COF-COF Journal Fluoridation & Fluoride, September, 19 2012
Clear Water Legacy
For as long as the practice of artificial water fluoridation has been promoted, impartial researchers have warned, and demonstrated by more than 100 animal studies, that even trace amounts of fluoride can cause harm to humans.
Even in a healthy adult, only about half of ingested fluoride is eliminated from the body. Close to 50% will readily seek out areas of high calcium reserve, bond to the calcium in those areas, and remain.
Fluoride is bio-accumulative and is primarily stored in the bones, with lesser amounts in the teeth. The amount of retained fluoride increases with age and intake, and is released back to the bloodstream during the natural life-stage overturning of bones. Stated differently, the fluoride stored in the bones is not entombed. It will re-emerge from stasis to further injure the body.
Fluoride’s effect on the skeletal system is to increase bone density, but in doing so it essentially weakens bone structure. 1 The claim that fluoride strengthens bone is a reversal of scientific fact.
Fluoride has been found to concentrate in the pineal gland, there interfering with the production of melatonin, a vital neurotransmitter regulating many bodily functions. 2
Fluoride from drinking water enters the bloodstream soon after swallowing and is transported throughout the entire body, causing interference and injury to many biological mechanisms.
Unfortunately, the agencies and associations that continue to promote artificial water fluoridation – including Health Canada, the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa), nearly all Provincial Medical Officers of Health, the Canadian Dental Association and most Canadian medical associations – continue to parrot the decades-old message that artificial water fluoridation is ‘safe and effective’; and, by that, they mean safe and effective for all.
Water fluoridation is promoted as if its effects are equal upon all community members. It is promoted as if we are all physiologically the same, cut from the same biological cloth that would make reaction to chemicals predictable. Absurd doesn’t begin to describe such a notion.
There is no concentration of fluoride in drinking water that is safe for all. There is no daily dosage of fluoride that is safe for all. Some people suffer an immediate adverse physical reaction to fluoride in their drinking water. Some will slowly develop fluoride-related medical conditions, or succumb to fluoride-enabled diseases that do not appear to affect others.
Some will be stricken by a disease after many years of drinking fluoridated water and never suspect that fluoride was the root cause.
All of this begs the question, Who are the ‘some’ ?
The 2006 National Research Council of the Academy of Sciences report on Fluoride in Drinking Water designated kidney patients, diabetics, seniors and babies as ‘susceptible sub-populations’ that are especially vulnerable to harm from ingested fluorides. 3
The NRC report paints a clear picture of who the ‘some’ are, and how large their numbers could be.
The ‘safe and effective’ message completely ignores racial, ethnic, and socio-economic differences. There is strong evidence that some ethnic groups suffer disproportionate harm.
Aboriginal, Black, and Hispanic communities are among those groups.
The latest census reports indicate the number of Aboriginal, Black and Hispanic residents in any community. All three groups comprise ‘fluoride-susceptible sub-populations’ in the eyes of the NRC’s fluoride review expert panel.
Fluoride exposure has been linked to:
- cancers 4
- increased bone fracture in both the young and the elderly 5
- calcification (stiffening) of tendons and joints, arthritic symptoms 6
- brain injury producing Alzheimer’s-like symptoms 7
- reduced IQ 8
- attention deficit disorders 9
- enzyme poisoning 10
- hypothyroidism 11
- elevated lead uptake into the bloodstream 12
- depleted immune systems 13
- and an alarming prevalence of dental fluorosis (mottled, discoloured/porous tooth enamel) 14
Health conditions shared by Aboriginal, Black and Hispanic resident populations
The claim of ‘disproportionate harm’ is built upon three common denominators, shared by all three of the aforementioned ethnic groups.
1. All three groups demonstrate high incidence of diabetes. Diabetics often experience excessive thirst, causing them to drink a lot of water. If the water is fluoridated, their daily fluoride dosage can be elevated well over normal exposures.
