In recent months the News has written three or four editorials supporting the use of fluoride in public drinking water. I’d like to make residents aware of recent developments in the scientific community that contradict this view.

Dramatic developments have changed the scientific understanding of fluoridation‘s health risks. Most significant is the March 2006 report, “(Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards,” issued by the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences — our nation’s top science adviser. This watershed report represents three years of deliberations by a balanced panel of 12 scientists and contains disturbing findings about fluoride’s harm to human health.

Although fluoridation proponents claim the 450-page NRC report isn’t relevant to fluoridation, it clearly cites newly identified adverse effects — most of which occur at, and even below, the 1 part-per-million level used for fluoridation. These include dental fluorosis, decreased thyroid function, impaired glucose tolerance (Type II pre-diabetes), arthritis (joint inflammation), brain cell damage and possible bone cancer in males. Hip fractures and lowered IQ in children were found to occur dangerously close to 1 ppm. Dr. Robert Isaacson, an author of the NRC report, said it “should be a wake-up call.”

The report cited fluoridated tap water as the major dietary source of fluoride exposure. It also noted the wide range of individual fluoride doses due to the variable amounts ingested from both water and food. Many people are exposed to a total daily intake of fluoride that exceeds the amount now known to cause harm. In fact, fluoride received from food alone may exceed this amount. And, because of lower body weight, children receive three to four times the fluoride dose as compared to adults.

In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control reported 32 percent of all U.S. children now have dental fluorosis (mottled/stained tooth enamel). This visible evidence of systemic harm is caused by increasingly unavoidable exposure to fluoridated water, food and beverages processed with fluoridated water, toothpaste and dental products, fluoride pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and industrial air pollution. Despite this fluoride overload, tooth decay among disadvantaged children is epidemic — even in long-fluoridated cities — proving that fluoridation has dismally failed its intended target group.

Further, the American Dental Association has finally admitted that infants are at risk of fluoride overdose. It recently reversed its long-standing policy, stating that fluoridated water should not be used to prepare infant formula during the first year of life because of elevated risk of dental fluorosis. This admission of harm to the most vulnerable of our population is reason alone to end this practice.

The fluoridation controversy is no longer about tooth decay. It’s about cumulative systemic effects of long-term fluoride ingestion. It’s about disposal into our drinking water of a toxic, industrial grade waste from phosphate mining (hydrofluosilicic acid) for which there are zero safety studies. Ultimately, it’s about an archaic health policy, set in stone 60 years ago, that falsely claims fluoridation is good for everyone and harms no one. Fluoridation proponents are entrenched in a scientifically insupportable position, and our health is on the line.

As public awareness continues to grow, enlightened cities across America are taking action to eliminate this toxin from their water (

Arena lives in Jensen Beach.