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After 60 years, debate over fluoride still rages
North Jersey Newspapers ^ | 07.24.05 | COLLEEN DISKIN

Posted on 07/24/2005 9:38:22 PM PDT by Coleus

After 60 years, debate over fluoride still rages

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The 30 or 40 patients who come through the Morris County dental office of Dr. Leonard Lawrence each week can get their teeth cleaned, drilled and filled. What they won't get is any fluoride - not in his cements, polishes or fillings.

He doesn't even recommend fluoride toothpaste - just good brushing, flossing and eating habits - because he thinks its cavity-fighting claims aren't proven. "The basic knowledge about fluoride is that it is a poison," he said. "That's why there's a warning on the back of the toothpaste tube" about swallowing too much.

When Teaneck orthodontist Frank Graham hears the arguments against fluoridation, he bristles like a well-worn toothbrush.

"All the science supports the use of fluoride," said Graham, who rarely sees a mouth that doesn't glisten from the benefits of fluoride treatments. "The most effective and efficient way to ensure everyone gets access to fluoride is to add it to our water systems."

It was 60 years ago that fluoride was first added to a drinking water supply in the United States to prevent tooth decay. And New Jersey - where 15 percent of water is fluoridated, ranking it 49th out of 50 states - is marking the occasion with its umpteenth debate over whether to treat or not to treat most of its water supplies. No North Jersey water suppliers use fluoride.

While a decision has recently been put on hold, the decades-old debate is poised to surface again.

THE DEBATE:


The debate over adding fluoride to water supplies has been going on since the first such treatment 60 years ago. Here are the major arguments of both sides.

Pro

Has vastly improved the nation's dental health, reducing needless and painful tooth decay and saving millions in care. Supporters say children using fluoridated water have 29 percent fewer cavities.

  • Water treatment plants are carefully regulated and safe.
  • Sixty years of research and experience have found no link to bone cancer or lead poisoning.

    Anti

  • A possible link to a rare bone cancer in young boys.
  • Can cause fluorosis, in which teeth become pitted and stained with brown spots.
  • Eliminates freedom for consumer to choose whether to use fluoridated products.
  • Offers a cheap way for phosphate fertilizer companies to dispose of the fluoride that is a waste product of their operations.

Fluoride's proponents hail it as one of the 10 great public health accomplishments of the 20th century, transforming the oral health of a nation where people once routinely lost teeth to decay. Children in communities with water fluoridation get 29 percent fewer cavities, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Poor children whose parents can't afford fluoride treatments and vitamins are exposed to needless tooth decay and pain, supporters say. And that costs $1.8 billion in restorative dental care, $108 million of it in New Jersey, the state Dental Association estimates.

But its detractors say there's no evidence fluoridated water has improved the nation's dental health.

Some also point to studies showing an unconfirmed link to a rare bone cancer and to the fact that high amounts of fluoride can cause fluorosis, in which teeth become pitted and stained with brown spots.

Others concede that fluoride might have benefits when used topically, but they believe people should be allowed to choose whether they want to use fluoride toothpaste and treatments - and not be forced to ingest treated water. They argue that fluoridated water is also used in other products, such as sodas and beers, making it hard for people to know exactly how much fluoride they are consuming.

Nationally, scientific powerhouses such as the American Dental Association and the CDC have been facing off against citizens organizations, environmentalists and splinter groups of dentists and scientists who continue to say the government-endorsed studies about fluoride are wrong. A group called NJ Citizens Opposing Forced Fluoridation has been active in the state for nearly 50 years.

Opposition is more widespread outside the United States, and countries such as Canada, Germany, Finland and Switzerland have stopped fluoridating water entirely.

The opponents have the support of most major environmental groups, which oppose tinkering with the natural balance of a water supply. They have also won converts in some scientific circles, most notably the union that represents 1,700 scientists and engineers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"The more we looked at it, the more it seemed to us that the whole water fluoridation issue is a big scam," said J. William Hirzy, vice president of the union, which came out against fluoridation in 1984 after an employee complained of being pressured to have his research support the safety of fluoridating. "There's some bad science behind this."

Flawed studies?

The debate has even sparked an investigation at Harvard University, where a researcher has been accused of burying evidence that fluoride is linked to a rare form of bone cancer in young boys. The Harvard study hasn't been released and therefore hasn't been reviewed by the CDC and other government researchers.

Dr. William Maas, director of the CDC's division of oral health, said fluoride's detractors often use flawed studies. Some, for example, found bone problems in rats exposed to levels of fluoride far higher than that which would be added to water. Others showed only a correlation between fluoridated water and high lead levels, not a cause, he said.

Two research efforts under way, including the Harvard study, are attempting to definitively prove or disprove the lead and cancer claims, Maas said.

"Once those are published I would hope that would finally assuage people's concerns," Maas said.

But some opponents also believe the fluoride campaign is being perpetrated by phosphate fertilizer companies seeking a cheaper way to dispose of the fluoride that is a waste product of their operations. They note that the fluoride added to water is the industrially produced hydrofluosilicic acid, rather than the pharmaceutically graded sodium fluoride used in toothpaste.

"This is an industrial waste product they are putting in tap water," said Nancy Brown Coleman, president of the New Jersey citizens group.

Supporters of fluoridation say the distinction is meaningless because fluoride ions disperse in water the same way, no matter how they originate. Water treatment practices are carefully regulated, they say, so no one should worry that other industrial contaminants are sneaking into the water supply along with the fluoride.

As for bone cancer and other theories that fluoride could contribute to lead poisoning, supporters say that 60 years of research and experience is on their side.

"If this was dangerous we'd have known it by now, said Arthur Meisel, executive director of the New Jersey Dental Association. "My God, you'd have seen it. You'd have seen it years ago. It's just common sense."

And, indeed, the CDC hopes that 75 percent of all Americans - up from 50 percent now - will receive fluoridated water by 2010.

No consensus

All the back and forth about what's good science, and what isn't, hasn't brought the Garden State any closer to a consensus on what's good for both our teeth and our water.

Instead, the debate seems destined to stretch into yet another calendar year, to be taken up anew by a new administration. Just weeks ago, a decision had seemed imminent by the New Jersey Public Health Council, an autonomous agency charged with setting policy on everything from AIDS to immunizations.

The New Jersey Dental Association petitioned the council last year to mandate that fluoride be added to most public water supplies except for those that serve fewer than 100 customers, have high naturally occurring levels of fluoride, or are funded by property taxes.

But on June 27, acting Governor Codey issued an executive order stripping the council of its authority to implement public health policy.

Now, the eight-member panel will only serve as an adviser to the commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services, which will make the final ruling.

The executive order, which both the governor and council members say was made for reasons unrelated to the fluoride issue, leaves the fluoride petition in limbo. Codey's aides say he has taken no position on fluoridation.

The dental association was holding out hope that the council might decide the matter at one of the two public meetings scheduled before Codey's order takes effect at the end of August. The council's next meeting is Monday.

Dr. Robert Pallay, the council's chairman, said members had already been leaning toward delaying a decision until February, after the scheduled release of a national study by the National Academies of Science reexamining what level of fluoride should be deemed safe.

Supporters of fluoridation say the study is a standard review the EPA conducts every six to eight years and they expect little change.

But opponents are holding out hope for something big. "They could decide the safe level for fluoride in water is zero," Hirzy said.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Technical; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: aluminum; drstrangelove; fluoride; ope; poe; strangelove

1 posted on 07/24/2005 9:38:23 PM PDT by Coleus
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To: Coleus

2 posted on 07/24/2005 9:41:02 PM PDT by SteveMcKing
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To: Coleus

3 posted on 07/24/2005 9:43:53 PM PDT by SteveMcKing
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To: Coleus

"I can no longer sit idly by and allow the Communists to fluoridate our water and sap our precious bodily fluids"

4 posted on 07/24/2005 9:49:50 PM PDT by Steely Tom (Fortunately, the Bill of Rights doesn't include the word 'is'.)
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To: Coleus; All
"It was 60 years ago that fluoride was first added to a drinking water supply in the United States to prevent tooth decay."



