Friend or Foe?
Most countries have rejected the process of fluoridation on the grounds that it is unsafe.
Do they know something we don't?
Since April 1997, the Food and Drug Administration has required a warning label on all dental care products containing fluoride. Early tests in the 1930s warned of the dangers of fluoride for human ingestion. At this time, manufacturers of aluminum were selling unwanted waste by-products of sodium fluoride as rat poisons and insecticides, but they needed other markets to rid themselves of more of this hazardous waste. Through a series of inventive mass marketing and public relations campaigns, the leaders of dentistry, medicine and public health were persuaded that fluoridation was not only safe but also beneficial to humans. In 1950, long before any studies had been completed to show the safety factor involved, both the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and the American Dental Association (ADA) endorsed fluoridation.
After reading parts I and II, you may now have a better understanding of how and why fluoridation was started. At a price of $8,000 a truckload to dispose of the hazardous waste by-products of sodium fluoride, large companies had found a profitable market with the fluoridation of our American cities, as well as the addition of sodium fluoride to numerous dental products.
According to the 1984 issue of Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products (Williams &Wilkins), fluoride is more poisonous than lead, and just slightly less poisonous than arsenic. It has been used as a pesticide for the control of mice, rats and other "pests." A 1991 report from the Akron (Ohio) Regional Poison Center states, "Death has been reported following ingestion of 16 mg/kg of fluoride." That means that one-hundredth of an ounce of fluoride could kill a 10-pound child and one-tenth of an ounce could kill a 100-pound adult. The report continues, "Fluoride toothpaste contains up to 1 mg/gram [1 milligram per gram] of fluoride." This means that a family-sized tube of toothpaste contains 199 milligrams of fluoride, more than enough to kill a 25-pound child. Even Proctor &Gamble, the makers of Crest, acknowledge that a family-sized (7-ounce) tube of fluoride toothpaste "theoretically, at least, contains enough fluoride to kill a small child."
While most children will not consume an entire tube of toothpaste, consumption of smaller amounts of toothpaste certainly presents a health hazard. Flavored toothpaste (such as bubblegum, fruit or grape flavor) should never be used with young children due to their desirable taste and greater risk of swallowing.
The toothbrushing habits of 12 to 24-month-old children were examined and it was found that 20% of the children ingested more than 0.25 mg. of fluoride per day by toothbrushing alone. It has been found that a 4 to 6-year-old child will consume 25% to 33% of the toothpaste on their brush.
Eighty-seven cases of fluoride poisoning in children younger than 12 years old were reported to the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center in 1986. Eighty-five cases involved accidental ingestion of fluoride products in the home, and two involved fluoride treatment by a dentist. One 13-month-old child died. Twenty-five suffered gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain). In a more recent study, it was reported that sodium fluoride, the same type used in Crest, Colgate and most all toothpaste, was the most frequent single cause of acute poisoning in children.
What about fluoride treatments done in the dental chair? There have been many cases reported of children dying after ingesting fluoride from a fluoride treatment. Fluoride treatments can contain between 10,000 to 20,000 parts per million (ppm) fluoride. There is no regulated dose requirement. A fluoride solution is given to a child in a liquid swish form (child is asked to swish in mouth), a tray form (fluoride is put in tray and tray is held in child's mouth), or as a swab form (solution painted on child's teeth with a cotton swab).
On January 20, 1979, the New York Times reported a settlement of $750,000 received by parents of a 3-year-old child killed by fluoride in the dental chair. The dentist and dental hygienist were found at fault, but also named in the suit was the American Dental Association (ADA), which was not found at fault. The legal stance of the ADA was, "The ADA owes no legal duty of care to protect the public from allegedly dangerous products used by dentistsâ€¦. The information it disseminates is intended for the benefits of its membership only. Dissemination of information relating to the practice of dentistry does not create a duty of care to protect the public from potential injury."
In 1993, thanks to the tenacity of New Jersey legislative aide Michael Perrone and assemblyman John V. Kelly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was forced to admit that: 1) they have no studies showing that fluoride tablets or drops are either safe or effective in reducing tooth decay; and 2) the sale of fluoride tablets and drugs is illegal.
Fluoride supplements are marketed without the required new drug applications (enacted 10/12/1962) demonstrating safety and effectiveness. This situation exists as a result of manufacturers introducing products directly into the market prior to 1962 without seeking FDA approval. Unfortunately, the FDA allows these products to remain on the market even with the vast number of studies demonstrating the adverse effects of fluoride ingestion.
Water is fluoridated in the range of .7 ppm (in Arizona) to 1.2 ppm (in Alaska). It was felt that people living in Arizona with a very hot climate drank more water than people living in Alaska, where it is much colder. Of course, we Alaskans know that our consumption of water, especially when it is cold, is very high due to the fact of how dry it is in the winter and the problem of dehydration.
The U. S. National Institute of Dental Research has found that as little as 0.4 to 0.8 ppm fluoride in the drinking water causes mottled teeth, known as fluorosis. As noted previously, fluorosis is the first outward visible sign of fluoride poisoning to the body.
What other adverse health effects does fluoride poisoning cause? The United States Pharmacopoeia, a guide to drug information, lists some of the side effects that can result from daily ingestion of the amount of fluoride found in 1 to 2 points of artificially fluoridated water. These include: black tarry (tar-like) stools; bloody vomit; faintness; nausea and vomiting; shallow breathing; stomach cramps or pain; tremors; unusual excitement; unusual increase in saliva; watery eyes; weakness; constipation; loss of appetite; pain and aching of bones; skin rash; sores in the mouth or on lips; stiffness; weight loss; and white, brown or black discoloration of teeth.
Other adverse health effects of fluoride are:
As Dean Burk, Chief Chemist Emeritus at the U. S. National Cancer Institute notes, "Everything causes cancer? Perhaps conceivably even a single electron at the other side of the universe? The real question is how likely is any one particular cause? In point of fact, fluoride causes it faster than any other chemical."
Research has shown in numerous studies that fluoride is a carcinogen, and is cancer promoting in laboratory cell studies, animal studies and human studies.
Dr. Dean Burk and Dr. John A. Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. in biochemistry and world-leading authority on the biological effects of fluoride, compared the cancer death rate of the ten largest fluoridated cities with the cancer rate of the ten largest non-fluoridated cities that had comparable death rates from 1940 to 1950, a period of time during which neither group of cities were fluoridated. The studies showed the cancer rates of both groups rose in virtually identical fashions. In 1952 to 1956, the two groups of cities gave way to a noticeable divergence. The cancer death rates of the fluoridated group of cities increased drastically relative to that of the non-fluoridated group of cities. (Congressional Record, 12/16/1975)
The United States has one of the highest cancer rates in the world, with over 10,000 cancer deaths per year linked to water fluoridation. There are numerous studies showing fluoride linked to liver cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, osteosarcomas, hepatocholangiocarcinomas, and other tumors and cancers. There is little doubt that fluoride causes cancer.
In numerous studies, fluoride in water (even at a concentration of 1 ppm) can cause chromosome damage. These studies also show that as fluoride content of water increases, the degree of chromosomal damage increases. One of the many studies done by Proctor &Gamble (makers of Crest) showed that fluoride at levels of less than 1 ppm caused genetic damage in Chinese hamsters' ovary cells as can be seen in statistically significant data from a paper they published in Mutation Research in 1989.
It is quite clear that fluoride causes genetic damage. Most evidence indicates that fluoride acts on the DNA repair enzyme system, but it does not rule out the possibility that fluoride also interferes with DNA synthesis.
Fluoride has been shown to interfere with collagen (the material that makes up the matrix of bone and tissues of the body) formation in the osteoblasts (cells that lay down bone) and chondroblasts (cells that lay down cartilage). Consumption of fluoride results in the body's inability to discriminate between which tissues should be mineralized and which tissues should not. In other words, mineralization of tissues such as bone (which should be mineralized) is disrupted while tendons, ligaments, muscles and other soft tissues (which should not be mineralized) start to become mineralized.
By interfering with collagen production, fluoride leads to the production of larger quantities of imperfect collagen, and thus interferes with the body's normal regulation of collagen mineralization. Cumulative damage to these cells leads to arthritis, arteriosclerosis, brittle bones, wrinkled skin, osteoporosis, and scleroderma. Fluoride's disruptive effects on collagen in soft tissues may also set off other diseases such as muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
In 1990, Dr. Steven Jacobosen and co-workers found a link between the rate of hip fractures among U.S. women 65 years of age and over and the degree of fluoridation in their country of residence. This study examined the records of 541,985 cases of osteoporosis and was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association . Another study done in Britain reported similar results for men and women 45 years of age and older. In this study, it was found that increasing the concentration of fluoride in water from 0 to 1 ppm would increase the hip fracture rate by 40%.
Damaging the Immune System
In studies done on the immune system, Dr. Peter Wilkinson of the University of Glasgow found that fluoride decreased the migration rate of human white blood cells with as little as 0.2 ppm fluoride. As fluoride concentration increased, so did the degree of migration inhibition. Remember that white blood cells are the body's defense system to foreign invaders of the body, such as bacteria and viruses. The speed at which the body's defense system can attack and kill foreign invaders is slowed down by the presence of fluoride in the body, thus depressing the ability of white blood cells to destroy and dispose of foreign agents that may cause damage to the body.
There are numerous studies linking the effects of fluoride with neurological impairment. One of these studies was done by Dr. Phyllis Mullenix, Ph.D., co-founder of the first toxicology laboratory for dentistry in the nation at Forysth Dental Research Institute (an affiliate of Harvard), and now of Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.
Dr. Mullenix outlined a history of 27 studies addressing fluoride's effect on the brain and neurological behavior dating back to 1869. Dr. Mullenix provided references to the science that she states should have been sufficient warning to reduce further exposure until comprehensive studies could be performed to ascertain the true extent of effects.
