Fluoridation Position Paper for City of Oneonta
CREDENTIALS – Nathan Batalion, PhD, Naturopath
In in contacting the Mayor on the fluoridation issue, my interest in health matters runs deep, being a focus for nearly 50 years. I have twice trained to become a primary care physician, first as an OMD or Oriental Medical Doctor and later as a Naturopath. I attended Pacific Institute of Oriental Medicine but eventually became a Certified Tradition Naturopath. In the 1980’s I helped to organize a natural health clinic in Arizona. A young man from Oneonta came to that clinic with Stage IV melanoma and left cancer free. I also founded the not-for-profit Food & Water, Inc, which under the titan stewardship of the late Dr. Wally Burnstein, and Michael Colby became the leading organization fighting food irradiation and single-handedly stopped the dangerous food irradiation industry giants. I also founded Americans for Safe Foods, this time fighting genetically modified foods, and wrote 50 Harmful Effects of Genetically Modified Foods, a book visited by over a million readers on the Web. Currently I consult and have a health blog, Healingtalks, with nearly a thousand articles – including over a dozen on water fluoridation.
UNIVERSAL CITIZENS’ IMPACT
This issue impacts virtually every voting citizen in Oneonta – unlike narrower landlord issues, chicken coup concerns and the like. We all drink water and it goes into every cell of our bodies. We are starting a campaign to thus educate all our citizens about fluoride. At the federal government level there may be an additional concern with protecting powerful interests who are economically tied to supplying, getting rid of or transporting fluoride. But on a local level, the health and safety issues seem the sole focus, plus not eliminating fluoride can have some savings for the City.
OTHER COMMUNITIES BANNING FLUORIDATION
In New York State alone, 19 communities so far, and representing about 3.5 million residents of the state, have had the wisdom and courage to take the step of eliminating fluoride from their public water, and after careful considerations. These communities include Albany, Elba, Levittown, Canton, Corning, Johnstown, Oneida, Carle Place, Rockland County, Suffolk County, Western Nassau County, Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Riverhead, Central Bridge Water District, Homer, Ithaca, Rouses Point and Amsterdam. Additionally, 97% of Western Europe has banned fluoride and most of Asia. Since just 2008, 25% of the Canadian population has eliminated water fluoridation. These trends, hopefully, will continue until fluoride is universally taken out of our water supply.
PROCESS OF CHANGING WATER POLICIES
When one changes long standing positions, there has to be compelling reasons, and the decisions which recognize those reasons may, in some instances, involve courage, clarity and forthrightness, often going against the testimony of two main groups with entrenched views – dentists and certain government representatives. Those Council members of the communities listed above who have gone forward to no longer use fluoride programs have opted to look very carefully and independently at the brute facts and, most especially, to listen to the stirring concerns of their constituents.
ISSUE OF TRUST
As to issues of trust, for example, in 1964 the EPA classified sodium fluoride as a registered pesticide. At one point public comments were made by the agency to possibly banning sodium fluoride even as a pesticide, being used as a rat and cockroach poison, because it was too highly toxic. However, under White House pressure and as revealed by EPA employees, the agency was mandated to approve sodium fluoride public use. The reasons why the federal government was involved are discussed in my article, based on the award winning investigative reporting of Chris Bryson and Joel Giffiths. Outraged by the federal government pressure on EPA scientists to go against their own professional ethics, the employees put out their own statement and even joined a lawsuit, in 1998, against the EPA. The issue was: who would put one of the most highly toxic and bio-accumulating chemicals as recognized by the EPA into 2/3rds of US public drinking water? A union of 1,500 scientists and professionals working at the EPA’s Washington Headquarters banded together to say, enough is enough. The union cited their reasons for the opposition, namely, “increasingly out-of-control exposures to fluoride, the lack of benefit to dental health from ingestion of fluoride, and the hazards to human health from such ingestion. These hazards include acute toxic hazard…to people with impaired kidney function, as well as chronic toxic hazards of cancer, reproductive effects, digestive impacts, blood sugar, neurotoxicity, bone pathology and dental fluorosis.” One of their most outspoken employees, the EPA Office of Drinking Water’s chief toxicologist, Dr. William Marcus was fired for not remaining silent about the cancer risk and blowing the whistle on doctored research studies. He sued the agency and the judge who presided determined he was fired due to his fluoride position, not the phony reason given by the agency and he regained his job. The joint employee critique of the EPA union of workers was unprecedented and scathing.
