green tea, chlorhexidine and water.

Initial plaque samples were taken and the participants were asked to use their respective oral solutions for one minute. Samples were collected five minutes afterward. The results indicate that green tea was as equally effective as chlorhexidine. Based on this finding, green tea can be a safer and healthier alternative to conventional oral rinses and mouthwashes.26 Furthermore, green tea can also reduce bad breath.27

Evidence also suggests that green tea may inhibit the growth of certain viruses. Researchers discovered that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG) can potentially inhibit the spread of the influenza virus.28

Poultry farmers can also take advantage of this benefit by mixing green tea into their animal feed. According to the journal Poultry Science, adding green tea byproducts into a chicken’s diet exhibited positive antiviral effects, resulting in healthier livestock.29

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Drinking Green Tea Every Week May Slow Mental Decline

Overall, tea has about eight to 10 times more polyphenols than fruits and vegetables, but because it’s the catechins that researchers believe are the keys to tea’s health benefits,30 green tea is what they’ve focused on most in their studies.

For example, green tea shows promise for protecting brain health. In a study presented at the 2015 International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases, those who drank green tea one to six days a week had less mental decline than those who didn’t drink it.31 In addition, the researchers revealed that tea drinkers had a lower risk of dementia than non-tea drinkers. It’s not the first time green tea has been linked to brain health.

In a study of 12 healthy volunteers, those who received a beverage containing 27.5 grams of green tea extract showed increased connectivity between the parietal and frontal cortex of the brain compared to those who drank a non-green tea beverage.32

The increased activity was correlated with improved performance on working memory tasks, and the researchers believe the results suggest green tea may be useful for treating cognitive impairments, including dementia. According to the study authors:33

“Our findings provide first evidence for the putative beneficial effect of green tea on cognitive functioning, in particular, on working memory processing at the neural system level by suggesting changes in short-term plasticity of parieto-frontal brain connections.

Modeling effective connectivity among frontal and parietal brain regions during working memory processing might help to assess the efficacy of green tea for the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders such as dementia.”

Green Tea May Be a Whole-Body Health Tonic

Tea has been enjoyed for close to 5,000 years. It was reportedly discovered in 2737 BC when tea leaves accidentally blew into Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung’s pot of boiling water.34 Tea has been used traditionally as a beverage and healing tonic ever since. As reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center:35

“In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, practitioners used green tea as a stimulant, a diuretic (to help rid the body of excess fluid), an astringent (to control bleeding and help heal wounds), and to improve heart health.

Other traditional uses of green tea include treating gas, regulating body temperature and blood sugar, promoting digestion, and improving mental processes.”

Tea Readily Absorbs Pollutants from Soil

It’s difficult to find many drawbacks to tea, but there is one potential issue you should be aware of: pollutants. Green tea plants are known to be especially effective at absorbing lead from the soil, which is then taken up into the plants’ leaves. Areas with excessive industrial pollution, such as China (where more than 90%36 of the world’s green tea is produced), have been found in the past to contain substantial amounts of lead.37

While those studies looked at lead content during the years 1999 to 2001, according to a ConsumerLab.com analysis reported in 2013 and updated in 2015,38 tea from popular packaged brands like Lipton and Bigelow contained up to 2.5 micrograms of lead per serving compared to no measurable amounts in Teavana brand, which gets its tea leaves from Japan.

(Bigelow denies that these measurements are correct, and in fact points out on its website that ConsumerLabs admitted in their report that lead found in the tea leaves was not in the actual liquid portions when they were brewed.39) The takeaway, then, is don’t chew on the leaves.

So, while the lead in the tea leaves is not thought to leach very effectively into the tea you end up drinking, if you’re consuming Matcha green tea, one of my favorites, it’s especially important that it either comes from Japan or is organically grown in China, which has moved toward organic green tea production in the past few years, and in 2020, announced 132 companies in Pu’er City alone, had obtained a total of 186 organic tea certificates, ranking it No. 1 in China for organic tea.40

Matcha tea contains the entire ground tealeaf, and can contain over 100 times the EGCG provided from regular brewed green tea. Both black and green teas are also naturally high in fluoride,41 even if organically grown without pesticides. This is because the plant readily absorbs fluoride thorough its root system, including naturally occurring fluoride in the soil.

