Fluoride: A Worldwide Campaign to End Exposure

Fluoride: A Statement of Concern

by Paul Connett, PhD

continues from part 2

51. In 1995, Dr. Phyllis Mullenix resisted an enormous amount of political pressure to publish her investigation of the impact of fluoride on rat behavior (61). In her work she found that fluoride concentrated in the brain and that when the animals were exposed to fluoride before birth they exhibited behavior characterized as hyperactive, and when they were dosed after birth they became hypoactive (“couch potatoes”). In a non peer-reviewed critique by Gary Whitford, circulated by the Centers for Disease Control, Division of Oral Health (62), but not submitted to Mullenix for rebuttal (where are the professional ethics here?), her work was attacked because of the high levels of fluoride she had used.

52. When Mullenix finally received a copy of Whitford’s critique from a third party she was quickly able to respond. She pointed out, “These criticisms are without merit because our doses in rats produce a level of fluoride in the plasma equivalent to that found in humans drinking 5-10 ppm fluoride in water, or humans receiving some treatments for osteoporosis. This plasma level is exceeded ten times over one hour after children receive topical applications of some dental fluoride gels. Thus, humans are being exposed to levels of fluoride that we know alter behavior in rats” (63). Mullenix also pointed out that it is standard toxicological practice to treat animals with large doses over short periods of time, in order to tease out an effect with the small number of the animals being tested. However, before she could administer small doses over a longer period of time, she was dismissed from the Forsyth Dental Center. She was told her work had little relevance to dentistry! While agencies of the US government had shown a lot of interest in this work (one suspects in order to discredit it) they have not found it necessary to fund more work in this area. Another example of politics ruling over science: a sickening thread that runs throughout this sorrowful 50-year history of fluoride promotion by agencies of the US Public Health Service.

53. An impartial observer is forced to ask, if the promotion of fluoride is an honorable cause, why it is that the tactics behind it have been so despicable? Mullenix is not the only scientist who has suffered reprisals because of her work on fluoride. In 1992 US EPA fired Dr. William Marcus, the Senior Scientist at EPA’s Office of Drinking Water, for questioning the erroneous downgrading of cancers in the 1990 NTP fluoride rat study (see paragraph 26). According to a February 10, 1994, press release from the National Whistleblower Center in Washington, DC:

“In a precedent-setting ruling, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Robert B. Reich has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reinstate toxicologist Dr. William L. Marcus. Labor found the EPA guilty of falsifying employment records, discrimination, and retaliation against an employee whistleblower. It also granted Marcus, the largest compensatory damage award ever upheld under the federal environment employee protection statues… The case marks the first time that EPA federal employees were held to be protected from discrimination under federal environmental laws. The ruling establishes that all federal employees are covered under these laws… The decision upheld an earlier order by a DOL Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued December 3, 1992, supporting Marcus’ claim that he was fired for protected activity… The EPA dismissed the 52-year-old toxicologist on May 13, 1992 after a four-year investigation of Marcus’ outside activities as an expert trial witness. EPA accused Marcus of improper use of agency information for private gain, being improperly absent from work, and engaging in outside employment which appeared to pose a conflict of interest… Both the ALJ and Reich found many of the charges to be `unsubstantiated,’ and based on apparently falsified time records and other testimony. Reich disputed the EPA’s position stating, `I agree with the ALJ that this rationale is pretextual and that the true reason for the discharge was retaliation.’ Both Reich and the ALJ found that Marcus was actually fired for publicly criticizing and opposing EPA’s policy on fluoride in drinking water.”

Dr. Marc Diesendorf describes a similar situation to Mullenix with respect to the paper he published in Nature (12). He wrote,

“an unpublished covert critique of my paper… written by a senior member of the Australian Dental Association, is apparently being circulated to health departments, politicians, and newspaper editors in several countries, including the U.S. Recently an overseas newspaper editor sent me a copy, and it was immediately clear that the critique was easily answered and was of such a low scientific standard that it would be very difficult to publish, except perhaps in certain dental journals” (64).

