Manataka American Indian Council









Fluoride - dangerously high levels found in pet food

By Melissa Solis - Houston Pet Care Examiner


Pet food has a new level of danger hiding behind its labels. Environmental Working Group (EWG) just released a new study that showed high levels of fluoride in eight of ten pet foods tested. Consuming fluoride can lead to many serious health concerns.

When selecting a pet food, fluoride levels is not something most people would look for on the label, however when you consider the latest study published by EWG, fluoride contamination appears to be a risk with some pet foods.  “Eight of 10 dog food brands tested by an independent laboratory commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG) contain fluoride in amounts up to 2.5 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) national drinking water standard.” The problem is with pet foods and even people foods, is that the fluoride level is not mentioned anywhere on the label.

Most of the fluoride contamination in dog food comes from an unsavory mix of bone meal and various meat byproducts added to dog food. The 8 high-fluoride brands list ingredients that include chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, chicken meal, beef and bone meal.


Fluoride occurs naturally in the earth's crust, rocks, and soil, and in some water supplies. But two-thirds of Americans — and their pets and livestock — are exposed to the chemical via tap water that is artificially fluoridated in an effort to prevent tooth decay (CDC 2006). Alternatively, the food that the chickens and livestock were fed may have been grown with fluorinated water.

Once ingested with food or water, fluoride accumulates in bones.


Topical application of fluoride on teeth is a common and effective means of preventing tooth decay. But ingested fluoride is well known to damage teeth and the musculoskeletal system (NRC 2006).


Three studies show that boys who drink fluoridated tap water between the ages of 6 and 8 face a heightened risk of osteosarcoma, the rare but deadly form of bone cancer associated with fluoride (Bassin 2006; Cohn 1992; DHHS 1991). Scientists suspect that boys' rapid growth may make them more susceptible to bone cancer (Bassin 2006)


Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor in dogs; it is estimated to occur in over 8,000 dogs each year in the U.S., primarily in larger breeds (Chun 2003; Dernell 2001; Priester 1980; Withrow 1991). According to a recent expert review, the actual incidence is probably higher, since not all cases are confirmed and registered (Mueller 2007). Large dogs with fast growing bones are especially at risk. Only 5% of all osteosarcomas develop in dogs weighing less than 30 pounds and giant dogs generally develop osteosarcoma at a younger age compared to smaller-sized dogs and (Cooley 1997; Misdorp 1979). 


A dog drinking adequate water would be exposed to 0.05-0.1 mg fluoride per kg of body weight daily, depending on the dog's water consumption. A 10-pound puppy that eats about a cup of dog food a day would ingest approximately 0.25 mg fluoride/kg body weight/day based on average fluoride content in the 8 contaminated brands tested by EWG. At that rate, the puppy would consume 2.5 times more fluoride than EPA's legal limit in drinking water.


When fluoride in drinking water is taken into consideration, a 10-pound puppy would be exposed to 3.5 times more fluoride than EPA allows in drinking water. Large breed puppies may be exposed to even more fluoride.


According to the size and the appetite of a dog, combined fluoride exposure from food and water can easily range from mild to severe over-exposure. And, unlike children, who enjoy a variety of foods as they grow up, puppies and adult dogs eat the same food from the same bag every day, constantly consuming more fluoride than is healthy for normal growth. Routine exposure to excessive fluoride can predispose dogs to health problems, along with high veterinary bills, later in life.


Food and products for pets receive little government oversight. They are subject to few standards or regulations. This situation may put pets’ health at risk. Americans have a right to expect pet food to be held to health and safety standards similar to those for human food, and to be free from contaminants that endanger pets' health. Yet, when it comes to finding pet foods free of dubious food additives, chemical pollutants or untested ingredients, pet owners are largely on their own, since the agency in charge of pet food oversight, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has little authority and few resources to ensure that products produced for pets are safe (FDA CVM 2007).


What you can do as a pet food consumer? First, read the label of your pet food.


If the word By-Product is seen stay away from that pet food, the foods with the highest level of fluoride contained By-products from beef, chicken, or turkey. Also stay away from Mechanically separated chicken, as high levels were also found in this form of protein. Chicken Meal was also said to contain high levels of fluoride. The 2 foods that were tested that did not contain fluoride at all were: Vegetarian or contained Fish or Venison as a protein source. The article was however incorrect when it stated that “Meal” was just “ground bones, cooked with steam, dried, and mashed to make a cheap dog food filler.” Many dog foods use all meat and no bones when they make their Chicken Meal or Beef Meal. A very good food would specify on the label what the “Meal” contains. Look for labels that say Chicken Meal made from dehydrated chicken breast. Or choose an alternative protein source like venison, fish, or rabbit which are less likely to have been fed with fluorinated water.


Author: Melissa Solis is an Examiner from Houston. You can see Melissa's articles at: ""

Copyright 2009 All rights reserved.



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