Dr. Mullenix described her behavior study (Neurotoxicology and Teratology, Vol.17, no.2; pp169-177, 1995) depicting hyperactivity and hypoactivity in laboratory animals as a result of prenatal and postnatal exposure to fluoride. Stated further in her studies is that it only took one exposure to fluoride during critical brain development for that animal to be hyperactive for the rest of its life. Sound familiar with the alarming increase of young children on Ritalin?
Fluoride at 1 ppm or less interferes with the normal operation of a number of important enzymes. Enzymes are proteins found in all living cells. They are responsible for catalyzing (triggering) the chemical reactions that make life possible. These reactions lead to the breakdown of food to carbon dioxide, water, and urinary waste products; they produce the energy needed to support the life processes; they make possible the build-up of new tissues and the breakdown of old, unneeded tissues. In the absence of enzymes, most of the reactions needed to support life could not take place at body temperature, while others would not take place at all. For example, sugar is 'burned' in the body at 98.6 degrees due to the action of enzymes, whereas sugar in a pan will not even begin to burn unless heated to over 250 degrees, a temperature far above the boiling point of water and a temperature at which human life cannot exist. The production of other substances in the body, such as DNA, RNA and protein, would be impossible without the involvement of enzymes.
The ability of fluoride to interfere with enzyme activity at 1 ppm or less is not a point of controversy. The United States National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization as well as other groups have published lists of over 100 enzymes that are inhibited at fluoride levels of 1 ppm or less. Remember that 1 ppm is the level of fluoride used to fluoridate public water systems.
It's quite evident that fluoride levels found in human tissues inhibit certain enzymes. Thus, since enzymes are present in all living cells and are responsible for virtually all living processes, it is not surprising that fluoride can cause such a wide variety of ill effects.
Does Fluoride really reduce tooth decay?
The original studies done in 1938 by Dr. H. Trendley Dean, the first director of the National Institute of Dental Research, claimed to have found that fluoride in drinking water was responsible for a reduction in tooth decay in children. However, an examination of his data shows otherwise. In fact, if Dr. Dean were trying to point out that 1.7 to 2.5 ppm fluoride were necessary for cavity prevention, he would also have to admit these same levels of fluoride produced mottling (fluorosis) in 40% to 70% of the children.
Dean's studies have been widely cited by fluoridation promoters because they supposedly proved the benefits of fluoride. What the data really shows, however, is that fluoride has little if any effect on tooth decay.
Studies done since 1938 show that the amount of fluoride used to fluoridate public water systems does not reduce tooth decay under laboratory conditions. As Dr. Hardy Limeback, B.Sc., Ph.D., DDS, reported in the January 2000 edition of Dental &Health Facts Newsletter , "Residents of cities that fluoridate have doubled the fluoride in their hip bones vis-Ã -vis the balance of the population. Worse, we discovered that fluoride is actually altering the basic architecture of human bones." One of the most obvious living experiments today, Dr. Limeback believes, is a proof-positive comparison between two Canadian cities. "Here in Toronto, we've been fluoridating for 36 years. Yet Vancouver -- which has never fluoridated -- has a cavity rate lower than Toronto's rate."
In 1986 to 1987, the largest study on fluoridation and tooth decay ever conducted in the history of the United States did not find a statistically significant difference in dental decay between fluoridated and nonfluoridated cities. The study was conducted in 84 areas around the country and included 39,000 children, aged 5 to 17 years. A third of the areas were fluoridated, a third were partially fluoridated and a third were not fluoridated.
A survey by the World Health Organization reports a decline of dental decay in Western Europe, which is 98% nonfluoridated. Most countries have rejected the process of fluoridation on the grounds that it is unsafe. Do they know something we don't?
Many Americans do not realize the amount of fluoride they ingest on a daily basis. Not only do we receive fluoride from the dental products we use and the water we drink, but also we receive fluoride from the foods we eat. Any food that is grown, processed or reconstituted in a fluoridated community will have fluoride to it. When the food is grown, chances are that it will encounter fluoride via fertilizer or pesticide. Even if the food is organically grown, the food will contain fluoride if the community's water is fluoridated. If that food is processed in a large city, chances are that city is fluoridated, so again more fluoride is added to the food.
Examples of fluoride content in food include:
Diet Coke -- 2.6 parts per million (ppm)
Beer, wine -- 15 ppm
Gerber's "First Year's" juices -- 3 ppm
Kellogg's "Fruit Loops" cereal -- 2.1 ppm
When you cook with fluoridated water, the fluoride content of food can be greatly increased. As an example, raw peas contain .012 milligrams of fluoride, but when cooked in fluoridated water, those same peas contain 1.5 milligrams of fluoride. The average consumption of fluoride today is approximately 7 to 10 mg. of fluoride daily. Since fluoride is stored in the body in specific tissues (mostly the bones and tissues discussed earlier) and is cumulative, it is easy to understand how at a young age of 40 years, you start to feel the aches and pains of old age. Hope this information has given you a desire to seek and learn more about fluoride. Is fluoride your friend or foe? You decide.
The Federal Drug Administration has not evaluated any of these statements. Always consult your physician or health care provder berfore taking herbs or diet supplements.