2011-02-09 / Editorials

Fluoride — If In Doubt, Keep It Out

BY COUNCILMEMBER PETER VALLONE JR.

Did you know that the government is putting toxic chemicals in our water which come from the scrubbing systems of the fertilizer industry and are classified as hazardous wastes: sodium fluorosilicate and fluorosilicic acid. Are you concerned? You should be. Unfortunately, when these chemicals are called fluoride, safety concerns go down the drain.

There is a growing body of evidence that fluoride does more harm than good. One need only do a modicum of research to find the many anti-fluoride Web sites and studies. One of the most useful is “50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation”, by Dr. Paul Connett, (www.slwebb.org), where the sources for much of the medical information I used can be found. Most recently, a study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health (December 17th) linked fluoride in water, at lower levels than what the EPA considers safe, to lower IQ in children.

Fluoride is a toxic substance that accumulates in our bones and tissues throughout our lives. Only 50 percent of it is excreted. While all poisons have safe levels, common sense dictates it is impossible to monitor fluoride intake in individuals when it is in almost everything we eat and drink, and the amount of water and food ingested varies so widely from person to person. A 2008 report prepared for Congress by the Congressional Research Service concluded the allowable amounts of fluoride should be lowered in order to prevent children from developing severe enamel fluorosis and reduce the lifetime accumulation of fluoride in bone, which “is likely to put individuals at greater risk of bone fracture and possibly skeletal fluorosis”.

This finding has been ignored. Proponents of fluoridation admit it is deadly at certain levels; one teaspoonful can kill an adult for example, but maintain that its effectiveness at fighting tooth decay offsets any potential harm. However, studies prove that tooth decay has decreased in areas without water fluoridation at the same levels as in areas that fluoridate. Additionally, in areas and countries that have discontinued fluoridation, dental decay has actually decreased. The main reason for this is, as the Centers for Disease Control have now acknowledged, any benefits from fluoride are topical. Fluoride toothpastes are effective but are not supposed to be swallowed, because of the fluoride.

Since I recently introduced my legislation to ban fluoridation, the New York Daily News wants to put a tinfoil hat on me, while the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) has called me hysterical, bizarre and unscientific, and stated that “the evidence of diminished IQ may best be observed among certain city Councilmembers”. More importantly, since my law, the government just released studies confirming the harm caused by ingesting fluoride and recommending that allowable levels be decreased to an amount lower than what exists in NYC water right now! The government, and industry funded hacks like the ACSH, cannot now admit they were wrong because of the huge potential liability, so this is their first step toward a future elimination of this toxin. Expect soon to read a government release saying that fluoride is being removed because of the huge costs involved, and the fact that we can all get enough of it from other sources. There will be no admission of fault, nor any apology to the growing chorus of those “hysterical” voices that tried to protect the public.

So before the Daily News fits me for my tinfoil hat, they should probably pick up a few extra rolls of foil for the many doctors, scientists, Nobel Prize winners and countries that support my position, or rather, whose position I support. France has rejected fluoride for “ethical as well as medical considerations”, Austria and Denmark have stated, “toxic fluorides have never been added to our water”, while Belgium echoed most of Western Europe when it stated, “It is not the task of drinking water to deliver medicinal treatment to the people.” Even the union representing the scientists at EPA headquarters has said, “The toxicity of fluoride is so great and the purported benefits…are so small, if there are any at all, that requiring every man, woman and child in America to ingest it borders on criminal behavior.”

It’s time for an intelligent discussion to be had on this controversial practice. I believe after that occurs, most people will support New York City using the Precautionary Principle which states, if in doubt, leave it out.

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