The fluoridation of drinking water has been highly touted as one of the best ways to prevent tooth caries, particularly in children. It is not hard to find a recent news story about some community proposing to add even higher amounts of fluoride to their drinking water supply as a solution to increased dental disease concerns.
HOWEVER, the fluoridation of drinking water is NOT about protecting children’s teeth. It is about the disposal of dangerous industrial waste for a profit.
People who are new to the fact that fluoridated water is a public health hazard may wonder (1) why experts would allow something so toxic to be added to our nation’s drinking water, and (2) why this dangerous substance would be so highly touted if it were truly dangerous. While the answers to these questions are complex, here are some frequently asked questions—and answers—that will help you make sense of this serious health hazard.
What is fluoridation of water?
Fluoridation of water is the process by which fluoride-containing compounds are added to drinking water. While the intended purpose of adding fluoride to water is dental protection, numerous studies show that fluoridated water poses significant and life threatening public health risks: these risks clearly outweigh the so-called benefits of this troublesome additive.
Over 90 percent of the fluoride added to drinking water is industrial-grade hexafluorosilicic acid, which comes from the air pollution scrubbing systems of the fertilizer industry. This form of fluoride is 85 TIMES more toxic than pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride approved by the FDA for topical dental applications. Tests on this latter form of fluoride are the ONLY ones used to provide evidence on the benefits of fluoride.
How did the fluoridation of water begin?
In 1945, three North American cities—Grand Rapids, Michigan; Newburgh, NY; and Brantford, Ontario—began trials in which fluoride was added to the public drinking water. Before any of these trials were completed, the United States Public Health Services (USPHS) began to endorse mass fluoridation of public drinking water.
This was a strange phenomenon, given that the USPHS and the American Dental Association (ADA) had been adamantly against the addition of fluoride to drinking water for years. In October 1944, the Journal of the American Dental Association published this statement about fluoride in water:
We do know that the use of drinking water containing as little as 1.2 to 3.0 parts per million of fluoride will cause such developmental disturbances as osteosclerosis, spondylosis, and osteropetrosis, as well a goiter; and we cannot afford to run the risk of producing such serious systemic disturbances…
By 1950, however, the ADA had changed its tune without any further evidence regarding the safety of adding fluoride to our water. Even when the three initial studies were concluded, there was no evidence that fluoridated water posed a benefit to dental health.
It is interesting to note that, in 1947, the Chief Counsel of the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) became the head of the United States Public Health Service. At the time, ALCOA was the biggest producer of hazardous fluoride waste. The head of ALCOA provided very strong incentives to the American Dental Association to support the fluoridation of water. Today, the ADA is paid well to endorse the fluoridation of water. Grants are awarded to researchers who can show that fluoride is beneficial.
In July 2005, officials launched an investigation of one Harvard professor suspected of suppressing medical evidence linking fluoridated water with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in adolescent boys (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/12/AR2005071201277.html) Please see our section on Fluoride and Osteosarcoma for more information about this serious fluoride health hazard.
Why would people want to add fluoride to drinking water if is so dangerous?
Silicofluorides, such as hexafluorosilicic acid, are toxic hazardous waste products of the aluminum, steel, and fertilizer industries. This type of fluoride is more toxic than lead and nearly as toxic as arsenic (both carcinogens). Before the fluoridation of drinking water began, these industries were forced to dispose of this waste at dumpsites. This was not only costly; it was also wreaking havoc on the environment.
For example, in 1952, 1000 to 7000 pounds of industry-grade fluoride was dumped at a site in Vancouver. This pollution “contaminated the grass and resulted in injury and death to cattle,” according to the Seattle Times. Today, approximately 5,000 pounds of this same fluoride is dumped into the water in cities across the nation under the guise of “public health.
In December 1966, the American Association for the Advancement of Science named fluoride as the third most dangerous air pollutant in the nation. The levels of fluoride added to drinking water far exceed the concentrations known to be harmful in the air.
Instead of continuing to dump these hazardous substances into the environment, these big industries found a way to skirt around environmental laws and begin to add fluoride waste products into the water and various other sources.
If hazardous silicofluorides were not added to our nation’s drinking supplies, they would have to be neutralized at special hazardous waste facilities at the cost of $1.40 per gallon.
How much of the nation’s drinking water is fluoridated?
Officials estimate that approximately 60 percent of our nation’s drinking water supply is tainted with fluorosilicic acid, or a derivative thereof. State and local municipalities rely on government and health industry representations regarding the benefits of fluoridated water for dental health, and fluoridate the water in accordance.
In 2002, about 90 percent of the American population received water through public water systems. This means approximately 170 million people received fluoridated water in 2002 alone.
Do other nations fluoridate their drinking water?
It is interesting to note, in contrast, that Finland, Cuba, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Mexico, France, Spain, Columbia, Jamaica, Costa Rica, and several other nations do not add silicofluorides to their public drinking water. Ninety-eight percent of Europe is fluoridation-free. Many of these nations oppose the fluoridation of water in recognition of its deleterious affects on the environment and human health.
Who supports and who does not support the fluoridation of drinking water? Why?
Today, the US Public Health Service, the American Dental Association, and the aluminum, steel and fertilizer industries are arguably the strongest proponents of adding fluoride to public water.
The EPA set permissible levels of fluoride in drinking water, though several EPA scientists have spoken out since about the serious dangers of fluoride in water. Today, the EPA scientists refuse to drink fluoridated water, ordering unfluoridated bottled water for their offices. In 1999, the union that represents EPA staff publicly requested, “an immediate halt to the use of the nation’s drinking water reservoirs as disposal sites for the toxic waste of the phosphorus fertilizer industry.
The FDA does not regulate the fluoridation of water, even though millions of Americans ingest it daily.
Many scientists, other medical experts, legal experts, and consumer advocates are strongly opposed to the fluoridation of water, due to the numerous health hazards posed by fluoride.
When given the chance to vote, nearly 70 percent of all communities in the United States have argued against fluoridation of water. Since 1999, nearly 100 US communities have rejected adding fluoride to water.
Our team of qualified attorneys is strongly opposed to the fluoridation of drinking water because of the strong established link between fluoride and osteosarcoma and other serious adverse health conditions. We are prepared to help protect the legal rights of those who have suffered osteosarcoma and other serious injuries caused by fluoride. If you would like to learn more about your legal rights and options, please contact us today to confer with a qualified and experienced attorney.