Active Citizen: Fluoridated Water

Should you be concerned?

It’s more toxic than lead, Alar, FD&C Red No. 3, and only slightly less toxic than arsenic—and it’s found in most people’s drinking water.

However, this well-known toxin isn’t in the water by accident. In 1945, U.S. municipalities began treating public water supplies with fluoride compounds in a process called fluoridation. Proponents of fluoridation claim that it’s a low-cost way to vastly improve Americans’ dental health.

In 1992, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 62 percent of the U.S. population connected to public water supplies received fluoridated water. Efforts to fluoridate water in new communities continue—but so does the debate.

Researchers have warned that intake of too much fluoride can cause skeletal and dental fluorosis (severe weakening of the bones, muscles, joints, and tooth enamel), bone fractures, and lethal poisoning. Proponents of fluoridation argue that the amount of fluoride in drinking water supplies is kept well below harmful levels. However, fluoride accumulates in human tissues—and humans ingest fluoride from other sources. Critics say that the combined amount of fluoride from toothpaste, pesticide residues, and fluoridated water may be exposing millions of Americans to potentially toxic levels of fluoride.

Support for fluoridation

Many professional medical and scientific organizations, including the American Dental Association (ADA), endorse fluoridation. Both the CDC and ADA report that fluoride promotes good dental health. In addition to directly inhibiting the production of cavity-causing acids by the bacteria in plaque, fluoride is incorporated into tooth enamel, fortifying it and enabling enamel to repair itself more quickly.

The ADA states that in addition to the prevention of tooth decay, fluoridation “prevents needless infection, pain, suffering, and loss of teeth; improves the quality of life; and saves vast sums of money in dental treatment costs.” The CDC estimates that for every dollar spent on fluoridation, eighty dollars in dental treatment costs are avoided.

Randy Johnson
12/13/2017 7:54:40 AM

Fluoride opponents (FOs) post disingenuous misinformation that has been edited and misrepresented so it is completely contrary to the actual facts and carefully designed to create fear as a motivation to believe it. Specifically: Susan Haeger begins the article with the standard fear-igniting anti-F argument that fluoride ions are TOXIC. The fact is that every substance (even those beneficial or essential) is toxic to humans at high enough exposure levels – chlorine used to disinfect water is used as a chemical weapon. Exposure to vitamins, sodium, iodine, caffeine, aspirin, and even water can be deadly. Fluoridation opponents have been completely unable to prove that drinking optimally fluoridated water is any more harmful than drinking disinfected water or eating a normal meal. Other falsehoods: The EPA employees’ union does not support the anti-F agenda. I checked and the current Senior Vice President stated, “We do not have a public position on fluoridation.” The fluoride compounds used to treat the water are certified by NSF to be safe, and the reported trace amounts of potentially harmful contaminants could only be detected by dosing the chemicals into water at ten times the manufacturers maximum use (nsf[dot]org/newsroom_pdf/NSF_Fact_Sheet_on_Fluoridation.pdf). The 1999 study that allegedly linked fluoridation to increased lead intake was flawed and has never been replicated. Fact: Modern science continues to support fluoridation as a safe and effective public health measure to reduce dental decay in communities. Fact: Because of the current scientific consensus, over 100 recognized national and international science and health organizations (and their many thousands of members) continue to recognize the benefits of fluoridation. These organizations include The WHO, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the American Dental Association. ~> Search on “ada fluoridation facts compendium” and “I like my teeth – what do water fluoridation supporters say?” Fact: There are only a few marginal science/health organizations that accept the anti-F opinions as legitimate. These fringe organizations include the IAOMT which has increased the bottom lines of members by advocating expensive, unnecessary removal and replacement of safe, durable, long-lasting amalgam fillings by employing the same types of scare tactics used in the campaign against fluoridation. Fact: The FAN Professionals Statement to End Water Fluoridation, initiated in 2007 actually proves the outlier status of anti-F opinions. The StEWF had collected about 4,700 signatures worldwide by March, 2015, and by December 2017 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, only: ** 378 dentists worldwide signed the petition. That’s roughly 0.02% of the 1.8 million practicing dentists in the world. ** 581 MDs signed the petition. That’s about 0.005% of the 10-15 million practicing physicians in the world. ** 106 pharmacists signed the petition. That’s approximately 0.005% of the more than 2 million practicing pharmacists world-wide. Those minute percentages don’t even reflect the millions more retired professionals who could have signed the petition if they believed the anti-F propaganda was accurate and legitimate. Fact: Community water fluoridation to reduce the disease of dental decay and protect the health of citizens is no more a form of medication than drinking water disinfection to reduce other diseases and protect the health of citizens. Fact: In order to change the scientific consensus, legitimate scientific evidence must be presented. For over 70 years, FOs have been completely unable to provide a single confirmed, convincing, legitimate, reproducible, scientific study to support their claims that drinking optimally fluoridated water is ineffective or harmful to health. The scientific consensus that fluoridation is safe and effective has not changed. Fact: Because there is no anti-F evidence sufficient to influence conclusions of relevant scientific and health experts, FOs must hijack the democratic process by fabricating “evidence” to try and convince the public that fluoridation is dangerous, unethical and ineffective. Facts: Relevant details in any complicated scientific topic are often extremely complicated. Fear is an exceptionally powerful marketing tool. Fact: FOs exploit the complexity of fluoridation science and the power of fear to drive their anti-science, fear-mongering campaign. FOs try and convince concerned citizens that a beneficial public health measure is actually evil incarnate. A primary argument is that representatives of all supporting science/health organizations are either too stupid or incompetent to understand and recognize what FOs claim are obvious dangers of fluoridation or all these professionals actually understand the issue but simply don’t care about the alleged havoc fluoridation is causing to the health of their families and fellow citizens. Fact: All alleged “evidence” presented by FOs which is used in their attempts to influence public opinions has been carefully evaluated and dismissed by mainstream scientific & health communities. When presented 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 be suggestion of a possible correlation without proper adjustment for other potential causes, and they are proof of nothing; 5) The study will be unrepeatable &/or 6) The claim will be a complete fabrication. Bottom line: What makes more sense when trying to understand a complex scientific subject with over 70 years of scientific evidence and thousands of studies? 1) Believe the conclusions of the majority of relevant science and health experts that fluoridation is a safe and effective public health measure. 2) Believe claims from an extremely vocal group of activists who represent a small fraction of a percent of health and science professionals and employ unsupportable, fear-laced propaganda to scare the public into opposing a safe and effective public health measure. Instead of going to anti-F propaganda for an edited/fabricated version of "evidence" regarding fluoridation try to understand why nearly all scientists and health professionals continue to support fluoridation. Search: ~> WHO 2016 Fluoride and Oral Health ~> CDC Community Water Fluoridation ~> I Like My Teeth Fluoridation ~> ADA Water Fluoridation ~> Open Parachute Fluoride

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