FLUORINE AND OTHER HALOGENS
By Frank Miller, M.D.
The term "halogen" comes from hals, the Greek word for salt. Halogens consist of a group of elements that are highly reactive with other elements and compounds. The halogens fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine are used as antiseptics because they are so highly toxic. Fluorine, for example, is so dangerous that gloves and face shields must be used when working with hydrofluoric acid and accidental exposure should be treated as a hospital emergency.
Halides are compounds containing a halogen. Halides are less reactive and more stable than halogens. Many halides have industrial applications only because they are not known nutrients and may deadly if ingested. Biologically useful halides such as potassium chloride, sodium chloride, and calcium fluoride are necessary nutrients for our health and help to protect our bodies from infection.
We can't live without fluorine. Good fluorine, as calcium fluoride, is found in the thyroid gland and throughout the body to help the tissues resist infections. It also provides flexible strength to the tissues of the body including the skin, teeth and bones. Calcium fluoride is a necessary nutrient found in seafood. It occurs naturally in water as fluorspar.
Calcium fluoride is up to ten times more resistant to being dissolved by acid than any other form of calcium. For this reason it gives teeth strength and smoothness free from the pits and cracks that allow decay. Calcium fluoride also allows teeth to remineralize after repeated attacks of acid from eating and drinking demineralized food and water. It also protects the teeth from Streptococcus mutans the most virulent species of tooth decaying bacteria. Calcium fluoride and other calcium salts are so important to the body that the body is willing to sacrifice bone mass to keep adequate amounts of calcium circulating in the bloodstream.
Dissolved fluoride salts form ions that are about the same size as oxygen ions. Both are small enough to pass through a carbon filter but they can be destroyed or lost with the distillation of water or reverse osmosis (RO) methods of water purification. Deficiencies of fluoride ions can result in poor eyesight, frequent or chronic infections, infections of the teeth, dental caries (tooth decay), and osteoporosis.
On the other hand, the fluorine used to fluoridate municipally-treated water is extremely toxic by skin contact and breathing. Called fluorosilicic acid, sodium silicofluoride or sodium fluoride, excessive accumulation can cause fluorine poisoning (fluorosis) with acute symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cramps, as well as chronic conditions such as severe bone changes that can make movement painful and produce hip fractures. Fluorosilicic acid can aggravate asthma and irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat. Excessive accumulation of toxic fluorine has been linked to non-stick coatings on cookware. Fluorine poisoning is commonly the result of drinking and bathing in tap water and from the use of toothpaste and and other dental products.
Fluorine and chlorine added at water treatment sites can also speed up the body's absorption of aluminum from food additives, medicine, cosmetics, cookware, and industrial contamination.
However, the beneficial form of fluoride and the other protective minerals that occur naturally in water can stop us from absorbing many of the contaminants that are commonly in the public water supply and some bottled waters. The protective fluoride and minerals are absent from demineralized water.
In other words, the body selects minerals from food and water sources, based on what is available. For instance, if water has been treated with a toxic fluorine additive but naturally-occurring calcium fluoride was also present in the water, some protection against harmful fluorine would be provided. But if there was no helpful calcium fluoride, the harmful fluorine would be taken into the body tissues instead. The protective form of flouride can prevent you from absorbing the harmful forms.
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