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Written by Patricia Dines

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This Month's Column:
Standing Up to Stop Fluoridation

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Standing Up to Stop Fluoridation

By Patricia Dines
Published in the Sonoma County Gazette
April 2013
(c) Patricia Dines, 2013. All rights reserved.

I was disappointed recently to see the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors take another step towards fluoridating our precious water supply, even after many community members waited hours on a workday to speak against it. [NOTE 1]

I understand that proponent claims for community water fluoridation (CWF) seem appealing, and I wish it were an easy remedy for community dental health.

But I just don't think that's what the science shows, and it concerns me that most Boardmembers seem so unwilling to look beneath the claims.

And so, if we want CWF stopped, we're going to need to build a much larger public outcry against it, and within the next few months. If we don't, we'll be the ones paying the price -- in our health, environment, and pocketbooks.

Note: This column, plus citations and suggested actions, is at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6j.html. [That's this webpage!]

Four Key Facts about CWF

When speaking against CWF, it's vital to do so in constructive, fact-based ways, to show that this isn't a fringe issue. I made a basic case against CWF in my February Ask EcoGirl column (at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6h.html), including these key points:

1) Fluoride in dentistry is fundamentally different from CWF. The former applies controlled doses of pharmaceutical grade fluoride directly to tooth surfaces, while CWF exposes everyone who drinks water to uncontrolled and unmonitored doses of a toxic-contaminated industrial waste fluoride compound.

2) Dental fluoride works topically (on the surface), not systemically. Thus drinking it is like drinking sunscreen!

3) Many Americans already consume fluoride totals above safe levels, via toothpaste, food, beverages, and more.

4) Many studies show fluoride's link to health and environmental harm, even at common U.S. exposure levels.

[NOTE 2]

Five More Essential Facts

1) There's no minimum daily requirement for fluorine. It's not an essential nutrient. There's no such thing as a fluorine deficiency. This is stated clearly by the U.S. FDA, the U.S. Public Health Service, and even the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM), which says that its 1997 report is being incorrectly used to claim otherwise. [NOTE 3]

2) Studies have not proven CWF to be safe and effective. Over the past 50 years, tooth decay has dropped at the same overall rate in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated regions. Modern large-scale studies show no meaningful difference in cavity rates in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. [NOTE 4] The British government's Final Fluoridation Study (aka "The York Review") found that none of the studies claiming to show CWF's safety and effectiveness were grade A level (i.e., "high quality, bias unlikely"). [NOTE 5]

3) Most countries in the world don't fluoridate their water, including Japan, China, India, and nearly all of Europe. [NOTE 6]

4) The public opponents of CWF include thousands of scientists, dentists, doctors, former Public Health Ministers, Nobel Laureates, and more. Also objecting are the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC, the nation's oldest and largest Latino organization); African American leaders such as Andrew Young; and the EPA professionals union. Many opponents were proponents, until they saw the science! [NOTE 7]

5) The ADA is not a neutral adviser but an active CWF booster that refuses to consider contradictory facts -- just as it did for years with mercury amalgams. [NOTE 8]

Fixing the Supervisors' Process

Since this decision directly impacts so many of us, it's vital that we have an unbiased, fact-based community deliberation. But the Supervisors' current process seems strongly biased towards CWF. To fix that, I suggest the Board:

1) Give the public real notice when CWF comes before the Board again, so we can read, prepare, and attend.

2) Have an expert CWF opponent sitting on the dais next to DHS and answering Board questions as they deliberate, to balance DHS' clear pro-CWF bias.

3) Split the CWF proposal from the other dental health proposals during voting, so the votes can reflect its different character, scope, and impact.

4) Direct someone other than DHS to design a plan for distributing fluoride directly to just the low-income children that DHS says it aims to serve -- for instance, via free fluoridated water or tablets.

5) Require a very high standard before taking any more action towards CWF. Any material put into our shared water and environment must be unquestionably proven safe, effective, and necessary. I believe that CWF fails on all three counts and thus should be rejected.

[NOTE 9]

I hope you find this information helpful. I invite you to share it with others!

