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50 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation 50
Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation Published on January 10, 2011 by
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*Paul Connett, PhD/St. Lawrence

*1)* Fluoride is not an essential nutrient (NRC 1993 and IOM 1997). No
disease has ever been linked to a fluoride deficiency. Humans can have
perfectly good teeth without fluoride.

*2)* Fluoridation is not necessary. Most Western European countries are not
fluoridated and have experienced the same decline in dental decay as the US
(See data from World Health Organization in Appendix
and the time trends presented graphically at<>).
The reasons given by countries for not fluoridating are presented in
2 <>.)

*3)* Fluoridation’s role in the decline of tooth decay is in serious doubt.
The largest survey ever conducted in the US (over 39,000 children from 84
communities) by the National Institute of Dental Research showed little
difference in tooth decay among children in fluoridated and non-fluoridated
communities (Hileman 1989 <>).
According to NIDR researchers, the study found an average difference of only
0.6 DMFS (Decayed Missing and Filled Surfaces) in the permanent teeth of
children aged 5-17 residing in either fluoridated or unfluoridated areas
(Brunelle and Carlos, 1990). This difference is less than one tooth surface!
There are 128 tooth surfaces in a child’s mouth. This result was not shown
to be statistically significant. In a review commissioned by the Ontario
government, Dr. David Locker concluded:

*“The magnitude of [fluoridation's] effect is not large in absolute terms,
is often not statistically significant and may not be of clinical
significance” (Locker 1999).*

*4) *Where fluoridation has been
discontinued<>in communities
from Canada, the former East Germany, Cuba and Finland,
dental decay has not increased but has actually decreased (Maupome 2001;
Kunzel and Fischer,1997,2000; Kunzel 2000 and Seppa 2000).

*5) *There have been numerous recent reports of dental crises in US cities
(e.g. Boston, Cincinnati, New York City) which have been fluoridated for
over 20 years. There appears to be a far greater (inverse) relationship
between tooth decay and income level than with water fluoride levels.

*6) *Modern research (e.g. Diesendorf
; Colquhoun 1997 <>, and
De Liefde, 1998) shows that decay rates were coming down before fluoridation
was introduced and have continued to decline even after its benefits would
have been maximized. Many other factors influence tooth decay. Some recent
studies have found that tooth decay actually increases as the fluoride
concentration in the water increases (Olsson 1979; Retief 1979; Mann 1987,
1990; Steelink 1992; Teotia 1994; Grobleri 2001; Awadia 2002 and Ekanayake

*7)* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 1999, 2001) has now
acknowledged the findings of many leading dental researchers, that the
mechanism of fluoride’s benefits are mainly TOPICAL not
Thus, you don’t have to swallow fluoride to protect teeth. As the benefits
of fluoride (if any exist) are topical, and the risks are systemic, it makes
more sense, for those who want to take the risks, to deliver the fluoride
directly to the tooth in the form of toothpaste. Since swallowing fluoride
is unnecessary, there is no reason to force people (against their will) to
drink fluoride in their water supply. This position was recently shared by
Dr. Douglas Carnall, the associate editor of the British Medical Journal.
His editorial appears in Appendix

* [image: 8)] * Despite being prescribed by doctors for over 50 years, the
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never approved any fluoride
product designed for ingestion as safe or effective. Fluoride supplements
are designed to deliver the same amount of fluoride as ingested daily from
fluoridated water (Kelly 2000 <>).

*9)* The US fluoridation program has massively failed to achieve one of its
key objectives, i.e. to lower dental decay rates while holding down dental
fluorosis <> (mottled and
discolored enamel), a condition known to be caused by fluoride. The goal of
the early promoters of fluoridation was to limit dental fluorosis (in its
mildest form) to 10% of children (NRC 1993, pp. 6-7). A major US survey has
found 30% of children in optimally fluoridated areas had dental fluorosis on
at least two teeth (Heller 1997), while smaller studies have found up to 80%
of children impacted (Williams 1990; Lalumandier 1995 and Morgan 1998). The
York Review estimates that up to 48% of children in optimally fluoridated
areas worldwide have dental fluorosis in all forms and 12.5% with symptoms
of aesthetic concern (McDonagh, 2000).