- What is fluoride?
- Has fluoride been proven, beyond doubt, to be safe in small doses?
- Is it conclusively a health plus? Are there non-toxic alternatives
- Ethically, should governments mass-medicate?
- Who and what can we trust?
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is one of the world’s most highly toxic chemicals ever discovered, why there is a warning label even on toothpaste for ingesting a tiniest amount, about 3% of a small tube and to call the Poison Control Center. One fact both the opposing anti and pro fluoridation sides agree upon is the toxicity of sodium fluoride. But the generally public may not know that it is a) more toxic than lead, and b) slightly less toxic than arsenic. Tens of millions of people in India and China suffer from crippling bones diseasedue drinking water industrially contaminated by fluoride. This may explain why fluoride was the leading cause of lawsuits back in the 1950’s. Fluoride in the US was then routinely used in industry and was the main toxic by-product of mining explorations, phosphate fertilizer production and of the newly formed nuclear industry. Fluorosilicic acid, a corrosive compound captured in the air pollution control devices of the phosphate fertilizer industry is also classified as a hazardous waste causing significant harm.
Some proponents of fluoridation claim that fluoride is just an ordinary, harmless chemical that naturally occurs in water. Therefore, at low levels, it should be entirely and completely safe to drink. This argument does not “hold any water,” literally.The naturally occurring levels are generally 1/100th as much as the 1ppm added to public water supplies. To make an analogy, if we ingest 2 gram of salt a day, the recommended dose, our health is maintained. But if we ingest 50-100 times this natural amount, harm predictable follows, namely, damaging our kidneys.
Has fluoride been proven, beyond doubt, to be safe in small doses?
Initially it was it determined that fluoride was safe in small doses? Who made that determination to reliably put 1ppm into our public drinking waters? Was there extensive biological testing done by the EPA or anyone else? Hardly. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. The credit for setting this level goes to Dr. Harold Hodge, the leading toxicologist at the Manhattan project, and at the time a very highly respected physician whose opinion carried a lot of weight, and where the Manhattan Project had a problem getting rid of their fluoride waste without significant lawsuits due to harming employee and surrounding communities. After a lawsuit ensued in Deepwater, NJ around the Dupont plant supplying fluoride, the primary fear by the US government was that the public would demand shutting down their nuclear facility, creating a national security threat during the Cold War. Secret meetings ensued, with memos latter declassified, and where Dr. Harold Hodge was directed, from the highest levels of government, to quiet public fears. One way was to convince others that this major environmental toxin, triggering the most pollution lawsuits during that Cold War era, was actually safety in small diluted doses, so safe that it could be given to children. This was the same Dr. Hodge who conducted experiments by injecting plutonium into his patients, as revealed by the investigative reporter who published the Plutonium Files and received a Pulitzer Prize for her efforts. As the National Academy of Science’s massive 500 page report indicated, no valid research has been conducted by our government to ensure the safety of such “small” levels. In fact, there are literally thousands of studies pointing the other way, an overwhelmingly long list of potential harm, not surprisingly since fluoride is more toxic than lead, and nearly as toxic as arsenic. A very partial list includes: acutely impacting people with impaired kidney functions and chronically impacting or systemically contributing to cancers, conditions of infertility, neurotoxicity, bone pathology, dental fluorosis, arthritis, cardiovascular ailments, hypothyroidism, pineal gland dysfunction, inhibition of sexual maturity, digestive ailments and so on – all at supposedly safe levels. ”The teeth are windows to what’s happening in the bones,” explains Paul Connett, Professor of Chemistry at St. Lawrence University (N.Y.). But the fluoridated water actually can seep into all cells of the human body.
Legislators, with a team of researchers, could spend an entire year reviewing and not exhausting all of the literature. But why go to all that trouble when the National Academy of Science has already produced this effort, among others, and come up with an adverse opinion, giving at least three established negative health effects. Furthermore, it is simpler to use a wise precautionary principle, while saving City funds.
Is it conclusively a health plus? Are there proven safe, non-toxic alternatives?
