Water Fluoridation


Overview

A worker adding fluoride to a cities tap water. Rest assured that underneath the hazmat helmet is a cavity free smile.
A worker adding fluoride to a cities tap water. Rest assured that underneath the hazmat helmet is a cavity free smile.

Fluorine is one of the basic elements on the periodic table. Due to its atomic composition it is unstable and volatile ("fluorine cuts through steel like butter, burns asbestos, and reacts violently with most organic material.") Due to its reactivity it is usually found in nature bonded to other elements "known as salts, or fluorides. The most common ones are hydrogen fluoride, calcium fluoride, sodium fluoride, sulfur hexafluoride and silicofluorides.Fluorides are common in many modern industries and are used to produce "high-octane gasoline; to smelt such key metals as aluminum, steel, and beryllium; to enrich uranium; to make computer circuit boards, pesticides, ski wax, refrigerant gases, Teflon plastic, carpets, waterproof clothing, etched glass, bricks and ceramics, and numerous drugs, such as Prozac and Cipro." It is now added to the water supply of many American communities and the Center for Disease Control has recognized water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. The reason behind water fluoridation according to the CDC is too prevent and control cavities. The problem that arises is over exposure. Fluoride in many in vitro experiments has been shown to have several adverse toxic effects.



History

The studies in fluoride in America has its initial roots based on the observations and test of dentist Frederick Sumner McKay in the Colorado Springs area. McKay ,upon his initial move to the region, observed that many of the natives had strange discolorations on their teeth, which the locals called "Colorado Brown Stain." McKay spent many years trying to pinpoint the cause of the molted teeth and his diligent work resulted in his position as the President of the Colorado State Dental Association. He looked at numerous environmental factors from the food to weather, and narrowed down the cause when in 1916 he "outlined geographic boundaries of the endemic areas and determined the percentage of affliction. Much of his evidence pointed to the water supply as a cause of the endemic. In several of the afflicted districts examined by McKay, the water used for household purposes had been in contact with shale rock, associated with the large coal mines owned by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company." Today we now know that the "Colorado Brown Stain" was in fact moderate to severe cases of dental fluorosiswhich is caused by overexposure to fluoride. Twenty years later in Copenhagen, Denmark, Kaj Roholm began to study the effects of fluoride after workers in a cryolite factory (cryolite is 50% flouride and was being used as a cheaper alternative to produce aluminum) developed several detrimental ailments. Roholm observed that "Eighty-four percent of the workers at the cryolite plant had signs of osteosclerosis.Their bones sopped up fluoride like sponges, wreaking havoc on their skeletons, immobilizing spinal columns, malforming knees and hips, and even thickening some men's skulls. Half the employees had a lung condition known as pulmonary fibrosis and many suffered from an emphysema-like affliction... the workers' ligaments grew hard and sprouted bony spines, while their bones became lumpy and irregular in shape." He also examined fluoride's effect on teeth as it was speculated at the time "that because ingested fluoride was deposited in teeth and bone, it was therefore necessary for healthy teeth." Roholm and a team around Elmer Verner McCollum, of the Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore tested this in animals such as dogs, rats, and pigs and found that it made their teeth weaker. In the factory workers Roholm observed that the worst teeth had the most fluoride in them. In 1937 Roholm released his finding in his study entitled "Fluorine Intoxicationwhich referenced 893 scientific articles on fluoride. His conclusions regarding fluoride and teeth are as follows "The once general assumption that fluorine is necessary to the quality of the enamel rests upon an insufficient foundation. Our present knowledge most decidedly indicates that fluorine is not necessary to the quality of that tissue, but that on the contrary the enamel organ is electively sensitive to the deleterious effects of fluorine," He strongly urged the "Cessation of the therapeutic use of fluorine compounds for children." He sought that fluorine intoxication be recognized as an occupation disease that would qualify for compensation and he advocated government action: "Factories giving off gaseous fluorine compounds should be required to take measures for their effective removal from chimney smoke." Around this time in America steel industries were facing much legal turmoil with "half a billion dollars in damage suits filed against employers in occupational disease claims." At the Mellon Institute, in 1935 the Air Hygiene Foundation was formed(later renamed Industrial Hygiene Foundation) to conduct research on fluoride and other workplace chemicals under criticism such as asbestos. The Air Hygiene Foundation was sponsored by and had membership from several big names in industry including "Johns-Manville, Westinghouse, Monsanto, U.S. Steel, Union Carbide, Alcoa, and DuPont." In 1936 Mellon researchers had given laboratory rats some fluoride and announced that the chemical was a "factor" protecting teeth. In 1937 Ray Weidlein and Gerald Cox published details of their fluoride discovery in the scientific press and in the following year Cox declared in the Journal of the American Medical Association that "the case [for fluoride] should be regarded as proved." In 1945, Grand Rapids became the first city in the world to fluoridate its drinking water. During the 15-year project, researchers monitored the rate of tooth decay among Grand Rapids' almost 30,000 schoolchildren. The caries rate among Grand Rapids children born after fluoride was added to the water supply dropped more than 60 percent.


