How Fluoride in Your Water May Cause Diabetes

The United States is one of only a few countries to add fluoride to its water, which may be contributing to rising diabetes rates.

Recent studies have unveiled the many health risks of water fluoridation, including lower IQs among children exposed to water with high levels of fluoride. That finding came from a 2012 meta-analysis conducted by Harvard researchers, while a 2014 study published in Lancet Neurology classified fluoride as a neurotoxin.

Now, a new study published in the Journal of Water and Health makes the fluoride-diabetes connection.

Fluoride May Increase Diabetes Risk

Glass Pitcher of WaterDiabetes rates have increased nearly 4-fold in the last 30 years, and show no signs of slowing. An estimated 25% of the 29 million Americans with diabetes don’t even know they have it. Water fluoridation may be contributing to the problem.

Kyle Fluegge, Ph.D., a health economist for New York City’s health department, tested the theory as a post-doctoral fellow at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Fluegge used mathematical models to examine the possible connection between fluoride concentrations in water and rising diabetes rates in 22 states from 2005 to 2010. An analysis showed a direct increase between water fluoridation and diabetes, with a 1-milligram increase in fluoride correlating with a 0.17% increased risk for diabetes. This increased risk was determined after other factors, such as diet and physical inactivity, were accounted for.

Interestingly, different types of fluoride exhibited different outcomes on diabetes risk. For instance, sodium fluoride and sodium fluorosilicate both appeared to increase diabetes risk. Sodium fluoride was the first type of fluoride to be used in water fluoridation efforts, and the one most studied in toxicology research; however, its use has been dramatically scaled back. Naturally occurring fluoride and fluorosilicic acid, on the other hand actually appeared to lower diabetes risk. These two types of fluoride, however, have each been shown to be susceptible to arsenic contamination, another concern of toxic proportions when it comes to drinking tap water.

How to Reduce Your Fluoride Exposure

There are proactive steps you can take to reduce your exposure to fluoride in your drinking water. The following suggestions are taken from the Fluoride Action Network’s Top 10 Ways to Reduce Fluoride Exposure.

  1. Stop Drinking Tap Water: Invest in a water filter (which will save you money down the line). Not all water filters can eliminate fluoride. Make sure yours utilizes reverse osmosis, deionizers, or activated alumina.
  2. Spring water is also a viable alternative to tap water. Plastic bottles can carry their own health risks, so consider a monthly delivery service that uses glass containers. The Fluoride Action Network recommends making sure your spring water contains less than 0.2 ppm of fluoride.
  3. Use a non-fluoride toothpaste and avoid fluoride gel treatments at the dentist.

For more suggestions on ways to cut back on fluoride and its associated health risks visit the Fluoride Action Network.