Food Policy Council urges Asheville to stop fluoridating water

WATERMARK: Engineers Timothy Ormond and Melanie Brethauer joined fellow Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council volunteers in sending a letter to Asheville leaders in June asking for an end to fluoridation of the city's water supply.
WATERMARK: Engineers Timothy Ormond and Melanie Brethauer joined fellow Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council volunteers in sending a letter to Asheville leaders in June asking for an end to fluoridation of the city's water supply. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Back in June, the Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council sent a letter to Mayor Esther Manheimer and City Council “requesting the city to end the artificial fluoridation of our water supply.” Brevard, Franklin, Black Mountain and Woodfin have all cut fluoride from their water systems over the years, and the grassroots group, whose mission is to “create healthier food environments and improve healthy food access for all Buncombe County residents,” is urging Asheville to follow suit.

Since the 1950s, fluoride has been added to many public water supplies to prevent tooth decay, but the practice was controversial from the start. Recent research has raised serious health concerns, though the federal government still maintains that the additive is safe at recommended levels.

“There’s a valid discussion to be had regarding drinking water fluoridation,” says Manheimer. “Asheville is in a unique situation in that fluoride was added to the drinking water after a ballot referendum. Therefore, to remove fluoride from the drinking water, another ballot referendum is needed.”

Good intentions

“Water fluoridation had good intentions early on,” explains Timothy Ormond of HydroCycle Engineering, an Asheville-based consulting firm. “We now have a lot more information about public health concerns and effects that can be toxic, disrupting certain organ and enzyme functions.” These studies, says Ormond, a Food Council volunteer, weren’t available in 2008, the last time the city considered the issue.

WATER ISSUES: Dr. Angela Hind, a physician specializing in internal medicine, says fluoride added to drinking water can cause harm to children's brains as well as lead to thyroid conditions.  Photo by Cindy Kunst
WATER ISSUES: Dr. Angela Hind, a physician specializing in internal medicine, says fluoride added to drinking water can cause harm to children’s brains as well as lead to thyroid conditions. Photo by Cindy Kunst

On April 27, the letter points out, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lowered its recommended fluoride level to avoid dental fluorosis, which causes spots on children’s teeth. The federal government, however, doesn’t recognize any other health concerns related to fluoride.

However, recent studies published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health and in the journal Environmental Health link fluoride consumption with hyperthyroidism and increased rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; other studies link the chemical to lower IQ scores in children. The Food Council’s letter also notes that the National Research Council has recognized fluoride as an endocrine disrupter and that a study published recently in The Lancet called fluoride a “developmental neurotoxin.”

“There are benefits of fluoride for your teeth,” Ormond concedes, “but that’s assuming that it’s primarily used topically and not ingested.”

The various forms of fluoride added to drinking water, says Dr. Angela Hind, “harm the development of a child’s brain, both in utero and during childhood. This is significant, because children are consuming it in our tap water every day.” Hind, a physician specializing in internal medicine, says fluoride also leads to thyroid conditions. “In the ’50s, it was used as a medication to suppress overactive thyroids. Not as much was known about thyroid function then, but now we have an epidemic of thyroid disease in our country: One in eight women will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime.”

Contentious history

Fluoridation has been a thorny issue locally for many years. In 1956, City Council decided to begin adding fluoride to Asheville’s water supply; in a referendum, however, Buncombe County voters overwhelmingly rejected the move. The resulting lawsuit reached the state Supreme Court, which ruled that a countywide referendum could not reverse a municipal decision.

Asheville began fluoridating its water in 1965 after a city referendum supported the practice. A second referendum, held in 1967 at opponents’ urging, upheld fluoridation.

The issue has been revisited several times; in 2008, local dentist Matthew Young compared putting fluoride in the water to drinking sunblock to prevent sunburns. After a lively debate, however, Council opted not to schedule another referendum.

“I think we have a lot more and better information than we used to,” says Ormond. “Ninety-seven percent of Western Europe doesn’t fluoridate its water.” And a 2012 World Health Organization study found equal or better declines in tooth decay rates in countries that don’t fluoridate their water (see chart).

The Food Council’s letter also points out that the fluoride added to our water is industrial, not pharmaceutical grade.

Industrial grade fluoride, notes Hind, is “scrubbed from the smokestacks of the phosphate fertilizer industry. It’s tainted with other industrial byproducts, including lead, arsenic and cadmium, and we’re also putting those things into our water, in very small amounts.”

Civil engineer Melanie Brethauer, a Food Council volunteer who works on water issues, says fluoridation falls through the regulatory cracks. “The FDA doesn’t regulate it because it’s not a drug. But the EPA doesn’t regulate it, because it isn’t being put in a river.”

Fluoride also occurs naturally in water, and though the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t regulate “additives,” it does set a limit for total fluoride in drinking water that’s much higher than the revised HHS standard. The Food and Drug Administration regulates bottled water but not public water supplies.

The letter also asserts that fluoridation discriminates against economically disadvantaged residents. (Ironically, protecting poor children’s dental health has been one of the main arguments advanced by proponents of the practice.) “It’s a social justice issue,” Brethauer maintains. “I can drive and get bottled water, but what about people who don’t have cars or just can’t afford it?”

Waiting game

Asheville, notes Manheimer, recently “lowered the levels of fluoride in the water after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended a lower level.”

And in any case, she continues, there’s no point in addressing the issue until the city’s 2014 lawsuit against the state over control of Asheville’s water system is settled. Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ruled in the city’s favor last year; the state has appealed the decision.

 

Following is the full letter the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council sent to Mayor Esther Manheimer and the Asheville City Council on June 23, 2015:

 

 

Dear Honorable Mayor Manheimer and Asheville City Council:

The Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council (ABFPC) was formed to: “create healthier food environments and improve healthy food access for all Asheville and Buncombe County residents.” Clean and safe water is not only critical for sustaining life and health through direct human consumption, but water is also an essential component in growing and producing healthy food for our community.

Based on a growing body of evidence, ABFPC is concerned about the practice of artificially fluoridating our water supply and is therefore respectfully submitting this request for consideration by the Asheville City Council to end the practice of artificial water fluoridation of our municipal water supply.

We would like to summarize some of the most urgent reasons to end artificial water fluoridation as well as the benefits to our community, citizens, and local businesses by ending this outdated practice.

Reasons to End Artificial Fluoridation

On April 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledged that the fluoride levels, which it previously promoted and encouraged as safe, has damaged children’s teeth. Because of the major increase in dental fluorosis (white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth) in 41% of young teenagers, HHS announced that water fluoride levels should be lowered. 1

In addition to the well-documented condition of dental fluorosis, there is growing body of research demonstrating other adverse health impacts of water fluoridation, including:

Lowered IQ in children documented in 43 studies2
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)3
Hypothyroidism/Underactive thyroid4
The National Research Council of the National Academies has stated fluoride is an “endocrine disruptor.”5
A recent study published in the Lancet lists fluoride as a “developmental neurotoxin.”6

Fluoride is the only chemical that is added to the municipal water supply as a “medication” for humans. All other chemicals are added as part of the water treatment and disinfection process. Ingesting fluoride should be a personal choice with informed consent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged that the mechanism of fluoride’s benefits are mainly topical, not systemic.7 Since the purported benefit of fluoride is topical, and the risks are systemic, it makes more sense to deliver the fluoride directly to the tooth in the form of toothpaste. Since swallowing fluoride is unnecessary, and potentially dangerous, there is no justification for forcing people to ingest fluoride through their water supply.

By putting fluoride in the drinking water, the dose cannot be controlled, as people ingest varying amounts of water. This is of particular concern for infants and young children and especially those consuming infant formula made with fluoridated water. Infants who receive formula made with fluoridated water at the new HHS guideline level may receive an estimated 175 times more fluoride than a breast-fed infant.

The chemicals used to fluoridate water are not pharmaceutical grade. The form of fluoride added to the City water supply is hexafluoricsilicic acid and is obtained from a chemical plant located in Spruce Pine. Industrial grade fluoride chemicals are classified as hazardous wastes and may be contaminated with various impurities, including arsenic.

African-American and Latino children are more vulnerable to fluoride’s toxicity. According to the CDC’s national survey of dental fluorosis, African-American and Latino children have significantly higher rates of dental fluorosis than white children.8 The recognition that minority children appear to be more vulnerable to toxic effects of fluoride, combined with the fact that low-income families are less able to avoid drinking fluoridated water, has prompted prominent leaders in the environmental-justice movement to oppose mandatory fluoridation.

Our nearby communities of Brevard, Franklin, Woodfin, and Black Mountain do not add any fluoride chemicals to their water. And many other communities around the country and throughout the world are abandoning the practice of fluoridating their water. Since 2010, 176 communities have rejected fluoride, including major cities such as Portland, Oregon, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wichita, Kansas and Calgary, Alberta. Additionally 97% of Western Europe has rejected water fluoridation.9

Asheville is known for its local food culture which is prized by residents and visitors alike. However many of these small businesses do not have the option to remove fluoride without implementing costly water treatment measures, such as distillation and reverse osmosis.
Benefits to Our Community by Ending Artificial Water Fluoridation

There are multiple benefits to be realized by the City by ending the practice of artificial water fluoridation, in addition to reducing the health risks cited above, including the following:

The artificial fluoridation of water incurs cost to the City and its tax payers. The cost savings by ending fluoridation can be used for other programs which benefit the community.

Several studies have documented that tooth decay does not increase when fluoridation is ended, including communities from Canada, former East Germany, Cuba and Finland.10

Asheville residents with concerns about fluoride seek out alternative sources of water, including bottled water, in order to avoid fluoride. By ending artificial fluoridation, these residents will be able consume City water, thus reducing the need to purchase bottled water and eliminating packaging from the waste stream.

Economically disadvantaged residents who lack the ability to afford non-fluoridated water will have the option to avoid fluoride in their water. As previously noted, this is of particular importance for bottle-fed infants in low income communities.

Removing fluoride will give local restaurants and food and beverage businesses the ability to provide “fluoride-free” water, beverage and food products that both they and their customers desire.

The above information represents the key reasons that ABFPC is requesting the City to end the artificial fluoridation of our water supply. We thank you for your consideration in this request and stand with you in striving to create healthier food environments and access for all of the residents of Asheville and our region.

Respectfully submitted, Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council References

1) http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/04/27/402579949/feds-say-its-time-to-cut-back- on-fluoride-in-drinking-water

2) http://fluoridealert.org/studies/brain01/ 3http://www.newsweek.com/water-fluoridation-linked-higher-adhd-rates-3127484

3) http://www.newsweek.com/water-fluoridation-may-increase-risk-underactive-thyroid-disorder-309173

4) http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11571

5) http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422%2813%2970278-3/abstract

6) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2001). Recommendations for using fluoride to prevent and control dental caries in the United States. Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Review 50(RR14):1-42.

7) Beltran-Aguilar ED et al. (2005). Surveillance for dental caries, dental sealants, tooth retention, edentulism, and enamel fluorosis — United States, 1988–1994 and 1999—2002. MMWR Surveillance Summaries 54(3): 1-44. (Table 23)

8) Connett, Paul, PhD. (2012). “50 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation.” Fluoride Action Network.

9) http://www.fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/50-reasons.pdf

10) (Maupomé 2001; Kunzel & Fischer, 1997, 2000; Kunzel 2000; Seppa 2000)

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About Jonathan Ammons
Native Asheville writer, eater, drinker, bartender and musician. Proprietor of www.dirty-spoon.com

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125 thoughts on “Food Policy Council urges Asheville to stop fluoridating water

  1. Lakota Denton

    I live in Asheville city limits and have city fluoridated water. My wife is pregnant and I have a 3 year old. I do not want our family exposed to fluoride. If fluoride is beneficial to our teeth (its probably not, according to latest research) then my family will put it on our teeth, not in our stomachs. Fluoridated water is a an outdated and dangerous practice, similar to lead paint or aesbestos. As father, I will not allow known neurotoxins into my home. As an attorney, I will urge the city of Asheville to get ahead of the curve and end the forced medication of fluoride through its drinking water. 98% of Europe refuses to fluoridate for a reason. Asheville needs to get on board. This is not a political issue. This is a health issue.

