Excerpt from: The Devil's Poison - How Fluoride is Killing You, 2008, Trafford Publishing, by Dean Murphy, DDS
WHAT IS FLUORINE?
In order to decipher the questions surrounding fluoride [and its effect in artificial water fluoridation], we must understand the basics of what fluoride is and what it is not. To review the literature today concerning fluoride is extremely frustrating. Its description varies from a cure for osteoporosis and dental decay to a carcinogen and an element wreaking havoc on every organ and system in the body. All statements and articles cannot be true. They are far too contradictory. How can we make sense of this?
Let's start at the basics. Fluorine is an element found in nature. If you look at a periodic table in any basic inorganic chemistry text you will find it in the upper right hand corner of the table. The element is classified as a halogen, along with iodine, chlorine, and bromine. It is not and never will be a mineral. As a halogen, it is the king. It will displace all the other halogens at binding sites it comes across or comes in contact with, so it will compete with compounds containing chlorine, iodine or bromine. Fluorine is also extremely small, (second only to hydrogen) with one of the smallest atomic radii found in nature. This adds to its permeability and its ability to travel great distances if airborne.
Linus Pauling created a table called Electronegativity Values for the elements. Electro-negativity is a measure of the atom's attractiveness to electrons. Pauling classified fluorine as having the highest electron negativity value of any element. It loves electrons and will borrow and steal electrons from other elements it comes in contact with, sometimes with explosive results. The lower the electron negativity of an atom such as magnesium, calcium, or potassium, the more likely it will donate its electrons. Fluorine will bind to these minerals in nature and "borrow" its electrons to achieve its own stability.
In fact, fluorine is so reactive that it is used in the production of the nuclear fuel uranium235 from uranium238 by borrowing its electrons and leaving the isotope extremely unstable.
In nature, if we again look at the periodic table [of the elements], we will realize that if fluorine is to be found, it will probably be associated with members at the opposite end of the table. Compounds involving calcium, phosphate, potassium and especially the metals which have a tendency to lose electrons readily, (e.g.: Na+, Al+, Mg+, Fe) are attractive to fluorine and its contamination of these elements has posed a problem to industrialized man. He wants all of these metal elements in a pure form, yet fluorine is the frequent unwanted guest. The most common compounds containing fluorine in nature are fluorspar, which is a calcium fluoride compound (CaF2) and cryolite, which is a double fluoride of aluminum and sodium. Fluorine is also found in phosphate rocks and can comprise about 4% of the compound. Other common fluorine compounds are biotite, tourmaline, muscovite and apatite which is a CA+ phosphate compound.
Much of the fluorine used by dentists and municipalities today are considered contaminants to the aluminum, phosphate and steel producers. Due to its highly reactive nature, it is both expensive and hazardous to get rid of fluorine in its isolated state. Trace amounts of fluorine are found just about everywhere in nature. In fact, it is the 13th most abundant element in nature but never occurs by itself due to its reactivity with other elements. Nature has done an excellent job of deactivating this highly reactive element. Man's use of fluoride in industry is extensive. It is used in the manufacture of stainless steel, processing uranium, the ceramic industry, etching and frosting of glass, developing concrete and cement, alkylating petroleum, electroplating, sterilizers in breweries, and insecticides. For years it has been used as a wood preservative in which telephone poles would be dipped, thus preventing bacterial and fungal agents from destroying the wood.
Throughout the forties and fifties, fluorine compounds were developed for refrigerants, rubber, lubricants, aerosols, and especially plastics including Teflon. Today, the pharmaceutical companies have developed a liking for fluoride, and numerous drugs on the market today contain variable amounts of fluoride. Some of these will be explored in greater detrail.
Storage of fluorine is also a major problem. Because it is the strongest oxidizing element known, it will destroy containers made of steel, copper or nickel. The containers need to be lined with a fluoride product like rubber or Teflon to prevent destruction.
FLUORIDE IN PLANTS, WATER, AND VARIOUS ANIMALS
Fluoride in natural sources of water can be found in trace amounts all over the world. These trace amounts are always bound to minerals that are also found in the water. They are never found as elemental free fluorine and it is never found as sodium fluoride. This fact is extremely important in the consideration of fluoride ingestion.
Absorption of fluoride in man is dependant upon the aqueous solubility of the fluoride salt and its state at the time of ingestion. In other words, the bioavailability of fluorine from ingesting mineral water at 1 ppm is not the same as ingesting 1 ppm of NaF or stannous fluoride. The bioavailability of fluorine from sodium fluoride (the fluoride used in [some] municipal water supplies and in toothpaste) is 100%. The bioavailability of fluorine from hard water with other minerals present such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, is generally less than 50%. The absorption of fluorine from sodium fluoride is also 20 times faster than fluorine from limestone or other inorganic means.
Fluorine can also be found in many of our foods. Many teas are found to contain fluorine from 9 to 399 ppm. The fluorine in tea is thought to be a natural ingredient. It is not. Fluorine found in tea is from air-borne pollution, primarily from the burning of coal and petroleum, or from its uptake by fertilizers and the fluorine found in the water. Tea leaves have an airborne affinity for fluorine. Tea grown in an enclosed, air filtered environment, contains no fluorine.
Fluorine can also be found in bones of contaminated animals and used as food source such as bone meal. Bone meal can contain as much as 8000 ppm. Phosphate baking powders are also contaminated with fluoride compounds such as cryolite, barium fluosilicate and fluoroarsenate.
Fluorine has a strong affinity in nature for elements found on the opposite end of the periodic table. Phosphates, calcium, magnesium potassium products should all be suspect to fluoride contamination, especially in the concentrated form. Calcium diphosphate and calcium triphosphate are especially prevalent in fortifying many of our foods and drinks. It is frequently found in baby foods, orange juice and many products reporting a calcium supplement. There are researchers who have sampled calcium dietary supplements. There are researchers who have sampled calcium dietary supplements and have found fluoride contaminations as high as 5000 ppm. The average concentration in Dr. DeEds study measuring the amounts of fluoride in the mineral supplement dicalcium phosphate was 2700 ppm.18 The recommended daily dose of this supplement for infants was ¼ to 1 teaspoonful and children ½ to 1½ teaspoonful. At 1 teaspoonful per day taken as a supplement, the daily fluorine intake was 10 mg. This is 20 times the amount known to cause mottled enamel in children.
Pablum was touted as the perfect baby food in the 1940's through the 1960's. Dietitians were promoting it through marketing to mothers who couldn't breast feed their baby, Pablum had a hidden problem. It contained anywhere from 6 to 22 ppm of fluorine with an average of 12 ppm.19 The source was the calcium phosphates from the ground up bones of cattle. The cattle were getting the fluorine from minerals placed in their feed and in mineral licks. Both of these can be very high in fluorine. The cattle are usually killed as teenagers or very young adults so the chronic fluorine poisoning was not yet evident. The fluorine accumulates up the food chain and as we age it builds up. Some doctors correlated the high fluorine intake in children with the radical increase in cases of muscular dystrophy.20
The effect fluorine has on the developing pituitary and thyroid glands, as well as the nervous system and brain, is a great cause for concern and will be explored in the upcoming chapters.
18 DeEds, Floyd PhD The Toxicity of Fluorine in Dicalcium Phosphate American Journal of the Medical Sciences 203 May 1942 p.687-692
19 Ham and Smith Fluorine Balance Studies on Four Infants Journal of Nutrition vol. 53 (2) June 1954
20 Commander Guy Carr The Red Fog Over America CPA Book Publishers Or 1955