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Who is against fluoridation – and when ?

on Monday, 01 February 1960. Posted in Fluoride

How does it happen that what was dangerous fifteen years ago, no longer seems dangerous now that we're all on the fluoridation bandwagon?

(The following article, along with the headings, have been reproduced from the health magazine, Prevention, of February of 1960. We gratefully acknowledge the publisher's permission to reprint it. E: M.)

We reprint here some excerpts from an editorial in the Journal of the American Dental Association for October 1, 1944 — fifteen years ago. We put in the italics for emphasis.):

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"Comparisons made by Arnold (in the Journal of the American Dental Association, April, - 1943) of the dental caries, (decay) picture in children living in communities where the water contains not more than 1,0 parts per million (of fluoride) and that of children living in communities using fluoride-free water shows that

(1) about six times as many children show no dental caries experience;

(2) about a 60 percent lower dental caries experience rate exists, and

(3) there is almost a 75 percent decrease in first permanent molar loss.

"While these data are certainly speculatively attractive as leading to possible mass treatment of caries, our knowledge of the subject certainly does not warrant the introduction of fluorine in community water supplies generally.

"Sodium fluoride is a highly toxic substance, and while its application in safe concentrations and under strict control by competent personnel, may prove to be useful therapeutically, under other circumstances it may be definitely harmful.

"To be effective, fluorine must be ingested into the system during the years of tooth development, and we do not yet know enough about the chemistry involved to anticipate what other conditions may be produced in the structure of the bone and other tissues of the body generally.

"We do not know that the use of drinking water containing as little as 1.2 to 3.0 parts per million of fluorine will cause such development disturbance in bones as osteosclerosis, spondylosis, and osteopetrosis, as well as goiter, and we cannot afford to run the risk of producing such serious systemic disturbances in applying what is at present a doubtful procedure intended to prevent development of dental disfigurements among children.

"With regard to the safety margin in the fluorine content of drinking water, the reported amount of fluorine in the water cannot be taken as the criterion for the amount taken in the system, as in an intensely hot climate much larger quantities of water would be imbibed and hence a much larger quantity of fluorine would be taken into the body. Another feature of the complex problem that demands consideration, in attempting to take advantage of the thereapeutic value of fluorine, is the quantity absorbed by the system at the various age periods of life.

"M. C. Smith and H. V. Smith, in their studies at St. David, Arizona, found that, of people using drinking water containing 1.6 to 4.0 parts per million of fluorine at the ages of 12 to 14, thirty-three percent had caries; at ages 21 to 41, nearly one hundred percent had caries, from 24 to 41, fifty percent had all teeth extracted and replaced by dentures. The authors concluded from these data that the teeth of the individuals of a community in which comparatively large amounts of fluorine are found, in this case, say 1:6 to 4.0 parts per million, are structurally weak; in some cases, the tooth structure being so impaired as to crumble on attempts to place fillings. (American Journal of Public Health, September, 1940.)

"Because of our anxiety to find some therapeutic procedure that will promote mass prevention of caries, the seeming potentialities of fluorine appear speculatively attractive; but in the light of our present knowledge or lack of knowledge of the chemistry of the subject, the potentialities for harm far outweigh those for good."

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The American Dental Association, in the pages of whose official magazine the above editorial appeared fifteen years ago, is at present the most devout official champion of water fluoridation, with the exception of the United States Public Health Service.

What has changed in these fifteen years, gentlemen? Not the fluoride ion which remains just the same as it has been for more centuries than man has been on this earth. Not human physiology, human tissues, human reaction to toxic substances.

How does it happen that drinking water containing as little as 1.2 parts per million caused osteosclerosis, spondylosis, and osteopetrosis, as well as goiter fifteen years ago and does not cause them today?

It is possible that there is some magic ingredient present when poisonous fluoride is poured into the hopper of a municipal water works which causes everybody in town to drink exactly the right amount of water? But no, for fifteen years ago the official spokesman of the American Dental Association warned us that there is a wide variation in the amount of water drunk by various people at different times of the year and in different climates. What has happened in the interval to change these facts?

Drs. H. V. and M. C. Smith of the University of Arizona, for many years the world's greatest experts on fluorides and their action in the body, were regarded in 1944 by a spokesman of the American Dental Association as authorities whose findings of tooth extractions, and crumbling teeth should be taken with utmost seriousness. Why are these findings dismissed today as the work of crackpots and fanatics? Are not these facts just as true today as they were fifteen years ago?

What are we to make of a statement in the Journal in 1944 which says that sodium fluoride is a highly toxic substance which can be administered safely only under strict control by competent personnel, and the present day attitude of the Journal that anybody who works at the city water works is perfectly capable of throwing a bag of sodium fluoride into the drinking water and, by this gesture, assuring everybody in town of getting "strict control" of the proper amount of this "highly toxic" substance?

If you write to the Journal of the American Dental Association (222 E. Superior St., Chicago, III.) and ask for a copy of this issue of the Journal, then show it to the fluoridation promoters in your locality, they will probably assure you that everything has changed since then. Now we know, they will tell you, that fluoridated water is harmless.

Ask them how it happens that fluorides caused diseases fifteen years ago and do not cause them today. If they say that the Journal made a mistake in the facts in the 1944 editorial, ask them how we can be sure the Journal (and everybody else concerned) is not making a mistake today. Poisoning everybody in a community is a pretty serious error to be making, especially since the only excuse for doing it is dental decay in children, which can perfectly and easily be controlled by a few simple changes in diet and no one knows this fact better than a dentist.

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