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Fluoridation Declared Unsafe in New York

on Thursday, 01 January 1959. Posted in Fluoride

The City of New York Water Department Opposes Water Fluoridation

The following is a copy of a report by the Commissioner, City of New York Water Supply, on a proposal to add sodium fluoride to the water supply of New York. — As will be seen, the Commissioner is opposed to the proposal.

Department's position with regard to fluoridation of the New York City Water Supply System, April, 1956

Under the City Charter, the Commissioner of the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity is charged with the responsibility of maintaining the purity and wholesomeness of the city water supply. The matter of purity has a direct bearing on the people, and involves the determination and evaluation of the tolerance of suspect, hazardous or toxic substances which may, in some manner, gain access to the water supply.

Fluoride is a toxic substance.

The department has extensive laboratories staffed by reputable scientists and competent sanitary engineers, with a massive library in which is contained over five thousand references on the subject of fluoricies alone. We have continued to study and evaluate the effect of toxic substances asn related to water supply. The matter of fluorides has been under our scrutiny for over 20 years.

The addition of fluorides to the water is not coupled with the concern of maintaining or improving the quality of the water or making it safe. No one has suggested that dental caries is a waterborn disease or that water is a cause of dental decay.

No satisfactory reason has ever been advanced to show why everyone in a community must be compelled to risk lifelong extraordinary exposure to the toxic action of fluorides, particularly when safer, more effective and more economical ways of administering fluorides for caries reduction in children's teeth have been pointed out and are available.

Whatever the merits of fluoridation, it would not concern us as a department if the question of water supply safety were not involved. But we are concerned and our concern is primarily with the safety of the water supply for each and every individual of our entire population of eight million people throughout the city.

We are aware that the fluorides are extremely "toxic" substances, and evidence exists to show that even at the recommended level of one part per million of fluoride in drinking water, people in fluoridated communities have been harmed. A very small percentage among a population of eight million, sensitive to the chemical and adversely affected, would constitute a seriously significant number of persons harmed.

We know of reputable independent medical authorities throughout the United States and in the local area who have found evidence of fluoride damage to persons living in fluoridated communities. These medical authorities disagree with the fluoride hypothesis. They have raised grave questions with respect to the safety of the procedure for an entire population which includes the young, the old, the susceptible and the infirm as well as the healthy.

No one has made a claim that the ingestion of fluoride can be of benefit to the teeth beyond the formative years of childhood. Because of this, and for reasons of safety and economy, this department has proposed that the city distribute fluoride tablets through health stations, free of charge, for parents to administer to children.

The cost of the city, ascertained at less than 25 cents for a thousand days for each child, would be less than one-fifth of the cost of a fluoridated water programme. Tablets (a pharmaceutical grade in contrast with the commercial by-product used in water fluoridation) would provide an exact procedure, under control, to be taken only by those during the formative period of their teeth.

Fluoride, besides being a toxic substance, is not all excreted when taken into the system, a significant percentage remaining cumulatively. Fluoridation of the drinking water at any level of concentration is a very indiscriminate procedure since children drink widely varying amounts of water, each according to taste, physical activity and seasonal variations of the year.

The daily intake of one child often differs greatly from that of another who may drink milk, fruit juices and soft drinks in abundance.

How, then, will each child receive his appropriate share of fluoride when each drinks widely differing amounts from the same source of water having a given concentration in parts per million of fluoride?

The problem of managing the control of dosage of fluoride chemical to obtain uniformity throughout a grid-work of more than 5,000 miles of pipes and tunnels involving different sources and pressure gradients, as in the New York system, is formidable.

None of those who have made statements to the contrary have ever had the experience nor do they possess knowledge of what the exact result would be.

Our concern and responsibility in the department is to provide the people of our city with a dependable supply of the purest and safest water possible. No one can guarantee similar safety to all the people in the City of New York under a programme using the water supply as a fluoride vehicle.

Unfortunately, the forum on the subject of fluoridation is not as open as it should be, even among professions. There has been too much of emotion, blind following and lack of objective thinking by too many people on both sides of the question.

The people of the City of New York are entitled to know the risks they are being asked to assume before endorsing a programme involving so many questions yet unanswered.



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