NEW YORK, PRNewswire/ — Fluoride in drinking water increases the risk of hip fractures in women, according to an October 1999 American Journal of Epidemiology study. This corroborates several studies revealing a positive fluoride/hip fracture association. Furthermore, other studies dismissing a fluoride/fracture link may be flawed because they weren’t gender or hip-fracture specific, report authors Kurttio, et al. A recent Lancet study showing no fluoridation/hip fracture link was not gender specific between high and low fluoride areas.

Kurttio and colleagues studied over 144,000 elderly rural Finnish people admitted to hospitals with their first hip fracture, who lived at the same address from 1967 to 1980. They found that women aged 50-64 years old exposed to natural water fluoride levels greater than 1.5 mg/liter had significantly more hip fractures than similar women least exposed to fluoride at 0.1 mg/liter or less.

“These results suggest that fluoride may be associated with some gender-dependent mechanisms or risk factors for hip fractures,” report the research team.

“The scientific evidence clearly shows that fluoride damages bone even at levels added to public drinking water,” says Dr. John R. Lee, physician and authority on fluoride and its bone effects.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets a maximum contaminant level for fluoride of 4 parts per million (ppm) or 4 mg/liter to prevent crippling skeletal fluorosis. However, crippling skeletal fluorosis, common in India, has been reported even in areas naturally fluoridated at 1 ppm — the level a majority of Americans consume from their fluoridated water supply.

The union of scientists and other professionals (NTEU Chapter 280) at U.S. EPA Headquarters opposes fluoridation, “based on the scientific literature documenting the increasingly out-of-control exposures to fluoride, the lack of benefit to dental health from ingestion of fluoride and the hazards to human health from such ingestion,” says EPA scientist William Hirzy, Ph.D., NTEU Senior Vice President.

Organized dentistry used a public relations scheme in the 1940s that “sold” fluoridation to America as a safe and effective method to reduce children’s tooth decay. Little attention was given to what fluoride’s long-term bone effects would be. Now we’re finding out. Fluoride may make bones more dense, but more brittle.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 1996, there were approximately 340,000 hospital admissions for hip fractures in the United States. Women sustain 75%-80% of all hip fractures. Medicare costs for hip fractures were estimated at $2.9 billion in 1991. “About one-half of the people with hip fractures end up in nursing homes, and in the year following the fracture, 20 per cent of them die,” reported Harold Slavkin, Director of National Institute of Dental Research (JADA, 1999).