By Dr. Mercola
Open, honest debate is crucial to furthering knowledge, resolving controversies and moving forward on important questions of public interest.
Debate as a form of reasoning and education can be traced back to ancient times, when philosophical debates were held in ancient Greece. To be successful, there must be integrity on both sides as well as respect.
Name-calling and disrespect have no place in a debate of matters relating to public health, but in the case of water fluoridation, this has been the standard procedure of fluoridation promoters for many decades.
So imagine everyone's surprise when in a recent Dallas city council meeting, three council members not only held back such insults but actually agreed that it was time to open up an honest discussion about the city's water fluoridation practices.
Dallas City Council Members Agree with Anti-Fluoridation Activist's Plea
Despite the fact that anti-fluoridation activist Regina Imburgia had spoken to the Dallas city council several times before with no response, a meeting earlier this month was different. Three of the 15 members finally agreed with Imburgia's message that water fluoridation in the city deserves a closer look.
Suddenly, area reporters, who had previously refused to air the "other" side to the fluoridation debate, featured the news, though not all was in a favorable light. Dallas Morning News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd wrote a scathing column engaging in the unacceptable behavior that has become so commonplace in the fluoride debate.1
With no shortage of name-calling, she called those speaking out against fluoride dangers "cranks" and described the message as "conspiracy paranoia" from the days of "Howdy Doody and coonskin caps."
Fortunately, the Dallas Observer covered the issue at length, in both column and blog formats, not only citing a new concerning study about fluoride health risks (see below) but also calling Floyd out for her unprofessional lashing out:2
"…it's absolutely wrong to think we can afford to shut down the debate on fluoride or any other neurotoxin because of a cultural association with people who worry about neurotoxins. This isn't coonskin caps and anti-communism. This is all new, powerful and urgent. Not worrying about it would be the crazy thing."
What we have here is the gradual beginnings of change. We have made great strides with GMO understanding and victories. Fluoride is following close behind the pattern and hopefully will achieve the same success GMO labelling has in the last three years.
More and more commentators are accepting that anti-fluoride supporters are not quacks but concerned citizens citing science. The fluoride debate is changing, and fast, reminding me once again of the words of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer who, 200 years ago, said all truth goes through three stages:
- First, it is ridiculed
- Then it is violently opposed
- Finally, it is widely accepted as self-evident
Fluoride Added to List of 11 Chemicals Known to Harm Brain Development in Children
In 2006, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai did a systematic review and identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants.
This included unquestionable poisons like lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene. Since then, they've documented six additional developmental neurotoxicants and have added them to the list of what are now 11 known industrial chemicals that harm brain development in human fetuses and infants.3
One of the recently added neurotoxicants is fluoride, and one of the study's authors has previously said:4
"Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain… The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us."
The debate over the dangers of fluoride has been ongoing for more than six decades, despite the fact that study after study has confirmed that fluoride is a dangerous, toxic poison that bio-accumulates in your body while being ineffective at preventing dental decay.
Worse yet, when you consider the fact that there are 37 human studies linking moderately high fluoride exposures with reduced intelligence and 12 human studies linking fluoride with neurobehavioral deficits. There are also three human studies linking fluoride exposure with impaired fetal brain development,5 the idea of continuing to fluoridate drinking water is a shockingly bad idea. Approximately 100 animal studies have also linked fluoride to brain damage. This includes such effects as:6
Reduction in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors ||Damage to the hippocampus ||Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer's disease)
|Reduction in lipid content ||Damage to the Purkinje cells ||Exacerbation of lesions induced by iodine deficiency
|Impaired antioxidant defense systems ||Increased uptake of aluminum ||Accumulation of fluoride in the pineal gland
One particularly striking animal study published in 1995 showed that fluoride ingestion had a profound influence on the animals' brains and altered behavior. Pregnant rats given fluoride produced hyperactive offspring. And animals given fluoride after birth became apathetic, lethargic "couch potatoes."7 As was reported by the Dallas Observer, brain damage is far more difficult to detect than outwardly physical damage, which perhaps is part of the reason why fluoride continues to slip by under the radar:8
"One problem is that compared with gross physical birth defects caused by chemicals, developmental brain damage is barely on public health radar, according to the [Lancet study] authors. They say: 'David P. Rall, former director of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, once noted that, 'if thalidomide had caused a 10-point loss of I.Q. instead of obvious birth defects of the limbs, it would probably still be on the market.''"
Opposition to Water Fluoridation Is Going Mainstream
In the water fluoridation debate, those who spoke out against it have long been labeled as quacks or zealots. This can be traced back decades, in part due to Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film Dr. Strangelove. In the film, General Jack D. Ripper tries to stop a Communist conspiracy to harm Americans with fluoridated water, and at one point states:
"Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?"
Of course, water fluoridation was not a communist plot -- it was started by the US Public Health Service, albeit with a totally inadequate science database for either effectiveness or safety. But the film pokes fun at the John Birch Society, an extreme right wing group that happened to be anti-fluoridation. So, of course, anyone at the time who dared speak out against fluoridation was also ruled to be a fanatic, a radical or just a lunatic – even when they could point to legitimate science to back up their claims. This stigma has, unfortunately, stuck through the decades, although now the walls are beginning to crumble.
More Americans are wising up to the risks of water fluoridation, and they're using their votes to keep this fertilizer-industry byproduct out of their drinking water (the fluoride added to municipal water supplies is a toxic byproduct from the fertilizer industry—a rarely discussed fact!). Since 2009, about 130 communities have stopped water fluoridation. Canada has dropped from about 60 percent of the population drinking fluoridated water down to about 32-33 percent. Victories have also been logged in Australia, Israel, New Zealand and across the US. The latest fluoride-free victories include:9
1. Wellington, Florida: After hours of debate and testimony from medical experts and residents, council members voted to end 14 years of fluoridation. A number of pro-fluoride dentists are unfortunately working to overturn the council's vote, but it's still a victory for now.
2. Amherst County, Virginia: The Service Authority Board voted to discontinue fluoridation because of conflicting opinions on what constitutes "optimal" levels of fluoride. According to the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), "Several Board Supervisors felt that the additive was unnecessary and a waste of resources."
3. Wood Village, Oregon: The Woodsville City Council was considering adding fluoride to the city's drinking water, but after polling residents found that 100% of respondents were against it. They have since ended their fluoridation discussions.
4. Sebastopol, California: City Councilors voted unanimously against fluoridation in Sonoma County because of concerns the fluoride could leach into their groundwater from surrounding communities, putting residents at risk.
5. Bantry, Ireland: Town Councilors voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling for an immediate end to fluoridation throughout Ireland. Two other towns--Skibbereen and Clonakitty--also passed similar resolutions in 2013. Support for this historic vote was provided by the local group West Cork Fluoride Free.
6. Boyne City, Michigan: In early May 2014, city commissioners voted 3-2 to end more than 40 years of fluoridation for the town's approximately 4,000 residents. Commissioner Gene Towne summed up the council's decision, saying: "It comes down to choice. I don't see how you can control the dosage (of fluoride that people ingest) if it's in everything. If there's a chance that it could cause any health problems… this should all come down to your choice."
7. Buffalo and Union, Missouri: In May 2014, Alderman voted to end a decade of fluoridation, saying the additive damaged equipment, city trucks, and was not economical. Also in May, councilors in Union, Missouri voted 7-1 to end fluoridation after the city's public service committee recommended the city not repair fluoride injection equipment destroyed by the corrosive additive. According to the City Engineer, "It's an acid and it eats the pipes. Employees are handling it and they don't want to be."
8. Legal community interest in the long-smoldering controversy over use of fluorides is growing as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has agreed to hear oral arguments in the fluoride harm case of Nemphos versus Nestle Waters North America, Inc., et al.
The case centers around "dental fluorosis" disfigurement of teeth caused by childhood ingestion of fluorides in water and other products.
The Washington D.C.-based law firm Public Justice has joined other plaintiff firms to help argue the case. Public Justice has more than 3,000 affiliated attorneys.
9. Journal Article Calls for Prohibition of Fluoridation
The Scientific World Journal published a review article by Dr. Stephen Peckham and Dr. Niyi Awofeso titled, "Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review of the Physiological Effects of Ingested Fluoride as a Public Health Intervention."
According to the authors, "Available evidence suggests that fluoride has a potential to cause major adverse human health problems, while having only a modest dental caries prevention effect. As part of efforts to reduce hazardous fluoride ingestion, the practice of artificial water fluoridation should be reconsidered globally, while industrial safety measures need to be tightened in order to reduce unethical discharge of fluoride compounds into the environment… coordinated global efforts to reduce adverse human health effects on fluoride need to start with ensuring that its introduction into water supplies is prohibited."
Additionally, in May 2014 the Irish Medical News published an excellent letter from Dr. Neville Wilson of the Leinster Clinic in Maynooth, titled, "We Must Question Mass Medication Without 'Benefit." In this letter Dr. Wilson asks a question that is being ignored by many thousands of doctors in the US and other fluoridated countries:
"Where is the physician who will impose a lifelong prescription for an untested potentially toxic substance, without proven clinical benefit, on a patient he/she has never met, interviewed or examined? Such dubious behavior would extract appropriate censure from the licensing authority of the physician involved, on the basis that it is unscientific, unscrupulous, unethical, and therefore unacceptable."
Water Fluoridation Is the Height of Arrogance
Retired Chemistry Professor Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network, has made a strong case for why dentistry should be done in the dental office… not via your water supply. He stated:10
"Organized dentistry, which includes the American Dental Association, the Oral Health Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state dental directors, is the only health profession that seeks to deliver its services via the public's water supply. The practice of artificial water fluoridation is the height of arrogance when one considers the following undisputed facts and scientifically supported arguments."
Dr. Connett, who co-authored the book The Case Against Fluoride, is recognized worldwide as a leader in the movement to eliminate fluoride from municipal water supplies, and I'm pleased to be working with him to achieve this goal. He recently compiled a comprehensive and eye-opening list of reasons why water fluoridation must be challenged. Here are some of the highlights:11
|Fluoride is not a nutrient; no biochemical process in the human body needs fluoride
||The level of fluoride in a mother's milk is exceedingly low. Formula-fed infants receive up to 175-250 more fluoride than a breast-fed infant
|Once fluoride is added to the water supply, there is no way of controlling the dose; it goes to everyone regardless of age, weight, health, need, or nutritional status
||Fluoride accumulates in bone and other calcified tissues over a lifetime; early symptoms of fluoride poisoning of the bones are identical to arthritis and fluoride accumulation may make bones brittle and prone to fracture
|The addition of fluoride to the public water supply violates the individual's right to informed consent to medical or human treatment
||Fluoride is known to have toxic properties at low doses
|Children in fluoridated countries are being over-exposed to fluoride as demonstrated by the very high prevalence of dental fluorosis; according to the CDC, 41 percent of American children have some form of dental fluorosis
||The effectiveness of swallowing fluoride to reduce tooth decay has never been demonstrated by a randomized control trial
|The evidence that fluoridation or swallowing fluoride reduces tooth decay is very weak
||Fluoridation is designed to treat a disease (dental caries) but has never been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the FDA classifies fluoride as an "unapproved drug"
|Most dental authorities now agree that the predominant benefit of fluoride is topical, not systemic
||The vast majority of countries neither fluoridate their water nor their salt, but according to the World Health Organization, tooth decay in 12-year-olds is coming down as fast, if not faster, in non-fluoridated countries as it is in fluoridated countries
It's Time to Stop the Archaic Practice of Water Fluoridation
Dr. Connett notes that if you shift the IQ of an entire population downward by just five IQ points, you would halve the number of geniuses in society, and you would double the number of mentally handicapped. To lose half of your brightest individuals, and double the number of people who needs special services certainly has enormous social and economic ramifications for a country like the US in the global economy. You can watch a 58-minute edited version of a recent presentation by Dr. Connett in Seattle below.
The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation, both in the US and Canada. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs, and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, support the anti-fluoride movement by making a donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.