I, myself, have received letters from dentists who have been threatened because they had the integrity to speak out on this issue. What makes this kind of bullying even more unacceptable is that it is supported at the highest levels of government. Mullenix has described her work and the trouble it sparked in a videotaped interview (65). Bette Hileman cites several other disturbing incidents encountered by fluoride researchers, including:

“Phillipe Grandjean, professor of environmental medicine at Odense University in Denmark, wrote to the Environmental Protection Agency in June 1985 about a World Health Organization study on fluorine and fluorides: `Information which could cast any doubt on the advantage of fluoride supplements was left out by the Task Group. Unless I had been present myself, I would have found it hard to believe'” (20, p 36).

54. Meanwhile, Isaacson and his co-workers at SUNY Binghamton, were conducting low-dose, long-term rat fluoride studies (66). They found that fluoride administered daily at 1 ppm, either as aluminum fluoride or sodium fluoride in doubly distilled de-ionized water, for a period of one year, produced morphological changes to kidney and brain cells and an increased uptake of aluminum into the brain. This striking finding has been largely ignored by US authorities, as have been the studies by Guan et al on the impact of fluoride on membrane lipids in rat brain (67), and the studies from China which indicate a lowering of IQ of children as a function of their exposure to fluoride (68, 69). While it is possible that these Chinese studies may have not accounted for some potentially confounding variables, they again wave another very serious red flag? Are we going to risk damaging our childrens’ brains for the sake of, at most, half a tooth? What would those who believe in the precautionary principle have to say about that?

55. The work by Isaacson raises a very large issue: the possibility that because fluoride forms complex ions with very many metal ions, including toxic metals like radium, uranium, beryllium, aluminum and lead, it may facilitate the uptake of these elements into places they would not normally be able to enter. This may be particularly relevant if fluoride facilitates their crossing of the blood brain barrier or the placental membrane. Unfortunately, very few studies have pursued the synergistic effects of fluoride and other substances like toxic metal ions. In one of those rare studies that did, it was shown that a combination of lead and fluoride (the salts were dissolved in the drinking water of rats) proved to be “much more severely toxic than either compound alone” and that the fluoride produced significantly higher lead concentrations in the blood and femur (70). Another more recent study which may have inadvertently probed the matter is the extraordinary work of Dr Roger Masters (Professor of Government at Dartmouth) and Myron Coplan, an environmental engineer from Massachusetts (71). They have found a correlation between the uptake of lead into children’s blood and the use of hexafluorosilicic acid or its sodium salt to fluoridate municipal water supplies in Massachusetts. They also found a correlation between the use of these same agents and the incidence of violent crime.

56. Masters and Coplan’s work also revealed that practically no toxicological work has been performed on these silcofluorides, which are used to fluoridate about 90% (72) of the water fluoridated in the US. Instead, when scientists look at possible problems with fluoridation they examine the effect of the fluoride ion not the hexafluorosilicate ion. The assumption being made is that by the time the hexafluorosilicate ion reaches the tap it will have been completely converted into silica and the free fluoride ion. Coplan argues, during a fascinating videotaped interview that I had with him (and Roger Masters) that this is not likely and that there will be still some silicon fluoride complexes available at the tap and these might be the species which facilitate the uptake of the lead (73).

The source of the fluoride used to fluoridate water in the US.

57. As mentioned above, about 90% of the water fluoridated in the US contains either hexafluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) or its sodium salt (Na2SiF6). These are obtained from the super-phosphate industry from the scrubbing solution used to remove hydrogen fluoride from atmospheric releases. By law, these scrubbing liquids cannot be dumped into the sea, lakes, rivers or streams. However, the US EPA does allow them to be diluted down to 1 ppm and then to be added to our drinking water. From there the fluoride can be flushed through our bodies before it enters rivers and then the sea! According to one US EPA official this is an excellent way of dealing with “water and air pollution” problems (74). Canada’s leading pro-fluoridation dental authority, Dr. Hardy Limeback, recently changed his position. (Limeback’s qualifications include: Ph.D in Biochemistry, D.D.S., Head of the Department of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto, and President of the Canadian Association for Dental Research). In a December 1999 press interview he cited one of the reasons for his dramatic turn-around:

“the crowning blow was the realization that we have been dumping contaminated fluoride into water reservoirs for half a century. The vast majority of all fluoride additives come from Tampa Bay, Florida smokestack scrubbers. The additives are a toxic byproduct of the super-phosphate fertilizer industry” (75).

Barry Forbes, the newspaper reporter who published this interview with Limeback, wrote:

“Last week, Dr. Hardy Limeback addressed his faculty and students at the University of Toronto, Department of Dentistry. In a poignant, memorable meeting, he apologized to those gathered before him. `Speaking as the head of preventive dentistry, I told them that I had unintentionally mislead my colleagues and my students. For the past 15 years, I had refused to study the toxicology information that is readily available to anyone. Poisoning our children was the furthest thing from my mind. The truth,’ he confessed to me, `was a bitter pill to swallow. But swallow it I did’ ” (75).

Many others, including myself, are outraged that our health may be put at risk to facilitate the waste disposal needs of the super-phosphate industry. However, from this industry’s narrow economic point of view it makes a lot of sense. It converts a hazardous waste disposal cost of about $400 million a year to a profit of $180 million from sales to the public water works. Citizens like George Glasser in Florida have raised the issue of the other pollutants present in these scrubbing solutions (76). Even though they are diluted at the public water works from about a 24% percent solution (24 parts per hundred) to a 1 part per million solution of fluoride, the worry is that even after this dilution certain pollutants and radioactive isotopes may still be present at unacceptable levels.

Fluoride and the environment.

58. In addition to the threat posed to humans is the threat posed to the environment. The impact of fluorides on vegetation (77) and on cattle (78) is well established. Of more recent concern is the impact of fluoride (from fluoridated water emerging from wastewater treatment facilities) on spawning salmon in waterways like the Columbia River (79).

Fluoridation and common sense.

59. Turning to common sense. Pharmaceutical grade fluoride is freely available via toothpaste, dental products and even vitamin tablets. Today the bigger danger, as evidenced by the dramatic increase in dental fluorosis (discussed above), is overdosing our children not underdosing them. There is no need to add it to the water. Too many red flags are being waved on possible long-term health threats to continue the experiment of adding this toxic substance to our drinking water–especially in the form of industrial grade hexafluorosilicic acid.

60. Dr. Robert Carton, formerly with the US EPA and who did so much to try and expose the fraud that went on at the US EPA when they established 4 mg/liter as the maximum contaminant level for fluoride, points out:

“We shouldn’t be giving any credence to the idea that the practice of fluoridation is a matter of weighing risks and benefits. In keeping with the notion of human rights, the Safe Drinking Water Act does not allow the weighing of risks and benefits. It allows you to consider economics and feasibility only, while the truth about the adverse effects must be stated clearly. The MCLG (maximum contaminant level goal) is the health statement which is meant to protect everyone–young and old, healthy and unhealthy, those with failing kidneys, diabetics and athletes and soldiers who drink massive amounts of water” (80).

61. If the issue is the protection of human health, as opposed to the protection of corporate profit, it is imperative that we stop putting fluoride into our drinking water. If the precautionary principle applies to anything it should apply to fluoride. Unlike many other toxic pollutant exposures, this is something we are doing to ourselves and something we can simply reverse by switching off a tap. We cannot wait for everything to be proved to a certainty before we act. There is enough evidence from chemical, biochemical, animal and epidemiological studies, to indicate that we should take sensible precautionary action now. Simply put, if in doubt leave it out. If, on the other hand, any citizen wants to take the risks they can simply go and get the fluoride for themselves–it is readily available in every major brand of toothpaste on the market. No one–and no government–should be imposing these risks on someone else. The only difficult issue left with the public water supplies is to decide how much of the naturally occurring fluoride to leave in.

