Where is the FDA in all of this?
This will be a shocker to some: the substance used in over 90% of fluoridation programs in the U.S. is not and never has been approved by the FDA! Nor does the USEPA oversee fluoridation products, safety or purity. In fact, no governmental agency oversees this product, and no long term toxicology studies have ever been submitted on it.
It seems a reasonable request of our governing officials in the Health Department not to allow any substance be added to our drinking water for the purpose of having a health effect unless it has been approved by the FDA as being safe and effective. This has not been the case with water fluoridation.
What is it? It is not pharmaceutical grade sodium fluoride as one might expect. It is a waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry, primarily hydrofluosilicic acid. This industry uses “scrubbers” in their processing to reduce environmental emissions. The result is a waste liquid (called a “liquor” in the industry) containing hydrofluosilicic acid. Industrial sources describe it as 26% hydrofluosilicic acid and 76% waste water containing varying amounts of heavy metals. This material is too toxic to discard legally, and too expensive to dispose of as hazardous waste. Yet, this same material, unchanged, is shipped to municipalities all over the country to dump into our drinking water. No processing or purification occurs, and there is no oversight except by industry itself. Is this really acceptable to you?
Dental fluorosis appears as a pattern of subtle whitish spots on the tooth enamel in its mildest form. Moderate to severe dental fluorosis ranges from prominent white and brownish spots to pitted enamel that requires restoring by a dentist. It is the result of a disruption in the formation process of the enamel while the tooth is developing before it erupts into the mouth. The cause is excessive fluoride. Ingested fluoride, at a high enough level in a child, causes this toxic effect. Although the ADA downplays it as just a mild cosmetic effect, it can actually result in very expensive dental treatment. And, since the enamel formation process is so similar to bone formation, one cannot rule out that similar processes are occurring unseen in the bone. In fact, skeletal fluorosis can be a severely crippling disease and is seen in high numbers of people in China and India in rural areas where ground water has very high levels of fluoride.
The NRC report referred to above stated, “The damage to teeth caused by severe enamel fluorosis is a toxic effect that is consistent with prevailing risk assessment definitions of adverse health effects.” So, in spite of the ADA’s claims that “even the more advanced forms of dental fluorosis [is a] cosmetic effect rather than a functional adverse effect,”18 the nation’s highest scientific body says otherwise.
“It is illogical to assume that tooth enamel is the only tissue affected by low daily doses of fluoride ingestion.”
~ Dr. Hardy Limeback, University of Toronto (2000)
“Dental fluorosis] raises concerns about similar damage that may be occurring in the bones.”
~ Environmental Working Group (2006)
“Common sense should tell us that if a poison circulating in a child’s body can damage the tooth-forming cells, then other harm is also likely.”
~ Dr. John Colquhoun (1997)
How prevalent is dental fluorosis? Back in the early days of the first trials of water fluoridation, Dr. Trendley Dean, considered by many the “father” of fluoridation (a dubious distinction) stated that at an “optimal” level of 1ppm in the drinking water, and in the absence of exposure to fluoride from other sources, one could expect about 10% of children would have at least some mild fluorosis. (19) Today, kids and adults are exposed to fluoride ingestion in many other ways than drinking water. Virtually every reconstituted beverage and many foods contain significant fluoride levels. A child can easily get far more than the “recommended” or “optimal” level of fluoride ingestion without ever drinking a single glass of tap water. Still, one can see a direct correlation between level of fluoride in the drinking water and the level or incidence of dental fluorosis.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reported in 2005 that 32% of American children now have some form of dental fluorosis, with 2 to 4% having the moderate to severe stages. This survey averaged together communities that are and are not fluoridated. This shows that even un-fluoridated communities are exposed to fluoride ingestion from sources other than tap water. Other reports have stated that the incidence in fluoridated areas ranges from 20% to 80%! (20)
All of this leads to another recommendation that is scientifically reasonable. Since the level of dental fluorosis correlates in a linear fashion with the level of fluoride in drinking water, the rate of dental fluorosis in the child population can be a predictor of fluoride exposure. And, since the so called “optimal” level of fluoride exposure should result in about 10% dental fluorosis, then:
[Opinion]: Any community that is fluoridated or considering fluoridation should first do a survey of the incidence of dental fluorosis of the children in that community. If the incidence is greater than 10%, then they are already exceeding the so called “optimal” dose promoted by fluoride advocates. This community should not adopt a water fluoridation program. An arbitrary level could be set at, say, 20%, above which water fluoridation should be halted in a community where fluoridation is already present.
