April 18, 1995
I am Dr. Richard Foulkes. I am an M.D., a health care administrator and former assistant professor in the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology at the University of British Columbia, Canada. I ws, also, in the 1970's, a special consultant to the Minister of Health of British Columbia and commissioned by the Government to study the health care system of that province.
During that time, I experienced what I know the committee is now going through. I, too, was approached by senior appointed members of the public health, dental and medical establishment. They promoted the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation as enthusiastically as any pharmaceutical company representative. They presented studies and endorsements from major organizations from the World Health Organization down to the federal and regional level.
I know now that I was presented with what has been called "the tainted truth." (1) The studies that were presented to me were selected and showed only positive results. Studies that were in existence at that time that did not fit the concept that they were "selling," were either omitted or declared to be "bad science." The endorsements had been won by coercion and the self interest of professional elites. Some of the basic "facts" presented to me were, I found out later, of dubious validity.
We are brought up to respect these persons in whom we have placed our trust to safeguard the public interest. It is difficult for each of us to accept that these may be misplaced.
I would like to call to your attention an important precedent: the history, in the U.S., of leaded gasoline.
In the 1920's it was known that tetraethyl lead, invented to speed up progress in the automotive industry, ws a danger to the environment and to human health. Public health officials were pressured to sanction this product and minimize its dangers. It was called a "gift of God." (2) An editorial appeared, in 1925, in the Journal of the American Public Health Association that gave the impression to Journal readers that public health professionals had determined that leaded gasoline posed no threat to the public's health.
Even the Office of the Surgeon General, occupied at the time by H.S. Cumming, was called into question. The Surgeon General was warned from the beginning, in 1922. But, aside from striking a conference in 1925 and a "blue ribbon committee" to examine the product, he appeared to hold with a prevalent view of public health workers that there should be overwhelming evidence that leaded gasoline actually harmed people before it ws banned. The same view is currently held regarding fluoride.
Public health scientists in the case of tetraethyl lead took the decision to conduct short term studies that could not possibly resolve the long term health issues.
We know today that the symptoms of lead accumulation due to exhaust emissions are unlike anything previously encountered. In the long run, those most affected are children.
It is true that no one in authority said that lead from leaded gasoline would prevent tooth decay or any other disease; they said only that it was safe. We know that this was known to be untrue.
Fluoride is more toxic than lead! Since artificial fluoridation of water supplies began in 1945, total fluoride ingestion in North America has increased over five time what it was in the 1950's. (3) The amount of fluoride in food and beverages has increased in non-fluoridated as well as fluoridated areas owing to the importation of food and beverages prepared in fluoridated areas. Children and adults hve been slowly accumulating fluoride, a non-essential element (NAS 1989) and known poison, for fifty years due to its being deliberately added to drinking water with the active promotion of our public health authorities.
Let's take a closer look. Tooth decay is not a public health problem. Studies show that tooth decay has declined in every country in the developed world and this has nothing to do with fluoridation or fluoride tooth paste (4),(5),(6). The largest study in this country (the NIDR 1986-1987 survey of U.S. school children (7)) showed no significant difference in dental caries in those living in fluoridated as opposed to those living in non-fluoridated communities. Other large scale studies (Japan (8), India (9), Tucson, AZ (10) show that areas with higher concentrations of fluoride in their drinking water have a higher caries prevalence.
Dental fluorosis, a visible sign of fluoride poisoning and characterized by defective mineralization of tooth enamel (11) has increased markedly. It is now, on the basis of the means of a number of studies in North America, 40.5% in fluoridated and 20.4% in non-fluoridated communities (12), not 10% and 6% as claimed by the USPHS (7).
Our own review (13) and two official government reviews in Canada (one, in B.C. (14), the other, Canada's federal government (15) have shown that concentrations of fluoride in excess of 0.2-0.3 ppm in fresh water and 0.5 ppm in the marine (sea) environment, are toxic to aquatic life of all kinds, including fish such as salmon. These amounts are exceeded by the concentrations from surface water in communities fluoridated at 1 ppm and from sewer effluent that is as high as 1.38 ppm, even after treatment. It is no use claiming that "dilution is the solution to pollution" as it has been shown that these raised levels may persist for persist for miles and that fluoride discharges into sediment persists for 1-2 million years and kills organisms living in the sediment and on the bottom.
Furthermore, a joint U.S.-Ukraine study has shown recently that among 17 toxic elements (including cadmium, lead, mercury and aluminum) tested for their effect on abnormal plant development, fluoride was the most toxic (16).
Finally, reassurances of safety from the public health authorities ring hollow when it is recognized that statistically significant relationships have been shown between residence in a fluoridated area and congenital defects (especially Down's syndrome (17); cancer of all types (18) and, especially, osteogenic sarcoma, a rare bone cancer in young males (19), (20), fractures of the hip (now five out of six studies reported in the literature) (21), (22), (23), (24), (25), (26). There is undisputed evidence from endemic fluorosis areas such as China of: crippling skeletal fluorosis; paralysis; increased prevalence of heart disease, thyroid disease, senile cataracts; and decreased I.Q. (27).
It took sixty years to begin to get the lead out of gasoline. The damage is only now being faced as a major public health problem.
For the past fifty years, fluoride has been added to our drinking water, food and beverages and more fluoride is being added to our bodies by dentrices. Again, as is the case with lead, those most affected are children.
All of this has occurred with the support, not the condemnation, of the public health establishment!
We have created, artificially, over the past fifty years, a condition of endemic fluorosis involving 134 million Americans. This, not tooth decay, is the major public health problem of 1995!
We have, also, created a major environmental problem by dumping an estimated 39,000 tons of toxic fluoride into U.S. water systems every year!
Now is the time to ban fluoridation; not make it "mandatory."