Fluoride: Friend or Foe?

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For
over half a century the government has been telling the public that
fluoride is safe and beneficial. It is supposed to reduce cavities;
manufacturers add it to toothpaste, and municipalities to their
water supplies. Supposedly the only ones who opposed fluoridation
were a few lunatics on the far right alleging a Communist conspiracy.
Now it seems the left is concerned about it as well.

The
Green Party, which is hardly an advocate of laissez faire, has come
out solidly against mandatory fluoridation, and for good reason.
The Greens point out what more mainstream opponents of fluoridation
have know for years, that tooth decay is caused by poor dental hygiene
and high consumption of refined sugar products. In fact, it may
even give people a false sense of security, by making them feel
that they can neglect good dental hygiene in lieu of fluoride. In
fact nothing cold be further from the truth.1

To
add any type of substance to our water supply to medicate everyone,
with the belief that it will help a few, is patently unethical.
What's even worse is the wealth of information that cites the massive
health risks involved in conjunction with using this substance.
Unless it can be deemed safe, it should not be added to the water
supply.

However,
fluoride is a known toxin, slightly less toxic than arsenic and
more poisonous than lead. The industrial chemicals used to fluoridate
over 90 percent of fluoridated water in the United States, (fluorosilicate
acid and sodium silicofluoride), are by-products of the phosphate
fertilizer industry and have never been tested for safety or effectiveness.
In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), has declared
the substance to be a hazardous waste and made it illegal to dump
at sea. In addition, the EPA has declared that there is no "empirical
scientific data on the effects of fluorosilicate acid or sodium
silifluoride on health and behavior" in its possession.2

No
doubt, that is why the conservationist group, the Sierra Club, in
September of 2001, expressed its concern regarding the potential
adverse impact of fluoridation on the environment, wildlife, and
human health. It went on to recommend that safer alternatives be
made available and supports communities being given the option of
rejecting mandatory fluoridation of their water supplies.

If
more diverse groups are growing increasingly skeptical of fluoridation,
then what are the reasons?

Probably
because fluorides are medically categorized as poisonous, which
is why they are used to kill rodents.3
In fact, the substance is a cumulative poison, half of which is
stored in the human bones. This increases their density, but make
them more brittle and subject to fracture.4

Fluoride
consumption by humans has other dangerous side effects as well.
The substance disrupts the synthesis of collagen and leads to breakdown
in the bone, tendon, skin, cartilage, lungs, trachea, and kidney.
It also inhibits the formation of antibodies in the blood, has a
disruptive effect on various tissues in the body, confuses the immune
system causing it to attack its own tissues, as well as increases
the tumor growth and the general cancer rate.5
The substance has also been linked to cancer, low IQs in children,
genetic disorders and muscle degeneration.

The
preceding might be tolerable if it could be shown conclusively that
the substance reduces cavities. However, the decay rate has been
declining worldwide over the past half century.6
This decrease occurred irrespective of the country's fluoride status.
Western Europe which is 98 percent non-fluoridated has seen the
same decline in cavities as the US which is 65 percent fluoridated.
In fact, the largest dental survey ever conducted in the US found
that there was virtually no difference in tooth decay rates between
children in fluoridated versus non-fluoridated cities. The study,
which was conducted by the National Institute of Dental Research,
NIDR, found that the average difference between tooth decay between
children living in fluoridated areas versus non-fluoridated areas
was less than 0.5 percent.7 In New
York State, the Department of Health decided to turn its emphasis
away from fluoridation of water and toward the use of topical sealants
and fluoride rinses. While the Department is still in favor of fluoridation,
it has ceased funding it.8

Originally
it was believed that fluoride prevented tooth decay solely by being
incorporated into the teeth as they formed in childhood. However,
today dental researchers question that theory.9
Primarily what has been found, is that a number of factors including
fluoride influence changes on the tooth surface. While fluoride
in plaque inhibits conversion of sugars to acids and helps maintain
higher pH levels allowing for re-growth of enamel, the fluoride
in saliva and plaque may be just as important in preventing tooth
decay and just as easily provided by toothpaste as what is ingested
involuntarily in the water supply. For many years, dentists believed
that fluoridation of water supplies reduced tooth decay by 50–60
percent. However, a great deal of evidence indicates that water
fluoridation reduces dental caries much less. In fact, some research
suggests little or no reduction.10

