NYSCOF has forwarded to us this story from Health Scout (see below).
It is interesting that the author of this piece (Adam Marcus) did get quotes from both sides, and that is good. However when he gave his readers references for more information he gave the CDC site and the ADA site but not the FAN site. So he gives two sites for one side of the debate and none for the other, and that is not good, nor fair, nor professional in my view.
Did anyone on this list get to listen into the CDC’s conference ( see IFIN #476)? Unfortunately, I was tied up at a meeting. From the coverage below it looks as if it was horribly and disgustingly predictable. However, it is interesting that the release refers to “early menstruation” as one of our concerns. It is quite possible that Adam Marcus picked that up from his interview with me, because hitherto the CDC has not acknowledged this problem has even been discussed.
Don’t you love it when Dr. Hershel Horowitz uses that phrase ” most scientists dismiss the more serious claims as fear-mongering”. It would be interesting to see a list of these “scientists”. Certainly, not many of them inhabit the CDC buildings because in their 1999 and 2001 reports on this issue they only cited studies which were 6 years out of date! Hershel Horowitiz has been using this PR phrase like a clockwork toy for years.
Maybe there are some pro-fluoridation scientists out there who have been secretly revieiwng all the studies that have been published on fluoride‘s impact on the thyroid gland, the pineal gland, G-proteins and the central nervous system. However, they are keeping these reviews to themselves. Like Hershel they might make the occasional bold statement to a friendly reporter but they are just not available to defend their position on a public platform or in a public debate.
Secret science isn’t science. Selective science is public relations.
Health Scout News
February 21, 2002
More Americans Drinking Fluoridated Water
By Adam Marcus
THURSDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthScoutNews) — Almost two out of three Americans who drink public water are now getting ample fluoride from the tap.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the rise today, saying that 162 million Americans who are served by public systems now have the added mineral, which reduces the risk of cavities and other dental problems.
The new report, appearing in the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, calls the rise “modest progress.” It says 65.8 percent of the population on public systems drink fluoridated water; in 1992, the rate was 62.1 percent. The report doesn’t count private sources of water, such as wells.
Although the dental community has long embraced fluoride, which promotes the growth of strong teeth and prevents their decay, some community groups have tried to keep the element out of the water supply. Critics claim fluoride is linked to a range of health problems, from high blood lead levels to early menstruation.
At high doses, fluoride can harm tooth enamel, but most scientists dismiss the more serious claims as fear-mongering. Fluoridation is “eminently safe,” says Dr. Herschel Horowitz, a public health dentist in Bethesda, Md., and a spokesman for the American Dental Association.
The new report shows that 26 states and the District of Columbia now meet the government’s 2010 guidelines for fluoridation, which call for 75 percent of residents to receive optimal levels of the mineral through public water supplies. Optimal levels range from 0.7 parts per million to 1.2 ppm, depending on how hot the days get in a given area.
Between 1992 and 2000, five states — Maine, Delaware, Missouri, Nebraska, and Virginia — reached the 75 percent goal and a sixth state, Oklahoma, came close.
Fluoridation rates in 2000 ranged from 2 percent in Utah to 100 percent in the District of Columbia, where all of the city’s 595,000 residents have access to amply fluoridated public water.
Dr. William Maas, head of the CDC’s oral health division and a co-author of the new study, says Utah should improve with the next report. Three of the state’s largest counties recently approved fluoridation measures and are now hashing out how to implement the policies.
Other laggards include Hawaii, at 9 percent — down from 13 percent in 1992 — and New Jersey, at 15.5 percent, off 0.7 percent from the last report.
Maas says states with low coverage may have “incorrect perceptions” that dental caries — like cavities and tooth decay — are no longer a problem. They may also be held sway to politics and “unsubstantiated claims” that fluoridated water is harmful, he adds.
However, Maas says, there is “no credible evidence” of any adverse effects from exposure to the mineral in water at levels the government considers safe and therapeutic.
Fluoridation, he adds, is among the most cost-effective ways of reducing the risk of dental caries. The CDC says it costs 72 cents per person a year to fluoridate water, while the average price of a single filling can run $80.
