by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© REVISED September 2007
I recently read over a hundred studies on both sides of the water fluoridation issue. Here is a summary of the findings.
FLUORIDE AND TOOTH DECAY
Tooth decay has indeed decreased around the world. However, fluoride is not the cause. Tooth decay has declined as much or more in non-fluoridated areas as in those with fluoridation. This has been reported in Germany, British Columbia, New Zealand, Cuba, Finland, and the United States. Some small studies show slight benefits of fluoridation. One American study of 39,207 children showed reduced decay of deciduous teeth in 5-year olds in fluoridated areas compared with unfluoridated areas, but no reduction in decay in permanent teeth. The larger studies worldwide show little or no dental benefits of water fluoridation.
The Journal Fluoride, Vol. 27, #1, 13-22, 1994 reported that in a study of 98% of the children in New Zealand over 14 years, fluoridation had no dental benefit on these children. In fact, non-fluoridated communities had slightly less decay. Tooth decay correlated with the level of income and nutrition, not fluoridation.
A study of over 400,000 children in India also showed no benefit of water fluoridation. Studies in England and Scotland found the same result. Dr. Albert Schatz, discoverer of streptomycin, found the same thing in Chile in a study spanning 40 years. A recent study in Tucson, Arizona by Dr. Cornelius Steelink, University of Arizona, showed an increase in decayed, missing or filled teeth with increased fluoride in the drinking water.
As a result of these and other studies, almost all major nations except the US and Britain have stopped fluoridating. 98% of Europe has stopped it. Ireland, one of the few European nations still doing it, is considering discontinuing it. Canada has advised against giving it to children less than 6 years old. India, China and Japan studied it thoroughly and discontinued it.
Fluorine is a highly toxic element. Proponents say it is a nutrient. Scientists are mixed on this point. If it is a necessary nutrient, only a trace amount is needed in the body. We get this from foods such as tea, and small amounts are found naturally in most drinking water.
Sodium fluoride, the chemical used in water fluoridation, is a cumulative toxin. It is sold as rat poison, used in pesticides, and is the active ingredient in Saran nerve gas. Fluoride tablets require a prescription, unlike any other nutrient mineral. All fluoride toothpaste comes with a warning label. The label states “Keep out of the reach of children under 6. If you swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional assistance or contact a poison control center immediately.” This warning applies to anything greater than a pea-sized drop of toothpaste on your brush.
Fluoride is considered one of the worst, if not the worst airborne pollutant, responsible for decimating fish and wildlife populations. The United States is one of 22 nations that signed a treaty promising not to dump fluorides into the oceans, lakes or rivers.
In the doses that fluoridated water provides, fluoride is associated with higher rates of birth defects, cancer and immunosuppression, lower IQ of children, dental and skeletal fluorosis, and neurological problems. It has also been shown to cause increased bone fractures, cataracts and infant mortality, and some 20 other health effects. A study in Brain Research, vol. 784:1998 showed that fluoride in the water fed to rats increased the absorption of aluminum into the rats’ brains, causing alterations in the brains similar to Alzheimer’s Disease. Also, fluoride is highly corrosive. Several studies in Massachusetts and elsewhere found higher levels of lead in the drinking water in fluoridated areas. This is most likely due to corrosion of lead pipe joints as a result of the corrosive chemical.
A new study also showed that fluoride accumulates in the pineal gland. This is a hormonal control center and causes severe imbalances in some sensitive people. The work, titled Fluoride Deposition In The Aged Pineal Gland was done as a PhD thesis by Jennifer Luke and published in Caries Research. It can also be found at www.fluoridealert.org.
The fluoride itself isn’t the only problem. The chemical used to fluoridate is not pure. Hydrofluosilicic acid and sodium fluoride are industrial wastes, by-products of the phosphate fertilizer industry. This was challenged by the fluoride promoters in Ohio, but later they were forced to admit this is the truth. They contain traces of lead, arsenic, mercury, kerosene, napha, and other pollutants from the smokestack scrubbers of phosphate factories. They also contain radioactive elements.
WE ALREADY INGEST TOO MUCH FLUORIDE
Fluoride, according to the studies posted by the Kakar Dental Group, is now in the food chain, thanks to 50 years of water fluoridation, fluoride in pesticides, and airborne pollution. As a result, people are already getting more than the recommended 1 mg per day just from foods and beverages. Fruit juices, baby foods, and other select items are particularly high, due to processing and pesticide residues.
As a result, we don’t need more fluoride. Dental fluorosis, or fluoride toxicity, is a growing problem. An article in the British Medical Journal, Aug. 26, 2000;189:216-220 reported that 54% of the children living in fluoridated areas have signs of fluorosis.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE
Several nations, including Germany, stopped fluoridating because they realized it is immoral to mass medicate the entire population, especially when fluoride tablets, drops, toothpaste and other preparations are inexpensive and readily available.
In 1992, the Safe Water Foundation filed suit against the city of Fond DuLac, Wisconsin (Wisconsin Appellate Case #93-2275). They showed that fluoridation is mass medication of the population with a controlled substance, without the knowledge or consent of the participants. Even for mental patients, consent is required for medical treatment. Additionally, the dosage is not regulated, because some people drink more water than others.
