Opposition to fluoridation growing

on Friday, 01 January 1960. Posted in Fluoride

The New Times of Melbourne, Australia, in its issue of October 30, 1959, carried a special, supplementary, four-page "article" section devoted entirely to the ever-increasing opposition to fluoridation of the public drinking water. This opposition, as reported by The Times, comes from men highly qualified to speak on this subject. Following are a number of extracts from the article.

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At a news conference on February 9, 1959, Mr. Arthur Fleming, U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, admitted that the proportion of the American population not drinking artificially fluoridated water was increasing. He also gave out a report prepared by the Public Health Service which stated:

"Of special concern is the steady decline in the rate of community acceptance (of fluoridation) in the past six years... 1953 was the peak year, during which 378 separate communities adopted fluoridation. Since 1953 the number of separate communities starting fluoridation programmes has dropped each year... Moreover, the number of communities which discontinued fluoridation programmes" has steadily decreased." (Emphasis supplied)

There are now over a hundred communities in the U. S. A. which have discontinued fluoridation. The steady increase in the number discontinuing is a reflection of the mounting American medical and dental opposition to fluoridation. Approximately 700 communities have now refused to accept fluoridation,

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In June, 1957, fourty-four doctors of St. Petersburg, Florida, demanded that fluoridation be discontinued. The City Council immediately complied. In March, 1957, a committee of medical men which had been set up to study fluoridation in New Orleans strongly advised against fluoridation.

An Ad Hoc committee of some 300 American doctors, dentists and scientists issued a report in 1957 giving nine reasons for concluding that "fluoridation of public water supplies is not a proper means of attempting the prevention of tooth decay", and that there are "less hazardous and more efficient ways" of obtaining the benefits claimed for fluoridation. The nine reasons given in the report are:

"1.) Positive proofs of the safety of fluoridation are required. None has been offered.

"2.) The so-called therapeutic concentration of fluoride, arbitrarily established at 1 ppm., in drinking water, is in the toxic range.

"3.) Dental fluorosis, the first obvious symptom of chronic fluoride toxicity in tiny children, is an inevitable result of fluoridation. The evidence reveals that large numbers of the population may be afflicted, and with varying degrees of damage.

"4.) The determination of whether damage resulting from dental fluorosis is "objectionable" is a matter for the person whose teeth are affected, and not for the arbitrary assertion of public officials.

"5.) The conceivable role of fluoride as an insidious factor in chronic disease has been evaded by the proponents. A substantial amount of evidence indicates such a possibility. Properly planned long-term studies are required to determine the possible comprehensive association of fluoride with chronic disease.

"6.) Fluoridation imposes an extraordinary risk on certain individuals who by reasons of occupation, environmental circumstances, state of health, dietary habits, etc., are already exposed to a relatively high intake of fluoride.

"7.) Fluoridation is compulsory mass medication without precedent. Mass therapy cannot ignore the possibility of "mass" side reactions.

"8.) The function of a public water supply is to provide pure, safe water for everybody, not to serve as vehicle for drugs.

"9.) The role and efficiency of fluoride in dental caries reduction is a matter of active controversy; whatever the outcome, there are less hazardous and more efficient ways of obtaining such benefits as fluoride may offer than by putting it into the public water supply."

The report by the Ad Hoc Committee has now been endorsed in the U.S. A. by over 1000 qualified medical men, including a Past President of the American Medical Association and a Nobel Prize winner.

Mr. George Swendiman, former President of the American Dental Association, writes:

"I maintain that the long-term effects of fluorine in varying amounts upon the bones and the vital organs of the human body, have not been ascertained. Our information about fluorides is partial and incidental. We do know, for instance, that the fluorides are extremely corrosive and are used in teching glass. Fluorides are also used as a highly potent rat poison. Now these last uses may sound like splendid qualifications for a regular addition to our diet in the view of our dental association, but I may be pardoned for suspending judgement. I do is not crave rat poison, even well diluted. How do I know that this poison will not have a cumulative effect? Suppose this diluted rat poison gradually ruins my kidneys and thus sends me to my grave? Will it be any comfort to me if my dental association says: "He died with perfect teeth"?

In a supplementary statement to a petition signed by 119 dentists opposed to the fluoridation of water supplies in Worcester, Mass., Dr. Max Ginns says:

"When proponents of fluoridation set themselves up as higher authorities than our high schools of learning, certainly we may question their wisdom and their purposes. For example, I shall mention only a few of the many authorities opposed to fluoridation: University of Texas, University of Arizona, University of New Mexico, all in the area where mottling and fluorides first made the headlines.

In this area of Mass. we have:

Dr. O. V. Hurme, of Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children (researcher and teacher);

Professor Harris (internationally-known biochemist of M.I.T.);

Dr. Daniel Tobin of New York (Director of Guggenheim Foundation for Childrens'Dentistry);

Dr. Harold Deith Box (University of Toronto and many others).

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In a statement given at the New York City's public hearings in 1957, Dr. Benjamin Nesin, Director of the City's Laboratories, Department of Water Supplies, said:

"Dr. Dean, formerly of the U. S. Public Health Service and regarded as the "father of fluoridation", stated in a report: "It is obvious that whatever effects the waters with relatively high fluoride content have on dental caries is largely one of academic interest. The resultant permanent disfigurement of many of the users far outweighs any advantage that might accrue from the standpoint of partial control of dental caries."

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