Monday, May 28, 2012

Environmental Impact of Fluoride on Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecosystems

Its not often one finds any international study that examines the environmental impact of fluorides from water fluoridation on the environment so its perhaps worthy to make the findings of this study available for the public to access.

While this report was undertaken in 1997, the findings of the study are still valid. The study was undertaken for a Task force established by the Mayor of Brisbane to review water fluoridation. The task force voted against commencing water fluoridation and recommended that before any such policy was commenced detailed environmental impact assessments should be undertaken to establish the environmental impact on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems.

Here are the main findings:

The Taskforce accepted that there had been little examination of the environmental effects of water fluoridation world-wide.

The Taskforce accepted that the environmental impact of fluoride has never been fully considered in the debate about whether or not to fluoridate a public water supply.

The Task force accepted that consideration does need to be given to the impact of fluoride on the biological (plants and animals) and the physical environment (waterways, soil and air) of a community.

The Taskforce accepted the findings of Dr Miller’s study of the environmental impact of a fluoridated water supply.

The Review found that Fluoride has a long term, persistent, toxicological effect on the environment.

The Review found that Fluoride is a chemical element and the introduction of any fluoride will produce a toxic response in the environment.

The Review found that fluoride would affect some species and at different stages of their life cycle e.g. an adult form of a species may be more sensitive that the juvenile (e.g. rainbow trout).

The Review found some species of freshwater fish would be at an increased risk of biological harm from exposure to fluorides.

The Review found that fisheries, especially the juvenile species would be at some risk from the introduction of fluoride. In salt water, some species of adults would be more tolerant, however, juveniles (which live in bracken water) would be more susceptible. Within a sensitive species, part of the population, that is, the ‘sensitive within sensitive’ part of the population, maybe eliminated.

The Review found that some urban vascular plants, vegetables and crops were likely to be sensitive to elevated soluble fluoride from watering or irrigation. Freshwater ecosystems were also likely to be vulnerable.

The Review found that there is a higher level risk for terrestrial and agricultural plants.

The Review found that livestock and domestic animals would ingest higher levels of fluoride from drinking fluoridated water, fluoride watered forage and local feed.

The Review recommended that prior to any decision for the release of long-term additional fluoride into Brisbane’s environment experimental studies and other environmental and biological impact assessments should be conducted on sensitive plant and animal species that reflect the region’s biodiversity,

The Review concluded that there were some sensitive species that would be affected by the introduction of fluoridated water to the environment, including terrestrial and marine species.

The Review recommended that the impact of overall total fluoride emissions into receiving ecosystem must be considered given that fluoride was a persistent toxin that bio-accumulates in the environment.

The Review found that longer term environmental effects need to be examined and concluded that areas within a limited radius of discharge points would definitely be affected by fluoride pollution.

The Review found that some marine species may decrease.

With regard to implications for human health two of the main findings were:

There was considerable concern amongst many Taskforce members that water fluoridation could increase the total intake of fluoride in excess of a safe level for babies and young children.

There was also concern about the lack of scientific research on the lifetime effects of an accumulation of fluoride in the body.

Since then nothing much has changed, except that in 2009 under a new administration  Brisbane commenced water fluoridation at a cost of $35 million undertaking any environmental impact assessment of the policy. It was notable that in there first year the population were exposed to massive concentrations of fluoride due to repeated operator errors including one instance when fluoride concentrations were administered at >30mg/l in drinking water, 30 times the acceptable standard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you have the research paper where you found all this information? I am writing an essay and cannot source a blog. If you have the report/ journal for reference that would be great.