*10)* Dental fluorosis means that a child has been overdosed on fluoride.
While the mechanism by which the enamel is damaged is not definitively
known, it appears fluorosis may be a result of either inhibited enzymes in
the growing teeth (Dan Besten 1999), or through fluoride’s interference with
G-protein signaling mechanisms (Matsuo 1996). In a study in Mexico,
Alarcon-Herrera (2001) has shown a linear correlation between the severity
of dental fluorosis and the frequency of bone fractures in children.

*11)* The level of fluoride put into water (1 ppm) is up to 200 times higher
than normally found in mothers’ milk (0.005 – 0.01 ppm) (Ekstrand 1981;
Institute of Medicine 1997). There are no benefits, only risks, for infants
ingesting this heightened level of fluoride at such an early age (this is an
age where susceptibility to environmental toxins is particularly high).

*12)* Fluoride is a cumulative poison. On average, only 50% of the fluoride
we ingest each day is excreted through the kidneys. The remainder
accumulates in our bones, pineal gland, and other tissues. If the kidney is
damaged, fluoride accumulation will increase, and with it, the likelihood of

*13)* Fluoride is very biologically active even at low concentrations. It
interferes with hydrogen bonding (Emsley 1981) and inhibits numerous enzymes
(Waldbott 1978).

*14) *When complexed with aluminum, fluoride interferes with G-proteins
(Bigay 1985, 1987). Such interactions give aluminum-fluoride complexes the
potential to interfere with many hormonal and some neurochemical signals
(Strunecka & Patocka 1999, Li 2003).

*15)* Fluoride has been shown to be mutagenic, cause chromosome damage and
interfere with the enzymes involved with DNA repair in a variety of cell and
tissue studies (Tsutsui 1984; Caspary 1987; Kishi 1993 and Mihashi 1996).
Recent studies have also found a correlation between fluoride exposure and
chromosome damage in humans (Sheth 1994; Wu 1995; Meng 1997 and Joseph

*16)* Fluoride forms complexes with a large number of metal ions, which
include metals which are needed in the body (like calcium and magnesium) and
metals (like lead and aluminum) which are toxic to the body. This can cause
a variety of problems. For example, fluoride interferes with enzymes where
magnesium is an important co-factor, and it can help facilitate the uptake
of aluminum and lead into tissues where these metals wouldn’t otherwise go
(Mahaffey 1976; Allain 1996; Varner 1998).

*17) *Rats fed for one year with 1 ppm fluoride in their water, using either
sodium fluoride or aluminum fluoride, had morphological changes to their
kidneys and brains, an increased uptake of aluminum in the brain, and the
formation of beta amyloid deposits which are characteristic of Alzheimers
disease (Varner 1998).

*18) *Aluminum fluoride was recently nominated by the Environmental
Protection Agency and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
for testing by the National Toxicology Program. According to EPA and NIEHS,
aluminum fluoride currently has a “high health research priority” due to its
“known neurotoxicity” (BNA, 2000). If fluoride is added to water which
contains aluminum, than aluminum fluoride complexes will form.

*19) *Animal experiments show that fluoride accumulates in the brain and
exposure alters mental behavior in a manner consistent with a neurotoxic
agent (Mullenix 1995 <>).
Rats dosed prenatally demonstrated hyperactive behavior. Those dosed
postnatally demonstrated hypoactivity (i.e. under activity or “couch potato”
syndrome). More recent animal experiments have reported that fluoride can
damage the brain <> (Wang
1997; Guan 1998; Varner 1998; Zhao 1998; Zhang 1999; Lu 2000; Shao 2000; Sun
2000; Bhatnagar 2002; Chen 2002, 2003; Long 2002; Shivarajashankara 2002a,
b; Shashi 2003 and Zhai 2003) and impact learning and behavior (Paul 1998;
Zhang 1999, 2001; Sun 2000; Ekambaram 2001; Bhatnagar 2002).