    • Lakota

      You are at it again, I see. Publicly spreading misinformation about fluoridation, or any subject, for that matter, is a practice that should not be expected of any respectable attorney. So, let’s straighten out this latest bout from you.

      1. The effectiveness of fluoridation in preventing dental decay in entire populations has been clearly demonstrated in countless peer-reviewed scientific studies. I will be glad to cite as many as you would reasonably care to read.

      2. There is nothing “outdated” about the prevention of dental decay. The following is a 2015 New Zealand study, which demonstrates the effectiveness of fluoridation. It does not get any more up to date than that.

      —Int Dent J. 2015 Apr 27. doi: 10.1111/idj.12166. [Epub ahead of print]
      A 4-year assessment of a new water-fluoridation scheme in New South Wales, Australia.
      Blinkhorn AS1, Byun R, Mehta P, Kay M.

      3. Lead paint and asbestos have no relevance to water fluoridation.

      4. Yes, there are a multitude of reasons why other countries may not fluoridate their water supplies, few, if any, related to any concerns with safety or effectiveness. These reasons include such things as logistics of water systems rendering fluoridation cost-prohibitive, use of fluoridated salt or milk programs in lieu of fluoridating the water, existing fluoride levels in water already at or above the optimal level, and equal access to comprehensive dental care by all citizens of a country.

      5. Yes, it is a health issue. By intentionally disseminating misinformation on a very valuable public health initiative, you are endangering the health of the entire community.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS
      Burlington, NC

      • Is this your best example of research showing fluoridation to be effective? I would be happy to read it, but I don’t want to go to the trouble if you are just bluffing again, like you tried with the study of 106 subjects drinking fluoridated milk.

      • Justin Holt

        Steve Slott, you’re at it again. He trolls pushing fluoride on any and every article about it online. It’s best to ignore him, don’t feed the trolls. He trolled Portland, OR hardcore back when we were battling to keep this toxic waste out of our water. We won, there’s hope Asheville, keep pushing through! <3

      • Navin Johnson

        Hey, Stevie:

        What did indigenous cultures do before the wonders of fluoride? (And, toothbrushes, by the way.) Ever hear of Weston A. Price?

        Also, I have a study that shows when more ice cream is sold there are more shark attacks. So, clearly, ice creams causes shark attacks.

        Finally, I’m guessing you think mercury-containing fillings are safe? Add a few drops of mercury to a pond and the EPA would declare it a hazard. Somehow, though, it’s perfectly safe in one’s mouth.

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        Navin R. Johnson, RSVP, EIEIO

        • Navin, it seems that you are one of those gullible souls who has paid a fortune to have his dental amalgam restorations replaced with less durable material which will require expensive replacement far more often……in spite of there being no valid evidence, whatsoever, of any problem with mercury release from amalgam.

          Say! I have this bridge in Brooklyn I’ll sell you cheap! Interested? How about some land in Florida at low tide? Actually there is this very nice Nigerian gentleman who keeps emailing me about a large sum of money wants to share. Want me to put him in touch with you? You’re exactly the person he seems to be seeking.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

          • I had one amalgam filing that I had replaced with a porcelain inlay about two years ago. It was about 40 years old so you are right about longevity. If I ever need to have the current filling replaced, I will do it while on vacation in Central America, at one quarter(or less) the North American rates. My dentist there is very experienced and personable. A true credit to the profession. I would be happy to refer anyone looking to bypass the ADA arrogance.

            By the way, I gave that Nigerian your name and contact info.

          • Navin Johnson

            I didn’t realize you’re a celebrity, Dr. Fluoride!

            http://www.dmlawfirm.com/slott-machine-backs-artificial-fluoidation
            https://disqus.com/by/steve_slott

            Here’s a legitimate question for you: Why do invest so much of your time into the fluoride debate? Or, if you like, the anti-anti-fluoride debate?

            After reading-up on you a bit, it’s clear you’re very “motivated” about the topic. If I had your time and money, I believe the last thing I would want to do is fence with screwballs like me in the comments section of various fluoride threads. Maybe you’re just philanthropic?

            What do you think about:

            – Vaccines and immunizations? Do either cause Autism?
            – Vitamin and mineral supplements? Are they safe?
            – Lyme Disease? Does it exist? If so, is a 21-day course of Doxycycline all that’s required?

            As for the deal you offered, sure, I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a “bridge” today.

          • 1. Thank you, Navin. I was looking for the link to that nonsense posted by the antifluoridationist lawyer. It is highly entertaining, and always good for laughs when I tell people to read it.

            2. My motivations are irrelevant. I provide facts and evidence which are easily veriable.

            3. That you are an anti-vaxxer is of no surprise, whatsoever.

            4. My opinions on vitamins, minerals, and Lyme Disease, are of no relevance to water fluoridation.

            Now, do you have anything of intelligence to contribute to the discussion?

            Steven D. Slott, DDS
            Burlington, NC

          • Navin Johnson

            1. RE: The URLs. My pleasure. Glad to be of service.

            2. You provide “facts and evidence.” Repeating a falsehood doesn’t make it true. That is a fact.

            3. I have no strong opinion on vaccines/immunizations. I’ve had some, but not in a while. I was genuinely interested in your stance.

            4. RE: Vitamins, minerals, Lyme Disease. As above. I was curious if you had any other hot buttons.

            Nope, I have nothing else to say. I’ll let you hang-up your cape for the night and slip into your nightgown.

            Good luck on your crusade, Dr. Fluoride.

          • Navin

            “2. You provide “facts and evidence.” Repeating a falsehood doesn’t make it true. That is a fact.”

            Please provide valid, documented evidence of any “falsehood” I have posted. Your inevitable inability to do so will be taken as your admission that the one posting falsehoods is you, not me.

            Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Steven D Slott works for Fluoride Co

        For a dentist, this internet troll (working for the chemical toxic waste fluoride companies), Really has LOT of time on his hands. Show your face in Asheville, and see what’s coming to you

        • Certainly. I frequently visit Asheville, and have many friends there. I will continue to do so. Your threat clearly demonstrates the caliber of the small group of vocal activists who are seeking to undermine fluoridation in that community.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Scott Hall

        Dr. Slott,

        The safety question aside, what about having people focus on the importance of diet, brushing, and flossing, rather than addressing the symptoms of poor choices?

        That’s very simplistic, no doubt, but it seems that trying to prevent a problem is better than dealing with its symptoms much later.

        I suppose I’m not keen on anyone trying to “save” me, because where does it stop? Do we dump Tylenol in the water, to prevent headaches? Maybe statins, to “manage” cholesterol levels? Obviously, you get the point.

        Thanks for the consideration.

        Scott Hall
        Asheville, NC

        • Scott

          You incorrectly assume that there is no focus on the importance of diet, brushing, and flossing. These factors have always been emphasized by dental and medical healthcare providers, and will always remain so. However, so doing does not mean that we cannot also fully support other effective means to prevent dental disease. Untreated dental decay is an overwhelming problem in all areas of our country and most others. We need all the help we can muster in combatting it. Water fluoridation, at less than $1 per person year, is by far the most cost-effective means we have available to prevent a significant amount of dental decay in entire populations. Optimal level fluoride is colorless, tasteless, odorless, and causes no adverse effects. Cessation of fluoridation would not cease the ingestion of fluoride in water. Fluoride will still remain. The only thing accomplished would be the removal of the benefit you receive from a substance you will continue to ingest in your water anyway, fluoridated or not.

          In regard to “where does it stop”?….., tylenol, and statins do not already exist in your water. Introducing them would be introducing entirely new substances. Fluoridation simply increases the existing level of fluoride ions already in your water by a minuscule amount, up to the level where you receive maximum benefit from them while still remaining below the threshold of adverse effects.

          In 2003, I founded a portable free dental program I named the NC Missions of Mercy. Over the next 7 years I built the program, obtained all funding for it, and operated it in all areas of NC, and in 5 other states. It was a full time volunteer job in addition to my full time dental practice in Burlington. Through the experience of this program providing free dental treatment to tens of thousands of needy individuals, along with my own practice consisting primarily of Medicaid recipients, I obtained a stong understanding of the massive problem we have with untreated dental decay, and of the lifelong devastating effects it thrusts onto tens of millions of our citizens.

          In 2010, I turned over the NC MOM to the NC Dental Society. NCDS, I believe, still holds a MOM clinic in Asheville each year. I encourage you and all other residents of your outstanding community to volunteer in the next MOM clinic in Asheville. Take note of the long lines of people who often camp out overnight in order to receive much needed dental care. Take a look at the destruction of teeth and surrounding tissues in the majority of these folks, if you can. Do this, and you may obtain some idea of why I advocate so strongly for fluoridation along with numerous activities in which I am involved.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS
          Burlington, NC

          • Still no evidence that fluoridation works? Think of all the keystrokes you could save just by presenting some evidence. All your extra time could be spent on those other activities.

          • Scott Hall

            Dr. Slott,

            I appreciate the thoughtful and detailed response. Your passion for the topic is impressive, to say the least.

            Best wishes,
            Scott

          • Scott

            You raised valid questions in a sincere manner. I respect that. We may not agree on this issue, but honest discussion is always valuable, and something to which I am always open.

            Steven D. Slott, DDS
            Burlington, NC

    • george bornyek

      For over 40 years the government has been poisoning the water with flouride. Forcefully medicating every person in the US. Once an injunction is brought the government in the court for illegally medicating the public this nonsense will stop. Once we stop this nonsense then we can move on to Crazies at Monsanto with their GMOs. No doubt Monsanto will kill the planet and all live upon this earth. Then Chem Trails and Bio-Engineering. Our government is absolutely gone MAD. And not a word of this comes up at the political debates. The US is of by and for the Illuminati who own the big corporation manipulators. AMEN.

    • Germouse

      Ahhh, the “question” again…..the question which has been answered so many times I’ve lost count. The problem you are having with this “question” is in your denial of the science, not with the answer.

      Yet once again…..

      The amount of fluoride stored in hard tissues is not a linear constant. It fluctuates in accordance with its equilibrium with plasma levels of fluoride. Plasmas levels are determined by fluoride intake. The US Institute of Medicine has established the daily upper limit of total fluoride intake to be 10 mg before adverse effects will occur short or long term. Below the level of chronic daily fluoride intake of 10 mg, adverse effects will not occur. The first disorder risked by chronic daily intake of 10 mg or more fluoride, is skeletal fluorosis, a disorder so rare in the US as to be nearly non-existent.

      Given that the CDC has estimated 75% of total fluoride intake to be from water and beverages, a simple math equation demonstrates that before the daily upper limit could be attained in association with optimally fluoridated water, water toxicity would be the concern, not fluoride.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

  2. James Biddle MD

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infant formula be mixed with non-fluoridated water. If Asheville continues to fluoridate its drinking water but does not buy bottled water for low-income parents, then this city is poisoning infants based upon socio-economic and therefore racial disparity.

    • The ADA used to recommend the same thing but for some strange reason they have softened their statement without explaining why. When Steve Slott DDS shows up here, perhaps someone can ask him, since he is back to not talking to me.

    • James Biddle

      There is no “poisoning” of anyone with optimally fluoridated water. The only risk of any sort, whatsoever, to infants from this water is mild to very mild dental fluorosis, an effect which is not an issue one way or the other.

      Due to the existing fluoride content of powdered infant formula, the use of fluoridated water to reconstitute it risks mild to very mild dental fluorosis, a barely detectable effect which causes no adversity on cosmetics, form, function, or health of teeth. As peer-reviewed science has demonstrated mildly fluorosed teeth to be more decay resistant, many consider this effect to not even be undesirable, much less adverse.

