Karen Gay is the Eastern Shore of Virginia Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader. The next meeting will cover the topic of water fluoridation on Wednesday, February 20 at 6:00 at Peacewerks, 3100 Main Street, Exmore. Consider joining our ESVA Weston A Price Foundation Chapter Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/esvawapf/. For more information contact Karen at 240-393-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All are welcome!
For several years now, I’ve been keeping my eye on articles about fluoride in our water supply. In the 1960s I remember my mother complaining that our water supply was going to be fluoridated. Her concern was that it is not ethical to put medications in our water supply because it may hurt some people and it removes one’s right of refusal. Her other issue was that the fluoride being proposed to be used in our water supply was not pharmaceutical grade, rather it was to be purchased from chemical companies. Without this purchase the phosphate and aluminum processing companies would have to remove the fluoride buildup from their smokestacks and pay to have the toxic waste removed and stored. Instead, we humans, are processing the fluoride in our bodies and excreting what is not stored.
A lightweight Newsweek article in June 2015 (https://www.newsweek.com/fluoridation-may-not-prevent-cavities-huge-study-shows-348251) tells a partial story. It references several studies and concluded that “there is insufficient evidence that fluoridation reduces tooth decay in adults (children excluded).” Evidence is also somewhat inconclusive regarding the impact of water fluoridation on children’s teeth though. Some of the earlier studies indicated a 14% increase in children without cavities but many of these studies were more than 40 years old and of poor quality. A more recent and surprising chart in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) (KK Cheng et al. BMJ 2007; 335: 699) shows that rates of cavities have declined by similar amounts in countries with and without fluoridation. 97% of the European population drinks non-fluoridated water. Austria, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland provide fluoridated salt.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website proudly proclaims “community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” This so-called accomplishment is parroted by the American Medical Association (AMA), American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). If this achievement is true, why does most of the western world not fluoridate? Why have cavities in Europe declined as fast as those in the U.S.?
But before I continue, I wanted to examine the water fluoridation situation on the Eastern Shore. When we bought our house in 2002, we just assumed that the water was fluoridated, and we installed a reverse-osmosis water filter to remove the fluoride. I was pleasantly surprised to find out from Dave Fauber, the Cape Charles Director of Public Works and Utilities, that our town does not fluoridate. It seems that the equipment to dispense fluoride broke and after discussions with the Department of Health, they decided not to replace it.
Although many of the Eastern Shore residents have wells for their drinking water, I wondered about the towns large enough to fluoridate. The only water report I was able to find with water fluoridation was the Town of Onancock. I called Dan Horne, a field director from the Virginia Department of Health on the Eastern Shore, and asked him if the lack of fluoridation is a happy but unexpected meeting of minds or an economic issue. He was careful to point out that fluoridation is not mandated and that the Board of Health follows the CDC’s recommendations which were recently lowered from 0.9 parts per million (ppm) to 0.7 ppm.
Is there a problem with water fluoridation, even if it doesn’t do what our Government advertised? The Fluoride Action Network, an advocacy group that seeks to broaden awareness of the toxicity of fluoride, states “As of June 2018, a total of 60 studies have investigated the relationship between fluoride and human intelligence, and over 40 studies have investigated the relationship [between] fluoride and learning/memory in animals. Of these investigations, 53 studies have found that elevated fluoride exposure is associated with reduced IQ in humans, while 45 animal studies have found that fluoride exposure impairs the learning and/or memory brain.” In recent years, even the AAP and ADA have reversed their recommendation that infants receive fluoride supplements. We are gradually seeing a slow backtracking of their advice for infants and one wonders when and if they will finally declare that they were wrong all along. You can find the studies at this link: http://fluoridealert.org/studies/brain01/.
Having been a parent of small children I was completely unaware of the risk to intelligence. Even though I knew that fluoride was a toxin, I let my children brush their teeth unsupervised. I never looked on the tube to see the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statement: WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.” This warning is placed there because small doses of fluoride can cause symptoms of acute fluoride toxicity (i.e., poisoning). Early symptoms of fluoride poisoning include gastrointestinal pain, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Another issue with water fluoridation is dental fluorosis causing a mottled and pitted look on teeth. While this is cosmetic, it can impact a child’s self-image and seems to occur most often in African-American children (Williams & Zermer 1990).
There are other problems too. Does anyone remember being asked to give permission to be given toxic waste to ingest? The end of World War II brought with it the Nuremburg Code which sought to ensure that unethical medical experiments were no longer carried out. Even the American Medical Association Code of Ethics supports the notion of informed consent and states that patients have the right to receive information from their physicians and to have opportunity to discuss the benefits, risks, and costs of appropriate treatment alternatives, including the risks, benefits and costs of forgoing treatment. In addition, patients may make decisions about the care a physician recommends and to have those decisions respected. Mass water fluoridation does not sound like informed consent to me! Yet, there were no objections from the AMA.
Those living in fluoridated communities have very little wiggle room in removing fluoride; tap water may be over-fluoridated, a reverse-osmosis water filter, to remove fluoride, is very expensive and removes much needed minerals, and bottled water carries the risk of dissolved plastics which are carcinogenic. According to the Guardian, the World Health Organization (WHO) commissioned a study of microplastics in bottled water. “In the new study, analysis of 259 bottles from 19 locations in nine countries across 11 different brands found an average of 325 plastic particles for every liter of water being sold.” Plastics are known endocrine disrupters, and no one knows the impact of years of ingestion.
It took our government from 1932 to 1972 (40 years!) to finally condemn the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. As late as 1969, the CDC and AMA officially supported continuing the study even though in 1947 penicillin became the drug of choice for syphilis. Now that new fluoride research has come to light, I wonder how long it will take the CDC, AMA, ADA and other organizations to revoke their original recommendations? In the meantime, affluent citizens of fluoridated water communities can purchase water filters to remove fluoride, but everyone else is stuck between a rock and a hard place!