Horse pucky... it was done to have a use for the waste products from aluminum production. Flame away...
5 posted on 07/24/2005 9:52:17 PM PDT by need_a_screen_name
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To: Coleus
The toxicity of fluorine relates to its ridiculous affinity for calcium and other ions in the same family. Given trace quantities of fluoride and the natural relative abundance of calcium in the body, it is really difficult to get enough fluorine ion in the body to cause secondary damage of any type without consuming all the free calcium first. Indeed, calcium depletion is the typical cause of death for fluorine poisoning, and the antidote is also a soluble calcium/magnesium in the blood stream, though frequently insufficient (fluorine poisoning is nasty, nasty business -- very aggressive).

Any other neurotoxic effects would be hard to come by without engineering that outcome. Fluoride is way too greedy for type II elements, which exist in relative abundance in our bodies.

6 posted on 07/24/2005 9:55:01 PM PDT by tortoise (All these moments lost in time, like tears in the rain.)
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To: SteveMcKing
Fluoride Linked to Bone Cancer, Again
(Environmental) Group: Dentist hid fluoride-cancer link

More Fluoride; Less Teeth

7 posted on 07/24/2005 9:59:19 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: Coleus

8 posted on 07/24/2005 10:06:03 PM PDT by Jaysun (Democrats are motivated mainly and perhaps almost wholly on envy.)
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To: Coleus
[Others concede that fluoride might have benefits when used topically, but they believe people should be allowed to choose whether they want to use fluoride toothpaste and treatments - and not be forced to ingest treated water.]



If people don't want to drink the fluorinated and chlorinated municipal water then they shouldn't have to. They can drink the stuff out of the creek everyday and enjoy water as nature intended it to be.
9 posted on 07/24/2005 10:07:00 PM PDT by spinestein (The facts fairly and honestly presented, truth will take care of itself.)
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To: Coleus
[Offers a cheap way for phosphate fertilizer companies to dispose of the fluoride that is a waste product of their operations.]


The article lists this as an "anti" in the fluoride debate.

I would put saving money in the "pro" column.
10 posted on 07/24/2005 10:10:14 PM PDT by spinestein (The facts fairly and honestly presented, truth will take care of itself.)
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To: Coleus
The stuff oozing out of your friendly tube of Crest is basically the same kryptonite-like pesticide "Vikane." They use this stuff to tent-nuke termites infestations. mmmmmm... Stay away from evil fluoride!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

11 posted on 07/24/2005 10:17:15 PM PDT by Antioch (St. Jerome: "Beauty when unadorned is adorned the most.")
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To: Coleus

It is just another way that Politicians have of separating you from your Money, Like Mass Transit and Light Rail etc etc etc


12 posted on 07/24/2005 10:22:14 PM PDT by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: Coleus

Nasty is as nasty does. I'd like to see some of these grubbers in the same cellblock as Ebbers...


13 posted on 07/24/2005 10:27:04 PM PDT by 185JHP ( "The thing thou purposest shall come to pass: And over all thy ways the light shall shine.")
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To: 185JHP

The spirit of fear sells books, promotes a person, and totally distorts the good fluoride does for us. I have been a dentist for decades and watched this debate. I have practiced dentistry in well fluoridated communities and non fluoridated communities. The devastation to the teeth of the young children is sad in the communities that are not properly fluoridated. Those medical and dental professionals that use their degree to write and sell books for profit that are totally non science have done us all a great disservice, whether it is about fluoride, cancer treatments, or UFOs. Fluoride at the proper concentration is not a problem. It is strange that the same people that do not like fluoride have no problem with adding the very strong poison chlorine to our public water.


14 posted on 07/24/2005 11:01:09 PM PDT by tongass kid
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To: tongass kid

Does the funding of "research" by organizations that receive money from people who want to sell for profit an otherwise useless industrial byproduct mean anything to you?