Statistics compiled by WHO clearly indicate that nations with and without fluoridation programs have nearly the same tooth cavities and improvement trends in the general population. Countries that have banned fluoridation showed no noticeable increase in general population tooth cavities. In short, fluoridation has repeatedly been shown to be an unproven medical treatment with scientifically established harms. Why then are we aggressively medicating an entire population, with this one chemical and none other – or with something so across the board filled with risks, plus, independent of both those reasons, where ethically we should think twice about medicating an entire population indiscriminately. Besides there are proven non-toxic alternative methods to increase gum and tooth health, such as using Green tea to inhibit the growth of plaque bacteria (cut in half within seven minutes, according to studies). In some head to head tests, green tea outperformed chlorhexidine in mouthwashes, a chemical considered the “gold standard” for antiseptic mouthwashes. That standard chemical, however, causes genetic cellular damage, orally and in the cardiovascular domains. If we now add something to the green tea, namely, Amla, a powerful Indian gooseberry powder which happens to also suppress oral bacteria’s plaque forming abilities (rather than kill the bacteria) the results are even more phenomenal. Plaque is decimated. How about a head to head competition between fluoride and the Green Tea/Amla combination? Furthermore, we could much more readily dump green tea and amla into our public water supply with little or no worries, the opposite of a super-toxin? But let’s not stretch things to far. This might result in the loss of billions in profits or P & L losses for the mining, fertilizer and nuclear industries, and they would be re-exposed to fluoride pollution lawsuits.
Ethically, should governments mass-medicate?
Fluoride is the only chemical in American being used to mass medicate the public. It is not meant to sanitize water. It is one thing if some miracle substance came along which was so powerful, such as curing cancer, that we force people to take it. Maybe we should put Vitamin C, green tea and alma or other micronutrients into all our public water. Even then, do we have the right? There will always be some people allergic. How much less do we have a right to dump a known environmental toxin, neurotoxin and super-toxic pesticide, an industry waste product, something more toxic than lead combined with other heavy metals, into everyone’s drinking water? Furthermore, when a doctor does prescribe a drug, but fails to monitor the dosage and results, the action would be considered unethical, if not illegal. Yet different populations ingest different quantities of water, with different body weights, sensitivities, allergies and medical conditions, yet this toxin is forced on all,with no individual monitoring.
The politics of the fluoride issue – who and what can we trust?
On my website www.healingtalks.com I have two discussions of the roots of how US public waters began to be fluoridated. This includes The Fluoride Deception and the Censored Connection Between Water Fluoridation and the Manhattan Project. These are two exposes of pro-fluoridation elements we might have reason to distrust. Raising doubts about fluoridation, we find the following:
- American Academy of Environmental Medicine – The leading expert doctors knowledgeable on environmental toxins have come out squarely against fluoride being put into our drinking water.
- National Academy of Science/NRC – Their latest 2006 report identified “three adverse health effects warranted consideration: 1) severe enamel (dental) fluorosis from exposure to these high levels between birth and 8 years of age, 2)risk of bone fractures, and 3) severe forms of skeletal fluorosis…after lifetime exposure. “
- International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology – This organization also directly opposes fluoridation of the water supply.
- EPA Employees – The Union of EPA scientists and professionals, consisting of 1500 members revolted against the official pro-fluoride EPA position.
- Prominent Individuals:
Over 4000 professionals, including hundreds of dentists, have signed a statement in opposition to fluoridation. Noteworthy individuals in such opposition include:
- Harvard Scientists – a group of researchers at Harvard have classify fluoride as a neurotoxin that even with small amounts, bio-accumulates and endangers the brain.
- Dr. Arvid Carlsson, Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine, opposes fluoridation for its medical impacts. He states, “The AMA has not carried out any research work, either long-term or short-term, regarding the possibility of any side effects.”
- Dr. Charles Gordon Heyd, Past President of AMA, “I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs. Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long range basis. Any attempt to use water this way is deplorable.”
- Dr. William Marcus, Senior EPA Toxicologist – ” EPA should act immediately to protect the public, not just on the cancer data, but on the evidence of bone fractures, arthritis, mutagenicity and other effects.”
10 Facts about Fluoridation
It may be helpful to consider ten basic facts about fluoride as listed on the www.healingtalks.com website in an article entitled 10 Facts about Fluoridation. This article outlines how most nations have banned fluoridation, and how such banning triggered no rise in any cavity levels. At the same time, fluoridation has been implicated in a host of health problems, including creating dental fluorosis for 40% of US teenagers. Why take an extremely toxic substance with systemic impacts on all cells in our body, and as an exemplar for forced medication?
Nathan Batalion, PhD, Naturopath