Unlike chlorination, used to kill residual bacteria at the end of the water treatment process, fluoridation is not a necessary part of water treatment. Fluoride is added to treat people, specifically children with tooth decay. Directive 2004/27/EC on medicinal products for human use of 31 March 2004 defines a ‘medicinal product’ as:-“Any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease in human beings ….

Water fluoridation is medication of the population via the public water supply in clear breach of the requirement of the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine that consent be obtained for all medical interventions involving competent adults. Artificially fluoridated water has never been subjected to the clinical trials which are required before a medicine is approved, nor has it a Product Licence as required of medicines. Fluoride has never been proved to be essential for any physiological process in humans so the concept of fluoride deficiency is invalid. Depending on kidney function, only one third to one half of ingested fluoride leaves the body. The rest accumulates throughout life, mainly in the skeleton.

Fluoride causes a disease syndrome─fluorosis─which is dose-dependent.1 Dental fluorosis, characterised by mottling and staining of the teeth, occurs only during tooth development. If it has affected the permanent dentition it is remediable only with expensive veneers. It is, in children, a clear sign of fluoride poisoning. The York Review2 found that 48% of children in fluoridated areas had some evidence of dental fluorosis, 12.5% had dental fluorosis “of concern”. Dental fluorosis was found even in children whose water was not fluoridated but who probably swallowed their toothpaste. Other manifestations of fluorosis (which can affect both children and adults) are changes to the lining of the digestive system, irritable bowel symptoms, chronic fatigue, frequent urination, hypothyroidism, infertility, arthritis-like pains in muscles and joints, diminished brain function and changes to the skeleton. Skeletal fluorosis includes brittle bones, bone spurs, humped back, limited movement and fusion of vertebrae. At low fluoride intakes it may take years to develop. There is evidence that fluoridation increases cancer rates, in particular osteosarcoma in young males. Downs syndrome and perinatal mortality are higher in fluoridated than in non-fluoridated areas.

Investigation of fluoride’s involvement in morbidity rarely takes place in this country. The health authorities claim that dental fluorosis is ‘purely cosmetic’ and deny any possibility that fluoridated water endangers general health. They plan to extend fluoridation schemes to deprived areas nationwide under the provisions of the Water Act (2003) which removed a water company’s right to refuse to fluoridate.3 It is feared that‘Public Consultations’, which must precede fluoridation under the Act,4 will consist of brazen promotion of the unproven dental benefits of fluoridation and unrepresentative polls using (as in past polls) the leading question “Would you support fluoridation if it benefits children’s teeth?”5,6

A U.S. National Research Council Report ‘Fluoride in Drinking Water’, published in March 2006, acknowledged firm evidence of adverse skeletal effects of fluoride and called for further research to clarify the action of fluoride on the brain and the endocrine system. This Report’s recommendation (that the EPA should set a lower Maximum Contamination Level Goal for fluoride) brings the unsafe concentration for fluoride in drinking water disturbingly close to the so-called optimum for dental health.

The American Dental Association, in November 2006, issued interim guidelines telling dentists to advise mothers not to mix powdered infant formula with fluoridated water.7 Babies consuming formula mixed with fluoridated water receive up to 200 times more fluoride than is present in human breast milk and are at risk of dental fluorosis in their permanent teeth. The ADA’s action has resulted in calls for fluoridation to be halted in America and moves to impeach officials who have denied the evidence of harm.8

Elizabeth A McDonagh, Chairman, National Pure Water Association.

  1. Susheela, A.K. A Treatise on Fluorosis (2004) Fluorosis Research and Rural Development Foundation, Saransh, Block B1, 34 Indraprastha Extension Delhi– 110092 India
  2. NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York A Systematic Review on Water Fluoridation (2000)
  3. Water Act 2003, Section 58
  4. Statutory Instrument 2005 No 921 The Water Fluoridation (Consultation) (England) Regulations 2005
  5. Department of Health Guidance on Fluoridation of Drinking Water Gateway reference 9361 Feb5th 2008
  6. British Fluoridation Society One in a Million (2nd edn 2004 Page 86)
  7. www.ADA.org Stacie Crozier ADA offers interim guidance on infant formula and fluoride Posted Nov. 9, 2006
  8. The Lillie Centre Inc, Formal Ethics Complaint and Request for Investigation Presented to the CDC August 9th 2007

Further reading

Bryson, Christopher The Fluoride Deception Seven Stories Press Paperback edn. (2006) ISBN 1-58322-700-8

Groves, Barry Fluoride Drinking Ourselves to Death? Newleaf (2001) ISBN 0-7171-3274-9

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