In October 2007, the West Basin Municipal Water District, which includes the City of Malibu, began fluoridating municipal water supplies, in compliance with a 1995 state regulation mandating fluoridation. The move initiated a flurry of opposition from community members, including a letter of protest from longtime resident and actress Suzanne Somers.

Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network and the lead author of “The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It There,” recently visited Malibu during the Los Angeles leg of his book tour to speak about the issue.

According to Connett, it’s never too late to start fighting back, and the first step is for citizens to become educated about fluoridation.

Connett, a scientist who has spent a lifetime teaching chemistry, says he approached the issue of fluoridation with an open mind when the media in his hometown in Upstate New York began covering plans to add fluoride to the water.

‘“Fourteen years ago my wife brought me these papers,” Connett told the Malibu Surfside News. “I said, ‘take it away, these people are crazy.’ Then I started to read. I was shocked.”

Connett began collecting information on fluoridation. Government trials were conducted in the 1940s and ’50s, during an era when the government had not yet realized the health hazards of nuclear fallout, DDT, X-rays, lead, mercury, asbestos and cigarettes.

“DDT and all that has gone by the wayside,” Connett told the News, “but fluoride is still with us.”

According to Connett, those studies were seriously flawed and of “dubious scientific quality. In April 1951, before any single fluoridation trial had been completed, the US Surgeon General, was promoting fluoridation to the U.S. Senate.

Connett adds that subsequent research has uncovered a lengthy list of fluoridation-related health risks, ranging from dental fluorosis-discoloring and weakening of tooth enamel to endocrine disruption and bone cancer. It also fails to prevent tooth decay.

Connett says that science now indicates that topical fluoride treatments rather than internal are a more effective and less hazardous approach to treating teeth and would not force the entire population, young and old, human, plant and animal, to an inadvertent lifelong exposure to the chemical.

“Everyone agrees that babies up to one year of age should not get fluoride, but parents aren’t being warned not to use fluoridated water to make baby formula,” Connett told The News, “Fluoride toothpaste is a much more rational approach,” Connett added.

According to Connett, a poor diet can exacerbate the effect of the fluoride, putting low-income populations who cannot afford to buy filtered water at greatest risk.

“Ask any pharmacist or doctor if they know of any drug you don’t control the dose of, can give to everybody without a doctor’s supervision and without the FDA being involved. Fluoride is the only one.”

“It took seven and a half years to get fluoride out of Canton, NY, [other communities] are fighting like tigers to get it out,” Connett said, adding that he continued to gather information once the fight in his hometown was won, distilling it into book form.

“The Case Against Fluoride” isn’t a light read. It contains a tremendous amount of research, all of it painstakingly footnoted, and an extensive bibliography. Connett says he hopes it will provide a “citizens’ handbook” on the issue.

“This isn’t the most important environmental issue — there are so many things out there, but this is as easy as turning off the tap,” Connett said, pointing out that large amounts of the chemical end up in the environment in the government’s zeal to reduce tooth decay in children.

“The Case Against Fluoride” is available online or at bookstores. More information on the potential health impacts of fluoridation is available online at: