To the editor:
Is fluoride in our drinking water a beneficial nutrient, as GPIWA claims, to help prevent or reduce tooth decay when used topically? Or is it a chemical poison that can be dangerous to our health when ingested over a long period of time? The July 18 issue of The Eagle contained an ad defending its new water fluoridation program and supplying computer links to two studies from the main proponents of water fluoridation, the CDC and the ADA.
The GPIWA's quarter-page ad leads with what is apparently considered to be its biggest selling point: "fluoride is a naturally occurring element" found everywhere in nature, and the argument is that we are simply getting back the "natural" fluoride that the water association had removed from our water many years ago through the reverse osmosis treatment system. First of all, most discerning consumers have come to recognize that "natural" does not necessarily mean beneficial. But in fact, July 25 issue of The Eagle carried a Public Notice by the Citizens of Safe Water Inc. that dispels the myth that the fluoride GPIWA intends to use is a naturally occurring compound, but is instead a compound that occurs as a byproduct of hazardous industrial waste.
Not only that, but the two studies cited in the GPIWA ad both acknowledge a risk for drinking fluoridated water and developing a condition of the tooth enamel called dental fluorosis. Calling it a "minor cosmetic issue," the CDC reports that of the adolescents aged 12-15 surveyed, two out of five show signs of dental fluorosis, with almost 4 percent in the moderate or severe stage. Overall, close to a quarter of those surveyed ages 6-49 recommends against infants ingesting fluoridated water at all, and against children under six using fluoridated toothpaste.
The country's leading anti-fluoridation expert, Dr. Paul Connett, presents compelling evidence that fluorosis at any level is a likely symptom of systemic fluoride poisoning and a prelude to such serious health problems as outlined in Parker's ad. The risk is that if fluoride damages growing tooth cells, it may harm other tissues in a child's developing body and potentially injure adults after a lifetime of exposure. (Connett's credentials include degrees in chemistry and biochemistry, and his book "The Case Against Fluoride," contains 80 pages of references to academic studies in scientific journals and footnotes to back up his claims.)
The author presents proof that it is the highly unstable nature of fluoride that causes it to bond with almost every other element and forms compounds that have been proven repeatedly in lab tests to function in the body as enzyme inhibitors. Fluoride has long been known as a thyroid disrupter when combined with sodium, even being used at one time as a means to "calm" or suppress the thyroid. Thus the grave dangers to thyroid functions outlined in Parker's ad.
Connett argues that, even in very small doses, the margin of safety for a drug that ranges in toxicity between arsenic and lead does not adequately protect an entire population, which must include all those at risk, especially the very young, the elderly, and those with autoimmune and other health issues. The FDA categorizes fluoride as an unproven, untested drug. Differences in an individual's body weight and amount of water ingested daily make the one-size-fits-all dosage of water fluoridation invalid. A number of recent studies question the effectiveness of fluoride in preventing caries and suggest a stronger link between dental health and income levels and other factors.
Connett characterizes fluoridation proponents as using "science by endorsement," rather than science by evidence. (See the GPIWA's repeated listing of approving organizations.) These groups, he asserts, simply endorse each other's endorsements, with no federal agency accepting accept liability for harm. Doesn't it give you pause to realize that the chemicals in our water supply are controlled not by the FDA, but by an agency responsible for controlling containments, the EPA? Think back to how long it took for us to begin to be protected against the dangers of tobacco, lead and asbestos. Most importantly, the sacred medical principals of informed consent and doing no harm are completely ignored in any water fluoridation program that is put into effect without the consent of the entire community.
Judy and Joe Baxley