Wealthy people can afford bottled water or expensive reverse osmosis filters to take it out. The poor are forced to drink the medicated water. The poor suffer the most from the toxic effects of fluoride.
LEADING EXPERTS CHANGE THEIR MINDS
Dr. Hardy Limeback, DDS, PhD, is head of the Department of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto, and president of the Canadian Association for Dental Research. He is Canada’s leading fluoride authority, and until recently the nation’s primary fluoride promoter. Two years ago he changed his mind. He publically apologized for 15 years of misleading the people of Canada on the issue of fluoridation. Dr. Limeback said that Toronto, fluoridated for 36 years, has a higher incidence of cavities than Vancouver, which has never fluoridated their water. He said the Centers for Disease Control are basing their fluoride recommendation on 50-year-old studies that don’t reflect new research.
Dr John Colquhoun was the Principal Dental Officer for Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, and a staunch fluoridation advocate – until he was given the task of reviewing the world-wide data on fluoride effectiveness and safety. His review is titled “Why I Changed My Mind About Fluoridation”. In it, he details how data was manipulated to support fluoridation in the English-speaking countries.
Dr. Phyllis Mullinex was commissioned by the US Army, MEDCOM to research possible neurological effects of fluoridating the water supply at Fort Detrick, Maryland. She worked at Harvard University Dental School. She expected a routine investigation. However, her results shocked even herself when she found that rats fed fluoride developed a variety of neurological defects. She was forced to advise the army not to fluoridate – and lost her job as a result.
Perhaps the most incredible turnaround is by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Union of Scientists and Engineers. In May 1999, they announced they oppose their own agency’s stand on water fluoridation. Senior vice-president of the union, Dr. William Hurzy wrote, “recent, peer-reviewed toxicity data, when applied to EPA’s standard method for controlling risks from toxic chemicals, require an immediate halt to the use of the nation’s drinking water reservoirs as disposal sites for the toxic waste of the phosphate fertilizer industry”.
WHAT DO THE DENTISTS SAY?
I debated the head of the dental society when Phoenix considered fluoridation in 1990, and participated recently in the debate in Wooster, Ohio. The dentists and public health officials did not independently review the recent research. Instead, they continued the refrain that everyone knows fluoride is safe, reduces tooth decay 35-60%, and is worth imposing on everyone as a public health measure.
When challenged, they resorted to character assassination of anyone who does not agree with them. Their basic argument is – trust us and stop asking questions!
WHAT CAUSES TOOTH DECAY?
Dental hygiene and dental care are certainly important factors. A recent review of tooth decay in the Journal of the American Dental Association, July 2000 suggests that fluoride plays a role, but works topically. However, the decline in tooth decay rates worldwide, regardless of fluoridation and before fluoride toothpaste came into widespread use, calls this into question.
Many studies show that poor nutrition, especially consumption of mineral-deficient foods and sugars, negatively affect the teeth. Although largely composed of calcium and phosphorus, many minerals are needed for the teeth. These include zinc, copper, manganese, boron, vanadium and others. Vitamin C helps build the collagen matrix that bones grow within. Vitamin D is very important, and others like vitamin A may also play a role. Refined foods are deficient in minerals and vitamins.
Weston Price, DDS did extensive research on tooth decay around the world. His book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, is a classic on dental disease and nutrition. He found that wherever refined, canned and other processed food replaced traditional diets, tooth decay became a major problem. Although some people are more disposed to dental problems that others, it is not a genetic difference. Dr. Price was able to show that in one or two generations the teeth among many groups deteriorated from the use of refined food diets.
Except for trusting some dentists and public health officials who may be well-intentioned, but lie and attempt to demolish the character of their opponents, I can find no reason to recommend water fluoridation. You can read the material for yourself and make up your own mind. Your health may depend on it. Wooster, Ohio voted down fluoridation in the 2000 elections. Flagstaff, Arizona also rejected fluoridation in 2001.
Excellent web sites are www.fluoridealert.org, www.nofluoride.com, and www.fluoridation.com. Of course, there are dental society and government sites that recommend fluoridation.
The following are among the best papers on fluoridation I have come across:
1. Colquhoun, J., “Why I Changed My Mind About Water Fluoridation”, J. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 41:1-16, 1997.
2. Denzinger, H.F.J., Konig, H.J., and Kruger, G.E.W., “Fluorine Recovery in the Fertilizer Industry – A Review”, Phosphorus and Potassium #103, Sept/Oct. 1979, pp. 33-39.
3. Griffiths, J. and Bryson, C., “Fluoride, Teeth and the A-Bomb”, Earth Island Journal, Winter 1997-1998, pp. 38-41.
4. Griffiths, J., “Fluoride, Industry’s Toxic Coup”, Earth Island Journal, Spring 1998, pp. 39-41.
5. Hilleman, B., “Fluoridation of Water”, Chemical and Engineering News, Vol. 66, August 1, 1988, pp. 26-42.
6. Mullenix, P., “Details About Fluoride’s Neurotoxicity: Mullenix’s Response To The U.S. Army Medical Command”, May 5, 1999.
7. Price, W., Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, La Mesa, California, 1945, 1975.
8. Walker, M., “Fluoridation Brings Hazards to Human Health”, Townsend Letter for Doctors, May 2000, pp.30-36.
9. Yiamouyiannis, J., Fluoride, The Aging Factor, 1993.