Fluoride: Where Does It Come From? What Does It Do?
Fluoride comes from fluorine, an elemental gas that Webster’s describes as pale, yellowish, flammable, irritating, and toxic.
In 1977, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published the following information on fluorine: “Fluorine and some of its compounds are primary irritants of skin, eyes, mucous membranes, and lungs. Thermal or chemical burns may result from contact…. Even when they involve small body areas (less than three percent) [fluoride] can cause… poisoning by absorption of the fluoride through the skin.” Brief exposure to inhaled fluorine can cause “sore throat, chest pain, irreversible damage to the lungs and death. Gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea, vomiting diffuse abdominal cramps and diarrhea can be expected. Large doses produce central nervous system involvement with twitching of muscle groups…, convulsions and coma.”
Fluorine is the active ingredient in Sarin (the nerve gas used to deadly effect in a March 1995 Tokyo subway attack) and in Flusilazole (a fungicide that, in the early ’90s, caused crop damage and human ailments in 40 states).
“Hydrogen fluoride, hydrofluoric acid and its salts are used in the production of organic and inorganic fluorine compounds such as fluorides and plastics; as a catalyst, in the petroleum industry; and as an insecticide…” the NIOSH report continues.” It is utilized in the aluminum industry, in separating uranium isotopes, in cleaning cast iron, copper and brass…. Fluorides are used as an electrolyte in aluminum manufacture, in smelting nickel, copper, gold and silver, as a catalyst for organic reactions, a wood preservative…, a bleaching agent for cane seats, in pesticides, rodenticide, and as a fermentation inhibitor. They are utilized in the manufacture of steel, iron, glass, ceramics, potters enamels, in castings for welding rods, and in cleaning graphite, metals, windows and glassware. Exposure to fluorides may also occur during preparation of fertilizer from phosphate rock.”
NIOSH noted that elemental fluorine is also used “in the conversion of uranium tetrafluoride to uranium hexafluoride, in the synthesis of organic and inorganic fluorine compounds and as an oxidizer in rocket fuel.” Today, compounds made with this chemical can be found in everyday products ranging from Teflon and Freon to toothpaste and baby food.
Fluorides are industrial waste products created in the production of aluminum, phosphoric acid and phosphate fertilizers.
Some 55 years after DuPont began producing uranium hexafluoride for the Manhattan Project, the company still heavily invests in fluorine. DuPont uses it to make a number of consumer products, including Tedlar polyvinyl fluoride film and Viton fluorocarbon rubber.
“By recovering by-product fluosilicic acid from fertilizer manufacturing, water and air pollution are minimized, and water authorities have a low-cost source of fluoride available to them.” (Rebecca Hanmer, EPA, 1983)
- FLUORIDATION CHEMICALS
The fluoride chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are: fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. Unlike the fluoride compounds found in toothpaste or supplements, fluoridation chemicals are not pharmaceutical grade quality. They are, instead, unpurified industrial by-products that are collected in the air pollution control systems of certain industries.
Due to the lack of processing, these chemicals are known to contain elevated levels of certain contaminants, particularly arsenic. In addition, recent research — including both epidemiological and laboratory investigations — have detected associations between the fluoridation of water with fluorosilicic acid and elevated lead exposure, particularly those living in houses with old pipes.
1. The Industrial Sources of the Chemicals
Until recently, all fluoridation chemicals were obtained from the wet scrubbing systems of the phosphate fertilizer industry in central Florida. In recent years, however, an increasing number of water departments have begun purchasing their fluoride chemicals from China. Based on recent incidents, it appears that the quality control of the Chinese chemicals is even more lax, and variable, than the U.S.-produced chemicals.
Phosphate Fertilizer Industry (Florida, US)
In the process of converting phosphate rock into soluble fertilizer, two very toxic fluoride gases are released: hydrogen fluoride and silicon tetrafluoride. In the past, the phosphate industry used to let these two gases vent freely into the atmosphere. This, however, caused severe environmental damage among downwind communities, including widespread cattle poisonings, scorched vegetation, and various human health complaints.
Eventually, as a result of both litigation and regulation, the phosphate industry installed “wet scrubbers” to trap the fluoride gases. The collected liquid in these scrubbers (hydrofluoroslicic acid) is entered into storage tanks and shipped to water departments throughout the country. In 1983, an official at the Environmental Protection Agency statedthe agency’s support for this process:
“In regard to the use of fluosilicic acid as the source of fluoride for fluoridation, this agency regards such use as an ideal solution to a long standing problem. By recovering by-product fluosilicic acid from fertilizer manufacturing, water and air pollution are minimized, and water authorities have a low-cost source of fluoride available to them.” [See letter]
Others at EPA, however, have voiced their objections to this process. In 2000, Dr. William Hirzy, the senior vice president of EPA’s Headquarters Union of Scientists and Professionals, stated:
‘”If this stuff gets out into the air, it’s a pollutant; if it gets into the river, it’s a pollutant; if it gets into the lake it’s a pollutant; but if it goes right into your drinking water system, it’s not a pollutant… There’s got to be a better way to manage this stuff.” [See interview]
It is becoming increasingly common for U.S. water departments to purchase their fluoride chemicals from China. While little appears to be known about the source of these chemicals, recent incidents indicate that the contents of these chemicals can vary quite dramatically. It was recently reported, for example, that a number of water plants using Chinese fluoridation chemicals were noticing a “mysterious residue” in the treated water. Although the CDC issued public assurances about the safety of these chemicals, it remains unclear exactly why, and how often, this problem occurs.
2. Arsenic Contamination
After being captured in the scrubbing system, the fluorosilicic acid is either shipped as is (an acidic liquid), or is converted into dry powders (sodium fluorosilicate and sodium fluoride). Whether shipped in its original liquid form, or converted into powder, the fluorosilicic acid does not undergo purification procedures. As a result, fluorosilicic acid has been found to contain various contaminants, particularly arsenic.
The level of arsenic found in fluoridation chemicals is not trivial. According to a review in the American Water Works Association’s publication Opflow, the amount of arsenic that fluoridation adds to finished water “is hardly a minimal amount.”
The arsenic problem is unique to fluoridation chemicals as no other water treatment chemical has a problem with arsenic contamination. As demonstrated in the Opflow review, “about 90 percent of the arsenic . . . contributed by treatment chemicals is attributable to fluoride addition.”
So, how much arsenic do fluoridation chemicals contain? It depends on who you ask, and when you ask them.
In 2000, the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) released the results of its tests that showed fluoridation chemicals can add as much as 1.66 ppb arsenic to the finished water. NSF found that about 40% of the fluoridation chemicals it tested were contaminated with detectable levels of arsenic. Fluoridating water with these contaminated samples, the NSF stated, would add 0.43 ppb arsenic to the finished water.
To put these figures in perspective, 1 ppb arsenic is the maximum level of arsenic that water departments can add to the water under a standard known as the “Single Product Allowable Concentration” or SPAC. The premise of the SPAC is that water departments should not use any chemical that contributes more than 10% of the EPA’s “Maximum Contaminant Level” (MCL). Thus, since the EPA’s MCL for arsenic is 10 ppb, the addition of any fluoridation chemical that adds more than 1 ppb arsenic violates the SPAC and is deemed a “product failure.” In practice, however, there is no practical way for water departments to know if a batch of fluoridation chemical exceeds the SPAC. This is because very few batches (far less than 1%) of fluoridation chemicals are actually ever tested. It is almost certain, therefore, that “product failures” have been, and will continue to be, unknowingly added to drinking water.
There is, however, a twist.
When the NSF released its arsenic data in 2000, the MCL for arsenic was 50 ppb, and, hence, the SPAC was 5 ppb. Thus, when NSF stated that fluoridation chemicals were contributing up to 1.66 ppb, it was not conceding that some fluoridation chemicals were “product failures.” Today, however, the SPAC for arsenic is 1 ppb, and thus an admission today that fluoridation contributed up to 1.66 ppb would be an admission that a percentage of fluoridation chemicals were “product failures.”
Whether by coincidence or not, the NSF has been able to bypass this problem thanks to the results of new tests it has conducted in the wake of EPA’s enactment of the stricter arsenic MCL. According to these new tests, there is still detectable arsenic contamination in 43% of fluoridation chemicals. However, the highest arsenic level detected would contribute 0.6 ppb to finished water, and thus not exceed the 1 ppb “product failure” threshold.
Unfortunately, the veracity of the NSF’s new test data is virtually impossible to verify. Although the NSF is responsible for regulating the quality of water treatment chemicals, and although it acts, in many ways, like a government agency, it is a private organization and not subject to the same disclosure and accountability requirements of a government agency.
3. Silicofluorides and Lead
In addition to containing contaminants, such as arsenic, recent research suggests that fluoridation chemicals may be leaching lead out of pipes. Since lead exposure during childhood can cause a range of serious effects, including reduced IQ and asthma, the possibility that fluoridation may be increasing lead exposure among some children is a serious issue, which deserves very careful consideration (which it has not yet received).
Since the addition of fluorosilicic acid is known to increase the acidity of water, concerns that fluoridating water with fluorosilicic acid have been voiced for many years. The conventional wisdom, however, has been that if a buffering agent is added simultaneously with the fluorosilicic acid, the finished water would not have a corrosive effect. The issue, however, received renewed attention in 1999 and 2000 when several studies detected associations between fluoridation and elevated blood lead levels among children living in both New York State and Massachusetts. Although the methods used in these studies have been criticized, more recent research has tended to confirm that the fluoridation/lead link is real, not a mere statistical artifact.
In 2007, a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina submerged lead-containing brass pipes in water with various water treatment chemicals, including silicofluorides, under carefully controlled conditions. The authors found that silicofluorides significantly increased the level of lead in the water, particularly when added in conjunction with chloramines and chlorine. As the authors noted:
“Prior to the present study, no one had looked at brass corrosion by combinations of either chlorine or chloramine with water fluoridating agents. Several factors applicable to such combinations can produce more corrosion than either of the disinfectants or fluoridating agents alone.”
Consistent with these laboratory findings, an analysis of CDC’s national data on blood leads levels found that children drinking water treated with silicofluorides are at 20% greater risk of exceeding the estimated hazard threshold for lead in blood (5 ug/dL).
The current evidence, therefore, does suggest that fluoridating water supplies can increase the lead exposure of some children, particularly those living in old homes and in communities where both hydrofluorosilicic acid and chloramines are added to the water.
- EPA’s statement on using fluorosilicic acid for fluoridation (1983)
- EPA letter admitting lack of toxicological testing on silicofluorides (2000)
- AWWA’s Opflow review of arsenic in fluoridation chemicals
- NSF’s first test results (2000)
- NSF’s second test results (2012)
- Dartmouth press release discussing 2001 study on silicofluorides/lead
- FAN’s press release about the University of North Carolina-Asheville laboratory study
- Review of recent research on silicofluorides/lead
It is classified as:
“dangerous good” by Transport Canada, “hazardous substance” by Environment Canada, “persistent, bio-accumulative & toxic” by Canadian Environmental Protection Act a “class one hazardous waste” by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is tanked untreated and shipped to municipalities as a “fluoridating agent”
That’s in every glass of water that you drink. Is this really a healthy drink? I don’t think so!
Why add Hydrofluorosilicic Acid (HFSA) to artificially fluoridate public drinking water? Hydrofluorosilicic Acid contains inorganic silicofluoride/fluorosilicate. It also contains trace amounts of contaminants such as lead, arsenic and mercury.
When did lead, arsenic, and mercury become safe to drink over a lifetime, at any concentrations? Hydrofluorosilicic Acid has yet to be proven safe for systemic ingestion (i.e. swallowing) or even effective at reducing dental caries (i.e. reducing decayed, missing, filled teeth). Why would we ever want to continue dumping these contaminants (i.e. hydrofluorosilicic acid) into our clean, fresh drinking water?
The official spinning of POLLUTION into an ELIXIR
Semantics, Politics or Fraud?
In April, 2,000, the Palm Beach Dental Director, Robert Dumbaugh, found himself in a dilemma in his push to fluoridate the drinking water of the small town of Wellington. When local activists revealed that the product used to fluoridate is, in reality, captured pollution from the production of phosphate fertilizer, Thomas Reeves, the US National Fluoridation Engineer, remained silent on the issue, refusing to answer any questions about the origin of the fluoridation agent.
An obviously worried, Dumbaugh emailed the Palm Beach County Pollution Supervisor, Frank Gargiulo, copied to Gargiulo’s subordinate, Darrel Graziani and prominent pro-fluoridation lobbyist, Michael Easley, at the University of Buffalo.
“Frank: You can see what we are up against. This argument represents the major thrust of the opposition in Wellington. We will have to come up with some very convincing explanation that defuses the mass hysteria surrounding ‘pollution scrubbers’ and toxic waste dumping. Any suggestions? They even have Tom Reeves on the ropes now. I think we have to have somebody that understands the industrial process and can speak to the regulations which govern and permit the production of fluosilicic acid, and speak to the safety issue. Thanks, Bob.”
