I have just re-read a report FAN produced in 2015, entitled Fluoridation and Environmental Justice.
We had a very strong team put this together. It is a comprehensive summary of where things on fluoridation were at in 2015. It appeared one year before two seminal events in 2016,
1) FAN’s request to the National Toxicology Program to do a systematic review of fluoride’s neurotoxicity in 2015, and
2) FAN’s petition, in 2016, to the Environmental Protection Agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act to ban the deliberate addition of fluoride to the public water supply and one year before the publication in 2017 of the first government-funded study on fluoride and the fetal brain (Bashash et al., 2017).
Particularly poignant in the report is mention of a 1962 internal memorandum, from a top Public Health Service official, F.J. Maier, in connection with the first fluoridation trial. The memo revealed that,
“negroes in Grand Rapids had twice as much [dental] fluorosis than others.” Based on this, Maier asked, “In a community with a larger number of negroes (say in Dekalb County, Georgia) would this tend to change our optimum fluoride levels?” (Maier, 1962).
The arguments we made pertaining to fluoridation and environmental justice are as pertinent today as they were in 2015. The report is long but important, that is why I suggest a summer read.
With the Biden administration’s professed concerns about environmental justice in many areas, this report offers a comprehensive view of fluoride’s disproportionate impacts on communities of color as well as offering a very positive alternative holistic approach of fighting tooth decay, as well as addressing other social needs, in low income families and communities.
I encourage you to read this again or for the first time. As I say, it contains some of our best work, including valuable historical information.
As is often the case, despite all the time and work put into this report, we received no thanks or even acknowledgement from the agencies that requested public input on how Federal agencies might address the issue of environmental injustice.