Fluoride is medicine’s greatest success … or a mind control conspiracy.

Shouldn't the standard be higher to force a drug than to convince that it isn't needed?

Eight glasses a day of Chicago water (8 oz. each) results in  the consumption of 2 mg. of fluoride

Eight glasses of Chicago water (8 oz. each) result in the consumption of 2 mg. of fluoride

Fluoridation hysteria rears its head whenever the topic of adding fluoride to the water supply is broached. It seems that a few people are rabidly against it, and about an equal number are rabidly in favor of it. Most folks seem to be in the middle, if they care at all.

Where the fluoridation controversy veers off into its own territory is that anti-fluoridationists are, almost instantly, labelled as whackos.  It is true that in the early days of fluoridation talks, some of the most ardent opposition came from folks like the conservative group, the John Birch Society.

The anti-fluoridation folks have the moral high ground. They are simply saying, “Leave us alone.”

Their opposition was made more prominent by the lampooning they received in the 1964 Stanley Kubrick movie entitled Dr. Strangelove, which was a broad parody of right wing beliefs in general. In it, Kubrick incorrectly maintained that right wing opposition to fluoride was so vocal because it was thought to be a government mind control conspiracy. Of all the possible outcomes of fluoridation, conspiratorial mind control by a secret arm of some global organization is low on the likelihood list.

Now what’s really the deal with fluoride in our water?

Personally, I am opposed to the addition of fluoride into the public drinking water, but that has not always been so. For most of my life and through an undergraduate degree in biology, I accepted the party line that fluoridation was the best thing since “sliced white bread.”

It seems now however, that it would take a normal un-biased person about an hour to do sufficient research on the internet to conclude that, if you even own a toothbrush, fluoridation will have no benefit for you and that you don’t want your kids to drink it. And if you worry about breaking bones as you age, you probably shouldn’t either. The evidence looks to be overwhelming that there is far more potential for harm and very little evidence that it does any good at all for the vast majority of people.

Crest Toothpast Warning Label

Proctor & Gamble advises to seek medical help if you swallow more than a pea sized dollop of Crest. The same amount of fluoride contained in 3 glasses of Chicago tap water. (1.09 ppm = approx. 0.25 mgF/glass water)

I have provided fluoride-free water in my home ever since we have had a child in the house. A former research chemist, I have even done a fair amount of research in my home lab (see apparatus) to see if a more affordable (and better tasting) filtration method for fluoride than reverse osmosis was available. The answer is yes to better tasting, but no to more affordable.

Since I don’t have the time or resources to conduct mass epidemiological studies, what’s important to me in my investigation is to look at the proponents and the origins of the practice. Assuming that Myside Bias is at play, I am judging the authors and their motives as much or more than the actual conclusions of the studies. For example, when a CDC researcher says that he believes that the side effect of a 17% overall skeletal fluorosis rate is acceptable given the societal benefit, I judge that he is out of his league and no longer speaking as a scientist, but making a socio/political value judgment.

“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.”Dorothy Parker (attributed)

Fluoridation was popularized in the same time period in which frontal lobotomies and electroshock therapy were accepted by the medical establishment as valid treatments. Blood letting was once widely accepted too, if you remember.

Here’s a punch list of the top reasons that have convinced me to want fluoride out of my water:

  • Tooth decay has gone down in the rest of the civilized world at the same rate (or better) whether fluoridated or not.
  • Supporters admit that it only helps prevent cavities in those who have virtually no dental hygiene.
  • 41% of adolescents in the USA have symptoms of fluorosis.
  • Even proponents admit that ingesting it is not as good as topical application.
  • US Dept. of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control lowered the acceptable limit from 1.2 ppm (parts per million) to 0.7 ppm just last year after decades of ridiculing those who said that 1.2 ppm was too high.
  • American Society of Pediatric Dentists in 2006 said to NOT use fluoridated water for formula until the infant is 13 months old. This was slightly revised in 2013 after HHS lowered the acceptable levels to 0.7 ppm; now they just say to ask you doctor if you should use it. However many cities, like Chicago, are still adding over 1.0 ppm.
  • Proctor & Gamble and other toothpaste manufacturers have scary disclaimers on their toothpaste instructions. They don’t really think that swallowing a toothpaste dollop, greater than the size of a pea, is worth a trip to the poison control center, do they? It seems like they’re hedging their bets against the next round of class action lawsuits.
    Is a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste really that dangerous?

    Swallow more than this amount of Crest™ and Proctor & Gamble wants you to go to a poison control center.

In the years of my part-time research, I had occasion to attend several Water Quality Association annual conventions in Orlando, Las Vegas and Chicago. The exhibitors, particularly European ones, were uniformly dumbfounded that the US puts that stuff in the water. It is ironic that it is also one of the most difficult (read expensive) contaminants to filter, being the tiniest of the anionic halogens. Of the 350 million people in the world who have fluoridated water, 200 million live in the USA. Only 2% of the other 6.7 billion people worldwide have it added to their water. The interesting fact here is that the dental cavity rate in the first world nations is almost identical with or without fluoride.

Dental caries ( cavities) lessened in first world nations about the same whether or not hey used fluoridated water. The difference seems to be mean income, not fluoride.

Dental caries (cavities) lessened in first world nations about the same whether or not they used fluoridated water. The difference seems to be mean income, not fluoride.

Fluoride aside, the idea of entrusting the prescription of medicine and the dosage to politicians is not something I can endorse. The fluoride proponents counter by saying that fluoride has been ruled to not be a drug at the dosage put into water. This provides slim solace when it is noted that a judge in a court made that decision. Politically appointed judges differ, to me, scantly from politicians in their qualifications to prescribe drugs to my family.

If you don’t want to do a ton of research, this testimony from Dr. John Colquhoun, the former head of the New Zealand Dental board and former fluoridation advocate, is a pretty compelling argument – Why I Changed My Mind About Water Fluoridation. One more study by former advocates is also worthy of note – The Fluoride/Thyroid Connection. These people appear to have no “skin in the game,” to borrow a phrase from Warren Buffett. That is, they have no investment in opposing fluoridation, and have no profit motive to do so.

Would you allow your alderman to prescribe a drug to your child?

As a coda, I should note that, by contrast, I am totally in favor of water chlorination, that is, disinfection with the addition of various forms of the halogen chlorine.

The benefit provided by disinfecting water is real and beneficial to virtually everyone and the costs to remediate the small harm presented by the chlorine and chlorination by-products is affordable with simple technology. The small quantities of potentially harmful carcinogens that are formed with the reaction of chlorine and ordinary dirt and plant matter (humic acid) are relatively easy and cheap to remove. Costs for point of use filtration of the excess chlorine and the volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are on the order of 2¢ to 4¢ per gallon compared to many times that for reverse osmosis or distillation to remove fluoride.

There will arise, no doubt, another disinfection technology that will make chlorination obsolete …ozonation maybe, or ultraviolet radiation? But each will have its own tradeoffs, and I would like to make that decision for myself, not leave it to my alderman.

Now please take a poll regarding fluoride.

Would you vote yes to add fluoride to the public water supply today if it wasn't already added??

View Results

 

  5 comments for “Fluoride is medicine’s greatest success … or a mind control conspiracy.

  1. gene roush
    August 19, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I too was a chemist, and have studied the effects of fluoride on tooth enamel.
    While the author does admit his findings are anecdotal, he doesn’t also admit that the diet of his family is also anecdotal. Nor for that matter does he consider the diet of the populations of the world versus that of the U.S. in his “research” — one hint is to look at the diabetes rates in the U.S. versus the world.
    Another consideration might be to look at the dental care access (and thus examination rates).
    If you’re comparing populations you must be sure that control standards set, otherwise your guessing at the variables.
    To question fluoridation is not “wacko” — to say it’s not beneficial to our population is.

    • Cyril Landise
      August 21, 2014 at 11:37 pm

      No one is arguing that topically applied fluoride might not be beneficial to the tooth enamel of some people. There is however, great controversy over whether or not its addition to drinking water is a safe, reasonable and effective way to provide it.

      More to the point, the primary ethical argument in this post is that the State should not be allowed to force it on those who simply do not want it.

      For example, as pointed out, it does appear as though type II (diet and lifestyle related) diabetes is quite high in the US.
      Perhaps the doctor would suggest that we add insulin to the water?
      After all, it would probably help some very poor people who do not avail themselves of health care and the rich could afford to filter it out if they didn’t want it. Alas, it would be unfortunate for the poor and uninformed who are harmed by it, but that would be a small price to pay for the greater public good. Or would it?

      It is ironic that in the guise of helping the very poor, it is precisely the very poor who are at the greatest risk for overdosing their infants with fluoride.

      The dental associations have for years decreed that fluoride should not be used for infant formula preparation. The suggestion was to use bottled water or expensive reverse osmosis filtered water. Even today after the medical establishment has admitted that the previous dosage of 1.2 ppm was far too high, and reduced it by almost one half, to 0.7 ppm, they still suggest that mothers should “consult their pediatrician” before using fluoridated tap water for infants.

      To me, the suggestion that an impoverished 17 year old single mother should “just call her pediatrician”, or “just buy bottled water”, sounds all too much like the class blindness of Marie Antoinette’s, just “Let them eat cake.”

      Give fluoride to everyone who wants it … free fluoridated salt in every post office if you wish.
      But please allow us the option to “opt out” of your well intentioned but unwanted plans for our health.

  2. michael maestri
    July 8, 2014 at 2:03 am

    Magnificent must read. Thank you.

  3. John Ready
    July 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Well written young man!

  4. June 28, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I am so thankful for your voice of clarity in a wilderness of one very confused humanity. 🙂

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