By June, arrangements had been made for Dumbaugh and Darrel Graziani, to spend a day on an educational visit at the Cargill Fertilizer Inc. phosphate fertizer complex at Riverview, Florida. Subsequently, after one field trip and reviewing some information, Mr. Graziani became Palm Beach County’s resident ‘expert’ on the pollution effluent used to fluoridate drinking water.
Under an odd Florida law, pollution is not considered to be pollution until it reaches the environment. Using this device, Graziani declared, before a Wellington forum held on July 19, that the recovered pollution was indeed a ‘product’ and therefore was not pollution.
However, after several emails from this writer, Graziani and Dumbaugh became concerned that the issue may flare up again. Dumbaugh wrote Graziani:
“Darrel: If you can write a brief rebuttal to Mr. Glasser’s statement, I will not release it to anyone, but I can verbally discuss it with the mayor when I meet him tomorrow. What do you think. Bob.”
Graziani responded to Dumbaugh’s note:
“I was suprized (sic) to see that you received a copy of Mr. Glasser’s e-mail. which appeared to be not only directed to myself, but Governor Jeb Bush. Due to the nature of the email, I will not respond to Mr. Glasser unless Governor Jeb Bush orders me to.”
On receipt of copies of the email correspondence between Dumbaugh and Graziani, this writer responded to the allegations as follows:
“In the email response that you wrote for Dr. Dumbaugh to use as rebuttals to my allegations, it was stated: ‘Mr. Glasser’s statement “You seemed not to know what you are talking about!!! a superficial knowledge at best” appears to be a personal attack in light of the results of our findings versus his publications. He also continues to show little if any professional respect for those of differing opinion. This can be noted within his e-mail by the implied description of those supporting fluoridation as not “having the slightest amount of common sense.” I find the underling (SIC) messages to be unjustified, offensive and concerning.’
“In reality, the questions pertained to known carcinogens in the fluoridation agent such as Arsenic and Beryllium which are cumulative and Group 1(a) carcinogens (known to cause cancer in humans).
“The actual statement Graziani was referring to was stated as such: “My question to you is: Why would anyone with the slightest amount of common sense justify the addition of any non-essential product containing any amount of a known human carcinogen into the drinking water?”
In the interim, Dumbaugh, himself an executive member of the secretive National Center for Fluoride Policy and Research (NCFPR), headed by Easley, was planning a presentation and an article for the National Fluoridation Summit in Sacramento, California. Dumbaugh again emailed Graziani, cc’d to Michael Easley, Teran Gall (Special Events Director for the California Dental Association) and Thomas Reeves:
“Darrel: As we discussed yesterday, I forwarded your Cargill photos to Mike Easley this morning. Can you send me the two diagrams you used during the Wellington presentation to send him also? Also, how do you feel about working on an article for publication? You, I, Mike and Tom Reeves from CDC could collaborate. You would be the principal author. Would you have a preference of journals to send it to? How about the AWWA journal? I could look into presenting the article at the Fluoridation Summit that Teran Gall (California Dental Assoc.) is setting up in September.”
In the same sequence of email correspondence, Dumbaugh wrote to Thomas Reeves:
“Tom: I have a copy, but I’d like you to talk with Darrel Graziani, P.E. who went to Cargill with me and take a look at the slides. It will be fine with him. He also has an FSA production flow chart which would be helpful in your presentation. The presentation would be designed to refute Glasser’s allegation that FSA is toxic waste that is recovered from pollution scrubbers.
“I have asked Darrel if he would be willing to co-author an article, perhaps to be published in AWWA Journal, with you, Mike and I as co-authors. He has agreed, and his boss concurs, but I would ask you and Mike to put together the article outline. I don’t really have to be an author, but would be if you wished. At any rate, I think it would be useful to talk with Darrel, just to discuss the issue and your presentation at the Summit.”
Meanwhile, Reeves was emailing Dumbaugh and NCFPR colleagues to clarify matters:
“Hi Folks, There is a small point of correction I would like to make about the production of the fluorosilicic acid [which is the source for the sodium fluoride and sodium fluorosilicate, as well]. A lot of people sometimes say, even once in a while myself, that the acid is captured with pollution scrubbers. That is not technically correct….This is a small point because the pollution scrubbers and the product recovery units are similar. But since the antis make such a big point about the “pollution” part of the pollution scrubbers, maybe we should start using the correct term.”