2. All three groups demonstrate high incidence of kidney disease. Impaired kidneys interfere with the body’s ability to eliminate ingested fluoride via the urine, causing the body to retain more fluoride than would be retained by a healthy individual.
3. All three groups suffer from lactose intolerance. The inability to drink milk forces many to drink greater amounts of water, or resort to reconstituted beverages and juices, most of which are made with fluoridated water.
There is a prevalence of diabetes and kidney disease in Aboriginal communities. Each of these conditions leads to an even greater exposure to fluoride, and greater subsequent injury due to fluoride’s toxic effects. 15
Type 2 diabetes in Native American communities increased dramatically during the second half of the 20th century. Of equal concern is the fact that Type 2, or adult-onset diabetes, is increasingly being discovered in Native American youth. 16
There is a similar prevalence of diabetes and kidney disease in Black communities. 17
Blacks are nearly twice as likely to suffer from diabetes as are whites. 18
Hispanics, too, are nearly twice as likely to suffer from diabetes as are Caucasians. 19
Healthy kidney function should allow an adult to excrete, via urine, approx. 50% of ingested fluoride. 20 The more fluoride retained throughout the body, the greater its damaging effects.
Although Native Americans make up just 1.5 percent of the U.S. population, they have the highest rate of diabetes in the world and one of the highest rates of end stage renal disease (ESRD). 21 ESRD is the last stage (stage five) of chronic kidney disease. It is a stage when dialysis or kidney transplant becomes necessary to survive.
Because Native Americans are more likely to develop diabetes, they are also more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of renal failure. 22
Diabetes-related kidney failure affects a much higher percentage of Black Americans than whites. 23
Black Americans constitute about 29 percent of all patients treated for kidney failure in the U.S., but only about 14 percent of the overall U.S. population. 24
Black Americans also develop kidney failure at an earlier age than white Americans. The mean age for Black Americans at the start of treatment for kidney failure is 56 years, compared with 66 in white Americans. 24
Hispanics, too, are at increased risk of kidney disease. They are grouped in that section of the population that has a high rate of diabetes and/or high blood pressure. 24
Aboriginals are 80 -100 % lactose intolerant. 25
Blacks are 75 % lactose intolerant. 25
Hispanics are 50-80% lactose intolerant. 26
Lactose intolerance will do two things to the afflicted:
- force them to avoid milk, to instead drink greater quantities of fluoridated water and/or fluoridated juices and pop, and
- deprive them of natural sources of dietary calcium ( milk and dairy products ) which tends to bind with free fluoride ion, enabling the body eliminate greater amounts of fluoride in urine and stool.
Lactose intolerance partially explains why dental fluorosis is more apparent, and more severe, in Aboriginal, Black and Hispanic communities.
Dental fluorosis is a degraded condition of the tooth enamel caused by ingesting too much fluoride. Any tooth affected by dental fluorosis is, unmistakably, a damaged tooth.
The degree of damage can range from very mild (barely visible mottled white spotting on teeth), to mild, to moderate and on to severe fluorosis (dark staining, corrosion, pitting, and chipping of the tooth surface or biting edge).
Studies confirm that ethnic groups commonly display the worst stages of dental fluorosis:
- Aboriginals are 80 to 100% lactose intolerant, and very prone to fluorosis. 25
- Hispanics are at higher risk of suffering from the more severe forms of fluorosis. 26
- Dental fluorosis is higher among Blacks. Despite the cavity reducing claims of fluoridation promoters, tooth decay is also higher among Blacks. 27
Skeletal fluorosis / what else do the teeth reveal?
Of great importance in the discussion of dental fluorosis is the fact that the teeth are the windows to the bones. The severity of dental fluorosis is a reliable indicator of the fluoride accumulation and toxicity affecting the skeleton.
Fluoride ions are taken up rapidly by replacing hydroxyl ion in bone, altering the size and the structure of the bone crystals. 28
Teotia and Teotia, in 1971, reported that skeletal fluorosis is not confined only to adults but also afflicts the newborn, infants and children. Skeletal fluorosis may develop within six months of exposure to high intakes of fluoride. 29
Although this paper, to this point, has discussed only dental fluorosis, there is no intent to understate fluoride’s massive impact on the much larger calcium reservoir .. the skeletal system.
