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Saturday, Apr. 25, 2015

Boldly Going Nowhere

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Precious Bodily Fluids

In the 1964 cold-war movie, Dr. Strangelove, General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) was a bit paranoid about the fluoridation of drinking water. "I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids," he declared, then ordered a squadron of B-52s on a nuclear strike of the Soviet Union.

The vast majority of dental professionals, including my brother (an endodontist in Colorado), approve of the fluoridation of public drinking water to help prevent tooth decay. Most of them, including my brother, aren't even Communists. However, there are many people who believe fluoridation is harmful to human health.

According to Applied Chemistry, Second Edition by William R. Stine, it was discovered in 1931 that the fluoride ion in drinking water was responsible for a defective dental condition called mottled enamel. Also known as dental fluorosis, this defect results from disturbance by fluoride of the enamel forming cells during tooth formation and is one of the first signs of chronic fluoride poisoning.

During the 1930s, the U.S. Public Health Service concluded there was less tooth decay among children in communities where dental fluorosis was found. Until then, as a byproduct of aluminum manufacturing and fertilizer production, fluoride was considered a dangerous substance and an environmental pollutant. But when news spread of the positive use of fluoride in preventing tooth decay, holders of toxic waste became clever profiteers of toxic waste. Even though further studies in the 1930s indicated other factors in the drinking water were responsible for the results, the profiteers won over and fluoride was introduced into public water systems.

Fluoride is listed in the handbook titled Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products as more poisonous than lead and just slightly less poisonous than arsenic. It's classified as a hazardous material during shipping.

According to Physicians Desk Reference, "in hypersensitive individuals, fluorides occasionally cause skin eruptions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, or urticaria. Gastric distress, headache, and weakness have also been reported. These hypersensitive reactions usually disappear promptly after discontinuation of the fluoride."

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in 1992 that increased hip fractures were linked to rates of fluoride in the water. The New England Journal of Medicine reported in the March 22, 1990, issue that Mayo Clinic researchers found fluoride treatment of osteoporosis increased hip fracture rate and bone fragility.

Research in the 1970s by the National Cancer Institute showed that more than 10,000 fluoride-linked cancer deaths occur in this country each year. The Argonne National Laboratories demonstrated in 1989 the ability of fluoride to transform normal cells into cancerous cells. A study by Proctor and Gamble showed that as little as half the amount of fluoride in public water supplies resulted in a significant increase in genetic damage.

Dr. Michael B. Schachter contends, "fluoride, even at dosages of one part per million, found in fluoridated water, can inhibit enzyme systems, damage the immune system, contribute to calcification of soft tissues, worsen arthritis and cause dental fluorosis in children, up to 80 percent of the children in certain fluoridated areas."

If that isn't scary enough, many recent studies show that water fluoridation is ineffective in reducing tooth decay. The U. S. Public Health Service, in the largest study of its kind, examined the dental records of over 39,000 school children, ages 5-17, from 84 different areas around the country. The number of decayed, missing and filled teeth per child were virtually the same in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas.

Because of evidence of harmful effects, fluoridation has been abandoned in most of Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Yugoslavia.

As with most science these days, I don't know what to believe. But as a container of precious bodily fluids, I tend to be cautious about what I eat, drink and breathe. I prefer my drinking water to be void of toxic waste.