To the Editor:
In reports about your new statewide mandatory fluoridation law, many California newspapers cited Grand Rapids, Michigan as an example of fluoridation's success. In 1945 Grand Rapids was the first US city to have fluoride intentionally added to its water supply in attempt to reduce tooth decay in small children.
Many of us in Grand Rapids, who are aware our water is fluoridated, won't drink it. We also see a good deal of dental fluorosis and certainly have not seen the disappearance of tooth decay. We cannot help but wonder if the noticeable incidence of hypothyroidism, hip fractures and other health problems in our area, could be related to the 50 years of fluoridation. NOT "50 Years of Health" but "50 Years as Unmonitored Guinea Pigs With Unwanted Side-effects."
The scientific data proving the risks of fluoridation is not widely publicized so we understand that many Californians remain uninformed about it.
While the US Environmental Protection Agency management dispenses information to the public, EPA scientists themselves, have strongly disagreed with agency management regarding the SAFETY and EFFECTIVENESS of fluoridation. The members of the National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 2050, representing 1100 EPA professionals tried in vain to get their message of the safety risks of fluoridation to the public, even calling for a nationwide end to fluoridation until science could PROVE there were no harmful effects.
Also not well publicized: three major US court cases each proved that under oath and cross-examination, fluoridation promoters could NOT win on the issue of the safety of fluoridation. We have access to these court transcripts.
When a dentist or physician writes a prescription for fluoride, they are required to base the dose on age, weight and total fluoride intake as well as assessing the patient's risk group. Common sense tells us it is impossible to add a prescription drug to public drinking water and expect everyone from the fetus to the elderly to consume an exact dose.
Fluoride is contaminating our beverages and food at an ever-increasing rate; and fluoride ACCUMULATES in the body. Who is monitoring our TOTAL FLUORIDE INTAKE and ACCUMULATION ??
According to Dr. Robert Foulkes, MD, only .04% of our tax dollars spent on fluoridation actually reaches the "targeted" group, children under 12 years old.
We believe every citizen should have the freedom to choose a more scientific method of administration of this drug, or to choose to forego the fluoride risk altogether.
Detractors and supporters of fluoridation do not share equal standing on this issue. The promotion and publicity scale is tipped wildly in favor of the promoters by means of their enormous financial backing and connections, but we who volunteer our own time, energy and money, believe eventually truth and common sense will prevail and we will regain the simple freedom of safe, unmedicated water.
Philip A. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Grand Rapids Citizens Opposed to Fluoridation
March 7, 1996
Dan, Your web page is very well put together, but I was extremely disappointed that you did not tell, or attempt to tell, both sides of the story (even though there was a link titled "Both Sides"). I believe if a pseudo-scientific page is posted to in any way influence members of the general public, then the least they deserve is an accurate representation of the facts. You passionately argue against the deceptive tactics of pro-fluoridationists, yet this is the method that you chose. Beware hypocrisy !
Dr. Matthew Hopcraft BDSc(Melb)
Dear Dr. Hopcraft,
It is no secret that I feel that the anti-flouridation side needs to be heard. If I have been inaccurate, I would like to know the details. I have not intended to be deceptive in any way. I would like to hear more from you. I am not so enamored of my opinions as to not listen to others.
January 30, 1996
To the Editor:
I'm a dentist and for 6 years I have not used fluoride. I really appreciate your work on fluoride. I just want to say you did a great job.
Benoit Tanguay, DMD
2200 de Lino
Canada G1T 1L6
September 5, 1995
CROHN'S DISEASE: INTESTINAL SILICOSIS?
To the Editor:
A theory that Crohn's disease may be caused by swallowing toothpaste, first proposed about forty years ago, continues to surface from time to time. We became aware of this hypothesis when a doctor on a health news segment on television mentioned it. We learned later that he was referring to an article which had appeared in Lancet.
The reasoning behind the thesis is that abrasive substances found in tooth pastes or powders, particularly silica, have produced enteric lesions in rats and dogs given these crystalline products in food or by injection. These experiments had been done because the strikingly increased thickness of the affected bowel wall and adjacent mesentery and lymph nodes suggested lymphatic blockage. Similar blockage was known to occur in the lymph nodes in the lungs of silicosis sufferers. It was known, also, that the lesions or granulomas in the intestinal tracts of Crohn's patients are the same as those in silicosis-afflicted lungs.
But--swallowing toothpaste? Children, especially, do ingest it, and perhaps everyone does, to a certain extent, in small quantities. However, what researchers seem not to know is there's a much larger source of silica, much more widespread.
It's in the water. Some occurs naturally from streams passing over rock, some is added purposefully to reduce corrosivity. But the largest amount comes from fluosilicates used in modern water fluoridation programs. This is the most dangerous source, for the fluoride part reacts with gastric secretions to form hydrofluoric acid, the only acid able to dissolve silica.
The combination of hydrofluoric acid and silica produces silicic acid, highly destructive to tissues and known to be the kind which causes the lesions in the lungs when silicon dust is inhaled. Sixty-two per cent of the population of the United States drinks fluoridated water, most of it containing either hydrofluosilicic acid or sodium silicofluoride. They eat foods and consume beverages prepared or processed with the water. These would contain more concentrated amounts of the substance. The rest of us get it from foods and beverages processed in fluoridated regions and exported to other places, even to other countries. In addition, thirty-five nations in total have fluoridated their water supplies. To some extent, at least.
Silica has a trait that makes it hazardous if it stays in the system over time. Protein binds to it, making abnormal lesions and growths. This, in turn, can cause the immune system to react. It was known in 1963 that antibodies were being created against unidentified antigens in regional enteritis. Scientists today have found that antibodies are produced when silicone breast implants leak. (Silicone, like silica, is a compound of silicon.) It has also been found that children with silicone tubes implanted in their ears to drain fluids have developed antibodies against silicone in some cases.
Crohn's disease was relatively obscure--not recognized as a separate disease entity from other inflammatory bowel problems--before the 1930's. Water systems weren't being fluoridated then--not officially. But hydrofluosilicic acid, a by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry, was routinely dumped into the water before it became illegal to do so. Phosphate fertilizer was actually first made in 1868 but it didn't come into wide usage until after World War I. That could account for the noted rise of this intestinal disease in the 1930's. After water fluoridation became an accepted public health measure, hydrofluosilicic acid was often the fluoride product of choice because it was already in solution, cheaper and easier to use than sodium fluoride. Apparently, no one thought of the possibility that the silica content could prove to be a health risk, made so by the fluoride connection.
The pinpointing of the major source of silica should lead to a more scientific basis for the view that it's implicated in Crohn's disease. Knowing that it's not toothpaste could provide a more productive explanation of the cause, prevention, and possible cure of this distressing condition.
So why doesn't everyone have it, with silica being so prevalent? It may be genetic. The National Crohn's and Colitis Foundation has announced that researchers have pinpointed Chromosome 6 as the "home" of gene markers for Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. Dr. Jerome Rotter, a geneticist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the leader of the team, says that about 3 billion pairs of genes are duplicated in every cell in the human body. To find unique genetic variations is "like looking at the Earth from a satellite and trying to zero in on a particular house. We've found the neighborhood...Now we're conducting a block-to-block search to find the specific markers."
We suggest that finding them won't lead to anything useful if scientists continue to ignore the substance to which Crohn's victims may be genetically indisposed. A good many genetic diseases need such "triggers" and without them wouldn't be led to serious consequences. For Wilson's disease, for example, it's copper; for PKU disease it's inability to handle certain proteins in the first year of life (but avoiding them prevents disastrous results); for Alzheimer's--though it hasn't been admitted yet!--it's likely to be aluminum, particularly in the form of aluminum fluoride. The point is, preventing contact with the offending substance is more important, in terms of a cure, than finding a particular "house" in a particular "neighborhood" as researchers spend their time doing.
Challenge to Debate
If you believe fluoridation is safe, PROVE IT! Right here. You and me buddy. A debate. Anyone is welcome to try. How exactly do you want the proof? I don't think it is possible to prove beyond doubt that any substance is completely safe.
Anybody can give a list of articles and books where somebody SAID fluoride is safe and effective. But what about the content of those articles?
Frances Frech, firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: Is Fluoride Effective?
Source: JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH DENTISTRY Vol. 53, No. 1, Winter 1993
Now here's what it SAYS:
"...84 percent of 17-year-olds have had tooth decay with an average of 11 affected surfaces..." "...black, low-income, and Native American children, respectively, have 65 percent, 91 percent, and 265 percent more untreated tooth decay than their peers..."
Note: ALL (not some, not most, ALL) Native American reservations are fluoridated by order of the US Public Health Service.
Answer: Fluoride, then, whether safe or not, is clearly NOT very effective IF at all.