In the very next sequence of emails uncovered under the Florida Public Records Act from Dumbaugh to Graziani, Dumbaugh comments, wryly:
“Darrel: It appears that the correct term is “product recovery unit.” It would be nice if that’s what the people at Cargill called it. Do you think it would be in order to call them and ask? They were still calling a scrubber when we were there.”
On August 3, Graziani emailed Dumbaugh, saying, “Mr. Glasser claims that he has written extensively on the subject of Phosphate Fertilizer Pollution. This may be the basis of his confusion since he is unable to distinguish between the FSA production process and the Air Pollution Scrubbers.”
So, during the one day field trip to the Cargill Fertilizer facility, Graziani and Dumbaugh had managed to redefine the nature of FSA pollution effluent!
However, the US Environmental Protection Agency has a different view of the captured pollution. In 1999, the EPA established that all facilities producing phosphate fertilizers in the United States must use the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) to reduce emissions of hydrogen fluoride, and heavy metals, including arsenic, beryllium, radionuclides, chromium and lead, as well as methyl isobutyl ketone.
Many of the hazardous air pollutants (or air toxics) released from the production of phosphate fertilizer are known or suspected of causing cancer or other serious health effects in humans and animals. EPA’s action was estimated to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants by about 345 tons annually, representing approximately 57 percent reduction from current levels.
National Sanitation Foundation International, which “certifies” the fluoridating agent, stated in correspondence to Florida Department of Health administrator, Pepe Mendez, that because of the EPA’s proposed new guidelines for Arsenic levels in drinking water, there might be “more product failures” due to inherent arsenic in the fluorosilicic acid. They also stated that beryllium was also a problem.
Both beryllium and arsenic are Group 1(a) substances or known to cause cancer in humans. Scientists have found that arsenic is responsible for causing, prostate, bladder, kidney, liver, skin and lung cancers in humans. Beryllium is considered the only verified causative of osteogenic sarcoma, and the EPA’s maximum contaminate level of Beryllium allowed in drinking water is 4.0 parts per billion. Both, arsenic and beryllium are cumulative toxicants in the body. Lead, a neurotoxicant, is also present in the fluoridating agent. It, too, is a cumulative poison.
While heated arguments continue about the fluoridation of drinking water, the revelations about the product used in fluoridation schemes are causing much consternation among the proponents. This is evidenced by the email exchanges between top level fluoridation proponents as they frantically attempt to sanitize the toxic pollution soup. However, as much as they try, the reality is stated in the EPA air pollution regulations.
They show the National Fluoridation Engineer, Thomas Reeves, trying to turn a pollution scrubber into a “product recovery unit.” It was a matter of semantics because the product being recovered was pollution.
Darrel Graziani based his view on a curious Florida environmental law which states that pollution is not really pollution unless it reaches the environment and that the effluent product recovered from phosphate fertilizer production is “high quality fluorosilicic acid.”
Meanwhile, Thomas Reeves and Darrel Grazani were aware of another nasty little carcinogenic secret about the toxic soup. While everyone was conspiring to sanitize the pollution soup, Graziani was in possession of a 1998 letter and analysis results for radium and uranium levels from Cargill lab manager, Mike Wells to Reeves. The accompanying lab results from Thornton Laboratories of Tampa, Florida stated that the sample contained up to 3.0 parts per million of uranium. Interestingly, other contaminants which are not carcinogens are listed at levels as low as 2.0 parts per billion while the level of uranium is 1.5 thousand times that amount.
Another interesting aspect with the presence of uranium is the fact that other carcinogenic decay rate products will be present such as Radon 222, Lead 210, Polonium 210 and others. Radon is a gas which is released by heat and can be carried over to the toxic soup in greater quantities than uranium. Consequently, the toxic soup contains a variety of radioactive contaminants that are not reported on the certified analyses/specification sheets. This revelation leaves one to question the motives behind those people pushing a toxic waste product as a beneficial health measure by semantically transforming a pollution scrubber into a “product recovery unit.”
