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Fluoride: the substance

     What else is in this glass
   
  apart from H2O?

There are many types of pollutants created by industrial processes.
However, this page deals with the pollutants hydrogen fluoride gas (HF) and
hexafluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6).

Before the advent of legislation controlling the emissions of airborne pollutants from factory chimneys
(stacks), it was a common occurrence for livestock in fields downwind of these factories to sicken and die.
One of the pollutants was hydrogen fluoride. Click here to view

The ceramic, aluminium and phosphate fertiliser manufacturing industries all create fluorides as waste by-products. The majority of waste by-products are potential pollutants although efforts have been made in
the last 50 years to sell them to other industries which use them in other manufacturing processes, as
occurs in the case of fluorides which are used as fluxes. This is an admirable aim. . .

. . .but selling on the fluoride waste for adding to drinking water
is a bridge too far!

Phosphate fertiliser production supplies all the commercial grade hexafluorosilicic acid in the world.

During the process of making phosphate fertilisers, fluorapatite ore is broken down in order to isolate
phosphorus (P) which is the ‘product’. These days, the waste by-product - the particulate-laden hydrogen
fluoride gas - is captured in the factory chimneys by wet scrubbers (filters) and is washed back down the
chimney using water and silicate minerals before collection in barrels. Click here to view The waste in the
barrels is a 10%-25% solution of hexafluorosilicic acid – H2SiF6. It contains impurities which were
originally
in the fluorapatite ore,  Hexafluorosilicic acid is commonly known as fluoride.


The table (Table 5) is from a publication by the British Fluoridation Society (BFS): One in a Million, 2nd Ed.
Ch. 6. Some of the impurities are listed in the table together with the amount, in micrograms (μm), found
in each 1 milligram (mg) of commercial grade fluoride.  Authoritative information on the upper parameters of contaminants in H2SiF2 is contained in British Standard BSEN 12175 which is impossible for the lay man to purchase because it’s circulation is classified as 'Restricted'. The BFS admits that their version of the table is a summary of BSEN 12175 and some impurities are quite obviously missing. For example, fluorspar (aka fluorite or Blue John) rock which used to be mined in the Peak District contains uranium. Even today, Derbyshire groundwater extracted for the Natural Mineral Water (NMW) bottled water industry contains traces of uranium. Click here to view the report.  Other 'versions' of apatite ore from other parts of the world contain plutonium, cobalt, strontium, molybdenum, etc. 

Table 5   Impurities added by dosing hexafluorosilicic acid (mg/kg is the same as parts per billion, and micrograms per litre (μg/l) is the same as parts per billion).


Source: BFS, One in a Million 2nd ed. (2004?), Ch. 6, p.46


Calcium fluoride (CaF2) leaches from fluorspar (fluorite) mineral which is found in rocks in many areas in the East of England.  Fluorite comes in a wide range of colours: white, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, brown, bluish black and colourless.  All fluorides are toxic to humans but CaF2 is regarded as being relatively harmless due to its extreme insolubility:  the calcium and the fluoride form a strong bond.  Nevertheless, where the level of natural calcium fluoride in the water supplied by water companies in the East of England is more than 1ppm, non-fluoridated water is mixed with the fluoridated water in order to reduce the level of fluoride down to below 1ppm. 

The H2SiF6 used by English water companies comes from YARA's operations in Finland at their Siilinjarvi plant. 
LINK
The acid is either part of the plant's Hazardous waste (135 tonnes per annum), or their Non-hazardous waste (5,263  tonnes per annum).  It travels to YARA at Immingham Docks in Lincolnshire from where it is tankered or put in barrels for onward transmission to water companies.  YARA state that 5.36mg of the acid per litre of water is added to our water supply in order to achieve the 'optimum' 1mg fluoride per litre of water since the fluoride content is 20% of the acid.

What’s a ppm?
The pro-fluoridationists like to make out that the amount of fluoride added to our drinking water is very small indeed but this is a smoke-screen. The title of the British Fluoridation Society’s publication, One in a Million, implies that since it is present in our water supply as a ‘one-millionth’, this quantity is nothing to worry about. This is a clever manipulation of the facts to artificially diminish the toxicity of the substance.

