Next time you go to a doctor and complain of stomachaches and he mumbles something about a virus that will pass in a day or two, it’s worth asking his opinion on fluoride in drinking water. According to scientific publications in Europe and the United States, it appears that fluoride can cause – in addition to stomach troubles – Down’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s, birth defects, cancers, recurrent rashes, mouth ulcers, headaches and osteoporosis. It presents serious risks for diabetics and may be fatal for people suffering from kidney disjunction. But the real revelation is that it doesn’t really give protection against cavities. With all the frightening health risks we will soon be exposed to, this will not even give us healthy cavity-free teeth in return.
But “Why now?”, you may ask. It’s because the State of Israel has decided to fluoridate its drinking water as of May 2001, in spite of the fact that other countries in the world don’t fluoridate their water and in the United States a motion has been proposed calling for all tooth pastes to include a warning specifying the dangers of fluoride. For the past several months a small group of women, including a chemical engineer from Givataym, Loty Zilberman, have been trying, without much success, to warn against fluoridation. One person supervising the fluoridation project in the Ministry of Health, an expert on dental issues, states that she is unaware that any toxicological research has been done on the subject. In other words, the party who determined that water fluoridation is beneficial for the population at large, is unacquainted with any of the various research studies done over past decades concerning the toxic effects of fluoride, although fluoride is one of the main components of pesticides and fertilizers.
The trend to fluoridate water supplies began in 1918 with a discovery by a dentist, Dr. Frederick McKay, in a small town in Colorado. He found stains on the teeth of children in the area and noticed that the stained areas were more resistant to cavities. In 1931 scientists discovered that the material that stained the children’s teeth in Colorado was fluoride. From this they concluded that fluoride prevents dental caries. Other research conducted in subsequent years, did not find conclusive proof that fluoride was connected with cavity prevention. Yet, even if effective in thisrespect, the dangers accompanying the use of fluoride would not make it worthwhile.
— If we consider fluoride as a drug that prevents cavities, there’s a great difference in the exposure levels of various individuals, since much depends on the amount of water each person consumes, says Zilberman. She reminds us that the cumulative exposure to each individual is far greater than one would expect since we use water for purposes other than drinking. For example,fruits and vegetables are washed with copious amounts of water [and absorb the fluoride]. Fluoride in bath water will penetrate the skin pores. The chicken we eat has also been drinking fluoridated water before it got to our plate etc. Most importantly, in contrast to vitamins, fluoride is not eliminated from the body. Therefore, the dosage question is crucial. When dealing with fluoride a difference of milligrams can prove fatal, depending on an individual’s constitution and body size. The shocking truth is that dentists are forbidden to write out prescriptions for even a mini-dose of fluoride since the substance is a dangerous poison.
When Zilberman approached the Ministry of Health, the Director of the Dental Department, Dr. Tirza Ramon stated that articles opposing fluoride in drinking water have been published but they have no scientific basis. The Ministry of Health encourages pluralism and anyone is free to publish whatever they like, she says, whether or not it is true. Ramon adds that there is a general international consensus among scientific health societies including the W.H.O., and the health ministries in the United States, England and Ireland who have determined that fluoride at the optimal level, is an inexpensive, efficient and safe method for reducing the incidence of dental cavities. In contrast, Zilberman claims that in USA, the FDA never approved fluoride as a drug.
— France, Denmark and Sweden decided against water fluoridation out of concern for public health, states Zilberman and adds that in the U.S. and Britain most of the municipalities have either discontinued fluoridation long ago or decided against it from the beginning, after being advised by experts. Dentists must bear in mind that the teeth are not the only system in the body and we must not seek to remedy one physical problem at the expense of another. Zilberman points out that most of the research [showing harm from fluoride] has been published in periodicals concerned with general medicine and toxicology rather than in dental journals. She suggests that the decision to fluoridate the water should be revised and recent research studies taken into account, rather than simply referring to research done in the forties and sixties.
— I refuse to be given medication against my will, asserts Zilberman. This violates my basic civil rights. She insists that she will appeal to higher authorities in Israel if the Ministry of Health determines to go ahead with its plan. Zilberman’s vehement objections to fluoridation are based on articles published by world-famous scientists around the world. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a report stating that 50% of all cancer cases result from environmental conditions such as the prevalent use of chemicals in fertilizers. In evidence submitted to the U.S. Congress in 1982, Prof. James Patrick of Harvard University and former President of the U.S. National Public Health Institute, states that most European countries have ceased to fluoridate their water systems and that the few localities in the U.S. which still fluoridate their water, should follow suit. The Nobel prize laureate and co-discoverer of streptomycin [Dr. Albert Schatz], declares that fluoridation is the greatest fraud in the world against the greatest number of people…Sweden chose to follow the advice of the Nobel Institute concerning fluoridating their drinking water, and consequently made fluoridation of public drinking water illegal, because of the danger of its high toxicity to public health. The French consulted with the prestigious Louis Pasture Institute and, after receiving a similar response, made water fluoridation illegal in France. In Israel, it appears we will have to wait until May to know the future fate of the water we drink. The Ministry of Health’s reply:
— Research that proves the efficiency of fluoride is enormous. We are dealing with the most efficient method to eliminate cavities with the lowest cost-effectiveness. There are no scientific articles challenging fluoride as an efficient agent in fighting cavities, and there is no scientific evidence that optimal levels of fluoride in drinking water cause any harm to public health. Water fluoridation is considered one of the greatest triumphs in public health care in the 20th century. Fluoride is especially beneficial for persons with weak constitutions and high levels of disease. Accordingly, it is the most effective method for decreasing health gaps.