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19. Evidence of Fluoridation Danger Mounts With Little Benefit to Your Teeth

Sources: AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH Title: “New Evidence on Fluoridation,” Date: 1997, Vol. 21, No. 2 Authors: Mark Diesendorf, John Colquhoun, Bruce J. Spittle, Douglas N. Everingham, and Frederick W. Clutterbuck; TELEGRAM & GAZETTE (Worcester, MA), Title: “Panelists Critical of Fluoride: Chemical Linked to Health Problems” Date: October 25, 1996 Author: John J. Monahan; THE GUARDIAN (London) Title: “Clear and Present Danger” Date: June 7, 1997, Author: Bob Woffinden

SSU Censored Researchers: Brian Foust and Deb Udall
SSU Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips, Ph.D.

Over two-thirds of U.S. public drinking water is fluoridated. “Experts” have told us that fluoride helps re-mineral enamel and that it prevents tooth decay. They have asserted its beneficial effects and claimed that its negative impacts were non-existent. New studies show this to be false, however, and there is mounting evidence of serious side effects of fluoride ingestion that can result in bone decay, infant mortality, and brain damage.

Large-scale blind studies show there are no differences in tooth decay rates between fluoridated communities and unfluoridated communities, and therefore conclude that people are receiving too much fluoride. One study that compared levels of tooth decay in Los Angeles and San Francisco found no difference between the two cities, even though fluoride is added to the San Francisco water supply and not to the water supply of Los Angeles. During the ‘90s there has been a steady trickle of scientific reports on the health-related problems of fluoride. One report found a statistically significant association between water fluoridation and increased risk of hip fracture. Research at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in 1990 and 1991 showed a possible increase in osteosarcomas, a form of cancer, in males exposed to fluoride.

Evidence shows that for reducing dental decay, fluoride acts topically (at the surface of the teeth) and that there is negligible benefit in ingesting it. In an as yet unpublished paper, Ian Packington, a toxicologist on the advisory panel for the National Pure Water Association, records that in the years 1990 to 1992, perinatal deaths in the fluoridated parts of the West Midlands were 15 percent higher than in neighboring unexposed areas. His analysis of Department of Health statistics also concludes that in the period 1983 to 1986, cases of Down’s Syndrome were 30 percent higher in fluoridated than non-fluoridated areas. In the 1970s, Dr. Albert Schatz reported that the artificial fluoridation of drinking water in Latin American countries was associated with an increased rate of infant mortality and death due to congenital malformation. As long ago as the 1950s, Dr. Lionel Rapaport published studies showing links between Down’s Syndrome and natural fluoridation.

Why has there been such an unrelenting administrative pressure to fluoridate? One theory is that aluminum manu-facturers, and petro-chemical and fertilizer industries—for whom fluoride was a waste product and a dangerous pollutant—welcomed the opportunity to both launder the image of fluoride and to sell to water companies something they would otherwise have to pay to get rid of.

The final irony is that fluoridation, packaged and marketed in part as a way to bridge the socio-economic gap by providing better dental protection for those with poor nutrition, may be most adversely affecting the poor. It is those suffering poor nutrition and vitamin and mineral deficiencies who are most vulnerable to fluoride’s toxic effects.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR MARK DIESENDORF: “The publication of our paper in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, the subsequent media stories, and the Project Censored story reveal to the public that there is informed opposition to the fluoridation of drinking water on scientific and public-health grounds. This is a challenge to the medical and dental power structure which strongly supports fluoridation in English-speaking countries.

“Subsequent to publication of this article, attacks were made on the paper in the letters section of the journal and elsewhere by medical and dental proponents of fluoridation, but shortly after the paper was published, I was lucky to be invited as a scientific panelist at a major symposium for medical and health journalists on Medicine in the Media. I drew attention to the paper and challenged journalists to report it. As a result, the main thrust of the paper was covered in two major Australian newspapers and on national radio. Such publicity is rare for questioning fluoridation, since medical journalists normally defer to ‘expert’ spokespeople from medical and dental associations.”

For further information, see:

* Diesendorf, Mark, “Fluoridation: Breaking the Silence Barrier,” in B. Martin, ed., Confronting the Experts. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1996.

* Diesendorf, Mark, “How Science Can Illuminate Ethical Debates: A Case Study on Water Fluoridation,” Journal of the International Society for Fluoride Research, volume 28 (1995): 87-104.

* Martin, B., Scientific Knowledge in Controversy. The Social Dynamics of the Fluoridation Debate. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR JOHN J. MONAHAN: “The [Telegram & Gazette] story that detailed concerns about possible health risks associated with fluoridation of drinking water appeared in advance of a citywide referendum on whether to fluoridate the city water supply in Worcester, Massachusetts, at a time a new water treatment plant was being completed.

“The referendum posed a dual controversy, first whether the possible health benefits of fluoridation outweighed possible health risks, and secondly whether fluoride should be essentially forced upon those who rely on the water supply but did not want to have fluoride in their water.

“City Health officials ordered fluoridation, and that decision was endorsed by a majority vote of the City Council, but challenged by a group of concerned citizens who sought to give residents a choice by direct referendum. No doubt many readers were unaware of the relative toxicity of fluoride and possible risks associated with it, and the story gave them a chance to learn just what critics were saying about possible health effects despite the dismissal of those concerns by many public-health officials and elected officials in the city.

“In the end the binding referendum on the November city election ballot prohibited city officials from implementing their plan to begin fluoridating the water supply. Voters rejected fluoridation by nearly a 2 to 1 margin, with 28,972 opposed to fluoridation and 17,826 in favor. As a result, the city did not ever use the new equipment installed for fluoridation at the new water treatment plant, and public-health officials have said they do not expect to try to impose fluoridation on residents in the future. While the city’s public-health director later described the referendum results as a victory of ‘quackery over science,’ the grass-roots organizers of the campaign against fluoridation claimed the outcome was a victory for people’s rights to not have toxic agents imposed on them through their public water supply.”

For additional information, contact John J. Monahan, Environment Writer, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Massachusetts; E-Mail: Monahanj; Tel: 508/793-9172.

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