The more frightening aspects of the uranium and its decay rate products is that a “half life” means that one-half of the radionuclide decays to the next product within a given amount of time. In other words, when we are talking about Polonium 210 (or whatever) lasting for 138 days (or whatever), what actually happens is that after 138 days (one half life), half of the polonium will have changed to something else, but half will still be there. After another half life, it will be down to a quarter activity, and after another half life it will be down to an eighth – i.e. – decreasing by half with each half life; consequently, radionuclides are the poison that keeps on poisoning in ever diminishing amounts.
In March 2000, Jane Jones, campaign director of the National Pure Water Association, UK, wrote to Mr. Thomas Reeves, the U.S. Chief Fluoridation Engineer, asking him to confirm or deny that the fluoridating agent is pollution scrubber liquor and to provide Safety Testing Data for the product.
“Reeves replied without answering either question,” said Ms Jones. “The push to fluoridate is largely driven from America, so I also wrote to Dr Michael Easley, the ‘chief fluoridation guru’ over there, and to Dr Gennady Pakhomov, the Responsible Officer for the World Health Organization’s Oral Health Program. He acknowledged my email but ducked the questions. I’ve written three times to each of these top men, who are supposed to be ‘experts’. Their silence is scandalous. We know that the fluoridating agent is hazardous waste which has never been tested as safe for human consumption.”
To date, none of the above mentioned enthusiastic promoters of fluoridation have responded to Jane Jones’ query. Despite the semantics, – “Product Recovery Unit” or “Air Pollution Scrubber” – the end product remains the same: it is a concentrated soup-mix of Hazardous Air Pollutants. Neither Darrel Graziani, Thomas Reeves nor the Grand Poopah of drinking water fluoridation, Michael Easley can transform toxic pollution into a beneficial nutrient.
STOP PRESS. Now, the British Fluoridation Society in the UK is using Tom Reeves’ “product recovery unit” spin, but they cannot provide the names of manufacturers of “product recovery units”, not have any idea of how they operate! The BFS is funded by the UK Dept. of Health to promote water fluoridation and purport to be “experts” on all facets of drinking water fluoridation. The information on their website re product recovery units is deliberately misleading to the public – the taxpayers themselves.
Salt Lake City Tribune, Sunday, June 16, 2002
What’s in the Water?
Even the Davis County residents who voted for water fluoridation two years ago should be happy that opponents are close to forcing the issue back onto the ballot this fall. The additive most people assumed they would be getting — the pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride found in toothpaste, pills and dental treatments — is not the stuff flowing from taps today in the county’s southern end. Instead, the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District took a more economical path and bought fluorosilicic acid.
Those who had visions of sterile white laboratories when they voted for fluoride weren’t thinking of fluorosilicic acid. Improbable as this sounds, much of it is recovered from the scrubbing solution that scours toxins from smokestacks at phosphate fertilizer plants. Water fluoridation has turned a tremendous hazardous-waste disposal expense into a multimillion-dollar profit for fertilizer manufacturers.
Now stop and think about the nonsensical mechanics of that scheme for a moment: The Environmental Protection Agency wouldn’t allow a bucket of this stuff to be poured directly into the Great Salt Lake, yet many tons will flow there in coming years via Davis County wastewater alone. As long as some of it passes through people first, the EPA rules against dumping waste are suspended.
The amount that reaches your water tap is relatively small, about about 1 part per million (ppm), yet it’s worth noting that the EPA’s limit for lead in the water is only 0.015 ppm — and lead is less toxic than fluorosilicic acid. Arsenic is only a few times more toxic, yet its EPA water limit is about 400 times smaller than the acid’s. Fluoridation proponents call such comparisons irrelevant because they say the acid has been used for years with no proven ill effects. But they can’t provide more than this anecdotal assurance because fluorosilicic acid — unlike the fluoride in your toothpaste — has never been subject to serious toxicological study by the government. The EPA’s ranking chemist confirmed that mind-boggling oversight to The Tribune last week.
The private sector, on the other hand, has stepped up in recent years to fill the scientific void. A 1999 Dartmouth College study — linking fluorosilicic acid to high uptakes of lead in children — is one of several that have raised red flags about the acid. The few public health officials who are even aware of this research are quick to dismiss it, but at the very least the study authors have attempted to apply some scientific method to the question of the acid’s safety. Lacking valid research to support their own position on fluorosilicic acid, the best that the public health
politicos can do is tell you, “Other cities have been using it for years.” That, folks, is not science.
If you voted for lab-tested fluoride and not some factory’s toxic swill, you should thank opponents for hanging with this issue and giving you another chance to choose.