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The Rostrum

The case against fluoridation


In 1967 the Illinois legislature made fluoridation of public water supplies mandatory throughout the state, despite widespread opposition to the measure. It had been defeated in 12 out of 13 local referenda in Illinois. Most European governments have rejected fluoridation after investigating the proponents' claims of reduced tooth decay and complete safety.

Chemical and Engineering News, August 1, 1988, published a detailed report on both sides of this controversial issue. Pages 36 and 37 tell how adverse evidence has been suppressed by most U.S. dental and medical journals since fluoridation began over 40 years ago. The following information briefly explains why there is so much sustained opposition among scientists and laypersons in this and other countries.

No one can dispute the fact that fluoride is a poison. The question is: How safe is it when added to the public water supply at one part per million? It is logical to assume that the continuous ingestion of enough fluoride to alter the structure of teeth can also affect other organs of the body. As noted in Chemical and Engineering News, Dr. George Waldbott, co-author of Fluoridation, The Great Dilemma, and other clinical researchers have shown that in addition to the risk of mottled teeth, fluoridated water can cause a variety of ills including headache, joint pains, skin rash, digestive and urinary problems and chronic fatigue. In laboratory studies, this cumulative enzyme poison, even in minimal amounts, has caused chromosome damage resulting in birth defects. It has also been implicated as a carcinogen (Fluoride, The Aging Factor, John Yiamouyiannis, biochemist). Both the Ministry of Environment for the province of Quebec and the chief toxicologist for the Virginia Department Health have issued detailed reports listing many scientific papers which confirm these findings.

Fluoride tablets or drops are sold by prescription where the water is not fluoridated. The U.S. Pharmacopeia, a guide to drug information, warns of serious side effects, especially when exceeding the prescribed dosage. But note that the maximum daily prescription dose (1 mg.) is contained in only one quart of fluoridated water; an infant dose is contained in eight ounces. Consider the implication of dispensing this drug through the water faucet, to be consumed in indiscriminate amounts for a lifetime. People at special risk are pregnant women, infants on formula, the undernourished, and those with kidney impairment, excessive thirst or an allergy or intolerance to fluoride.

People at special risk are pregnant women, infants on formula, the undernourished, and those with kidney impairment, excessive thirst or an allergy or intolerance to fluroide

Dental officials claim that nature has provided basic proof of fluoridation' safety and effectiveness. Naturally fluoridated

32/January 1990/Illinois Issues

water, however, almost always has a very high calcium content. Calcium itself has long been recognized as a tooth builder, and it also tends to act as an antidote to the toxic effects of fluoride. In contrast, the fluoride used in artificial fluoridation is a waste product of aluminum and phosphate fertilizer factories, and because it is with-out the buffering effect of abundant calcium, the fluoride is more readily assimilated by the body and therefore is more toxic. The assurance of safety is clearly impossible.

A recent independent analysis of data collected by the National Institute of Dental Research shows that fluoridation is infective in reducing tooth decay. The dramatic decrease in tooth decay in recent years has taken place in both fluoridated and unfluoridated communities. In some cases there are more cavity-free children in unfluoridated areas. This analysis corroborates previous studies by others, including John Colquhoun, former chief denial officer of New Zealand, A.S. Gray, former director of dental health services in British Columbia, and Mark Diesendorf. a health researcher at Australian National University in Canberra. The capital of Australia, Canberra had fluoridated water for 25 years, but on October 9, 1989. it was stopped by order of the Legislative Assembly.

In recent decades there has been a great increase in fluoride contamination due to airborne industrial emissions, the occult fluoride in many medications and the use of fluoride-containing fertilizers, pesticides and dentifrices. It is irresponsible to increase this environmental burden by deliberately adding fluoride to water systems throughout the country.

One of the most precious rights guaranteed bv the Constitution is the right of each person to decide what shall be done to his her own body. Fluoridation denies that choice; it is an alarming departure from accepted medical ethics and practice. One of our most valuable resources is water. Under no circumstances should its safety he compromised by the addition of chemicals not needed for purification and potability The General Assembly has a responsibility to rescind the fluoridation law pissed in 1967.

Myrtle K. Sapora lives in Champaign and is corresponding secretary for National Fluoridation News.

January 1990/Illinois Issues/33

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