62. Another common sense argument raised against fluoridation is that it is a very clumsy form of medication. One cannot control the dose because one cannot control the amount of water people drink or the other sources of fluoride intake. Thus, when people talk about 1 ppm of fluoride in the drinking water that simply tells us that if someone drinks one liter of water a day they would get 1 mg of fluoride per day. What a doctor wants to do is to control the total dose of medication as either “x” milligrams a day or “y” mg per kilogram bodyweight per day. The inability to control the total dose is particularly serious for the most sensitive and most vulnerable members of our society. Normally, when prescribing medication to an individual a doctor can prescribe for their special needs. But with water fluoridation the doctor cannot. This issue is compounded by the fact that the purported therapeutic dose for some is a toxic dose for others, as demonstrated by the automatic increase in dental fluorosis in children whenever water is fluoridated.

The two sides in the debate.

63. The promoters. For over 50 years those promoting fluoridation have used five tactics: a) they have consistently denied that there is any debate; b) they usually refuse to appear on a public platform with opponents of fluoridation, either in debates or public fora; c) they cite a long list of government agencies and other organizations that have endorsed fluoridation; d) they stress how many communities in the US are fluoridated; and e) they dismiss their opponents as a bunch of crazies. I will deal with each of these tactics in turn.

64. Denial that a debate exists. This position becomes less and less tenable with each new paper pointing out that there is little difference between the state of children’s teeth in fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities and with each new paper which points out some long term health effect which may be associated with fluoride exposure either in animal studies or in epidemiological studies. A particularly severe blow was delivered to the notion that there is “no scientific debate”, when, in 1988, the prestigious weekly journal, Chemical and Engineering News (sent to every member of the American Chemical Society as part of their membership fee) ran a seventeen page cover article on this “scientific debate” (20). This paper, along with the many months of comments which followed it, is an absolute must for anyone considering the pros and cons of fluoridation.

65. Refusal to appear on the same platform as fluoridation opponents. This tactic may work in the short run, but in the long run most citizens see it for what it is, a lack of confidence in the substance of their position. Presumably they believe that they can win the debate with leaflets or paid advertisements which sell their position in a one-sided manner. The booklet called “Fluoridation: The Facts” put out by the American Dental Association (ADA) (81) is a travesty of science. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised since this same association came into existence in the 1830’s in order to promote the use of mercury amalgams, which they have defended ever since, despite the growing evidence that mercury escapes from these fillings and can cause health effects. In its fluoride pamphlet the ADA selectively cites the literature and shamelessly ignores many papers which contradicts its claims of efficacy and safety. The ADA’s standard tactic of dealing with any study which finds a problem with fluoride is to attack the methodology used in the paper. An impartial viewer has to wonder how so many of these papers have made it into peer reviewed journals if the authors’ methodology was as weak as they claim. Furthermore, such critiques from the ADA don’t sit well when they are not sent to the peer reviewed journals for the authors to concede or rebut.

66. The long list of endorsements. This long list of endorsements might look impressive to a newcomer until he or she realizes that once the US Public Health Service officially endorsed fluoridation, it was a foregone conclusion that many governmental and non-governmental agencies (especially those who receive funding from the US PHS) would fall into line. Many of the other agencies listed are dental organizations, which have been so partisan on this issue that their endorsement means very little. Other groups like the pro-fluoridation and industry-funded American Council on Science and Health are well known for their pro-industrial position on toxics. After these groups have been eliminated, the list is less impressive. With those remaining one has to ask these questions:

1) When did the organization endorse?

2) When did they last review the scientific literature on this matter?

3) Who in the organization made the endorsement?

4) How much independent review of the literature was made?

5) And finally, what are the responses of those organizations to the latest scientific information pertaining to fluoride’s impact on: the pineal gland, the thyroid gland, the brain, the interaction of aluminum fluoride complexes with G-proteins, further studies associating fluoride with hip fractures, and the vulnerability of subsets of the population who are especially sensitive to fluoride’s toxicity.

