Colin Richard (via Facebook): Does beer contain fluoride, or is the water they use filtered beforehand?
Bob: The short answer is no. This is an interesting question that I have been asked before, often by people who are concerned by such things as the GMO debate or other environmental and health issues.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound that exists in ground water in some parts of the country and the world. As early as the mid-19th century, it had been established that the incidence of tooth decay was greatly reduced in these areas, with fluoride being the active agent. In an era preceding widespread access to dentistry for a large percentage of the population, it was considered a public health matter to add fluoride to the water supply to minimize the incidence of tooth decay in the general public.
While proven to be quite effective, the inevitable conspiracy theories soon sprung up around the practice. One such theory in the 1950’s, totally debunked ages ago, had held that fluoride made people more susceptible to propaganda and manipulation. A vicious commie plot for sure.
Conspiracy theories aside, and the widely-proven health benefits notwithstanding, fluoridation of the water supply has become an issue in some places. Public health officials have raised the socio-economic issue of the persistent lack of dental care for lower-income Americans to push for wider use of fluoridation, while other areas have discontinued its use. Either way, the universal availability of fluoridated toothpaste has almost made the issue moot.
So what happens if a brewery uses a water supply that has been fluoridated? Will the fluoride end up in the beer?
Water quality is a huge concern for brewers. Brewery water is filtered and almost everything that is not naturally-occurring is removed. Trace amounts that might remain, if any, are boiled off in the brewhouse.
In other words, there is no fluoride in beer.
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