Fluoride is an abundant mineral waste product of aluminum, phosphate, cement, steel and nuclear weapons manufacturing. What to do with this toxic waste without engendering lawsuits and restrictions to the commercial enterprises that produced it, was a big dilemma back in the 1920’s. A corporate solution to dispose hundreds of thousands of tons of fluoride into our drinking water each year denotes one of the greatest PR campaigns of all times. Below is a chronological review of how this phenomenon came to be.
- 1850’s Industrial Revolution: Iron and copper factories discharge fluoride into the air poisoning plants, animals and people.
- Early 20th century: Colorado Springs dentist Frederick McKay identified water contamination as the cause for brown stains and irregular tooth enamel called mottling in 90 percent of his patients. He speculated that this mottling might in some way reduce tooth decay.
- 1931: Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) identified McKay’s contaminant as fluoride. Since ALCOA had a proprietary interest in this subject, they wanted to know how much fluoride they could release into the environment without causing stained mottled teeth. At this time the only legal fluoride use was for the manufacture of rat poison and insecticides.
- 1931: Dr. Trendley Dean of the National Institute of Health, whose supervisor was a founder and major stockholder of ALCOA, claimed that fluoride levels up to 1.0 part per million (ppm) in drinking water did not cause mottled teeth. He theorized that adding fluoride to public water supplies up to 1 ppm would prevent tooth decay, without damage to teeth or bones. He recommended further studies to assess his hypothesis.
- 1939: Gerald Cox, an industry scientist working for ALCOA, conducted rat experiments and concluded; fluoride reduced cavities. He began to tour the country campaigning for fluoridation of all drinking water. His efforts were supported by the esteemed and trusted Dr. Dean who would in time become the director of the National Institute of Dental Research.
- 1945: Grand Rapids Michigan became the first community to fluoridate its drinking water. The plan was to monitor and assess for health and hazards over the next 15 years before fluoridating any other water supplies.
- 1947: Edward Barnay, a public relations pioneer who has been called the original spin master, spearheaded the government’s public relations campaign to put fluoride into all drinking water. Due to his influence, 87 communities had begun fluoridation by 1948. Anyone who raised objections was labeled a crackpot. Waldbott, in a journal of Science article, summed up this historical precedent as a political, not a scientific issue.
- 1955 & 1957: In a court case challenging fluoridation, Dr. Dean admitted under oath, that his published conclusions from the 1930’s were wrong in regard to public safety and dental benefit. Dr. Dean admits that dental fluorosis, the first sign of fluoride overdose, could occur with water fluoridated to 1.0 ppm. His admission was never acknowledged by the American Dental Association or government bodies responsible for fluoridating public water supplies.
- 2010: 41 of the largest 50 cities in the US have fluoridated water along with 9,600 communities serving 150 million Americans (half the population), and 250 million people worldwide.
The Myth Revealed
The big hope for fluoride was its ability to immunize teeth against cavities. Decades of international experience has proven otherwise. Studies by the World Health Organization, Sierra Club and even the American Dental Association reveal the fallacy of fluoridation. Here are just a few of the findings.
- Lowest rates of dental cavities occur in areas without fluoridated water supplies.
- No difference in cavity prevalence between communities that fluoridate and those that had terminated fluoridation.
- People in unfluoridated developing nations had fewer cavities than those living in industrialized nations.
- Of 39,000 US school children ages 5-17 in 84 areas around the country, there was no difference in the incidence of dental decay between fluoridated, partially fluoridated or unfluoridated cities.
- In Europe which has 98 percent unfluoridated water, the dental decay rate is declining at an equal and sometimes better rate than the US.
- A 2001 article in the Journal of the American Dental Association admits that fluoride swallowed or incorporated into teeth is insufficient to have a measurable effect on reducing cavities.
The reason most studies are looking at children is because the benefit of fluoridated water, if any, occurs in people 13 years old or younger. A 1999 New York State Department of Health study of 3,500 7-14 year olds found no decline of cavities, yet significantly more dental fluorosis (stained, mottled and brittle teeth) in the fluoridated community of Newburgh, than in children of neighboring unfluoridated communities.
These New York study findings have been confirmed in numerous other studies, along with an increased incidence of cavities due to fluorosis. The US Center for Disease Control now reports that one third to one half of school age children in the US suffer from the pitting and discoloration of dental fluorosis due to fluoride overdose.
Severe fluorosis can occur from water supplies having 2 or 3 ppm fluoride. It is not uncommon to find water with 2-3 ppm of fluoride. Fluoride is prevalent in processed food, including bottled drinks, cereals like Wheaties, Post Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Fruit Loops, canned food, and fruit juices. Also insecticides that remain on commercial food such as grapes, lettuce and raisins and of course with fluoride toothpaste. Add in fluoridated water supply and many people are ingesting 4 to 10 ppm or about 10-20 mg of fluoride a day, well above safe levels set by public safety experts.
Fluorosis is the first sign of fluoride poisoning. Fluoride exposure for the fetus increases the risk for stillbirth, miscarriage, birth defects and brain injury. Older people, following years of cumulative fluoride exposure are at significant risk for skeletal fluorosis. Skeletal fluorosis includes one or more of the following: muscle wasting and neurologic damage including Alzheimer’s, arthritis, osteoporosis, stiff joints, spine deformities and calcification of ligaments. Bone fractures, including hip fractures can result from excess fluoride intake, as well as cancer, especially bone cancer.
The subject of fluoride, its history, health and safety issues is complex. In this month’s newsletter I have just scratched the surface, attempting to highlight the main points. For a more comprehensive review, do a Google Search for medical reporter Joel Griffiths and fluoride, or check out Bryson’s book The Fluoride Deception. The health risks associated with excess fluoride exposure are - as is often the case - more pronounced for those consuming unnatural food along with fluoridated drinking water.
Water filters are available to remove fluoride and can be found on the internet. Good food can be found at select grocery stores and is the best health insurance possible.
I hope you have enjoyed this month’s newsletter. As always, feedback is welcome.
Jon Dunn, ND