Home > Health > Calgary Falls to Fluoride Fear

Calgary Falls to Fluoride Fear

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

In a huge skeptic fail, the city of Calgary has announced that it will remove fluoride from its water supply.

The move comes after the city council voted 10-3 in favour of stopping the addition of fluoride to the city’s water.

And now, Fluoride Action Network, based in the U.S. but which has spearheaded the anti-fluoride movement in Canada and has succeeded in Waterloo and now Calgary, is moving its fight against reason to London, Ontario.

I live in Calgary now, and I used to go to school in London. Is this a personal attack against me!?

The Fluoride Action Network has a lot of similarities with the anti-vaccine movement. They are claiming that they are “are just pushing for a review that’s badly needed after decades of conventional wisdom.”

Yet the first thing you see on their homepage, in large font: “TAKE ACTION! A Reduction in Fluoride Levels is Not Enough: Tell HHS to End Fluoridation Completely”

As the CBC reports today, the city council acted without any input from Calgary’s citizens:

Earlier in the day, city council considered and rejected by a vote of 8-5 putting the fluoride issue to a plebiscite in the 2013 municipal election.

And this was my favourite quote:

Council also rejected referring the matter to an expert panel.


So the City Council basically said “No, no. We won’t ask an expert. We know what direction the wind is blowing and we will go along with it.”

People are motivated by fear. A couple of months ago there was  this piece in Maclean’s magazine about Canadians reacting to these fear tactics, including fluoride:

the Waterloo regional council voted to stop the 43-year practice of adding fluoride to the municipal drinking water, after two local residents complained that it was making them sick. Forget the fact that the only known side effect from water fluoridation—from too-high fluoride levels, specifically—is something called dental fluorosis, a.k.a. stained teeth, and that the ban was implemented despite strong opposition from the very people who stand to benefit most from the ban, namely, local dentists. Waterloo residents are now revealed as the Birthers of dental hygiene, sticking to their thesis precisely because it is so implausible.

But anti-fluoriders stick to their convictions, saying that it is not the Government’s job to maintain the health of its people, which is a crock. The government is in place to do whats best for its people. They police the streets, they manage public transportation and they plow the roads. If adding a bit of fluoride to the water is in our best interest, why shouldn’t they do it?

Not convinced? You want some science? Well as stated above, the only side effect of excess fluoride is stained teeth.  Fear-mongerers attempt to convince us that fluoride consumption is correlated with bone cancer. But that study was not peer reviewed, and only looked at a small subset of the data. When compared with the entire population, that correlation disappeared. The authors of that study themselves noted that it had serious limitations.

But there are several reviews of actual peer-reviewed research stating that fluoride is perfectly safe at the levels maintained in public water supplies:

  • Water fluoridation. Parnell C, Whelton H, O’Mullane D. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent. 2009 Sep;10(3):141-8. (Conclusion: Water fluoridation, where technically feasible and culturally acceptable, remains a relevant and valid choice as a population measure for the prevention of dental caries.)
  • Systematic review of water fluoridation. McDonagh MS, Whiting PF, Wilson PM, Sutton AJ, Chestnutt I, Cooper J, Misso K, Bradley M, Treasure E, Kleijnen J.BMJ. 2000 Oct 7;321(7265):855-9. (Conclusion: The evidence of a beneficial reduction in caries should be considered together with the increased prevalence of dental fluorosis. There was no clear evidence of other potential adverse effects.)
  • Water fluoridation in Australia. Spencer AJ, Slade GD, Davies M.Community Dent Health. 1996 Sep;13 Suppl 2:27-37. (Conclusion: Community water fluoridation continues to be the most effective and socially equitable measure for caries prevention among all ages by achieving community-wide exposure to the caries preventive effects of fluoride.)
  • Risk-benefit balance in the use of fluoride among young children. Do LG, Spencer AJ. J Dent Res. 2007 Aug;86(8):723-8. (Conclusion: Exposure to fluoridated water was positively associated with fluorosis, but was negatively associated with caries. Using 1000-ppm-F toothpaste (compared with 400- to 550-ppm-F toothpaste) and eating/licking toothpaste were associated with higher risk of fluorosis without additional benefit in caries protection.)
  • An update on fluorides and fluorosis. Levy SM.J Can Dent Assoc. 2003 May;69(5):286-91. (Conclusion: 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.)

Thankfully, residents of London Ontario seem to be approaching the issue with the right amount of skepticism.

“They refer to fluoride as being the equivalent of a poison or a toxin,” said Pollett, London’s top public health official. “These fears are not substantiated but nonetheless they raise concerns in people’s minds.”