      For those parents who are concerned with even mild dental fluorosis, in spite of the decay resistance benefit, the CDC and the ADA have suggested they use non-fluoridated bottled water, or simply use pre-mixed formula, most, if not all, of which is made with low fluoride content water. That is the extent of any “recommendations” in regard to baby formula and fluoridated water.

      I live in Burlington, which has been fluoridated for the past 45 years. I went to school in Chapel Hill then came back to Burlington where I have practiced dentistry for the past 33 years. I am surrounded by fluoridated communities. During my entire time in practice here I have as yet to see one single case of dental fluorosis in any manner attributable to the fluoridated water, which would even be detectable outside of close examination in my dental chair. I fed my infant children powdered infant formula reconstituted exclusively with fluoridated water, and recommended they do the same with their infant children, which they now do.

      Water fluoridation simply increases the existing level of fluoride ions in a water system, by a minuscule amount up to the level where maximum benefit is attained from a substance which we will ingest in our water anyway, fluoridated or not, with no adverse effects. Cessation of fluoridation does not cease the ingestion of fluoride. It simply removes the benefit.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS
      Burlington, NC

      • Hard to believe that anyone in today’s world would recommend formula feeding over breastfeeding to their kids.

        You certainly would have a bit of an internal conflict if the early evidence linking fluoridation to ADHD and IQ loss turns out to be confirmed.

        • Mmmmmm…. Interesting comment David Green. You just provided a perfect example of how fluoridation opponents (FOs) take statements out of context and ‘adjust’ them to fit their purposes.

          I read Dr. Slott’s comment very carefully, and I saw absolutely nothing that would indicate he would “recommended formula feeding over breastfeeding”. How on earth could you have possibly come to that conclusion based on his actual recommendation of using fluoridated water to mix formula????

          The studies you mention about so-called links between ADHD, IQ loss and fluoridation show nothing beyond weak possible correlations with no controls for major potential confounding factors. Correlation does not equal causation, and the correlations FOs have provided that allegedly demonstrate the harm of fluoridation are all extremely weak — and have been for over 70 years.

          • Would you not agree that the main use of formula is to replace or supplement breast milk? It is hard to know which is worse, recommending infant formula in general or recommending infant formula specifically mixed using fluoridated water. I commented to Steve before about this and he didn’t clarify. Maybe you can get a clearer statement from him. He’s not talking to me again.

    • Navin Johnson

      Well-stated, Dr. Biddle. I think Dr. Young should get on this thread, too. He would school Stevie Slott.

      • Sure, Navin, the more antifluoridationists the better. There is nothing I enjoy any more than exposing the complete fallacy of their “arguments”.

        Steven D. Slott, DDS

  3. Everyone wants safe, clean water and not the added drug fluoride (actually industrial waste hydrofluosilicic acid) added without consent.

    The solution for the fluoridation issue is very simple.
    SIMPLE SOLUTION:
    1. Take the toxic waste fluoride chemical out of the drinking water.
    2. It is still legal and available, so those who wish to take it can then put fluoride in their own glass of water (as much as they wish).
    3. Leave the rest of us out of it, giving everyone the freedom of choice.
    PROBLEM SOLVED.

    • NFB

      SIMPLE SOLUTION

      1. Leave fluoride in the drinking water.
      2. Water without fluoride is still legal and available so those who wise to avoid it can have their own water.
      3. Leave the rest of us out of the Flat Earth and John Birch Society mentality, giving everyone freedom of chocie.
      PROBLEM SOLVED.

      • A comedian for sure, but not funny at all.
        Forcing a toxic chemical on all citizens against their will is immoral and unethical.
        Over 50% of all children suffer enamel damage (dental fluorosis) from fluoride. The worse 5% to 10% of those require cosmetic dental repairs costing up to $10,000. Why must the families have to pay this bill? Why won’t the government which causes this damage pay?
        Or maybe the dental community?

        • James Reeves

          1. There is no “toxic chemical” involved in water fluoridation. There are only fluoride ions, identical to those which have always existed in water.

          2. No one is forced to do anything in regard to water fluoridation. Your apparent belief that because water flows from a faucet you are somehow forced to drink it, is a cognitive problem with you, not an issue with fluoridation.

          3. Your “over 50% of all children” was actually 41% and is a garbled reference to the 2010 CDC study by Beltran-Aguilar in which 41% of adolescents they examined were found to have signs of dental fluorosis.. This 41% was composed of 37.1% with mild to very mild dental fluorosis, a barely detectable, benign effect requiring no treatment, and which has no effect on cosmetics, form, function, or health of teeth….with the other 3.8% being those with moderate dental fluorosis, attributable to improper ingestion of toothpaste and/or exposure to abnormally high levels of environmental or well-water fluoride during the teeth forming years of 0-8.

          —Prevalence and Severity of Dental Fluorosis in the United States, 1999-2004
          Eugenio D. Beltrán-Aguilar, D.M.D., M.S., Dr.P.H.; Laurie Barker, M.S.P.H.; and Bruce A. Dye, D.D.S., M.P.H. 

          4. Given the lifetimes of extreme pain, debilitation, development of serious medical conditions, loss of teeth, and life-threatening infection directly resultant of untreated dental decay which could be, and is, prevented by the public health initiative which you seek to undermine with a constant flow of false information………do you intend to pay the lifetime astronomical dental and medical expenses to which you will have doomed multitudes of unfortunate individuals, through your irresponsible activities?

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

  4. Hopefully Mayor Esther Manheimer and the Asheville City Council will examine the available evidence on the safety and effectiveness of drinking water fluoridation with the same impartiality as the Denver Water Board Commissioners and come to the same conclusions.

    I live in Littleton Colorado, I drink fluoridated Denver Water, I have been following the fluoridation controversy for years, and I support Community Water Fluoridation. I have never noticed any negative effects of the fluoride ion except that it seems to increase the hostility of certain members of society if they even hear the words, fluoride or fluoridation.

    When the Denver Water Board Commissioners announced they were reviewing the fluoridation policy I became interested in helping people in Denver and elsewhere understand the controversy and in providing resources to counter the distortions of available evidence by the fluoridation opponents (FOs). Consequently, I will post this message when I see that FOs have begun to spread their seeds of fear against the practice of fluoridation.

    Thankfully legitimate science prevailed over the fear-mongering and BiasScience of FOs in Denver on August 26th with the decision to continue fluoridation of the city’s drinking water.

    The resolution the Denver Water Board Commissioners adopted at its August 26, 2015 meeting stated: “Nothing has been presented to the Board or learned in our research that would justify ignoring the advice of these public health agencies and medical and community organizations, or deviating from the thoroughly researched and documented recommendation of the U.S. Public Health Service.”, http://www.denverwater.org/WaterQua…/WaterSafety/Fluoride/. That statement is important considering top FO spokesperson, Paul Connett, flew to Denver to give a presentation at the July 29th information session – – – and contributed nothing new or of value to the decision making process.

    For those who are concerned about fluoridation because of all the complete falsehoods and twisted truths spread by FOs, I put together a web page, http://www.cyber-nook.com/water/fluoridationreferences.htm, to provide evidence in support of the safety and effectiveness of drinking water fluoridation that is conveniently missing from the FOs’ propaganda. Don’t buy into the fear without doing your own research. If there are not enough references to convince you the FOs are distorting the evidence, simply go to the entire body of published evidence at http://www.pubmed.gov/ and do your own examination of the research.

    It is very easy to discover where the FOs have distorted the evidence to create fear using studies where the actual conclusions are completely contrary to how they have been presented. The 2012 ‘Harvard IQ’ study by Choi, et al. and the 2015 Cochrane review of water fluoridation are excellent examples.

    Remember, as you examine the evidence, science is a process by which the scientific community reaches a consensus (a communal agreement) about specific issues that is based on a complete evaluation of all the evidence that’s available. The scientific consensus on community water fluoridation for over 70 years has been that it is a safe and effective process for reducing dental caries in a community. All of the so-called evidence used by FOs has been exhaustively analyzed and found to be insufficient to change the consensus.

    The only way FOs can promote their agenda is to try and convince the public that fluoridation is ineffective and harmful to health. And the only way that can be accomplished is to:
    (1) Reference poor quality research that has been dismissed by experts in the field,
    (2) Claim that known detrimental effects of exposure to high levels of fluoride automatically means low level exposure is also harmful,
    (3) Manipulate the conclusions of legitimate research to imply the practice of fluoridation is harmful.
    (4) Use fear instead of valid evidence to try and convince people the FOs’ position is valid.
    (5) Try and suggest that fluoridation is forced medication instead of a beneficial water treatment process – like chlorination and the addition of various other chemicals.
    (6) Try and discredit the respected science and healthcare professionals, and the highly respected science, healthcare, and regulatory organizations supporting fluoridation as being corrupt, inept, conspiracy laden, etc. It is ironic that FOs attempt to use the methods of science to justify their strongly held biases, but the only way that they can do that is to deny one of the key components of the scientific method – Consensus of the experts.

    As you read comments for and against fluoridation, note that comments from fluoridation supporters provide detailed responses that dissect each part of the FO’s claims. These answers can be verified by anyone who takes the time to read the relevant papers. In contrast, claims of the FOs either have no supporting evidence, or if there is evidence, you can check for yourself to see how it has been.

    Randy Johnson

    • I think your post is so long that most won’t bother to read it. Your claim of fluoridation being a water treatment gives away that you haven’t thought about or studied the issue much.

      • Unfortunately that may be true – too many people read the one-line, fear-inducing claims provided by fluoridation opponents, become scared and demand an end to fluoridation. Fluoridation is as much water treatment (adding chemicals to water to disinfect, adjust pH, reduce hardness etc.) as chlorination. Both have benefits and health risks, but in both cases the benefits outweigh the risks.

        • The obvious difference is that a water treatment chemical makes the water taste , smell or look better, or safer to drink. Fluoride does none of those things. It’s intended purpose is to prevent a disease. In Canada that makes it a Drug or a Natural Health Product according to our Food and Drugs Act. I am a little surprised that you are continuing to argue an issue that is so obvious.

          Just to be clear, if a fluoridation promoter tells a community about all the bad things that will happen if fluoridation is ended, all the mass decay and trips to the hospital and general anesthetic, is that not a “fear-inducing” claim or does that only apply to people with whom you disagree?

          • I rather thought the intent of adding the poison chlorine to water was to prevent disease – it certainly does not make the water taste or smell better, and it is classified as a water treatment process — and chlorine disinfection creates harmful disinfection byproducts. By your definition you should be anti-chlorination with at least the same enthusiasm as you fight fluoridation.

            Just to be clear, if a fluoridation promoter used accurate, peer reviewed, high quality scientific research — without distorting the conclusions — to justify those claims it would be an accurate presentation of the evidence, NOT fear mongering.

        • While I am certainly not pro-chlorine at least with that chemical there is a measureable benefit and it is both easily removed and/or quickly dissipated. I keep asking for the best study showing fluoridation to be effective, but no one is willing or able to provide it, yet they keep claiming that the proof is “overwhelming” or “vast”. Does that not strike you as bizarre?

        • Sorry, I forgot to mention the Courtenay/Comox study which is all the things you mentioned, yet found that decay actually lessened in the fluoridation-ended community compared to a similar one which continued to fluoridate.
          This isn’t the only place to find a similar result.

          The WHO data also makes it pretty clear that if there is any benefit from fluoridation, it isn’t evident at age 12, yet we are still seeing promoters go to the press with pictures of baby bottle tooth decay and pretend that lack of fluoridation is responsible. That looks like fear-mongering to me.

  5. I have been working with a great organization called Moms Against Fluoridation http://momsagainstfluoridation.org/ as a volunteer in 2015 and I just want to say that if you are looking to do your own research and want to be informed check them out. People who question whether or not this drug should be in our water are not fanatics! Comparing rational people who care about their family’s health (and simply ask questions about a practice that was never really validated with clinical trials to begin with) to organizations that argue the Earth is flat is ridiculous. Some of us believe in science and listen to intelligent people that have actual hard evidence to share. Critical thinking is an important skill, people need to practice it more. Besides this is America, we are allowed to question our leaders and our government’s practices. That is part of being a democracy.

