According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, fluoride is not recommended at all for infants under six months old. Their research recommends:
0-6 months old, zero.
6 months-3 years, 25 percent adult dose of 1 ppm (part per million).
3-6 years, 50 percent of adult amount of 1 ppm.
6-16 years, 100 percent or 1 ppm.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Nutrition. Fluoride supplementation for children: interim policy recommendations. Pediatrics 1995; 95: 777.
You can see between 6 months old and 3 years old, just a tiny part of the adult maximum of 1 ppm is recommended.
City water would add an additional 1 ppm to what you already have from the following common sources. That is my whole point. Fluoride is found everywhere in our food chain and in many products you would never suspect. For example:
Toothpaste (but you are not supposed to swallow any); tea; fruit juices; soda pop; Gatorade; wine; breakfast cereals; sh; canned sh; baby food with chicken; lunch meat; any canned food processed with fluoridated city water; any fruits or vegetables on which the most common and popular pesticide was used (Cryolite). It is commonly used on more than 30 frequently consumed things like potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, citrus fruit, etc. Fluoride does not "disappear" from these fruits and vegetables and is not tested for residues on them before you buy them from the store.
(Source - http://www.fluoridealert.org/f-concentrations.data.htm)
Consuming these things adds plenty of fluoride to your system - adding even more from your drinking water can easily overdose you.
Overdosing causes fluorosis. An easy way to tell if you already have fluorosis is to look in a mirror. If you see white flaky areas in your front teeth, you already have too much fluoride. This is permanent, and accumulates in your bones and teeth.
For pictures of this symptom, see http://www.fluoridealert.org/dental-fluorosis.htm
Over-fluoridation of your bones will make them very brittle, giving symptoms of osteoporosis. You can easily develop arthritic symptoms in your joints from overdosing as well.
The danger you perceive of not enough fluoride is actually the opposite; you face real danger of overdosing and developing fluorosis.
We don't need supplemental fluoride in our drinking water - we already get plenty. If you still insist on getting more just swallow your toothpaste. But read the warning label on the back. It says the fluoride will poison you if you swallow it.
Larry Buzzell is a Juneau resident.