Opinion: Anti-Fluoride Activists Lack Knowledge
In a recent Lund Report opinion piece, anti-fluoridation activist, Rick North, once again demonstrated the danger to the health of the public created by activists who have neither the education, experience or knowledge to understand a health care issue such as fluoridation.
So, let’s again set the record straight on his repetitious claims:
1. No court of last resort has ever ruled in favor of North’s nonsensical argument that existing fluoride ions in water have suddenly become a “drug.”
2. Myriad substances ingested on a regular basis may be neurotoxic in improper amounts. These include aspartame, salicylate, ethanol, caffeine and nicotine. Why is North not concerned with those neurotoxic cups of coffee, neurotoxic mugs of beer or neurotoxic aspirin?
There is no valid, peer-reviewed scientific evidence that fluoride at the optimal level at which water is fluoridated is “neurotoxic,” as evidenced by North’s inability to provide such.
3. It’s interesting that North attempts to disparage the authoritative opinions of some of the most highly respected health-care organizations in the world, while he relies solely on misinformation gleaned from anti-fluoridationist groups.
The absurdity of his “logic” in so doing is self-evident.
4. North cannot provide one shred of valid evidence of harm from optimally fluoridated water, much less a wealth of such, as he implies there to be. As is the case with most opponents, any such evidence he attempts to provide is misrepresented due to his inability to properly understand or critically evaluate it.
While numerous peer-reviewed studies of fluoridation completely contradict claims of purported “IQ reduction,” North cites one study about the effects of prenatal fluoride exposure on the offspring of pregnant women in non-fluoridated Mexico, which has no applicability to fluoridated water in the U.S. By reading the study, one can easily discern that the limitations cited in the study itself demonstrate its inapplicability to fluoridation. As stated by one of the lead researchers in this study:
a) “As an individual, I am happy to go on the record to say that I continue to support water fluoridation;”
b) “If I were pregnant today, I would consume fluoridated water, and that if I lived in Mexico I would limit my salt intake.”
E. Angeles Martinez Mier, DDS, MSD, PhD, Cariology, Operative Dentistry and Dental Public Health, Indiana University School of Dentistry.
5. As to the report of the 2006 National Research Council committee, its final recommendation was for the fluoride primary MCL to be lowered from 4.0 ppm. The sole reasons cited for this were risk of severe dental fluorosis, bone fracture and skeletal fluorosis, with chronic ingestion of water with a fluoride content of 4.0 ppm. Had this committee concluded any other valid concerns with fluoride at this level, it would have been responsible for stating so and recommending accordingly. It did not.
Additionally, the NRC Committee made no recommendation to lower the secondary MCL of 2.0 ppm. Water is fluoridated at 0.7 ppm. one third this level.
In March of 2013, Dr. John Doull, chair of this 2006 NRC Committee, stated the following:
"I do not believe there is any valid, scientific reason for fearing adverse health conditions from the consumption of water fluoridated at the optimal level.”
John Doull, MD, PhD, Chair of the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council 2006 Committee Report on Fluoride in Drinking Water.
6. The contents of public water supplies are under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency, not the Food and Drug Administration. The EPA strictly mandates safe levels of all of the contents of drinking water, including fluoride. The FDA, on the other hand, regulates the contents of consumable retail products. Contrary to North’s apparent confusion, FDA opinions in regard to substances under its jurisdiction are of no relevance to the contents of public drinking water supplies.
7. While North singles out fluorosilic acid (FSA) about which to irrationally induce fear, there are myriad undiluted, toxic substances routinely added to public water supplies, which are categorized as hazardous materials. When added to water in proper concentrations, highly toxic substances such as chlorine, ammonia, among others, are not harmful to humans, obviously. The same is true for FSA which does not even exist in fluoridated water after it leaves the treatment plant. As clearly demonstrated by peer-reviewed science, once added to water at the plant, FSA immediately releases its fluoride ions and is completely gone after that point. FSA is therefore not ingested by anyone. Its properties are irrelevant.
8. North attempts to equate prescription medications to existing minerals in water. Fluoride is simply an ion that has always existed in water. There is no requirement, or need, for “informed consent” prior to drinking a glass of water. Nor is there any more need for consideration of weight, age, dose, etc., in regard to fluoride in water than there is for any of the other existing minerals in water, or for the numerous substances routinely added to public water supplies. When the maximum amount of a substance which can be ingested falls below the level of adverse effects, then dose, or amount, is of no concern in regard to any such effects. Prior to this threshold being reached from fluoride obtained from water in addition to all other normal sources of fluoride, water toxicity would be the concern, not fluoride.
9. Finally, there is a distinct difference between fluoride having been purportedly “banned” in other countries, versus decisions by countries not to fluoridate water due to various reasons, few, if any, related to concerns with effectiveness or safety.
These reasons include: the logistics of water systems rendering fluoridation are cost-prohibitive, the utilization of fluoridated salt and/or milk programs, the existing water fluoride are already at, or above, the optimal level, and the equal access to comprehensive dental care by all members of respective populations.
Purported quotes from anti-fluoridationists reiterating the same, invalid arguments as can be found on any anti-fluoridationist website, do not constitute countries having “banned fluoridation.”
Steven D. Slott is the communications officer for the American Fluoridation Society and a general dentist in Burlington, North Carolina.