The Fluoride Debate

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

HISTORY/
ENVIRONMENT

CENSORSHIP

THE FLUORIDE
DEBATE

BENEFITS
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7
Question 8

ALTERNATIVES
Question 9
Question 10
Question 11
Question 12


SAFETY
Question 13
Question 14

OVERDOSE
Question 15
Question 16
Question 17

DISEASES
Question 18
Question 19
Question 20
Question 21
Question 22
Question 23
Question 24
Question 25
Question 26
Question 27
Question 28
Question 29
Question 30
Question 31
Question 32
Question 33

PUBLIC
POLICY

Question 34
Question 35
Question 36
Question 37
Question 38
Question 39
Question 40

COST
EFFECTIVENESS
Question 41
Question 42
Question 43

CONCLUSION

DISEASES

Question 26.
Is fluoride, as provided by community water fluoridation, a genetic hazard?

ADA's Fluoridation Facts Short Answer
Following a review of generally accepted scientific knowledge, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences supports the conclusion that drinking optimally fluoridated water is not a genetic hazard.96

ADA's Fluoridation Facts Long Answer
Chromosomes are the DNA-containing bodies of cells that are responsible for the determination and transmission of hereditary characteristics. Genes are the functional hereditary unit that occupy a fixed location on a chromosome. Many studies have examined the possible effects of fluoride on chromosome damage. While there are no published studies on the genotoxic (damage to DNA) effect of fluoride in humans, numerous studies have been done on mice.96 These studies have shown no evidence that fluoride damages chromosomes in bone marrow or sperm cells even at fluoride levels 100 times higher than that in fluoridated water.165-171 Another independent group of researchers reported a similar lack of fluoride-induced chromosomal damage to human white blood cells, which are especially sensitive to agents which cause genetic mutations. Not only did fluoride fail to damage chromosomes, it protected them against the effect of a known mutagen (an agent that causes changes in DNA).172, 173 The genotoxic effects of fluoride were also studied in hamster bone marrow cells and cultured hamster ovarian cells. Again, the results supported the conclusion that fluoride does not cause chromosomal damage, and therefore, was not a genetic hazard.174 In further tests, fluoride has not caused genetic mutations in the most widely used bacterial mutagenesis assay (the Ames test) over a wide range of fluoride levels.174-177

Occasional questions arise regarding fluoride's effects on human reproduction, fertility and birth rates. Very high levels of fluoride intake have been associated with adverse effects on reproductive outcomes in many animal species. Based on these findings, it appears that fluoride concentrations associated with adverse reproductive effects in animals are far higher (100-200 ppm) than those to which human populations are exposed. Consequently, there is insufficient scientific basis on which to conclude that ingestion of fluoride at levels found in community water fluoridation (0.7-1.2 ppm) would have adverse effects on human reproduction.96

One human study compared county birth data with county fluoride levels greater than 3 ppm and attempted to show an association between high fluoride levels in drinking water and lower birth rates.178 However, because of serious limitations in design analysis, the investigation failed to demonstrate a positive correlation.179

The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) supports the conclusion that drinking optimally fluoridated water is not a genetic hazard. In a statement summarizing its research, the NRC states, "in vitro data indicate that:

  1. The genotoxicity of fluoride is limited primarily to doses much higher than those to which humans are exposed.
  2. Even at high doses, genotoxic effects are not always observed.
  3. The preponderance of the genotoxic effects that have been reported are of the types that probably are of no or negligible genetic significance."96

The lowest dose of fluoride reported to cause chromosomal changes in mammalian cells was approximately 170 times that found normally found in human cells in areas where drinking water is fluoridated, which indicates a very large margin of safety.96

Repeat of Question 26.
Is fluoride, as provided by community water fluoridation, a genetic hazard?

Opposition's Response

Yes. In Dr. Richard G. Foulkes' conclusion he writes: "Is our future being stolen? Yes. There are many medical problems that can be attributed to the hormone-disrupting chemicals and other substances, including fluoride. Lowered fertility and increased brain dysfunction are two of these for which there is mounting evidence." (See 26-1: "The Fluoride Connection," Fluoride, Vol. 29 No. 4 230-236).

"The biological activity of fluoride is not fully appreciated. It is a cytoplasmic toxin (poison to all cells), interfering with the action of oxidase enzyme systems. The effect of this property on the highly active enzyme system of the developing ovum and the fetus (unborn baby) has not been evaluated." (Colin P. Harrison, M.D., head of Diagnostic laboratory, in the Australian Medical Journal, Dec. 9, 1961.)

"According to Robert J. Carton, an environmental scientist at EPA, the scientific assessment of fluoride's health risks written by the agency in 1985 omits 90% of the literature on mutagenicity, most of which suggests fluoride is a mutagen." (Natick Fluoridation Study Committee Report, dated 9/27/97.)

Melatonin, the main pineal gland hormone now thought to act as a 'body clock,' is inhibited by fluoride causing early onset of sexual maturation in study animals. The mean age of menstruation for girls in fluoridated test city Newburgh, New York, in 1956, was 5 months earlier than non-fluoridated control city, Kingston. Low melatonin levels have been linked to both breast and prostate cancer. (Caries Research, Vol. 28, p. 204, 1994; Journal of American Dental Association, Mar. 1956; Breast Health, Charles Simone, Princeton, onocologist.) (See 26-2: "Newburgh-Kingston-Report" from The Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 52, page 290-325, March 1956.)

"In conclusion, fluoride inhibits pineal gland melatonin synthesis in the immature gerbil. This is associated with an accelerated onset of pubertal development on the female gerbil. If these results can be extrapolated to humans, high plasma-fluoride levels during early childhood may be a contributory factor in the current decline in the age of puberty." (See 26-3: "Effects of Fluoride on the Physiology of the Pineal Gland," by J. Luke, University of Surrey, Guildford, England, from Fluoride, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 129-174, Aug. 1998).

Heifers exposed to 5 ppm fluoride in drinking water during 4 breeding seasons developed anestrus. Calving rates fell to 30% of normal rate. (Van Rensburg and De Vos, Onderstepoort J. Vet. Res., Vol. 33, 185, 194 (1966).)

The Coeur d'Alene Press (Idaho), Jan. 20, 1955, had an advertisement by the Stice Chinchilla Ranch stating: "Chinchillas Not For Sale to residents of Coeur D'Alene. Our own experience has proven that you cannot raise chinchillas with fluoridated water. Our books, and reports prove that you cannot obtain but a fraction of normal production and have healthy animals with fluorine in the water." ("Fluorides, Fluoridation, and One Part per Million," by Harvey Petraborg, M. D., 7/29/64.)

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