My turn: Time to put fluoridation behind us

Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Water Fluoridation is obsolete. Nations who still practice it should feel ashamed of themselves," said Dr. Arvid Carlsson, pharmacologist and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology.

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Much scientific and social progress has been made in the 60 years since water fluoridation was introduced. In August, more than 600 dentists, medical doctors, scientists, engineers and policy makers have called for Congress to immediately end fluoridation.

Water fluoridation is a practice adopted during the 1950s that adds a fluoride drug to the community water supply for the prevention of a medical condition, dental cavities. The addition of sodium fluoride is a misguided attempt to mimic the effect of naturally occurring calcium fluoride, which is 20 times less toxic.

Water fluoridation was instituted before the modern tenants of disclosure of conflict of interest. Dental research institutes such as the Kettering Lab and Mellon Institute, which were the first to promote fluoridation, were funded by the industrial producers of fluoride waste materials. They would not be regarded as credible research institutions today.

Water fluoridation was adopted before the Food and Drug Administration required rigorous scientific toxicology studies. No modern toxicology studies have ever been conducted on fluoride. It has been grandfathered into acceptance, without proof of effectiveness or safety.

Toxicologists agree that fluoride would not pass studies conducted to today's standards, especially in light of its proven carcinogenicity. The closest to full modern studies showed increased bone cancer in rats and in population studies of young men. Neurological damage, hyperactivity, in the rats' offspring served fluoridated water has also been demonstrated. Today's astounding rate of hyperactivity, 9 percent of school-age children may be a direct result of fluoride.

Fluoridation was instituted before modern medico-legal standards of informed consent and the patients' bill of rights. People today have the right to full disclosure of risk and benefit of their proposed medical treatment and the right of refusal of recommended treatment, even unto death. Statements such as "it's good for everybody" and "there is no evidence of harm" are not informed consent. Community water fluoridation is a medical treatment and does not offer community members informed consent or the right of refusal. This is true whether fluoride is added to municipal water by vote of the public or not.

Fluoridation was instituted before the modern understanding of individualized medical treatment. Water fluoridation makes no attempt to control individual dosage and takes no account of sensitive individuals in the population. Infants should receive no fluoride.

Fluoridation was developed before the anti-cavity action of fluoride was discovered to be topical. Fluoride is now available in toothpaste and dental sealants. Fluoride does not need to be swallowed for its anti-cavity effect.

Water fluoridation promotes the white scarring of the teeth called fluorosis. Up to 70 percent of children in fluoridated communities have fluorosis from too much fluoride. It is generally dismissed as cosmetic, ignoring the proven psychological harm it causes. Parents today spend thousands of dollars on the cosmetics of their children's teeth.

Fluoridation began before people became concerned about minimizing personal and environmental exposure to toxic chemicals. Fluoride is between lead and arsenic in its toxicity.

Fluoridation was instituted when people believed slogans such as "Fluoridation is one of the greatest public health advancements of the 20th century." This proclamation isn't true. Countries that do not fluoridate have the same tooth decay rates as those that do.

Fluoridation was instituted before patients could readily research scientific information to make their own health choices. Evaluate the health effects of fluoride at tinyurl.com/398aqm.

Fluoridation was hoped to benefit disadvantaged populations. This has been shown to be false (tinyurl.com/2wmrm5).

Free yourself from 1950s thinking.

Please learn about the risk and benefit of fluoridation at lectures by renowned dental researcher and head of preventive dentistry at the University of Toronto, Dr. Hardy Limeback. He will present free lectures at 7 p.m. Thursday at the University of Alaska Southeast lecture hall and at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the Assembly Chambers.

It's time to put fluoride behind us. Vote no on 2, Oct. 2.

• Patrick Neary is a naturopathic doctor in Juneau with 14 years clinical practice.



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