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The Forum > Article Comments > Toxic chemicals: the case against fluoride > Comments

Toxic chemicals: the case against fluoride : Comments

By Mark Diesendorf, published 9/2/2005

Mark Diesendorf argues that the use of fluoride should be brought before an unbiased, public, scientific scrutiny.

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An excellent article. The key point is the involuntary nature of the fluoridation, we are obliged to take when we drink water. This is a decision that should be taken by individuals, not nanny-state "experts" who are contemptuous of individual freedom and decided it is for our own good.

Best Regards
Posted by Geoffrey, Wednesday, 9 February 2005 1:03:39 PM
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Hear Hear. please keep spreading the word. Here in (as yet, unfluoridated) Ballarat the debate is raging. To those who squawk about the need to care for the teeth of children, I ask: when have you ever seen a child drink plain tap water anyhow? go to woolworth/ and look at their top 20 sellers. 13 of them are fizzy drink - it is scary.
Posted by Brownie, Wednesday, 9 February 2005 1:49:16 PM
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after a second reading of Mark's essay, this part - '
it is in the form of either fluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) or sodium silicofluoride (Na2SiF6), both of which are obtained from the untreated waste liquor from cleaning the scrubbers in phosphate fertiliser manufacturing plants"
makes me wonder who these phosphate manufacturers are, and what pressure they might be putting on Central Highlands Water, to get them to buy this poison for Ballarat; and also, when (inevitably) they do this to us, it will cost them more to deliver this 'improved' water, so our Rates will increase to cover the purchase. What does a drum of Na2sif6 cost anyhow?
Posted by Brownie, Wednesday, 9 February 2005 2:25:15 PM
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Toxic chemicals: the case against fluoride
Health - Mark Diesendorf - 9/2/2005 - 1 comment

There is a very strong argument in favour of fluoridation of water supplies. The benefit is mainly observed in the marked improvement in dental health, especially in children. The CDC (1) has remarked on the steady decline in dental caries in school children since 1940’s. Further this benefit flows over to the adult population. It is more then likely that good dental health is a major ingredient to good health status in the general community.

“The facts: In the early 1900s, a dentist in the small town of Colorado Springs, Colorado noted that most local people had brown staining on their teeth, but very little tooth decay. Research eventually linked both the staining and the reduction in tooth decay to the level of fluoride in the water supply. Further research showed that a fluoride level of one part per million in the water supply strengthened teeth without causing staining, leading to the town of Grand Rapids, Michigan being artificially fluoridated in 1945. A dramatic reduction in tooth decay was noticed within a few years, and other towns and cities across the world soon followed their example.”(2)

The Introductory page of the discussion on fluoridation in Brisbane (3) is also worthy of a quote a special quote:

“Water fluoridation is a well-proven public health measure, endorsed by major health organizations around the world. Despite this impressive level of support and over fifty years of proven success in Australia, Brisbane's water supply remains unfluoridated and Brisbane people suffer unnecessary pain, trauma and expense.”(3)

“What the experts have to say

Dr Don Anning, President, Australian Dental Association (Qld):

Queensland spends twice the national average per person on dental treatment in public dental services yet our waiting lists continue to grow even longer and Queenslanders still have the worst teeth in Australia. This is not a coincidence. The fact that less than 5% of Queenslanders enjoy the benefits of water fluoridation is the greatest triumph of quackery over science that I am aware of. In the face of the "big lie" perpetrated by anti-fluoridationists, it is time for the Queensland public to be aware of the facts and demand the long overdue introduction of one of the great preventative public health measures of modern times.”(3)

Dr. Diesendorf is correct in drawing attention to the toxic effects of fluoride and there is no doubt that in high doses fluoride is harmful. It is my view that if fluoride in drinking water was dangerous at a level of 1 ppm, then considering the decades of fluoridation the adverse consequences would by now be clear. This is not the case. There are no outbreaks of skeletal fluorosis. Hip and bone fractures are of course common but not attributeted to fluoride. Before attributing fluoride to brain damage, fractures etc. one must consider all possible confounders. I suggest that there are more potent adverse agents at work in the environment including smoking or diet, or infections and so on.
The reality is that fluoridation at 1ppm is relatively, if not totally benign.

I would draw attention to the phenomena of hormesis. That is a small quantity of a substance may be beneficial, a large dose harmful in the extreme. For instances sunlight is a necessary factor for endogenous vitamin D production. Excessive vitamin D intake or excessive sun exposure is harmful. Fluoride too follows the hormetic pattern.

