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Toxic Necessities: Fluoride in Our Water Supply

by Jonathan David Rhyot


University of New Hampshire 13

Blair Cow Productions inc.


GSS 6443, Durham, NH 03824

213.375.5005 12/13/2011

Toxic Necessities: Fluoride in Our Water Supply

As a young child living in a rural area of New Hampshire with well-water for the home I grew up in, I remember being prescribed Fluoride tablets by my dentist in town as a supplement to my natural drinking water. As a teenager, I remember sitting in a high school biology class, watching a video on fluoride that featured a black and white clip from an old Crest commercial with a young girl running from her fathers car to her mother, joyously proclaiming, Look, Mom! No cavities! As a college student I now walk into a grocery store nearby and buy Toms of Maine brand fluoride-free toothpaste. I now decline fluoride treatment at my dental cleanings; I avoid many food products such as Welchs Concord Grape Juice because of the high fluoride content. The one action I cannot take is to stop drinking fluoridated water, simply because there is no available alternative in my college town. My path of self-destruction in avoidance of fluoride seems to suggest that I am deliberately striving to harbor tooth decay in my own mouth, but I would in fact argue quite the opposite. By personally removing fluoride from my own use, not only am I avoiding a risk of doing myself harm dentally but I am also steering clear of several serious hazards to the health to numerous further parts of my body. What would anyone think if I told them I was doing better for physical and mental health without the chemical? The upsetting concept is that the general public here in the United States is entirely unaware of what this miracle substance, fluoride, actually is or why its use is scientifically controversial. Through the course of this dissection, I will explain, to the best of my writing and research capability, the completely revealed controversy of fluoride use as a method of preventing tooth decay. There are numerous definitions that must be made allowing for the

common citizen of the general public to fully understand the concepts found herein, and through my teaching process, I wish to enable your education on the substance that is added to your drinking water. As a disclaimer, my position is not of neutrality, though my intentions are not of propagation, and I implore that you follow this reading with your own analysis. Take it with a grain of salt if you must, but hear me out in the least. With all of that said, I will begin with an introduction to the history of how fluorides began their journey toward the use in the masses we see today. Toward the end of the 1800s, people living in several scattered southern and Midwestern communities were exhibiting what was then referred to as Texas Teeth, or even Colorado Brown Stain (Groves). These were among the first documented observations of dental fluorosis in medical history, caused by the naturally occurring compound Calcium Fluoride (CaF2) in the water supplies of those areas. Dental fluorosis is the visible discoloration caused by the over exposure of the enamel to fluoride, which has been found to increase the porosity of the surfaces of teeth, causing extensive pitting, chipping, fracturing, and general decay of the teeth in advanced cases (Dental Fluorosis). In these communities however, dental caries, or progressive tooth decay, was less frequent overall, and so it was suggested that the existence of this compound was responsible for the beneficial effects observed, however the hazards of brittle teeth, which arent exactly a preferable trade-off to long-term decay, were overlooked (Groves). I invite you to turn to the back panel of any fluoride toothpaste box, so I may draw your attention to the Drug Facts label. The active ingredient, as you will likely notice, is not Calcium Fluoride but rather, another compound, called Sodium Fluoride (NaF). No, these are not one and the same, and in fact, this ambiguous Fluoride compound that is added to drinking supplies,

used in remineralization treatments routine in dental cleanings, and of course in most dental rinses and pastes is actually rather harmfully toxic to our bodies for many reasons I will soon explore. Where Calcium Fluoride is the naturally-occurring compound that began the hype over one hundred years ago, it is Sodium Fluoride that I am most concerned with because of its prevalence in modern dentistry. Firstly, NaF is a synthetic compound and is artificially created from Fluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6), a chemical byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry (Connett). This byproduct is a classified hazardous waste that is barreled up and sold, unrefined, to communities across the country and used as the dominant Fluoride chemical for water fluoridation (Connett). Essentially, where these factories would incur expenses in waste removal, they are turning a profit on disposing of it through your intake. That sounds a bit unsettling, doesnt it? This is a real-life horror story that isnt easily escaped, in that, even if you do not live close enough to a fertilizer plant for the gaseous pollution to have toxic effects on your body, and even if you may live in a community that doesnt fluoridate the water supply, you are still exposed through any forms of food or beverages that are manufactured with fluoridated water (Connett). After all of this, there is a question that still remains: what ever happened to Calcium Fluoride? Calcium Fluoride, as it occurs in natural sources, is approximately 85 times less toxic than a silicofluoride such as fluorosilicic acid, and is observed as being extremely insoluble in water, at only 16 mg/L (Shattuk)(Calcium (Ca) and water). It exists in sources such as rivers and lakes where it was picked up by the dissolution of rock, specifically Fluorite, which is the solid state of CaF2 (Calcium (Ca) and water). To clarify all of this, CaF2 in water is basically super-fine rock particle that is known to be relatively non-toxic because the insolubility does not

allow for absorption in the body, and is also known to be capable of reducing tooth decay, as we previously discussed with the southern communities over one hundred years ago. Silicofluorides, on the other hand, are highly soluble, with NaF at 43g/L, literally 2,687 times greater than CaF2 (USDHHS). This essentially means that because our bodies are made of about 60% water as many elementary school teachers would tell you, the chemical Sodium Fluoride is absorbed in exponentially higher quantities relative to Calcium Fluoride, and the health risks increase greatly alongside. Why then is it that we are using an extremely toxic chemical in water treatment, food processing, and dental care while there is a much safer alternative running through many riverbeds across our landscape? It is interesting to me that none of the above information is featured on the official website of the ADHA, or, American Dental Hygienists Association. According to their page entitled Fluoride Facts, more than 144 million people are reached by fluoridated water alone, a staggering 62% of the entire population of our country (ADHA). All of these people are being exposed to the toxic compound that carries many health risks, with little empirical evidence to support any proven benefit in dentistry. As Ive found in the official Toxicological Profile for Fluorides, Hydrogen Fluoride, and Fluorine, released by the US Department of Health and Human Services in September of 2003, Fluorides in high exposure over the long term can produce several abnormalities in the body. Studies suggest that Fluoride can lead to respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hematological (relating to blood cells), endocrine, neurological, reproductive, developmental, and most commonly, musculoskeletal effects (US DHHS). The typical health conditions observed are dental and/or skeletal fluorosis, where the deposit areas become more dense and thus brittle as the fluoride mineralizes, decreased IQ through high exposure over long term or during developmental stages of growth, upset stomach and vomiting

from short term high quantity ingestion (in extreme cases, death), lower red and higher white blood cell counts, and supported possibility of increased risk of cancer at a number of contacted sites in the body (US DHHS). All of these suggested health hazards have been ignored by mainstream media, while promotion for use in the mainstream media has blossomed, all in the name of reducing tooth decay in the masses. Wesley East, Senior Operator at the water treatment facility at the University of New Hampshire, was able to provide a perspective in favor of fluoridation during an interview I conducted. [Fluoride] prevents tooth decay. Theres no question. It does help prevent tooth decay. Also, on the side of your orthodontist, or your dentist, the health of teeth has become extremely prominent in the health of the human body (East). Later in the interview, Mr. East went on to discuss his understanding of the problems caused by fluoridation, specifically the minimal effects of dental fluorosis: Water in general has become more widely fluoridated. Manufacturing processes, particularly [of] food products [and] beverages use fluoridated water, plus, some of these manufacturers add fluoride also, on top of that. Between us, and the manufacturers, were actually starting to overdose people on fluoride, and youll start to see it in their teeth, where theyll have white spots, or black spots depending on the amount of fluoride. (East) Clearly, even the people involved in fluoridating the water supplies for our towns and cities are aware of some of the negative side effects of fluoridation, but it became evident to me that people such as Mr. East do not currently know enough to make the decision to end fluoridation. The continuation of this practice of mandatory medication in the United States is built on the sole belief that fluoride stops tooth decay. That one, single argument stands strongly against rebuttals

arguing the constitutionality and ethical aspects of adding a medicinal chemical to the public water supply without informed consent. That one benefit apparently far outweighs the staggeringly long list of health hazards and risks, and is, as some must argue, worth the treading upon legalities concerning civil rights. Why cant this issue be corrected in the court systems? I believe it may be because of a lack of public information on the matter; such is my purpose of educating. According to Warren and Levy (2003) in Dental Clinics of North America, Current evidence strongly suggests that fluoride works to benefit teeth primarily by topical means, through direct action on the teeth and dental plaque. Thus ingestion of fluoride is not essential for caries prevention (Fluoride and Tooth Decay: Topical Vs Systemic Effects). With that said, in theory, water fluoridation could be ceased, and people world-wide could still use anticavity toothpaste and avoid developing dental caries, correct? Well, blame Canada, but even as far back as 1999, an updated Federal-Provincial Sub-committee Report by Dr. David Locker for the Ontario Ministry of Health stated that The magnitude of the effect is not large in absolute terms, is often not statistically significant and may not be of clinical significance (Locker). Canada is currently in a situation similar to that of the United States, where many municipal water sources are fluoridated, although in a few major cities including Calgary City, Alberta, the treatment has been outlawed. Their progress is slow, though greater than the United States to date. Just to keep a score of what has been discussed, were now talking about fluoride as an industrial byproduct and chemical waste, as a mandatory medication of the masses through treated drinking water and processed foods and beverages, as a toxic compound in the human body, that now, hasnt been proven to show significant benefit in the one area for which its use is

legitimized. If youre not yet scratching your head at all of this, you should likely seek professional mental help. The arguments against the fluoridation of water (and ingestion/use of fluorides at all, for that matter) are numerous, and certainly well founded, while the claims for the use of fluoride by the ADHA itself are seriously lacking any scientific consistency or credibility. I suggest that you do read the page that is published on the ADHA website for fluoride, so you may see for yourself exactly how weak the defense of its use is, yet still, amazingly, it stands in this country. To me, this is utterly amazing. One would assume that the mainstream media would love a juicy conspiracy theory such as this but as this story has been so tightly held below the radar of public affairs, it makes me wonder, just why? Take as premise, that fluoride hypothetically does prevent tooth decay, in undeniable presentation, and that there is no reasonable doubt that it works - why, unlike any other medication, is it permissibly added to our drinking water, leaving no alternative to people such as myself who would conscientiously abstain from using fluoride, but to drink it anyway? In a country where health care is privatized, and each free and individual citizen allegedly has the ultimate decision in the health care they receive, why is there no readily available source of drinking water that I may consume in order to survive, that does not contain fluoride? Fluoridation is not a federal law; in fact, according to the theory that democracy is government of the people, by the people, and for the people, I actually elected to have fluoride added to my drinking water. Fluoridation is passed through votes on the town or state level in all but thirteen states, where it is mandated by law ("Fluoridation: Mandatory State Laws in the U.S."). With that said, there are thirty seven states where fluoridation must be passed through a vote in state or town legislature, and therefore, thirty seven states where an informed voting body would be more likely to vote for choice on fluoride. Those people may, with relevant and

impartial information on the matter, make a decision that the medication should be available to those who desire it but not mandated for all. These concepts, of enabling voters to make educated-decisions, embody the purpose and ultimate goal of my pursuits here. The notion that in the land of the free, especially in the state where its citizens Live Free or Die, you should be able to decide yes or no to fluoride as individuals, with God-given unalienable rights. I implore that you assist me in educating the common men, women, and even children that make up our society on this issue. As members of our citizenry, it is our responsibility to be informed in the dealings of our local governments, and to make informed decisions in those dealings. With that, we have the power to make change for better in our legislature, and can remove or overwrite the policies that promote these mandates on fluoridation. Why is it that here in America the extent to which we must go for a glass of clean, pure, unfluoridated drinking water? Cheers to information, health, and liberty.

9 Works Cited "ADHA - Fluoride Facts." ADHA - Dental Hygienists, Oral Health. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/fluoride_facts.htm>. "Calcium (Ca) and Water." Water Treatment and Purification - Lenntech. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/water/calcium/calcium-and-water.htm>. Connett, Michael. "The Phosphate Fertilizer Industry: An Environmental Overview." Fluoride Action Network. May 2003. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fluoridealert.org/phosphate/overview.htm>. "Dental Fluorosis." Fluoride Action Network. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fluoridealert.org/dental-fluorosis.htm>. East, Wesley. Personal interview. 21 Nov. 2011. "Fluoridation: Mandatory State Laws in the U.S." Fluoride Action Network. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fluoridealert.org/mandatory.html>. "Fluoride and Tooth Decay: Topical Vs Systemic Effects." Fluoride Action Network. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/teeth/caries/topical-systemic.aspx>. "Frequently Asked Questions About Fluoride." Fluoride Action Network. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fluoridealert.org/faqs.aspx>. Groves, Barry. "How Fluoride Harms Rather Than Helps Teeth." Online Nutritional Information and Facts - Second Opinions. 12 Apr. 2006. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.secondopinions.co.uk/fluorideharm.html>. Locker, David. "Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care - Public Information - Ministry Reports - Benefits and Risks of Water Fluoridation : An Update of the 1996 FederalProvincial Sub-committee Report." Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care / Ministre De La Sant Et Des Soins De Longue Dure. 15 Nov. 1999. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/ministry_reports/fluoridation/fluoridation.ht ml>. Shattuck, Anita. "The Flouride Debate | Question 3 | Natural versus Adjusted?" The Flouride Debate | Welcome to the Discussion. Feb. 2001. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fluoridedebate.com/question03.html>. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Fluorides, Hydrogen Fluoride, and Fluorine. Rep. Web. 5 Dec. 2011. <http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp11.pdf>.