As both a research epidemiologist and dentist, I have studied fluoride‘s dental and systemic effects for more than 10 years. I used to live and practice in Basalt years ago. I take exception to Dr. David Swersky’s recent letter titled “The facts support fluoride in water” (Feb. 29, The Aspen Times).

General dentists without academic research training are attempting to sway public sentiment in support of fluoridation by making statements such as Swersky’s, without citing the overwhelming epidemiological evidence in the past several years refuting these claims. I will address each of Swersky’s “claims” and suggest to the reader an excellent online source for peer-reviewed studies regarding fluoride toxicity at, founded by Dr. Paul Connett, professor emeritus of chemistry at St. Lawrence University.

An analysis from the National Institute of Dental Research confirms that there’s no difference between the tooth-decay rates of children living in fluoridated areas and those in nonfluoridated areas. Numerous studies also have demonstrated continued declining rates of caries in children and adults in countries years after fluoridation was stopped.

Fluoridationists desperately resort to “moral obligation” and “responsibility” instead of science to push their agenda. Governmentally mandated ingestion of a toxin without regard to dosage for each recipient is dangerous, constitutes practicing medicine without a license and is an infringement upon civil liberties.

This assertion that ingestion of fluoride is responsible for a 90 percent reduction in cavities is blatantly false. I challenge him to provide that reference. Furthermore, “the major anti-caries benefit of fluoride is topical and not systemic” (Source: National Research Council, 2006, “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards,” National Academies Press, Washington D.C., page 13.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 32 percent of American children now have some form of dental fluorosis, with 2 to 4 percent of children having the moderate to severe stages (CDC, 2005). While proponents of water fluoridation dismiss dental fluorosis as being simply a “cosmetic effect,” recent research indicates that the rate of bone fracture among children with fluorosis (even in the mild forms) is higher than the bone fracture rates among children with no fluorosis.

The impact of fluoride on children’s IQ has been documented even after controlling for children’s lead exposure, iodine exposure, parental education and income status and other known factors that might impact the results (Rocha-Amador 2007; Xiang 2003). Numerous other studies have corroborated these findings. With respect to fluoride’s toxic effects upon other organ systems that Swersky denies, again please visit for documented studies.

As far as why all of these organizations he cites still endorse fluoride, he might want to read “The Fluoride Deception” by Christopher Bryson (forward by world-renowned researcher Dr. Theo Colborn). The answer will become evident. With respect to the tautological argument couched in his question and answer of why Aspen dentists would want to reduce their potential incomes, because “It is the right thing to do,” I would ask him: What is “right” about putting a known potent toxin in our pristine water? There is plenty of concrete evidence demonstrating fluoride’s toxic effects upon the mind and body. Mainstream dentists simply need to stop clinging to an outdated construct and start doing their homework.

My recommendation: I would highly encourage your City Council and the people of Aspen to oppose any fluoridation augmentation from the present 0.3 parts per million to 0.7. Loss of effectiveness? If fluoride is so good for us, why would increasing the concentration make this “miracle drug,” which was never approved by the FDA, less effective?

Dr. John Percival