1. Priority Area 13 Oral Health. In Health People 2000 review. 1994 Hyattsville, Maryland: Public Health Service.


Posted by anti-green, Wednesday, 9 February 2005 5:26:33 PM
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The best way to care for Children's teeth is to teach them proper hygiene methods of brushing, rather than adding fluoride to drinking water, which is a bit hit and miss anyway.

I grew up in Brisbane and have perfect teeth in spite of the lack of flouride in the water, and this is because I was encouraged to take care of my teeth. I used to work for a dental surgery in Brisbane and at a later date, one in Sydney. All the dentists I worked with said brushing properly, even with water, was FAR more important than which toothpaste was used.

The value of flouride in toothpaste HAS been proven, but the low concentration added into water has not. The improvement of teeth since the 1940s could be related to improved diet and hygiene as well as the inclusion of flouride in some water systems. Even if its dental benefits are 100% proven, there is very little publicity given to side effects.

The effects of various drugs and chemicals on the development of chhildren is always unclear, as clinical trials can only be carried out on adults. This includes things like Ibuprophen and Asprin as well as flouride.

I think it is important to be sure of the benefit as well as the side effects of chemicals we are adding to our bodies. The incidents of Asthma, eczema and allergies have gone up enourmously over the last few years. There are plenty of instances where people have been prescribed drugs or exposed to chemicals without thorough research into the side effect.

I don't think there has been enough research to say. I would prefer to make my own choices as to what I ingest and am exposed to, rather than have it arbitrarily added to the water.
Posted by jcl, Thursday, 10 February 2005 2:12:10 AM
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Author’s response to comments by Australian Dental Association (Qld) and ‘Anti-Green’

The alleged enormous benefits of fluoridation have not been established scientifically. The well-known anecdotes about Colorado Springs and Grand Rapids make good bed-time stories, but are not an adequate substitute for a randomised controlled trial, which has never been done on fluoridation.

The Colorado Springs anecdote has been critiqued in the scientific literature by Dr John Colquhoun, former head of the New Zealand Fluoridation Promotion Committee, while the credibility of all the early US fluoridation ‘trials’, including Grand Rapids, was demolished scientifically by Dr Philip R.N. Sutton, then a senior dental researcher at University of Melbourne, in his book Fluoridation: Errors and Omissions in Experimental Trials, 2nd edition, Melbourne University Press, 1960.

The comparison of tooth decay in Queensland with other States is highly debateable, since the results depend on which year, age-group and comparison States are selected. For instance, from the Child Dental Health Survey:
• in 1997 decay (dmft) in the primary teeth of 5-6-year olds in Queensland (5% fluoridated) was less than that in Victoria (extensively fluoridated);
• in 1990, decay (DMFT) in the permanent teeth of 12-year-olds in Queensland was less than in Western Australia (extensively fluoridated);
• in 1998 DMFT in the permanent teeth of 12-year-olds in Queensland was less than in Tasmania. (extensively fluoridated).

The most recent nail in the coffin of fluoridation comes from a paper published by two proponents of fluoridation, Jason Armfield and John Spencer, in Community Dentistry Oral Epidemiology vol.32 pp.283-96. Despite the likelihood that this study was subject to inadvertent examiner bias towards fluoridation (since it was not ‘blind’), it found no statistically significant benefit for fluoridation in permanent teeth in South Australia.

The ADA mentions the pro-fluoridation US Centers for Disease Control, but ignores the CDC’s finding, based on a review of the scientific literature, that the mechanism of action of fluoride on teeth is ‘predominantly topical’ (i.e. acting on dental surfaces). In other words, profluoridationists are conning the public that fluoride should be swallowed.

Finally, Anti-Green claims that “there are no outbreaks of skeletal fluorosis”, despite the fact that skeletal fluorosis is a serious public health problem in several regions of the world where natural fluoride levels are in the range 0.7-2.5 ppm. There has never been a scientific study to investigate the prevalence of skeletal fluorosis in high-risk groups in artificially fluoridated parts of Australia, despite the recommendation by the NH&MRC that such a study should be carried out.

Based on studies in naturally fluoridated areas, I expect that a well-designed, impartial, scientific study would find a significant prevalence of skeletal fluorosis in Australians who have ingested artificially fluoridated water for decades and also: (a) have/had chronic kidney disease or diabetes insipidus; or (b) were as infants bottle-fed on milk formula reconstituted with fluoridated water; or (c) were long-term outdoor workers or athletes.

To quote AntiGreen out of context, “water fluoridation is the greatest triumph of quackery over science”.

Dr Mark Diesendorf
Posted by MD, Thursday, 10 February 2005 12:21:08 PM
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