Monday, 24 January 2011

The Fluoride Debacle

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In a move that screamed “too little too late,” the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency announced earlier this month that they were working together to lower the amount of fluoride both suggested and allowed in drinking water.

It was their knee-jerk reaction to findings that have indicated a rise in the occurrence of dental fluorosis, the discoloration or spotting of teeth that comes with excess fluoride. Citing the addition of fluoride to everything from toothpaste to health supplements, they finally admitted that we have too much of the substance in our diets. To overcome that, HHS suggests that the chemical be added to water at a rate of 0.7 milligrams per liter of water, which is at the absolute minimum of their current standard of 0.7 to 1.2 mg.

It’s too bad that it took visual defects — we are, after all, a nation obsessed with appearance — to twist the federal government’s arm into cutting fluoride levels. Their sudden change of mind ignores the ample, conclusive evidence showing that most of the damage wreaked by the chemical isn’t of a dental nature, but is instead found deep within the body, in our bones and organs.

In her 2001 study that appeared in the May 2006 issue of Cancer Causes and Control, Elise Basin, DDS, made the discovery that osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, was most prevalent in young boys who drank from the most fluoridated water supplies. Those boys were 5.5 times more likely to develop the deadly ailment than their counterparts who ingested lower amounts of fluoride.

This past December yet another study was released — the 24th of its sort — indicating that the additive has an adverse effect on the intelligence of children. In a report for the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, Paul Connett, Ph.D. looked at Chinese populations newly exposed to fluoride and found that 28% of the children in the low-fluoride village of Xinhuai (.36 mg/L) were possessed of bright, normal or high intelligence. There, the mental retardation rate was only 6%. Conversely, in the high-fluoride community of Wamaio (2.47 mg/L) only 8% fell into the bright, normal or high intelligence category while mental retardation grew to a staggering 15%.

Fluoride also has a known effect on the thyroid. A 2008 study released by the National Research Council found that fluoride concentrates in that gland, creating numerous ailments  which result from a compromised thyroid, such as fatigue, weight gain, labored thinking, low blood pressure, fluid retention, and depression.

These studies, and the hundreds more before them, should leave one concerned for the well-being of our people. Every year, over 400 young Americans are stricken by the cancer mentioned in Basin’s thesis, which means that since the 1950s (when water supplies first became tainted) the chemical could be complicit in the deaths of nearly 25,000 children. Connett’s study could give a glimpse into the degradation of the American brain. One could readily assume that fluoride — along with troubled vaccines — is responsible for the increased rate of childhood brain damage (identified as autism) that has hit America. One could also surmise that fluoride accounts for most of the 59 million Americans (one-fifth of our population) who suffer from thyroid conditions. Most hypo- and hyperthyroidism diagnoses have — through the eyes of physicians who deny fluoride’s hazards — typically cited unknown triggers. The answer may be found right in their tap water.

The government’s desire to cut back on fluoride is good, but it’s not good enough. It should be eliminated entirely from our water supply. The risks — and outright dangers — are numerous, far outweighing the perceived benefit. We can naturally get fluoride from our diets (chicken and fish) and we are best left to pursue that option, just as nature intended.

That leads into the other reason for fluoride’s elimination: personal choice. Ever since the chemical’s use became widely accepted (if not forced) following questionable scientific studies in the 1940s, many people have rightly argued for fluoride’s elimination under the auspices of personal rights. Personal health and dietary intake should be at an individual’s discretion, not that of a governing body. We should not be forced to consume compounds or foodstuffs that we don’t want to. We best know our own bodies, and what we want them to be, and it’s our responsibility to manage our health — no one else’s.

This all shows quite perfectly that the government has no business in assuming control of personal health. When it does, the results can be deadly. It is a lesson that should be studied and applied in today’s political environment. Health Care Reform was, in part, conceived with the intent of ruling our bodies. Similarly, the new salt and fat regulations being floated around Congress and the Executive branch are designed with that in mind, too.

If ObamaCare can be repealed and food rules stopped dead in their tracks, we can ensure the prevention of a disaster even greater in scale than the fluoride debacle.

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