There are many scientific reasons to oppose fluoridation of Queensland’s water supply

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By Spencer D Gear

Yes, fluoride is more acutely toxic than lead. See HERE. See also, “Silicofluorides & Higher Blood Lead: Statement from Dr. Roger Masters”.

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Moderate/Severe Fluorosis
Photo by David Kennedy, DDS

On 7th February 2008, I wrote this letter to:

The Hon. Andrew McNamara MP,

Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation,

Member for Hervey Bay

Dear Mr. McNamara,

Thank you for your letter of 30th January 2008, presenting your government’s one-eyed perspective on fluoridation. Your letter was a template of your government’s way to provide only one side of the fluoride debate and censor the other negative information about fluoride.

I could take up many of the points made in your letter and challenge them with scientific and logical information, but I don’t have the time because I work for a living. I will challenge one of your points: “There is no credible evidence to link water fluoridation with adverse health effects” (p. 3).

The very latest edition of Scientific American, January 2008, has an article by Dan Fagin, “Second Thoughts about Fluoride” (pp. 74-81) that challenges some of your government’s views.[1] Here is a dot point summary of some of the information from this article that contradicts your statement that there is no credible evidence to link use of fluoride in the water supply with adverse effects:

  • Researchers are intensifying their scrutiny of fluoride, which is added to most public water systems in the U.S. Some recent studies suggest that overconsumption of fluoride can raise the risks of disorders affecting teeth, bones, the brain and the thyroid gland.
  • A 2006 report by a committee of the National Research Council recommended that the federal government [USA] lower its current limit for fluoride in drinking water because of health risks to both children and adults.
  • Most fluoridated water contains much less fluoride than the EPA limit, but the situation is worrisome because there is so much uncertainty over how much additional fluoride we ingest from food, beverages and dental products. What is more, the NRC panel noted that fluoride may also trigger more serious health problems, including bone cancer and damage to the brain and thyroid gland. Although these effects are still unproved, the panel argued that they deserve further study (p. 75).
  • TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING: Fluoride is in many foods, beverages and dental products. The ubiquity of the cavity-fighting chemical can result in overconsumption, particularly among young children (p. 75).
  • Scientific attitudes toward fluoridation may be starting to shift in the country where the practice began (p. 78).
  • But enamel fluorosis, except in the severest cases, has no health impact beyond lowered self-esteem: the tooth marks are unattractive and do not go away (although there are masking treatments). The much more important question is whether fluoride’s effects extend beyond altering the biochemistry of tooth enamel formation. Says longtime fluoride researcher Pamela DenBesten of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry: “We certainly can see that fluoride impacts the way proteins interact with mineralized tissue, so what effect is it having elsewhere at the cellular level? Fluoride is very powerful, and it needs to be treated respectfully” (p. 79).
  • Clashes over the possible neurological effects of fluoride have been just as intense. Phyllis Mullenix, then at the Forsyth Institute in Boston, set off a firestorm in the early 1990s when she reported that experiments on lab rats showed that sodium fluoride can accumulate in brain tissue and affect animal behavior. Prenatal exposures, she reported, correlated with hyperactivity in young rats, especially males, whereas exposures after birth had the opposite effect, turning female rats into what Mullenix later described as “couch potatoes.” Although her research was eventually published in Neurotoxicology and Teratology, it was attacked by other scientists who said that her methodology was flawed and that she had used unrealistically high dosages. Since then, however, a series of epidemiological studies in China have associated high fluoride exposures with lower IQ, and research has also suggested a possible mechanism: the formation of aluminum fluoride complexes—small inorganic molecules that mimic the structure of phosphates and thus influence enzyme activity in the brain. There is also some evidence that the silicofluorides used in water fluoridation may enhance the uptake of lead into the brain (p. 80).
  • The NRC committee concluded that fluoride can subtly alter endocrine function, especially in the thyroid—the gland that produces hormones regulating growth and metabolism. Although researchers do not know how fluoride consumption can influence the thyroid, the effects appear to be strongly influenced by diet and genetics. Says John Doull, professor emeritus of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, who chaired the NRC committee: “The thyroid changes do worry me. There are some things there that need to be explored” (p. 80).
  • “What the committee found is that we’ve gone with the status quo regarding fluoride for many years—for too long, really—and now we need to take a fresh look,” Doull says. “In the scientific community, people tend to think this is settled. I mean, when the U.S. surgeon general comes out and says this is one of the 10 greatest achievements of the 20th century, that’s a hard hurdle to get over.  But when we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this [fluoridation] has been going on. I think that’s why fluoridation is still being challenged so many years after it began. In the face of ignorance, controversy is rampant” (pp. 80-81).
  • Opponents of fluoridation, meanwhile, have been emboldened by the NRC report. “What the committee did was very, very important, because it’s the first time a truly balanced panel has looked at this and raised important questions,” says Paul Connett, a chemistry professor at St. Lawrence University and the executive director of the Fluoride Action Network, one of the most active antifluoridation groups world-wide. “I absolutely believe it’s a scientific turning point because now everything’s on the table.  Fluoride is the most consumed drug in the U.S., and it’s time we talked about it” (p. 81).