Studies show fluoride to be a mutagen, capable of enabling cancers. 4
Dr. Elise Bassin, a Harvard University dental researcher, has established that young males who have consumed fluoridated water since birth have a seven-fold increased risk of developing osteosarcoma, a cancerous (malignant) bone tumor that can develop during the period of rapid growth that occurs in adolescence. Osteosarcoma is a particularly lethal and painful form of cancer. 30
It should come as no surprise that fluoride could generate a cancer in the very place where its deposition is the highest, and where its accumulation only increases with time.
Skeletal fluorosis, and the resultant alteration of bone structure, has also been linked to increases in bone fractures among all ages, and particularly pelvic fractures in the elderly. 31
A Mexican study conducted on children looked at fracture rates among youths in relation to dental fluorosis. The study, led by Alarcon-Herrera, and published in 2001, found that bone fracture rates rose sharply with increasing severity of dental fluorosis, and that the risk was heightened even among children with ‘mild’ fluorosis. 32
To quote the National Research Council’s 2006 fluoride review panel, “Fracture risk and bone strength have been studied in animal models. The weight of evidence indicates that, although fluoride might increase bone volume, there is less strength per unit volume.” 35
Clearly, dental fluorosis points to something more than ‘just a cosmetic dental effect’. In steadfast defiance of many solid, peer-reviewed studies, public health authorities stubbornly maintain that there is no credible evidence that fluoride causes harm to the bone, or to any other bodily tissue. The reality remains that dental fluorosis is a ‘bio-marker of too much fluoride ingestion’.
Emerging Studies linking ethnic groups to diabetes and kidney disease
Research in recent years indicates that many Native Americans are genetically predisposed to diabetes. “Some of the susceptibility genes for diabetes are likely to be specific to certain populations, while others may be more universal, or common to multiple ethnic groups” say researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 33
About 70 percent of Black Americans with non-diabetic forms of kidney disease have the MYH9 gene, and many of them end up on dialysis. The gene predisposes Black Americans to the kidney disease that was thought to stem from high blood pressure.
“The MYH9 gene association in African-American kidney disease is the most powerful genetic cause of a common disease yet discovered,” said Dr. Barry Freedman, professor of internal medicine and nephrology at Wake Forest University, who led a team of researchers in isolating the gene.
“Hispanics or Latinos usually suffer from higher rates of type 2 diabetes .. inadequate nutrition and reduced physical activity in the setting of an increased genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes have contributed to the inexorable rise in metabolic abnormalities in Hispanics in the United States.” 34
The ethnic groups mentioned here bear similarities that leave them disproportionately exposed to ingested fluoride. Some of the harm that comes from fluoride exposure is obvious, and well-established. But, ominously, the advance of modern research continues to implicate fluoride in a host of other bodily injuries, including some of society’s most devastating diseases. 35
For the discussed ethnic groups, being unable to escape high levels of fluoride is only part of the problem. The high group prevalence of diabetes and kidney disease will work against many to slowly shut down their natural ability to purge their bodies of fluoride. In response to unkind genetics, their bodies, to a greater extent than most, will become fluoride repositories. 36
It is this disproportionate accumulation of fluoride that will deliver the disproportionate bodily harm. The practice of water fluoridation fails to adequately assess the unique sensitivities of ethnic communities to the fluoridating chemicals in common use. 37
Health authorities, in particular, fail to acknowledge ethnic group sensitivities when they advise municipalities to maintain an arbitrarily-set ‘optimum concentration’ of fluoride ion in drinking water. But, in that failure, health authorities cannot be described as discriminatory .. their ‘safe and effective’ message does not acknowledge anyone’s unique sensitivities.
Aboriginal, Black and Hispanic leaders are reacting to growing evidence that their community members are more negatively affected by water fluoridation.
