78 American Dental Association Testing of fluoride additives provides evidence that the levels of these contaminants do not exceed, but are in fact, well below regulatory standards set to ensure the public’s safety. NSF has prepared a detailed fact sheet, NSF Fact Sheet on Fluoridation Products (2013)11 that provides the documented quality of fluoride additives based on product samples analyzed. The NSF reports that the majority of fluoridation products as a class, based on NSF test results, do not add measurable amounts of arsenic, lead, or other heavy metals, or radionuclides to drinking water.9,11 50. Have fluoride additives been tested for safety? Answer. The claim is sometimes made that no studies on safety exist on the additives used in water fluoridation. This statement is a ruse because the scientific community does not study the health effects of the concentrated additives studies are done on the health effects of the treated water. Fact. A 1999 study12 charged that fluorosilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride did not disassociate (break down) completely when added to water systems and may be responsible for lower pH (acid) levels of drinking water, leaching lead from plumbing systems and increasing lead uptake by children. Scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluated the disassociation of fluoride additives13 and concluded that at the typical pH level of drinking water (which is normally slightly alkaline) and the fluoride levels used in drinking water, the fluoride additives quickly and completely broke down to fluoride ions and silica. Published in 2006,14 researchers at the University of Michigan verified for the EPA that theoretical predictions that hexafluorosilicate completely hydrolyzed (broke down) when added to water separating into free fluoride ions and silica ions were confirmed. The research demonstrated that there was no hexafluorosilicate that could be measured in the finished water.14 While sodium fluoride was the first additive used in water fluoridation, the use of silicofluoride additives (sodium fluorosilicate and fluorosilicic acid) began in the late 1940s. By 1951, silicofluorides had become the most commonly used fluoride additives in water fluoridation.15 Many of the early studies on the health effects of fluoridation were completed in communities that were using the silicofluoride additives, most generally fluorosilicic acid.16-21 However, at that time, the additives used to fluoridate were not always identified in research reports. As the body of research on fluoridation grew, it became evident that there were no adverse health effects associated with water fluoridation regardless of which fluoride additive was used. Additionally, over time, a number of comprehensive reviews of the health effects of fluoridation were published. These reviews which support the safety of water fluoridation include many studies conducted in large fluoridated communities which used the silicofluoride additives.22-29 There is now more than 70 years of practical experience that lends additional credence to the best available science that concludes that fluoridation is safe. 51. What is the source of the additives used to fluoridate water supplies in the United States? Answer. The majority of fluoridation additives used in the United States are derived from the mineral apatite (a component of calcium phosphate). Fact. About 95% of the fluoridation additives used in water fluoridation are by-products which come from the processing of calcium phosphate into phosphate fertilizer. About 4% are derived from the processing of calcium fluoride and the remaining 1% derived from the production of high-purity silica.* In the production of phosphate fertilizer, calcium phosphate ore (which contains apatite) is mixed with sulfuric acid resulting in a calcium sulfate (gypsum) slurry. The gaseous phosphoric acid released from this process is collected by vacuum extraction, condensed and then desiccated (dried) and formed into phosphate fertilizer pellets. Fluoride is a trace constituent (3-7%) of the mineral apatite found in calcium phosphate ore. Silica tetrafluoride is also released as a gas in the creation of the calcium sulfate slurry and is collected by vacuum extraction along with the gaseous phosphoric acid. In about half the phosphate fertilizer plants in the U.S., the silica tetrafluoride gas is condensed and
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