by Monte Kline, Ph.D.
Few subjects have spurred more controversy than that of water fluoridation. To be against fluoridation is to be labeled a little old lady in tennis shoes that sees a communist conspiracy behind anything and everything. Actually, those of us (generally in the natural medicine arena) who oppose fluoridation are basically like the little boy in the story who said, “The Emperor has no clothes.” Like the people of the village that had so many times admired the Emperor’s clothes, even when he had no clothes, so many “health authorities” are blind to the obvious “nakedness” of fluoridation.
ORIGINS OF FLUORIDATION
Fluoridation of public water supplies began in the mid-1940’s. In a way it all started with a magazine article called “The Town Without a Toothache,” which attributed the dental health of Hereford, Texas to the high amount of naturally occurring fluoride in the water supply. Various studies were done on the DMFT (decayed-missing-filled teeth) rates in fluoridated versus non-fluoridated cities. The best known studies were on Kingston-Newburgh, New York, Evanston, Illinois, Brantford, Ontario and Newark, Delaware. All were based on using sodium fluoride.
Based on these and other studies supposedly showing the DMFT rate improved with fluoridation, the American Dental Association and various public health agencies began a massive promotion of mandatory water fluoridation which continues to this day. The evidence shows this to be perhaps the greatest misinformation campaign in our history.
BUT DOES IT WORK?
In 1963 John J. Miller, Ph.D. testified before the Michigan State Legislature regarding the above classic studies of fluoridation. Using the same charts he showed that fluoridation didn’t really prevent tooth decay, but actually just delayed the onset of decay by 1-3 years! Fluoridated or not, the DMFT rate increased on an average of one tooth per year. In the case of Newark, Delaware dental decay actually worsened after fluoridation was implemented. Philip Zanfagna, M.D., in his excellent book, Fluoridation and TRUTH Decay, notes:
Dental researchers recognize that dental decay is not due to the lack of fluoride in the diet or water, but rather to genetic differences, lack of calcium and poor diets, and to the excessive use of sugar.
MORE CHALLENGING EVIDENCE
In a 1987 article in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, Dr. Allan Gray, then Director of the Division of Dental Health Services for British Columbia noted that the DMFT rates were also falling in non-fluoridated areas as well as fluoridated. Well excuse me, but doesn’t that tell us that factors other than fluoridation must be responsible for the improvement in dental health?
Dr. Hardy Limeback, Ph.D., D.D.S., head of the Department of Preventive Dentistry for the University of Toronto and president of the Canadian Association of Dental Research is considered Canada’s leading fluoridation authority. Dr. Limeback formerly was the primary promoter of fluoridation in Canada — he is now a fluoridation opponent. He notes that Vancouver, which has never been fluoridated, has a lower cavity rate than Toronto, which has been fluoridated for nearly 40 years. He states:
In Canada we are now spending more money treating dental fluorosis [mottling of teeth] than we do treating cavities.
In 1986 and 1987 the National Institute of Dental Research did a $3 million survey on 39,000 children in 84 U. S. communities. They found virtually no difference in tooth decay rates of permanent teeth in fluoridated versus non-fluoridated communities.
Dr. Rudolph Ziegelbecker, Director of the Institute for Environmental Research, in Graz, Austria, studied all the published studies of the relationship between fluoride in water and dental caries. He reported in the journal, Fluoride, in 1981 that there was no relationship. In a follow-up study published in Fluoride in October 1993 he reported that actually an inverse relationship exists — dental caries increases as water fluoride increases!
MORE FLUORIDE—MORE DECAY?
There are actually studies showing that tooth decay increased with higher natural or artificial fluoride. Prof. Y. Imai of Japan in 1972 studied 22,000 school children in naturally occurring fluoride areas and found that dental caries increased with increased fluoride. A Tucson, Arizona study by Dr. Cornelius Steelink in 1992 on 23,000 school children likewise found more dental decay with higher natural levels of fluoride.
Dr. John Colquhoun, former Chief Dental Officer of the Department of Health in Auckland, New Zealand, studying 26,000 school children in 1989 found that those in artificially fluoridated areas had slightly more caries than children from non-fluoridated areas. Perhaps more significantly both Colquhoun and Steelink found a positive correlation between family income and the prevalence of dental caries. This finding was independent of the fluoride level in their drinking water and whether it was naturally or artificially fluoridated.
FLUORIDATION AROUND THE WORLD
The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand are the major fluoridating countries. Europe is largely unfluoridated. Here are the actual quotes in letters from the health departments of the countries:
Austria — “ . . . toxic fluorides have never been added to the public water supplies in Austria” — M. Eisenhut, Head of Water Department
Belgium — “ . . . this water treatment has never been of use in Belgium and will never be (we hope so) into the future.” — Chr. Legros, Directeur, Beligische Federatie Voor De Watersector
Denmark — “ . . . toxic fluorides have never been added to the public water supplies in Denmark.” — Klaus Werner, Royal Danish Embassy
Germany — “In the Federal Republik of Germany the drinking water is not fluoridated.”—Dr. K. Ewing, Bundesministerium Fur Gesundheit
Netherlands — “From the end of the 1960’s until the beginning of the 1970’s drinking water in various places in the Netherlands was fluoridated . . . However, in it’s judgement of 22 June 1973 the Supreme Court rules there was no legal basis for fluoridation . . . the main reason for opposition . . . was that fluoridation was seen as putting a medical additive into the drinking water by the government . . .”—Wilfred Reinhold, Legal Advisor, Directorate Drinking Water, Water, Agriculture
Norway — “. . . drinking water in Norway is not being fluoridated . . . we had a rather intense discussion on this subject some 20 years ago, and the conclusion was that drinking water should not be fluoridated.” — Truls Krogh, National Institute of Public Health
Sweden — “Drinking water fluoridation is not allowed in Sweden due to repeal in 1971 of the Drinking Water Fluoridation Act issued 1962.” — Gunnar Guzikowski, National Food Administration.