There is an excellent chapter in the book “Fluoridation: The Great Dilemma” by George Waldbott, Albert Burgstahler and H. Lewis McKinney (82) which goes into the dubious nature of some of the early endorsements of fluoridation. However these endorsements were obtained, the ultimate ruling on scientific issues like this should be made based upon weighing the evidence in the published literature and not on the basis of who says its OK. Otherwise we go back some 300 years when the Pope ruled over science. In this respect it is noteworthy that in some communities, where dentists and others have refused open debate, pro-fluoridation statements by the former Surgeon General Everett Koop, have been trotted out, either as letters to the editor or in paid advertisements. This may occur less and less as some of the “ethical shine” wears off Koop’s image (83).

67. Beware of “authorities” which do not do their homework. When it comes to tarnished authority, the biggest shock for me personally came when I went to a public hearing on September 23, 1997, organized by the Food and Nutrition Board, which is part of the Institute of Medicine, which in turn is a part of the National Academy of Sciences. Before this day I held these agencies in some awe. I felt that they were there to arbitrate controversial scientific issues: to provide judgment above and beyond the sway of political and economic pressures. On this day I was sadly disillusioned. Not only had the Food and Nutrition Board included fluoride in a list of the nutrients, “Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphate and Vitamin D” but they had recommended an upper tolerance limit (10 mg/day) which is well over the level thought to cause severe–let alone mild–bone damage (22). Making matters even more absurd was the fact that an earlier report from the National Academy of Science had identified several studies which had shown an increase in osteosclerosis at levels considerably lower than this (84). To add salt to this “credibility wound” was the fact that for eight hours of this meeting, not one single panelist present could provide answers to the questions that I and Dr. William Hirzy, from the US EPA, raised about their calculations and the many papers in the peer-reviewed literature that they had ignored. Another shock: the chairperson for the committee which determined the upper tolerance level for fluoride was a gentlemen called Ian Munro, the President of Cantox. This Canadian consulting company was the very same company which produced a study on behalf of the Chlorine Industry, which essentially exonerated organochlorines of causing any health and environmental problems (85). This whole day is captured on videotape for diehards who want to see their image of this prestigious body shattered (86). The journal Fluoride has carried the correspondence which followed from this meeting (87). Fifteen scientists signed a letter to the President of the National Academy, Dr. Bruce Alberts, pointing out the problems with this report. No reply was received. After several months another letter was sent to Dr. Kenneth Shine, President of the Institute of Medicine. Again, no reply was received. Finally, a citizen recruited Senator Arlen Specter who called upon the Academy to respond. This intervention did finally prompt a reply, over a year after the initial letter was sent. The end result was that nothing was changed. The upper tolerance limit for fluoride remains at a–scientifically indefensible–10 mg/day. The daily recommended doses were equally indefensible (88).

68. I have dwelt on this sorry tale because I think it is a very good example of the danger of relying on “authorities”, however prestigious, to do your thinking for you. In most cases the reviews performed by government agencies are only as good as the people they put on the panels. For over 50 years and in several different countries (US, UK, Australia, NZ, and Canada) the panels that have been appointed to review the fluoride issue have been stuffed with scientists and dentists who have held a strong pro-fluoridation position. Very seldom, if ever, do review panels have people appointed who have an in-depth knowledge of this issue and have a truly independent position or an anti-fluoridation position. Such panels are highly vulnerable to a selective use of the literature in the hands of the pro-fluoridationists. Thus, the conclusions reached appear to be a self-fulfilling prophesy designed to save the faces of those who have promoted this misguided policy for so long. Whatever other damage fluoride has done, it has certainly damaged the integrity of some of our leading scientific and governmental agencies.

69. The number of communities fluoridated. Stressing the numbers of communities that have been fluoridated in the US is ultimately self-defeating for the ADA and others, because it leaves them trying to explain why it is that so many countries have not followed the American lead. Why is it that practically no country in Europe fluoridates its drinking water? How come that despite this failure to accept the “American wisdom” on this matter, that European childrens’ teeth are not full of cavities? No, if numbers convince, then the ADA loses the debate hands down because they have failed to convince the vast majority of countries around the world that fluoridation is an acceptable and sensible public policy. North Americans represent nearly half of the people worldwide drinking artificially fluoridated water, which is a very small percentage of the total world population.

