Fluoride Action Network

Fluoridation: What’s new since the 1999 vote?

Source: The Union Leader | Guest Commentary
Posted on August 23rd, 2004

ON SEPT. 14, Manchester, Bedford, Goffstown, Hooksett and Londonderry will decide whether to continue fluoridating the public’s water. Has anything new happened since the November 1999 vote, when a slim majority chose to fluoridate? Absolutely! Following, a sampling of significant developments:

December 5, 1999: Dr. Hardy Limeback, head of preventive dentistry at the University of Toronto and past president of the Canadian Association of Dental Research, once a prominent promoter of fluoridation, explained why he changed his mind. Said Limeback: “Children under 3 should never drink fluoridated water. And baby formula must never be made up using fluoridated tap water. Never.” (The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.)

May 2000: Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility warned that fluoridation “. . . may have adverse impacts on the developing brain.”

June 29, 2000: The vice president of the union representing EPA scientists and other professionals, J. William Hirzy, Ph.D., testified before a U.S. Senate hearing on safe drinking water standards. Hirzy reaffirmed the union’s call for a national moratorium on fluoridation.

July 2000: A peer-reviewed study of over 400,000 children by Dartmouth College research professor Roger Masters and chemical engineer Myron Coplan found a significant link between drinking water fluoridated with silicofluorides and elevated blood lead levels in children.

Jan. 17, 2001: The Ottawa Citizen, commenting on a five-year Canadian government study, wrote: “Cities should think twice about putting fluoride in their water because the practice has minimal benefits and some risk, suggests a newly released government report.”

Feb. 18, 2001: Union Leader article, “Arsenic on Tap,” explained how fluoridation chemicals add arsenic to Manchester’s drinking water. Most voters supporting fluoridation were unaware that an untreated waste product (hydrofluorosilicic acid — HFS) from the fertilizer industry’s pollution scrubbers would be used. HFS contains varying amounts of arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxins.

Manchester Water Works, recognizing the problem, contracted for HFS deliveries with less arsenic than other cities accept. However, even Manchester’s arsenic levels exceed EPA’s health standard, the MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Level Goal), “the level below which there is no known or anticipated risk to health.” For arsenic and lead, the MCLG is zero. Long-term exposure to these cumulative toxins causes cancer and other serious health problems.

September 2001: The Sierra Club issued a position statement on fluoridation: “There are now valid concerns regarding the potential adverse impact of fluoridation on the environment, wildlife and human health.”

April 25, 2002: EPA’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory stated that silicofluorides in drinking water are “not well understood” and expressed concern over fluorides interactions with other chemicals.

July 30, 2002: Belgium’s government banned all fluoride supplements. (Ninety-eight percent of Europe, including Belgium, drinks non-fluoridated water.) In the U.S., children’s fluoride supplements and fluorides added to drinking water have never received U.S. FDA approval for safety or effectiveness.

April 2003: Dentists Warren and Levy, in Dental Clinics of North America, reported: “Current evidence strongly suggests that fluorides work primarily by topical means through direct action on the teeth and dental plaque. Thus ingestion of fluoride is not essential for cavities prevention.”

August 2003: National Academies National Research Council (NRC) began a review of water fluoridation. Chemical and Engineering News reported: “Despite decades of adding fluoride to drinking water to protect teeth from decay, there are growing concerns about the efficacy and the safety of this practice.”

April 2004: Publishers Weekly called Chris Bryson’s book “The Fluoride Deception” “a compelling challenge to the reigning dental orthodoxy, which should provoke renewed scientific scrutiny and public debate.” And, in the book’s afterword, aNobel laureate for medicine (2000), Dr. Arvid Carlsson, wrote: “The addition of fluoride to water supplies violates modern pharmacological principles.” (Dr. Carlsson is one of many Nobel Prize winners critical of fluoridation.)

These examples of changing views present a challenge to dental and medical authorities whose support of fluoridation is entrenched after more than 50 years of aggressive promotion.

From now through Sept. 14 local public access channels are running informative videos on fluoridation. Tonight at 7, Manchester resident Tammy Simmons, chairman of Republicans First, will moderate the fluoridation forum at Manchester’s Public Library. Speakers on both sides have been invited to this forum, organized by Greater Manchester Citizens for Safe Water. The program will be taped and rebroadcast on MCTV Government Access, Channel 22.

Look, listen, consider. Then go the polls. You need not vote in primaries to cast your vote on fluoridation.


Gerhard Bedding is a science writer and director of the New Hampshire Pure Water Coalition. Caroline Snyder is professor emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology.