Statements from Black/Hispanic Leaders
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States. In September 2011, LULAC passed a resolution opposing fluoridation at its annual conference. The resolution states that:
1) Current science shows that fluoridation chemicals pose increased risk to sensitive subpopulations, including infants, the elderly, diabetics, kidney patients, and people with poor nutritional status.
2) Minority communities are more highly impacted by fluorides as they historically experience more diabetes and kidney disease.
3) Minorities are disproportionately harmed by fluorides as documented by increased rates of dental fluorosis (disfiguration and discoloration of the teeth).
Henry Rodriguez, LULAC’s Texas Chairman
“The Hispanic community is no longer going to be silent on this issue…(Fluoridation) is about forcing us to be medicated through our drinking water without our consent or full disclosure of the risks.”
Andrew Young, former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador during the Clinton administration, wrote the following to the Georgia legislature in a March 29, 2011 letter dated March 29, 2011:
“My father was a dentist. I formerly was a strong believer in the benefits of water fluoridation for preventing cavities. But many things that we began to do 50 or more years ago we now no longer do, because we have learned further information that changes our practices and policies. So it is with fluoridation. We originally thought people needed to swallow it, so the fluoride would be incorporated into teeth before they erupted from the gums. Our belief in the need for systemic absorption was why we began adding fluoride to drinking water. But now we know that the primary, limited cavity fighting effects of fluoride are topical, when fluorides touch teeth in the mouth. We know that fluorides do little to stop cavities where they occur most often, in the pits and fissures of the back molars where food packs down into the grooves. This is why there is a big push today to use teeth sealants in the molars of children. We also have a cavity epidemic today in our inner cities that have been fluoridated for decades…
I am most deeply concerned for poor families who have babies: if they cannot afford unfluoridated water for their babies milk formula, do their babies not count? Of course they do. This is an issue of fairness, civil rights, and compassion. We must find better ways to prevent cavities, such as helping those most at risk for cavities obtain access to the services of a dentist.”
Clifford Walker: “As the Chair of the Portland NAACP’s Veteran’s Committee and in my past position on the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs I have seen well-meaning plans that do not actually achieve meaningful progress on the problem they claim to address. Fluoridation is just such a plan. If Portland voters want to help low-income children we should reject fluoridation and focus on providing equal access to dental care.”
Dr. Gerald Durley
Dr. Gerald L. Durley, a clinical psychologist, environmentalist, and Pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Atlanta, has called upon the Georgia State Senate to repeal Georgia’s mandatory fluoridation law. In a March 9, 2011 letter to the head of Georgia’s Senate, Durley wrote:
“First and foremost, water fluoridation takes away people’s choice…
Second, fluoridation disproportionally harms members of the black community…
Third, we cannot control the dose of fluoride people ingest when we put fluoride in drinking water…
We need to focus on helping people get access to dentists. Lack of fluoride does not cause cavities. Too many sugars on the teeth, lack of access to dental care and lack of dental health education-these cause cavities.
We also need to know why the full story about harm from fluorides is only just now coming out. I support the holdings of Fluoridegate hearings at the state and national level so we can learn why we haven’t been openly told that fluorides build up in the body over time, why our government agencies haven’t told the black community openly that fluorides disproportionately harm black Americans, and why we’ve been told that decades of extensive research show fluoridation to be safe, when the National Research Council in 2006 listed volumes of basic research that has never been done. This is a serious issue for all Americans, of every race and in every location.”
Rev. Bernice A.King
Rev. Bernice A. King, a pastor, attorney, and daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, states:
“Water fluoridation needs to end. It is good that organizations are lending their support to help push this outdated and harmful practice of fluoridation toward collapse. This is wonderful news.”
Rev. Alveda King
Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote the following on her blog on June 22, 2011:
“The Fluoridegate scandal continues to unravel. All water fluoridation legislation should be repealed in all states that enact fluoridation. Generally people with built-in biases in support of fluoridation have been controlling the discussion about harm from fluorides. The Centers for Disease Control has clearly been trying to preserve fluoridation at all costs, but the facts about fluoride harm are coming out anyway.
