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 28.
Does ingestion of optimally fluoridated water have any neurological impact?

ADA's Fluoridation Facts Short Answer
There is no generally accepted scientific knowledge establishing a causal relationship between consumption of optimally fluoridated water and central nervous system disorders, including effects on intelligence.

ADA's Fluoridation Facts Long Answer
There have been claims that exposure to fluoride presents a neurotoxic (harmful or damaging to nerve tissue) risk or lowered intelligence. Such claims are based on a 1995 study in which rats were fed fluoride at levels up to 125 times greater than that found in optimally fluoridated water.187 The study attempted to demonstrate that rats fed extremely high levels of fluoride (75 ppm to 125 ppm in drinking water) showed behavior-specific changes related to cognitive deficits.

In addition, the experiment also studied the offspring of rats who were injected two to three times a day with fluoride during their pregnancies in an effort to show that prenatal exposure resulted in hyperactivity in male offspring.

However, two scientists who reviewed the 1995 study188 have suggested that the observations made can be readily explained by mechanisms that do not involve neurotoxicity. The scientists found inadequacies in experimental design that may have led to invalid conclusions. For example, the results of the experiment were not confirmed by the use of control groups which are an essential feature of test validation and experimental design. In summary the scientists stated, "We do not believe the study by Mullenix et al. can be interpreted in any way as indicating the potential for NaF (sodium fluoride) to be a neurotoxicant." Another reviewer104 noted, " ... it seems more likely that the unusually high brain fluoride concentrations reported in Mullenix et al. were the result of some analytical error."

A seven-year study compared the health and behavior of children from birth through six years of age in communities with optimally fluoridated water with those of children the same age without exposure to optimally fluoridated water. Medical records were reviewed yearly during the study. At age six and seven, child behavior was measured using both maternal and teacher ratings. The results suggested that there was no evidence to indicate that exposure to optimally fluoridated water had any detectable adverse effect on children's health or behavior. These results did not differ even when data was controlled for family social background.189

Repeat of Question 28.
Does ingestion of optimally fluoridated water have any neurological impact?

Opposition's Response

Yes, fluoride can affect the brain. Fluoride is the primary agent in many pharmaceuticals specifically intended to affect brain activity: Prozac (fluoxetene) to inhibit the reuptake of Seratonin, the brain chemical necessary for synapse; Phen-Fen (fenfluramine) the diet drug taken off the market because of heart valve damage (only the fluoride-containing half of Phen-Fen was outlawed); Rohypnol (commonly called "roofies"), recently in the news as the date rape drug; fluoride is the only toxic element in Sarin, the nerve gas (rated 1,500 times more toxic than cyanide) used in the Japanese subway by terrorists and referenced in the Gulf War illnesses; and virtually every general anesthetic contains fluoride.

Medical contraindications for fluoroquinolones include, "They should not be used during pregnancy or breast-feeding because of severe effect on bone growth of the fetus or infant."

The trade-organizations-turned-sales-agents do not describe these uses of fluoride because it accentuates the fact that fluoride is used extensively for purposes other than resisting tooth decay, and that there are a wide array of risks-none of which supports their proposition that fluoride is a "benign element that has no adverse health effects."

Dr. Phyllis Mullenix, former head of toxicology at Forsyth Dental Center in Boston for 11 years, and now a critic of fluoridation, conducted animal studies in the early 1990s. She found that fluoride is a powerful central nervous system toxin and that the human brain could be adversely affected even at low doses. Dr. Mullenix states: "Criticisms of our study by dentists say that our results in rats are not relevant to humans because the doses we used were too high (75-125 ppm NaF in drinking water). These criticisms are without merit because our doses in rats produce a level of fluoride in the plasma equivalent to that found in humans drinking 5-10 ppm fluoride in water, or humans receiving some treatments for osteoporosis. — The fluoride levels in the drinking water of our rats were not high, they were taken from the well known animal model developed for the study of dental fluorosis, a model used repeatedly by dental researchers for several years. — In summary, there are no advantages to water fluoridation today. The risks far exceed the hoped for benefit." (See 28-1: letter by Phyllis J. Mullenix, Ph.D., to Dr. Irwin Kash, June 17, 1999).

Research from China has shown a correlation between exposure to fluoride and diminished IQ in children. (See 28-2: "Effect of a High Fluoride Water Supply on Children's Intelligence," from Fluoride, Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 190-192). But when Dr. Mullenix applied for a grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue her central nervous system research, she was turned down. An NIH panel flatly told her that "fluoride does not have central nervous system effects."

However, a declassified atomic bomb program memo dated April 29, 1944 states clearly that, "clinical evidence suggests that uranium hexafluoride may have a rather marked central nervous system effect." The memo goes on to ask for a series of animal tests to be done on central nervous system effects and says, "this is important not only to protect a given individual, but also to prevent a confused workman from injuring others by improperly performing his duties."

"Be aware that a child's brain is vulnerable to damage from fluoride even before birth and that damage to the central nervous system and resultant low IQ not only robs the individual of the present but steals the future of society itself." (See 28-3: "Fluoride and Brain Damage: A Secret Revealed," by Richard G. Foulkes, BA, MD, from Alive, Canadian Journal of Health and Nutrition, #191, Sept. 1998, pp. 67-68).

"According to Dr. Isaacson's research, the damage from sodium and aluminum fluoride causes irreversible memory loss similar to Alzheimer's Disease. These results could also be translated to behavioral, motor sensory and learning problems. However, reducing the fluoride(s) intake of a child could inhibit further brain damage." (See 28-4: "Third Study Links Fluoride Ingestion to Brain Damage," from Sarasota Eco Report, Vol. 5, No. 12, Dec. 1995, by George Glasser, Journalist).

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