70. The opponents of fluoridation are a bunch of crazies. First of all, bearing in mind the atrocious way opponents of fluoridation have been treated over the last 50 years, it is surprising to me that they are not crazy. I think if I had been doing this for 30 years instead of three I would be hanging from the rafters or in a lunatic asylum! In actual fact over the years there have been many distinguished people who have either opposed fluoridation or expressed reservations about it, including dentists, doctors, scientists, and 12 Noble prize winners (see paragraph 31). Indeed, the most vocal opponents of fluoridation in the 1950s were professional biochemists who had used fluoride to poison enzymes in their experiments. During the debate over fluoridation in New York City in 1963 opponents collected the signatures of over 1,500 doctors, dentists and scientists opposed to fluoridation. Unfortunately, this solid, well-informed and well-reasoned opposition was largely hidden from the public by slick public relations campaigns. It is a sad part of America’s history that many government agencies have been a part (and still are) of this public relations effort. And, if you, dear reader, have felt uneasy even simply reading this paper, this bears testament to how effective this denigration has been.

71. The opponents I know. Over the last few years I have been privileged, to meet in person, or correspond with, some of the leading opponents of fluoridation. These include, Dr. Albert Burgstahler (Harvard graduate and Professor Emeritus of Organic Chemistry at the University of Kansas and co-author of “Fluoridation: The Great Dilemma”), Dr. Robert Carton (formerly with the US EPA), Dr. John Colquhoun (former Principal Dental Officer of Auckland, NZ), Dr. Richard Foulkes, M.D. (former adviser to the Government of British Columbia), Dr. William Hirzy (currently with the US EPA), Dr. David Kennedy, D.P.H (former President of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology), Dr. Lennart Krook (Professor Emeritus of Toxicology, Cornell University Department of Veterinary Medicine), Dr. John Lee, M.D. (Harvard graduate and bone specialist), Dr. Hardy Limeback (Head of Preventive Dentistry, Toronto University), Dr. William Marcus (Senior Science Advisor, US EPA), Dr. Roger Masters (Professor of Government, Dartmouth College), Dr. Phyllis Mullenix (formerly Head of the Toxicology Department, Forsyth Dental Center), Dr. Albert Schatz (Co-discoverer of streptomycin), Dr. Bruce Spittle (Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago Medical School, NZ), Dr. John Yiamouyiannis (author of the Aging Factor), and numerous remarkable citizens who between them have spent a combined total of several hundred human years studying this issue. I can state quite emphatically that these people are not a bunch of crazies. They are not being paid to oppose fluoridation and have no other axe to grind. Most of them don’t want the hassle that this uphill task brings to their lives. More than anything else, what they have done, which many of the proponents have not done, is to do their homework with an open mind. They may have a minute fraction of the power and influence of those who have pushed fluoride on the American people, but, in my view, they have far more integrity. They refuse to let go until they see justice done and a sound basis of public policy restored. If readers do likewise, they, too, will find, like the little boy in Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale, that the Emperor of Fluoridation has no clothes.

72. If readers do pursue this matter one of the arguments that they will have to deal with from proponents is that we need to fluoridate the water to protect the poor who don’t have adequate dental services. On the face of it this seems a very noble sentiment, however, in practice, it could prove to be extremely pernicious. There is considerable evidence (from studies in India, for example) that those most vulnerable to fluoride are those who have a poor diet. The poor are more likely to have a poor diet. Moreover, the poor in the United States are also more likely to have been exposed to other pollutants, like lead, which appear to act synergistically with fluoride. Thus fluoride could deliver yet another blow to an already compromised section of the community. If money is going to be spent on dental improvements for the poor it would be better spent on providing access to better diets and education on dental hygiene.

