The politics of Fluoride, by Mark Mayer
References to this article will be forthcoming.
Back in the 70s when I was just a kid, I recall my mother
giving me these little pills everyday. She told me they contained
fluoride, which was good for my teeth. My doctors name
was on the prescription label, so I assumed it had to be good.
And I assumed that my mother would not give me anything bad.
If both my doctor and my mother endorsed it, then it had to
be good. But little did I know that my doctor was merely parroting
the words of the ADA (American dental association). And my
mother assumed that anything my doctor told her was true.
But neither my mother nor my doctor has any idea of the story
of how fluoride got approved.
For over 60 years the fluoride story has been a subject of
huge controversy. Proponents of fluoridation have called it
one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. While
the anti-fluoridationists have called it the biggest fraud
of the 20th century.
Over the years, I have read hundreds of reports from both
the pro and anti-fluoridationists. I have found that the pro-fluoridationists
have put up a good argument, but their story is full of holes.
To understand this philosophy, lets take a look at the history
of how fluoridation got started:
It all started back in the 1940s with an aluminum company
called ALCOA (aluminum company of America). This company was
facing a problem with toxic waste. You see, one of the byproducts
of aluminum manufacture is sodium fluoride. Because of its
toxicity, it must be disposed of in the highest rated waste
disposal facility. This would be at a tremendous cost.
In 1944, a long-time ALCOA lawyer named Oscar Ewing was named
the company's chief counsel with fees in the then astronomical
range of $750,000 a year. In 1947, Ewing was made Federal
Security Agency Administrator, with the announcement that
he was taking a big cut in salary. The US Public Health Service,
then a division of the FSA, came under the command of Ewing,
and he began to vigorously promote fluoridation nationwide.
Ewings public relations strategist for the fluoride
campaign was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, Edward L. Bernays.
This was the man who literally wrote the book on propaganda.
And I dont mean that figuratively. In 1928 Bernays published
a book entitled: Propaganda, in which he describes
how the human mind can be manipulated. This book was recently
republished in 2004. It is interesting to note that Bernays
was also involved in the promotion of cigarettes.
To this day it is not exactly clear how ALCOA garnered the
support of the American medical and dental association; however,
there may have been other factors involved. These factors
may have involved the fact that mass quantities of fluoride
were produced in the production of the atomic bomb. In fact,
the first litigation over the atomic bomb, had nothing to
do with radiation, it was fluoride poisoning that caused ill
health, and the subsequent litigation. It was these factors
that may have led to the need to put a friendlier face on
It is also noteworthy, that fluoridation began at the time
of World War II. This was a time when aluminum production
was being increased to provide for the production of airplanes
and other military needs. It is theorized that this increased
need for aluminum production may have paved the way for fluorides
It is also interesting to note that prior to 1940 fluoride
was considered to be a toxic element. In fact, 1939 U.S. Public
Health Service regulations state "the presence of fluorides
in excess of 1 ppm shall constitute rejection of the water
supply." (Yet, when water fluoridation is instituted,
levels are set at a minimum of 1 ppm). In fact, an article
appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association
on September 18, 1943, states, "fluorides are general
protoplasmic poisons, changing the permeability of the cell
membrane by inhibiting certain enzymes.
In fact, before 1940, fluorides only approved use was
as a rat and cockroach poison. In smaller doses, it was approved
for use as a treatment for an overactive thyroid gland. But
this use was abandoned after many patients suffered destruction
of their thyroid gland. It is interesting to note that both
fluoride and iodine are both members of a group of elements
called halogens. If you recall your days back in high school
chemistry class, you may remember what is called the rule
of halogen displacement. This means that any element
of the halogen family with a lighter atomic weight will always
displace another within the Halogen group whose atomic weight
is greater. Fluorine has a lower atomic weight than that of
iodine. It is interesting to note that hypothyroidism (low
thyroid is currently at epidemic levels in the United States.
Currently, a drug called synthroid (synthetic thyroid hormone)
is one of the top selling drugs in the United States. Of course,
other factors may be involved. For instance, chlorine added
to drinking water is also a halogen. The difference is that
chlorine is a necessary evil.
Prior to 1940, health officials were trying to remove excess
fluoride from water supplies. This is because high levels
of fluorides were destroying the teeth. In the early 1940s,
several studies had suggested that areas with a higher fluoride
level had fewer cavities than areas with lower fluoride levels.
