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Debate: Water fluoridation

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Should communities add fluoride to public water supplies?

Background and context

For decades, communities, towns, and city governments have put fluoride into water as a means of reducing tooth decay. Some people object to this as too much government coddling of citizens, and for other reasons as well. The question driving this debate remains: is water fluoridation a sufficient public interest to justify laws and policies enforcing it.

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Is it necessary to add fluoride to water for people to get dental benefits from it?

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Yes

A lot of people don't get any other source of fluoride. Most people wouldn't get regular fluoride treatment at the dentist and tap water fluoridation is their only source of the substance. Fluoride has positive effects to make teeth stronger is a necessary part of dental care. Water fluoridation has no harm and benefits the oral health of many people. It is an easy way for everyone to have their intake of fluoride and it helps grow strong teeth.

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No

There are other ways of getting fluoride. Anyone who needs fluoride really should just go to the dentist. Fluoride treatment is quick, easy and affordable. It is not necessary to fluoridate water and can have harmful effects on health.


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Is fluoride safe to be ingested?

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Yes

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No

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Write Sub question here...

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Yes

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No

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Write Subquestion here...

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Yes

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No

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External links

  • Fluoride is more toxic than lead, is only slightly less toxic than arsenic. (Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, 5th Edition, 1984, pp. ll4, ll -112, ll-138, ll-129)
  • The National Treasury Employees' Union, Chapter 280 (the union of toxicologists, chemists, biologists and other professionals at the Environmental Protection Agency's Washington, DC headquarters -- approximately 1500 people), in 1997 voted unanimously to oppose water fluoridation, due to causal links between fluoridation and cancer, genetic damage, neurological impairment, bone pathology, and lowered IQ in children. (for info call Dr. J. William Hirzy, (202) 260-4683, or hirzy.john@epa.gov) [1]
  • The FDA now requires a poison warning label on all fluoridated toothpastes.
  • Fluoride (unlike chlorine) cannot be removed from water by filtration or boiling -- only by reverse osmosis, distillation, or ion exchange (expensive operations, equivalent to desalination of seawater).
  • Wastewater from fluoridated municipalities has been shown to stop salmon from swimming upstream (several studies referenced in Earth Island Journal, Summer 1998 special section on "Fluorides and the Environment," [2]
  • Dr. C. Heyd, MD, past President of American Medical Association: "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 range basis. Any attempt to use water this way is deplorable."
  • At least 12 Nobel Prize winners have gone on record as being opposed to water fluoridation: Dr. G. Natta, PhD; Dr. N. Semenov, PhD; Sir Dr. C. Hinshelwood, PhD; Dr. H. Theorell, PhD; Dr. W. Hess, PhD; Sir Dr. R. Robinson, PhD; Dr. J. Sumner, PhD; Dr. A. Virtanen, PhD; Dr. A. Butenandt, PhD; Dr. C. Heymans, PhD; Dr. W. Murphy, PhD; and Dr. H. von Euler-Chelpin, PhD. (12).
  • Dr. J. Sumner, PhD, Nobel Prize in Chemistry: "Fluorides are very poisonous substances ... We use them in chemistry to poison enzymes, those vital agents in the body. That is the reason things are poisoned: because the enzymes are poisoned and that is why (we) die."
  • 99% of western continental Europe has rejected, banned, or stopped fluoridation for environmental, health, legal, or ethical concerns. Read letters from 11 of these governments explaining why in each of these cases, they rejected fluoridation [3]
  • Dr. R Masters, PhD, Head, Foundation for Neuroscience & Society: Found link between use of hexafluorosilicates in water and high uptake of lead in young children: "If you look at violent crime, you find a doubling of the crime rates where silicofluoride is used ..... One clear effect is that toxic chemicals can destroy inhibitory systems." (Int'l Jour of Environmental Studies, 1999)
  • Dr. Dean Burk, former Director & Chief Chemist Emeritus of U. S. National Cancer Institute, introduced the MRI scan: "Fluoride causes more human cancer death, and causes it faster, than any other chemical."
  • Dr. R. Foulkes, BA, MD, former Assistant Professor, UBC, as consultant to BC government in 1972, advised mandatory fluoridation now opposes all fluoridation. "When rising dental fluorosis and high dietary intakes of fluoride in fluoridated areas are taken into consideration, large areas of endemic fluorosis (poisoning) have been created in Canada." Fluoride Connection (Townsend) [4]
  • Dr. J. Colquhoun, BDS, MPhil, PhD, DipEd, former Principal Dental Officer, Auckland, NZ; Introduced fluoridation: "What my colleagues and I were doing is what all professionals do when their pet theory is confronted by disconcerting new evidence: bend over backwards to explain away the new evidence." Why I Changed My Mind About Water Fluoridation (Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 41 29-44 1997) [5]
  • Dr. J. W. Hirzy, PhD (Chemical & Risk Assessment), Senior VP, Union, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency: EPA Scientists' union voted to oppose fluoridation as carcinogenic (cancer-causing) "Our opposition to fluoridation is based on documenting out-of-control exposures to fluoride, lack of dental benefit from ingestion and hazards to human health from ingestion." [6]
  • Dr. A. Schatz, Rutgers Medal, discoverer of Streptomycin: "..convincing evidence that fluoridation is harmful." [7]
  • D. Hill, BA (Eng), MSc, P.Eng, C.Eng, F.B.C.S., Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary; consultant to government and industry; 36 journal articles; 2 patents "The most recent evidence suggests it is not particularly beneficial, and certainly not safe." Fluoride Risks: Medical, Moral, Economic, Legal and Political Issues
  • Dr. P. Connett, PhD (Enviromental Chemical & Toxicology), Professor of Chemistry, St. Lawrence Universe (NY) 1200 presentations "Too many red flags are being waved on long-term health threats to continue the experiment of adding this toxic substance to our drinking water especially in the form of industrial grade hexafluorosilicic acid (used in Toronto)" Statement of Concern. (Waste Not; 459; Jan., 2000) [8]
  • Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility: "Studies in humans suggest fluoride exposure at levels experienced by a significant proportion of the population whose water is fluoridated, may have adverse impacts on the developing brain." (In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development. Clean Water Fund, May, 2000) [9]
  • Dr. G. Waldbott, MD, founder, International Society for Fluoride Research, many articles, books: "Dental fluorosis, unfortunately, is only the tip of a gigantic iceberg of fluoride damage." (Fluoridation: The great dilemma) The Preskeletal Phase of Chronic Fluoride Intoxication, Fluoride, 1998, 31:1, 13-20 [10]
  • Dr. S. Teotia and Dr. M. Teotia; after 30-year study sponsored by India & Canada: "Even marginally high intakes of fluoride continuously for more than six months in calcium deficient children may cause severe dental fluorosis and caries (decay)." [11]
  • Dr. A. Burgstahler, PhD (Harvard), Professor of Chemistry, University of Kansas: "Officially acknowledged overfeed malfunctions responsible for episodes of mass fluoride poisonings, even fatalities, have occurred in Alaska, Maryland, Michigan, Connecticut, etc." (Fluoride: Neither Safe Nor Effective) [12]
  • Dr. A. Susheela, PhD, FASc, F.A.M.S., Professor of Histocytochemistry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Head, Fluorosis Research & Rural Development Foundation, past President, International Society for Fluoride Research; over 100 papers in science journals: "There are 20 nations (including Canada) with health problems due to excess fluoride ingestion via water and food." [13]
  • Dr. J. Yiamouyiannis, PhD, President, Safe Water Foundation: The increased per capita bone cancer rate due to fluoridation is 18 times greater in Canada than in the unfluoridated UK. (Yiamouyiannis J. Fluoride: The Aging Factor; 1993; p. 171)
  • Dr. J. Lee, MD (Harvard); many journal studies on effects of fluoridation on human bones, "Fluoride is toxic to bones...at all levels of exposure. Regardless of any other consideration, this is reason enough to discontinue fluoridation immediately." (Fluoride,1992, 25:3,162-164) [14]
  • Dr. M. Diesendorf, PhD, Professor, Environmental Sciences, University of Technical (Sydney), Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures: Studies showed teeth improved from 1930s to present in both fluoridated & non-fluoridated communities. Mystery of Declining Tooth Decay. 1986. Nature, 322, 125-129.
  • Since 1997, the US FDA requires all fluoride toothpaste to carry this warning: (Poison symbol) "Warning: Keep out of the reach of children under 6 yrs of age. If you accidentally swallow more than is used for brushing, seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control center immediately" [15]
  • Dr. J. Yiamouyiannis, PhD, President, Safe Water Foundation, author, Fluoride: Aging Factor: "We would not purposely add arsenic to the water supply. And we would not purposely add lead. But we do add fluoride. The fact is that fluoride is more toxic than lead and just slightly less toxic than arsenic." (interview with G. Null, PhD.) [16]
  • "The American Medical Association is NOT prepared to state that no harm will be done to any person by water fluoridation. The AMA has not carried out any research work, either long-term or short-term, regarding the possibility of any side effects." (Dr. Flanagan, Assistant Director of Environmental Health, American Medical Association) [17]
  • In 1997, the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) agreed with the American Academy of Pediatrics that "the primary mechanism of action of fluoride to prevent dental decay is topical." (Fluoride works when applied to the outside of the tooth, not once it's swallowed.)
  • Dr. W. Marcus, Ph.D., Senior EPA Toxicologist: "Regarding fluoridation, the 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" [18]
  • "Based on National Academy of Sciences data, current levels of fluoride exposure in drinking water may cause arthritis in a substantial portion of the population long before they reach old age" Dr. Robert Carton, PhD, former EPA scientist. [19]
  • Dr. D. Kennedy, DDS, past President, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicity, globally recognized lecturer on toxicology and restorative dentistry, "Research has shown in numerous studies that fluoride is a mutagen (genetic damage), a carcinogen (cancer-causing) and cancer-promoting in laboratory cell studies, animals, and humans." [20]