According to the late fluoride expert Jeff Green, there are reports of people who have developed crippling skeletal fluorosis from drinking high amounts of iced tea alone.42,43 If you live in an area with fluoridated drinking water, as the majority of Americans do, then you could be getting a double dose of fluoride when you drink tea.

Therefore, when selecting tea of any kind, it should preferably be organic (to avoid pesticides) and grown in a pristine environment that ensures that the least amount of fluoride, heavy metals and other toxins from soil and water possible leaches into the tea trees and leaves. A clean growing environment is essential to producing a pure, high-quality tea.

A Quick Trick to Boost the Health Benefits of Your Tea

To boost the benefits of green tea, add a squirt of lemon juice to your cup. Previous research has demonstrated that vitamin C significantly increases the amount of catechins available for your body to absorb. In fact, citrus juice increased available catechin levels by more than five times, causing 80% of tea’s catechins to remain bioavailable.44

On the other hand, while adding lemon juice is beneficial, adding milk is not. The proteins in milk may bind to and neutralize the antioxidants in tea, such that its health benefits are significantly reduced. One study even found, “All [beneficial vascular protective] effects were completely inhibited by the addition of milk to tea.”45

Finally, know what to look for in terms of quality. A telltale sign of high-quality green tea is that the tea is in fact green. If your green tea looks brown rather than green, it’s likely been oxidized, which can damage or destroy many of its most valuable compounds. Many enjoy using loose tea leaves, which ConsumerLab found may offer even more antioxidants (while also avoiding potential toxins in tea bags).

A cup of green tea will give you anywhere from 20 to 35 milligrams of EGCG, so three in a day will supply you with 60 to 105 milligrams. There are some studies that have used much higher doses than this — upwards of 1,500 milligrams a day — but as of now there’s no clear-cut evidence of exactly how much is best.

The good news is that much of the research on green tea has been based on about three cups daily, which is easily attainable, and enjoyable, for most people. Here are a few simple guidelines for making the “perfect” cup of tea:

Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle (avoid using a nonstick pot, as this can release harmful chemicals when heated)

Preheat your teapot or cup to prevent the water from cooling too quickly when transferred. Simply add a small amount of boiling water to the pot or tea cup that you’re going to steep the tea in. Ceramic and porcelain retain heat well. Then cover the pot or cup with a lid. Add a tea cozy if you have one, or drape with a towel. Let stand until warm, then pour out the water

Put the tea into an infuser, strainer or add loose into the tea pot. Steeping without an infuser or strainer will produce a more flavorful tea. Start with one heaped teaspoon per cup of tea, or follow the instructions on the tea package. The robustness of the flavor can be tweaked by using more or less tea

Add boiling water. Use the correct amount for the amount of tea you added (i.e. for 4 teaspoons of tea, add 4 cups of water). The ideal water temperature varies based on the type of tea being steeped:

  • White or green teas (full leaf) — Well below boiling (170 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit or 76 to 85 degrees Celsius). Once the water has been brought to a boil, remove from heat and let the water cool for about 30 seconds for white tea and 60 seconds for green tea before pouring it over the leaves
  • Oolongs (full leaf) — 185 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit or 85 to 98 degrees Celsius
  • Black teas (full leaf) and Pu-erhs

Cover the pot with a cozy or towel and let steep. Follow steeping instructions on the package. If there are none, here are some general steeping guidelines. Taste frequently as you want it to be flavorful but not bitter:

  • Oolong teas — four to seven minutes
  • Black teas — three to five minutes
  • Green teas — two to three minutes

Once the desired flavor has been achieved you need to remove the strainer or infuser. If you’re using loose leaves, pour the tea through a strainer into your cup and any leftover into another vessel (cover with a cozy to retain the heat)

Millions Face New Fluoridation Threats

The published science over the past decade has taught us a lot about water fluoridation, about both the very real and significant side effects inflicted on the public, but also about the credibility of those who continue to vouch for its safety.

At this point, the question we must ask isn’t whether the overwhelming risks outweigh the theoretical scant benefits, or whether more research is needed to draw strong conclusions. No, the only appropriate question now is: How much more harm will the promoters and regulators of fluoridation allow the practice to inflict on the public?

Without the Fluoride Action Network, our coalition partners, and people like you taking a stand, their answer will be a resounding, “a lot more harm!” With their credibility and influence at stake after defending fluoridation for more than 75 years, they’ve sadly shown that they’ll not only be the last to act, but that they plan to double down until we stop them.

