Summary of Statement to


The Kansas State Senate - February 28, 1996

Concerning Proposed Legislation to Mandate Further Fluoridation

by Albert W. Burgstahler, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045

Motivation. I offer this testimony out of concern that any legislation to improve public health should be based on reliable scientific evidence. My knowledge about water fluoridation is derived from my independent research and study of the scientific literature and reports on the biological effects of fluorides and fluoridation that I began over 30 years ago. Although I do not formally represent any particular group, organization, or institution, I am aware that my views are shared by many other scientists and by a large number of well-informed individuals not only in Kansas but throughout the world. Biographical information about me is contained the accompanying material. I have lived in Kansas since late August 1956.

Fluoridation and Tooth Decay. Although small-scale studies of preselected communities often purport to show significantly less tooth decay among children in fluoridated than in nonfluoridated areas, this is not always true. Since the 1970s dental surveys of various randomly selected communities and of large whole populations, including those conducted by public health agencies, have revealed little or no evidence of significantly less tooth decay in fluoridated areas compared to non-fluoridated areas. Reports of several of these surveys are appended.

Toxic Effects on Teeth. Originally it was anticipated that the recommended increase of water fluoride to 1 part per million of water would produce at most only about 10 percent of barely detectable dental fluorosis. In fact, current data indicate that the incidence of dental fluorosis is often 30 percent or higher and that clearly visible, unsightly dental fluorosis is occurring in individuals born and raised in fluoridated communities to a much greater extent than in those born and raised in low-fluoride communities (see accompanying pictures).

Other Toxic Effects. Besides dental fluorosis, other forms of fluoride intoxication linked directly to the ingestion of fluoride in drinking water in the 1-ppm range have been reported since 1955. Recently such findings have been confirmed by clinical research at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. The symptoms include muscular weakness, joint pain and stiffness, extreme fatigue, and gastric distress, all of which were reversed and largely eliminated after a few weeks without medication when the patients were simply placed on low-fluoride water for all drinking and cooking.

Another recent finding, now verified by a carefully controlled, large-scale study in France at even lower levels of fluoride, discloses increased hip fracture rates among the elderly who use and drink 1-ppm fluoridated water compared to those who do not.

Still other surveys reveal significantly higher rates of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer) in young males in fluoridated communities, in agreement with recent laboratory findings as well as the earlier unexpected increase in bone abnormalities among boys in the 1945 fluoridation pilot study in Newburgh, New York.

In agreement with (1995) neurotoxicological studies in rats, Chinese scientists have found lower IQ levels in children from long-term exposure to fluoride in water, especially if they exhibit dental fluorosis.

Conclusion. In view of the extensive evidence contradicting contrary claims based to a considerable degree on flawed research, mandatory addition of industrial waste fluoride (from the phosphate fertilizer industry) to public water supplies clearly requires careful scrutiny and at present can hardly be seen as justified or desirable.