But this is said to be because the people living in these
high fluoride areas had fewer teeth than those living in areas
with low fluoride levels. To say that fluoride can prevent
tooth decay would be like saying that lethal doses of radiation
can cure cancer. The fact is that there are many unfluoridated
cities that have excellent dental health, and many that may
have a high rate of dental decay. While there are many fluoridated
cities with a high level of dental decay, while some fluoridated
cities may have excellent dental health. There are many factors
that may account for these discrepancies. For example, many
nutrients may affect dental health. Both calcium and magnesium
may prevent cavities. It is well known that areas with higher
levels of calcium and magnesium in the drinking water have
a lower incidence of dental decay. Incidentally, naturally
occurring fluoride is usually comprised of calcium fluoride.
So it may not be the fluoride, but the calcium that is preventing
tooth decay, as well as other minerals, such as the aforementioned
magnesium and many other nutrients may be involved in the
preventing of tooth decay. For example, vitamin C has been
shown to prevent tooth decay. Although, it should be noted
that unbuffered vitamin C can harm the teeth if it comes in
direct contact with the enamel. The fact is that there are
many factors to consider when stating that fluoride or any
nutrient can improve dental health. Just think of all the
areas that are not fluoridated which have excellent dental
health. Currently, most of Europe is not fluoridated, and
they are not suffering any dental health crisis. In fact,
most of Europe seems to have better general health than the
United States and other Fluoridated areas.
It is interesting to note that the form of fluoride used
to fluoridate drinking water is not the same as what naturally
occurs in the drinking water. Naturally occurring fluoride
is in a form called calcium fluoride. Some researchers have
suggested that it is calcium and not the fluoride that accounts
for improved dental health. After all, tooth enamel is comprised
mostly of calcium. However, the type of fluoride added to
the drinking water is either sodium fluoride NaFs or
more recently, silicofluorides (SiFs). The use of this
kind of fluoride that I will refer to as SiFs, has been
the subject of much controversy. For one thing, SiFs
have not been thoroughly tested. And moreover, SiFs
may be contaminated with other heavy metals such as lead,
arsenic, or cadmium. The original tests used to determine
fluorides safety were done using pharmaceutical grade
sodium fluoride in distilled water. No one ever considered
that possibility that fluoride could interact with other elements
in the water. For instance, there is very strong evidence
that fluoride can interact with aluminum in the drinking water
to form a compound called aluminum fluoride or AiF as we will
call them. A substance called Alum (aluminum sulfate) is often
added to the drinking water as a clarifying agent. Some studies
have suggested that AIFs can cause aluminum to cross the blood
brain barrier more readily than aluminum, which is ordinarily
not easily absorbed in the body. Also, using fluoridated water
in aluminum cookware may cause aluminum to leach into the
drinking water. Studies have shown that boiling fluoridated
tap water in an aluminum pan leached almost 200 parts per
million (ppm) of aluminum into the water in 10 minutes. Leaching
of up to 600 PPM occurred with prolonged boiling. Different
releases of aluminum depend upon the composition of the pan
and the type of food being cooked. Using non-fluoridated water
showed almost no leaching from aluminum pans. In 1998, a fluoride
study published in Brain Research reported damage to rat kidneys
and brain at very low doses. Rats were given 1ppm fluoride
in doubly distilled and de-ionized water for 52 weeks. In
other words they were given the same levels as we get in fluoridated
water, albeit without the other ions present in tap water.
One group of rats was given aluminum-fluoride (AlF3) and another,
sodium fluoride (NaF). In both cases amyloid deposits were
found in the rat brains. Amyloid deposits are tangles in the
brain and are associated with Alzheimer's disease and other
forms of dementia. Scientists do not know why they form. The
rats in the control did not have them. The authors of the
study speculate that fluoride enables aluminum to cross the
blood brain barrier. Other factor may also influence how aluminum
and fluoride interact. For instance, fluoride has a very strong
affinity for calcium. This is witnessed in nature as virtually
all naturally occurring fluoride is in the form of calcium
fluoride. Therefore, the presence of calcium in the water
may affect how much aluminum is affected by the presence of
Sources of fluoride:
Aside from fluoridated drinking water, there are many other
sources of fluoride in the environment. For example: tea,
including green tea can contain a significant amount of fluoride.
This may come as a surprise to some people, as there has been
a plethora of advertisements touting the health benefits of
tea consumption. What these advertisements fail to mention
is that tea leaves have the potential to absorb fluoride from
the soil. Of course, this would depend upon the fluoride content
of the soil in which the tea leaves are grown in. Many studies
touting the health benefits of tea may have been done using
tea leaves that were grown in soil with a low fluoride content.
And many studies were done using the isolated compounds that
give tea its beneficial properties.