    • Sarah

      “Momsagainstfluoridation” is nothing but an antifluoridationist website, rife with misinformation. For those readers who wish for accurate, authoritative information on fluoridation, the websites of the CDC, the EPA, the American Dental Association, the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, each has a wealth of such information readily available to anyone.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

  6. Argus

    Never understood the point of dumping hazardous waste into drinking water?!

    • Argus

      The following is a letter from Dr. Steven Levy, principle researcher for the “ADA study” you reference. The letter was sent to the Mayor of Dalles, OR in response to the constant distortion and misrepresentation of his study by antifluoridationists, exactly as occurs in the article in the dubious Natural Health publication, “Natural News” to which you provide a link.

      June 27, 2013

      Stephen Lawrence, Mayor
      c/o City of The Dalles, City Hall
      313 Court Street
      The Dalles, OR 97058

      Dear Mayor Lawrence,

      I write as a concerned citizen and scientist regarding the misrepresentation of data from research that I have been involved in concerning the use of fluoridated water in reconstituting either powdered or liquid concentrate baby formula. I believe this information has originated from anti-fluoridation organizations such as Clean Water Portland and other anti-fluoridation advocates.

      I have spent much of my professional career trying to better understand the fluoride levels of foods and beverages and fluoride intake from other sources. We have received nine different NIH grants related to this and are working on a grant application to continue this work. We have followed a group of nearly 1,000 children longitudinally from birth to current ages 18-21 and are studying dental cavities, dental fluorosis, and bone development related to fluoride and other factors. We have tested thousands of foods and beverages for fluoride content over the past 20 years.

      Some of my recent research has confirmed previous studies that there is an increased risk of very mild to mild fluorosis to infants if optimally fluoridated water is used to reconstitute powdered or liquid concentrated infant formula. The data suggest that the increased risk is greatest if this reconstituted infant formula is the primary source of nutrition over an extended period (10-12 months).

      As a result of research findings like these, and the National Research Council report from March 2006, the American Dental Association issued an “Interim Guidance on Fluoride Intake for Infants and Young Children” on November 9, 2006. While the opponents to fluoridation have used this ADA Interim Guidance as a springboard to play on the fears of the public in order to discredit fluoridation, I would like to state some important facts:

      1) The appropriate amount of fluoride is essential to prevent tooth decay.

      2) The interim guidance simply indicates that babies less than one year old need less fluoride than everyone else, because they are so small.

      3) Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition and is very low in fluoride content. I understand that Oregon new moms rank #1 in the United States for breastfeeding at 89%. Breastfeeding is encouraged for the first 12 months of life, the period with the greatest risk of fluorosis due to infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water. The Oregon law requiring a work place room for nursing mothers to pump their breast milk should increase this percentage even more.

      4) It is important to understand that fluorosis is not a disease, and that any child with these milder forms of fluorosis will also benefit from fluoride’s protection against tooth decay.

      5) To reduce this small risk of very mild to mild fluorosis, parents or caregivers who cannot use breast milk for the primary nutrition of infants can consider switching to ready to feed infant formula or use low fluoride bottled water to reconstitute the baby formula.

      6) The greatest risk of enamel fluorosis is from the inappropriate use of fluoride-containing products (e.g., the swallowing of too much toothpaste by children under 6 years of age).

      7) The dental professional community and the scientific community continue to support fluoridation based on the overwhelming number of juried scientific studies and reviews..

      In fluoridated areas, community-based programs that serve formula-fed infants (as well as other infants, children, and adults) need to consider preservation of cavity prevention from fluoridated water for their broad populations and should not recommend reduction/elimination of water fluoridation just because of these issues related to formula reconstitution.

      Nor should these issues prevent you, the elected representatives of the people of The Dalles from the continued support of this important public health prevention of tooth decay. In summary, I strongly endorse continued use and expansion of community water fluoridation as it is the most efficient and cost-effective means of cavity prevention. Thank you for your serious consideration of this important public health measure.

      Sincerely,

      Steven M. Levy, DDS, MPH
      Professor and Principal Investigator, Iowa Fluoride Study

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Steve,

        Thank you for posting that. It is incredible that this man has actually attached his name to two completely false statements:

        First that “The appropriate amount of fluoride is essential to prevent tooth decay” and second ” It is important to understand that fluorosis is not a disease…”
        Now we know where the ADA is getting these particular lies from. We all know that there is no evidence of the essentiality of fluoride in preventing tooth decay or for any other biological purpose. It is incredible what Levy is willing to say in order to avoid admitting to having held an incorrect belief for most of his professional life. I can hardly wait to see what comes from his final examination of the subjects of his study. I think we should let someone else examine the subjects. He has a bit of a credibility problem now.

        • Interesting comment David Green –

          When fluoridation opponents were able to make up whatever they wanted to say about Dr. Levy’s publication his research was respected. However, as soon as he stated, “I write as a concerned citizen and scientist regarding the misrepresentation of data from research that I have been involved in concerning the use of fluoridated water in reconstituting either powdered or liquid concentrate baby formula.” you state, “He has a bit of a credibility problem now.”

          It should be obvious to those reading these comments who are still looking for accurate information about the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation that every claim put forth by fluoridation opponents should be suspect. There have been several recent episodes where study authors have had to state that their papers did not validate the claims made by fluoridation opponents – one of the more recent were the authors of the often cited Harvard IQ study, Anna L. Choi and Philippe Grandjean who stated, “These results do not allow us to make any judgment regarding possible levels of risk at levels of exposure typical for water fluoridation in the U.S.”. Yet fluoridation opponents continue to use this paper to support their position. http://www.cyber-nook.com/water/fluoridationreferences.htm

          What is truly incredible is the rampant misuse of legitimate scientific research by fluoridation opponents.

          • It isn’t that he wrote to complain that his results were being misinterpreted that caused me to lose any respect for him. It is that he is willing to lie about the issue in doing so. I had thought that Levy was a credible source because he and his team of researchers (historically pro-fluoridation) accurately acknowledged that the results they got from the first three examinations of children in their cohort study did not support any beneficial effect of fluoride intake on decay, but did find a correlation between fluoride intake and dental fluorosis. Now he is claiming fluoride is “essential to prevent tooth decay” and ” fluorosis is not a disease”. That is why I don’t trust him to accurately present the results when the subjects are examined for the last time, in the next year or two. Perhaps he will pull a Chester Douglass and quietly retire.

  7. Elvis Costello

    The corporate criminals who are forcing fluoridated water on us, belong behind bars for their crimes against the people. IMMEDIATELY STOP chemical fluoride NOW

    • Well, Elvis, since you are the one feeding yourself fluoridated water, I suppose that means you should be in jail.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Elvis

        Hey look! a bought and sold dentist. you sure are one dumb a$$hole. thanks for pushing toxic garbage on children, you should be in jail

        • Elvis

          Thank you for yet another providing excellent example of the caliber of the small group of very vocal activists who are seeking to undermine fluoridation in Asheville.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS
          Burlington, NC

        • “Mother”

          Yes, by all means, for anyone desiring good entertainment, the ridiculous post on the antifluoridationist lawyer’s website is always great for a few laughs. I enjoy providing that link to people.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

  8. MDI

    I’m fascinated by these shills for water fluoridation who slither out of the cracks to defend the ridiculous practice of adding fluoride chemicals to public drinking water systems.

    People like Steve Slott for example. Looks like there’s another one in this comments section named Randy Johnson.

    These are people who DO NOT LIVE IN ASHEVILLE and yet they jump right in to any on-line discussion of water fluoridation and dominate it, responding to almost every single post. Slott, for example, tries to dominate conversations like this wherever they occur all across the country. Makes you wonder whose payroll he’s on – who’s paying him to spend all his time attempting to justify the practice of water fluoridation in places he doesn’t live? Johnson says he lives in Littleton, Colorado.

    It’s easy to understand what’s happening here. Someone in the pay of corporate fluoridation interests has written a web-bot that alerts them to any on-line discussions of water fluoridation across the country. When such discussions appear, these industry shills like Slott and Johnson are notified and they swing into action, dominating the conversation with well-scripted dis-information about how adding these chemicals to our water supply is just peachy-keen.

    I think the Mountain Xpress should understand what’s happening here and stop these shills from dominating the on-line conversation on the M-X website. Maybe they could implement a rule that no one person can be allowed to post more than 2 comments. Or, no more than 2 comments unless they can prove that they’re Asheville-area residents.

    These shills completely ruin what should be an interesting, relevant discussion about the article in question.

    • MDI

      Yes, antifluoridationists had become accustomed to posting any nonsense they wanted all over the internet, with no one challenging it, or holding them accountable to provide any substantiation. I always enjoy it when the more uninformed ones such as you start whining about “corporate shills”, people being on payrolls, and all the other such ridiculous junk. It means that I am, indeed, striking the right nerves amongst the unscrupulous activists, and their organizations, who believe the discarding of truth and accuracy to not only be entirely acceptable, but their personal right, not to be challenged by anyone.

      Now, with that said, how much is the New York antifluoridationist faction “Fluoride Action Network” paying you to post misinformation? After all, FAN leader Paul Connett, his family, and his cohorts are the only ones of whom I’m aware are profiting from keeping this issue alive….as follows:

      1.  Paul Connett, the Director of the antifluoridationist group, Fluoride Action Network (FAN), long time antifluoridationist zealot-   Paul’s non peer-reviewed book, which he pushes at every conceivable opportunity, sells for $25 per copy.  Paul claims that he donates all royalties he receives from his book sales, to his non-profit group, FAN.  Given that FAN presumably pays all or part of Paul’s fluoride chasing trips all over the United Stated, to New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and anywhere else he chooses to visit, this “donation” would seem to be little more than a tax strategy.

      Additionally, both Paul and his wife receive monthly payments of $1,000 each from the umbrella organization under which FAN operates.

      2.  William Hirzy- the long time antifluoridationist, and close Connett affiliate, Hirzy, is the paid lobbyist for Connett’s group, FAN.

      3. Attorney James Deal- close Connett affiliate, and donor  to FAN, Deal, maintains a website devoted soley to attempts at stirring up  class-action lawsuits against fluoridation, from which he would presumably profit in the delusionary dream that he would ever succeed. 

      4.  Alex Jones- Connett  affiliate, and syndicated, controversial radio host, Jones, of “Infowars” infamy, is now pushing, for $39.95  a solution called “FluorideShield”

      According to Jones’ website:
      “Introducing Fluoride Shield™, an Infowars Life exclusive blend of key herbs and ingredients specifically infused within the formula to help support the elimination of toxic forms of fluoride and other dangerous compounds like mercury, chlorine, and bromine from within the body.”

      ——http://www.infowarsshop.com/Fluoride-Shield_p_1223.html

      5.  Whatever may be paid to Connett’s son, Michael, for his “services” to FAN as well as to any other Connett family members and/or friends.

      As FAN operates under the umbrella of another non-profit organization, the FAN financials lack the transparency as would normally be expected of any such non-profit organization dependent on public donations, and exempt from federal income taxes.  

      Steven D. Slott, DDS
      Burlington, NC

      • James Biddle MD

        Steven D. Slott, DDS – What are your conflicts-of-interest? Especially, do you consult for any companies or organizations, hold patents, or get royalties? I am definitely surprised you have so much time for this.

        • James Biddle

          I have no conflicts of interest. I receive no compensation for fluoridation advocation, consult for no companies or organizations, hold no patents, and receive no royalties. I am simply a general dentist in Burlington who has taken the time and exerted the effort to properly educate himself on the issue of fluoridation, and who advocates for improved health of our citizens. You should do the same. If you are indeed an MD, your ignorance on this issue is appalling.

          Now, that said, how about you? Does the “Fluoride Action Network” pay you to post misinformation about fluoridation?

