Fluoridegate: What’s in your water?
I was born during the first decade of the Cold War. In those days, and in many that followed, I was like most people probably were – I was taught by my parents, by politicians and in my schools to trust those in authority, to trust the federal government without question. After all, the government cared about us and protected us from harm.
But I did begin to question, and in my teens I became curious about lots of things. Some years later I read a report on fluoride used in drinking water. As with the prompts to put blind trust in what I was told, I readily believed that fluoride was good for preventing dental caries. After all, everyone in authority said it was. Who was I to doubt it?
Over the years I read another report, then another, then another. Much of the research questioned the efficacy of fluoride. As the years turned into decades even more research continued to emerge. And it still does today.
Fayette County Commissioner David Barlow at a recent meeting noted that online searches opposing fluoridation can sometimes result in misinformation on the topic. But such is not always the case.
Below are a few examples from people who are experts in their fields. Here’s what they have to say:
• “With acute exposures, the harm is more obvious, but most fluoride exposures are of a chronic toxicity and like lead or arsenic, the levels build up. It is this chronicity that baffles our analytical techniques that we call ‘modern day science.’” (Murphy, 2008).
Murphy is a dentist who researched the topic for 15 years before writing “The Devil’s Poison,” which documents the biochemical actions on a molecular level that result when fluorine interacts with the various organs in our bodies and with the nutrients and chemicals taken into our bodies.
There are others in the scientific community, many of them, who have spoken out against fluoridation. They are not easily shunned by those who only parrot the government’s pro-fluoridation mantra. Among them are researchers and scientists who understand the real problems with fluoride. The problems are legion and are connected to something else that began emerging over the past few years — Fluoridegate.
• Congressman Ken Calvert (Subcommittee on Energy and Environment — Committee on Science) in May 2000 asked federal Health and Human Services (HHS), “If health claims are made for fluoride-containing products (e.g., that they reduce dental caries incidence or reduce pathology from osteoporosis), do such claims mandate that the fluoride-containing product be considered a drug, and thus subject the product to applicable regulatory controls?”
The response from HHS Associate Commissioner for Legislation Melinda K. Plaisier in a Dec. 21, 2000 letter responded, “Fluoride, when used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or animal, is a drug that is subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation.” ( http://www.fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/fluoride_drug.pdf)
Well, fluoride is used to treat dental caries. Fluoride is a medication, a drug.
• Dr. Mario Garrett in the July issue of Psychology Today noted recent research suggesting that both small and higher levels of fluoride, taken over time, may increase the risk of hip fractures in the elderly.
• Israel and the U.S. are two of only a handful of nations that fluoridate more that 50 percent of their population. In a controversial move, Israeli Health Minister Yael German just two weeks ago prohibited the fluoridation of drinking water in her nation. (http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Health-Minister-German-outlaws-fluorida...)
Sometimes even U.S. government scientists will speak out against fluoridation. In perhaps what is the most damning assessment of fluoridation, what follows from more than a decade ago is a portion of a position paper from the 1,500 scientists, engineers and attorneys at federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, D.C. who wanted fluoridation stopped. They broke ranks with the very federal government (and their bosses) that promote fluoridation. I hope you read it very carefully then click on the link that follows.
• “The (EPA) union first became interested in this issue rather by accident. Like most Americans, including many physicians and dentists, most of our members had thought that fluoride’s only effects were beneficial — reductions in tooth decay, etc. We too believed assurances of safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation.”
Then they looked at the volumes of real research and changed their minds after receiving a complaint from a colleague being forced to include a statement in a regulation saying that fluoride has only a cosmetic effect, not an adverse health effect.
“We tried to settle this ethics issue quietly, within the family, but EPA was unable or unwilling to resist external political pressure, and we took the fight public with a union amicus curiae brief in a lawsuit filed against EPA by a public interest group. Since then our opposition to drinking water fluoridation has grown, based on the scientific literature documenting the increasingly out-of-control exposures to fluoride, the lack of benefit to dental health from ingestion of fluoride and the hazards to human health from such ingestion.
“These hazards include acute toxic hazard, such as to people with impaired kidney function, as well as chronic toxic hazards of gene mutations, cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, bone pathology and dental fluorosis. The implication for the general public of these calculations is clear. 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.” (http://www.nteu280.org/Issues/Fluoride/NTEU280-Fluoride.htm)
“Unable or unwilling to resist external political pressure.” I wonder if that pressure might have come from lobbyists for the chemical/pharmaceutical industries and trade associations that contribute to state and Congressional campaigns, and the nonprofits and trade or professional organizations that carry the banner for fluoridation.
Folks, this is Fluoridegate. But don’t expect the politicians to ever go down without a fight – they dare not bite the hand that feeds them.
There was a time when I believed nearly everything the federal government said. How about you? For me, those days, those years, are long gone.
This is the government that said for years toxins such as lead, mercury and asbestos were not a problem. It took years, even decades, but the rest of the story finally began to come out.
If you take the time to look at the research on fluoride you will hear from the experts who are not so easily dismissed as crackpots. Actually, you might find that those who take the most rabid stance are those defending the practice of adding a neurotoxin, without informed consent, to the drinking water of 70 percent of U.S. citizens – from womb to tomb. In Georgia, that figure is about 95 percent.
Nonetheless, fluoride’s days, in drinking water and other consumer products, are numbered due to increasing nationwide public controversy and current and future litigation. Several manufacturers a few years ago quietly began removing fluoride from some of their products.
I believe it is past time for fluoride to be removed from drinking water. Meantime, I believe the Georgia General Assembly, and Health and Human Services for that matter, must impose a moratorium on water fluoridation until all the peer-reviewed research can be objectively compared and evaluated.
[Ben Nelms is a veteran reporter for The Citizen.]