Fluoride is a poisonous substance added to many municipal water supplies across the US, Canada, and elsewhere without the permission of the residents. Is there a model that communities can follow to remove it from their water supply? The short answer to this question is yes.
Dr. Paul Connett, a chemist by training and director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), is recognized worldwide as a leader in the movement to eliminate fluoride from municipal water supplies, and I’m pleased to be working with him to achieve this goal.
He’s been active in this area for decades, becoming an environmental activist shortly after joining St. Lawrence University in 1983. In 1985, he got involved with the Zero Waste movement, fighting incineration and promoting alternatives to waste burning.
Those earlier efforts recently culminated in the publication of the book, The Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time.1 Then, in 1996, his wife alerted him to the problems of water fluoridation.
“I started to read what she’d given me, and I was embarrassed that I had fallen victim of this American brainwashing,” he says. “The American message from the public health establishment is that everybody in the world says fluoridation is great.
They forgot the fact that most of the world does not fluoridate; 97 percent of Europe does not fluoridate, thank you very much. The other tactic has been to denigrate opponents of fluoridation – flat earth society, crazy people. And I apologize, because I fell victim to that.”
Countering the Status Quo
The book, The Case Against Fluoride, was the culmination of years of joint investigation by Dr. Connett and James Beck, an MD, Ph.D. physicist from Calgary, and Spedding Micklem, who has a doctorate in biology from Oxford. In addition to a clear discussion about the toxic effects of fluoride, it contains 80 pages-worth of references to the scientific literature on fluoride.
The primary strategy that promoters of water fluoridation use is to establish that authorities say: “It’s good; it’s safe and effective,” and that “people who oppose fluoridation are stupid, stupid, stupid.” This strategy is basically aimed at keeping you from looking at the actual science.
“What the Fluoride Action Network has done, and done in spades, is we made the literature readily available – not just a little of it, but all of it,” Dr. Connett says.
“Even material that is pro-fluoridation is accessible through our website. If anybody wants to check that out, go to our website, FluorideAlert.org. On the top right hand corner of the homepage, you’ll see a button that says Researchers.
If you click on that, you’ll get a menu of issues. In that menu, if you click on Health Effects Database, you get another menu of all the tissues that fluoride could interfere with. It’s a tremendous database.
…My son is now going to archives around the country, digging up the information that’s being suppressed. We now know that, for years, they’ve been suppressing information about the harm that fluoride causes.
The industry hid information that fluoride was damaging the workers of the aluminum, steel, and other industries, with the help of the Sloan-Kettering Institute and the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research.
These institutes do research for industry, but only publish the results that are favorable to industry, and hide the results that were not favorable. And of course, what’s sickening about all of this is that there was collusion between these people that were hiding the information and the US Public Health Service. The very service that they set up to protect your health was colluding with industry to suppress information.”
Since about 2009, about 130 communities have stopped water fluoridation. Canada has dropped from about 60 percent of the population drinking fluoridated water down to about 32-33 percent. Victories have also been logged in New Zealand and across the US. Four major developments in the last 13 to 14 months include:
•Last year’s success in Portland, OR, where efforts to start water fluoridation were thwarted despite the pro-fluoride side spending about one million dollars to force the issue. They were even paying local associations $20,000 just to come out in support of fluoridation. Fortunately, their scheme didn’t work, and Portland is now the largest city in the US that does not fluoridate its water
•Wichita, Kansas also won its battle against fluoridation last year, after getting 60 percent of the votes in the referendum, despite being considerably outspent by the fluoride proponents
•Queensland lifted the mandatory requirement for fluoridation, which opened the floodgates and led to 17 district councils stopping fluoridation (or deciding not to start). In total, this affects about 45 different towns
•The new minister of health in Israel announced that this year, she’s lifting the mandatory fluoride requirement in Israel. Hopefully, this will lead to many communities ending their water fluoridation programs.
Each Victory is Paving the Way for More Successes Elsewhere
There are also exciting and highly creative developments going on in Ireland, where politicians are now trying to end fluoridation. Each victory adds to the arsenal of successful strategies that can help other communities to follow suit, even against formidable odds. As Dr. Connett explains:
“There’s a tremendous generosity amongst the communities that are fighting fluoridation. The people in Wichita, after getting a victory, helped the people in Portland. Now the people in Portland are helping other communities. They are sharing the educational material that they used, and some of them are very creative.
Clint Griess in California has a teleconference once a month, where people all over the world can join on the phone and hear these experiences.
They hear from the activist in Portland, Wichita, and Canada – including my co-author, James Beck from Calgary. He was able to get it out of Calgary. That was 1.2 million people free of fluoridation. I think it’s probably the Internet that will end fluoridation. They just cannot hide the information any longer.”
It’s worth remembering that if a product is really good, its benefits usually speak for themselves. You don’t need to intimidate people into buying it or using it. You don’t have to hide information relating to its effects. Such is not the case with fluoride, where every dirty tactic in the book has been and continues to be employed to keep it in use.
Curacao Takes on Fluoridation
At the time of this interview, Dr. Connett was in Curacao, an island in the Caribbean just north of South America with a population of about 140,000, where community leaders have formed a team to rid the island of fluoridation. Curacao was a Dutch colony at one point. The Netherlands began water fluoridation in the ’60s, but stopped it in the ’70s. Hans Moolenburgh, a doctor from Amsterdam, wrote a book about it, called Fluoride: The Freedom Fight . However, when fluoridation ended in the Netherlands, it was not stopped in Curacao.
