Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
Fluoride Killing The Brains of Our Children
The medical Establishment and its toadies in the mainstream media like to portray opponents of fluoridation of public water as crackpots. Now a respected British newspaper has broken the traces.By Bob Woffinden
Fluoride first entered the public consciousness as part of a postwar new dawn, when science would unerringly lead the way to a better life for all. Today, eery science textbook refers to its capacity for inhibiting dental decay, especially among children. It was delivered to the population either through the fluoridation of the public water supply or by fluoride in toothpaste.
Fluoridation was essentially a socialist health policy. It made scant difference to the teeth of children from secure backgrounds, who already got nutritious diet and regular dental hygiene, but fluoride looked after all the others. In the phrase often cited by dental professionals, it gave poor kids rich teeth.
There were those who counseled caution on the grounds that fluoride is a cumulative poison and that, in any case, rates of dental decay were falling dramatically even in countries that did not espouse its use. But the concept of fluoride as a supremely benign aid was instilled in generations of dental students.
The idea was an American import. As a whole, Europe has never been persuaded. Only about 2 percent of the continent has artificially fluoridated water, and virtually all of that is accounted for by Britain (10 percent of the country) and Ireland (66 percent). Some areas also have naturally fluoridated water.
On one obvious level, the fluoridation of the public water supply is an absurd concept. We all know what happens to the nation's water. About one third is lost in leakages before it ever gets anywhere; seven eights of the rest is used by industry; and much of the remainder literally goes doen the toilet. The proportion that reaches our teeth is tiny indeed.
During the 1990's, a steady trickle of scientific reports has found a "statistically significant" association between water fluoridation and increased risk of hip fracture. One study found a 'small but significant" association between water fluoridation and increased risk of hip fracture. One study found a "small but significant: additional risk of hip fracture among both men and women exposed to artificial fluoridation at one part per million -- precisely the level at which water is fluoridated in Britain. A fresh and more alarming study by the University of Bordeaux found that people living their lives in fluoridated areas of southwestern France suffered 86 percent more fractures than those living in non-fluoridated parts.
Fluoride may have other incapacitating effects. Research undertaken in the U.S. for the National Toxicology Program (NTP) report, the Department of Health in New jersey commissioned a study that found that in male children under the age of 20, the risk of osteosarcoma was between two and seven times greater in fluoridated water areas. There are also indications that fluoride impairs the functioning of the immune system and that it may have a role in infant mortality and Down's syndrome births.
In the 1980s, Phyllis Mullenix developed a sensitive test using animal models to ascertain the effects of neurotoxins on the central nervous system. She was recruited to head the department of toxicology at the Forsyth Dental Center in Boston. Her research went well until she stepped into politically sensitive territory by using her system to test the effects fo fluoride. Mullenix noted disruption to the behavior patterns of rats and concluded that fluoride adversely affected the brain. She went on to show that fluoride accumulated in brain tissue and that its effects depended on the age of exposure - the younger were more vulnerable.
To get her next funding grant, she presented her interim findings to representatives of the major manufacturers of toothpaste. She was asked, "Are you telling us that we're reducing Children's IQs by putting fluoride in toothpaste?" She replied," Well, basically, yes."
Mullenix was told that her work was "not relevant to dentistry" and fired from her post at the Forsyth. (She retained an appointment at the Harvard Medical School.) She sued the Forsyth for wrongful dismissal and recently won what is believed to be a substantial settlement.
In the U.S., at the same time the first fluoridation scheme was being introduced, scientists were admitting, in documents now disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, that they had no idea what the effects of low- level exposure would be. In fact, there has never been a single long-term, scientifically inviolable study of fluoridation.
In new Zealand, Dr. John Colquhoun, chief dental officer of Auckland, examined the dental records of all schoolchildren from 1980-90, the better to promote his objective of fluoridating the whole country. To his surprise and concern, he discovered errors in the study design, some fabrication of statistics, and no advantage at all from fluoridation. He subsequently reversed his opinions about fluoride. Similarly, in Canada, British Columbia's director of dentistry discovered that the records of schoolchildren from fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas suggested that there was no benefit in fluoridation.
To risk so much for the sake of so little really is extraordinary. Who would want to prevent the occasional filling if children's mental development is at stake? The possible subtle effects of long-term exposure to low levels of fluoride can no longer be ignored. In the first place, no one should be taking fluoride supplements, particularly if they live in a fluoridated area. Second, children should be supervised by parents when bushing their teeth. They should use only a peas-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste -- though no one would ever suppose as much from watching the television commercials -- and should on no account swallow it.
Since it is difficult not to swallow toothpaste, and since fluoride is in any case absorbed through the gums, parents may want to purchase non-fluoride toothpaste -- were it not that this is almost impossible, since the supermarkets and pharmaceutical retailers have severely restricted consumer choice in this matter.
The final irony is that fluoridation, having been introduced to bridge the social economic gulf in society, probably benefits the poor least of all. It is precisely those suffering poor nutrition and hence vitamin and mineral deficiencies who will be most vulnerable to fluoride's toxic effects.
This article first appeared in The Guardian of London, June 7, 1997.