          Steven D. Slott, DDS
          Burlington, NC

        • MDI

          Now, now, Mr. Slopp, I bet you say those same things to ALL the communities across the country that you terrorize.

          Dr. Biddle, ONE of Steve Slott’s conflicts of interest is obvious: He says he’s a general dentist – one who both advocates and treats his patients with fluoride, no doubt. He’s been advocating the use of and treating his patients with fluoride for decades, probably.

          So here’s what probably happened. Slott was indoctrinated into the wonders of adding fluoridation chemicals to drinking water in dental school (I assume he went to a real dental school).

          Slott accepted this indoctrination (being an impressionable young man) and was never motivated to question his indoctrination for himself. Many dentists are like this.

          So, you’ve got a guy (Slott) who’s been telling his patients for years and years and years how great it is to add poisonous, industrial waste to drinking water and that it reduces cavities. Based on his responses in this thread, we can tell that he’s a gigantic egotist, so changing his position on water fluoridation when he’s told hundreds of patients over the years that it’s the greatest thing ever is not going to happen. After digging himself into a hole THAT deep, we can’t expect a shred of objectivity from him. Would you want to face hundreds of your old patients and tell them, “I was wrong all these years.” It would take a man of real integrity to do that.

          That’s a conflict of interest. His interest is in maintaining his old position/belief come hell or high water no matter how shoddy the original justifications for WF were or how solid and extensive the new research is of its negative effects on the human body – especially those of children.

          Now he’s so afraid of being wrong that he imposes himself in his nasty confrontational manner into every on-line discussion he can find – or his web-bot alerts him to. What a pitiful life.

          It just reinforces my point that Mountain Xpress should not allow people like this to dominate the conversation – he’s written 12 posts so far, most of which with pre-scripted content. Just like he apparently does everywhere else.

          • You have explained Steve’s bias perfectly, but please don’t discourage his posts from being allowed. The more he talks, the better it helps the case against fluoridation. He doesn’t often give much new material, but the letter he posted here from Steven Levy is priceless. Levy lying about the essentiality of fluoride is shocking and throws all of his research into question; research that up until now has shown that fluoride intake is not linked to less decay. Steve didn’t mention that part.

            If you think Steve is a little high on himself now, wait until he starts into bragging about his volunteer work, called Missions of Mercy. Most people recognize when they are starting to sound a little self-important. Steve just doesn’t seem to have the usual filters.

          • MDI

            Still nothing of any intelligence to contribute to the discussion? Well, keep trying, maybe you will surprise everyone and come up with something eventually.

            Steven D. Slott, DDS

    • MDI – Just curious – I assume you live in Asheville but prefer not to use your real name??

      It is interesting that you have managed to figure everything out… “Someone in the pay of corporate fluoridation interests has written a web-bot that alerts them to any on-line discussions of water fluoridation across the country.” and “So here’s what probably happened. Slott was indoctrinated into the wonders of adding fluoridation chemicals to drinking water in dental school (I assume he went to a real dental school). … …” That appears to be the way you have determined the benefits and risks of fluoridation – simply make up whatever fits your presumptions and biases.

      Would you care to stipulate exactly what those “corporate fluoridation interests” consist of – I’m curious just how far your speculation can take you. I would also appreciate knowing who is supposed to be paying me to “shill” for fluoridation — they have apparently missed several payments… …

      What precisely would you consider “an interesting, relevant discussion about the article in question”??? The “article in question” simply repeated standard anti-fluoridation propaganda that has been carefully examined and refuted — and consequently has not been able to convince the scientific, dental or medical communities to change the consensus that fluoridation is safe and effective — even after more than 70 years of trying.

      My idea of an interesting discussion is to provide relevant information that helps people understand how the available evidence has been misused by fluoridation opponents to support their position – which appears to be driven by emotion, bias and personal ethical beliefs instead of by the vast majority of available evidence.

      • Randy, when you get your checks, please let me know. I seem to have missed receiving mine, as well…..

        Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • There’s that word “vast” again. But you still can’t give me your best example of research demonstrating that fluoridation prevents or lessens tooth decay. Are you like Steve-“just trust all these respected organizations” or do you actually have anything?
        When I first started asking, I was really hopeful that I would be bombarded with all this great research that I hadn’t seen before. I don’t know what to make of the silence, other than I am glad I am not on your side of this issue.

        • Much more to the point, David Green – please let those following the discussion know why you think your group of fluoridation opponents been completely unable to provide sufficient evidence over the last 75 years to convince the VAST majority of doctors, dentists and scientists that fluoridation is dangerous and ineffective.

          I have not provided a BEST EXAMPLE of the evidence because it is the scientific consensus that matters – NOT the results of any one individual study. Those wishing to view the evidence can visit my website for a distillation of the evidence or they can go directly to the primary research and discover the truth for themselves.

          • Still can’t pick number one. How about 1 through 5? Okay do you have anything? Steve gave me 106 subjects drinking fluoridated milk. Surely you can top that one. Do you think the public isn’t wondering why this is so hard for you? Your “just trust us” argument worked up until the 80’s. Now you are going to have to come up with some hard evidence. I am beginning to wonder if there is any out there.

          • Still looking for your reply to explain why FOs have been unable to change the majority consensus of dentists, doctors and scientists over a 70 year period…

  9. MDI

    See what I mean? No matter what anybody posts, these shills have well-scripted dis-information at hand ready to go. (Thanks for being so heavy-handed that you make it obvious, Slopp.)

    Hey Mountain Xpress, please stop these shills from dominating what should be a conversation between the people who actually drink water from the Asheville water system.

    • MDI

      You failed to answer my question. Does this mean that you are, indeed, on the payroll of the “Fluoride Action Network”? If so, do you care to disclose how much you are being paid, or otherwise compensated?

      Do you also care to post anything of intelligence in regard to fluoridation, or simply continuing posting drivel?

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

    • MDI – I actually had to make this response up.

      However, for the purpose of anyone reading this discussion who is still trying to figure out whether to believe the anti-fluoridation fear-based propaganda, the reason that the responses in favor of fluoridation may seem to be scripted is precisely because the fluoridation opponents use exactly the same arguments against the practice of fluoridation over and over, and over, and over… ad nauseam – no matter how many times they have been refuted. The accuracy of those refutations can be examined by anyone. Those refutations are also exactly why the dental, medical and scientific communities do not agree with the propaganda of fluoridation opponents – their alleged evidence for the ineffectiveness and danger of fluoridation simply don’t hold water.

  10. Brandee

    I have a good idea, how about all of you who are not going to be directly affected by this decision in Asheville, just stay out of it…..seems the anti crowd is all from out of our area: Burlington, Iowa, Colorado, etc. why are they even on this thread

    • Lauren

      Hi there, fellow Asheville resident here! I live in the 28801, to be exact. I am grateful for the fluoride in the water, whether it’s been added to the water by humans or was in the water already (fluoride is naturally occurring in lots of rivers that municipalities draw water from – google it!). I believe the studies that show that fluoridated water prevents tooth decay. If someone gets bad tooth decay and eventually an abscess, what are antibiotics going to do to gut bacteria? How is a person’s health affected if they have few teeth left in their mouth by their mid-forties (or earlier)? What kind of food limitations would they have if they don’t have molars? Can they eat a big salad full of wonderful leafy greens? And of course I’m aware that there could be plenty of factors beyond water fluoridation that might explain why a person does or does not lose their teeth in their forties, but as I said, I believe studies that show that fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. So I have questions about the unintended consequences of no longer adding fluoride to municipal water.
      This article was interesting, but for the most part it was very one-sided. Who supports fluoridated water and why? It was really interesting to hear from the internal medicine doctor who is against fluoride being added to municipal water supplies. Her points were interesting and well considered. How would a dentist or another internal medicine doctor respond to her? Can the author provide a little more background on why it was added to begin with and then find out if that effort has been successful? If it hasn’t been successful, why do most dentists continue to support water fluoridation?

      • ” I believe the studies that show that fluoridated water prevents tooth decay”

        Can you give me your pick as the best of those studies? No one else is willing or able to.

        “why do most dentists continue to support water fluoridation?”

        I can give you my opinion but it is best summed up by this statement from the former Principal Dental Officer from Aukland NZ;

        “I now realize that what my colleagues and I were doing was what the history of science shows all professionals do when their pet theory is confronted by disconcerting new evidence: they bend over backwards to explain away the new evidence. They try very hard to keep their theory intact — especially so if their own professional reputations depend on maintaining that theory. (Some time after I graduated in dentistry almost half a century ago, I also graduated in history studies, my special interest being the history of science — which may partly explain my reexamination of the fluoridation theory ahead of many of my fellow dentists.)”

        You can find Dr. Colquhoun’s entire essay here: http://www.fluoridation.com/colquhoun.htm

        • Lauren

          I admit that I’m not a scientist, so picking out the “best” study isn’t really something I feel qualified to do. But after a quick search I found these: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF03262675 http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/file/publications/synopses/Eh41_Flouridation_PART_A.pdf
          What it really comes down to is this: Every dentist I’ve ever gone to recommends fluoride (I’m one of those weirdos that likes the dentist) and I’ve trusted those dentists as well as the hygenists. I have an aunt who is very social justice oriented who is also a dentist. She works in an FQHC and I’ve asked her what she thinks. She thinks adding fluoride to water is a great victory for people who don’t have ready access to dental care, especially for children. She also explained the science of why it’s preferrable to ingest it rather than just use it topically, but I’m not a nurse, doctor or dentist, so my paraphrasing would be pretty poor. Anectodatally, (I know, anecdotes don’t equal proof) my aunt grew up in a rural area where most people were on well water and there wasn’t natural fluoridation. Growing up, many of her peers weren’t able to go to the dentist and lot of them began losing teeth at a young age. Now she works in a large city where poor people don’t really have better access to dental care than they did in her hometown, but their teeth are significantly better. She knows this because in her work as a dentist at an FQHC, she sees lots of poor people who’ve had low access to dental care most of their lives. Nonetheless, their teeth are better! Her opinion is that it’s because many of them grew up drinking fluoridated water and still drink it today.
          My point of view isn’t frozen, which is why I’m interested in hearing from more medical professionals. If it contributes to thyroid conditions, that’s a big deal worthy of discussion! What do other doctors think about this? Calling it a neurotoxin isn’t helpful when it’s only a neurotoxin at levels much higher than what’s added to our water supply. I’m genuinely interested in what other health professionals have to say! The letter that you posted is interesting. Thanks for posting it.

          • Thanks for the reply. I would suggest not limiting yourself just to the opinions of health professionals, since most of them don’t know much about the topic, unless they happen to have studied it on their own. The dental profession in general has appointed themselves as the experts despite having no formal training in toxicology.

            I came to the issue because I am in the bottled water business and in the mid 80’s I was considering bottling a distilled water with minerals added back and one of the ones I looked at was fluoride. I am now glad I did some reading before going ahead with that project.

            You are right about the thyroid being a big deal. The issue with neuro-toxicity is not generally the acute effects, although some people are particularly sensitive, but that fluoride accumulates in the body and as the bone level goes up, the blood and soft tissue levels do as well . About 50% of that ingested by an adult with good kidney function, stays in the body permanently. In Infants the retention is as high as 87%. Since you have acknowledged being open to changing you opinion, I have no doubt that you will find some interesting information at fluoridealert.org. In particular, look at the chart showing decay rates in fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries. Your opinion of fluoridation’s benefit may change a little as the result. Good Luck.

          • Hi Lauren –

            I am not a medical professional, so I can’t contribute at that level, but the majority of medical professionals as well as dentists and scientists do support fluoridation precisely because the majority of actual evidence collected over the last 70+ years supports the practice as safe and effective.