In the US, ethnic community leaders are asking hard questions of government and health authorities to learn what was, and is, known about the health effects of water fluoridation. They understandably wonder why ethnic groups appear to suffer more than other population groups. The larger question being asked is, ‘How long have health authorities known that ethnic minorities would fare worse by water fluoridation?’
Atlanta civil rights leaders former US Ambassador Andrew Young and Dr. Gerald Durley have called on top Georgia state legislators to repeal Georgia’s mandatory water fluoridation law. They expressed concerns about issues of fairness and safety, and they seek to investigate evidence of purposeful suppression of information that is not favourable to artificial water fluoridation.
Dr. Durley addressed disproportionate fluoride harm to black citizens’ teeth, and noted that with disproportionate amounts of kidney disease and diabetes in the black community, blacks are more impacted by fluorides.
On July 1, 2011 the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the oldest and largest Latino organization in the US, issued a resolution that stated:
- current science shows that fluoridation chemicals pose increased risk to sensitive subpopulations, including infants, the elderly, diabetics, kidney patients, and people with poor nutritional status
- minority communities are more highly impacted by fluorides as they historically experience more diabetes and kidney disease;
The LULAC resolution summarized by demanding to know why government agencies entrusted with protecting the public health are more protective of the policy of fluoridation than they are of public health. 38
LULAC, justifiably, poses the ultimate question.
About the author:
Sheldon Thomas is the founder of ‘Clear Water Legacy’ (www.clearwaterlegacy.com), and a former Manager of Water Distribution for the City of Hamilton, Ontario.
1. WHO Fluoride in Drinking Water 2006, pg 30, 3.1.2. ‘Distribution’
2. ‘The Effect of Fluoride on the Physiology of the Pineal Gland’ Jennifer Anne Luke, 1997, School of Biological Sciences, University of Surrey, pages: 1-9; 51-53; 167-177
3. National Research Council info on kidney patients and others as fluoride-susceptible groups – see p. 350 ff at: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11571&page=351
4. Taylor A, Taylor NC. (1965). ‘Effect of sodium fluoride on tumor growth’. Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 119:252-255.
5. Riggs BL, et al. (1990). Effect of Fluoride treatment on the Fracture Rates in Postmenopausal Women with Osteoporosis. New England Journal of Medicine 322:802-809.
6. Bang S, et al. (1985). Distribution of fluoride in calcified cartilage of a fluoride-treated osteoporotic patient. Bone 6: 207-210.
7. ‘Chronic administration of aluminum–fluoride or sodium–fluoride to rats in drinking water: alterations in neuronal and cerebrovascular integrity’, Julie A. Varner et al., Psychology Department, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, USA 1997
8. Li Y, et al. (2003). The effects of endemic fluoride poisoning on the intellectual development of children in Baotou. Chinese Journal of Public Health Management 19(4):337-338.
9. Dr. Phyllis J. Mullenix, Toxicology Department, Forsyth Research Institute, Boston, MA – JOURNAL TITLE: Neurotoxicity of Sodium Fluoride in Rats, 1995
10. “There is plenty of evidence to indicate that fluorine in the amount of 1 ppm or slightly more interferes with enzyme systems and these enzyme systems are involved in the growth of bones, in the functioning of nerve tissue and so forth. It is clear that fluoridation is a calculated risk.” Dr. Robert S. Harris, Ph.D, Director of Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratories, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
11. “In humans, effects on thyroid function were associated with fluoride exposures of 0.05-0.13 mg/kg/day when iodine intake was adequate and 0.01-0.03 mg/kg/day when iodine intake was inadequate.” National Research Council. (2006) Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards, p 218.
12. ‘Fluoride increases lead concentrations in whole blood and in calcified tissues from lead exposed rats’, Sawan RM et al., 2010, Journal Toxicology, pg 21-26
13. Gibson, 1992, Effects of Fluoride on Immune System Function, Complementary Medical Research, Issue 6, pg 11-113; Sutton P, 1991, ‘Is the Ingestion of Fluoride an Immunosuppressive Practice?’, Medical Hypotheses 35, 1-3,
14. “An increase in fluoride content and decrease in calcium content in fluorosed human teeth were observed when compared to the control.” Susheela AK, Bhatnagar M. 1999. Structural aberrations in fluorosed human teeth: Biochemical and scanning electron microscopic studies. Current Science 77: 1677-1680.