15 posted on 07/24/2005 11:29:23 PM PDT by 185JHP ( "The thing thou purposest shall come to pass: And over all thy ways the light shall shine.")
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To: SteveMcKing

"Women sense my power. They seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake. But I do deny them my essence." -- General Jack D. Ripper


16 posted on 07/24/2005 11:33:54 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: 185JHP
Yes it does. The initial research was not done by those that had a product to sell, but was completed by those that first observed the benefit received by those that enjoyed naturally occurring fluoride in their drinking water. Over the decades of this debate, the overwhelming quantity and quality of research as been accomplished within the dental community. Do you have an anti fluoride or UFO book you would like to sell me?
17 posted on 07/24/2005 11:40:43 PM PDT by tongass kid
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To: 185JHP
Yes it does. The initial research was not done by those that had a product to sell, but was completed by those that first observed the benefit received by those that enjoyed naturally occurring fluoride in their drinking water. Over the decades of this debate, the overwhelming quantity and quality of research as been accomplished within the dental community. Do you have an anti fluoride or UFO book you would like to sell me?
18 posted on 07/24/2005 11:41:36 PM PDT by tongass kid
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To: Jaysun

Banjo player in Deliverence? Or "Hill" people?


19 posted on 07/25/2005 12:03:38 AM PDT by Finalapproach29er (America is gradually becoming the Godless,out-of-control golden-calf scene,in "The Ten Commandments")
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To: Coleus

Not sure on the Flouride but I had all my Mercury fillings replaced with nice white ones (and a few gold).


20 posted on 07/25/2005 12:04:23 AM PDT by kingsurfer
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To: Steely Tom
Old General Ripper sure has staying power, eh?

More than I do... I regret to say!

21 posted on 07/25/2005 12:08:28 AM PDT by sonofatpatcher2 (Texas, Love & a .45-- What more could you want, campers? };^)
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To: need_a_screen_name
The fanatical defense of flouridation by the ADA and various quasi-political 'councils' imo is more about legal liability than health. When the cover comes off flouridation there's gonna be a whole lot of lawsuits -and payout ergo it's fanantical defenders.

Besides bone cancer there's also a growing link to Alzheimers. From what I've learned of it: it's used in medication due to its ability of transporting ions into the brain. It is also highly reactive with metals and flouride ions bond with metals in water supplies before being injested. The theory is that just as with medication, the flouride-metal ions pass into the brain, the largest resevoir of water in the body, and coagulate into deposits which affect cell growth. The end result is a rotting-out of the brain when, in old age, a person can no longer the replace the damaged brain cells around the metal deposits. Medical professionals only refer to "plaque" or "scar tissue" near the tiny holes in Alzheimer patients' brains, not what's under the scar tissue. Of course this is just a theory but I believe it will eventually be proven; just not in America since our media and politicians are too far under the influence of money and corporatism to care.

22 posted on 07/25/2005 12:36:19 AM PDT by Justa (Politically Correct is morally wrong.)
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To: tongass kid

Fluoride is essential to mineralization, but as an ultra trace element. Thats why dental health IS worse in non-flouridated areas. Fluoride requirements are not in the category of zinc, selenium or manganese, but rather in amounts as boron, nickel or vanadium in the body. The deletorious health effects of fluoride are due to overexposure beyond the body's needs (resulting from cumulative effects of water, toothpastes, dental gels etc.)


23 posted on 07/25/2005 1:24:39 AM PDT by Antioch (St. Jerome: "Beauty when unadorned is adorned the most.")
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To: sonofatpatcher2
More than I do... I regret to say!

Oh, I don't know about that.This line has stayed with me for about 35 years:

Zees women vould haff to be zelected not for zehr intellectual capabilities, but RAAHzher for zehr reproDUCTive potential...