Fluoride levels in London water “pose no risk to health,” he added.

London has had fluoride in its water since 1967. It costs about 40 cents per year per Londoner to put it in the system.

In another article written today by Ian Gillespie, his similar feeling about the absurdity of fluoride fears is quite apparent:

When asked about the benefits of adding fluoride to our drinking water, London Coun. Denise Brown said, “If you do any research on the Internet, you’ll find scientists believe there are health risks.”

Yes, that’s right.

And if you do more Internet “research,” you’ll also discover “experts” who argue that aliens hijacked the Voyager 2 spacecraft, Paul McCartney died in a 1966 car crash, Elvis Presley is alive and the Apollo moon landing was a hoax.

C’mon folks. Give your head a shake.

Yes, City Councilors are listening to whatever fringe group is loudest to make their decisions now it seems. They also believe that by doing “research on the internet” (what skeptics like to call ‘attending the University of Google’) they can get accurate and unbiased information.

So if you are a resident of London, please check out the real information about fluoride. Decades of credible research show that it is perfectly safe, over 90 Health organizations all over the world, who routinely review the scientific evidence, all endorse the use of fluoride in water.

The United States Center for Disease Control sees fluoride in public water supply as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of all time.

Since water fluoridation has been around for so long, people forget what happens when you remove it.

“(Officials in) Dorval, Que., took the fluoride out in 2003,” [Dr. Lynn Tomkins, president of the Ontario Dental Association] says. “And the rates of dental decay in pre-schoolers there have doubled. That’s pretty alarming.”

So if you live in Calgary, you might want to start getting better dental coverage. Because fluoridation of water is of course “the most monstrously conceived Communist plot we have ever had to face.”

  1. February 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    IT’s not FEAR

    Misinformation is far reaching and a coordinated effort by the Multi-National big pharma corporations that present as facts the nonsense above – FLUORIDE is a toxic Poison first used in Nazi internment camps on the Jewish population by I.G. FARBIN – Now known as BAYER – I don’t think they real cared about the white or health of the inmates teeth.. Wake up people FLUORIDE is a scam that is poisoning our children – this is the fact – It has been over 20 years since the Government closed the book to researching the Fluoride health hazards – CITY of Calgary knows “Experts” means false information and lies by the hug Multi-National that promotes this social lie that Fluoride is good for you – IT DOESN”T – wake up .

    • February 12, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Thank you for your comment.

      However, I choose to make health decisions based on evidence and reason; not conspiracy theories and non sequiturs.

      If you read those papers I cited in my post, you will see that research has never stopped on the effect of fluoride; it is an ongoing effort and the evidence is consistent: fluoride is effective and poses no health threat.

      Using Nazis in your argument is a classic scare tactic used by conspiracy theorists and a clear instance of Godwin’s Law. Any substance can be toxic in a high enough dose. In fact, even vitamins can be toxic. Have you seen the effects of hypervitaminosis A? It is pretty scary. By your logic, we should all stop eating carrots and other vegetables for fear of overdosing on vitamins.

  2. Alex B.
    February 13, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Great post Ryan. It’s quite sad that uneducated people are so quick to jump on conclusion, as you said due to fear. Same thing happened with the vaccines. One incredibly faulty, scientific paper full of inaccuracies, caused thousands of parents to say no to vaccines for their children, which has resulted in the death of some of those children, and the reintroduction of some diseases on the North American continent.

  3. Stephen Peckham
    February 14, 2011 at 3:49 am

    I also wish to make judgements based on evidence and research relating to my and others health. As you will know Cohcrane himself said that public health interventions should be based on teh best possible evidence and this is clearly not the case with water fluoridation. Unfortunately simply quoting selected extracts from the York Review and others is not enough. The authors of the York Review have argued that the evidence is not strong enough to support public policy on water fluoridation. You neglect to mention the National Research Council review which is one of the reasons that the USA is reviewing its fluoride levels and the more recent European Scientific Committee on health and Environmental Risk who have, in their interim report, concluded that that as ‘water fluoridation is a crude and rather ineffective form of systemic fluoride treatment to prevent dental caries without a detectable threshold for dental and bone damage‘. and that ‘There is no obvious advantage in favour of water fluoridation compared to topical application which is the most effective method for prevention of tooth decay’. In fact the committee in its preliminary opinion, and based on its expert judgment, did not find convincing evidence in the literature to support the need to fluoridate drinking water. Water fluoridation is different to vaccination as scientific concerns about adding fluoride, and in particular, hexafluorosilicic acid, to drinking water have existed since the 1940s.

    Water fluoridation is an example of where belief systems seem to drive both research and professional views. Once dental public health ‘experts’ are removed from reviewing the evidence researchers and scientists seem much more cautious and concerned about the effects of water fluoridation.

    • February 14, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Hi Stephen, thanks for your comment, but I have a few responses:

      1. I don’t cite the York review in my list of references. In fact, only one of the papers I cite appears in the citations in the York review. I always do my own literature searches.

      2. You mention the National Research Council’s review on fluoridation. When I did a Google search for the document, the first site that came up was the Fluoride Action Network’s website. Whomever does their search engine optimization (read ‘google bombing’) is very good at their job. So I did a little more searching to find the original source.

      You neglect to mention this quote from the actual document (available here) which states: “The report does not examine artificially fluoridated water, which contains much less fluoride.” So you are misrepresenting the conclusions of the report, which does not study the effects of fluoride at the dose levels in artifically fluoridated drinking water.

      3. You mention the European Scientific Committee on health and Environmental Risk and give a quote from their report. Again, when I searched for that document I got the Fluoride Action Network as the first hit (hmm….).

      But the quote you give appears nowhere in the document. I actually read it from the National Health Federation website, an independent organization which also seems to spout anti-vaccine nonsense. They took one sentence from the report (which was referring to a single study) and painted it as the conclusion of the report. The actual sentence they are referring to states: “In the 1970s, fluoridation of community drinking water, aimed at a particular section of the population, namely children, was a crude but useful public health measure of systemic fluoride treatment, however, the caries preventive effect of systemic fluoride treatment is rather poor (Ismael and Hasson, 2008).”

      In fact, the document states in the abstract that, after looking at all the evidence:

      An advantage in favour of water fluoridation is that caries prevention will reach disadvantaged children from the lower socioeconomic groups. In several environmental scenarios it was found that fluoridation of drinking water did not add any risk to the organisms in the environment, and thus that the added risk of drinking water fluoridation to the environment has to be considered negligible.”

      It is important to look at the entirety of these reports, not selected passages taken out of context and paraphrased.

  4. dylan selezinka
    February 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    i think its a good idea to take it out of the water i am dylan selezinka i am doinng a science fair project on floride and why its bad for you so thank you very much for this info

    • stephen.peckham@lshtm.ac.uk
      February 15, 2011 at 11:03 am

      This could get labourious but in response.
      1. Your McDonagh et al reference is the summary paper written by the review authors for the BMJ.
      2. I suggest you read the NRC report and you will see that papers reviewed include those showing adverse effects from 0.9ppm. While they review explicitly addresses 2-4ppm the studies included have lower levels of fluoride.
      3. The SCHER quote was from summary papers given by the committee when I attended their hearing and email correspondence with their adviser. Perhaps what is of more concern is the fact that the committee is worried about levels of fluoride ingestion in children. The environmental aspects of fluoridation need further work but (relevant to my own area) there is evidence that some shellfish absorb and retain fluoride.

      In teh end it is teh question of ingestion that concerns me most. 45% of fluoride is retained in teh body. There is no way of standardising dosage to individuals and we know that water consumption varies between people by as much as six-fold. If 41% (by teeh way the York Review estimated 48%) of 12-15 year olds in the USA have dental fluorsis with 3.5% having the more severe forms (damaging tooth enamel) we should be concerned. And perhaps finally in central Birmingham where fluoridation has been practised for 40+years dental decay rates are rising while in my own community (unfluoridated) rates have been falling for over 15 years.

      • February 16, 2011 at 11:48 am

        You are still taking data out of context in order to make it appear to support your opinion.

        The NRC report may cite references dealing with smaller concentrations of fluoride, but the aim of the report is to study effects of fluoride concentrations due to other sources (runoff etc) which are higher than purposefully fluoridated water supplies to prevent dental caries. It is not a fair or reasonable comparison.

        I will have to take your word for it that you heard that SCHER quote at a hearing and in email correspondence.

        You mention the York review stating the rate of dental fluorosis is 48%. The full quote is:

        The prevalence of fluorosis at a water fluoride level of 1.0 ppm was estimated to be 48% and for fluorosis of aesthetic concern it was 12.5%. At 0.1 ppm the prevalence of fluorosis was found to be 15% and with fluorosis of aesthetic concern 6%.

        So the rate of fluorosis of aesthetic concern was actually much lower and is not an adverse health effect in any case.