As we speak, tens of millions of residents currently living on community water systems with no added fluoride throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are facing the imminent threat of having their water dosed with hazardous fluoridation chemicals.

The CDC has announced a new strategy and helped develop a new technology to fluoridate an addition 19+ million Americans, which will also eventually expand to Canadians, Australians and likely others.

Meanwhile, the governments in the U.K. and New Zealand have exploited the recent pandemic to pass sweeping health care reform bills that effectively include nationwide fluoridation mandates due to decades of strong pushback from residents and elected officials at the local level, keeping fluoridation at bay.

Fluoride Has Already Damaged the Teeth of Millions

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s own data taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) has repeatedly found that our children in the United States are significantly overexposed to fluoride, evidenced by skyrocketing rates of dental fluorosis.

Fluorosis is a biomarker of toxicity from ingested fluoride, and is a permanent tooth defect, causing unsightly discoloration and mottling of the teeth, weakening the enamel and resulting in increased dental decay.

damaged teeth

Ingesting fluoridated water — particularly in reconstituted infant formula — and processed foods made with fluoridated water are recognized as the primary sources of exposure, though swallowing toothpaste and fluoride prescriptions also contribute.

A 2015 review of the practice of fluoridation by the Cochrane Collaboration, the gold standard for evidence-based reviews of health interventions, found that “there is a significant association between dental fluorosis (of aesthetic concern or all levels of dental fluorosis) and [water] fluoride level.”

The CDC reported that 41% of adolescents (12 to 15) had dental fluorosis in 2004. At the time this was an increase of over 400% from the rates found 60 years prior. Then the 2012 survey found that the rate jumped significantly to 65+% of adolescents with dental fluorosis.

Now, according to a recent study (Yang, June 2021) published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety using the data from the NHANES 2015-16 survey, the “prevalence of dental fluorosis was 70% in the U.S. children.”

This means that the teeth of millions of children, teens and adults have already been damaged by overexposure to fluoride during development, and the CDC, along with the other promoters of fluoridation are fully aware. However, the teeth are not the only tissues in the body that are harmed by or accumulate fluoride. There is no apparent reason, therefore, why fluoride’s effects on the body would be limited to the teeth. As noted by renowned dentist and researcher Dr. Hardy Limeback:

… it is illogical to assume that tooth enamel is the only tissue affected by low daily doses of fluoride ingestion.

NHANES data has been used in recent published and peer-reviewed studies to link fluoridated water with a number of additional side-effects, including earlier onset of menstruation for black teens, sleep disorders in adolescents, increase uric acid levels in the blood, and kidney and liver impairment in adolescents.

Additional studies on fluoridation have also recently found higher rates of hip fractures, disruption of the endocrine system, and increased rates of hypothyroidism.

Fluoride Is the New Lead

There is now a large body of government-funded research indicating that fluoride is neurotoxic, and is associated with lowered IQ in children and a significant increase in ADHD diagnosis and related behaviors in children at doses experienced in fluoridated communities. Experts in the toxicology have likened the size of the effect to that from lead.

To date, 69 human studies, most from endemic fluorosis areas in China, have associated lowered IQ with fluoride exposure. The highest quality fluoride brain studies have been published since 2017, when the first of five NIEHS-NIH (National Institutes of Health) funded prospective-cohort studies was published (Bashash et al., 2017) finding an association between fetal exposure to fluoride and lowered IQ in Mexico.

A year later, another NIH-funded study found an increase in ADHD symptoms associated with in utero exposure to fluoride (Bashash et al., 2018).

Over the next two years, two more of these government-funded studies found similar results, linking fetal exposure to fluoridated water in Canada to lowered IQ (Green et al., 2019), and finding that bottle-fed infants in fluoridated communities in Canada had a significantly lowered IQ compared to bottle-fed infants in non-fluoridated communities (Till et al., 2020).

And just last year, the fifth NIH-funded study (Cantoral et al, 2021), found that for every 0.5 mg increase in dietary fluoride intake during pregnancy was associated with a 3.10 to 3.46-point lower cognitive score in boys. The authors stated:

“Fluoride is not an essential nutrient and … fluoride ingestion in pregnancy does not strengthen enamel during tooth formation in the fetus but has been associated with increased risk of neurotoxicity, even at optimal exposure levels …

These findings suggest that the development of nonverbal abilities in males may be more vulnerable to prenatal fluoride exposure than language or motor abilities, even at levels within the recommended intake range.”