  • A. Hershey, Chair, (US) Environmental Resources & Energy Committee: "When (this bill) was introduced to my committee, I asked my staff to research the subject and they reported to me that there is no scientific or medical evidence that would indicate any particular benefit from fluoridation of public drinking water." [21]
  • The highly prestigious Nobel Medical Institute and the Pasteur Institute strongly recommended against fluoridation. Many labs found fluoridation unsafe: Rand Corporation, American Chemical Society, US government's Argonne National Labs, scientists at the US EPA, National Cancer Institute studies, and the Battelle Memorial Institute (retained by the US Public Health Service).
  • National Research Council: "Accurate estimates of fluoride exposure cannot be based simply on the concentration of fluoride in drinking water. Even for older children, intake from toothpaste and mouth rinse can still equal the daily intake from food, water, and other beverages."
  • World Health Organization (WHO): "At higher levels of ingestion from 2 to 8 mg daily, skeletal fluorosis may arise. Whereas dental fluorosis is easily recognized, the skeletal involvement is not clinically obvious until the advanced stage of crippling fluorosis early cases may be misdiagnosed as rheumatoid or osteo arthritis."
  • National Research Council: "As the intake of fluoride is increased, either by increasing the dose or by increasing the time during which a constant amount of fluoride is ingested, the amount found in the bone also increases."
  • Edward Groth III, Senior Staff Officer, National Research Council: "Fluoride is being dumped into the air and water in ever-increasing quantities, and is one of the most toxic of the major pollutants."
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Fluorine being a cumulative bone-seeking mineral, the resultant skeletal changes are progressive."
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances, National Research Council: "Chronic toxicity fluorosis affects bone health, kidney function, and possibly muscle and nerve function."
  • U.S. Public Health Service: "Fluoride increases the stability of the crystal lattice in bone, but makes bone more brittle. The total quantity of fluoride ingested is the single most important factor in determining the clinical course of skeletal fluorosis; the severity of symptoms correlates directly with the level and duration of exposure."
  • U.S. Public Health Service: "Table indicates that in U.S. cities having one part per million fluoride in their water supply, the range in total daily fluoride intake exceeds 6.5 milligrams daily."
  • National Research Council: "Crippling skeletal fluorosis might occur in people who have ingested 10-20 mg of fluoride per day for 10-20 years [the same total quantity as 5-10 mg/day for 20-40 years]." [Toronto has fluoridated for 38 years.]
  • Dr. A. Strunecka, PhD, Dr. J. Patocka, PhD: "The long term action of alumino-fluoride complexes may represent a serious and powerful risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's Disease."
  • Dr. Roger D. Masters, PhD: The Dartmouth researcher showed children's blood lead is significantly higher in communities using silicofluorides ... When Thurmont, Maryland stopped fluoridating their drinking water in 1994, the lead level in homes dropped from 30 ppb to 7 ppb. (The EPA's Maximum Contaminant Level is 15 ppb.)
  • National Research Council: "Soft drinks, which often contain fluoride at 0.3 to 0.5 mg per 12-ounce serving, are an important additional source of fluoride. Studies of dental fluorosis indicate that children's exposure to fluoride has increased since the 1970s."
  • 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: "In Canada, we are now spending more money treating dental fluorosis than we do treating cavities. That includes my own practice."
  • National Research Council: "Accurate estimates of fluoride exposure cannot be based simply on the concentration of fluoride in drinking water. Even for older children, intake from toothpaste and mouth rinse can still equal the daily intake from food, water, and other beverages."
  • Robert Perciasepe, Assistant Administrator for Water, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): "The EPA has written to the American Dental Association requesting that EPA be deleted from the list of supporters of fluoridation."
  • The prestigious British Medical Journal, June 10, 2000: "(Irish health minister Michael Martin) is to consider relaxing laws that require the fluoridation of all drinking water amid mounting controversy over the alleged health risks of the practice ... Ireland is now almost the only country in the European Union to insist on mandatory fluoridation of piped water supplies ... Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland banned water fluoridation during the 1970s and 1980s because not enough was known about the long term health effects. In 1975, Germany rejected the practice as 'foreign to nature, unnecessary, inefficient, irresponsible and harmful to the environment.' A year later, the Dutch rewrote their constitution to outlaw fluoridation. France's chief of public health declared in 1980 that fluoridation was 'too dangerous.'"
  • Peer-reviewed medical studies show: Fluoride causes: dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis, abnormalities in babies of women with fluorosis, brain damage and lowered IQs in children, weakened bones, abnormalities to sperm and eggs and deaths. Fluoride increases the risk of: bone cancer in children, osteoporosis and hip fractures. FLUORIDE, International Society for Fluoride Research, Table of Contents, 32(3) 1999


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