Fluoride Action Network

Letter: Water fluoridation poses health risks for doubtful benefit

Source: The Cape Breton Post | Sydney
Posted on September 28th, 2008
Location: Canada, Nova Scotia

Adding fluoride to Nova Scotia’s drinking water began in the ’70s as the result of a provincial health Initiative for what we were told would prevent tooth decay. Fluoride an extremely toxic compound.

The chemical used to fluoridate Nova Scotia’s water supply (including that of Sydney, Glace Bay, New Waterford and North Sydney) is collected from the smokestack scrubbers of the phosphate fertilizer industry and is called fluosilicic acid. The province’s idea of a health initiative is to add an industrial hazardous waste to our drinking water.

Since 1999, the union representing some 1,500 toxicologists, chemists, biologists and other professionals at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington has opposed fluoridation of drinking water, based on scientific literature documenting the “increasingly out-of-control exposures to fluoride,” the lack of benefit to dental health, and the hazards to human health including acute toxic hazard for people with impaired kidney function, as well as chronic toxic hazards of gene mutations, cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, bone pathology and dental fluorosis.

Many other scientists and health professionals around the world agree that ingesting fluoride does not prevent tooth decay but does pose risks.

Fluoride is an enzyme poison, more toxic than lead, yet the Canadian drinking water guideline for fluoride added to drinking water is 80 to 100 times higher than it is for lead. Like lead, fluoride is a cumulative poison; it accumulates in the bones and soft tissues, including the brain, pineal gland, kidneys, liver and thyroid. Children, the elderly and those with impaired kidney function retain up to 80 per cent of the fluoride absorbed, while healthy young adults retain up to 50 per cent.

While other chemicals are added to treat the water, fluoride is the only one added to treat people. Not only are governments force-medicating 45 per cent of Nova Scotians through our drinking water, without informed consent, but they are doing so with absolutely no control over how much each individual swallows.

Other sources of fluoride we are exposed to include foods and beverages which have been processed with fluoridated water, such as pop, juice and soup, as well as dental treatments and products, certain medications, anesthetics and pesticide residues.

Despite these multiple, uncontrolled exposures, the Canadian Dental Association states: “Provided that the total daily intake of fluoride is carefully monitored, fluoride is considered to be a most important health measure in maintaining oral health for all Canadians.” Exactly who does the CDA think is carefully monitoring the amounts swallowed, especially given the many sources? And how much is too much for each individual, particularly our children?

According to the American Dental Association, young children may consume the daily recommended amount of fluoride from swallowing toothpaste alone. What then?

The first visible sign of over-exposure and fluoride toxicity in children is an irreversible condition known as dental fluorosis, characterized by white spots and mottling of the teeth due to damage of the enamel-forming cells. When a child develops dental fluorosis by some internal mechanism caused by ingesting and accumulating too much fluoride, what evidence exists that this same mechanism has not affected or damaged any other tissues? Are we really to believe that while ingested fluoride is circulating and accumulating throughout the whole body on a daily basis, the only tissue affected or damaged is the teeth?

If fluoridating our drinking water, using fluosilicic acid, is medically defensible, then studies proving its proclaimed safety should be available. I asked Nova Scotia’s minister of health promotion and protection, Barry Barnet, to provide me with a list of primary health studies which have investigated fluoridation’s possible impacts on tissues and organs, other than the teeth, conducted in Nova Scotia and Canada. Barnet’s reply was that his department does not keep an inventory of studies and that I may wish to conduct a literature review myself. Wrong answer.

Barnet seems to forget that I’m not the one forcing this poison down the throats of Nova Scotians. If he continues to contend that “fluoridation of drinking water supplies is a well-accepted measure to protect public health and is strongly supported by scientific evidence,” then as minister responsible he should provide that evidence when asked.

Had Barnet read my original letter in June, he would have realized I had already done my own research, which is why I called upon the premier and each MLA for an immediate ban on the artificial fluoridation of Nova Scotia’s drinking water. I also requested that the mayor and council ban artificial fluoridation of drinking water in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

CBRM can opt out of this practice without the permission of the province. Many cities, including Montreal, Vancouver and Quebec City, have chosen not to fluoridate.

According to Health Canada, by Dec. 31, 2009, all fluoridated toothpaste sold in Canada must be labelled with the following warning: “If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a poison control centre right away.” The recommended amount of toothpaste for brushing is pea-sized, containing about the same amount of fluoride as two glasses of water. Does Health Canada recommend we also call poison control after drinking more than two glasses of water?

Rates of dental decay have been declining for decades in most industrialized countries, according to World Health Organization data, regardless of whether the region is fluoridated. This includes western Europe, which is 98 per cent fluoride-free. This obviously means that ingested fluoride is not essential to dental health as we’ve been led to believe; the decline in dental decay is more likely attributable to better nutrition and improved oral hygiene.

But while rates of dental decay have declined, there is an increasing prevalence, according to the CDA, of dental fluorosis – children being over-exposed. So while the CDA calls for careful monitoring of the total daily intake, it knows that is not occurring.

Renowned cancer research scientist Dr. Ludwig Gross puts it this way: “The plain fact that fluoride is an insidious poison, harmful, toxic and cumulative in its effects, even when ingested in minimal amount, will remain unchanged no matter how many times it will be repeated in print that fluoridation of the water supply is safe.”

Water fluoridation must end immediately.