Analysis



Water fluoridation jumps over the borders of ethical and health concerns as Fluoride is a mass administered drug, not a nutrient. This is not to say that mass administration is bad, however the way this is carried out simply cannot be done safely. It is added into the water supply as a one-size-fits-all approach. It is the only drug administered in a way that completely subverts the practices of modern pharmacology. In pharmacology drugs are administered to individual people and takes into account the factors present in each particular individual. By this method it is not possible to achieve an accurate administration between all people. The CDC reports that "The laboratory and epidemiologic research that has led to the better understanding of how fluoride prevents dental caries indicates that fluoride's predominant effect is posteruptive and topical and that the effect depends on fluoride being in the right amount in the right place at the right time". This is by far to me one of the most unsettling concepts: the CDC has recently discovered that fluoride's effects are "topical" (on the surface) as opposed to systemic (ingestion). The cavity protective effects of fluoride are achieved through direct contact with the teeth, which is of course what happens when we drink fluoridated water. However we are also ingesting it when we swallow the water meaning we are subjecting ourselves to completely unnecessary risk. An analogy would be drinking lotion because you have dry skin, which is of course completely nonsensical since it is active topically to the skin, like that of fluoride to the teeth. In recent years there has been substantial evidence that fluoride effects cognitive functioning and behavior. There are 23 studies that report an association between exposure to fluoride and lower I.Q which can be viewed here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. The group of people at highest risk are children, as there body weights are lower than that of an adult and mass is the primary factor in calculating the prescribed dosage of a drug. In Harm's Way—Toxic Threats to Child Development" by the Greater Boston chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility described how 12 million children (17 percent) in the United States " suffer from one or more learning, developmental, or behavioral disabilities. "Infants less than one year old may be getting more than the optimal amount of fluoride (which may increase their risk of enamel fluorosis) if their primary source of nutrition is powdered or liquid concentrate infant formula mixed with water containing fluoride... If using a product that needs to be reconstituted, parents and caregivers should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride." (American Dental Association)

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With fluoridated products marketed towards infant health in stores, the advisory of the American Dental Association is likely unknown to a majority of mothers. Even mothers that are not using formula, but breast feeding, could cause harm as Roholm observed in 1937 that "Lactating mothers in the Copenhagen factory had even poisoned their own children; since fluoride passed though their breast milk, children who had never been inside the plant developed mottled teeth".



Conclusion


There is simply too much contradicting evidence that fluoride can be causing more problems than what it promises to solve. I can see no reason to justify water fluoridation, if cavity prevention is truly the goal then the millions of dollars that is spent on water fluoridation could surely go to provide toothpaste to the public instead. There is much more research to be done before we really understand the depth of the negative effects on humans in small amounts over long periods of time. We do however have enough evidence to see the potential for negative ailments from skeletal to neurological to arise and that alone is enough reason to cease water fluoridation. There is no need to wait for government intervention to cease water fluoridation, it is not federally regulated. It is carried through municipally and can be stopped. There are now 29 communities that have halted water fluoridation putting the population liberated from forced fluoridation at 2.5 million(See Map Below), however by comparison to the rest of the country this is miniscule. This is only attainable however if a majority of the population becomes aware of the dangers. Unfortunately it seems new data and information that contradicts the safety of fluoride is often shun and the scientists that oppose it are black balled. This is quite clearly the case with Phyllis Mullinex (videos to the right) who underwent thorough research and discovered very freightning results in the behavior of rats. What is not mentioned in these videos by Mullinex however is after she chose to publish her findings she was fired a few days after and Forsyth shut down the toxicology department.
Mullinex no longer works as a research scientist. Since her fluoride discovery at Forsyth a decade ago, she has received no funding or research grants.



















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