Fluoride Action Network

Fluoridation Forum Report Flunks Test

By Paul Connett, PhD | September 12, 2002

Finally the Fluoridation Forum report is out (September 10, 2002) and can be found at http://www.doh.ie/publications/fluoridation.html.

As expected they flunked my test. I had presented to the Forum (in person) my “50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation” and argued that the way they could demonstrate to me and the Irish people that they were going to undertake a genuine and objective overview of the fluoridation issue, was to provide a written and referenced response to them.

In the beginning it looked promising as they set up a sub-committee to undertake this task and for a while they made noises that sounded as if they were actually doing it. Then after ten months they claimed that they didn’t have time to complete the task!

The following quote is the only response (I think!) that I have got for my efforts. It comes in the sub-section entitled “Presentations and Submissions” in the opening “Contents” section. It reads as follows:

“One presenter requested a response to his submission and the response of the Forum to this request will be presented on the Forum website. The final Forum Report has taken account of the issues raised in this submission.”

Well wasn’t that worth a two year wait!

The final Report certainly HAS NOT taken into account my submission. In my 30 minute oral presentation to the Forum among other issues I spent a considerable time going through the latest hip fracture study by Li et al which was unpublished at the time but has been since. Li et al (2001) had compared hip fracture rates in the elderly among six Chinese villages in which the well water ranged from 0.25 ppm to 8 ppm fluoride. Comparing the hip fracture rates with the rate for the village at 1 ppm, the study showed a doubling of hip fracture rates above 1.45 ppm (which was not statistically significant) and a tripling of hip fracture rates above 4.5 ppm (which was statistically significant). This dose-response result strengthened this finding and underlines what a very small safety margin there is for this serious outcome 1.5 -4.5).

The Forum has made no response to this important finding.

I also spent some time explaining Dr. Jennifer Luke’s work, in which she showed that fluoride accumulated in the human pineal gland to very high concentrations, because like the bone and the teeth it is a calcifying tissue. She also showed in animal studies that fluoride lowered melatonin levels (the hormone produced by the pineal gland) and shortened the time to puberty. The human accumulation study has since been published (Luke, 2001).

The Forum has made no response to this extremely important finding.

Much of their report is a rehashing of other reviews, i.e. very little independent analysis. I will be preparing a more thorough critique of this report, when I have had time to wade through all the padding. Suffice it here to add two things I spotted from a preliminary scan of their report.

1) They claim that 39 countries worldwide fluoridate their water. Mr Martin should be asked in the Irish parliament to name those 39 countries. Now this should be a very simple task – 39 names! I doubt very much that Mr. Martin will be able to make it to 20 without giving countries where only one town is fluoridated. As I say this is a very simple task, but if it can be shown that the people who have put this report together can’t count, it goes a long way to explain how poor the rest of their work has been.

2) They tell us that a tolerable daily intake (TDI) for fluoride for adults (actually anyone above 8 years of age) is 10 milligrams of fluoride per kilogram bodyweight per day (10 mg/kg/day). This figure is ridiculously high. For a person weighing 60 kilograms this would amount to 600 mg per day. That is enough to cause them very serious damage. Clearly what has happened here is that they have got their units scrambled. They meant 10 mg per day, not 10 mg/kg/day. Even that is actually far too high. It most certainly would damage bones with lifetime exposure. What is disturbing about this mistake, is that it was made at least twice. Somebody who knows anything about fluoride’s toxicity would have spotted it immediately. Didn’t a toxicologist proof-read this report before it was printed?

News Article Discussing Forum Report:

The Irish Examiner
September 11, 2002

Upgrades needed ‘to control fluoride’
By Caroline O’Doherty

FLUORIDATION of some public water supplies may have to stop until plants and technology are upgraded to properly control the amounts of fluoride added. The Government’s Fluoridation Forum, which presented its final report yesterday, has also called for a one-third reduction in the amount of fluoride added in all existing fluoridated supplies.

It says of the 74% of the population involuntarily compulsorily connected to fluoridated water supplies: “If the State were concerned about real choice, then consideration would have to be given to supplying an alternative source of water.”

The Forum concluded, however, that fluoridation has been “very effective” in reducing tooth decay in Ireland and it says the policy of adding fluoride should continue. While it notes an increase in dental fluorosis (staining of teeth due to excess fluoride), it says this is primarily due to excessive use of fluoride toothpaste by children.

It has called for a range of measures to prevent inappropriate use of toothpaste and other fluoride products among youngsters including educating parents that children under two should not use fluoride toothpaste and that those aged two to seven year olds should use only a pea-sized amount.

The Forum, which received over 1,000 submissions from members of the public, spent the last two years reviewing the State’s fluoridation policy. Its key recommendations are:

  • Amount of added fluoride in water should be reduced from one part per million to between 0.6 and 0.8 of a part per million.
  • Products containing fluoride to be better labelled and carry clearer instructions for use.
  • Child-proof containers to be used for mouth rinses and certain other products containing fluoride.
  • Research into fluoride to continue and be expanded and properly funded.
  • Regional public meetings to be held to address public questions and concerns about fluoridation.
  • Better measuring and ongoing monitoring of fluoride levels in water with external audits of fluoridation plants.

The Forum says technical problems in some smaller water treatment plants are giving rise to difficulties in maintaining the optimum level of fluoride. “To avoid the risk of over-exposure, it may be necessary to suspend fluoridation of some small public water supplies,” it concludes.

The report was welcomed by Minister for Health, Miche·l Martin, who said it provided detailed, scientific support for the continued use of fluoride in water supplies. He acknowledged it was an issue that “created strong feelings” but said fluoridation was essential in a country which was among the world’s top three consumers of sweets.

The environmental group VOICE (Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment) criticised the Forum’s findings, however, and accused it of displaying a “State knows best” attitude. It said people had the right to make up their own minds whether or not they wished to consume fluoride.

Disability rights campaigner Kathy Sinnott said children with autism and related bowel problems, and other people with certain medical conditions, were particularly vulnerable to chemicals in water and should not have to consume fluoridated supplies.

She called for the existing State grant for installation of a water supply in houses without an existing or acceptable supply should be extended to all households who wished to provide themselves with an alternative supply.