The following are some of the points in your letter to me that could be challenged if I had the time:

1. “Fluoridation of our water supplies represents one of the Bligh Government’s most significant public health initiatives” (p. 1).

2. “Research has semonstrated that fluoridation – together with oral hygiene and good nutrition – can reduce tooth decay by up to 40%. We cannot ignore the extensive scientific evidence which shows that fluoridation is a safe and effective means of improving oral health” (p. 2)

3. “In June 2007, Australia’s highly respected National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released an extensive review about the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation” (p. 2)

4. “The decision is about responding to the very clear wishes of the majority of Queenslanders who support the fluoridation of public water supplies” (p. 2). [with 60-70% support of Queenslanders]

5. “The Government has long supported water fluoridation as a safe and effective means of combating tooth decay” (p. 2)

6. “Fluoridation of drinking water is not mass medication, but is simply adjusting the levels of a naturally-occurring compound to provide substantial health benefits” (p. 2).

7. “Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound found in water, plants, rocks, soil, air and food” (p. 2). Arsenic is also a “naturally-occurring compound” in some water supplies (see “Managing arsenic in water supplies“).

8. “There is no credible evidence to link water fluoridation with adverse health effects” (p. 3).

9. “While fluoride can cause a slight increase in dental fluorosis – a barely detectable condition which does not damage the teeth – there is no scientifically or medically documented cases involving adverse health effects in these states [of Australia that have fluoridated water]” (p. 3).

10. “Fluoride will only be added to our water supplies at low levels which are not toxic for humans or animals” (p. 3).

11. “I would also encourage you to explore the Australian Dental Association’s website at www.ada.org.au/OralHealth/finfront.aspx for further information on the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation as a means of promoting good oral health” (p. 3).

12. You recommend the US Centers for Disease control website “for further information on rigorous, peer reviewed scientific studies which have demonstrated fluoridation to be safe and effective” (p. 3).

13. “Reviews of peak health bodies around the world . . . have found there is no redible scientific evidence to link water fluoridation with allergies or other ill health effects wuch as cancer or asthma” (p. 3).

14. The Victorian Government’s Dept. of Human Services and the Cancer Council of Victoria “found no link between fluoride and bone cancer” (p. 3).

15. “While people of all ages benefit from drinking fluoride throughout their lives. . .” (p. 3)

16. “. . . a key prevention strategy such as water fluoridation . . .” (p. 4)

17. “The Government’s decision is not intended to disadvantage those opposed to fluoridation . . .” (p. 5).

That your government should choose to mass fluoridate Queensland when there is credible scientific evidence opposing your views, amazes me.

“In most European countries, where community water fluoridation has never been adopted, a substantial decline in caries [i.e tooth decay] prevalence has been reported in the last decades, with reductions in lifetime caries experience exceeding 75%.”[2]

Dr. Arvid Carlsson, Nobel laureate in medicine in the year 2000, wrote this about adding fluoride to the water supplies:

I am quite convinced that water fluoridation, in a not-too-distant future, will be consigned to medical history. . . The fact that in this situation a poison should deliberately be distributed throughout our environment in enormous quantities represents an ill-considered action. . . Water fluoridation also goes against leading principles of pharmacotherapy. . . The addition of drugs to the drinking water means exactly the opposite of an individualized therapy. . . The dose cannot be adapted to individual requirements.”[3]

I urge your government to become responsible, in light of the BRIEF challenges I have provided to your position to mass medicate Queenslanders with fluoride. Dr. Carlsson, who is no medical idiot, has clearly stated the case against your view that “fluoridation of drinking water is not mass medication” (p. 2 of your letter). Dr. Carlsson’s medical statement is: “The addition of drugs to the drinking water means exactly the opposite of an individualized therapy. . . The dose cannot be adapted to individual requirements.”[4]

Yours sincerely,

Spencer Gear,

Hervey Bay 4655

Notes

[1] This information is made available by the Fluoride Action Network at: http://www.fluoridealert.org/sc.am.jan.2008.html[cited 7 February 2008].

[2] Pizzo G, et al. (2007). “Community water fluoridation and caries prevention: a critical review,” Clinical Oral Investigations 11(3):189-93.

[3] “Dr Arvid Carlsson, “Nobel Laureate in Medicine (2000), Opposes Fluoridation,” available from: http://www.fluoridealert.org/carlsson.htm [cited 7 February 2008].

[4] Ibid.

 

Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 9 October 2015.

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