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Fluoridated Water Boosts Cancer Risk

Jun 12, 2013

According to a new study in the Journal of Epidemiology, fluoridated water increases the risk of developing 23 types of cancer, particularly bone cancer in boys.

Researchers from the University of Tokyo looked at data on fluoridated water from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) for nine communities in the United States with a population totaling 21.8 million, according to Food Consumer ( The cities examined in the study include Seattle, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, and New Orleans.

The researchers reported that males who drink fluoridated water were 30 to 110 percent more likely to develop cancers of the digestive organs, esophagus, colon, rectum, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. The incidence of bone cancer in males was “positively associated” with fluoridated water, Food Consumer reports, with the increased risk ranging from 22 to 153 percent. Females experienced greater risk of Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, while males had increased risk for moncytic leukemia.

The overall cancer risk was 23 percent higher for males who drank fluoridate water and 19 percent higher for females, Food Consumer reports. The researchers said fluoridated water deserves greater consideration as a risk factor for cancer; they suggest that fluoride can cause genetic problems that may lead to the development of cancers.

Fluoride was introduced into public water supplies in the U.S. in the 1940s and 1950s in an effort to prevent tooth decay, Food Consumer explains, but fluoridation has been controversial. Researchers have investigated not only cancer risks but also neurotoxicity, skeletal fluorosis (a bone disease), dental fluorosis (mottling, staining or pitting of tooth enamel), and possible damage to reproductive organs.

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