 • • •

Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The Next STEP newsletter. Email your questions about going green to <EcoGirl [at] AskEcoGirl.info> for possible inclusion in future columns. View past columns at <www.AskEcoGirl.info>.

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"EcoGirl: Encouraging the eco-hero in everyone."

© Copyright Patricia Dines, 2013. All rights reserved.


"My father was a dentist. I formerly was a strong believer in the benefits of water fluoridation for preventing cavities. But many things that we began to do 50 or more years ago we now no longer do, because we have learned further information that changes our practices and policies. So it is with fluoridation."

Andrew Young, former U.N. Ambassador, former Atlanta Mayor, Inductee International Civil Rights Walk of Fame

• • •

"It is time for the U.S., and the few remaining fluoridating countries, to recognize that fluoridation is outdated, has serious risks that far outweigh any minor benefits, violates sound medical ethics and denies freedom of choice. Fluoridation must be ended now."

Professionals Statement to End Water Fluoridation, signed by over 4,000 medical, dental, scientific, and environmental professionals. www.fluoridealert.org/researchers/professionals-statement

• • •


"We call upon all medical and dental professionals, members of water departments, local officials, public health organizations, environmental groups and the media to examine for themselves the new documentation that fluoridated water is ineffective and poses serious health risks. It is no longer acceptable to simply rely on endorsements from agencies that continue to ignore the large body of scientific evidence on this matter…. The untold millions of dollars that are now spent on equipment, chemicals, monitoring, and promotion of fluoridation could be much better invested in nutrition education and targeted dental care for children from low income families. The vast majority of enlightened nations have done this…. It is time for the U.S., and the few remaining fluoridating countries, to recognize that fluoridation is outdated, has serious risks that far outweigh any minor benefits, violates sound medical ethics and denies freedom of choice. Fluoridation must be ended now."

Professionals Statement to End Water Fluoridation, signed by over 4,000 medical, dental, scientific, and environmental professionals. www.fluoridealert.org/researchers/professionals-statement


* You can find my Feb. column, with more information and citations, at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6h.html. You can also download a PDF of each of these columns on their webpages, then print them double-sided for a handout. (I give this permission for limited copies and non-commercial use.)

* I've created an easy actions page, for you to read and share. www.healthyworld.org/StopSCFAction.html

* Good general resources on this topic:

Fluoride Action Network www.fluoridealert.org

Movie: Fluoridegate: An American Tragedy, by Dr. David Kennedy. This engaging and informative documentary film shares the experiences of scientists who sought to ring the alarm about Community Water Fluoridation. (65 minutes) www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrWFnGpX9wY

Book: The Case Against Fluoride, By Dr. Paul Connett, et al

Book chapter: "A Response to Pro-Fluoridation Claims," from The Case Against Fluoride, by Dr. Paul Connett, et al. Dr. Connett is a scientific professional who supported CWF until he looked at the science. Hopefully more health professionals and decisionmakers will also reconsider their opinions based on what we know today. www.fluoridealert.org/uploads/proponent_claims.pdf


NOTE 1: "Supervisor vote to move ahead with fluoridation studies after lengthy hearing," By Derek Moore, Press Democrat, February 26, 2013

NOTE 2: My February column has further information on these and other points, plus citations. See www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6j.html.

NOTE 3: The Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) says, "Sodium fluoride used for therapeutic effect would be a drug, not a mineral nutrient. Fluoride has not been determined essential to human health. A minimum daily requirement for sodium fluoride has not been established." www.fluoridealert.org/researchers/fda/drug

Also, (the late) Dr. John Lee said, "fluoride is not an essential nutrient. That means there is no known minimum requirement for fluoride…. no matter how little the fluoride intake is, no deficiency state occurs. Unlike the other items listed in the Food and Nutrition report, there simply is no such thing as fluoride deficiency." www.johnleemd.com/store/essay_fluoride.html

See "Fluoride is not an essential nutrient," by Michael Connett, for more quotes and citations from other sources. www.fluoridealert.org/studies/essential-nutrient

NOTE 4: For a good summary of the trends, including many expert and survey citations -- which show that tooth decay has declined at the same rate in fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries -- see "Tooth Decay Rates in Fluoridated vs. Non-fluoridated Countries," by Michael Connett. www.fluoridealert.org/studies/caries02

NOTE 5: In 2000, the British government's Final Fluoridation Study (conducted by York University and nicknamed "The York Review") was touted as "the study to end all studies into fluoridation" and was expected to confirm the claimed benefits of CWF. Instead, its systematic review found that none of the studies purporting to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation met their grade A criteria -- defined as "high quality, bias unlikely" -- and committed basic data analysis errors such as failing to make double-blind assessments or adjust for confounding factors.

York Professor Trevor Sheldon, in an official statement, said, "The review did not show fluoridation to be safe... The review found water fluoridation to be significantly associated with high levels of dental fluorosis which was not characterised as as "just a cosmetic issue.".... There was little evidence to show that water fluoridation has reduced social inequalities in dental health... Until high quality studies are undertaken providing more definite evidence, there will continue to be legitimate scientific controversy over the likely effects and costs of water fluoridation."

The organization which did the study has more recently noted, "Since the report was published in October 2000 there has been no other scientifically defensible review that would alter the findings of the York review. As emphasised in the report, only high-quality studies can fill in the gaps in knowledge about these and other aspects of fluoridation. Recourse to other evidence of a similar or lower level than that included in the York review, no matter how copious, cannot do this."

COMMENT: To me this, and other information like it, directly disproves CWF proponent claims that we have 50 years of evidence that CWF works. Nope, we have 50 years of experience trying this theory, during which time the logical foundation of it has been proven untrue, studies have shown that it doesn't help dental health, and have shown that it harms teeth, bones, and many other systems in the body. This is not a proven practice but a harmful one based on outdated beliefs. We need to shift our time, energy, and money towards approaches that actually do work.

COMMENT: The York Review does have limitations in some aspects. For more on this, see this letter from Dr. Paul Connett, who was a peer reviewer of the study, to the British Medical Journal. www.fluoridealert.org/content/in-response-to-paul-wilson-and-the-york-review

NOTE 6: For a summary of the countries and experts who oppose fluoridation -- and their reasons -- see www.fluoridealert.org/issues/water/opposed

NOTE 7: See previous note. Also see:

* Position Against Water Fluoridation by LULAC (The League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest and largest Latino organization in the U.S.)

* Statement About Water Fluoridation from the EPA Professionals Union (NTEU Chapter 280)

* Professionals Statement to End Water Fluoridation. Signed by over 4,000 medical, dental, scientific, and environmental professionals

* Civil Rights Leaders Call for Halt to Water Fluoridation

NOTE 8: For instance, see "ADA Unmasked On Mercury," International Fluoride Information Network, www.fluoridealert.org/news/ada-unmasked-on-mercury

NOTE 9: Dr. Paul Connett has also recommended another action that Sonoma County officials take before spending any more money towards fluoridation. His suggestion is to do a population study and identify how many people or children have dental fluorosis currently -- generally, or in the target population we most seek to help. If the figure is over 10 or 15%, that means that they're already getting too much fluoride from other sources and giving them more fluoride would even more clearly be detrimental, not helpful, to their health.

For more about dental fluorosis -- and its increase and negative impacts -- with pictures -- see "Dental Fluorosis," www.fluoridealert.org/issues/fluorosis


I'm delighted to offer you my Ask EcoGirl booklets, "Healthier Housecleaning" and "Detoxing Your Life." These unique, handy, and cheerful resources bring together key information you need to create a healthier home for your family and the planet. They make a great gift, and quantity discounts and wholesale prices are available. Plus all sales support my eco-healing community work. Tell a friend! Find out more at www.askecogirl.info/booklets.html.

For more information on this and related eco-topics, see my other Ask EcoGirl columns.


Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The Next STEP newsletter, which gently educates readers about toxics and alternatives. For more information about my work for the planet, see www.patriciadines.info

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