“I said to them, ‘This is something that we’re doing to ourselves.’ Many toxic threats are things that are inadvertent that are being done to us by other things, but in this case, this [is a] toxin we’re giving to ourselves, and nowhere is that more bizarre than in Curacao,” Dr. Connett says.
“When you’re travelling from the airport to the hotel, you pass this huge [water treatment] plant. That plant is taking seawater, distilling it, pushing it through reverse osmosis to get pure drinking water, and then they dump hazardous waste from the phosphate fertilizer industry in it to fluoridate this water. I mean, is that Monty Python or what? It’s as easy to stop this as turning off a tap. But to turn off that tap, you need the political will of the decision makers.”
In this case, should the need arise, pro bono lawyers are also prepared to bring a lawsuit based on the premise that it’s unconstitutional to force medicine on people without their informed consent. But before suing, most communities are best off going through the local political process to end water fluoridation. Here, there are no shortcuts. It requires education, organization, dedication, and perseverance.
Fluoridation Is Forced Medication Without Consent
What needs to be communicated to your local councilors is that, by and large, they (the councilors) are not medically educated. They know little about toxicology. What right do they have to play doctor to the whole community? The evidence that fluoride causes harm is growing. But before councilors get bogged down in trying to understand which side of the argument has the best or most accurate information, they need to answer the question of: do they have the right to do what a doctor is not permitted to do—i.e. to medicate people without their consent?
“Keep it simple,” Dr. Connett advises. “No, they do not have the right to force medication. To put a medicine in the drinking water defies many aspects of medicine. You can’t control the dose. You can’t control who gets it. It goes to everybody, including bottle-fed babies.”
One of the consequences of this mass-medication is dental fluorosis, which is present in 41 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds in the US, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
•8.6 percent of those children have it in the mild form, where up to 50 percent of the tooth enamel impacted
•3.6 percent of them have moderate or severe dental fluorosis, where up to 100 percent of the enamel is affected
CDC statistics also show that African-Americans and Mexican-Americans are more susceptible to dental fluorosis, for whatever reason. Dental fluorosis is a clearly visible side effect of excessive fluoride exposure. But there are also many side effects you cannot see.
Why Are Community Leaders Rooting for Reducing Children’s IQ?
At present, 37 studies out of 43 done in China, India, Iran, and Mexico show water fluoridation lowers IQ in children. Even the lowest level of fluoride assessed in these studies – 1.8 parts per million– lowered IQ.
“That gives you no margin of safety to protect all the kids in the United States, or any large population,” Dr. Connett says. “One of the things a toxicologist has to do is to apply a margin of safety to protect everybody, because some kids are going to be at least 10 times more sensitive than other kids. Once you’ve got the level that has caused harm, you’ve got to apply safety factors of at least 10 or probably 100… [T]here’s no way you could condone the drinking of fluoridated water against this harm of lowering your IQ. This is very serious.”
A Harvard study evaluated 27 of these studies. Twenty-six of the 27 studies showed a statistically significant reduction in IQ of seven points. Dr. Connett notes that if you shift the IQ of an entire population downward by just five IQ points, you will have halved the number of geniuses in society, and you double the number of mentally handicapped. To lose half of your brightest individuals, and double the number of people who needs special services certainly has enormous social and economic ramifications for a country like the United States in the global economy.
Why Won’t the EPA Do an Honest Job?
According to Dr. Connett, the entire issue of water fluoridation could be overturned in a day, figuratively speaking, if the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) division of water was to do an honest job.
“In 2006, the National Research Council (NRC) told the EPA water division, who paid for their review, ‘Your safe drinking water standard and goal of 4 parts per million is not protective of health. You need to do a new risk assessment to establish a safe level.’ They had a whole chapter on the brain. They included five of the IQ studies. We now have 37…
Now, if the EPA was to take the IQ studies, apply the standard techniques of risk assessment, margin of safety analysis, and determine a new safe maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG), it would have to be zero, and it would end fluoridation tomorrow in the United States and almost certainly around the world. We are that close. But between us and that decision is a word called ‘integrity,’ or ‘honesty’…
Don’t give us a watered-down version designed to protect water fluoridation program, which is what they’ve hinted at a press conference in January 7, 2011. The deputy administrator of the EPA water division said, ‘We need to protect children’s teeth. We need to protect the water fluoridation program.’ No! He needs to protect our health, our babies, our brains, and our intelligence.”
There are so many resources out there now that pro-fluoride advocates are quickly running out of options besides name-calling and intimidation. Again, FAN has created a phenomenal database of available fluoride-related research, both pro and con, expanding even into fluoride sources other than water, such as pesticides and other chemicals. You can search the database by logging onto www.FluorideAlert.org, and selecting the Researchers button in the top right corner. You can also pick up a copy of Dr. Connett’s book, The Case Against Fluoride. All of this now easily available research clearly shows that:
•Water fluoridation does not work to prevent cavities
•Fluoride works when topically applied only
•There are unacceptable risks involved in the practice of water fluoridation
For updates and news, join The Fluoride Action Network’s Facebook page. Some countries have their own Facebook pages, such as Fluoride Action Network Australia and Fluoride Free New Zealand.