From a scientific point of view, water fluoridation makes no sense. There are other issues to look at as well, such as economic costs, sociological considerations (“mass medication” without informed consent), and health freedom issues. Fluoride cannot be easily removed from tap water with home filters. Elaborate and expensive filters including reverse osmosis are about the only effective means. The best way to get fluoride out of the water is to eliminate the source. The solution to the decay problem in this country doesn’t involve the use of a toxic, ineffective substance. Dental decay can be prevented in a safe and effective way by good oral hygiene and healthy diet choices. At the same time, these healthy habits are also effective at preventing gum disease (fluoride isn’t effective at that, either). This isn’t always easy to implement, but good health choices aren’t always easy. They do, however, work.
Note from Dr. Tom
I consider Dr. Paul Rubin to be one of the true pioneers in promoting healthy, biocompatible and mercury free and safe dentistry. He was one of the early members of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT). Dr. Rubin has his Mastership in the Academy and is active in not only promoting mercury free and mercury safe dentistry, but in promoting the health hazards of water fluoridation and indiscriminate use of fluoride. He was kind enough to send me his excellent article on fluoride and I know that everyone will benefit from reading it.
Dr. Rubin has an active practice in Seattle, Washington and you can visit his website at www.drpaulrubin.com or contact him by phone 206-367-6453, or byemail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources for Dr. Rubin's Article on Fluoride:
The following resources are recommended for additional information about all aspects of fluoride and fluoridation:
www.fluoridealert.org the website for Fluoride Action Network, directed by Paul Connett, PhD
www.iaomt.org the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology strongly opposes water fluoridation, and has produced a Position Paper on Fluoridation that can be downloaded from this site.
The Fluoride Deception, (book) by Christopher Bryson
www.sw4sc.org another excellent source, including video clips and PowerPoint slides
www.ada.org the ADA is included here, and you are encouraged to look at their side of this issue, see how well it is supported by science, and make your own decision.
References for Dr. Rubin's Article on Fluoride:
- Christopher Bryson, The Fluoride Deception, Seven Stories Press, NY, 2004
- Brunelle and Carlos, NIDR Fluoridation Survey, 1987
- “The estimation of caries prevalence in small areas,” Journal of Dental Research, 75(12), 1996
- World Health Organization Oral Health Country/Area Profile Programme, October 200 and August 2001
- Featherstone, JD, “Prevention and reversal of dental caries: role of low level fluoride,” Community Dental and Oral Epidemiology, 1999
- Featherstone, JD, “The science and practice of caries prevention,” Journal of the American Dental Association, Vol. 131, July 2000.
- Fluoride Action Network, www.fluoridealert.org.
- Oliveby, A et. al., “Diurnal fluoride concentration in whole salive in children living in a high- and low- fluoride area.” Caries Research. 24:44-47, 1990
- Clarkson, BH, et. al. “Rational uses of fluorides in caries control,” Fluorides in Dentistry, 2nd edition.
- Munksgaard, EC, Fluoride, International Society for Fluoride Research, Vol 29, No.2, May 1996.
- Arends, J, Christoffersen, J, “Nature and role of loosely bound fluoride in dental caries,” Journal of Dental Research, (69),1990.
- Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC, August 17, 2001. Vol. 507 No. RR-14.
- Featherstone, JD, “The science and practice of caries prevention,” JADA, Vol 131, July 2000.
- see www.fluoridealert.org/health/
- Gosselin, Robert, Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, 5th ed., 1984.
- National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences: “Fluoride in drinking water: a scientific review of EPA’s standards.” March 22, 2006
- ADA “Fluoridation Facts” 2005.
- Dean, HT, “Chronic endemic dental fluorosis,” JAMA, 1936
- Luke, J, “The effect of fluoride on the physiology of the pineal gland,” PhD Thesis, University of Surrey, Guildford, 1997.
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