*20) *Five studies from China show a lowering of IQ in children associated
with fluoride exposure (Lin Fa-Fu 1991; Li 1995; Zhao 1996; Lu 2000; and
Xiang 2003a, b). One of these studies (Lin Fa-Fu 1991) indicates that even
just moderate levels of fluoride exposure (e.g. 0.9 ppm in the water) can
exacerbate the neurological defects of iodine deficiency.

*21)* Studies by Jennifer Luke (2001) showed that fluoride accumulates in
the human pineal gland <> to very
high levels. In her Ph.D. thesis Luke has also shown in animal studies that
fluoride reduces melatonin production and leads to an earlier onset of
puberty (Luke 1997).

*22)* In the first half of the 20th century, fluoride was prescribed by a
number of European doctors to reduce the activity of the thyroid gland for
those suffering from hyperthyroidism (over active thyroid) (Stecher 1960;
Waldbott 1978). With water fluoridation, we are forcing people to drink a
thyroid-depressing medication which could, in turn, serve to promote higher
levels of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) in the population, and all
the subsequent problems related to this disorder. Such problems include
depression, fatigue, weight gain, muscle and joint pains, increased
cholesterol levels, and heart disease.

It bears noting that according to the Department of Health and Human
Services (1991) fluoride exposure in fluoridated communities is estimated to
range from 1.6 to 6.6 mg/day, which is a range that actually overlaps the
dose (2.3 – 4.5 mg/day) shown to decrease the functioning of the human
thyroid (Galletti & Joyet 1958 <>).
This is a remarkable fact, particularly considering the rampant and
increasing problem of hypothyroidism in the United States (in 1999, the
second most prescribed drug of the year was
which is a hormone replacement drug used to treat an underactive thyroid).
In Russia, Bachinskii (1985) found a lowering of thyroid function, among
otherwise healthy people, at 2.3 ppm fluoride in water.

*23)* Some of the early symptoms of skeletal
a fluoride-induced bone and joint disease that impacts millions of people in
India, China, and Africa , mimic the symptoms of arthritis (Singh 1963;
Franke 1975; Teotia 1976; Carnow 1981; Czerwinski 1988; DHHS 1991).
According to a review on fluoridation by Chemical & Engineering News,
“Because some of the clinical symptoms mimic arthritis, the first two
clinical phases of skeletal fluorosis could be easily misdiagnosed” (Hileman
1988 <>). Few if any studies
have been done to determine the extent of this misdiagnosis, and whether the
high prevalence of arthritis in America (1 in 3 Americans have some form of
arthritis – CDC, 2002) is related to our growing fluoride exposure, which is
highly plausible. The causes of most forms of arthritis (e.g.
osteoarthritis) are unknown.

*24)* In some studies, when high doses of fluoride (average 26 mg per day)
were used in trials to treat patients with osteoporosis in an effort to
harden their bones and reduce fracture rates, it actually led to a HIGHER
number of fractures, particularly hip fractures (Inkovaara 1975; Gerster
1983; Dambacher 1986; O’Duffy 1986; Hedlund 1989; Bayley 1990; Gutteridge
1990. 2002; Orcel 1990; Riggs 1990 and Schnitzler 1990). The cumulative
doses used in these trials are exceeded by the lifetime cumulative doses
being experienced by many people living in fluoridated communities.

*25) *Nineteen studies (three unpublished, including one abstract) since
1990 have examined the possible relationship of fluoride in water and hip
fracture among the elderly. Eleven of these studies found an association,
eight did not. One study found a dose-related increase in hip fracture as
the concentration of fluoride rose from 1 ppm to 8 ppm (Li 2001). Hip
fracture is a very serious issue for the elderly, as a quarter of those who
have a hip fracture die within a year of the operation, while 50 percent
never regain an independent existence (All 19 of these studies are
referenced as a group in the reference section).

