What is fluoride, why is it added to water in Panama, what are the effects of fluoride on the body, skin and hair?

¿Qué es el flúor, por qué se agrega al agua en Panamá, cuáles son los efectos del flúor en el cuerpo, piel y pelo?

For a long time, different countries in the world have begun to add fluoride in the water. It is a chemical substance that has shown great utility in strengthening the mineralization of teeth, preventing cavities. For this reason, its adoption in drinking water networks in cities has been accompanied by a search to provide water in homes that can bring benefits to people's health. However, it can also have negative consequences. For this reason, we are going to tell you what fluoride is and why it is harmful.

What is fluoride and why is it added to water?

Although the presence of fluoride in water is becoming more and more common, the truth is that users tend to know little about it. Therefore, to define what fluorine is, we can start by saying that it is a chemical element with atomic number 9 that belongs to the halogen group, this means that it is a gas. It has a very strong and unpleasant odor as well as being poisonous and tends to be somewhat heavier than air. In nature it is found in the form of fluoride and its compounds are used as caries preventatives and in inert coatings.

Given what fluoride is, it is necessary to talk about the role it plays in water. In this sense, the process by which fluoride is added to the water supply until it reaches a concentration of around 0.7 ppm (parts per million) or 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water is known as water fluoridation. This is the concentration that is considered adequate to prevent cavities in people who use this water every day, both for drinking and dental hygiene.

Water fluoridation is something that occurs in different parts of the world today, as is the case in Panama. In the year 1945, it had a strong boom in the United States, after Grand Rapids, in the State of Michigan, adjusted the fluoride content in the water supply to 1.0 ppm. In doing so, it went on to become the first city to implement community water fluoridation. By 2008, more than 70% of the population of the North American country that had public water service had access to fluoridated water.

The consequences of fluoride in water

Despite the fact that it is something that has spread substantially, the truth is that more and more research is seeking to account for the negative consequences for people of the presence of fluoride in water. In this sense, various health problems have been found associated with its frequent use and consumption. One of them has to do with bone health.

They explain from the Pan American Health Organization ( PAHO ) that:

“The effects on bone are considered the most relevant for the evaluation of the adverse effects of long-term exposure of humans to fluoride. Skeletal fluorosis is a disabling disability that affects millions of people in various regions of Africa, India, and China, with significant public health and socioeconomic impact. Intake of fluoride in water and/or food products is the main causative factor in the incidence of endemic skeletal fluorosis.

With this, clear evidence has been found in both China and India that skeletal fluorosis and increased risk of bone fractures occur where people can have a fluoride intake as high as 14mg per day. However, other studies have placed this risk at only 6 mg per day.

In addition to these health problems, fluoride in water has been found to cause cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction, joint and bone disorders, and neurological problems. However, these tend to occur especially in cases where there is frequent consumption of water with fluoride, through the kitchen tap.

Fluoride and its impact on the skin

Taking information published by the International Academy of Toxicology and Oral Medicine (IAOMT), despite being a widely incorporated element for cleaning water in local networks, the truth is that added fluoride can have harmful effects on people's health and well-being. We have previously seen some problems in the bones and other body systems caused by its intake. But it is also necessary to refer to the consequences of fluoride on the skin when it is constantly exposed through the shower, the pool, among other situations.

In this sense, Burgher et al. have described that the diffusion of 70% of fluoride in human skin begins in the first minute of contact with the epidermal surface, taking only about two minutes to reach the basal layer. Subsequently, the epidermis is destroyed and the lesions appear in the part corresponding to the papillary dermis, with damage later appearing in the upper reticular dermis.

Two situations have been described. On the one hand, the reaction to fluoride as a consequence of the toxic action of its ions and, on the other, allergic sensitivity. In the first case, it has been identified that the damage depends on factors such as the duration of contact and the dose, as well as the combination of fluorine with other components. In the case of allergic reactions on their part, it has been seen that these can take place even in cases of brief exposures and with low doses, as can be the case of showering in places where fluoride is one of the components of mains water.

Effects of fluoride on hair

There is no scientific research that affirms any type of benefits for the hair with the use of fluoride. In fact, it is quite the opposite, since the use of this chemical in large quantities or constantly can increase hair loss, dryness and dullness. In addition, the use or direct contact of this chemical with the hair can also cause split ends and make it brittle.

It is not yet known exactly what amount of fluoride is harmful to hair, as there is still a lack of research that deepens these effects on human hair. However, it is advisable to eliminate its use in showers and, of course, in cosmetic products in order to avoid the negative consequences that this chemical can bring to the hair of adults and children.

How to avoid the consequences of fluoride on the body and skin?

Now that we have seen what fluoride is and the different harmful effects that permanent contact with fluoride in water can have on the health of both the body and the skin, it is time to refer to how to avoid it. The truth is that, today, the most effective way to prevent it is by using filters for the faucet, both for the shower and for the kitchen faucet. These, at present, have evolved to be able to offer an increasingly complete alternative to the different chemicals and toxic components that can circulate in the water.

Through its different filtration phases, current shower filters are designed to be able to retain, absorb and eliminate the different chemicals and components that circulate in the water, from fluoride to chlorine, limescale and other elements that have great negative implications for people's health. Therefore, the more complete the filter that is purchased, the greater the chances of accessing good quality water that is much more similar to the way in which it is offered by nature.


If you want to guarantee the health and well-being of yourself and your family, it is best to incorporate a water filter for the shower. To provide you with an effective solution to the consequences of direct skin contact with toxic agents such as fluorine or chlorine, at Sanaté we have developed excellent quality filters that will provide you with fully filtered shower water every day that is healthy for your skin and that of those you love the most.

We work under the philosophy of the power of clean water and the relationship that it has with the well-being of people. For this reason, our company arose with the vision of promoting a solution to the problems that can be generated by the poor state in which the water reaches homes. Contact us! and buy today an excellent quality shower filter that will make your bathrooms calm, fresh and without bacteria that can affect your state of health.

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