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A CRITIQUE OF THE MRC REPORT, 2002.

What’s in the water? (Chapters 5.3.9 through 5.3.13)

The MRC reports:

Chapter 5.3.9: ‘Indirect effects of adding fluoride to water’. In addition to any direct impact on health resulting from increased uptake of fluoride by the body, it is possible that fluoridation of water supplies could influence health through other mechanisms. In particular it is necessary to give consideration to the possibility of:

  • toxicity from other substances added to water as part of the fluoridation process;
  • an effect of higher fluoride in water on dietary exposure to toxic metals (eg through leaching of copper from pipework and dissolution of aluminium from cooking pans); or
  • an effect of fluoride in drinking water on the uptake / bioavailability or toxicity of metals in the gut.

The importance of these theoretical hazards will depend on the inherent toxicity of the substances concerned and the impact, if any, of fluoridation on the dose of the toxins. In addition, it is possible for the presence of other substances in water and food to affect the absorption of fluoride (see also Exposure section) and therefore reduce the effectiveness of an intended caries preventive dose.”

Chapter 5.3.10: ‘Substances added during the fluoridation process’. The UK’s Water (Fluoridation) Act 1985 allows hexafluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) and disodium hexafluorosilicate (Na2SiF6) to be used to increase the fluoride content of water.

Chapter 5.3.11: ‘Dietary exposure to metals’: Enhanced leaching of metals from water pipes and cooking utensils can occur if the fluoridation process significantly alters the pH of the water. This can happen in abnormal (accidental) circumstances. For example, incidents in Westby, Wisconsin and New Haven, Connecticut USA, resulting in peak fluoride levels of 150ppm and 51ppm respectively, reduced the pH value of the water and caused copper to be leached from plumbing [http://www.fluoridealert.org/accidents.htm].

Studies on the leaching of aluminium from cooking utensils at standard fluoride concentrations in the region of 1ppm have indicated a small (5%) increase in leaching compared to non-fluoridated water (Moody et al, 1990).These studies indicate that aluminium leaching resulting from water fluoridation is not a significant cause for concern.

A number of observations:

1. The addition to water of either H2SiF6 or Na2SiF6 is covered by Section 87(4) of the Water Industry Act 1991. However, Section 88(1) also states that:

“The Secretary of State may by order amend section 87(4) above by – (a) adding a reference to another compound of fluorine;”

Essentially, this means that any fluorine-related substance can be added to water. This can include drugs (tranquilisers, etc.), nerve gases (such as Sarin - but which would likely become diluted into the chemicals constituent parts), other industrial wastes, etc. The total list of possible ‘references of fluorine’ could be quite long.

2. The silicofluorides licensed for use in the UK come straight from the smokestacks of the (mostly, if not exclusively) phosphate fertilizer industry. They are not purified and they are not ‘pharmaceutical’ grade.

Table 1 (Importer: Albatros Fertilizers Ltd, Wexford)

Percentage by weight
Hydrofluosilicic acid (H2SiF6)25% minimum
Phosphorus pentoxide800mg/kg maximum
Chloride (Cl)10% maximum
Solid Material10% maximum
Typical analysis:
Arsenic (As)200mg/kg maximum
Lead (Pb)0.1mg/kg maximum
Antimony (Sb)10mg/kg maximum
Physical properties:
Specific weight at 15 CAbout 1.250kg/m3
Physical appearance:
Colourless liquid at ambient temperature.


Table 2 (Chemical Analysis by: Cal Limited, 95 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel: Dublin+ 353 1661 3033. Fax: Dublin + 353 1661 3399)

NB. The following report has been reformatted as a spreadsheet for ease of use and each contaminant has been listed in alphabetical order:

CHEMICAL ANALYSIS CONFIDENTIAL REPORT No. W8158
Report NumberW8158
Invoice Number10858
Laboratory Number(s)23034
Your Order Number-
Number of Samples1
Sample DescriptionHydrofluorosilicic Acid
Date Reported14/08/2000
TESTRESULT
Aluminium2.1 ppm
Antimony14 ppb
Arsenic4826 ppb
Barium168 ppb
Beryllium<2 ppb
Boron14 ppb
Cadmium4 ppb
Calcium51 ppm
Chromium3763 ppb
Cobalt56 ppb
Copper90 ppb
Iron11.85 ppm
Lead15 ppb
Magnesium23.9 ppm
Manganese571 ppb
Mercury5 ppb
Molybdenum490 ppb
Nickel1742 ppb
Phosphorus26187 ppm
Potassium6.2 ppm
Selenium2401 ppb
Sodium33.6 ppm
Strontium88 ppb
Sulphur134.9 ppm
Thallium<2 ppb
Tin4 ppb
Vanadium87 ppb
Zinc523 ppb


3. On April 25, 2002, The USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) placed an appeal on the internet for assistance to establish how silicofluorides behave when added to water. The document originally appeared on the USEPA Website (opens in a new window)

The disturbing issue is that after so many decades of water fluoridation, the USEPA does not know what happens to silicofluorides when they are introduced to water. It has always been alluded by supporters of fluoridation that when silicofluorides are added to water they break down completely and form fluoride ions. But silicofluorides appear NOT to completely disassociate. In layman's terms this means you do not always get a simple fluoride ion when adding silicofluorides to water. The only research mentioned to date suggests that only about 2/3rds (4 of the 6 parts of fluorine in H2SiF6) will actually form fluoride ions (Roger Masters).

Aluminium / Lead (Chapter 5.3.12)

The MRC appear to be a little nervous about the possible effects of the interactions of fluoride with aluminium and lead. The only suggestion made is that “… this area be kept under review.” This is not sufficient. If the MRC were as interested in this area of research as they are in propagandising the alleged benefits of fluoridated water, then they would take the potential dangers from these two metals more seriously.

Further Research

Chapter 6 of the MRC Report concentrates on conclusions and research recommendations. It is the research recommendations that demand further comment.

[1] Natural and artificially fluoridated water.

The MRC says:

“… if the bioavailability is the same, many of the findings relating to natural fluoride can also be related to artificial fluoridation.”

The next two tables to help the reader comprehend the differences between different fluorides. The first is Professor Kaj Roholm's three categories of inorganic fluorine compounds. It should be noted that Prof. Roholm is the author of the first and most comprehensive monograph on fluorine toxicity.

Table 3

EXTREMELY TOXIC
Hydrogen Fluoride (anhydrous)
Silicon Tetrafluoride
Hydrofluoric Acid
Hydrofluorosilicic Acid[2]
VERY TOXIC (Easily soluble fluorides and fluorosilicates)
Sodium Fluoride[1]
Potassium Fluoride
Ammonium Fluoride
Sodium Fluorosilicate
Potassium Fluorosilicate
Ammonium Fluorosilicate
MODERATELY TOXIC (Poorly soluble fluorides)
Cryolite
Calcium Fluoride


This table is former Aston University chemist Malcolm Harris' table of solubility ("... a critical aspect of toxicity") of 1971:

Table 4

Calcium fluoride
natural
Solubility = 16 ppm at 18ºC and 17 ppm at 26ºC
Sodium Fluoride[1]
artificial
42,200 ppm at 18ºC
Sodium fluosilicate
artificial
6,520 ppm at 17ºC
Hydrofluorosilic acid[2]
artificial
miscible liquid

These data suggest that you cannot compare natural and artificial sources of fluoride. This should also influence the second recommendation of the MRC concerning bioavailability of the two sources of fluoride.

[2] Dental caries

The section on dental caries uncontroversial providing it is based on existing fluoridation schemes and not as a consequence of introducing new populations to this measure.

[3] Dental fluorosis

Regrettably, the MRC again refer to the recommendation on dental fluorosis, describing it as being either “acceptable” and “aesthetically unacceptable fluorosis”.

[4] Social class

Social class is one area where improvements in non-fluoridated communities can yield important results using other interventions.

[5] Bone health (hip fractures) and cancer

These are serious issues and must be dealt with intelligently, honestly and impartially. Unfortunately, and because of the pro-fluoride agenda, it is feared that the work conducted in these areas may be subject to bias. Although this will be interpreted by some as a cynical view, history is littered with stories of various institutions concealing evidence of harm from various research projects. Presented on the next page is an article on ‘sleazy’ research tricks which may make the layperson think more carefully about the value of scientific research.


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