ARTIFICIAL WATER FLUORIDATION: MORE THAN JUST FLUORIDE
Issue No. 3
Few issues pertaining to the public health have generated as much passionate debate as the issue of artificial water fluoridation. This issue of "Health E-Bytes" will not endeavor to determine or debate whether such fluoridation is desirable. However, recent information has emerged that brings into serious question the safety of the specific agent being used for fluoridating most of the cities with water fluoridation programs in the United States today.
The primary water-fluoridating agent used today is known as hydrofluosilicic acid (HFSA). This acid is generated most commonly as a toxic waste by-product from the fertilizer industry. Smokestack scrubbers remove most of this acid and other toxic by-products before they escape into the air. These scrubbers were initially placed in response to environmental regulations enacted to prevent air pollution. Somehow, the deliberate placing into the water supply of a substance considered to be toxic in the air is not considered by many to be toxic for the water supply.
The HFSA undergoes NO pharmaceutical purification after it is removed from the smokestack scrubbers. In fact, assays of the HFSA consistently show the presence of arsenic, lead, mercury, and chromium. These are toxic metals that are generally regarded as cumulative in nature, meaning that it is a scientifically ill-founded argument to assert that the amounts of these toxins are too small to be of concern. Furthermore, individual sensitivities to different toxin levels vary widely. One person¹s immune system may cope just fine, while another¹s may become significantly compromised over time, further facilitating the emergence and development of some chronic degenerative diseases. Cancer and heart disease are two of the more common chronic degenerative diseases that would prosper in the face of lessened immune system strength.
HFSA AND BLOOD LEAD
Presently, over 91% of the artificially fluoridated water in the United States is treated with either hydrofluosilicic acid or a related compound, sodium silicofluoride. Together, these two agents are termed the silicofluorides. Masters et al. (2000) found that water treated with silicofluorides was consistently associated with the elevation of the heavy metal lead in the blood of the many children tested who drank this water. The mechanisms by which silicofluorides elevate blood lead levels is in some dispute, but the fact that the blood lead levels do nevertheless increase is not. Drinking water fluoridated with HFSA clearly results in the elevation of blood lead for many children.
Less than 10% of the fluoridated water in the United States is treated with sodium fluoride rather than HFSA. It is this agent, not HFSA, which underwent extensive animal testing for safety. It seems that HFSA has never been subjected to any human or animal safety studies. And, certainly, there is no information available that can even begin to support the notion that the ingestion of HFSA-fluoridated water for decades is harmless.
Quite the contrary, as noted above, the ingestion of HFSA-fluoridated water has now been shown to be related to significant increases in the blood lead levels of many of the children tested. Furthermore, Masters et al. analyzed the blood specimens of over 150,000 children. This is a study of mammoth proportions. To summarily dismiss this elegantly conducted study as bad science, as many water fluoridation supporters have done, brings into serious question both the intelligence and motivations of such supporters. Some fluoridation supporters are just listening to the unfounded statements of their scientific leaders and taking the debunking of this study at face value. The scientists, however, have no excuse for trying to ignore and/or downplay this extensive and scientifically valid research by Masters and his co-researchers.
THE AMOUNT OF LEAD IN QUESTION
Lanphear et al. (2000) studied the ability of lead to impair the ability to think in children and teenagers. Although lead had long been known to be toxic to the brain and nervous system, the lowest blood lead concentrations still capable of clinically affecting the nervous systems were not well defined. Lanphear and his co-researchers found that among 4,853 children with ages ranging from 6 to 16 years cognitive function was impaired at levels of lead in the blood even lower than 5 ug/dL. Specifically, arithmetic skills, reading skills, nonverbal reasoning, and short-term memory were all negatively affected at these low blood lead levels. In the study of Masters et al., noted above, many children who were drinking the HFSA-fluoridated water had blood levels greater than 10 ug/dL, well past the blood lead levels that Lanphear et al. had documented as being toxic to the brain.
