by Theodora Kerry
Where Fluoride Comes From
Fluoride is a generic term to indicate a wide variety of substances
containing the element fluorine. Slightly less toxic than arsenic,
but more toxic than lead, fluorine is the most negatively charged
and most chemically active of all elements on earth, which means
it loves to combine and recombine with other elements in its
path, ever looking for the strongest bond, and reeking havoc
all along the way by creating even more toxic combinations.
Contrary to fluoridationists'
assurances, fluoride is anything but benign, and that's why industry
loves it. How do the industrial, agricultural, pharmaceutical,
and military interests love fluoride? Let us count the ways.
Used to etch glass, ceramics and computer chips; refine petroleum
products, make ceramic materials more porous, inhibit fermentation
in breweries and wineries, polish aluminum, refine metals, and
separate uranium isotopes in the production of nuclear warheads,
fluoride is also a key ingredient in the most widely used insecticides
and pesticides (rat poison), and is used in most general anesthetics,
in many nerve gases (Sarin) and in many psychotropic drugs (Prozac).
But what sounds like a dream lover for industry, is a toxic nightmare
for the rest of us, as industry continually searches for new
places to dispose of its fluoride waste
Up until the 1920's and `30's,
industry didn't have to look far, simply discharging wastes directly
into the air and waterways, causing great harm to anyone and
anything down- stream or downwind, including fish, animals, and
farms. By the 1930's, lawsuits were mounting as more and more
victims understood that their problems were caused by fluoride
poisoning. Not surprisingly, industry's response was focused
on changing the public's perception of fluoride rather than on
stopping their dangerous practices. At this time, the public
understood fluoride to be syn-onymous with rat poison, not healthy
teeth, but this was all about to change!
The Solution to Pollution
Funded by top fluoride-emitters such as the Aluminum Company
of America (Alcoa), new research emerged which claimed to show
a fluoride's supposed benefits. Since many of the fluoride wastes
were being produced by the-Manhattan Project, tire U.S. Military's
program to create the first atomic bomb, various federal agencies
became full parties to this national effort to fool Americans
into bang fools for fluoride. - Formerly classified documents
that scientists and officials from be U.S. War Department, the.
L FDA, the Agriculture and Justice Departments, among others,
met secretly with industry lawyers to plan hoax to legally defeat
those already suing for fluoride injuries. Their, plan would
ultimately include fluoridation,- the dumping of these toxic
wastes in controlled doses into our drinking water, and this
effort was openly led by the U.S. Public Health Service which,
at the time, was under the jurisdiction of Andrew Mellon, the-
founder of Alcoa, and, after 1947, Oscar Ewing, a long-time Alcoa
lawyer. With the help of Edward Bernays, the "father of
public relations", who had made smoking respectable for
women, Americans would soon be convinced that fluoride was safe
for one and all.
The first city in America to
be fluoridated was Newburgh, New York in
1945, chosen by a committee led by members of the Manhattan Project
although their military affiliations were kept secret. Newburgh
was also near the University of Rochester which housed a clandestine
division of the Manhattan Project -to study the health effects
of the special materials, including fluoride, that were used
to make the atomic bomb: (This was the same facility where unsuspecting
patients were injected with radioactive plutonium.) For the next
ten years, blood and tissue samples of Newburgh residents were
sent to the University of Rochester, supposedly to study the
effect on children's teeth, but a classified 198 . report told
the real purpose "to supply evidence -useful in the litigation
arising from an alleged loss of a fruit crop, . . . since excessive
blood fluoride levels were reported in human residents of the
same me. Since the intention of these studies was to defend fluoride-emitters
from damage claims, the military scientists conducting them had
every reason to find fluoride beneficial to the teeth, and harmless
to the rest of the body, at .higher rather than lower doses.
Unfortunately, than Chas become the foundation of what the government,
via dentists and public health officials, tells us about fluoridation.