The
former director of Dental Health Services for the British Columbia
Ministry of Health, found that the average number of decayed, missing
or filled permanent teeth, (DMFT), in British Columbia where only
11 percent of the population used fluoridated water, was lower than
in parts of Canada where 40 to 70 percent of the people drank fluoridated
water. School districts in the province with the greatest percentage
of children with no tooth decay are totally non-fluoridated.11
While this phenomenon could have been caused by other factors as
well, it is interesting to note the role that diet played. Most
people whose diet included little refined sugar and few processed
foods had very low rates of tooth decay. In developing countries
where only small amounts of sucrose and refined foods are eaten,
decay rates are often lower than in developed nations! In addition,
all other things being equal, areas in the developed world where
the socio-economic status is higher tend to have less tooth decay.12

The
difficulty with the earlier studies between fluoridated and non-fluoridated
areas is that none of them controlled the non-fluoride variables.
As a result, scientists have come to view them as only part of the
evidence needed to evaluate fluoride's benefits.

Studies
conducted in eight countries revealed that dental caries is just
as great in non-fluoridated as in fluoridated areas. The conclusion
drawn from these data is that fluoridation of the water supply is
not as important to preventing tooth decay, as many believe. While
some of the decline might be explained by the introduction of fluoridated
toothpaste, tablets, and mouth rinses, decay rates in non-fluoridated
areas began to fall long before these were available. Changes in
nutrition, oral hygiene, and possibly the immune status of the population
may account for part of the decline.13

Researchers
at the National Institute for Dental Research, (NIDR), also noted
in the Journal of the American Dental Association that the current
decline in caries in the United States and other Western industrialized
countries, had been observed in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated
communities, with the percentage reduction about the same.14

Research
conducted in the 1930's and 1940's, showed that the instance of
dental caries was most effectively reduced where the natural fluoride
level of the water supply was 1ppm or above.15
However, five studies in Sweden, India, Japan, the US, and New Zealand
do not support this trend. In the Japanese study, children in an
area with water containing 0.3 to 0.4ppm fluoride had the lowest
decay rates, while above and below that range caries prevalence
increased rapidly, contradicting the central tenet of fluoride theory
that the ideal level is about 1ppm.16

The
economic benefits of fluoridation are also in question. In one study
reported in the Journal of the American Dental Association the cost
of dental care in five non-fluoridated cities in Illinois was compared
with costs in similar cities with naturally fluoridated water. Even
though dentists' fees and the nature of the treatments in the two
groups did not differ significantly, the cost per patient, and average
number of dental visits were greater in fluoridated communities.17

In
1997, union members at the EPA voted unanimously to ban water fluoridation
citing evidence of cancer, lower IQs, genetic damage, neurological
damage, and bone pathology. In addition, that same year, fluoridated
toothpaste began carrying a health warning.

Obviously
the American Dental Association opposed such warning primarily because
it makes millions of dollars from the "accreditation"
of fluoride products and did not wish to see a health warning for
its mega buck earner.

If
someone is genuinely convinced of the effectiveness of fluoride,
one can always buy fluoridated toothpaste. It is readily available
and actually costs LESS than the non-fluoridated brands. Obviously
that is the individual consumer's choice. However, if the government
has its way, everybody will have to drink this cumulative poison
every day!

Fluoridation
is not a Commie plot or some greedy capitalist ploy. It's just plain
bad medicine.

References:

  1. "The
    Scientific Fraud of the Century
    ," Darren Johnson, MP
    Green Party.
  2. IBID
  3. University
    of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, (2001), "Can
    Fluoride Cause Harm?"
  4. National
    Research Council, (1993), Health
    Effects of Ingested Fluoride
    . National Academy Press,
    Washington, DC
  5. IBID, Johnson
  6. WHO
    Oral Health Country/Area Profile Programme.

  7. IFIN Bulletin #290
  8. Bette
    Hileman, Chemical and Engineering News, 1998.
  9. IBID
  10. IBID
  11. IBID
  12. IBID
  13. www.fluoridealert.org
  14. IBID, Hileman
  15. IBID
  16. IBID
  17. IBID

January
13, 2004

David De Santo [send him
mail
] is a former financial executive, and college professor,
currently pursuing a PhD in political science and economics.


        
        

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