*26) *The only government-sanctioned animal study to investigate if fluoride
causes cancer, found a dose-dependent increase in cancer in the target organ
(bone) of the fluoride-treated (male) rats (NTP 1990). The initial review of
this study also reported an increase in liver and oral cancers, however, all
non-bone cancers were later downgraded – with a questionable rationale – by
a government-review panel (Marcus
In light of the importance of this study, EPA Professional Headquarters
Union has requested that Congress establish an independent review to examine
the study’s results (Hirzy 2000 <>

*27) *A review of national cancer data in the US by the National Cancer
Institute (NCI) revealed a significantly higher rate of bone cancer in young
men in fluoridated versus unfluoridated areas (Hoover 1991). While the NCI
concluded that fluoridation was not the cause, no explanation was provided
to explain the higher rates in the fluoridated areas. A smaller study from
New Jersey (Cohn 1992) found bone cancer rates to be up to 6 times higher in
young men living in fluoridated versus unfluoridated areas. Other
epidemiological studies have failed to find this relationship (Mahoney 1991;
Freni 1992).

*28)* Fluoride administered to animals at high doses wreaks havoc on the
male reproductive system – it damages sperm and increases the rate of
infertility in a number of different species (Kour 1980; Chinoy 1989; Chinoy
1991; Susheela 1991; Chinoy 1994; Kumar 1994; Narayana 1994a, b; Zhao 1995;
Elbetieha 2000; Ghosh 2002 and Zakrzewska 2002). While studies conducted at
the FDA have failed to find reproductive effects in rats (Sprando 1996,
1997, 1998), an epidemiological study from the US has found increased rates
of infertility among couples living in areas with 3 or more ppm fluoride in
the water (Freni 1994), and 2 studies have found a reduced level of
circulating testosterone in males living in high fluoride areas (Susheela
1996 and Barot 1998).

*29)* The fluoridation program has been very poorly monitored. There has
never been a comprehensive analysis of the fluoride levels in the bones,
blood, or urine of the American people or the citizens of other fluoridated
countries. Based on the sparse data that has become available, however, it
is increasingly evident that some people in the population – particularly
people with kidney disease – are accumulating fluoride levels that have been
associated with harm to both animals and humans, particularly harm to bone
(see Connett 2004).

*30)* Once fluoride is put in the water it is impossible to control the dose
each individual receives. This is because 1) some people (e.g. manual
laborers, athletes, diabetics, and people with kidney disease) drink more
water than others, and 2) we receive fluoride from sources other than the
water supply. Other sources of fluoride include food and beverages processed
with fluoridated water (Kiritsy 1996 and Heilman 1999), fluoridated dental
products (Bentley 1999 and Levy 1999), mechanically deboned meat (Fein
2001), teas (Levy 1999), and pesticide residues on food (Stannard 1991 and
Burgstahler 1997).

*31)* Fluoridation is unethical because individuals are not being asked for
their informed consent prior to medication. This is standard practice for
all medication, and one of the key reasons why most of western Europe has
ruled against fluoridation (see appendix

As one doctor aptly stated, “No physician in his right senses would
prescribe for a person he has never met, whose medical history he does not
know, a substance which is intended to create bodily change, with the
advice: ‘Take as much as you like, but you will take it for the rest of your
life because some children suffer from tooth decay.’ It is a preposterous

*32) *While referenda are preferential to imposed policies from central
government, it still leaves the problem of individual rights versus majority
rule. Put another way — does a voter have the right to require that their
neighbor ingest a certain medication (even if it’s against that neighbor’s

*33)* Some individuals appear to be highly sensitive to fluoride as shown by
case studies and double blind studies (Shea 1967, Waldbott 1978 and
Moolenburg 1987). In one study, which lasted 13 years, Feltman and Kosel
(1961) showed that about 1% of patients given 1 mg of fluoride each day
developed negative reactions. Can we as a society force these people to
ingest fluoride?

*34)* According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
(ATSDR 1993), and other researchers (Juncos & Donadio 1972; Marier & Rose
1977 and Johnson 1979), certain subsets of the population may be
particularly vulnerable to fluoride’s toxic effects; these include: the
elderly, diabetics and people with poor kidney function. Again, can we in
good conscience force these people to ingest fluoride on a daily basis for
their entire lives?

