Stopping Breakouts before They Start
It can be disconcerting to learn the cystic welts on your face are caused by the fluoride added to common tap water. The everyday world takes on new shades of danger. You start to wonder about the free glass of ice water at a restaurant. Maybe you notice an unsettling feeling as you sink into a warm bath.
Preventing acne should be as effortless for you as it is for a native Kitavan Islander who inhabits the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea in the Southwest Pacific. The longterm solution is to end artificial water fluoridation and demand more responsible use of fluoride-based pesticides (see Appendix: The Plan). But you don’t have time right now to rewrite bureaucratic decrees. You need to start healing your acne today.
Artificial water fluoridation will end--and I predict it will be our generation that makes it happen--but you don’t have to wait until then before you can live acne-free. Once you understand where fluoride comes from and how it makes its way into the industrialized food supply, you will know how to choose foods and drinks that are naturally low in fluoride. More importantly, understanding those reasons elucidates how to choose options that will not contribute to future breakouts.
Fluoridated water is just the beginning, unfortunately. Soft drinks, juice, iced tea, coffee, and other beverages can all be made with fluoridated water, and if so they will contain fluoride in equal amounts or higher to the water with which they were produced.
Researchers at the University of Iowa measured fluoride concentrations of 332 soft drinks and found over 70 percent contained fluoride at levels exceeding 0.6 ppm (Heilman et al. 1999). Researchers in New Zealand examined 532 juices and juice drinks and found fluoride levels ranging from .02 to 2.8 ppm (Kiritsy et al. 1996). The researchers in both studies accounted for the wide range of fluoride in large part because of variations in the amount of fluoride of the water used in production.
Whereas beer is made from brewing certain grains in water, wine is made from crushing grapes. There’s no water added. The reason wine can contain significant amounts of fluoride is because of the Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer. A caterpillar [.6] inches [in length] with conspicuous tufts of long black poisonous spines, they feed on the undersides of grape leaves before transforming into luminescent blue-winged fairies (or moths). The Omnivorous Leafroller, a bell-shaped character with a gray bat-like snout and brown ombre wings, is also to blame. To limit crop damage from Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizers and Omnivorous Leafrollers, some grape growers use a pesticide called cryolite which acts as a deadly poison in their grapeleaf-greedy bellies.
Cryolite was already featured in the official version of the story of fluoridation outlined in chapter two, the young dentist’s interest in fluoride was sparked when he realized it was the cause of the townspeople’s brown teeth, a condition known as “Colorado Brown Stain.” In Colorado Springs, where he settled, the community watershed was high in fluoride because it contained deposits of cryolite from the rock formations of Pike’s Peak. This is the same mineral, sodium hexafluoroaluminate, that is crushed and sold to grape growers under the trade name Kryocide, although now it is widely produced synthetically by combining sodium, fluoride, and aluminum.
The Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizers and Omnivorous Leafrollers do not only feed on grapes used to produce wine, but also on grapes used to produce juice, which means the problem of fluoride-laden insecticide extends to grape juice made from the San Joaquin Valley region, as well. In a study of 43 ready-to-drink fruit juices, researchers from Tufts University measured the highest amount of fluoride in grape juice from the baby food company Gerber at 6.8 ppm, well above the EPA’s already inflated maximum contaminant level for fluoridated water of 4 ppm (Standard et al. 1991). Even fruit juices and other fruit drinks that don’t have the word “grape” in their name often contain blends of grape juice with significant amounts of fluoride. If juice is made with fluoridated water it can still contain fluoride even if it is labeled as organic.
Grains on their own don’t contain significant amounts of fluoride, but extruded breakfast cereals like “puffed” rice, “flaked” corn, and “shredded” wheat often do. The reason is because they are processed with the same type of technique used in the manufacturing of milk solids.
In the production of most commercial breakfast cereals, grains (usually rice, oats, corn, or wheat) are mixed with water, processed into a slurry, and then placed in a machine called an extruder where they are forced through a small hole at a high temperature and pressure, shaping them into lucky stars or whatever shape the mascot on the box dictates. When the water from the slurry evaporates, any fluoride it contained is left concentrated in the cereal. One study of cereals processed in fluoridated versus non-fluoridated regions found significant differences in their fluoride content, with cereals processed in fluoridated water ranging from 3.8 to 6.3 ppm (Warren and Levy 2003).
Virtually all boxed breakfast cereals are manufactured with this extrusion process, even “organic” ones found in the health food store. Since the fluoride in water is not a pesticide, it does not count for organic labelling purposes.
Heilman, Judy R., Mary C. Kiritsy, Steven M. Levy, and James S. Weelph. 1999. “Assessing Fluoride Levels of Carbonated Soft Drinks” Journal of the American Dental Association 130(11): 1593-1599.
Kiritsy, Mary C., Steven M. Levy, John J. Warren, Nupurguha-Chowdhurym, Judy R. Heilman, and Teresa Marshall. 1996. “Assessing Fluoride Concentrations of Juices and Juice-flavored Drinks.” Journal of the American Dental Association 127(7): 895-902.
Stannard, Jan G., Youn Soo Shim, Maria Kritsineli, Panagiota Labropoulou, and Anthi Tsamtsouris. 1991. “Fluoride Levels and Fluoride Contamination of Fruit Juices.” The Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry 16(1): 38-40.
Warren, John J., and Steven M. Levy. 2003. “Current and Future Role of Fluoride in Nutrition.” Dental Clinics of North America 42: 225-243.