73. This raises yet another issue. There are particular subsets of the population which are, according to ATSDR, “unusually susceptible to the toxic effects of fluoride and its compounds”:

“These populations include the elderly, people with deficiencies of calcium, magnesium and/or vitamin C, and people with cardiovascular and kidney problems… Impaired renal clearance of fluoride has also been found in people with diabetes mellitus and cardiac insufficiency. People over the age of 50 often have decreased renal fluoride clearance… Poor nutrition increases the incidence of dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis… (24, page 113).

To these must be added those who, in double blind studies, have been shown to be supersensitive to fluoride (89). How can we as a society ignore these vulnerable people? How can we put their interests second to the rest of the community?

A challenge.

74. It is very clear from my experience that the ADA and the US PHS cannot win this argument in an open public forum. I have challenged dentists and other proponents of fluoridation to debate this issue in the UK and several states in the US. Only Representative Tigue in Pennsylvania (a former Marine) has had the courage to defend his pro-fluoride position in open public debate. This debate was held in Scranton, Pa. on October 23, 1999, and was televised by the Pennsylvanian Cable Network (90). I am not the only one who has made this kind of challenge. Dr. William Hirzy, of the Union representing EPA’s professionals in Washington D.C., responded to a particularly nasty attack on the credibility of the Union’s anti-fluoride position paper (91) by challenging the author of the attack, Dr. Michael Easley, to a public debate. Easley has failed to respond to the challenge. Let me repeat the challenge. Many of us (Connett, Mullenix, Hirzy, Carton, and others) are more than willing to take on representatives of the ADA or the US PHS or other promoters of fluoridation, in open public debate in any state or in any country.

We need a national campaign to end fluoridation and minimize fluoride exposure.

75. Finally, fluoridation is a peculiarly American phenomenon. It was started at a time when there was a tremendous optimism about what chemicals could do. After World War II, new wonder plastics were being created and new synthetic pesticides being formulated. DDT was freely spread around towns and to demonstrate how safe it was, it was even sprayed over children at picnics and in classrooms! This was a different age. As with DDT, it is now time to call a halt. Fluoridation was started in America, let’s end it in America. We need a national campaign to end fluoridation. Actually, we need more than this. We need to minimize exposure to fluoride from all sources. We need toothpaste manufacturers to give us a choice. They need to provide a version of all their major brands with the fluoride removed. We need the fluoride levels identified on all foods, beverages and bottled water. Again we need freedom of choice. We need to limit fluoride air emissions from industry and power stations. We need to take fluoride air emissions at least as seriously as we do sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. We need to eliminate the use of fluoride in pesticides and other products. Finally, we need to pay special attention to the use of cryolite (Na3AlF6) as a “natural pesticide”. However, we will make little progress with all of these urgent demands until scientists and environmental organizations take a scientific attitude to this matter and have the courage to revisit the issue with an open mind. The great moments in history do not occur when every body jumps up and shouts yes, but when a few courageous people step out of the crowd and say no. Fluoride has been a “protected pollutant” (92) for far too long.


In proof reading this paper I realize that I have not done justice to a number of significant issues relating to fluoride’s toxicity, for example: demonstrations of its mutagenicity; it’s ability to promote cancer in the presence of other carcinogens; its possible relationship to birth defects like Down’s Syndrome; the major work of Burk and Yiamouyiannis on comparing cancer rates in fluoridated and non-fluoridated cities in the US; Marier’s extensive work on fluoride’s toxicity in conjunction with magnesium deficiency; and the apparent willingness of the US, Australian and other governments to downplay or outright ignore the seriousness of industrial fluoride pollution which has plagued industrial society since the beginning of the century. However, the important point at this juncture, I believe, is not to overwhelm the reader with more detail but rather to encourage them to cut through the layers of public relations, hype, and name calling, and find out for themselves the prostitution of science which has taken place on the fluoride issue at the highest level of government.


I would like to thank Dr. Albert Burgstahler, Dr. Robert Carton, Dr. Richard Foulkes, Peter Meiers, Andreas Schuld, and Ellen Connett, for taking the time to read this paper and making very useful comments. Any mistakes left after this process are mine, not theirs.

To see a full list of sources, click here.