Claims that water fluoridation is safe and effective cannot withstand independent scrutiny. Nobel Laureate Dr. Arvid Carlsson, who led the successful campaign to defeat fluoridation in Sweden in the 1970s, describes it as “an obsolete practice.”
While most Americans drink fluoridated water, the vast majority of people worldwide do not. Yet, according to WHO figures, their teeth are just as good — if not better-than ours.
With the concession (Center for Disease Control, 1999) that the benefits of fluoride are largely topical not systemic, the general decline in tooth decay in industrialized countries is more likely due to the universal availability of fluoridated toothpaste combined with a higher standard of living than with the risky business of ingesting this highly toxic substance.
While proponents claim that the level of fluoride added to water (1 mg per liter or 1 ppm) is very small, it is in fact over 100 times the level found in mothers milk. There is no adequate margin of safety between the so-called beneficial dose and the toxic dose for several important end points published in the peer reviewed literature. These include increased hip fractures in the elderly at 1.5 ppm (Li, 2001); lowered IQ in children at 1.8 ppm (Xiang, 2003); lowered thyroid function at 2.3 ppm (Bachinskii, 1985) and lowered fertility at 3 ppm (Freni, 1994).
Over 30 animal studies indicate that fluoride damages the brain. In one study rats, given drinking water containing 1 ppm fluoride, were found to have beta amyloid deposits in their brains which are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease (Varner, 1998).
Equally disturbing is Elise Bassin’s Harvard PhD thesis, which showed that young boys drinking fluoridated water have a significantly increased risk of developing osteosarcoma, a rare but frequently fatal bone cancer. Incredibly, before this was made public by the Environmental Working Group, this result was hidden from the public for over four years (WSJ, July 22, 2005).
To take these life-debilitating risks in order to save a miniscule amount of tooth decay is preposterous and yet in 1999, the CDC — relying on outdated health data (a review published in 1993) — declared that fluoridation was “one of the top ten public health achievements of the Twentieth Century.” On a scientific level this claim is ridiculous but incredibly, it is being used to promote fluoridation all over the world.
Without independent scrutiny, government agencies like the CDC seem more determined to protect a long-standing policy than to protect our health. Opponents of fluoridation include many doctors, dentists and prominent scientists worldwide as well as 11 Unions representing over 7000 professionals working at the U.S. EPA.
Unfortunately, many well-meaning dentists get sucked into supporting water fluoridation by the American Dental Association, which tells them that they do not need to research the primary literature to be effective promoters.
While dentists know a lot about teeth, most are not qualified to address fluoride’s toxic effects on other parts of the body. For this they have to rely on what they are told by agencies which have promoted fluoridation for years.
It is abundantly clear from non-fluoridated Europe that children can have excellent teeth without ingesting fluoride. It is time we pursued other ways of addressing the key cause of tooth decay: poverty. Poverty goes hand in hand with poor nutrition. Sadly America, one of the wealthiest countries in the world has one of the worst systems for treating tooth decay in poor children. Indeed, 80 percent of dentists in America will not treat children on Medicaid. That together with all the sugar-laced junk food is the nub of the issue.
We need to give our poor children better education, better nutrition and better dental care not a daily dose of poison. Dentists should be treating our kids ,not our water.
I will be in Springfield and elaborating on these arguments at 7:30 p.m. on Oct 29 at Elderly United. All interested parties are encouraged to attend