            It is refreshing to have someone who is genuinely interested in exploring the fluoridation issue contribute to the discussion. The history of fluoridation is fascinating, and a summary can be found here, http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/Fluoride/TheStoryofFluoridation.htm. The book, The Fluoride Wars, http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470448334.html, provides a detailed discussion of the process, but it only has a 2.3 star rating on Amazon because the fluoridation opponents (FOs) have been hammering it relentlessly with the same arguments as posted here.

            Your anecdotal report matches most of the recent observations of studies that have been performed on communities with and without fluoridation – my website lists a number of those studies. You are exactly right about the fact that dose makes the poison. I used to visit the anti-fluoridation sites hoping to find some evidence that supported their claims, but I only found legitimate research papers that reported the harmful effects of the fluoride ion (in animals and humans) at exposure levels that were far higher than that of individuals drinking fluoridated water at currently recommended levels.

            The problem with science, as you alluded in your post, is that it is a messy human endeavor. Biases, different goals, different levels of expertise, etc., etc… make it impossible to ensure that all evidence collected on a complex topic will line up precisely with a single, undeniable conclusion – consequently you will see ‘evidence’ all over the board on the effectiveness and risks of fluoridation. That is why scientific consensus is critical for establishing a ‘reliable knowledge base’ for any scientific topic of importance, like fluoridation. The consensus develops as experts in the field carefully review ALL evidence and accept that which is most reliable and free from bias and sloppy research methods.

            The scientific, dental and medical consensus (as you can easily check out) is overwhelmingly in support of the effectiveness and safety of fluoridation. There are several questions to ask the FOs:

            1) Why, if their evidence that fluoridation is dangerous and ineffective at protecting teeth from decay is so good, have they been completely unable to change the consensus of the scientific, dental and medical communities after over 70 years of trying?

            2) Why do they post so much irrelevant and distracting content on their websites – like you mentioned, the fact that proclaiming (and providing evidence for) the fluoride ion as a neurotoxin is ridiculous and confusing if the only reliable evidence provided only shows harmful effects at many times the levels received from fluoridated water. One of the best examples of unrelated and inappropriate ‘evidence’ posted on fluoridealert was headlined, “Hydrofluoric acid: Investigation into death of toddler continuing.” https://web.archive.org/web/20111107174055/http://www.fluoridealert.org/Alert/Pollution/Miscellaneous/Hydrofluoric-acid–Investigation-into-death-of-toddler-continuing.aspx

            Kid dies of fluoride poisoning – pretty scary, right???
            Was the death related to the alleged dangers of fluoridation???
            The Truth – – – the child consumed a rust removal product containing hydrofluoric acid.

            Ask FOs, how on earth that kind of information contributes to their argument…

            3) Why do they continue to use studies to support their position where the authors themselves have come out and flatly stated that their research does NOT support the FOs’ claims – several examples have been mentioned on this thread.

            I encourage you to continue your investigation of fluoridation, Lauren. Once you get past the illusions of the FOs it will become easier to evaluate the evidence impartially.

          • David Green –

            I guess, if someone needs accurate information about the HEALTH effects of fluoridation they should consult a bottled water salesman instead of a HEALTH professional (like a dentist) who might have a number of years training and experience studying the literature and treating patients who are either drinking or not drinking fluoridated water. The starter on my car just gave up after 188K miles – I guess I should have taken it to a hair salon instead of a dealership for evaluation.

            There are certainly some health professionals who are against fluoridation, but they are the minority – and despite their passion, they have been unable to change the consensus of most health professionals. If there is reliable, compelling evidence that fluoridation is either harmful or ineffective the consensus will change. I certainly have seen only the ‘evidence’ displayed on this and other comment sections and on fluoridealert and other anti-fluoride sites. I have yet to see any new evidence that is remotely compelling.

            Your recommendation to visit fluoridealert rather limits the information to which Lauren would be exposed. I would recommend extending research to include all available studies.

          • Randy,

            I don’t see where I said that Lauren should limit her inquiry to just fluoridealert.org. I just said she shouldn’t limit it to just health professionals only.

            Your implication that consensus equals truth ignores history. The world use to be flat and Columbus was going to sail off the edge. For 200 years “bleeding” was a standard medical practice. There are many more examples from history where widely held beliefs were replaced. In each case the defenders of the old claimed the new theory was “absolute rubbish” or worse and the people arguing for change were insulted or even killed. Religions are famous for that sort of thing and medicine isn’t far behind.
            It can be pretty much summed up as “The arrogance of the mainstream or consensus viewpoint” or more simply “The fear of being wrong”.

          • Sorry Randy, I forgot to answer your question about why you will find news clippings and other information about fluoride at fluoridealert.org. I think it is because removing fluoride from the water is important but the other sources all add up as well, especially the high levels allowed in the US on produce where sulfuryl fluoride is used as a fumigant in storage facilities. There is a painful story there now about a child with brain damage as the result of the family home being sprayed with this fumigant.
            The Recent News section has lots of things relating to the environmental effects of fluoride that you may not consider relevant to water fluoridation. That is why it is called fluoridealert as opposed to fluoridationalert. You will also notice that they publish articles in this section which are decidedly pro-fluoridation. It is just a way to keep everyone informed so we can all come here and argue.

          • David Green –

            True, you didn’t actually specify who someone looking for answers should consult for additional information – you just stated to Lauren, “I would suggest not limiting yourself just to the opinions of health professionals, since most of them don’t know much about the topic, unless they happen to have studied it on their own. The dental profession in general has appointed themselves as the experts despite having no formal training in toxicology.”

            However you seriously implied that dentists don’t know what they are talking about — despite treating patients who experience the effects of greater or lesser exposure to the fluoride ion.

            And then in the next sentence you set yourself up as the professional she should trust – so the implication was obvious. Do you actually have formal training in toxicology – or science, or dentistry, or medicine for that matter?

            Your example of ‘bleeding’ is true, but that was during the period when current methods of science were evolving and long before evidence-based medicine came into existence. That is the time period when homeopathy produced more effective results, not because it worked as theorized, but because it avoided the harmful practices of very early ‘medical’ treatments – bleeding was one of the least hazardous ‘medical’ treatments. The only thing that is the same between ‘medicine’ of 200+ years ago and medicine of today is the name.

            Are you seriously suggesting that scientific consensus doesn’t matter? I think you are confusing science with belief systems that have essentially unchanging doctrines. Scientific consensus is provisional truth – it represents the BEST beliefs based on the BEST evidence as interpreted by the MAJORITY of experts at any point in time. It is constantly evolving and changing, but it only changes if new legitimate evidence is provided. Only the processes of science can change the scientific consensus. Do you disagree?

            It is a given that fluoridation is strongly supported by scientific, dental and medical consensus, and it’s a given that fluoridation opponents (FOs) have not been able to change that scientific consensus in over 70 years of trying. What is your considered opinion of why the ‘evidence’ provided by FOs has been completely unsuccessful in changing the consensus?

            As I have mentioned, I continually examine the current ‘evidence’ provided by FOs in support of their claims that fluoridation is dangerous and ineffective, and every source provided is either a misinterpretation of the actual conclusions, a study that is weak &/or irrelevant to fluoridation or the alleged harm comes from exposure levels far higher than normal exposure from fluoridated water + other normal sources. As with any activity there are some known risks to some individuals, and that is where the balance of risks vs. benefits is evaluated – and again, the consensus is that with fluoridation (as with water disinfection) the benefits to the community outweigh the risks.

            It is absolutely true that processes and treatments once believed to be beneficial based on scientific evidence turned out to be harmful once additional evidence became available. However, it was the scientific process that provided that evidence and it was scientific experts that evaluated that evidence and eventually changed the consensus. No scientist likes to be proven wrong, but the checks and balances of science eventually catch erroneous previous conclusions.

            I can’t accept your explanation of why posting content that is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to the specific topic of health effects of community water fluoridation is acceptable! The obvious, primary focus of fluoridealert and similar sites is fluoridation? Accidental exposure to rust removal products or fumigants (or the use of these products) has absolutely nothing to do with fluoridation. If the intent is also to demonize the fluoride ion in general then it would help if the fluoridation ‘evidence’ was clearly separated from the ‘general fluoride is dangerous in any form evidence’.

            Regarding your reference to Dr. Colquhoun’s essay describing his conversion to FOs; have you read this response to his claims, http://www.dentalwatch.org/fl/newbrun.html? The review examines each of his claims and provides evidence (that can be verified by examining the actual sources) to show where his strong biases contributed to his ‘creative’ interpretation of the evidence – which is different than the consensus.

            I will conclude this discussion in a different area of this discussion — after your response to Dr. Slott on the W Reed, MD chain…

    • Here’s a better idea, Brandee……how about all of you who have not one single as to what they are talking about either make an effort to properly educate themselves, or cease posting false statements, unsubstantiated claims, and misinformation…..so that those of us who do understand the issue can provide accurate information to intelligent readers who truly do desire to properly understand fluoridation?

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

  11. Lakota Denton

    Steve, in the midst of your personal attacks on people who comment on this site, you are missing the real issue here. You think Fluoride is safe and healthy. We respect your right to make decisions about your health and your family. But you should respect other people’s right to do the same. If fluoride is beneficial, feel free to use it all you want. But for those who disagree, we live in a society that values autonomy and independent decision making. What possible harm is caused by taking fluoride out of the water and allowing people to choose whether they want to use fluoride? If it’s only meant to treat our teeth, why not let people put it on their teeth instead of swallowing it in their water? Or, in your case, you can choose to swallow it if you like – who am I to tell you what to do with your body and your health? Do you support what the United States Supreme Court refers to as every American’s right to refuse unwanted medical treatment and nonconsensual invasion of bodily integrity?

    • Lakota

      1. There is no medical treatment involved in water fluoridation. Therefore “what the United States Supreme Court refers to as every American’s right to refuse unwanted medical treatment …….” is of no relevance to this issue.

      2. What you deem to be the “real issue here” is irrelevant. You assume you have some right to personally and suddenly deprive the citizens of Asheville the benefits of a public health initiative which has been in effect for decades. You don’t.

      You have the right to vote for whomever you choose, and you have the right to voice your personal opinions. You do not have the right to personally dictate the contents of the public water supply.

      Just as do you, I have the right to voice my opinions, and the right to provide accurate facts and evidence to counter the mounds of misinformation posted by those such as you and other uninformed antifluoridationists seeking to impose their personal ideology against fluoridation onto the entire community.

      As soon as antifluoridationists cease posting misinformation all over the internet, and begin to remain within the boundaries of truth and accuracy, I will gladly go away. As this will obviously never occur, you probably should get used to my exposing the fallacies of your arguments and holding you accountable to provide valid facts and evidence to support your claims.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Lakota Denton

        1) The FDA describes fluoride thusly: “Fluoride, when used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or animal, is a drug that is subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation.” So our government classifies Fluoride, at any level, as a drug. Therefore, forced medical treatment is relevant.
        2) I am not “personally and suddenly” depriving the public of anything. If you want fluoride, you can use it. It’s not difficult to come by.

        I am not asking you to go away, or suggesting you have no right to an opinion, I was clear in stating that I respect your health decisions about you and your family.

        But you should respect other people’s decisions too. You cannot control everyone’s decisions about their health. Fortunately for everyone not named Steve Slott, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees with me.

        • Lakota

          Optimal level fluoride in drinking water is not a drug. This precisely why the FDA ceded complete authority over this additive to the EPA. The FDA has no jurisdiction over optimally fluoridated water.

          The courts have been clear on the “forced medication” nonsense. No court of last resort has ever affirmed this tactic. You are certainly free to try your luck with it in court, but I don’t much like your chances with that.