Another obvious source of fluoride is toothpaste. While we
all know that toothpaste contains fluoride, what many people
may not realize is that fluoride has the potential to absorb
through the membranes in the mouth. It is well known that
many drugs and other substances can be absorbed sublingually.
In fact, many vitamins and minerals are now sold as sublingual
preparations. Fluoride is basically a mineral element, or
rather an anti-nutrient. But the bottom line is that fluoridated
toothpaste should be avoided. Virtually all toothpaste is
now fluoridated. You will have to go to health food store
to find an unfluoridated toothpaste. But be sure to read the
labels very carefully, as many toothpastes sold in health
food stores actually contain fluoride. So make sure the label
says fluoride free. Another option is to use pure
baking soda. This may not be as aesthetically pleasing as
regular toothpaste, but it will do the job of getting the
teeth clean. Just sprinkle a little baking soda into one hand,
and then dip your wet toothbrush into the baking soda with
your other hand. Be sure to keep your toothbrush wet when
brushing, otherwise it may irritate your teeth.
What you should know about water filters:
For years health writers have been recommending the use of
distillation or reverse osmosis RO units to remove
fluoride from the drinking water. But recently I have read
a very disturbing report indicating that these techniques
may not be as effective as once thought. According to reports,
the fluoride atoms have a molecular size and weight that is
very similar to the H2O molecules. As a result, it may have
a boiling point similar to that of water. Therefore, distillation
may not be effective at removing fluoride. The same goes for
reverse osmosis RO units. The fluoride atom is
so small that it may not be removed by this method. So at
this time the best way to remove fluoride is to avoid it.
This means drinking spring water from areas that have little
or no fluoride. Your best bet is to have the water tested
to see for sure the level of fluoride it contains.
It should also be noted that most commercially prepared beverages
are made with fluoridated water. It is therefore advisable
to reduce ones intake of these beverages. Or perhaps
making your own fruit juice using unfluoridated water.
Proponents of fluoridation are switching sides!
More and more pro-fluoridationists are becoming anti-fluoridationists.
For example: Dr. Hardy Limeback, B.Sc., Ph.D in Biochemistry,
D.D.S., head of the Department of Preventive Dentistry for
the University of Toronto, and president of the Canadian Association
for Dental Research, has recently switched sides. Apparently,
after reviewing the evidence, he has had a change of heart.
Dr. Limeback now warns against the use of fluoride. Dr. Limeback
was quoted as saying "In Canada we are now spending more
money treating dental fluorosis than we do treating cavities.
That includes my own practice." One of the most obvious
living experiments today, Dr. Limeback believes, is a proof-positive
comparison between any 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."
Other experts are speaking out against fluoride. These include
the EPAs own scientists. Dr. William Marcus, an EPA
senior science adviser and toxicologist stated in "Food
and Water Journal," 1998, " Fluoride is a carcinogen
by any stand we use. I believe EPA should act immediately
to protect the public, not just on the cancer data, but on
the evidence of bone fractures, arthritis, mutagenicity and
other effects." Dr. marcus was fired as a result of this.
He was later reinstated. Dr. Robert Carton, a scientist who
spent 20 years working for the US Environmental Protection
Agency said, "Fluoridation is the greatest case of scientific
fraud of this century, if not all time." Dr. Charles
Gordon Heyd, Past President of the American Medical Association
said: "I am appalled at the prospect of using water as
a vehicle for drugs. Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will
produce serious effects on a long- term basis. Any attempt
to use water this way is deplorable."
It is interesting to note that many people who speak out
against fluoride are losing their jobs and being ostracized
by their colleges. With this in mind, it is no wonder that
more people arent speaking out. Currently, any doctor
or dentist who opposes fluoridation would run the risk of
losing their license to practice medicine or dentistry.
Bone health and fluoride
As previously mentioned, fluoride has a strong affinity for
calcium. It is this affinity that may account for its ability
to cause bone disease. It is well known that high levels of
fluoride can cause crippling skeletal fluorosis. Areas of
India where the naturally occurring levels of fluoride are
very high, the people suffer from serious bone deformities.
In fact, fluoride is considered to be the leading cause of
bone cancer. Ironically, fluoride was once thought to be a
treatment for osteoporosis. Women receiving fluoride had shown
increased bone density, but they suffered the same amount
of fractures as the controls. This indicates that fluoride
builds weaker bones.
For further reading, check out the following websites:
The Fluoridation Fiasco: Poison In Your Water:
Fluoride Pollution: An Overview
Just Think It's International Anti-Fluoridation Database:
150+ facts, horror stories and cover-ups about Fluoride
* * * * * * * * *