The Chemistry of Water Fluoridation
What is Water Fluoridation?
Water fluoridation involves the intentional dosing of municipal water supplies with fluoride waste products from industry in order to achieve a fluoride concentration of approximately one part in a million by weight. That is, approximately 1 part of acidic and highly toxic liquid waste is added to roughly 180,000 parts of municipal water. Highly alkaline sodium hydroxide then needs to be added to prevent the toxic fluoride component from leaching copper from copper plumbing.
The dosing agent is a dangerous, toxic and fuming liquid with a density of approx. 1.2 g/cc. It contains approx. 20 wt % fluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) and up to 1 % of hydrofluoric acid (one of the most hazardous and corrosive inorganic acids known). This product is extremely dangerous to handle, transport and store.
HOW IS THIS PRODUCT PRODUCED?
- Phosphate rock containing between 2-4 wt. % fluoride is the feedstock; it could be obtained from Australian fertiliser manufacturers, such as Incitec Pivot Limited or from overseas (usually China). It is calcium fluoro-phosphate (Ca10F2(PO4)6).
- The feedstock is reacted with sulfuric acid to yield calcium sulfate (gypsum) and hydrofluoric acid. The latter reacts with available silica in the feedstock to yield silicon tetrafluoride.
- The gaseous Silicon tetrafluoride and hydrofluoric acid waste by-products were vented directly into the atmosphere up to 90 years ago. This POISONED citrus groves, crops, cattle and citizens in the bad old days. The atrocities resulted in much litigation against the polluters.
- Nowadays, these toxic fluoride gases are removed by “scrubbing” with water sprays to produce hydro-fluorosilicic acid which IS disposed of in municipal water supplies at extreme dilution.
WHAT IS FLUORINE and WHAT IS A FLUORIDE?
The chemical element FLUORINE is the most chemically reactive amongst a GROUP of elements that are called HALOGENS. This GROUP comprises the chemical elements FLUORINE, CHLORINE, BROMINE and IODINE. All are non-metallic elements with similar chemical properties. Iodine is the heaviest and the least reactive among the halogen group elements.
- We speak of FLUORIDES, CHLORIDES, BROMIDES and IODIDES when halogen group elements combine with metallic elements like sodium and calcium to form salts.
- FLUORIDES are SALTS of the chemical element FLUORINE. Sodium fluoride is a toxic salt that is very soluble in water. Naturally occurring calcium fluoride is a mineral which is virtually insoluble in pure water.
- Additionally there are FLUORIDE IONS. These are effectively atoms of fluorine, with one additional (captured) electron. Fluoride ions have a charge of -1 and form when a fluoride salt is added to water. Their total negative charge is exactly balanced by positively charged metallic IONS of sodium, calcium etc.
IODINE has less than 1/1000th the abundance of fluorine in the Earth’s crust. In spite of this, it is relatively enriched in marine plants. And it is truly AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT in our physiological functioning. The proof of this is that there are several thyroid gland hormones which contain 1, 2, or 3 iodine atoms in their molecular structures. These hormones assist in controlling cellular activity within our bodies. (INGESTED FLUORIDE INTERFERES WITH THESE HORMONES)
What happens when we add fluoride to water?
It is simply assumed by high school science teachers and supporters of fluoridation that all fluoride compounds dissociate entirely into fluoride ions, and harmless hydration compounds of silicon. Pure fluoride solutions do behave relatively predictably, both over the permissible pH range of municipal water supplies and in the extremely acidic environment of the human stomach. However, fluorosilicates dissociate in highly complex fashion in water, with an amazing range of complex derivatives forming at different pH values, none of whose toxicological properties has been adequately investigated. In other words, we don’t really know much about their effects on our health.
When fluorosilicates are added to water they dissociate to form fluorosilicate ions [SiF6 ] 2- with two negative electrical charges, accompanied by either two individual ions of hydrogen H+ (from fluorosilicic acid) or of sodium (Na+) (from sodium fluorosilicate). The individual elements, silicon (Si) and fluorine (F) in the fluorosilicate ion cannot move independently - at neutral pH they act as the complex substance fluorosilicate.
