Are the Fluoride Additives “Waste” From the Phosphate Fertilizer Industry?

From time to time opponents of fluoridation allege that fluoridation additives are byproducts of the phosphate fertilizer industry in an effort to infer the additives are not safe.  Byproducts are simply materials produced as a result of producing something else – they are no means necessarily bad, harmful, or waste products.  In the chemical industry, a byproduct is anything other than the economically most important product produced. Byproducts may have certain characteristics which make them valuable resource. For example, in addition to orange juice, various byproducts are obtained from oranges during juice production that are used in cleaner, disinfectants, flavoring, and fragrances.

Fluoride additives are valuable byproducts of producing the phosphate fertilizer used for plant nutrition. To ensure that public’s safety, additives used in water fluoridation meet standards of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and NSF International (NSF)