Fluoride - The Protected
Since the Public Health Service (PHS) endorsed fluoridation in
1950, over 2/3 of our nation's reservoirs have been fluoridated
with sodium fluoride and hydrofluosilicic acid, the waste by-products
of the aluminum and phosphate fertilizer industries. Substances
that would cost these industries millions to store at Class 1
Hazardous Waste Sites, are instead sold to communities at great
profit and dumped into our drinking water. Since there is no
regulatory oversight or standards for these products, they often
contain other wastes, including radionuclides, cadmium, lead,
arsenic, uranium, and mercury. Even worse, there have never been
any controlled clinical studies on how these particular fluoridating
agents react in water systems, let alone, in our bodies, despite
the fact that fluoride is known for its ability to leach copper
and lead from water pipes, as well as combine with all manner
of chemicals, including those used in the water purification
process. Recent research involving children in fluoridated areas
has shown elevated levels of lead in their blood, while other
studies have shown that cooking with fluoridated water in aluminum
pots releases much higher amounts of aluminum into the food or
drink. Since lead-poisoning is associated with higher rates.
of learning disabilities, hyperactivity, and anti-social behavior,
and excess aluminum intake is associated with Alzheimer's Disease,
one would think that the Public Health Service would welcome
these studies, but they don't.
And neither do the administrators
at the Environmental Protection Agency, the ones who set the
standards for drinking water. While fluoride is equal in toxicity
to both lead and arsenic, the EPA s Maximum Contaminant Level
(MCL) for fluoride is 4000 parts per billion (ppb) compared to
15 ppb for lead and 10 ppb for arsenic. It gets worse. Since
its creation in 1972, the EPA has consistently ignored the mounting
evidence against fluoridation, even raising the MCL from 2000
ppb to 4000 ppb in 1985 after a PHS panel of experts recommended
much lower doses because of their concerns about fluoride's effects
on the bones of children, on the heart, on dental fluorosis,
and for the overall lack of scientific data. When a National
Toxicology Program study (ordered by Congress in 1977) clearly
linking cancer to fluoridation was released in 1989, the PHS
and the EPA quickly formed a new commission to review the findings.
In the final report, the evidence of carcinogenicity was systematically
down-graded, leading Dr. William Marcus, then Senior Science
Advisor and Toxicologist in the Office of Drinking Water, to
blow the whistle and release the true findings. His reward for
doing the job he was paid for? The EPA fired him! Although Dr.
Marcus eventually won his suit against the EPA, and was joined
by the rest of his co-workers, the chemists, toxicologists, and
science professionals at the EPA who came out against fluoridation
in 1997, the EPA management still continues to drag its feet
in all matters related to the safety of fluoridation.
Fluoridation Pollutes Our
Meanwhile, 99°k of all fluoridated tap water winds up in
our water ecosystem ensur-ing that our rivers, lakes, and oceans
will also be contaminated with excess fluoride, thus affecting
all life within those systems. There have already been several
studies showing that fluo-ride levels above 200 ppb have lethal
and other adverse effects on fish, and are a contributing factor
in the decrease of salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest.
And, what about food crops irrigated with fluoridated water?
Some plants can synthesize organic fluoride com-pounds like fluoroacetates
which are among the most poisonous substances known. We should
also be concerned about the spreading of sew-age sludge on agricultural
and forested lands especially if it comes from fluoridated areas,
since it will contain even higher concentrations of fluoride
which will then be released into the soil.
Saying No to Fluoridation
Clearly, fluoridation is driven by the needs of industry, not
by concerns for healthy teeth, let alone a healthy environment.
No one sums it up better than Councilman Keith Beier of Escondido
when he made the following statement in 1999 as his fellow council
members debated the issue: "Our water department calculates
that we would be buying more than 33 tons/year of a substance
that can't be given to us for free because it is classified as
a toxic hazardous waste; yet, we are supposed to accept that,
if we pay $0.35/gallon and they slap a new label on the container,
this same toxic waste can be shipped to us untreated, directly
from the scrubber systems of the phosphate fertilizer industry
that they use to keep fluorine from becoming airborne and killing
everything in sight, and that on the truck-ride here it will
magically be converted to a safe and desirable nutrient. The
kicker to this scheme is that the amount intended for the targeted
children is only 16 pounds of that 33 tons." Shortly thereafter,
Escondido joined the long list of cities that have rejected fluoridation.
We hope you will use this information to make that list even
[PART 2 of the article - Questioning
For more information on the
history of fluoridation and its effects on our environment, read
the Earth Island Journal's "Fluorides and the Environment",
and their Winter `97-'98 edition, or visit their website at www.earthisland.org.