*35)* Also vulnerable are those who suffer from malnutrition (e.g. calcium,
magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin D and iodide deficiencies and protein poor
diets) (Massler & Schour 1952; Marier & Rose 1977; Lin Fa-Fu 1991; Chen
1997; Teotia 1998). Those most likely to suffer from poor nutrition are the
poor, who are precisely the people being targeted by new fluoridation
programs. While being at heightened risk, poor families are less able to
afford avoidance measures (e.g. bottled water or removal equipment).

*36)* Since dental decay is most concentrated in poor communities, we should
be spending our efforts trying to increase the access to dental care for
poor families. The real “Oral Health Crisis” that exists today in the United
States, is not a lack of fluoride but poverty and lack of dental insurance.
The Surgeon General has estimated that 80% of dentists in the US do not
treat children on Medicaid.

*37)* Fluoridation has been found to be ineffective at preventing one of the
most serious oral health problems facing poor children, namely, baby bottle
tooth decay, otherwise known as early childhood caries (Barnes 1992 and
Shiboski 2003).

*38) *The early studies conducted in 1945 -1955 in the US, which helped to
launch fluoridation, have been heavily criticized for their poor methodology
and poor choice of control communities (De Stefano 1954; Sutton 1959, 1960
and 1996; Ziegelbecker 1970). According to Dr. Hubert Arnold, a statistician
from the University of California at Davis, the early fluoridation trials
“are especially rich in fallacies, improper design, invalid use of
statistical methods, omissions of contrary data, and just plain
muddleheadedness and hebetude.” In 2000, the British Government’s “York
Review” could give no fluoridation trial a grade A classification – despite
50 years of research (McDonagh 2000, see Appendix

*39)* The US Public Health Service first endorsed fluoridation in 1950,
before one single trial had been completed (McClure 1970)!

*40)* Since 1950, it has been found that fluorides do little to prevent pit
and fissure tooth decay, a fact that even the dental community has
acknowledged (Seholle 1984; Gray 1987; PHS 1993; and Pinkham 1999). This is
significant because pit and fissure tooth decay represents up to 85% of the
tooth decay experienced by children today (Seholle 1984 and Gray 1987).

*41)* Despite the fact that we are exposed to far more
fluoride<>today than we were
in 1945 (when fluoridation began), the “optimal”
fluoridation level is still 1 part per million, the same level deemed
optimal in 1945! (Marier & Rose 1977; Levy 1999; Rozier 1999 and Fomon

*42) *The chemicals used to fluoridate water in the US are not
pharmaceutical grade. Instead, they come from the wet scrubbing systems of
the superphosphate fertilizer industry. These chemicals (90% of which are
sodium fluorosilicate and fluorosilicic acid), are classified hazardous
wastes contaminated with various impurities. Recent testing by the National
Sanitation Foundation suggest that the levels of arsenic in these chemicals
are relatively high (up to 1.6 ppb after dilution into public water) and of
potential concern (NSF 2000 and Wang 2000).

*43)* These hazardous wastes have not been tested comprehensively. The
chemical usually tested in animal studies is pharmaceutical grade sodium
fluoride, not industrial grade fluorosilicic acid. The assumption being made
is that by the time this waste product has been diluted, all the
fluorosilicic acid will have been converted into free fluoride ion, and the
other toxics and radioactive isotopes will be so dilute that they will not
cause any harm, even with lifetime exposure. These assumptions have not been
examined carefully by scientists, independent of the fluoridation program.

*44)* Studies by Masters and
2000) show an association between the use of fluorosilicic acid (and
its sodium salt) to fluoridate water and an increased uptake of lead into
children’s blood. Because of lead’s acknowledged ability to damage the
child’s developing brain, this is a very serious finding yet it is being
largely ignored by fluoridating countries.

*45) *Sodium fluoride is an extremely toxic substance — just 200 mg of
fluoride ion is enough to kill a young child, and just 3-5 grams (e.g. a
teaspoon) is enough to kill an adult. Both children (swallowing
tablets/gels) and adults (accidents involving fluoridation equipment and
filters on dialysis machines) have died from excess exposure.

