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 27.
Does drinking optimally fluoridated water cause an increase in the rate of children born with Down Syndrome?

ADA's Fluoridation Facts Short Answer
There is no generally accepted scientific knowledge establishing a relationship between Down Syndrome and the consumption of optimally fluoridated drinking water.

ADA's Fluoridation Facts Long Answer
This question originally arose because of two studies published in 1956 and 1963. Data collected in several Midwest states in 1956 formed the basis for two articles published in French journals, purporting to prove a relationship between fluoride in the water and Down Syndrome.180, 181

Experienced epidemiologists and dental researchers from the National Institute of Dental Research and staff members of the National Institute of Mental Health have found serious shortcomings in the statistical procedures and designs of these two studies. Among the most serious inadequacies is the fact that conclusions were based on the fluoridation status of the communities where the mothers gave birth, rather than the status of the rural areas where many of the women lived during their pregnancies.140 In addition, the number of Down Syndrome cases found in both fluoridated and nonfluoridated communities were much lower than the rates found in many other parts of the United States and the world, thus casting doubt on the validity of findings.

The following paragraphs provide a summary of numerous studies that have been conducted which refute the conclusions of the 1956 studies.

A British physician reviewed vital statistics and records from institutions and school health officers, and talked with public health nurses and others caring for children with Down Syndrome. The findings noted no indication of any relationship between Down Syndrome and the level of fluoride in water consumed by the mothers.182

These findings were confirmed by a detailed study of approximately 2,500 Down Syndrome births in Massachusetts. A rate of 1.5 cases per 1,000 births was found in both fluoridated and nonfluoridated communities, providing strong evidence that fluoridation does not increase the risk of Down Syndrome.183

Another large population-based study with data relating to nearly 1.4 million births showed no association between water fluoridation and the incidence of congenital malformations including Down Syndrome.184

In 1980, a 25-year review of the prevalence of congenital malformations was conducted in Birmingham, England. Although Birmingham initiated fluoridation in 1964, no changes in the prevalence of children born with Down Syndrome occurred since that time.185

A comprehensive study of Down Syndrome births was conducted in 44 U.S. cities over a two-year period. Rates of Down Syndrome were comparable in both fluoridated and nonfluoridated cities.186

Repeat of Question 27.
Does drinking optimally fluoridated water cause an increase in the rate of children born with Down Syndrome?

Opposition's Response

Yes. Dr. Ionel Rapaport, with the Psychiatric Institute at the University of Wisconsin, observed that the amount of fluoride in drinking water was related to the incidence of mongolism, a brain defect characterized by mental and physical retardation. The Rapaport studies covered 7 million people and 340,000 births, and the results were published in the Bulletin of the National Academy of Medicine in France.

Proponents promptly found fault with his findings. Rapaport then ran another study, with their complaints in mind. His first study showed the probability was 50 to 1 that fluoride causes mongolism. Using the preferred method, the probability increased to 1000 to 1.

Proponents always talk about the first study, and ignore the second one. The British survey, upon which proponents rely, is improperly controlled because tea-drinking, fish-eating mothers in the area of England surveyed, even though they live where water contains little or no fluoride, may ingest more fluoride than those who reside in the U.S. where water is naturally high in fluoride. Both tea and fish are naturally high in fluoride. (See 27-1: "New Researches on Mongolism Related to the Disease Producing Role of Fluorine," from Bulletin of National Academy of Medicine, Paris, France, Vol. 143, Nos. from 15 and 16, pp 367-370, 1959).

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First Edition
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