I strongly urge you to watch and share this recent 20-minute PowerPoint presentation by professor Christine Till, Ph.D., lead author of some of these landmark fluoride studies, explaining her team’s research and findings.

In 2021, the first benchmark dose analysis conducted on maternal fluoride exposure and neurotoxicity to the fetus was published in the journal Risk Analysis (Grandjean, 2021). Benchmark doses analyses are used by the EPA and toxicologist to determine at what level a substance starts to cause harm. It is well established that a loss of one IQ point leads to a reduced lifetime earning ability of $18,000.

The analysis confirmed that extremely low fluoride exposure during pregnancy impairs fetal brain development, finding that a maternal urine fluoride concentration of only 0.2mg/L — which coincides with the level in water (0.2ppm) — was enough to lower IQ by at least 1 point.

This is four times lower than the current government “recommended” level of 0.8ppm in fluoridated communities. It’s also six times lower than the level that was recommended as “safe” by the CDC, HHS, and the American Dental Association for over 60-years up until 2011 (1.2ppm).

For perspective, A urinary fluoride (UF) concentration of 0.2mg/L is far below what a pregnant woman in a fluoridated community would have, as confirmed by two recent studies. A recent study of pregnant women in fluoridated San Francisco, California, found a mean UF concentration of 0.74mg/L. A second study with participants in fluoridated communities across Canada found a mean UF concentration of 1.06mg/L.

Both studies also found that the UF levels were significantly lower for the participants living in the non-fluoridated communities. The authors of the benchmark dose analysis stated:

“These findings suggest that fetal brain development is highly vulnerable to fluoride exposure … and provide additional evidence that fluoride is a developmental neurotoxicant (i.e., causing adverse effects on brain development in early life).

Given the ubiquity of fluoride exposure, the population impact of adverse effects from fluoride may be even greater than for other toxic elements like lead, mercury, and arsenic … and the benchmark results should inspire a revision of water fluoride recommendations aimed at protecting pregnant women and young children.”

These authors are hardly alone in comparing fluoride’s neurotoxic impact to the well-established harm of lead:

  • Dr. Dimitri Christakis, MPH, and Dr. Frederick Rivara, MPH, editors for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on their podcast (around 4:25): “[The 4.5 IQ loss is] An effect size which is sizeable — on par with lead.”
  • Christine Till, PhD, co-author of several landmark fluoride/neurotoxicity studies, on Canada’s CTV: “4.5 points is a dramatic loss of IQ, comparable to what you’d see with lead exposure.”
  • David Bellinger, Ph.D., MSc, Harvard professor of neurology, on NPR: “It’s actually very similar to the effect size that’s seen with childhood exposure to lead.”

Other experts, including Linda Birnbaum PhD, former Director of the National Toxicology Program, stress the need to avoid fluoride:

“Given the weight of evidence that fluoride is toxic to the developing brain, it is time [to] protect pregnant women and their children [and recommend they] reduce their fluoride intake.”

There are now nine fluoride mother-offspring studies linking fluoride exposure to harm, and 23 studies published on the association between fluoride exposure and reduced IQ since 2017.

How FAN Responded to the Science

Because of the growing list of published fluoride-IQ studies, and the downplaying of their importance by pro-fluoridation advocates such as the Division of Oral Health at the CDC and the American Dental Association, FAN embarked on two initiatives in 2016.

First, we requested the National Toxicology Program undertake a systematic review of ALL the studies (animal, human and cellular) pertaining to fluoride’s potential to damage the brain. The NTP agreed with our request, and they plan to publish the final results of their multiyear review of fluoride neurotoxicity any day now. In the two first drafts the NTP concluded, “that fluoride is presumed to be a cognitive neurodevelopmental hazard to humans …”

The review drafts identified over 100 studies showing adverse effects including IQ loss and increased ADHD. Among 27 studies designated as high quality, 15 show fluoride injury at the same exposure levels found in community fluoridation programs.

Second, we petitioned the EPA under provisions in the Toxic Substances and Control Act to ban the deliberate addition of fluoridation chemicals to the drinking water supply because it poses an unreasonable risk to the developing brains of children. The EPA’s lack of action led to FAN suing them in federal court.

The initial phase of the trial was held in June 2020, concluding with the judge saying, “I don’t think anyone disputes that fluoride is a hazard.” However, the court is awaiting the final NTP report before moving forward with the final phase of the trial. Here is a short video update on the lawsuit from FAN’s attorney.