Fluorosilicates are therefore emphatically not identical to ‘fluorides’. In fact, fluorosilicates should not be referred to as ‘silicofluoride’, because this improperly implies that they are fluorides and have similar properties. This argument is often used to mislead audiences into believing that fluorosilicates are chemically interchangeable with true fluorides, and that adding fluorosilicate to drinking water is merely a ‘topping up’ process to augment fluoride concentrations below the ‘optimal’ level for preventing tooth decay.
When simple fluorides are dissolved in water, they are in the ionic form, F+. Provided that no aluminium is present, they remain so at all relevant pH levels, whether in pure water or in the acidity of the stomach.
Fluoride in the industrial sodium fluoride sometimes used in fluoridation is more bioavailable than that in calcium fluoride, whilst fluoride from water containing fluorosilicates is even more completely absorbed.
At around the normal pH of 7, approximately 97% of the fluorine in fluorosilicate added to the water is present in the form of ionised fluoride, F+ . At the very slightly acidic pH of 6, only 27% of the fluorine in fluorosilicate is present as fluoride - the rest is associated with other ions, and forms a number of complex and unstable compounds and ions that change over variable periods of time and at different pH values. At the acidity of the human stomach - pH2 to 3 - the proportion of fluorine atoms that are present as fluoride ions changes dramatically, and effectively no fluorine atoms are present in the ionic state.
What happens when we swallow Fluoride?
Ingested fluoride converts to hydrofluoric acid in the highly acidic environment of our stomachs. Hydrofluoric acid attacks the mucosa of our stomach lining. Large amounts of this acid WILL KILL; small amounts damage tissues and weaken the immune system. This was reported by a Dr. Ronzani way back in 1909 – almost 40 years before the first water supplies were fluoridated!
Systemically consumed fluoride enters the stomach and is transported by the blood throughout the body, including the bones, where it is chemically bonded as the mineral fluoroapatite. Fluoride progressively accumulates in bone due to the fluoride ion, F-1, replacing the hydroxyl, OH-1 ion in natural bone i.e. hydroxyl-apatite. The process involves : Ca5 (OH) (PO4)3 + F1- = Ca5 (F ) (PO4)3 + OH1- , fluorapatite.
When the kidneys are functioning properly, the body can excrete up to 50% of ingested fluoride. Malfunctioning kidneys can result in the body retaining up to 90% of ingested fluoride. Infants and toddlers can retain up to 85% of swallowed fluoride.
Kidney Health Australia and the National Kidney Foundation (US) no longer support water fluoridation.
Not only does fluoride accumulate in teeth and bones, but it also accumulates in the pineal gland. For information, studies and articles on the health effects of fluoride, go to Fluoride Alert’s Health Effects Database: http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/
Before Industrialization, environmental fluoride levels were low. Prior to the commencement of industrialization in the nineteenth Century, most parts the world experienced very low levels of exposure to fluoride, except for isolated locations near active and explosive volcanoes like Mt. Vesuvius in Italy. Here elevated levels of naturally-produced hydrofluoric acid in the volcanic gases continues to cause tooth and bone fluorosis, and impairs general health by attacking the immune system.
Today, most of the fluoride that enters the human body is from man-made industrial sources: clay + brick = 42% (lost to atmosphere); aluminium smelting = 34 %; electricity supply (coal) = 13 %; petroleum + fertilizer = 5 % each]. The latter have elevated fluorides to MAJOR atmospheric pollutant status. Farmers express concern at the increase of fluoride in soils due to the application of superphosphates.
Fluoride: The Aging Factor by Dr. Yiamouyiannis (PhD) Biochemist (1983; Health Action Press, Ohio)
This biochemist’s claim (supported by published evidence) is that fluoride, even at the so-called ‘safe’1 ppm level in drinking water, damages the body’s repair and rejuvenation capacities. The reason is that fluoride interferes with the normal operation of a number of important enzymes involved in physiological functions. Fluoride causes chromosomal damage [p. 55] and inhibition of DNA repair enzyme activity [p. 8] at the cellular level.
The US National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization have published lists of enzymes that are inhibited by fluoride concentrations of 1 ppm and less. Clearly, the effect of fluoride is damaging at the cellular level. A higher incidence of cancer deaths might be anticipated for fluoridated communities. This IS observed.
The majority of this article is from a submission to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council by Dr John Lusk.