The American Council on Science and Health said last week that it will seek to restrain any federal agency from banning or seeking to reclassify fluoride from a non-carcinogen to a probable carcinogen.
“If the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) tries to undermine the public confidence in fluoride, we will take steps to stop them,” said Dr. Edward G. Remmers, vice-president of the group. Remmers said the ACSH is working with the New York-based Atlantic Legal Foundation.
He said the action would be based on a Washington, D.C., appellate court ruling of March 9, written by Judge Abner Mikva. The case, Ealy v. Richardson-Merrell, involved bendectin, a drug taken to counter the effects of morning sickness. A three-judge panel chose to favor existing epidemiological data on the drug’s effects on offspring rather than animal and lab studies.
At an April 24 news conference in Washington, ACSH officials were particularly critical of extrapolations made from a National Toxicology Program draft study, to be peer reviewed last week. Herman R. Kraybill, consultant to the ACSH and formerly Scientific Coordinator for Environmental Cancer at the National Cancer Institute, said:
“Recent publicity about the NTP study reopened questions regarding cancer potential risk. The study was begun in 1985 using rats and mice (50-80 animals per sex per group) at variant levels of fluoride in drinking water over a two-year period. Dose levels of zero (control), 11, 45, and 79 p.p.m. would approximate 11, 45, and 79 times the fluoride exposure in drinking water. For a human to receive such a high exposure or 79 p.p.m., one would have to drink 79 liters of water per day for a lifetime.”
He added, “It is to be noted that extensive epidemiological studies have not revealed any evidence that fluoride levels in drinking water have shown any pattern of human cancer development.”
Dr. Frederick J. Stare, professor of nutrition, emeritus, at Harvard School of Public Health, said, “Fluoridation is not dangerous and not expensive. It is absolutely safe for anyone of any age, either sex, and in any state of health.”
Stare said, “It is one of the greatest advances of public health of all times. Those lucky enough to have access to fluoridated water from infancy through life will have 60 to 70 percent less tooth decay.”
He also cited studies of other apparent benefits derived from fluoride use as a factor in preventing osteoporosis and as a possible deterrent to arteriosclerosis.
“For 32 years, laws at the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory bodies have been dominated by the scientifically unsubstantiated premise that high-dose rodent experiments predict cancer in man,” said Elizabeth M. Whelan, president of the ACSH. Stare added, “Fluoridation begain in 1945. Since then, there have been hundreds of cities and towns with fluoridated water. Fluoride is not a poison, it’s a nutrient.”