You’ll often see 1 ppm expressed as 1 mg F/litre water. They are the same, but 1ppm is easier to write.

The conversion from 1mg to 1ppm is:

1 milligramme (mg) = one-thousandth of a gramme.

1 gramme = one-thousandth of a kilogramme.

Therefore there are 1000 milligrammes (mg) in a gramme and 1000 grammes in a kilogramme (kg)

Therefore, there are 1000 x 1000 = 1,000,000 mg in a kg

1 kilogramme of water has the capacity of 1 litre
(or I litre of cold water weighs 1 kilogram).

This is a standard of the metric system.

In the same way that 1 kilogram contains 1 million milligrams, 1 litre of water contains 1 million parts.

The amount of fluoride added to our water supply is one-millionth of a litre of water = 1 part per million or 1ppm.  It doesn't sound very much and, at first glance, it seems it is not enough to get steamed up about but when 1mg Fluoride is converted into atoms, the outrageousness of the water fluoridation policy becomes all too apparent.

In order to calculate the number of atoms (anions) in 1 mg Fluoride, we apply Avogadro's Constant (also known as Avogadro's Number)

Avogadro’s Number and beyond. . .

1ppm of fluoride in our drinking water is quite a lot when compared with the absolute permitted maximum amounts of
arsenic (10 part per billion - ppb) or lead (10 ppb) in our drinking water. (Water Quality Regulations, 2000)

It is often stated that fluoride is marginally less toxic than arsenic and marginally more toxic than lead so it soon becomes apparent that West Midlanders are slowly being poisoned!  There is a great deal of difference between ppm and ppb!

The dilution argument favoured by pro-fluoridationists is another smokescreen to make fluoridation sound like a homeopathic remedy. It may well be diluted but there is still 1mg of fluoride in every litre of water when it arrives at your kitchen tap and this amount is far greater than the amount of an element remaining in a homeopathic medicine after it has been diluted down almost to non-existence.

If 1ppm or 1mg doesn’t sound much, it’s because these quantities are used to good effect by pro-fluoridationists who politically engineer the quantity to make it look like tiny amounts. However, converting 1 ppm F- into atoms gives us a better idea of how much of the stuff we’ve been ingesting, dermally absorbing and bio-accumulating all these years since the mid-1960s.

Each anion (negatively charged atom) is capable of disrupting the action of one 'molecule' of an enzyme.  50% of ingested and absorbed fluoride bioaccumulates in a healthy human.

Go to Avogadro's Number for an explanation of how the number of atoms (anions) per litre of water is determined.

Every time we drink a litre of fluoridated tap water, we’re ingesting 32 million, million, million F- anions.

50% is bioaccumulated meaning that 16 million million million F- anions remain in the body and 16 million million million F- anions leave the body in the urine and faeces.

Bioaccumulation in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is 70%, so the number of bioaccumulated anions is greater.

But most of us drink 2 litres of fluoridated water (or equivalent) every day, so we’re bioaccumulating
16 million, million, million x 2 = 32 million, million, million F- anions every day.


In the body, each F- anion acts as an enzyme inhibitor which has the potential to disrupt the beneficial action of an enzyme molecule. (Ref: Green. N.P.O. et. al.,(1990) Biological Science, 1 & 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0 521 38380 3, p. 177)

Also, from page 125, Table 5.1 in the above publication, there is a list of essential elements which are used in the construction of our bodies.  Fluorine/fluoride is not one of them!  This implies that we have not evolved to successfully metabolise fluoride and this further implies that if we can't expel it from the body, it hangs around "doing no good" by inhibiting the actions of a whole range of enzymes. If it doesn't inhibit enzymes, then it incorporates into living bone and changes the structure of that bone.