*46)* Some of the earliest opponents of fluoridation were biochemists and at
least 14 Nobel Prize winners are among numerous scientists who have
expressed their reservations about the practice of fluoridation (see appendix
4 <>).

*47)* The recent Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology, Dr. Arvid
Carlsson (2000), was one of the leading opponents of fluoridation in Sweden,
and part of the panel that recommended that the Swedish government reject
the practice, which they did in 1971. According to Carlsson:

*“I am quite convinced that water fluoridation, in a not-too-distant future,
will be consigned to medical history…Water fluoridation goes against leading
principles of pharmacotherapy, which is progressing from a stereotyped
medication – of the type 1 tablet 3 times a day – to a much more
individualized therapy as regards both dosage and selection of drugs. The
addition of drugs to the drinking water means exactly the opposite of an
individualized therapy” (Carlsson 1978).*

*48) *While pro-fluoridation officials continue to promote fluoridation with
undiminished fervor, they cannot defend the practice in open public debate –
even when challenged to do so by organizations such as the Association for
Science in the Public Interest, the American College of Toxicology, or the
US Environmental Protection Agency (Bryson 2004). According to Dr. Michael
Easley, a prominent lobbyist for fluoridation in the US, “Debates give the
illusion that a scientific controversy exists when no credible people
support the fluorophobics’ view” (See appendix

In light of proponents’ refusal to debate this issue, Dr. Edward Groth, a
Senior Scientist at Consumers Union, observed that “the political
profluoridation stance has evolved into a dogmatic, authoritarian,
essentially antiscientific posture, one that discourages open debate of
scientific issues” (Martin 1991).

*49)* Many scientists, doctors and dentists who have spoken out publicly on
this issue have been subjected to censorship and intimidation (Martin 1991).
Most recently, Dr. Phyllis Mullenix was fired from her position as Chair of
Toxicology at Forsythe Dental Center for publishing her findings on fluoride
and the brain; and Dr. William Marcus was fired from the EPA for questioning
the government’s handling of the NTP’s fluoride-cancer study (Bryson 2004).
Tactics like this would not be necessary if those promoting fluoridation
were on secure scientific ground.

*50)* The Union representing the scientists at US EPA headquarters in
Washington DC is now on record as opposing water fluoridation (Hirzy 1999).
According to the Union’s Senior Vice President, Dr. William Hirzy:

*“In summary, we hold that fluoridation is an unreasonable risk. That is,
the toxicity of fluoride is so great and the purported benefits associated
with it are so small – if there are any at all – that requiring every man,
woman and child in America to ingest it borders on criminal behavior on the
part of governments.”*


When it comes to controversies surrounding toxic chemicals, invested
interests traditionally do their very best to discount animal studies and
quibble with epidemiological findings. In the past, political pressures have
led government agencies to drag their feet on regulating asbestos, benzene,
DDT, PCBs, tetraethyl lead, tobacco and dioxins. With fluoridation we have
had a fifty year delay. Unfortunately, because government officials have put
so much of their credibility on the line defending fluoridation, and because
of the huge liabilities waiting in the wings if they admit that fluoridation
has caused an increase in hip fracture, arthritis, bone cancer, brain
disorders or thyroid problems, it will be very difficult for them to speak
honestly and openly about the issue. But they must, not only to protect
millions of people from unnecessary harm, but to protect the notion that, at
its core, public health policy must be based on sound science not political
expediency. They have a tool with which to do this: it’s called the
Precautionary Principle. Simply put, this says: if in doubt leave it out.
This is what most European countries have done and their children’s teeth
have not suffered, while their public’s trust has been strengthened.

It is like a question from a Kafka play. Just how much doubt is needed on
just one of the health concerns identified above, to override a benefit,
which when quantified in the largest survey ever conducted in the US,
amounts to less than one tooth surface (out of 128) in a child’s mouth?

For those who would call for further studies, I say fine. Take the fluoride
out of the water first and then conduct all the studies you want. This folly
must end without further delay.

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