The Truth About Mandatory Fluoridation
John R. Lee, MD
9620 Bodega Highway
Sebastopol, CA 95472
April 15, 1995
Several states have passed laws which mandate state-wide fluoridation. A common perception is that fluoridation has been proven to reduce caries rates in children, is without harmful risk, and is cost effective. The many who have not studied the fluoridation problem in depth are often unaware that the pro-fluoridation argument contains a heavy mix of political and economical pressures which seriously distort the scientific validity of these claims. Having extensively researched this subject for the past 25 years, I offer the following facts.
- No study in the past three decades has demonstrated any significant dental benefit from fluoridation. The older historical studies, on which claims of dental benefit are based, are so seriously flawed that most independent researchers conclude they should be ignored. In fact, several recent studies, here and abroad, show that fluoridation is correlated with higher caries rates, rather than lower ones.
- The observed decline in children's caries rates is unrelated to their fluoridation status. That is, the same decline found in fluoridated communities is also found in unfluoridated ones. The causes of this decline may be dietary, improved dental hygiene, acquired immunological resistance to the dental plaque bacteria (Strep mutans), and other factors.
- There has been no study that shows any cost-saving by fluoridation. This claim has been researched by a Rand corporation study and found to be "simply not warranted by available evidence."
- The Public Health Service (PHS) confirms that dental fluorosis occurs in 30% to 60% of children in fluoridated communities and in 10% of those in unfluoridated communities, indicating excessive intake of fluoride from dietary, toothpaste and other sources. This certainly casts doubt on the wisdom of adding even more fluoride via the drinking water. The PHS is, in fact, calling for reduction of fluoride contamination of processed foods and restrictions on the use, in young children, of fluoridated toothpaste.
- National Toxicology Program rodent studies, official human disease surveillance data, and a study by the New Jersey public health department have all confirmed that bone cancer (osteosarcoma) is correlated with fluoride intake, especially among young males. There is no study that refutes this association.
- The National Research Council (NRC) confirmed that seven of nine fracture/fluoride studies found hip fractures directly correlated with fluoridation exposure. The two studies that failed to show this effect involved small populations of women with only a few year's exposure to fluoridation. Despite this, the NRC authors (all long time fluoride advocates) perversely concluded that the evidence was not strong enough to lower the present Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of fluoride. In addition, all U.S. studies of fluoride treatment for osteoporotic women found an increased incidence of hip fracture in treated women compared to untreated controls. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) no longer sanctions fluoride as a treatment for osteoporosis. A more recent study by the University of Bordeaux found an 86% increase in hip fracture risk among individuals 65 years of age and older in communities with water fluoride concentration greater than 0.11 mg/L (ppm) throughout 75 civil parishes in southwestern France.
- The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and all other U.S. health agencies no longer regard fluoride as an essential nutrient. It is an extremely potent enzyme inhibitor with a toxicity rating greater than lead and just a bit less toxic than arsenic. Except for a few trial cities in Spain, fluoridation of public water has been abandoned by all western European countries and by Japan.
The goal of our public water facilities should be to provide water that is as pure and safe as possible and not as a vehicle for universal pharmacologic treatments regardless of age, the health status of the individual, or the presumed benefit, which, in the case of fluoride, is highly questionable, to say the least.