The federal government has proposed that water fluoride levels be lowered to 0.7 parts per million to stem the growing incidence of dental fluorosis (discolored and/or pitted teeth), which now affects 41% of adolescents ages 12-15. However, this “lowered” level of fluoride is still too high, and will not protect millions of American children from dental fluorosis. Nor will it protect against fluoride’s other effects, including potentially irreparable damage to the developing brain, reports the Fluoride Action Network (FAN).
Paul Connett, director of FAN, said: “This proposal only considered fluoride’s detrimental effects to teeth and ignored fluoride’s documented damage to brains, bones, the endocrine system, and more. There’s no scientifically defensible reason to continue water fluoridation at any level.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is asking for public comment on their proposal by February 14. FAN’s submission is available here
According to FAN, “The time has come to end fluoridation completely.” In its comments to HHS, FAN makes the following arguments:
- HHS has failed to consider fluoride’s impact on the brain. Fluoride has been linked to lowered IQ in 24 human studies, and over 100 animal studies have reported damage to the brain.
- Infants who are fed formula made with fluoridated tap water will receive up to 175 times more fluoride than breast-fed infants. Infants 0-6 months old, the smallest and most vulnerable in our population, were completely excluded from risk calculations in HHS’s proposal.
- African-American children and low-income children suffer from the highest rates of dental fluorosis, including the most severe forms of the condition. The HHS has failed to take any steps to redress this inequity, thereby making fluoridation an Environmental Justice issue.
- Any benefits of fluoride are primarily topical, not systemic. There is no need therefore to swallow any fluoride at all — through drinking water or any other source.
- The benefit and safety of fluoridated water has never been proved by accepted medical standards. The HHS failed to mention that there has never been a randomized controlled clinical trial (the gold standard of medical research).
- Using public drinking water as a “drug delivery system” is unethical and unscientific, particularly since the Food & Drug Administration has never studied or approved the use of ingested fluoride as a safe or effective way of preventing tooth decay.
- While EPA recognizes that skeletal fluorosis (bone damage) is a risk factor associated with over-exposure to fluoride, HHS has failed to consider or investigate current rates in the U.S. The symptoms for the early stages of pre-clinical skeletal fluorosis and arthritis are identical (bone and joint pain).
- HHS has failed to inform the public that the National Research Council has labeled fluoride as an endocrine disrupter.
- HHS has failed to consider fluoride as a potential carcinogen, despite findings linking fluoridated water to bone cancer in boys.
- HHS has failed to inform the public that the chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are hazardous wastes that have never been tested for safety.
Most of the arguments listed above are covered in far more detail in the new book “The Case Against Fluoride” by Connett, Beck and Micklem (Chelsea Green, 2010).
“We urge HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to appoint a group of experts from HHS, who have not been involved in promoting fluoridation, to provide a fully documented scientific response to the arguments and evidence presented in this book,” requests Connett.
“Fluoridation is unnecessary, unethical, the benefits wildly exaggerated and the risks minimized,” says Connett.
The public can submit comments to HHS at CWFcomments@cdc.gov or use this online message here to support FAN’s comments: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2477/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5734.