This past year, FAN embarked on a two more initiatives. We communicated with the U.S. surgeon general about the risk posed by fluoridation to developing children, and asked that he take action to warn parents.

We also initiated a dialogue with CDC officials (see initial letter signed by 112 professionals) that ultimately led to them organizing presentations for their leadership from several fluoride/neurotoxicity study authors, Dr. Bruce Lanphear, Christine Till, Ph.D., and Dr. Philippe Grandjean on their research.

How Promoters Have Responded to the Science: A New Threat

It has been six months since the CDC heard the presentations on neurotoxicity from the three veteran researchers, and it’s been over a decade since the CDC acknowledged that fluoridation has damaged the teeth of millions.

Yet, the CDC, along with the EPA, World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dental Association and their state level peers not only have failed to warn residents about the dangers posed by fluoridation, but have continued advocating for fluoridation expansion in spite of the science.

The CDC has partnered with the chemical industry to target 19 million residents in 32,000 small and medium sized communities across the United States that do not add fluoridation chemicals to the public drinking water. Using your tax dollars, the CDC provided upward of $2 million dollars in funds to private business to develop a fluoridation delivery product for water systems serving between 50 and 10,000 people.

The widespread sale and promotion of this new product began in January throughout the U.S., but is also planned for Canada and Australia in the near future. The American Dental Association has joined the CDC in pushing this new strategy.

In July of 2021, the CDC held a “Public Health Grand Rounds” presentation on fluoridation. While there was no mention of the large number of new studies linking low levels of fluoridated water to neurotoxicity, it was an infomercial for a new technology that the CDC and ADA were calling “a game changer” in their efforts to expand fluoridation.

Below is a slide from that presentation, where you can see they intend to increase the percentage of fluoridated water systems from 73% to 77% — representing 19 million people on 32,000 water systems — by 2030.

cdc press release march 2021

This goal isn’t exactly new. The CDC and ADA have utilized a number of strategies over the past decade to expand the practice, but largely due to FAN and our network of local volunteers and professionals, the number of fluoridating communities has actually decreased, while the population served has increased slightly due to urban growth.

To accomplish this significant increase over the next eight years, they intend to utilize a new fluoridation system specifically designed to be simple and cheap enough for even the smallest water systems, which could include private systems, or even colleges and public schools.

They’re calling it the “New Wave Fluoridation System.” It utilizes compacted sodium fluorosilicate in a tablet form designed to dissolve over time in a small amount of water, much like the deodorizer tablets used in urinals.

supporting rural health

We have learned that this process started in 2013, when CDC’s chief fluoridation engineer, Kip Duchon, suggested that the CDC help develop a product that was feasible for small and rural communities. Soon thereafter the CDC announced a Small Business Innovation Research grant opportunity — providing upward of $2 million — for private business to develop and test the idea.

KC Industries, of Mulberry, Florida, was awarded at least two large grants, one to develop the tablet and the other to develop the injection/feeder system.

KC Industries is a small chemical manufacturer with a handful of employees. According to their website, “The plant was built by Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation and began producing Sodium Fluorosilicate in 1957 as a raw material to manufacture aluminum.”

KC Industries purchased the facility in 1999 and appears to have focused heavily on the “dry” fluoride drinking water additive market with sodium fluoride. Here is their page on their sodium fluoride product; it’s worth a quick look.

Over the past 20 years, more communities have switched their additive to fluorosilicic acid, which is an incredibly dangerous and corrosive liquid, but is cheaper. This led to a massive decline in sales of dry additives, and KC Industries’ profits.

According to their press release, they were struggling until the CDC’s grant, which they say provided “a new lease on life” for the chemical company. They’re expecting “an immediate return on investment” as communities clamor for the new system.

KC Industry representatives have said that interest in the system has come from around the world. The first community to use the product as part of a free pilot project is Cleveland, Georgia. Other communities that have signed on include Marathon, Wisconsin; Center, Colorado; and Aulander, North Carolina. The Missouri state legislature has also included nearly $4 million in funding over the next few years to go toward grants to expand the program in their state.

The CDC employee who initiated this process, Kip Duchon, has retired from the CDC and is now a consultant to the ADA’s National Fluoridation Advisory Committee.

The ADA has already called it a “game-changer” and lobbied Congressional members to include taxpayer funding for this technology in the recent infrastructure bill intended to help economy out of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the CDC also continues to give very large taxpayer-funded grants to states to pay for public relations campaigns to promote fluoridation.