Is it not a contradiction for pro-fluoridationists to state that fluoride is safe and effective when this particular element is not naturally catered for as part of an enzyme pathway?  No-one yet possesses an enzyme which can make use of the fluorine anion and it will be millions of years before our bodies could evolve an enzyme which needs fluoride or which can lock it away safely so that it does no harm!  So, if our bodies cannot make use of fluoride in an enzymatic pathway, it's an interloper.  It acts like a rusty key in a lock - it occupies the lock but cannot unlock the door,  Thus, it's correctly described as being an enzyme inhibitor.  Because of its presence in our bodies, our metabolic processes are not working at 100% efficiency.  Not only is the medicine being force-fed it's not even a benign medicine!

"Toxicologists are fond of the axiom, it's the dose that makes the poison." (Colborn, 1997).  Infants on baby formula made up with fluoridated tap water receive regular daily doses of an enzyme inhibitor, and they are getting more of this enzyme inhibitor than is recommended.  A baby should never receive more than 0.7ppm fluoride per day, yet, if it drinks the average 1.3 litres of baby formula per day, it's being overdosed by 0.6ppm fluoride. On top of this, there's the fluoride absorbed during bathing in fluoridated water and inhaled from pillow cases, towels and clothing.  To convince yourself of the seriousness of this situation, go back up the page to check on how many fluoride anions there are in 1ppm fluoride.

The fluoride ion, pictured below on the right, is the most electro-negative elemant known to mankind.  Its negativity occurs because it grabs an electron from another element.  Fluoride and other elements such as nickel, mercury, cadmium and arsenic are agents of oxidative stress in the body.  The result is that the body becomes imbalanced.




... but is Fluoride truly a toxin?

Returning to Baroness Hayman's written answer in 1999 (Hansard, 20th April 1999: WA 158) when speaking on behalf of the Labour Government, it most certainly is a toxin.  "We accept that dental fluorosis is a manifestation of systemic toxicity".   Medicines are intended to cure us or to prevent a human disease whilst at the same time, not causing any harm.  If we are prescribed medicine by our GP and are told about unpleasant side effects, it's up to us to decide whether to go ahead with the treatment.  This is the principle of informed consent and, in accordance with the NHS Constitution, it is our legal right to refuse that medicine.  Fluoridated water is a medicine or medical treatment, albeit illegal and unlicensed, and again, it's up to us to decide on whether we should ingest it.  With the water companies holding a monopoly, we have little chance of avoiding fluoridated water unless we take avoiding action - which is often difficult, especially when one is living on a limited income.    

Dental Fluorosis is a biomarker:  The manifestation of Dental Fluorosis indicates that there is too much fluoride in the body.  In a similar vein, the biomarker of a blue line along the gum is a manifestation of there being too much lead in the body.  And abnormal or iregular pigmentation of the skin and/or brittle finger nails with white lines are biomarkers for arsenic toxicity.   Arsenic, lead and fluoride toxicity all produce even more unpleasant side-effects but the similarity ends here since whilst lead and arsenic poisoning have been extensively researched in the past and have been taught in Medical School, the acknowledgement of fluoride toxicity lags behind because it is not included in Medical School lectures and text books.  Many medical books mention fluoride in passing as being efficacious in preventing dental decay but go no deeper.  Until the symptoms are included in Medical text books, it stands little chance of being taken seriously.  To be included in medical text books, serious research is required.  Serious research is not being done because the DH is most reluctant to spend money on this research.  Also, for reasons known only to the DH, fluoride is a forbidden topic.

So to summarise this section, licensed medicines often cause unpleasant side effects which we can avoid if we say 'NO';  the toxins lead and arsenic often produce unpleasant biomarkers and even more serious symptoms which we can negate once we've been advised on how to exclude the sources of lead and arsenic poisoning from our bodies;  the toxin fluoride often produces an unpleasant biomarker (Dental Fluorosis) and even more serious symptoms which we cannot altogether avoid because the water companies have the monopoly for the supply of tap water.  Furthermore, although the public can easily get a doctor's opinion on toxicity caused by licensed medicines, and by lead and arsenic, it would be a very rare doctor indeed who could give an opinion on the toxic side effects of fluoride toxicity.

When is a hazardous waste not a hazardous waste?