Fluoride opponents railed at the latest findings.
Paul Connett, a chemist at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., says the guidelines for fluoridating water are based on “outdated” and “outrageously bad science” that ignores the health risks associated with the element.
Connett, founder of Fluoride Action Group, an anti-fluoride coalition, says the government is refusing to acknowledge its error for several reasons, including what he terms the potential liability of having so long recommended a toxic substance. He also says fluoridation is a convenient distraction from the country’s real oral health problems: “We’re stuffing the sugar down our kids’ throats,” and poor people have “lousy, lousy dental protection.”
But Horowitz dismisses those claims and calls the findings “good news.” While “the increase in the last eight years as a percentage isn’t great, it’s a step in the right direction. It’s certainly known that communities benefit from having their water fluoridated.”
Dental caries among school children have fallen by more than 60 percent since the early 1970s, before fluoridated public water became widely available, he says. Although some of that gain can be attributed to better brushing habits and the addition of fluoride to toothpaste, much is due to drinking water.
Rather than fret about the alleged risks of fluoridation, dentists are more concerned about the wave of interest in bottled water, little of which contains the tooth-protecting element.
Bottled water consumption in this country has surged from nine gallons per capita in 1990 to more than 18 gallons a head in 2000, the last year for which figures are available, says Stephen Kay, a spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association in Alexandria, Va. Three years ago, there were at least 280 brands of bottled water available in the United States.
Kay says at least 20 brands of bottled water sold in this country contain fluoride, but the group has no breakdown for how much of this is sold each year. The average American drinks 3.6 servings of tap water and 1.7 servings of bottled water a day, Kay says.
What To Do: To find out more about the benefits of fluoride for your teeth, try the American Dental Association or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
February 22, 2002
Contact: Linda S. Orgain, MPH
Mary Kay Sones
CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention
and Health Promotion
MMWR Press Release
Community water fluoridation now reaches nearly two-thirds of U.S. population
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. residents who receive water from public water systems now receive fluoridated water, according to an article released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The article, “Populations Receiving Optimally Fluoridated Public Drinking Water — United States, 2000,” provides the most recent information on the status of water fluoridation by state. Between 1992 and 2000, the percent of the U.S. population receiving fluoridated water increased from 62.1 percent to 65.8 percent, bringing the total U.S. population receiving fluoridated water to approximately 162 million.
Fluoride, a naturally occurring element in the environment, is known to be effective in preventing tooth decay in children and adults. Over the past several decades, fluoridation has played an important role in the dramatic reduction of tooth decay and has been identified by CDC as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements in the twentieth century. However, tooth decay remains the most prevalent chronic infectious disease of childhood; 80 percent of all children have had dental decay by the time they are 18 years of age. Recent estimates of effectiveness indicate that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay among children by 18 percent to 40 percent.
The importance of fluoridation for reducing tooth decay was highlighted in the first Surgeon General’s report on oral health () issued in May 2000.
The Healthy People 2010 national health initiative set an objective for 75 percent of the U.S. population on public water systems to receive fluoridated water. Between 1992 and 2000, five additional states (Delaware, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska and Virginia) achieved the Healthy People objective, and Oklahoma was close (74.6 percent) to achieving this goal. Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have now met this objective. State-specific percentages range from 2 percent to 100 percent of persons on public water systems that receive optimally fluoridated water.
“Water fluoridation is the most equitable and cost-effective means we have of delivering fluoride to all members of most communities,” said Dr. William R. Maas, director of CDC’s Oral Health Program. “While several states, such as California, New Hampshire and Nevada have made substantial progress, there is considerable need as well as opportunity for additional improvement, particularly in the 24 states that have not yet met the objective of having at least 75 percent of their populations on public water systems receiving fluoridated water.”
The fluoridation update appears in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which can be viewed or downloaded at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5107a2.htm . Other information on fluoridation and oral health is available on-line through the oral health web site: or by calling 770-488-5131 or 770-488-6054.