Pandemic Exploited to Mandate Fluoridation in UK, New Zealand

Even worse than what is happening in North America with the new tablet fluoridation system, is the recent passage of legislation in both the United Kingdom and New Zealand, transferring authority over fluoridation from local officials (and indirectly the public) to unelected public health bureaucrats who have vowed to mandate the practice throughout their respective nations without concern for what the public wants.

Both nations include fluoridation resolutions as part of a much broader legislative effort to centralize public health decisions in response to the pandemic. The U.K. and New Zealand will now join Ireland and Singapore as the four public health outliers in a world that has overwhelmingly rejected fluoridated water.

Last year, the New Zealand government revived, amended and passed a bill that was introduced in 2016, but lacked enough support for passage. As introduced, the bill would have moved fluoridation decisions from local councils — where they reside presently — to district health boards.

However, the current government amended the language to centralize fluoridation authority even further, by giving full control to the director-general of health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield. Using this process defied the normal democratic process, with no select committee, community consultation or public input. Local councils (and local taxpayers) will be responsible for all capital and operational costs.

Like the CDC, government officials and public health officials were warned in advance of the harm their decision would cause, yet they ignored it.

Some local leaders have quickly made their opposition to this proposal heard, including the mayor of Whangarei, Sheryl Mai, who said, “People who drink water from the tap will be mass medicated whether they want to be or not.”

Mayor Greg Lang of Carterton, and Mayor Alex Beijen of South Wairarapa, both opposed the measure because it took councils, consumers and ratepayers out of the decision. Officials in Christchurch and Southland have also recently voiced opposition, saying safety is a greater priority than fluoride. Clearly, there is still a chance for those communities that push back against this proposal.

In the U.K., decades of efforts by the government to expand fluoridation stalled having reached only 10% of the population. Efforts to fluoridate Northern Ireland failed miserably with 22 councils voting against the measure. Scotland too remained unfluoridated. Efforts over the last two decades to fluoridate Southampton, Manchester, and Hull also failed.

As a result, Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed an addition to the large Health and Care Act that would effectively mandate fluoridation by giving the health secretary, Sajid Javid, unilateral power to force communities throughout the country to add fluoridation chemicals to the public water supplies.

FAN coordinated with locals to mount opposition to this proposal, including a series of public letters from British scientists accusing public health officials of ignoring the science. The opposition culminated on the floor of the House of Lords, where a number of members spoke out against the proposal, including Lord Reay, who warned of the dangers posed to developing children.

Since passage into law, FAN has made an official submission to the government urging the Department of Health and Social Care to perform a health risk assessment on the effects of fluoridated water on the pregnant woman, the fetus and the formula-fed infant, before implementing fluoridation into the U.K. No regulatory agency in any fluoridating country has ever done this.

However, as the U.K. is contemplating expanding fluoridation to the whole country, it is essential that this is done before they embark on this program.

The Last Line of Defense

I want to conclude by asking the same question I asked at the beginning of this article, but rephrased: How much more harm will YOU allow the promoters and regulators of fluoridation to inflict on the public?

As I write this, millions of developing babies and infants are being overexposed to fluoride from their fluoridated tap water. The research has shown that there is no safe amount of fluoride for the fetus or infant. All will be impacted, some significantly more than others.

Please help us defend these vulnerable children and give them the gift of normal brain development. Help us also protect other vulnerable subpopulations, including those with hypersensitivities, dental fluorosis, bone brittleness and kidney, liver, or thyroid impairment.

The Fluoride Action Network is a nonprofit advocacy group set up in 2000 to broaden awareness among citizens, scientists and policymakers on the toxicity of fluoride compounds. It maintains the largest online database for fluoride toxicity studies, and has helped many of the 300+ communities that have ended or rejected fluoridation chemicals since 2010.

We’re amplifying the voices of a growing chorus of renowned international experts in toxicology, neurology and environmental toxins, warning the public about fluoridation, and educating and recruiting more to speak out.

We’ve captured the surgeon general’s and the CDCs’ attention, made progress with our federal lawsuit against the EPA, helped communities come together to fight fluoridation, and worked with state legislators to defeat mandate bills and support prohibition efforts.

Can you help us continue defend our water and our health, and expand our efforts as new threats arise here in North America and around the world in the United Kingdom and New Zealand? Will you stand with FAN?