H2SiF6 is a fuming acid which decomposes above 22o C to produce toxic, corrosive fumes of silicon
tetrafluoride and hydrogen fluoride. UK legislation regulating waste disposal classifies H2SiF6 as a
hazardous waste. Inorganic fluorides have the designation of C20 and H8 (corrosive) in Annexes II and
III respectively of The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005. If the manufacturers of
ceramics, aluminium and phosphate fertilisers wish to dispose of the acid, it has to be treated before being
sent to hazardous landfill at their expense and this inevitably increases costs and reduces profits.

  Fluoride in a tap near you. 
  Put it behind bars.  Lock it
  away: 
don't let it escape
  into the environment!



   Industrial uses have been found for the waste acid, but this can't possibly
   account for its entire
production. Industrialists were still left with an 
   uneconomic disposal problem. Water fluoridation programmes and Public
   Relations'  companies in the States and in other fluoridating countries 
   conveniently solved the industrialists’ headache: the hazardous waste 
   by-product miraculously transmogrified into a valuable co-product
   Environmental legislation was massaged and the ‘hazardous waste’ label was
   vanished. 

   Job done!




It’s a principle of waste disposal that waste should be safely disposed of in the country or region of its
arising.  This does not apply to member states of the EU.  H2SiF6 has been veneered with magical beneficial properties and is now shipped from Scandinavia and Spain to end up in water treatment works throughout England and Ireland.
 
So an expensive headache for industrialists has become a money-making way of getting rid of a hazardous
waste.  What is galling is that our own politicians and civil servants are prepared to allow this 'fouling of our own nest'.


Who in the West Midlands pays for the acid?  The SHAs and PCTs reimburse Severn Trent and South Staffs Water who initially pick up the tab.  When it comes to refurbishing the fluoride dosing installations, the Department of Health uses tax-payers' money.  Go to Lintott Wins Gold for a description of the specifications of each fluoride dosing installation.

Most of our tap water is wasted so only 1%-3% of the hazardous waste in our taps combine with our tissues while 97% - 99% goes down the drain and eventually finds its way into English and Irish rivers, canals, streams and lakes. 
It most certainly finds its way to the sea because fluoride is soluble, very little settles out.  On its journey downstream, it adsorbs onto biological solids which will be picked over by river life.  Any fluoride remaining in the river water will eventually find its way to the sea. 

In a letter from Severn Trent (S. Cocks 8th Sept 2010), the writer states  "Typically about 50 to 60% of the fluoride is removed from the effluent in an activated sludge plant, ie typically 0.5 mg/l will be discharged  to the receiving water with the balance being removed from the sewage treatment plant in the sludge."  
In a communication with the Environment Agency on 18th Oct 2010, the writer stated "the use of sewage sludge on agricultural land is controlled by the Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations. The Environment Agency has responsibility for these regulations in England and Wales.  A government Code of Practice for Agricultural Use of Sewage Sludge includes a section on soil limit and permitted rates of application for sewage sludge.   Fluoride is one of the potentially toxic elements considered in the Code.   An environmental analyst (Cross, 2010) considers that fluorosilicates are capable of filtering down into aquifers which provide groundwater used for drinking. 

What knock-on, negative effects does this have on the health of freshwater fish and mammals, North Sea fish stocks and friendly relationships with those Scandinavian neighbours who are not responsible for producing the hazardous waste? Newcastle-on-Tyne is fluoridated. Even water-borne fluoride from West Cumbria (which is also fluoridated) reaches Scandinavian waters.

Question: when is a Scandinavian and Spanish hazardous waste by-product no longer an atmospheric pollutant?

Answer: when it’s relabelled as a highly desirable valuable co-product of the Scandinavian and Spanish phosphate fertiliser manufacturing process, sold to our water companies and drip-fed into our bodies and into our freshwater and marine systems.

          Why is the Precautionary Principle being ignored by European politicians?

Ref:  Cross, D. (2010).  Toxicological risks from novel forms of fluoride in drinking water and in the environment. http://www.ukcaf.org/files/novel_fluorides_in_the_environment.pdf