“Fluorosed enamel has a reduced amount of mineral when compared with control enamel.” Denbesten PK, et al. 1985. Changes in the fluoride-induced modulation of maturation stage ameloblasts of rats. Journal of Dental Research 64: 1365-70.
15. James R. Gavin III, MD, chair of the American Diabetes Association’s African-American Program / African American Community Health Advisory Committee
16. American Indian Health Central http://aihc1998.tripod.com
17. James R. Gavin III, MD, chair of the American Diabetes Association’s African-American Program / African American Community Health Advisory Committee
18. American Diabetes Association, 2005
19. American Diabetes Association. 2010. Latino Programs.
20. Marier and Rose 1971
21. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, US Department of Health and Human Services www.ahrq.comn
22. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality ( AHRQ, www.ahrq.comn ) of the US Department of Health and Human Services
23. Perneger TV, Brancati FL, Whelton PK, Kiag M. End-stage renal disease attributable to diabetes mellitus. Ann Intern Medicine 1994;121:912-8. (AHRQ Grant HS06978).
24. National Kidney Foundation statement , December 2009
25. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2006
26. Cuatrecasas P, Lockwood DH, Caldwell JR. Lactase deficiency in the adult: a common occurrence. Lancet, 1965;1:14-8. / Woteki CE, Weser E, Young EA. Lactose malabsorption in Mexican-American adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1977;30:470-5. / Scrimshaw NS, Murray EB. The acceptability of milk and milk products in populations with a high prevalence of lactose intolerance. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1988;48:1083-5.
27. CDC Surveillance for Dental Caries, Dental Sealants, Tooth Retention, Edentulism, and Enamel Fluorosis — United States, 1988–1994 and 1999—2002
28. ‘Highlights of Forty Years of Research on Endemic Skeletal Fluorosis in India’, S P S Teotia , M Teotia and K P Singh, presented at the 4th International Workshop on Fluorosis Prevention and Defluoridation of Water, India
29. Teotia M, Teotia SPS and Kunwar KB. Endemic skeletal fluorosis. Arch. Dis. Child. 1971; 46:686-91.
30. Dr. Elise Bassin, 2001, PhD dissertation, at Harvard University. The thesis found a strong statistically significant relationship between fluoride exposure during the 6th to 8th years of life (the “mid-childhood growth spurt”) and the later development of osteosarcoma among young males.
31. Dr. Hardy Limeback PhD, DDS Professor and Head, Preventive Dentistry University of Toronto: “Our recently published study on fluoride in bone from fluoridation (Chachra et al, J Dent Res 89(11):1219-1223, 2010) shows a negative trend in changes that have occurred in the bone of Torontonians who have lived only a portion of their lives in fluoridated Toronto.”
32. Alarcon-Herrera MT, et al. (2001). Well Water Fluoride, Dental fluorosis, Bone Fractures in the Guadiana Valley of Mexico. Fluoride 34(2): 139-149.
33. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
34. ‘Diabetes in the Hispanic or Latino population: genes, environment, culture, and more.’
Caballero AE. Latino Diabetes Initiative, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School
35. 2006, NRC ‘Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards’
36. “Persons with renal failure can have a four fold increase in skeletal fluoride content, are at more risk of spontaneous bone fractures, and akin to skeletal fluorosis even at 1.0 ppm fluoride in drinking water.” SOURCE: Ayoob S, Gupta AK. (2006). Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Review on the Status and Stress Effects. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology 36:433–487
37. Russell, 1962; Butler et al., 1985; Williams and Zwemer, 1990; Beltrán-Aguilar et al., 2005; Martinez-Mier and Soto-Rojas, 2010