Itinerant fluoridation promoters, enraged by the decision to end fluoridation in Wellington, are busily attacking the village council and those who oppose fluoridation with letters and online postings on The Post’s website.
Basic common sense issues about fluoridation have kept the controversy raging for over 60 years. All other chemicals that are added to public water supplies are used to make the water safe to drink. But fluoridation alone uses the water supply to randomly medicate the public. Since you cannot control how much water people drink, you cannot control the dose they ingest. Fluoride tablets or supplements are sold in a pharmacy by prescription only, and they are regulated by the FDA as a drug. Toxicology tables state that fluoride is more toxic than lead and a bit less toxic than arsenic. Worse, the liquefied chemical most often used to fluoridate is an untreated waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry. It contains trace amounts of arsenic, lead and other contaminants. Over 99 percent of it is not consumed by people.
Although fluoridation was originally intended to protect children’s teeth, it is now known that any benefit to the teeth comes form topical contact such as with toothpaste. But when fluoride is taken into the body, it ceases to be a dental issue because it then affects the entire body. There are too many well-documented adverse affects of too much fluoride exposure to list here — including harm to bones, the thyroid and children’s IQs. But the most proven adverse effect is the current epidemic of dental fluorosis (mottled tooth enamel). More than 50 percent of U.S. adolescents are now afflicted with this, and some of it is so visible as to cause psychological damage to these children. It is this incontrovertible evidence of harm that caused the so-called “optimal” levels of fluoride in water to be lowered from up to 1.2 parts per million (ppm) to 0.7 ppm in 2012.
And since the year 2000, many public health journals and agencies have recommended that infant formulas should be prepared with “low fluoride water” to minimize the incidence of dental fluorosis in children. It is, of course, the parents with less money who cannot afford to purchase bottled water or reverse osmosis devices to protect their children from this common adverse effect.
In 2006, after a thorough review of a major new report by the National Research Council, our well-respected County Administrator Robert Weisman recommended to the County Commission that it not require fluoridation in the unincorporated areas of Palm Beach County. The commission failed to take his sound advice and it is surely time for it to revisit the issue. For now, we have a bold path blazed by the Wellington council by acting in accord with Weisman’s views. I hope other cities and towns in our county will follow its lead.