A NEW EFFORT IS BEING LAUNCHED TO REVERSE OUR RELIANCE ON A CHEMICAL THAT’S SUPPOSED TO IMPROVE OUR HEALTH, NOT JEOPARDIZE IT. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT FLUORIDE. SOMETHING ALL OF US ARE EXPOSED TO EVERYDAY. THE I-TEAM’S ROBERTA BASKIN IS HERE WITH THE DETAILS.
Roberta Baskin on camera:
IF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS KNEW THEN WHAT THEY KNOW NOW, WOULD FLUORIDE BE ADDED TO OUR DRINKING WATER? A COALITION OF SCIENTISTS, DENTISTS, AND DOCTORS ARE TAKING ACTION TO STOP FLUORIDATION UNTIL IT’S PROVEN SAFE.
For decades Americans associated fluoride with good dental hygiene which is why it’s still added to most public water supplies, including many in the Washington area.
The American Dental Association calls fluoridation one of the best public health ideas ever.
Dr. Sally Cram, American Dental Association: “Absolutely fluoride is safe; it’s effective; it has reduced the decay rate in the population by about 20-40 percent over the last sixty years.”
But Thursday, 600 health professionals and scientists, including Dr. Arvid Carlsson, a Nobel Laureate of Medicine, are calling on Congress to ban the use of fluoride, immediately. Among the petitioners – Bob Carton – a former Environmental Protection Agency scientist. He says fluoridating water was a mistake from the beginning.
Bob Carton, Former EPA scientist: “It was a foolish thing to do years ago. They didn’t have enough information. It hadn’t really been tested.”
In fact, a 2005 Centers for Disease Control study found too much fluoride has caused irreversibly discolored teeth in one out of three children. And a major report by the National Academy of Sciences says toxic levels can lead to severe, permanent pitting of the enamel in children. Fluoride can also build up in the bones to cause pain, stiff joints, and skeletal abnormalities when they get older.
“It’s an accumulative poison,”said Carton. “It just gradually builds up and it gradually causes harm.”
But the EPA isn’t about to make any quick decisions about the Academy’s finding that toxic levels of fluoride must be drastically lowered.
Benjamin Grumbles, EPA Office of Water: “We take their recommendations very seriously. We also have a commitment to get additional information and validate it and work with other public health authorities.”
Last November, concerns over excess fluoride prompted the American Dental Association to warn parents not to mix baby formula with tap water during an infant’s first twelve months.
Sally Cram, American Dental Association: “So given an infant’s small weight, certainly we’ve put recommendations out there for mothers.”
And for years the Food and Drug Administration has required warning labels to keep toothpaste out of the reach of children under the age of six and, if swallowed, to get medical help or contact a poison control center right away.” In 2005, more than 22,000 people did.
Sally Cram, American Dental Association: “Too much of any good thing can be a bad thing.”
Still, the American Dental Association insists fluoride is crucial for preventing tooth decay.
Sally Cram, American Dental Association: “We prevent a lot of suffering and pain that’s totally unnecessary and preventable, both in adults and children.”
Roberta on camera:
THE EPA, FDA, CDC, ADA, AND OTHER COMBINATIONS OF THE ALPHABET HAVE ARGUED THE SAFETY OF FLUORIDE FOR YEARS. MAYBE IT IS TIME TO GET ALL THOSE DIFFERENT VIEWS TOGETHER AT A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING AND STRAIGHTEN OUT ALL THE MIXED SIGNALS THE PUBLIC GETS.
Additional Web Links:
Read the politico.com version of the story.
Professionals sign Fluoride Action Network call to end water fluoridation:
Nobel Laureate Dr. Arvid Carlsson, one of 600 signers:
American Dental Association guidance on infant formula:
Former EPA scientist Bob Carton analyzes National Academy of Sciences report:
Centers for Disease Control study cites statistics on fluorosis in children:
National Academy of Sciences executive summary, Fluoride in Water:
CRS Report for Congress: Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Review of Fluoridation and Regulation Issues:
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