Organic pet food manufacturers are concerned about the long-term health effects of fluoride in their products, with many worrying that it could be the culprit behind the increased rate of cavities in children.
In recent months, the issue has been brought to the forefront by a report in The Independent, in which the Food Standards Agency (FSA) found that the amount of fluoride found in pet foods has increased by nearly a third over the past decade.
The report found that a total of 8,826 children in the UK were found to have dental fluorosis in 2016-17, compared to just over 5,000 children in 2005-06.
It was also found that there were nearly 600 cases of poisoning each year from eating pet food that contained more than 1,000 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride.
‘Pesticides are becoming more prevalent and dangerous’ As the FSA report pointed out, fluoridated water is also an increasingly common and toxic source of contaminants in our environment.
The FSA warned that the levels of fluoride added to food and drinks had increased to an alarming level, and it suggested that some chemicals may be responsible.
‘Fascinating that we are getting into such a major issue with fluoridation in some pet food products,’ one spokesperson for Petfoods UK told The Independent.
‘As a company we do not want to make any statements about products without doing our research first, but the fact that there is an increasing amount of fluoridation on our shelves is a problem that needs to be addressed.’
Pet Foods UK spokesperson for food safety Michael White said that although there were concerns about the potential health effects, there was no evidence to suggest that the chemicals used were to blame.
‘We do not recommend using these chemicals in pet-food products,’ he said.
‘However, we do recognise that some of the more common products may contain fluoride that has not been fully tested for its safety in humans.’
We also take this opportunity to reiterate that Petfood UK does not sell pet food containing fluoride or fluoride supplements.’
Petfood company Burt’s Bees added that it has never tested products containing fluoride and did not use it in any of its products.
‘No products contain fluoride in our pet food supply,’ it said in a statement.
‘Pet food products that contain fluoride are tested daily for levels of fluorine.
The level of fluoride detected in these products does not impact the health of any pet.’
However, other pet food companies are concerned that their products may be to blame for the increase in cavities.
Pet Food USA said it had never tested pet food for fluoride.
While it did test products containing fluorine, the company said that it was not able to comment on specific products.
A spokesperson for Consumer Watchdog, which campaigns for consumer health, said the report highlighted the potential for the fluoridation to be harmful for people with lower-than-average IQs.
‘This could mean that kids may develop low-grade kidney stones or even develop serious diseases like cancer,’ Consumer Watchdogs founder Peter Orszag told The New York Times.
‘In other words, the FDA report is just another sign of how much we still have to learn about fluoride’s potential for harmful effects.’
Consumer Watchogs report found the number of kids tested by the FDA increased by 27% between 2010 and 2016.
In addition to the increase, tests also revealed a rise in the amount and types of contaminants found in the products.
For example, the most common type of contaminant found in some products was the preservative sodium bisulfite, which is known to be an ingredient in other products.
The FDA did not investigate the presence of fluoride or its possible connection to cavities, despite it being the leading cause of childhood mortality.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, sodium bisulphite is a common ingredient in pet dental care products.