          I am not trying to control anyone’s healthcare decisions. You are the one doing this. By seeking cessation of fluoridation you are seeking to suddenly deprive the entire community of a very valuable public health initiative which has benefited the citizens of Asheville for decades. I simply provide facts and evidence to counter the mounds of misinformation spewed all over the internet by unscrupulous antifluoridationists. If you don’t like this, you are certainly free to not read my comments.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

        • “The FDA is just one of several regulatory agencies that ensure public safety. The FDA’s authority is limited to products sold to the public and fluoride has been approved for use in toothpastes, mouth rinses and even bottled water. The FDA has no role in approving drinking water additives pursuant to their agreement with the EPA in the early 1980’s. Additives are covered by state regulation’s. It should be noted that the FDA does not have the authority to approve many of the products we use every day. ”

          “The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974 confers the authority for ensuring the safety of public drinking water to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is responsible for setting drinking water standards and has the authority to regulate the addition of fluoride to the public drinking water. ”

          ——http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/FluorideandApproval.aspx

          “In 1979, EPA executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish and clarify areas of authority in controlling additives in drinking water. FDA has regulatory oversight for food additives, which includes bottled water, and EPA has regulatory oversight of direct additives in public drinking water supplies.”

          —-http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/factsheets/engineering/wfadditives.htm

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

  12. HuhHuh

    I thought I’d make it before the anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists, but I was wrong.

    People, please, these are my teeth and my health. If you don’t like fluoride, you’re under no obligation to drink the water.

    • The problem with that argument is that it is next to impossible to avoid the fluoride that is added to some foods, like ready to eat cereals and reconstituted fruit juices, during processing. Why should you not be required to add the fluoride to your diet if you so choose? That would make more sense because you could accurately control the amount added. It wouldn’t be variable depending on your water intake.

  13. W Reed, MD

    I feel I must jump into this conversation even though some contributors’ tools of interaction are insults and personal attacks rather than a respectful exchange of positions.

    I have been mystified by the tendency of the Pro-Fluoridationists who for seventy years seem to have stonewalled an ever more sophisticated body of science that raises concerns about water fluoridation’s safety. The National Research Council (NRC) studied fluoride safety for three years and produced its report in 2006. You can download a copy of it at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11571/fluoride-in-drinking-water-a-scientific-review-of-epas-standards. For those of you who may not be familiar with the NRC, Wikepedia says the following:” The National Research Council (NRC) is the working arm of the United States National Academies [Science, Engineering, Institute of Medicine], which produces reports that shape policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine.” The committee members are from multiple disciplines and work pro bono. The NRC is arguably the best source of unbiased analysis of existing science on a given topic. I selectively summarize some of their conclusions below. The point is that we now have insights into how much we don’t know about the potential harm that fluoride may cause. It is not sound judgement or sound medical practice to continue a potentially harmful policy awaiting the “definitive study” proving some harm. Innocent until proven guilty should not apply to a drug that is being administered daily to over 75% of the American population. Why risk the damages of ingestion when so much further study is needed to affirm fluoride’s safety, especially if much if not all of its benefits are achieved topically as with toothpaste? With such uncertainty, the individual should choose such matters for him/herself and the family.

    NRC 2006 Recommendations
    p101 Pharmacodynamics: Recommendations
    -“Additional research is needed on F concentrations in human bones as a function of magnitude and duration of exposure, age, gender and health status.”
    -“Thus, more studies are needed on F concentrations in soft tissues (e.g., brain, thyroid, kidney) following chronic exposure.”
    p180 Musculoskeletal Recommendations
    – “More data are needed on concentration gradients during active remodeling .”
    – “More research is needed on bone concentrations of F in people with altered renal function, as well as other potentially sensitive populations….”
    p222 Neurotoxicity and neurobehavioral effects
    – “To determine the possible adverse effects of fluoride, additional data from both the experimental and the clinical sciences are needed.”
    – “Studies of populations exposed to different concentrations of F should be undertaken to evaluate neurochemical changes that my be associated with dementia. Consideration should be given to assessing effects from chronic exposure.”
    – “At the present time, questions about the effects of the many histological , biochemical and molecular changes caused by fluorides cannot be related to specific alterations in behavior or to known diseases. Additional studies of the relationship of the changes in the brain as they affect the hormonal and neuropeptide status of the body are needed.”
    -“Most of the studies …have tested NaF. It is important to determine whether other forms of F (e.g.. silicofluorides) produce the same effects in animal models.”
    p267 Effects on Endocrine System
    -“further effort is necessary to characterize the direct and indirect mechanisms of F’s action on the endocrine system and the factors that determine the response, if any , in a given individual. Such studies would address the following:
    -the in vivo effects of F on second messenger function
    -the in vivo effects of F on various enzymes
    -the integration of the endocrine system (both internally and with other systems such a the neurological system)
    -identification of those factors, endogenous (eg. age, sex, genetic factors or preexisting disease) or exogenous (e.g.., dietary calcium or iodine concentrations, malnutrition), associated with increased likelihood of effects of F exposures in individuals.
    -consideration of the impact of multiple contaminants (e.g., fluid and percholrate) that affect the same endocrine system or mechanism
    -examination of effects at several time points in the same individuals to identify any transient, reversible, or adaptive responses to F exposure.”
    -“Better…epidemiology studies….Important …studies would include the following:
    -…data on general dietary status…such as calcium, iodine, selenium, and aluminum intakes.
    – characterizing and grouping individuals by estimated (total) exposure rather than by …F concentration in drinking water…”
    – examining a range of exposures with normal or control groups having very low fluoride exposures (below those associated with 1 mg/L in drinking water for humans).
    The effects of F on various aspects of endocrine function should be examined further, particularly with respect to a possible role in the development of several diseases of mental states in the US. major areas of investigation include …:
    -Thyroid disease….
    -nutritional (Ca deficiency) ricketts
    -calcium metabolism….
    -pineal function…
    -development of glucose intolerance and diabetes.”
    Renal and hepatic
    -Additional studies…to determine…the incidence of renal osteodystrophy….
    -The effect of low doses of F on kidney and liver enzyme function in humans needs to be carefully documented….
    Immune response
    -Epidemiologic studies should be carried out to determine whether there is a higher prevalence of hypersensitivity reactions in areas where there is elevated F in the drinking water…[and] which fluoride chemicals can cause hypersensitivity…. In addition, studies…of percentage of immunoompromised subjects have adverse reactions….
    -More research is needed on the immunotoxic effects of F in animals and humans to determine if F accumulation can influence immune function.
    -It is paramount that careful biochemical studies be conducted to determine what F concentrations occur in the bone and surrounding interstitial fluids from exposure to F in drinking water at up to 4mg/L, because bone marrow is the source of the progenitors that produced the immune system cells.”

    W. Reed, MD

    • W. Reed

      If you are indeed an MD you should know better than to enter a scientific discussion so poorly prepared. My suggestion to you would be to at least make an effort to propely educate yourself on this issue before attempting to enter into such a discussion.

      1. Fluoride at the optimal level at which water is fluoridated is not a drug, and there is no “medical practice” involved with fluoridation. Water fluoridation is simply the raising of the existing level of fluoride ions in water up to a level at which maximum dental decay prevention will occur while remaining below the threshold of adverse effects. The fluoride ions added are identical to those which already exist in water, and which have done so forever. Cessation of fluoridation will not cease the ingestion of fluoride ions in water. It will accomplish absolutely nothing except removal of the benefit obtained from a substance which we will ingest in the water, anyway, fluoridated or not.

      2.  The 2006 NRC Committee on Fluoride in Drinking Water was charged to evaluate the adequacy of the EPA primary and secondary MCLs for fluoride, 4.0 ppm and 2.0 ppm respectively, to protect the public against adverse effects.  After an exhaustive 3 year review of all the pertinent fluoride literature, this Committee duly reported what it found in the literature, and made one recommendation, based upon what it deemed to be of any concern with fluoride at the level of 4.0 ppm…………..to lower the primary MCL from 4.0 ppm.  The sole reasons cited by the Committee for this recommendation were the risk of severe dental fluorosis, bone fracture, and skeletal fluorosis, with chronic ingestion of water with a fluoride content of 4.0 ppm or greater.  Nothing else.  Had this Committee deemed there to be any other concerns with fluoride at this level, it would have been responsible for stating so and recommending accordingly.  It did not. 

      Additionally, the NRC Committee made no recommendation to lower the secondary MCL of 2.0 ppm.  Water is fluoridated at 0.7 ppm. one third the level which the 2006 NRC Committee on Fluoride in Drinking Water made no recommendation to lower.

      In March of 2013, Dr. John Doull, Chair of the 2006 NRC Committee on Fluoride in Drinking Water made the following statement:

      “I do not believe there is any valid, scientific reason for fearing adverse health conditions from the consumption of water fluoridated at the optimal level”

      —John Doull, MD, PhD, Chair of the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council 2006 Committee Report on Fluoride in Drinking Water

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Steve, Since you have lobbied for funding in the past for your volunteer work, why don’t you do the same for a study comparing the presence and severity of dental fluorosis with a variety of health outcomes? Think of how much more convincing you would be if you actually could demonstrate that Very Mild or Mild Fluorosis is just a minor cosmetic issue as opposed to a marker for systemic harm? Of course if you are wrong about that, you may have a bit of a problem.

      • W Reed, MD

        Steve, I would have questioned if in fact it was you responding if you had not begun with such a disrespectful remarks. Your questioning whether, in fact, I’m an MD makes me wonder about the source of your cynicism. Such cynicism makes one wonder many veils you are hiding behind as you put so much time and effort into your insults. Whatever the case may be, you seem to be stretching for your arguments. For example, if I were to order oxygen, your argument goes, for a patient with emphysema, I would not be performing a “medical therapy” (or “medical treatment” was your term) since oxygen is naturally occurring. Come on, what better examples are there of medical therapy than administering oxygen for shortness of breath from emphysema or adding a chemical, fluoride, to water with the intent of preventing tooth decay? In the latter example, you have the therapeutic modality, fluoride, and the disease for which it is intended to prevent, tooth decay. (By the way, not all “natural” water contains fluoride.) Regarding the NRC, you are correct that the committee was formed to assess the MCLs, but the recommendations regarding the need for further study were independent of ANY dose of fluoride. (Why don’t you review their recommendations before assuming that it is I who hasn’t done my homework?) Your quote from Dr. Doull is his opinion; the consensus of the committee, however, as stated in their recommendations, disagrees and the consensus of the committee made the recommendations mentioned above. This situation merely highlights my main point: we don’t know enough about the adverse effects of fluoride to force everybody- pregnant women, children, marathon runners, laborers in the hot sun, people with kidney disease or diabetes, sedentary people behind desks all day- to consume the same concentration of fluoride in their drinking water. Such disregard for the variation of dosage from person to person, even if the potential harmful side effects were understood, is, frankly, malpractice.
        Regards,
        W Reed, MD

        • W Reed MD

          1. Your “cynicism” is of no relevance to the issue of water fluoridation.

          2. Antifluoridationists have attempted the “forced medication” nonsense in US courts repeatedly through the decades. It has been rejected each and every time. You are certainly free to argue your opinion in court as well. However, I don’t much like your chances with that.

          Optimal level fluoride in drinking water is not a medication. It is not under the jurisdiction of the FDA as are all drugs in the US. It is under the complete jurisdiction of the EPA, as are all additives to drinking water. Fluoride is simply an ion which has existed in water since the beginning of time, nothing else.

          3. Yes, science and healthcare should always be further investigated. Study should never cease. However, this is not a reason to suddenly cease a very valuable public health initiative which has provided benefits to the citizens of Asheville for decades, with no proven adverse effects.

          Once again, if the 2006 NRC Committee on Fluoride in Drinking Water had any concerns about fluoride at the level of 4.0 ppm, it was responsible for stating so and recommending accordingly. This Committee noted but three concerns……risk of .severe dental fluorosis, bone fracture, and skeletal fluorosis with chronic ingestion of water with a fluoride content of 4.0 ppm or greater. Nothing else. Given that skeletal fluorosis is so rare in the US so as to be nearly non-existent, this just leaves a risk of severe dental fluorosis and bone fracture at the level of 4.0 ppm. Water is fluoridated at 0.7 ppm.