This is a civil rights issue. No one should be subjected to drinking fluoride in their water, especially sensitive groups like kidney patients and diabetics, babies in their milk formula, or poor families that cannot afford to purchase unfluoridated water. Black and Latino families are being disproportionately harmed.”
Rev. William Owens
Rev. William Owens, President of the Coalition of African American Pastors, explained his organization’s opposition to fluoridation in a March 8, 2010 letter to Daniel Stockin of the Lillie Center. According to the letter:
“1. African Americans are at greater risk for so many diseases today, and since the National Research Council has stated that kidney patients and diabetics are especially vulnerable to harm from ingested fluorides, and since we all know that blacks are deeply affected by kidney and diabetes ailments, supporting fluoridation that provides uncontrolled dosing of fluorides does not make sense.
2. Fluoridation takes away people’s choice – many people can’t afford unfluoridated bottled water or a home water fluoride removal system…
3. Research shows that black children ingest significantly more fluorides than white children, and that black Americans have more staining of their teeth that demonstrates excessive intake of fluorides as a child.
4. Putting fluoride in water assumes a one-size-fits-all approach, that all people, regardless of body weight or medical history, can drink unlimited amounts of water with fluoride in it. As pastors we believe the Biblical truth that our bodies are the temple of God, and that we have a responsibility to take care of these temples. So we must take issue with bringing into our bodies unknown amounts this substance fluoride that comes at us from all directions in foods made with fluoridated water, beverages, water, drugs, pesticide and fumigant residues, etc.
Attempting to prevent cavities by medicating us in drinking water does not resonate as being a smart thing to do. We cannot support water fluoridation, and we encourage church members to educate themselves about this issue.”
Risk Factors for Fluoride Toxicity in the Black Community
There are several risk factors for fluoride toxicity that are occur at elevated rates in the black community. These risk factors include: Reduced nutrient intake; Higher levels of lead exposure; Higher prevalence of health conditions that render the body more vulnerable to fluoride intake; and Higher intakes of fluoride.
Civil Rights Leaders Call for Halt to Water Fluoridation
Because fluoride can disproportionately harm poor citizens and black families, Atlanta civil rights leaders, Andrew Young and Dr. Gerald Durley, have asked Georgia legislators to repeal the state’s mandatory water fluoridation law.
Nutrient Deficiencies Enhance Fluoride Toxicity
It has been known since the 1930s that poor nutrition enhances the toxicity of fluoride. As discussed below, nutrient deficiencies have been specifically linked to increased susceptibility to fluoride-induced tooth damage (dental fluorosis), bone damage (osteomalacia), neurotoxicity (reduced intelligence), and mutagenicity. The nutrients of primary importance appear to be calcium,
Water Fluoridation, Tooth Decay, & Poverty
Most of the oral health crises occurring in the United States right now are taking place in low-income urban areas that have been fluoridated for decades. It is unclear, therefore, how fluoridation can be expected to prevent oral health crises in newly fluoridated areas when it has failed to prevent such crises in areas that have been fluoridated for 30 to 60 years.
Racial Disparities in Dental Fluorosis
In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control published the results of a national survey of dental fluorosis conducted between 1999 and 2002. According to the CDC, black children in the United States have significantly higher rates of dental fluorosis than either white or Hispanic children. This was not the first time that black children were found to suffer higher rates of dental fluorosis. At least five other studies -- dating as far back as the 1960s -- have found black children in the United States are disproportionately impacted by dental fluorosis.
America's Dental Care Crisis
In the United States, low-income communities throughout the country are suffering from what many are calling an "oral health crisis." Fluoridating water supplies is not a solution to this problem, as evident by the fact that oral health crises are occurring in virtually all urban areas -- the vast majority of which have been
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