Dentist Disputes Water Toxicity Claim


I disagree with Dr. Nestor Shapka’s position that water fluoridation is unsafe.1 Along with the use of amalgam fillings, fluoridation of drinking water is one of the longest running, most widespread health programs in existence. Dr. Shapka’s unreferenced comment that “one should never ingest fluoride, as fluoride is a toxin to all other bodily tissues and organs” is the kind of statement that is trotted out by antifluoridationists time and again. Sodium chloride is a toxin as well, and the amount found in a salt shaker would kill a person if it were ingested all at once. Even the pure drinking water that Dr. Shapka is concerned about will cause death if consumed in sufficient quantities. Ingest almost anything in sufficient quantity and it will kill you.

As to Dr. Shapka’s statement that we are “intentionally polluting our environment and ecosystems to the detriment of all other species” by adding fluoride in drinking water, I ask, where does fluoride come from in the first place? The answer, of course, is the environment, where fluoride is a naturally occurring element.

In fact, the only side effect of overingestion of fluoride mentioned by Dr. Shapka is fluorosis, a harmless though sometimes unsightly symptom of excess fluoride. Hardly a calamity of pandemic proportions. Urban water systems in Ontario that regulate their fluoride content are compliant with the range recommended in 2000 and their citizens are likely to receive optimally fluoridated water.2 A more likely source of fluorosis comes from excessive natural fluoride levels in some rural wells and water systems.

If fluoridated water is toxic, as Dr. Shapka claims, where are the legions of people dying from the effects of fluoridated water?

Dr. Greg Smith
Langley, British Columbia


  1. Shapka N. The myth about water fluoridation [Letters]. J Can Dent Assoc. 2009;75(10):682, 684.
  2. Yarmolinsky J, Ratnapalan S, Kenny DJ. Variation in urban and rural water fluoride levels in Ontario. J Can Dent Assoc. 2009;75(10):707. Available: