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I still remember my first exposure to the nutty idea. I was reading an anthology of humorist P.J. O’Rourke’s early work from his National Lampoon days. There is was, dripping with satire, a flow chart about how fluoridated water was turning America’s kids into communists. I laughed out loud. I’m sure I was not alone. The thought that fluoridated water was a problem was synonymous with “tin-foil hats.” However, I have to acknowledge facts and those facts are starting to mount on the side of fluoridated tap water being far from harmless.

Earlier this year there was some media coverage about a Harvard University study which demonstrated that children who live in “high fluoridated” areas have “significantly lower” IQ scores than those who live in “low fluoride” areas. Some of the health effects found by the study include:

• Reduction in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
• Damage to your hippocampus
• Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer’s disease)
• Reduction in lipid content
• Damage to purkinje cells
• Exacerbation of lesions induced by iodine deficiency
• Impaired antioxidant defense systems
• Increased uptake of aluminum
• Accumulation of fluoride in your pineal gland

I had only tempered interest when I first heard about the study because I know the first rule of research studies: For each study, there is an equal and opposite study. However, the debate has moved past the ivory towers of academe into a drastic real-world development.

The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled that public fluoridation of water must end in that country within one year because of potential adverse health effects. (The Court’s order is here.) That is bold news which should stir debate in this country — only the debate isn’t happening. Why? I suspect I large part is “The Emperor Has No Clothes” syndrome (what social scientists call pluralistic ignorance) where people are afraid to speak out about something which they perceive might make them look silly to the rest of society, i.e. questioning fluoridated water carries a cultural “tin-foil hat” stigma. Hopefully Harvard University and the State of Israel have cleared the way for us to have a real debate. However, if those two heavy hitters still don’t convince you that we might have been poisoning our own water supply for years, consider the fact that once upon a time many Europeans engaged in the absurdly stupid practice of drinking out of lead and pewter cups. If you find that example too antiquated, consider that around the time we started mass fluoridation of public drinking water was also a time when cigarette ads contained doctor endorsements.(Also here)

So how big a danger is our tap water? What are safe levels of fluoride?  Do we really need fluoride for dental hygiene? (There is evidence to suggest world-wide cavity rates are falling even without fluoride.) I don’ think we know, and don’t think we will know short of there being litigation to help stir a national discussion. It took courageous lawyers to take on Big Tobacco and protect kids from Joe Camel. I don’t see  a national debate about fluoride starting without the same type of moxy from the next generation of lawyers. Any volunteers?


  1. Gravatar for John Murphy

    Men of science have spoken passionately against fluoride and fluoridation. Phillipe Grandjean has remarked on the lack of good studies on fluoride’s affect on the brain. (though we’ve been putting it in the water for 60 years) Dean Burk called it public murder on a grand scale after heading a department at the American Cancer society and studying and working there for 34 years on groundbreaking lifesaving research. Aarvid Caarlson winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in medicine advised the government of Sweden and recommends pharmacologically active substances not be added to the environment. nor medication given to the public instead of the individual. He called it obsolete. "I am opposed to fluoridation because of the overwhelming evidence that fluoridation is not only potentially harmful but has already caused considerable, well-documented harm." Albert Schatz, Ph.D., biochemistry, world-renowned discoverer of streptomycin (Oct., 1999)Toxic waste should not be diluted then dumped into the ground and the waterways (through mopping sprinklers, toilets, baths, and washing) and it certainly shouldn’t be used to grow food, prepare food, be in most beverages and in one of life’s necessities. Most of the world has stopped doing this. More people receive artificially fluoridated water in the United States than the rest of the world combined. It may be good for teeth at 1-3mg per day, but the dosage you get is probably higher. It affects the thyroid, the pineal, the brain, the kidneys, and the bones. There are no studies of fluoride in regards to dermal absorption though when looking at similar issues intake when showering or bathing is often even higher than when drinking. If we drink, eat, brush with, and bathe in fluoride what is our total intake? There are few or no studies on many of these issues, and that is why you are told so frequently that fluoridation is safe. Why are there no studies of this nature after 68 years of fluoridation? This is about more than just teeth. Men of science speak against this, but to find anything for it one must turn to agencies, organizations, and bureaucracies.

    There is fluoride in most food:

    from the USDA

    While daily intake of 1–3 mg of fluoride prevents dental caries, long-term exposure to higher amounts may have deleterious effects on tooth enamel and bone. from the world health organization.

    “according to clinical research, the fluoride dose capable of reducing thyroid function was notably low-just 2-5 mg per day over several months” (Galetti & Joyce 1958) “this dose is well within the range (1.6 to 6.6 mg/day) of what individuals living in fluoridated communities are now estimated to receive on a daily basis.”

    Fluoride is a neurotoxin

    But don’t take my word for it. Read it yourself. It’s out there. If you are only skeptical about that which you are uncertain you are not using skepticism properly. Take out your beliefs and give them an airing out on occasion.

  2. Gravatar for jwillie6

    It is illegal for a doctor or a dentist to force anyone to take a drug or a chemical.

    It should be illegal for the government as well, particularly for the toxic waste fluoride (hydrofluorosilicic acid) which is more poisonous than LEAD and only slightly less poisonous than ARSENIC. It has never been approved by the FDA as safe or effective.

    The public water supply should never have been used to deliver a drug. Once added to the water you cannot control the dose, you cannot control who gets the medicine, no doctor is checking side effects such as individual susceptibly, it is taken for life in every glass of water and it violates individual’s right to informed consent.

    Medical professionals should be ashamed to support such a crude and unethical practice as fluoride which results in cancer, thyroid & pineal gland damage, broken hips from brittle bones, lowered IQ, kidney disease, arthritis and other serious health problems.

    See "Dangerous Health Effects" at

  3. Gravatar for Doug Cross UKCAF
    Doug Cross UKCAF

    The underlying issue raised by water fluoridation- regardless of whether or not it actuallu works - is that administering any pharmacologically active substance to a person with the intent to prevent a disease is an invasive clinical intervention. As such it crosses the line between ‘public health’ and medical practice, and so is completely subject to medicinal law and to the principles of the code of medical ethics.

    Adding ‘fluoride’, in whatever form, to public water supplies is a form of State-imposed compulsory medication. Its continued practice relies utterly on the lie that fluoridated water is not a medicinal product. The public is instinctively, and correctly, aware that this is an invasion of the right to personal autonomy, and on that basis alone it is a thoroughly disreputable practice. For a detailed discussion on this aspect of fluoridation, see my commentary at

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