        You also mention concern over retention of fluoride. However, there is no solid evidence that fluoride consumption at the levels of artifiically fluoridated water supplies has any adverse health effects such as bone fractures or cancer. Evidence of enamel being damaged by fluoride occurs in regions where fluoride levels are abnormally high, as stated in the NRC report and should not be confused with regions of artificially fluoridated water.

        You mention that in central Birmingham (fluoridated) dental decay rates are rising but in your own (unnamed, non-fluoridated) community they have been falling. It is VERY inadvisable to compare a single community to another single community, particularly with epidemiological data where there are a large number of uncontrolled variables. This is very poor scientific practice and I would advise you to be very careful with these types of comparisons and not use them to draw any sort of conclusions.

        Without quantitative data it is difficult to make conclusions, but it is not surprising that dental decay rates fall everywhere by some amount due to better hygiene products being available. But there is data from the 80s and 90s that water fluoridation was directly related to certain U.K. communities enjoying lower tooth decay rates than other non-fluoridated communities.

        I will concede that in regions where fluoride levels in the water are abnormally high due to pollution or other cause, there may be reason for concern. However, there remains very little evidence that there is any danger in artificially fluoridated water supplies, since the efficacy of fluoride is quite well demonstrated in the literature and the risk of adverse health effects being negligibly small.

  5. Stephen Peckham
    February 17, 2011 at 3:13 am

    Dear Ryan,

    The problem is that in this context we are both only providing partial responses and using quotes and information out of context. For example “the aim of the report is to study effects of fluoride concentrations due to other sources (runoff etc) which are higher than purposefully fluoridated water supplies to prevent dental caries” is clearly a misreading of the report. Unless you are claiming that teh effects of different types of fluoride in water have different effects. You also are not distinguishing vbetween dose and dosage – a common error in discussions of water fluoridation. Some people in communities with 1ppm in drinking water will consume more fluoride than some people in communities where concentrations are 2 or even 4ppm. It all depends on how much water you drink, what the other sources of fluoride are in your diet and other (mainly dental) products. So we know from the US Public Health Agency that in the late 1980s some people consumed over 6mg per day higher than COMA and other authorities suggest is safe. More importantly there is a large body of literature showing that babies and young children may consume well above what are considered safe limits if fed formula milk made with fluoridated water. You may not know that a number of the committee members reviewing the data have since spoken out against adding fluoride to water at any concentration due to concerns about the effects to health.

    I agree about comparing single places (although this is done all the time by the UK government, NHS and the British Fluoridation Society). However, the evidence you cite for showing benefit of fluoridation in the UK is not high quality and this study did not make it into any systematic review and quite rightly so. It compares places irrespective of social deprivation and other potential confounding factors. The source for further information is given as the British Fluoridation Society. I have to say that their information is probably some of the most suspect produced many groups in the fluoridation debate.

    You refer to dental fluorosis. Yes in York the authors refer to aesthetic concern. However this is really not an accurate description of dental fluorosis. Moderate to severe dental fluorosis actually damages the enamel on the teeth. It can require fairly major (and expensive) remedial treatment. The WHO do not treat dental fluorosis as an aesthetic problem and it is acknowledged that dental fluorosis is an indicator of high levels of fluoride in the body. Research in the UK also suggests that young people view such fluorosis as worse than dental decay as the effect is permanent.

    We are clearly going to differ on this issue. Interpreting the evidence here is complex. It is not straight forward that studies clearly show that adding fluoride to water at concentrations of between 0.7 and 1.2ppm is either safe or effective. Research is often of poor quality and there are insufficient human studies. Arguements that the authors of the York Review have been making for a decade now. Toxicologists seem to more clear about this arguing generally that fluoride should not be added to water supplies as the margin of safety is not sufficent and does not reflect normal approaches to applying such margins of safety.

  6. chris whitford
    February 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    hi i like florie out of water

  7. February 25, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I grew up on a farm in rural Alberta. We had a well as our water source and it NATURALLY contained fluoride. Enough of it that the family dentist gave me a pass to skip the rounds of dental hygenists making children swish with flouride in elementary school. I have never had a cavity, slight tooth discoloration but that was remedied with whitening toothpaste, which oddly enough also contains fluoride ;)

    I would say for the sake of where the water may end up, lakes, rivers, ponds, that fluoride-free water would be better for wildlife. Smaller critters than humans will feel the toxic effects (if any) faster due to a smaller body mass.

    Google “fluoride water” and you will find more crazy people than anything else. I tried to get some quick facts about the fluoride in my well on the farm, like from a geology department or maybe the U of A – I hit a wall of fear mongers instead.

    • Gretta
      March 18, 2011 at 2:05 am

      I listened to one of these crazy “fluoride haters” and stopped using all fluoride for two yrs. Geuss what happened? Had four molars yanked due to them rotting and being demineralized! My dentist was not pleased I gave up fluoride and allowed my teeth to get in this bad of shape. He prescribed a gel for me to use nightly and a week later the bleeding gums had stopped(from periodontal desease). When fluoride makes me sick, then I will believe it. For now, skipping it has done me more harm then good. Having LUPUS, if fluoride is that bad, my water should have made me crippled. And I also raise fish in it which grow like crazy. Can’t believe everything you see on the net. Besides most people have the MINERAL fluoride mixed up with the chemical one.

  8. Tim
    February 25, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Fluoride has been used in the past to keep prisoners docile. Fluoride is a major active ingredient in Prozac.

    To those who firmly believe that the government exists purely to serve and ‘protect’ us, consider that no state in history has ever been contained. Historically, statist systems lead to corruption, imperialism and collapse. If you think that the government plays some sort of benevolent role to take care of us, consider Canada’s national debt:


    What does this mean for our children? Someone has to pay back our lenders. Where will the money come from? The money will have to be paid by the unborn, and if they refuse to pay for our generation’s ignorance… they will be thrown into prison. What if they resist being kidnapped by men in blue and thrown into prison (i.e. what if they use self defence)? If the unborn fight back against paying for our stupidity, they will be shot by police.

    Is this MORAL? Do you realize that our entire system is unethical?

    Of course with fluoride in the water, the unborn are more likely to submit to the coercion of the state.

    Behind all government policies, someone has a gun. If you think that the government knows best, and that the government is a moral institute that cares about your future, then do a bit of research into the prospective future of the USA.

    “Quantitative Easing” — sounds nice, right? Do you know what it means? It means Printing Money. Do you know what the future consequences of printing money are? Have you heard of the collapse of the Deutsche Mark?

    Don’t have faith in the government to be responsible, sustainable or moral. For fuck sakes, look around at what’s happening in the world and wake up.

    For those who are too stupid to make the connection, this video will break government policy down into everyday language. Maybe instead of forcing us to drink fluorinated, the government can pay off some of its debt.


  9. Dorian
    February 28, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Anyone who’s studied in much detail the last 100 years of history regarding government policies regarding public health regulations, is aware that have been some extremely costly mistakes by governments in such cases. Look at the history of the Tar Ponds in Sydney, NS. Also take a look at the story of the Love Canal in New York, for a few current examples. More on the Fluoridation tangent, go read about what happened to the New Jersey (Salem County) Peach farmers in 1944. If you BOTHER to learn about this HISTORY, then you’d see that the cost for a current governing regulatory body to admit that this is an unsafe practice would meet certain political demise. Not to mention the potentially country-bankrupting potential liability. So, that’s why you’re not going to see the WHO or Health Canada say anything other than what they’ve inherited.

    If you’re really worried about not having Fluoridated drinking water, perhaps the city can provide you with drops (they can’t cost much?) and you can take care of yourself. This is how it was done in the early days of general fluoridation.

    Unregulated mandatory dosing of this substance is a violation of our rights. I have a right to drink pure water, as do you in using Reverse Osmosis Purifier or ancient methods of Rainwater Harvesting. I believe that each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what medication we will take.

    Even though you are very certain in your own mind that medicating people with hydrofluorosilicic acid is safe, you still have the right to make decisions only about your own medications–and those of your minor children.

    It is wrong to force people to take medicine they do not want.

    By the way, you’re not going to be deprived of fluoride once the city takes the hydrofluorosilicic acid out of the city water. It will be easy for you to get fluoride in tablets. You’ll have the added benefit of knowing exactly what dose of this medicine you are taking.

    As to you notion that I’m saying I should decide what is in food: I never said that. Indeed, I said exactly the opposite, so I’ll expand on my comment to make it clearer. There are thousands of food choices at my local grocery store. Like everyone else, I choose what I want. I don’t buy anything that has additives or ingredients I don’t want. For example, I don’t buy anything with high fructose corn syrup, but nor do I try to prevent other people from getting HFCS products.

    Additives to food, such as Vitamin D in milk, are simply not in the same category as adding medicine to drinking water. People have a choice in the former situation, but not in the latter.

    Chlorine is used to treat water, not people. My point is about forcing people to take MEDICINE they don’t want. Fluoride is medicine.

  10. justicelamode@hotmail.com
    March 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    That’s crazy, adding fluoride in our water is not good for us! Where have you been?I don’t want fluoride added to my water, we’ve known for a very long time now that it builds up in the body and it is not natural to us. If you want to strengthen your teeth there are better ways to do that.
    You really have to stop being so gullible.

  11. Paul Smith
    March 21, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Thanks to ryan for all the research effort. Here’s a non-scientific, second hand account:

    My father-in-law successfully petitioned the town council of Wolfville NS in the 60’s to add fluoride to its drinking water. He then watched a remarkable transformation in the dental health of children, upclose, working as a dentist for 35 years.

    Ask dentists (most of them retired now) who saw fluoridation come into affect what they saw, before and after. You’ll get a similar story I’ll bet. For all you conspiracy theorists out there – how does this jive with your world view… let me guess… all dentists are nazis paid by big pharma to control us with the prozac affects of flouride.

    As I understand it, the enamel of Teeth (primary and adult) develops mostly before the teeth are even visible, below the gums, so fluoride toothpaste is of little use in preventing dental decay where water supplies are flouride deficient.

    I believe the greatest measure of a society is how it looks after children and the poor. Fluoridated drinking water is a rare example of how good communities accomplish this.

  12. Stephen Peckham
    March 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Paul – I agree that looking after children is a key measure of a good society. Unfortunatelt it is not possible to equate what may have been a good measure in the 60’s with one now. The evidence is very clear on this. There is little if any difference in dental decay between areas that are fluoridated and those that are not. This holds true in a large study in Australia a few years ago and in recent cohort studies in the USA. The key difference (as predeicted by Dean and others in the 30s and 40s) in levels of dental fluorosis but of key concern are both general levels of detal fluorosis in fluoridated communities (between 35 and 54%) and with fluorosis that damages the tooth enamel (between 3 abd 10%). Fluoride makes the enamel brittle and prone to pitting and cracking. For many chuildren this will mean a lifetime of veneers and eventually paying for crowns etc. This is before we get to toxicolgists concerns about internal ingestion. Fluoride has a topical not systemic action and it has to be applied to the enamel. With evdience showing that in fluoridated areas children, especially babies exceeding recommended upper limits we should all be concerned. In my home town rates of decay have fallen by over 50% in the last 10-15 years why is whole community approach that damages some people’s health a good idea?

  13. Hootie McGrudy
    April 18, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Perhaps you haven’t seen the NIDR (National Institute of Dental Research) Fluoridation study from 1986-87. They reviewed 39,207 children aged 5-17 from 84 areas across the US, divided into fluoridated, partially fluoridated and non-fluoridated groups. They found no statisitcally significant difference in the level of tooth decay. 3 other similar studies since have born similar results.

    So, at the very least, we are wasting a lot of money fluoridating our water to no added benefit, nevermind the debate over health effects.

    Now, regarding health effects, I encourage you to look up the NRC (National REsearch Council) 2006 Report on water fluoridation. You can read the full report online for free here: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11571. The data are significant for ill health effects in multiple body systems.
    And yes, they actually consulted experts as you caled for in your article.
    No, let’s get to the morality of it. You say you are ok with the government adding something to the water because they say it is good for us. When I first became a paramedic 20 years ago, one of the first things I learned about administering medications to people was: the right drug, the right dose and the right duration. Supposing fluoride IS the right drug, they have no control over the other three. Public health official’s intention at 1ppm was to effect a dose of 1mg per day. Now, the Department of Health and Human Services’ own data shows that the average person in the US ingests 1.6-6.6mg of fluoride per day from all sources. Ahh… what is the road to hell paved with? What’s that about unintended consequences? It is immoral to mass medicate a population. 1. Some people may not want it (even if the government says it’s good for them) and 2. They cannot control the dose people ingest. Oh, and nevermind that fluoride’s action is topical, i.e. on the surface of the tooth, and not systemic. Drinking it makes absolutely no sense.

    Now, take the DHHS’s own data on the dose range being ingested (1.6-6.6mg/day), and let’s look at the dose of fluoride that was once used as a medication for overactive thyroid: 2-10mg/day. Fluoride was used in this application for good reason: it supresses thyroid function by competing with iodine for absorption in the thyroid. Iodine is needed for proper thyroid function. Is it any wonder that Synthroid and other medications used to treat underactive thyroid are now the 2nd most prescribed class of drugs in the US?

    Now look at other alternatives. Xylotol is one. It is a natural sugar alcohol derived from plants. One of the mechanisms by which fluoride is thought to prevent tooth decay is as an antibacterical against the bacteria that are linked with tooth decay (they break down sugars in food and produce acid that attacks tooth enamel). In one study, they looked at Streptococcus mutans. The xylitol group showed only 9% of children with the presence of S. mutans in their mouths versus the fluoride group with a whopping 48.5% of children with a presence of S. mutans in their mouths. There are also published studies showing xylitol aids in remineralization of tooth enamel.

    If some people feel fluoride is the best, they should be free to choose a fluoride toothpaste or other fluoride products and treatments from their dentist. If some people feel fluoride is a toxin and don’t want it in their body, they should be free to choose that path also. So, debate about health effects of fluoride aside, this is amoral issue that coems down to freedom of choice. I could afford a high quality filtration system to remove fluoride from my water. Not everyone can.

    Oh, and one last note…. in 90% or more of the fluoride applications in the US, the additive is fluorosilicic acid. I confirmed this in my area from published minutes from my county water authority meeting. Fluorosilicic acid (also sometimes called hexafluorosilicic acid) is a waste byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry. Well, you know what they say… the solution to polution is dilution. Mmmmmm…. pour me a glass of that!

  14. Hootie McGrudy
    April 18, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Oh! And you briefly alluded to the level reduction quote on the FAN website. You did so without mentioning the background behind it. The CDC has lowered their ‘optimal’ level from 1ppm to 0.7ppm because of published evidence showing that 41% of adolescents are affected by dental fluorosis, a sure sign that people are over-fluoridated. What happens to teeth also happens to bone by way of skeletal fluorosis. There is a growing body of evidence that many arthritis cases are actually cases of subclinical skeletal fluorosis.

  15. Hootie McGrudy
    April 18, 2011 at 8:15 am

    And one last thing. There is no money in gettign fluoride removed from the water supply. There is only money at stake for proponents of fluoride, who in many cases are backed by suppliers of fluoride. Calgary spends $750,000 per year. My county of less than a million spends about $450,000 per year purchasing fluorosalicic acid. Which side do you think is more motivated to have results in their favor?

  16. Darius Kaszuba
    April 18, 2011 at 10:33 am

    To the author of this: maybe you should do some more research before you spread the propaganda for water flouridation. The key issues are: 1. history of fluorine (where and why was it first used). 2. The process involved in extracting fluorine. 3. How much it cost mining companies to dispose of this toxic substance prior to water fluoridation. 4. The actual effects (medical journals) of fluorine/fluoride on the human body and nervous system.

    Both vaccines and water fluoridation are un-necessary and have many, many ill health effects. I don’t know what has made you think toxic substances are good to our health but my guess is that the brainwashing has succeeded in your case. You should feel proud to live in a city without water fluoridation. Maybe reading up more on the facts might shed some light on this issue for you.

    Water fluoridation was first used in large scale by russians in their concentration camps, not germans. It was used to make the population docile and less likely to revolt. I do not want to be docile, I do not want my children to be docile. Do we not already pump enough toxic substances into our bodies?

    What is this garbage about fear-mongering? This has nothign to do with fear but everything to do with facts. I really hate the ‘fear-mongering’ term being so casually strewn about all over the internet these days as ‘code’ for ignoring important issues.

    • Darius Kaszuba
      April 18, 2011 at 10:44 am

      I could be wrong, i could be right… British have been fluoridating their water probably longer than anybody. We all know they have GREAT teeth.

      I’m not gonna say swishing teeth with fluoridated water does NOT have it’s benefits. I also wouldn’t go so far as to say that ingesting fluoride has no side-effects.

      One thing is for sure… we have toothpaste, which has fluoride in it, we all know not to swallow toothpaste… what is the point of additional fluoride in the drinking water? Does it have any merrit? I think not.

  17. April 25, 2011 at 12:54 am


  18. sean
    May 29, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Let’s say you’re right and fluoride is wonderful for teeth and science proves this. Great, now, hear me out on these entirely rational reasons why we should STILL not fluoridate our tap water:

    First, the fluoride that is used in most city’s tap water is NOT a medical-grade substance, it is industrial waste scrubbed from factory smokestacks. When this substance is released into the atmosphere, it’s a toxin, when it accidentally comes into contact with groundwater, it’s a toxin. But when it’s sold to the city and poured into our drinking water AS IS, it’s suddenly medicine? How does this even make any sense?!

    Second, fluoride has never been conclusively shown been to help in dentistry, but even if it can be argued, it can only have an effect when applied topically as, when ingested, fluoride negatively affects bones and the central nervous system. Conditions include dental fluorosis, increased bone fracture rates, allergic reactions, chronic cough, irritability, inability to concentrate, depression, and even death can result from fluoride ingestion. If anything, we should apply it topically, such as getting it through our toothpaste only, or at the dentist once per year (which we do), but trusting that the tiny bit that swishes past one’s teeth as they drink can be effective is not good science.

    Third, medicine–any medicine–has the potential to react with different people in different ways. If fluoride is a medicine, it should have the status of one. When a doctor prescribes medication, he ensures that the patient is compatible with the substance, and also that the dosage will not cause harm. Some patients react with different medications in adverse ways; NOTHING is safe for everyone. No doctor would indiscriminately prescribe a substance, even aspirin, without first being sure that there were no adverse reactions, so why fluoride? Controlling dose presents an entirely different problem. Certain people, such as athletes and diabetics, consume more water than usual and are at increased risk of damage from fluoride ingestion, whereas others, could (theoretically) not be getting enough. Indiscriminate mass medication at indeterminate dosages is NOT medicine, NOR is it science.

    Fourth, if this blog is about science and reason, you should definitely consider the fact that MORE than 99% of fluoridated tap water gets poured down the drain. The so-called medication gets flushed down the toilet, used for washing dishes and doing laundry, helps to water the lawn, etc, etc. The amount that actually reaches a human being’s teeth is so small that the entire thing is beyond insane from an economic standpoint. The city could, and perhaps should, provide fluoridated bottled water and/or toothpaste as an OPTION to those who would like to continue fluoridation. Not only would cost FAR less money, but it would respect individual rights.

  19. Pete
    June 21, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Why no response to Sean? He’s completely right. It is not ethical to medicate people against their will. In addition, the cost of all the wasted fluoride additives could be redirected toward lower income dentistry supplements, if we’re so worried about society’s teeth. Perhaps free toothpaste and toothbrushes for every child under 5? Fluoridation of water is simply not rational. No other medication would be or has ever been delivered via the drinking water. Vitamin D, which has proven benefits that exceed fluoridation by many times isn’t in there artificially. An increasing number of people use bottled drinking water anyway, so completely miss out on the supply. Please address these issues, and Sean’s.

  20. eflatminor
    August 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    The on-going belief in fluoridation is the actual “skeptic fail” here. Apply your critical judgement to the “science” that is relied upon to promote fluoridation and you will come out better informed. Key points that fluoridation promoters conveniently fail to address:

    1. The fact that the mechanism of action of fluoride is topical and post-eruptive. Why swallow?

    2. The synchronous decline in dental caries experience in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries over the past 6 decades. Fluoridation status has had no bearing on the rate of decline, nor the present incidence of caries in children, according to WHO data. Whatever the cause of the caries decline, it cannot be said that water fluoridation is responsible.

    3. Water fluoridation leaves no adequate margin of safety to protect all people in the population against known and suspected adverse health effects. The NRC report from 2006 gives ample indication of what those adverse health effects are, and also lists the subpopulations most vulnerable to them. Understand that while the NRC did not focus explicitly on the potential health impacts of artificial fluoridation at 1ppm, it reviewed as much toxicological data on fluoride as was available at the time, and many of the studies reviewed used dosages reachable in a fluoridated community, particularly over a lifetime of chronic ingestion and accumulation. The NRC’s conclusions – including recommendations for urgent further research – are completely relevant to the water fluoridation debate. Gaping holes in our understanding of fluoride’s recognised neurotoxicity, for example, remain gaping holes whether the fluoride is in your water at 1ppm or 2ppm. The carcinogenicity of fluoride – demonstrated in animal and molecular studies, as well as a number of human studies – is also of critical relevance, regardless of concentration.

    4. As mentioned by previous readers, the fluoridation chemicals are Schedule 6 and 7 hazardous wastes (see their MSDS for confirmation) and contain a variety of toxic substances aside from the fluoride ion itself. These include arsenic, mercury, cadmium and lead, which are all undisputed neurotoxins. A number of the constituents are also known or suspected human carcinogens. The sad irony is that these chemicals are prohibited from direct release into waterways, due to ecotoxicity. And yet they are permitted to be diluted into our drinking water.

    If you want to drink diluted hazardous waste in order to receive a topical benefit while it’s washing past your teeth, feel free. But have enough respect for others’ intelligence, freedom of choice, and right to refuse medical treatment, to not impose it upon everyone.

  1. February 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm
  2. March 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm

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