Opinion: Anti-Fluoride Activists Lack Knowledge

Fluoride in water is not a "drug," nor is there any evidence of it being "neurotoxic."

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.

Comments

Really? Lund Report publishes this mish-mash of logical fallacies and lies?

Fluoride is characterized by the FDA as an 'unapproved drug' and by the EPA as a 'water contaminant.' Chemists are more blunt - it is a poison. Dozens of human and hundreds of laboratory studies have found fluoride even in low doses consistent with fluoridation is a neurotoxicant - a brain poison. The effects are subtle, more learning disabilities, mood disorders and an IQ that is a few points lower, but these effects are significant.

But apart from that, fluoridation is an immoral medical mandate and false dilemma.

Fluoride is medically contraindicated for many with inflammatory, immune system, thyroid & kidney disease - so it shouldn't be added to water! If you want to drink it, more power to you, but not the power to assume it is safe for your neighbor with kidney disease, his pregnant wife or their diabetic daughter!

Really? KSpencer posts a mish-mash of logical fallacies and lies!

Fluoridated bottled water is regulated by the FDA as a “Food For Human Consumption”, not an over the counter drug like fluoridated toothpaste rinses, etc. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?f...
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?C...

It is remarkable that only fluoridation opponents (FOs) –– and their anti-science kin –– are unable to tell the difference between a tube of toothpaste with fluoride ion levels at 1,500 ppm and a glass of optimally fluoridated water with fluoride ion levels at 0.7 ppm. Perhaps that’s why you continually, falsely and irresponsibly employ the fluoride=drug and fluoride=poison diversions to distract the public from the fact that FOs have no legitimate evidence to prove their claims.

If you can provide proof that a glass (or bottle) of optimally fluoridated water is characterized by the FDA or any other agency as an ‘unapproved drug’ (or a drug of any kind) there would be something to discuss. Since you can’t, your opinion is nothing but a disingenuous lie. Using your “logic”, disinfection is the addition of a deadly, poisonous chemical weapon to drinking water – how can you possibly support disinfection? Unlike fluorine, disinfection byproducts (DBPs) have no known beneficial health effects. Can you provide studies that prove drinking DBPs are safe for everyone? That’s a common anti-F argument, here I’m substituting DBPs for fluoride.

If you can provide some legitimate proof that any reputable chemist anywhere characterizes drinking optimally fluoridated (any more than they characterize drinking DBPs or other residual contaminants in treated water) as drinking “a poison”, there would be something to discuss. . Since you can’t, your opinion is nothing but a disingenuous logical fallacy.

FOs specialize in misdirection – for example, they completely ignore the fact that it is the dose (or exposure level) that determines whether ingesting a substance is poisonous, beneficial or essential. Drinking water and ingesting vitamins, sodium, iodine, etc. at reasonable levels are essential to health, but these chemicals are poisons when ingested at excessively high doses. Simply calling a substance a poison is irrelevant and absurd.

The fact is, the relevant scientific evidence as evaluated by relevant experts, and accepted by over 100 nationally and internationally recognized science and health organizations, continues to support the over 70-year scientific consensus that drinking optimally fluoridated water (0.7 ppm) is a safe and effective method for reducing dental decay and related health problems in communities.

How do you explain that fact? How do you explain the additional fact that only a handful of outlier organizations publically support the anti-F opinions? I have seen a list of about 13 such organizations which ironically fail to mention two other anti-F supporters; INFOWARS: Alex Jones, "I grew up in Dallas, Texas, drinking sodium fluoridated water. All the scientific studies show my IQ has been reduced by at least 20 points." and Natural News: Mike Adams.

Actually, challenging the current Scientific Consensus (or Expert Consensus) with new, legitimate evidence is a critical element of the scientific method. If fluoridation opponents had legitimate scientific evidence to support their opinions, the consensus would change.
Ethan Siegel: What Does 'Scientific Consensus' Mean?https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/06/24/what-does-scient...
Naomi Oreskes: Why we should trust scientists:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxyQNEVOElU
https://vialogue.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/ted-naomi-oreskes-why-we-shoul...

How do you explain the conclusions of the references below? Since 2000, there have been a number of scientific reviews that have concluded that CWF reduces dental decay, and none of these reviews concluded there were any health risks from drinking optimally fluoridated water, only an increased risk of very mild to mild dental fluorosis. The studies/reviews include:

the 2018 National Toxicity Program fluoride study.
the 2018 study, Water Fluoridation and Dental Caries in U.S. Children and Adolescents;
the 2018 Water Fluoridation Health Monitoring Report for England;
the 2018 study, Contemporary evidence on the effectiveness of water fluoridation in the prevention of childhood caries – Australia;
the 2018 Food Safety Authority of Ireland Fluoride Report;
the 2018 CDC Statement on the Evidence Supporting the Safety and Effectiveness of Community Water Fluoridation
the 2017 Swedish report, Effects of Fluoride in the Drinking Water;
the 2017 National Health and Medical Research Council 2017 Public Statement – Water Fluoridation and Human Health in Australia;
the 2017 EPA Response: Fluoride Chemicals in Drinking Water; TSCA Section 21 Petition;
the 2017 history of public health use of fluorides in caries prevention;
the 2016 World Health Organization report: Fluoride and Oral Health;
the 2016 (update) Best Practice Approach - Community Water Fluoridation - Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors;
the 2016 systematic review of published studies: Does cessation of community water fluoridation lead to an increase in tooth decay?
the 2015 Manual of Dental Practices, Council of European Dentists;
the 2015 U.S. Public Health Service Recommendation for Fluoride Concentration in Drinking Water for the Prevention of Dental Caries; Demonstrates how the scientific consensus changes based on legitimate evidence – not fearmongering.
the 2015 Cochrane Water Fluoridation Review;
the 2015 Health Effects of water Fluoridation - An Evidence Review. Ireland Health Research Board;
the 2014 AAP Clinical Report: Fluoride Use in Caries Prevention in the Primary Care Setting;
the 2014 Royal Society of New Zealand, Health effects of water fluoridation;
the 2013 Congressional Research Service, Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Review of Fluoridation and Regulation Issues;
the 2013 Community Guide Systematic Review, Dental Caries (Cavities): Community Water Fluoridation;
the 2011 SCHER Critical review of any new evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and the fluoridating agents of drinking water;
the 2011 Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document – Fluoride;
the 2007 Dutch Ministry of Health and Welfare and Sports: Economic evaluation of prevention: further evidence;
the 2006 Australian NHMRC systematic review of the efficacy and safety of fluoridation;
the 2000 York, Systematic review of water fluoridation;
the 2000 Community Preventive Services Task Force, Preventing Dental Caries: Community Water Fluoridation

In response, to keep this reasonably short, I’ll concentrate on just a few major fallacies of the writer’s arguments.

One is simply denial, the level of which is striking. Somehow the direct quotes from European governments prohibiting fluoridation (that’s a ban, in any dictionary) are, in the writer’s mind, “purported” and “invalid arguments.”

How clear can the wording be that they believe putting fluoride in water, which they also consider a drug, is unethical? These were precisely my points.

They’re not citing natural fluoride levels, salt or milk. For the record, out of 48 European nations, eight have fluoridated salt and three have fluoridated milk, which is drunk by almost no one. And less than 1% of Europe’s population has naturally fluoridated water at U.S. artificially fluoridated water levels. And logistical problems? I’ve never heard of the Germans and Dutch lacking engineering skills.

The claim that “dose, or amount, is of no concern in regard to any such (adverse) effects” is almost beyond belief. Whether it’s fluorosis, kidney disease or IQ losses, all have been directly linked in a dose-response relationship to fluoride. No one can plausibly dispute, for example, that the more fluoride young children ingest, the greater chance they’ll get fluorosis - and more severe forms of it. These higher levels produce unsightly yellow and brown stains and damage, not protect, teeth.

Finally, there’s the cherry-picking. The NIH – funded study I cited (Bashash et al) directly linked higher fluoride levels in pregnant women’s urine to lower IQ’s in their children. He quotes one researcher associated with the study (she’s not a lead author, as the writer mistakenly says) favoring fluoridation. He doesn’t quote the principal investigator, Howard Hu, who said “This is a very rigorous epidemiology study. You just can’t deny it. It’s directly related to whether fluoride is a risk for the neurodevelopment of children. So, to say it has no relevance to the folks in the U.S. seems disingenuous.”

Nor does he quote CNN, where Dr. Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, “pointed out that it raised significant questions.” Nor Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a pediatrician unaffiliated with the study, quoted in Newsweek saying that “This . . . raises serious concerns about fluoride supplementation in water.” Nor world-renowned Harvard scientist Dr. Philippe Grandjean, author of over 500 studies, who said the study, “along with substantial evidence from other countries, now shows that fluoride toxicity to brain development must be taken seriously.”

Readers can decide for themselves whose credibility is higher, these experts or this writer who’s trying to convince us of this study’s “inapplicability to fluoridation.”

The writer also chided me for only citing the above study for fluoride’s link to IQ loss, while saying that “numerous peer-reviewed studies” contradict this claim. His fluoridationist organization’s link briefly cited six studies on neurotoxicity, only five of which dealt with IQ. (The study cited above, in addition to over 50 more linking fluoride with neurotoxic harm, are conspicuously absent from his website link.

Compare this with the Fluoride Action Network’s extensive, individual analyses of 53 studies (http://fluoridealert.org/studies/brain01/), nearly all of which found fluoride lowering IQ. Compare it also to the exhaustive documentation in the current lawsuit by numerous organizations against the EPA for allowing fluoridation. It cited 61 peer-reviewed human neurotoxicity studies, 57 of which linked fluoride with IQ losses or other mental impairment, several at or slightly higher than typical U.S. water fluoridation levels. (https://www.thelundreport.org/content/epa-petition-end-water-fluoridation)

Again, readers can decide for themselves. Solely based on neurotoxicity studies (let alone all the other health risks), how can fluoridation possibly be declared safe?

I could easily rebut his other arguments, but I think you get the point. I stand by every statement I made and the documentation I provided. It is both absurd and unconscionable to add fluoride to drinking water.

Rick North – When you get a chance, you can address my questions in response to your 9/4/2018 opinion piece in the Lund Report. There is no reason to repeat everything here – there are enough questions in your most recent comment that require answering.
https://www.thelundreport.org/content/opinion-water-fluoridation-emperor...

The quotes from the European countries you mentioned in your 9/4 opinion piece, all listed ethical reasons based on a political/ideological definition of fluoridation as a medication and a subsequent conclusion not to initiate – you listed (and I have seen) no decisions based on specific scientific proof of ineffectiveness or harm. As an example, the 2007 RIVM report, “Economic evaluation of prevention: further evidence” evaluated cost-effective preventive interventions that have not yet been diffused into the Dutch health care system or into a public health setting and concluded, “Fluoridation of drinking water in the Netherlands would probably be cost-saving as the costs of fluoridation will be outweighed by the savings due to reduction of caries. However, people would also run the risk of fluorosis (of aesthetic concern). Although practically feasible, the many objections against fluoridation of drinking water make its implementation rather improbable.”
http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/netherlands-fluoridation.200...

As Dr. Slott described,(#8) the “dose” or amount of exposure to fluoride ions in optimally fluoridated water is regulated in the same manner as the “dose” or amount of exposure to any other regulated chemicals (residual poisonous disinfectants, disinfection byproducts, etc.) in treated drinking water. To suggest that there is (or should be) a different standard for regulating fluoride ion levels (which have a proven health benefit) than there is for regulating disinfection byproducts and other chemicals (which have no health benefits whatever) is irresponsible and absurd. There is no reputable evidence that drinking optimally fluoridated water causes “more severe forms of [dental fluorosis]. These higher levels produce unsightly yellow and brown stains and damage, not protect, teeth.” That claim is irresponsible fear-mongering.

I challenge you to cite one published study that proves drinking water fluoridated at 0.7 ppm has caused ”unsightly yellow and brown stains and damage”. None of the comprehensive reviews I cited in my response to KSpencer even hinted at that conclusion.

You accuse Dr. Slott of cherry-picking, and yet you selected the Bashash, et al. study to highlight which did not assess the effect of drinking fluoridated water on IQ and had some significant limitations while completely ignoring the 2018 NTP study (McPherson, et al.) that examined the effect of fluoride levels in water that the rats were given at 0ppm, 10ppm, and 20ppm (which correlated to fluoride levels in water for humans of the recommended fluoridation level of 0.7ppm and at the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level of 4 ppm). No neurological or health issues were reported. Fluoridation opponents pushed for the study, and now are leaving it on the tree as they cherry pick the rotten fruit on the ground.

There are several discussions and evaluations of the Bashash et al. IQ study and how fluoridation opponents have misrepresented the conclusions and the importance or relevance of any conclusions to community water fluoridation:
https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Public%20Programs/Files/2017_NFAC_Commen...
http://ga.dentalresearchblog.org/?p=2896
https://sciblogs.co.nz/open-parachute/2017/09/22/fluoride-pregnancy-iq/
https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/maternal-urinary-fluoride...
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/water-fluoridation-reduces-iq/

The bottom line is that the 27 reviews and studies referenced in my reply to KSpencer evaluate, explain and summarize the evidence that continues to support the scientific consensus that community water fluoridation is a safe and effective public health measure

The current scientific consensus, based on the an evaluation of the entire 70+ year body of fluoridation evidence, is the reason over 100 national and international science and health organizations (and their hundreds of thousands of members) continue to publically recognize the benefits of fluoridation. These organizations include: The World Health Organization which represents 191 countries, the British Dental Association (around 22,000 members), the British Medical Association (over 156,000 members), the Irish Dental Association (over 1,800 members), the American Dental Association (over 114,000 members), the American Medical Association (over 200,000 members), the American Academy of Pediatrics (around 64,000 members), the Canadian Dental Association (over 16,000 members), the Canadian Medical Association (80,000 members), The Australian Dental Association (over 11,000 members), the Australian Medical Association (over 28,000 members), the New Zealand Dental Association (2,026 members), and around 100 other organizations and their members.

How do you explain that fact if your assessment of the evidence is even remotely accurate?

How do you explain the fact that no nationally and internationally recognized science or health organizations support the anti-F opinions that fluoridation is harmful and ineffective?

If the representatives of those health organizations that publically recognize the benefits of fluoridation who have not publically denounced CWF have completely ignored &/or misinterpreted the body of evidence you believe proves CWF to be a dangerous practice and blindly followed each other, how can you possibly trust any of them to be competent in any other areas of their practices?

Can you think of any rational explanations for why a fringe handful of paranoid anti-science activists who claim to have valid conclusive, obvious evidence sufficient to change the fluoridation consensus have failed to do so - for 70 years?

However, that failure to change the scientific consensus does explain why FOs must employ fear-mongering tactics to try and scare the public into accepting their opinions instead of using their alleged wealth of legitimate and conclusive evidence of harm to convince the relevant science and health expert that their conclusions are valid? That is how science evolves.

“Industry has learned that debating the science is much easier and more effective than debating the policy. In field after field, year after year, conclusions that might support regulation are always disputed. Animal data are deemed not relevant, human data not representative, and exposure data not reliable.” - David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, in “Doubt Is Their Product” (2008)

Political endorsements of policy and name calling isn't scientific evidence. The weight of the scientific evidence, especially since 1990 is that fluoridation is harmful to millions of consumers and doesn't do the teeth much good either.

Sadly that doesn't stop fluoridationists from trying to spin it like a team did with this 2017 report on U.S. data that found that children who drank fluoridated tap water had higher blood lead levels, and some or those who did not might have an inconsequential reduction in cavities, without knownig what they drank instead of tap water. 

"...serious health consequences of lead exposure emerge only after years. By contrast, dental caries causes immediate and tangible problems for children’s teeth…” -  Sanders AE, Slade GD. (2017) Blood Lead Levels and Dental Caries in U.S. Children Who Do Not Drink Tap Water. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“When considered at the level of an individual, these effect estimates represent clinical benefits that are either small (1.3 fewer dfs per child) or negligible (0.3 fewer DMFS per child).” - G.D. Slade, W.B. Grider, W.R. Maas, A.E. Sanders. (2018) Water Fluoridation and Dental Caries in U.S. Children and Adolescents. Journal of Dental Research.

 

 

Dr. Steve Levy, lead researcher for the multi-year, multi-million dollar "Iowa Fluoride Study" writes: "Current evidence strongly suggests that fluorides work primarily by topical means through direct action on the teeth and dental plaque. Thus ingestion of fluoride is not essential for caries prevention," ( Dental Clinics of North America, April 2003)

Fluoride, swallowed from water, foods & supplements or absorbed from toothpaste, can create fluorosed (discolored) and, in severe cases, brittle teeth. "There has been an increase in the prevalence of fluorosis," reports Steven Levy, DDS, Professor, University of Iowa, in the May 2003 Journal of the Canadian Dental Association while cavities in primary teeth are still a problem.

 

"With more severe forms of fluorosis, caries (cavity) risk increases because of pitting and loss of the outer enamel," writes Levy.

"At low levels of chronic exposure such as with optimally fluoridated water, fluoride appears to slightly increase trabecular bone mass ...," writes Levy and Warren. Other researchers report fluoride thickens but weakens bones. 90% of 3-month-olds, Levy studied, consumed over their recommended 0.01 mg daily-fluoride-dose from water, supplements and/or dentifrice. Some babies ingest over 6 mg fluoride daily, above what the Environmental Protection Agency says is safe to avoid crippling skeletal fluorosis.

 

"There is no specific nutritional requirement for fluoride...given the increased prevalence of fluorosis, it may be necessary to revise downward the adequate intake levels for fluoride," write Levy and Warren. "The optimal level of fluoride intake is not known with certainty," writes Levy. "Total fluoride intake is the true fluorosis risk factor However, this is very difficult to quantify," writes Levy who found:

* 77% of soft drinks had fluoride levels greater than 0.60 ppm (or 0.60 mg in approximately one quart)

 * Two ounces daily baby chicken food provides their maximum dose

* Children's specially-flavored toothpaste increases fluoride ingestion

* Soy-based infant formulas deliver more fluoride than milk-based

* Other foods high in fluoride: teas, dry infant cereals, dried chicken, fish and seafood products

* Fluoridated water added to powdered concentrate ups fluorosis risk

* Grape juices, especially white, contain very high fluoride levels

* 42% of all tested juices and juice drinks had fluoride levels greater than 0.6 ppm

* Fluoride supplements are generally not recommended

* Cereals processed in a fluoridated area contained from 3.8 to 6.3 ppm fluoride

Steven Slott and Johnny Johnson, the Butch and Sundance of the fluoridation story, again ride in, this time with their critiques of Rick North’s piece (“Water Fluoridation Is An Emperor Without Clothes,” Sept. 4). Galloping off, they leave a cloud of misinformation, illogical arguments and cheap insinuations.

Examples:

Misinformation — The headline over Slott’s response to North (Sept. 11) states, “Fluoride in water is not a ‘drug,’ nor is there any evidence of it being ‘neurotoxic.’” North clearly establishes fluoride’s designation as a drug and provides extensive evidence of its neurotoxicity.

Illogical argument — In an effort to ridicule, Johnson asks how, if we accept North’s opposition to fluoridation, we can trust any of the fluoridation-endorsing organizations, like the World Health Organization, on any matter. Really? Are we supposed to believe that we have to disagree with every position of an organization because we disagree with one?

Cheap insinuations — Johnson refers to fluoridation critics as “a fringe handful of paranoid anti-science activists.” Really? Are we supposed to believe this description fits over 4,700 medical, dental, scientific and other professionals who have signed on to a statement opposing fluoridation (http://fluoridealert.org/researchers/professionals-statement/)?. Does it fit 2000 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, Arvid Carlsson, among several other Nobel Prize winners? Does it fit Vyvyan Howard, MD, Past President of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, Andy Harris, MD,  past president of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, Theo Colborn, PhD, (dec.) co-author of Our Stolen Future, Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, Peter Montague, PhD, director of the Environmental Health Foundation, consumer advocates Ralph Nader and Erin Brockovich, and Andrew Young, civil rights leader and former ambassador to the UN?  Most of all, does it fit the government leaders of the 172 out of 196 nations in the world that have chosen not to fluoridate?

He overlooks the truth that smearing someone also smears the smearer.

Jack Crowther
Rutland, Vt.

Steven Slott and Johnny Johnson, the Butch and Sundance of the fluoridation story, again ride in, this time with their critiques of Rick North’s piece (“Water Fluoridation Is An Emperor Without Clothes,” Sept. 4). Galloping off, they leave a cloud of misinformation, illogical arguments and cheap insinuations.

Examples:

Misinformation — The headline over Slott’s response to North (Sept. 11) states, “Fluoride in water is not a ‘drug,’ nor is there any evidence of it being ‘neurotoxic.’” North clearly establishes fluoride’s designation as a drug and provides extensive evidence of its neurotoxicity.

Illogical argument — In an effort to ridicule, Johnson asks how, if we accept North’s opposition to fluoridation, we can trust any of the fluoridation-endorsing organizations, like the World Health Organization, on any matter. Really? Are we supposed to believe that we have to disagree with every position of an organization because we disagree with one?

Cheap insinuations — Johnson refers to fluoridation critics as “a fringe handful of paranoid anti-science activists.” Really? Are we supposed to believe this description fits over 4,700 medical, dental, scientific and other professionals who have signed on to a statement opposing fluoridation (http://fluoridealert.org/researchers/professionals-statement/)?. Does it fit 2000 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, Arvid Carlsson, among several other Nobel Prize winners? Does it fit Vyvyan Howard, MD, Past President of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, Andy Harris, MD,  past president of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, Theo Colborn, PhD, (dec.) co-author of Our Stolen Future, Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, Peter Montague, PhD, director of the Environmental Health Foundation, consumer advocates Ralph Nader and Erin Brockovich, and Andrew Young, civil rights leader and former ambassador to the UN?  Most of all, does it fit the government leaders of the 172 out of 196 nations in the world that have chosen not to fluoridate?

He overlooks the truth that smearing someone also smears the smearer.

Jack Crowther
Rutland, Vt.

There have been additional wild accusations by fluoridation opponents (FOs) which employ the same tactics as other anti-science activists (ASAs) like vaccination opponents and disinfectant opponents as demonstrated below.

KSpencer on Fri, 09/14/2018 – You post opinions, frequently out of context, and you try to dodge the fact that the scientific consensus of over 70 years continues to support the conclusion that fluoridation reduces the risk of dental decay (and related health problems) in communities around the world. Because of that consensus over 100 reputable national and international science/health organizations around the world (and their hundreds of thousands of members), continue to publically recognize the benefits of CWF. No such science/health organizations support the anti-F opinions.

You make the absurd claim that “The weight of the scientific evidence” doesn’t support the safety and effectiveness of CWF, and you completely ignore the 27 reviews and studies I listed earlier that confirm the actual scientific consensus as supported by reputable science/health organizations. Every time FOs present a piece of “evidence” they believe supports their opinions, it is obvious that by, the time FOs have presented it to the public, this “evidence” will have one or more of the following characteristics: 1) The study will have nothing to do with drinking optimally fluoridated water (OFW); 2) The study will deal with exposure to fluoride ions at far higher levels than found in OFW; 3) Actual conclusions have been deliberately distorted/misused/misstated to fit anti-F propaganda; 4) Conclusions will only suggest a possible correlation without proper adjustment for other potential causes, and they are proof of nothing; 5) The study will be unrepeatable; 6) the study will be demonstrably flawed &/or 7) The claim will be a complete fabrication. That is why there are no reputable science/health organizations that support the anti-F opinions.

What on earth does your Sanders, Slade “Blood Lead Levels…” study have to do with any alleged claims about harm from CWF? Provide a specific citation in context from the paper in which the authors state that the optimal levels of fluoride ions (which were responsible for the reported lower levels of dental caries) caused the elevated blood lead levels. A 2006 study by Macek, et al., “Blood Lead Concentrations in Children and Method of Water Fluoridation in the United States, 1988–1994” concluded, “Given these findings, our analyses, though not definitive, do not support concerns that silicofluorides in community water systems cause higher PbB concentrations in children. Current evidence does not provide a basis for changing water fluoridation practices, which have a clear public health benefit.” The Slade, et al. study you referenced, ‘Water Fluoridation and Dental Caries..’ actually concluded, “These findings confirm a substantial caries-preventive benefit of CWF for U.S. children and that the benefit is most pronounced in primary teeth.” FOs spin content to make it seem as though decay prevention is irrelevant, but the references provided earlier prove otherwise. It is extremely disheartening that FOs don’t care about embracing all measures that reduce dental decay.

FOs don’t understand a basic (but critical) scientific concept that demonstrating a correlation does not constitute proof of causation. Because they have no proof that CWF causes any health issues, they try and argue that a correlation, regardless of how tenuous, is sufficient to prove harm.
https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation
https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki...

nyscof on Fri, 09/14/2018 – Your attempt to uses Dr. Levy’s statements to support your opinions highlight:
1) the fact that FOs don’t understand the difference between the words primarily and exclusively. Read the 2016 World Health Organization report, Fluoride and Oral Health, to obtain some badly needed information about fluoridation you seem to be lacking: “Fluoride is effective at controlling caries because it acts in several different ways. When present in dental plaque and saliva, it delays the demineralization and promotes the remineralization of incipient enamel lesions, a healing process before cavities become established. Fluoride also interferes with glycolysis, the process by which cariogenic bacteria metabolize sugars to produce acid. In higher concentrations, it has a bactericidal action on cariogenic and other bacteria. Studies suggest that, when fluoride is ingested during the period of tooth development, it makes teeth more resistant to subsequent caries development. Fluoridated water also has a significant topical effect in addition to its systemic effect (Hardwick et al., 1982). It is well known that salivary and plaque fluoride (F) concentrations are directly related to the F concentration in drinking water. This versatility of action adds to fluoride’s value in caries prevention. Aiding remineralization is likely to be fluoride’s most important action.”

2) the disingenuous way FOs use a statement completely out of context in an attempt to provide authoritative support for your opinions.

In fact the 2003 CDA article you referenced by Steven Levy, et a., concluded “Water fluoridation and use of fluoride dentifrice are the most efficient and cost-effective ways to prevent dental caries; other modalities should be targeted toward high-risk individuals.” and “There is little evidence that the severity of fluorosis has been increasing in recent years.” There was absolutely no reference, as you suggested, to the study concluding CWF contributed in any way to “fluorosed (discolored) and, in severe cases, brittle teeth.” as you implied. All experts recognize that CWF can slightly increase the risk of very mild to mild dental fluorosis, but no legitimate expert has ever claimed drinking CWF causes severe cases of dental fluorosis or brittle teeth – you are simply fear-mongering and trying to hijack a reputable authority in the process – completely disreputable tactics.

Jack Crowther on Sat, 09/15/2018 – As noted above and described here, the “cloud of misinformation, illogical arguments” bellows up all along the trail of FOs.

Misinformation — North, never proved CWF is a drug nor provided any evidence that CWF is neurotoxic – you are simply restating unsupportable claims. If you have any evidence to prove CWF is a drug provide it. The FDA regulates fluoridated bottled water as a “Food For Human Consumption”, not a drug. Simply calling a water treatment method a drug does not make it so.

In North’s reply to Dr. Slott’s critique of his claims he exploits a typical tactic of FOs – quoting only part of a statement (out of context) to give a completely false spin to the statement. Specifically – Dr. Slott’s quote with North’s extraction highlighted, “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.” The “dose” of fluoride ions is controlled in exactly the same way as exposure to disinfection byproducts and other residual chemicals in tap water as I described in my reply to North’s comment. FOs don’t care because the truth disrupts their attempts to scare and scam the public into accepting their misrepresentations of the evidence.

Simply claiming labeling fluoride a neurotoxin and demanding it be kept out of water is the same tactic as claiming disinfectants and disinfection byproducts are deadly poisons (which they are at high exposure levels) so disinfection should be halted. Simply claiming CWF (exposure levels of fluoride ions far below levels proven to cause harm) is neurotoxic does not make it so, as apparently believed by FOs. Provide specific citations and author quotes in context to prove those claims.

In any case, trying to label fluoridation mass medication is as irrelevant as trying to label disinfection mass poisoning with a recognized chemical weapon. If a public health measure is effective at protecting the health of citizens, and the benefits far outweigh the risks (like vaccination, disinfection, fluoridation), only someone who doesn’t care about public health would argue that they be abandoned or care how the treatment methods were defined.

Illogical argument — I will try to explain the logic again with a hypothetical example. If ant-F opposition to CWF was actually supported by the scientific consensus, which was based on an accurate evaluation and interpretation of the 70-year body of scientific evidence that CWF was ineffective, dangerous to health and caused everything from cancer to diabetes, yet all mainstream science and health organizations ignored the evidence (and the scientific consensus) and continued to publically support the practice (and their hundreds of thousands of members didn’t mutiny), how could you possibly trust any other evidence-based conclusions made by those organizations or their lemming-members blindly following policy without question – I certainly wouldn’t.

Now, examine reality: The benefits and effectiveness of CWF for protecting the health of citizens are actually supported by the scientific consensus, which is based on an accurate evaluation and interpretation of the 70-year body of scientific evidence. All mainstream science and health organizations accept the evidence and continued to publically support the practice, and their hundreds of thousands of members accept the science and have not mutinied. I have never seen FOs present a logical explanation to explain why mainstream scientists and health professionals continue to support CWF if the anti-F arguments have any legitimacy whatever.

As noted in my response to KSpencer, FOs continually try to divert attention from the fact that fluoridation opponents are “a fringe handful of ASAs” because of the facts that:
(1) Over 100 national and international science and health organizations (and their hundreds of thousands of members) continue to recognize the benefits of fluoridation,
(2) There are no recognized science/health organizations that recognize the anti-F opinions as legitimate
(3) Decisions by “government leaders of the 172 out of 196 nations in the world that have chosen not to fluoridate” constitute political decision not a consensus of expert scientists. I have asked North (without success) to provide statements from the 172 government leaders that cite scientific evidence that CWF has been proven harmful.
(4) Fluoridation opponents must distort the evidence to try and scare and scam the public into believing their propaganda is true. Those seem like legitimate and important questions for anyone who believes they have sufficient evidence to change the consensus of experts.
~> http://ilikemyteeth.org/fluoridation/why-fluoride/
~> http://ada.org/en/public-programs/advocating-for-the-public/fluoride-and...

Cheap insinuations — you ask, “Are we supposed to believe this description fits over 4,700 medical, dental, scientific and other professionals who have signed on to a statement opposing fluoridation?” It is interesting that you use the “FAN Professionals Statement” to try and support your opinion.
In any scientific or health field there are a few fringe outliers who do not accept the scientific consensus because of various, strong personal beliefs. The FAN Professionals Statement to End Water Fluoridation, initiated in 2007, had collected about 4,700 signatures worldwide by March, 2015, and by January 2018 a whoppin’ 4,790 signatures had been collected out of the millions of working and retired medical, dental and scientific professionals in the world. For example:
** 378 dentists worldwide signed the petition (there were 195,722 practicing dentists in the U.S - 2015) - that is less than 0.2% and less than 0.02% of the 1.8 million practicing dentists in the world.
** 581 physicians signed the petition (there were 926,119 professionally active physicians in the U.S – 2016) - that's about 0.06% practicing U.S physicians and 0.005% of the 10-15 million practicing physicians.
** 106 pharmacists signed the petition, 0.04%. of the 297,100 practicing pharmacists in the U.S. – 2014 and 0.005% of the more than 2 million practicing pharmacists world-wide.

These minute percentages don’t even count the thousands of retired professionals who could sign the petition if they believed it to present legitimate claims.

Listing the opinions of some of the fluoridation opponents proves absolutely nothing. I can list the conclusions of far more fluoridation supporters. That is the reason the consensus of the majority of relevant experts (the scientists who have done the research and the experts who evaluated that evidence in the list of references I cited) is critical to understanding the decades of studies on fluoridation that have been conducted.

The bottom line is that FOs do not address specific criticisms of their arguments, and they continue to post the same unsupported opinions without ever providing any confirming evidence to prove their opinions are scientifically accurate or valid. Basically they ignore all evidence that CWF is safe and effective (as confirmed in the list of recent reviews and studies provided), they carefully select and interpret studies and reviews that can be twisted and misrepresented so to non-experts they appear to support the anti-F opinions that fluoridation is harmful and ineffective, and then claim that the public is being either mass medicated or poisoned by CWF.

The strategies of ASAs remind me of the ‘wizard’ behind the drapes frantically trying to divert attention from reality by fabricating an illusion of chaos and shouting “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”. Another strategy is highlighted by the scene in Jungle Book where Kaa claims “I'm not like those so-called fair-weather friends of yours. You can believe in me” then places Mowgli in a trance and instructs him to “Trust in me” in preparation to eating him. Substitute ‘mainstream scientists and health care providers’ for ‘fair-weather friends’ and you will have an excellent description of the deceptive tactics of ASAs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWyCCJ6B2WE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZY8jUuEzJQ

This article explains the tactics of a well-known anti-science activist, “Mercola’s emphasis on rejecting accepted wisdom in favor of questionable guidance is at the heart of his danger; he conditions his fans not to think freely but to swap trust in experts for trust in only him
https://www.theringer.com/2017/1/5/16041098/dr-joseph-mercola-natural-he...

If anyone has actually read this far, I appreciate your interest in the subject. I’ve been away and want to make a few more comments. These are basically the same points I made in the comment section of my own op-ed.

As much as the writer wants to convince you, there is absolutely no consensus fluoridation is safe or effective. There never has been. Scientific, medical and lay opposition has been widespread since the U.S. Public Health Service endorsed it in 1950 with no long-term health studies being done, one of the most ill-advised public health decisions ever made.

And it goes far beyond opposition in the U.S. The best evidence is the statements of European health officials opposing fluoridation (https://fluoridealert.org/content/europe-statements/). These are scientific and medical experts. Several, as I’ve already pointed out (and the writer ignores), are on record citing toxicity or health concerns – Austria, Denmark, France, Czech Republic and Scotland. Obviously, I’m not going to search every country for statements on health risks, any more than the writer will search every one for statements saying fluoridation is safe. Out of 196 nations, 172 have no fluoridation, either through a nationwide ban or independent decisions of tens of thousands of cities unanimously rejecting it or simply dismissing it as a non-issue. Out of all the reasons cited for rejecting fluoridation, including cost, ineffectiveness, environmental and health risks, the one most cited is how inappropriate putting any drug into drinking water is – the very point of my article.

I strongly recommend readers check out the Fluoride Action Network’s website at www.fluoridealert.org. For researchers, it has one of the largest databases of scientific studies in the world (http://fluoridealert.org/researchers/). For everyone, it has a section on the over 4,700 professionals who have signed a statement opposing fluoridation (http://fluoridealert.org/researchers/professionals-statement/), including the names and positions of worldwide leaders, including three of the 12 scientists on the committee producing the 2006 National Research Council report. For a very long list of opposing individuals and organizations, see http://fluoridealert.org/issues/water/opposed/. And for a short, enlightening video of medical and scientific professionals explaining the risks of fluoridation in lay-friendly language, see http://fluoridealert.org/fan-tv/prof-perspectives/.

Please check out any website promoting fluoridation to see if it even comes close to the comprehensive, in-depth, fact-based features of FAN. YOU decide.

Finally, the federal judge hearing the lawsuit against the EPA for allowing fluoridation has ruled against EPA’s attempts to dismiss it. Unlike the fluoridationists, he hasn’t disregarded the latest science. The case is proceeding and will go to trial next summer. Stay tuned.

The most disturbing thread running through the writer’s long diatribes, and the main point of the op-ed opposing mine, is that I just don’t have the ability to understand fluoridation and therefore should have no right to have my opinion published. And, by extension, most of you can’t possibly understand it either. You have to rely on authority figures in the government and/or corporations and organizations that follow them to tell you how to think.

Well, sometimes I accept their opinions, sometimes I don’t. I can read. I can reason. And I subscribe to the Precautionary Principle, which fluoridation flouts. These are many of the same authority figures, after all, that previously told us that leaded gas, leaded paint, asbestos, DDT, DES and cigarettes were safe.

In your other comment, you decry anyone writing articles opposing fluoridation of “hacking the democratic process.” The real threat to democracy - and our health - is censoring differing perspectives, preventing them from being heard.

That suppression of independent thought goes way beyond absurd. It’s anti-science. It’s anti-journalism. And it’s really, really dangerous.

Rick North – I addressed your opinion that that there is no scientific consensus that fluoridation is a safe and effective public health measure in my response to your other comments, https://www.thelundreport.org/content/opinion-water-fluoridation-emperor.... The bottom line is that it seems you have no absolutely no concept of what constitutes a scientific consensus. You can read my response to many of your same opinions here: http://www.cyber-nook.com/water/RickNorth.html

A scientific consensus is not political decisions made by other countries (see CED statement); the consensus is not a list of studies carefully selected, interpreted and published by anti-F activists on anti-F websites; the consensus is not listing a bunch of professional fluoridation opponents, their opinions &/or videos (even “a short, ‘enlightening’ video”); the Precautionary Principle applies to unknown situations, not an established consensus; and finally, the consensus has absolutely nothing to do with a federal judge allowing an anti-F lawsuit against the EPA – even if the lawsuit were lost, that would not impact the scientific consensus. The FAN “Professionals Statement” is actually proof that less than 0.01% of relevant professionals publically supported the anti-F opinions – confirming their outlier status.

The 2015 Manual of Dental Practices, Council of European Dentists states, “Approximately 6 million people in the UK receive water in which the fluoride content has been adjusted to the optimum level for dental health of around one part of fluoride per million parts of water, or that has a naturally occurring fluoride level of around this level. This means that around one in ten of the total population of the UK is currently receiving water with a fluoride level that is capable of providing protection against tooth decay.”

https://cedentists.eu/library/eu-manual.html

You keep dodging my questions…
1)
Provide your definition of scientific consensus and what you would consider several specific examples (like vaccination?) – then explain how they differ from the consensus on fluoridation.

2) Explain specifically why all the reviews and studies I listed in my previous comment (link above) which support the scientific consensus should be ignored.

3) Explain why, if there were no scientific consensus that fluoridation was safe and effective (or if there was legitimate evidence to support anti-F opinions) virtually all of the major, respected scientific and health organizations continue to publically recognize the benefits and safety of fluoridation – and their hundreds of thousands of members have not rebelled. Explain why there are no reputable science or health organizations that accept the anti-F opinions as legitimate.

The most disturbing thread running through your long diatribes, and the main point of my comments, is to point out how you (like other fluoridation opponents) try to influence public opinion by your disingenuous misrepresentation of the actual science in an effort to support your strongly held beliefs – yes, that is hacking the democratic process. Democracy depends on an accurately informed public – not on individuals who care deeply about issues (who do not have the training, experience time or desire to carefully evaluate and understand thousands of scientific studies conducted over 70+ years) and have been scammed into accepting anti-science opinions by false, duplicitous fear-mongering.

No one is suppressing your so-called “independent thought” – your opinions are printed. I am, however, dedicated to exposing your anti-science tactics and distortions of the actual evidence which are really, really dangerous.