(steely)

24 posted on 07/25/2005 6:56:20 AM PDT by Steely Tom (Fortunately, the Bill of Rights doesn't include the word 'is'.)
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To: tongass kid

Lots of luck convincing anyone on these threads. There's been a noticeable shift toward the anti-medical, bordering on quack theories that I've noted here since the whole Terri Schiavo mess. The site seemed to attract people who were so single-minded as to believe a single quack with a theory rather than accumulated research. (Hammesfahr in the case of Schiavo).

For sake of your sanity I recommend you also stay away from vaccine threads, autism threads, and mercury threads in particular. My husband (another dentist) has learned that clicking on them is bad for the digestion, LOL.


25 posted on 07/25/2005 9:31:50 AM PDT by Spyder
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To: Justa
I'm on board for lawsuits!

Just for embrittlement alone.

The information has long been known in other areas, metallurgy, chemical processing, etc..

I think someone high up the medical/industrial complex knew as well.

More important than hardness, as Fluoride replaces calcium ions your teeth gradually become brittle, so your back the dentists for more expensive repairs.

26 posted on 07/25/2005 10:54:58 AM PDT by norraad ("What light!">Blues Brothers)
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To: Finalapproach29er
Banjo player in Deliverence? Or "Hill" people?

Environmental "activist"

Actually, I don't know. I ripped his portrait off from the web somewhere. He originally had a damaged left eye and a tattoo of a dagger on the side of his forehead.
27 posted on 07/25/2005 5:40:24 PM PDT by Jaysun (Democrats are motivated mainly and perhaps almost wholly on envy.)
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To: Finalapproach29er
Banjo player in Deliverence? Or "Hill" people?

Environmental "activist"

Actually, I don't know. I ripped his portrait off from the web somewhere. He originally had a damaged left eye and a tattoo of a dagger on the side of his forehead.
28 posted on 07/25/2005 5:40:24 PM PDT by Jaysun (Democrats are motivated mainly and perhaps almost wholly on envy.)
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: Spyder
Thanks for the information. I realize this forum can not explain decades of research, especially to those with an agenda to sell fear. Fear is a powerful motivator that causes reasonable people to commit unreasonable acts. Somewhere in the Good Book we are reminded that the spirit of fear is not of the Lord. I have seen intelligent people die rather than accept medical treatment because some greedy person wrote a negative book about US medicine. I have no dog in this fight with other posters , only those that use the spirit of fear to sell their books. Once again, thank you.
30 posted on 07/25/2005 11:00:02 PM PDT by tongass kid
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To: Antioch
I believe you may be trying to define the optimum concentration of fluoride in the water. Unfortunately, some areas of the country have naturally occurring fluoride far beyond the optimum. Anyone drinking from a well or non public water supply should consider testing the water for various items including fluoride.
31 posted on 07/25/2005 11:13:10 PM PDT by tongass kid
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To: tongass kid

Too true. One of my husband's professors is/has been very active in anti-quackery, anti-healthfraud and got us interested as well. Hawaii goes through the fluoride debate every few years and every time it's the fear factor that wins it for junk science promoters. Oh well - job security so we can stay here when he retires from the Army in a year. Caries is a huge problem here.


32 posted on 07/25/2005 11:29:02 PM PDT by Spyder
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To: Spyder

Thanks for the conversations. Must get some rest in order to save the world from the all the bad bugs in my patients mouth's.


33 posted on 07/25/2005 11:41:47 PM PDT by tongass kid
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To: tongass kid
Just an aside observation;

I was reading about the Arankawa Indians that the Spaniards met when they first landed in what is now Corpus Christi Texas and one of the first observations made (besides that they were a very tall and handsome race) was that they all possessed perfect white teeth.

(And that happened without the help of any politician :^)
34 posted on 07/26/2005 11:24:25 AM PDT by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: TexasTransplant
Thank you for the information. Many studies have been completed on the dentition of Native Americans pre western diet. It is generally accepted that Native Americans suffered virtually no tooth decay until the introduction of western foods. Once again thank you.
35 posted on 07/26/2005 2:19:43 PM PDT by tongass kid
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