At the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Society in 2001, Dr. Lanphear presented additional evidence of the severe toxicity of virtually any degree of lead exposure. Children with lead concentrations even less than the 10 ug/dL level noted above were found to have an average score of 11.1 points lower than the average score of the other children tested on the standard Stanford-Binet IQ test. Furthermore, Dr. Lanphear found that every additional 10 ug/dL increase of lead in the blood robbed the child of another 5.5 IQ points. Not surprisingly, Dr. Lanphear concluded that there was no safe level of blood lead. The obvious further conclusion from this was that no avoidable factor that can increase blood lead levels to any degree should be ignored as being of no clinical consequence. For a little further perspective, it should also be realized that prior to 1970, scientists believed that the clinical effects of lead poisoning did not take effect before a blood lead level of 60 ug/dL was reached. It can now be said that this high blood lead level is well over 600% higher than the level of blood lead that is now known to be quite toxic.
LEAD REMOVAL: TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
To make matters even worse, Rogan et al. (2001) published in The New England Journal of Medicine that the effective removal of lead from the blood of children who had already demonstrated impaired neurological function did not result in the restoration of that function. In other words, Rogan et al. found that once lead could be demonstrated to negatively affect cognition, behavior, and neuropsychological function, the damage was done, even if the lead was successfully removed. A great deal of vigilance must be maintained to make sure that children (and everyone else) are not subjected to any preventable exposure to lead or to other toxins that are known to raise blood lead, such as HFSA. Indeed, this reasoning should apply as well to preventable exposures to all heavy metals and all other known toxins.
MORE LEAD EXPOSURE, MORE DENTAL CAVITIES
Moss et al. (1999) published in The Journal of the American Medical Association that greater amounts of lead exposure resulted in an increased incidence of dental cavities. This is especially ironic, since the water fluoridation program is aimed at decreasing this incidence. Perhaps this is at least one reason why large epidemiological studies have not universally concluded that water fluoridation always does what it is supposed to be doing, namely, decreasing dental cavities.
If water fluoridation must be continued in the United States, a pharmaceutically pure form of fluoride must be used as a fluoridating agent. The evidence cited in this report should be properly evaluated, and the research should even be repeated if need be. However, water fluoridation is not necessary for the delivery of fluoride to the public, and HFSA should be immediately discontinued as a fluoridating agent nationwide, even if the water must go unfluoridated for the time being. This toxic fluoridation program is truly an epidemic of widespread proportions that must be stopped immediately. Our children have enough difficulty coping and growing up as it is without having critical IQ points forever deleted from their brains. In a very real sense, the United States is poisoning its most critical asset. No one should have the right to poison the brain of the susceptible child for the purported dental health of another child, especially when there are simple alternative ways to obtain fluoride, if that is desired.
Lanphear, B., K. Dietrich, P. Auinger, and C. Cox. (2000) Cognitive deficits associated with blood lead concentrations <10 ug/dL in US children and adolescents. Public Health Reports 115(6):521-529.
Masters, R., M. Coplan, B. Hone, and J. Dykes. (2000) Association of silicofluoride treated water with elevated blood lead. NeuroToxicology 21(6):1091-1100.
Moss, M., B. Lanphear, and P. Auinger. (1999) Association of dental caries and blood lead levels. The Journal of the American Medical Association 281(24):2294-2298.
Rogan, W., K. Dietrich, J. Ware, D. Dockery, M. Salganik, J. Radcliffe, R. Jones, N. Ragan, J. Chisolm, and G. Rhoads. (2001) The effect of chelation therapy with succimer on neuropsychological development in children exposed to lead. The New England Journal of Medicine 344(19):1421-1426.
Copyright © 2002 by Thomas E. Levy, M.D., J.D.
All Rights Reserved; Reproduction Permitted only with Acknowledgement and of the Entire Document
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