Review of Clark University Forum

Dan Montgomery
March 20, 1997

The information for this article comes from a video tape of a forum held at Clark University in 1996. Copies are available from Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, 2425 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101, (800) 728-3833 .

In 1983, Dr. Mullenix was invited to develop a screening program for neurotoxicity of dental products at Forsyth Institute. This was the first Department of Toxicology in a dental research institution anywhere in the world. She was head of the Department of Toxicology at Forsyth for 11 years. She managed the development of a computer program for screening neurotoxicity objectively. This method took the human intervention out of it. The first project using the computer program was a test of the neurotoxicity of fluoride. After the results were published in 1995, the senior staff at Forsyth were concerned that they would lose research grants. She lost her position at Forsyth because she insisted on publishing the results of her neurotoxicity studies.

At Forsyth, Dr. Mullenix met Dr. Harold C. Hodge. He was Chief Pharmacologist for the Manhattan Project in the 1940's. Fluoride is used for purifying uranium which is used in atomic energy. Newly declassified documents reveal that the U.S. Government concealed evidence that fluoride was neurotoxic. An exchange of memos between Dr. Hodge and his supervisor, Col. Stafford L. Warren, U.S. Engineer Office, Oak Ridge, TN, shows that Dr. Hodge knew fluoride was neurotoxic many years ago, but failed to inform the scientific community.

In a secret memo to Col. Warren, April 25, 1944, Dr. Hodge stated that the fluoride in uranium hexafluoride was probably the causative factor for mental confusion, drowsiness and lassitude. On April 29, 1944, Dr. Hodge requested a research budget for investigating the neurotoxicity of fluoride. On September 11, 1944, Col. Warren ordered that the fluoride neurotoxicity research on rats be stopped.

In 1946, there was an accident at a Dupont plant in Wilmington, Delaware. There was no question that hydrogen fluoride from the plant had contaminated the area. Crops from the area had to be embargoed. Hydrogen fluoride etched windows on a nearby school building. On May 1, 1946, in a memo to Col. Warren, Dr. Hodge asked, "Would there be any use at making attempts to counter-act the local fear of fluoride on the part of residents of Salem and Gloucester counties through lectures on F [fluoride] toxicology and perhaps the usefulness of F [fluoride] in tooth health.?"

In a 1949 publication, Dr. Hodge stated that uranium workers who had an accidental exposure to uranium hexafluoride had symptoms of an overstimulated central nervous system. They became verbose and apprehensive. Their behavior showed a general sluggishness, nervous tension, silliness and loss of contact. In 1965, Dr. Hodge wrote a new book in which he mentions the effects of fluoride on teeth and bones, but omits any reference to neurotoxic effects of fluoride.

Facts about the neurotoxicity of fluoride have been slow in coming to light. While various people, such as Dr. Hodge, may have intentionally obfuscated the evidence, there is also a lack of information that no one person is responsible for. Dr. Mullenix attributes the popularity of fluoride among dentists to their lack of training in toxicology: ". . . in their books. . . they're not going to see any of these studies about the neurotoxicology [of fluoride]. I would say most of them have no clue that it is even used to purify uranium. I didn't realize the toxicology training was that lax in the dental profession."

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