Perry Roehl, PhD
Emeritus Professor Of Geology
A Case Against Forced Fluoridation
The issue of massive fluoridation of local water supplies has once more risen from the ashes like the Phoenix bird.
The latest hard sell is advanced by none other than the Express-News "Our Turn" editorial of June 29, 2000. The editorial speaks of new "ballot opportunities" and collateral "political courage". It speaks of zero medical risks and the savings of millions of dollars. And it pins scare tactics on those that in the past were brave enough to resist!
Well, someone needs to address all of these gross errors and innuendoes and redirect attention to a vast literature of recent research and action concerning the dangerous folly of employing fluoridated water for dental caries.
A myriad of first class national and international scientific laboratory studies are now available that bridge the time gap since 1985, a date pertinent to the local scene. These have been widely used, together with detailed population histories describing adverse ingestion results, to cause numerous U.S. and international cities and foreign countries to drop, not commence, fluoridation, and to cite the imperatives for so doing.
Documentation would fill more pages than this newspaper. However, some ongoing citations with this commentary will be given for the benefit of the concerned reader.
Consider the fact that in April 1998, 1500 scientists, lawyers, engineers and other professionals at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the Washington Headquarters, filed as a union, a formal brief against the EPA to protest fluoridation of drinking water. Why? Because the EPA was being forced politically to revise fluoridation standards beyond an already unsafe health-based level! To quote: "These hazards include acute toxic hazard, such as to people with impaired kidney function, as well as chronic toxic hazards of gene mutations, cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, bone pathology and dental fluorosis".
In addition, it is shown that fluoride: - decreases the IQ in children in the 8-13 year age group·- interferes with the pineal gland, affecting onset of puberty - via convergent epidemiological studies, resulted in osteosarcomis (cancer) in young men in New Jersey, Washington and Iowa. - is directly related to higher hip fractures - as calcium fluoride, is softer than the natural tooth - together with aluminum, as AlF3, is suspect in the development of Alzheimer's (ref. Isaacson, R.I., et al, 1997 Neuroprotective Agents. Ann., N.Y. Acad. Sci. 825, 152-166).
The list goes on and on.
But how about our current concern with the application to dentistry? Another quote (EPA lawsuit, May 1, 1999): "…there has not been any double blind study of fluoride's effectiveness as a caries preventative. … the largest and most comprehensive (conventional) study, one done by dentists trained by the National Institute of Dental Research, on over 39,000 school children aged 5-17 years, shows no significant differences (in terms of decayed, missing and filled teeth) among caries incidences in fluoridated, non-fluoridated and partially fluoridated communities." (Yiamouyiannis, J., 1990, Journal. Fluoride, vol. 23, p 55-67).
A second comprehensive study has been conducted by Dr. John Colquhoun, one of, if not the most famous name in international dentistry. He was a staunch supporter of fluoridation until given the task of reviewing the worldwide effectiveness of fluoridation on tooth caries. In a landmark paper, he details how data were manipulated to support fluoridation, especially in the United States and New Zealand. One ethical public health professional was cited as having been (administratively) compelled to reverse his opinion on fluoridation (Colquhoun, J., 1997, Perspectives in Biol. and Medicine, vol. 41, p29-44).
Additionally, Albert Schatz, PhD, states: "What fluoride has in common with low-level radiation and low exposures to pesticides and other toxic chemicals which exhibit paradoxical effects is that very low doses may be harmful." Consequently, there is no such thing as a threshold level below which fluoridation is not harmful. In other words, there is no safe dose.
"What are "paradoxical effects"? Schatz relates it to trying to model nonlinearity. It is like chaos. Nonconformable results can be obtained with many experiments but none are reproducible! (Schatz, A, 1999, Jour. Fluoride, 33. 1).
Finally, for those not impressed with the scientific argument, I now refer to other disciplines for collateral persuasion:
Statistics: P.R.N. Sutton, 1994, The Greatest Fraud: Fluoridation. Factual Book, Kurudu Pty, Ltd. Australia. This massive tome by a doctor of dental science provides the detailed analysis of errors in over 40 years of early statistics that lauded fluoride.
Sociology: B. Martin, 1991, Scientific Knowledge in Controversy: The social Dynamics of the Fluoridation Debate, State Univ. of N.Y. Press, 266p. A discussion of the ethics of science, the power of prodigious institutions of science, and the control of results by respective administrative hierarchies.
In conclusion, it is noted that in addition to many cities and states currently embroiled in this controversy in the U.S.A., Japan and most of Europe (95%), have already rejected fluoridation. At the moment, there is a California Safe Drinking Water Initiative that attempts to mandate an amendment to the Health and Safety Code to read: "No fluoridation or fluoride containing substances may be added to public water systems. All laws to the contrary are hereby repealed." The result of this initiative should interest Texans.
The scientific, social and political literature on the topic of fluoridation is vast. I have barely touched the surface. However, based on peer reviewed research and expert summations, I suggest that the city of San Antonio, and especially the Express-News editorship, avail themselves of all the known facts and consequences before subjecting the populace to an unwarranted and even dangerous action.
Let those individuals who desire to risk their total health do so individually and if necessary, subsidize those groups foolish enough but incapable of collectively funding an erroneous program.
(A download to this article is a complete copy of the Natick Report)
ADDENDUM. September 12, 2000
A local ad hoc Committee on "Science and Fluoridation" has since been formed. The objective of the Committee is an attempt to provide the metropolitan public of San Antonio an opportunity to become informed concerning the latest knowledge about the science, technology, medicinal properties and pharmacology of fluorine and its many compounds in the context of their potential toxicity to humans. The Committee has arranged for two forthcoming seminars to be presented by nationally recognized scientific experts on September 23 and October 24, 2000. A panel discussion will conclude each of the seminars.
The first Seminar will be held by invitation only, being restricted to physicians, dentists and other concerned professionals. Members of the STGS who are interested in attending should contact committee member Perry Roehl. The second Seminar will be conducted in open attendance for the general public.
Further details concerning the presenters, agendas and venue will shortly be available by public announcement, or STGS members may contact Dr. Roehl.
Editor's note: Dr. John Colquhoun's paper "Why I Changed My Mind About Water Fluoridation" is a must read. His paper can be accessed at www.fluoridation.com/colquhoun.htm. It was originally published in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 41, 1, Autumn 1997.