Finland — “ . . . we do not favor or recommend fluoridation of drinking water.” — Paavo Poteri, Helsinki Water
China — “ . . . it is not allowed to add fluorides into public drinking water . . .” — Gao Xishui, Ministry of Health
Japan — “Japanese government and local water suppliers have considered there is no need to supply fluoridated water to ALL users because 1) impacts of fluoridated water on human health depends on each human being so that inappropriate application may cause health problems of vulnerable people, and 2) there is [sic] other ways for the purpose of dental health care, such as direct F-coating on teeth and the using fluoridated dental paste and these ways should be applied at one’s free will.” — Toru Nagayama, Section Chief, Environment Agency
Fluoride is more toxic than lead and just slightly less toxic than arsenic. Fluoride is not considered an “essential element” in human nutrition by the F.D.A. However, fluoride wastes are essential for modern industry, since fluoride is a toxic waste product of the aluminum and synthetic fertilizer industries. Approximately 90% of the fluoride used in water is hydrofluorosilicic acid, a waste product obtained from scrubbing factory stacks to remove chemical wastes. This source of fluoride may also contain lead, mercury, arsenic, and other heavy metal toxins — lovely additions to your drinking water for free! Hydrofluorosilicic acid is at least 25 times more toxic than naturally-occurring calcium fluoride!
Fluoride is not just in fluoridated water and toothpaste, but in many foods and prescription medications. One authority estimates that Prozac is 75% fluoride! Milk, pineapple juice, grape juice and other products are high in fluoride. Fluoride has never been found to be necessary for human health—but even if it was, most people get lots of fluoride from sources other than water.
Dental fluorosis, or mottling of teeth, is the first sign of fluoride poisoning. At the typical 1 ppm level of fluoride in fluoridated water, fluorosis occurs in many children. Even the Journal of the American Dental Association (which fully endorses fluoridation) noted in 1962 that 10-20% of the children in Grand Rapids, Michigan develop mottled teeth from fluoridated water.
Moving away from children, studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1990 and 1992 show there are also studies showing a higher incidence of hip fractures in fluoridated areas. Research in India has shown that gastrointestinal problems are produced before skeletal fluorosis becomes evident.
INCREASED CANCER RISK
One of the most alarming and controversial studies was done by the late Dean Burke, Ph.D., former head of Cytochemistry at the National Cancer Institute and John Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D., former editor of Chemical Abstracts. In surveying fluoridated vs. non-fluoridated cities over 1,000,000 in population, they found the cancer death rate 20% higher in fluoridated cities and estimated that 25,000 additional cancer deaths are caused annually in the U.S due to water fluoridation. These findings were presented to Congress on July 21, 1975.
Dr. Burke, who spent over 50 years of his life in cancer research urged the immediate suspension of all water fluoridation in the United States. In typical fashion he was immediately labeled a quack and the study flawed by pro-fluoridationists. You will note time and again that even the most eminent scientists are immediately discredited when they oppose the establishment view. Scientific “research” isn’t about truth; it’s about the politics of parroting the establishment view.
DRUGGING THE POPULATION
A quart of fluoridated water contains about 1 mg. of fluoride. To get that same amount of fluoride in a pill you would need a prescription. So simply by drinking fluoridated water you can get an unlimited dosage of a controlled prescription drug. That’s scary.
But there’s a deeper problem. Let’s assume that fluoridation does help prevent tooth decay in many people (though I don’t believe that’s the case). As with any substance, some people are allergic to fluoride and may have serious reactions. Because some people benefit are you going to make others ill by drugging everyone’s water?
We could also say that most people are constipated. Shall we then put laxatives in the water supply? If we do a lot of people will also have diarrhea. What about putting Prozac in the water supply because tens of millions are depressed? This is not good science or public health policy — it’s Orwell’s 1984.
I’m fed up with this persistent paternalistic government and medical establishment that’s obsessed with managing every aspect of our lives thinking we’re too stupid to take care of ourselves. Look, if you want to take fluoride, go get a prescription for it, and be my guest. But don’t force me to take fluoride by poisoning my water with it!
THE REAL SOLUTION
Conventional medicine, dentistry and science is always looking for a magic bullet to solve a given problem. There’s not one mineral that makes for healthy teeth, but many nutrients. And diet is the greatest factor in dental health. Take the advise a dentist once gave me: “Get off of white sugar and white flour and you won’t have tooth decay.”