          Your unsubstantiated speculation is of no relevance. If you care to continue to attempt to engage in meaningful discussion on this issue I strongly urge you to at least make an effort to properly educate yourself. The websites of the CDC, the EPA, the ADA, the WHO, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, each has a wealth of accurate information on fluoridation readily available to anyone. That would be a good starting point for you.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

          • W Reed, MD

            Steve,
            I’ve said what I want to say. I’ll let readers form their own opinions. I’m too busy to keep reacting to your flanking maneuvers so this is my last post. I am curious however as to what degree of uncertainty posed by past and future studies would be sufficient for you to question your comfort with Fluoridation’s risk/benefit ratio.
            Regards,
            W Reed, MD

          • W Reed MD

            Yes, I’m always fine with readers forming their own opinions based on the facts and evidence I present.

            The question is not what degree of uncertainty it would take for me, but what overwhelming amount of valid evidence it takes for antifluoridationists to understand that their opposition does not hold up.

            There will never be unanimous agreement on any scientific issue. Therefore we must rely upon consensus opinion. Antifluoridationists take a few poorly designed and flawed studies, some misrepresented science, ignore the volume of science which refutes their position, and proclaim that the science supports their position. It does not. The worldwide consensus of respected science and healthcare is overwhelmingly in support of fluoridation.

            The “support” for all of the antifluoridationist arguments is nothing but a small handful of cherry-picked studies……Bassin for the claims of osteosarcoma, Varner for alzheimers, the 27 Chinese studies for “IQ reduction”, Peckham for thyroid, and Malin for ADHD. There are probably a few more here and there, but the point is that that not one of these has any validity in regard to optimal level fluoride, most have been refuted repeatedly in the scientific literature, and none come anywhere near outweighing their flaws or volume of peer-reviewed science which contradicts them.

            Quotes plucked from the 2006 NRC are frequently attempted as arguments, totally ignoring the fact that this Committee clearly stated what it deemed to be of any concern with fluoride at the level of 4.0 ppm. The York Review and the recent Cochrane review are both entirely misrepresented by antifluoridationists who claim that they “prove” that there is no valid evidence to support fluoridation. Neither does anything of the sort.

            Unsubstantiated claims are made about just about disorder known to man being associated with fluoridated water, followed by demands that they be disproven. For obvious reasons, it is invalid science to demand proof of a negative. It is no one’s responsibility to disprove unsubstantiated claims.

            Antifluoridationists constantly fear-monger about fluoridation substances such as Hydrofluorosilic acid, totally ignoring the fact that the fluorosilicates are immediatel and completely hydrolyzed upon addition to drinking water, do not reach the tap, and are not ingested. Antifluoridationists constantly fear-monger about a laundry list of contaminants they claim are introduced by HFA, totally ignoring the fact that all water at the tap must meet stringent, EPA mandated quality certification requirements, or it is not allowed. Antifluoridationists constantly criticize that “pharmaceutical grade” fluoride is not being used for fluoridation, mischaracterizing the substances which are utilized as being “toxic waste”, totally ignoring the fact that “pharmaceutical grade” is far less suitable for use in the volumes necessary for fluoridation due to cost and, more importantly, its potential to introduce greater levels of contaminants than do the substances now utilized. Antifluoridationists constantly claim that the “Precautionary Principle” should be applied , totally ignoring the fact that the PP does not apply when there is scientific consensus of the safety of the initiative in question, which there clearly is in regard to fluoridation. And the list goes on and on……

            In short, antifluoridationists assume that they know something that has not long since been well known, considered, and fully addressed by DHHS, CDC, EPA, and others who oversee this initiative. There is nothing new.

            My impatience with the lame arguments presented by antifluoridationists is due to:

            1) the fact that they are seeking to deprive entire populations of the benefits of fluoridation based on nothing of any validity.

            2) the fact that I have seen and refuted with facts and evidence, all of the antifluoridationist arguments literally dozens of times each,

            3) the fact that antifluoridationists rely solely on misinformation they copy/paste from antifluoridationist blogs and websites, instead of taking the time and exerting the effort to properly educate themselves from primary, legitimate sources of accurate information,

            4) the fact that I have taken the time and effort to fully understand this issue by obtaining accurate information from reliable, trustworthy sources, reading entire studies and reviews, paying for them when necessary, talking with the authors of many studies including members of the 2006 NRC Committee, and verifying the validity of my claims before I make them, instead of attempting to do so afterward.

            If you want to bow out, fine with me. That’s generally what fluoridation opponents do when backed into a corner with facts and evidence. If, however, your opposition is not grounded in the same anti-government personal ideology of antifluoridationists dating back to the John Birch Society at the very beginning……and you actually wish to learn aboit this issue, I will gladly continue to explain and educate.

            Steven D. Slott, DDS
            Burlington, NC

          • All those keystrokes and yet you still can’t pick your number one study to demonstrate that fluoridation is effective. Thanks for the letter from Levy. I have filed it with all the other valuable documents you have given me to help with the case against fluoridation. See you in the next round.

          • David Green –

            Exactly what is it about scientific consensus that you do not understand. I would very much like to help you figure it out so you can contribute something besides meaningless comments like “you can’t pick your number one study to demonstrate that fluoridation is effective.” As Dr. Slott pointed out – yet again – in his reply to Dr. Reed, and as I have pointed out as well, “There will never be unanimous agreement on any scientific issue. Therefore we must rely upon consensus opinion.” Science, particularly in complex fields, does not – and cannot – rely on one, two, or even a dozen studies. ALL available evidence must be evaluated by experts fairly (without cherry-picking content that can be made to support a biased position) in order to come to a consensus.

            The irony of anti-fluoride ‘evidence’ (and one of the aspects that is most frustrating to scientists) is that studies and papers that actually support fluoridation, like the 2006 NRC Fluoride Report, are hijacked by fluoridation opponents (FOs) and statements like ‘more study is needed – in reference to relatively high level exposure to the fluoride ion’ is twisted and presented to the public as ‘Science has no proof of the safety or effectiveness of fluoridation’. This tactic was used by Dr. Reed, who should know better.

            We don’t know all the potential ramifications of exposure to disinfection byproducts created by chlorination and other treatment processes – we do know they appear to increase the risk of some cancers – are the known and unknown consequences of drinking water disinfection sufficient reason to discontinue the process and insist that everyone be responsible for their own water purification? Just asking…

            I challenge you, and any other FOs who are reading this: Stop providing the same arguments over and over and over… Take the POINT BY POINT refutations of your existing arguments by Dr. Slott and others, and provide SPECIFIC SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE (not opinions) to support any disagreements with any of their specific analyses of your claims that you might have. You keep claiming the scientific evidence you provide supports your beliefs yet when your ‘evidence’ is refuted by actual content from papers &/or from the authors themselves, you simply provide a different set of ‘evidence’ that’s again refuted – and the cycle goes on and on…

            I challenge any FOs who have decided to join the anti-fluoride bandwagon based SOLELY on ‘evidence’ provided on FO websites and in FO literature to take your blinders off and spend a few days actually looking at ALL of the available evidence – you may be shocked to discover that the fluoridation issue is not as one-sided as you have been lead to believe. The evidence is not one-sided in favor of fluoridation, and it is often not easy to discover the relevance or validity of any given study, but you can easily check out the misleading tactics of the FOs and find lots of supporting evidence in favor of the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation. This page will help you get started, http://www.cyber-nook.com/water/FluoridationReferences.htm. This is evidence to support fluoridation, however unlike resources of the FOs, I encourage readers to examine all the evidence, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and discover for themselves why the scientific consensus continues in support of fluoridation after 70 years of research.

          • You mention above where I set myself up as a professional that Lauren should trust. I don’t see it.

            I don’t agree that consensus is “provisional truth” . It would be except for the little problem of bias. Scientists are not immune to that anymore than anyone else. They are probably worse than the average because they likely don’t even see it in themselves. Think about who these people are. They went through grade school at the top of class, hooked on learning and developing a belief in their own infallibility. Being wrong about anything was not often in their day to day experience. Do you think they are likely to be the first to admit an error? “Science changes one funeral at a time”

          • OK, David Green –

            I didn’t really expect you to “see it.”

            I do see now why Dr. Slott has mostly given up communicating with you.

            Apparently you feel that consensus in specific scientific fields should not be established or modified by experts in the field, and that all experts in their field are arrogant know-it-alls who are incapable of making any accurate, unbiased evaluations of evidence. You have a pretty low opinion of science and scientists – the better they are at their craft the more unreliable they are?

            What is your replacement strategy – anything goes, as long as it agrees with your beliefs?

            If the experts shouldn’t evaluate evidence in their fields of study, who precisely do you suggest should examine the evidence and establish the consensus in any given area of science? Your ‘logic’ is confusing.

            Also, to be clear, consensus is not established by elite groups of scientists – it is the body of knowledge generally accepted by scientists working in the field as accurate and “provisionally true”.

      • What I understand about scientific consensus is that is always subject to change when more information becomes available and that change never involves those holding to the previous consensus saying “gee, I guess we were wrong-sorry about that” . Colquhoun describes it perfectly. What we are seeing here has been played out many times before.
        . I can’t really respond to all your generalizations about what FOs do or say. I have offered to show you the numbers for over-exposure by formula-fed infants. They come from limits set in Use of Fluorides in Caries Prevention, which is a position paper from the Canadian Dental Association which was last updated in 2012. It is simple math to show that many babies are being given twice the dose that the CDA says puts them at risk of Dental Fluorosis.

        I don’t take all my evidence from anti-fluoridation websites. I have followed the issue for longer than the internet has been around. One key study that helps to understand how and why fluoride disrupts so many biological processes is Fluoride, An Unexpectedly Strong Hydrogen Bond by J.Emsley. This piece of research is key to understanding why fluoride is so harmful (and why it works topically).
        I have asked for evidence that fluoridation works and so far the best study presented was of 106 subjects drinking fluoridated milk. I gave my top 5 studies or data sets that suggest little or no benefit. Why can’t you do the same?

        • Your understanding of scientific consensus, like you understanding of fluoridation evidence, is completely wrong. You are thinking like a fluoridation opponent who confuses scientific theories with rigid doctrines that are not dependent on physical evidence and will never change until those few in power die off.

          If scientific evidence changes, the consensus changes – the speed of change (and the amount of internal debate) depends on the strength of the new evidence. There are not just a few individuals in charge of scientific consensus who must change their mind (or die) – consensus is a community activity, and those with the convincing new evidence guide the direction and speed of change.

          Obviously science is not perfect, scientists are humans with egos, biases and agendas, and some can get stuck in a rut. But strong, valid evidence will be heard by the community. The evidence fluoridation opponents continue to present is not strong enough to trigger community change, and the specific reasons (misinterpretations of studies and and weak, flawed studies) have been pointed out over and over with specific that anyone who is still looking for answers can verify easily.

          I would change my mind about fluoridation if I saw convincing evidence that risks to the community were greater than the benefits. Every time I read about new evidence against fluoridation (the Harvard IQ study and the Cochrane review for example), I go to the source and discover problems with the study and/or misrepresentations of the evidence. If I am able to quickly discover problems with the new anti-fluoride ‘evidence’, there’s a pretty good chance the experts in the field will reject it rather quickly as well.

          • The quote about funerals comes from Max Planck, the father of quantum physics. I agree with what you say in theory. The problem you have is that what you require in order to change your mind is subjective. Every time you read a new piece of evidence your bias is pushing you to reject it. You haven’t asked for my evidence about formula-fed infants, unless that is somewhere else here. That is another sign of bias.

            If some thing that is irrefutable comes up, the tendency is to ignore it altogether or else answer it with a statement like Levy’s: “In fluoridated areas, community-based programs that serve formula-fed infants (as well as other infants, children, and adults) need to consider preservation of cavity prevention from fluoridated water for their broad populations and should not recommend reduction/elimination of water fluoridation just because of these issues related to formula reconstitution. ”
            How can he make that judgement when his current research doesn’t even support that there is an optimum level of fluoride intake to influence decay?
            Who should judge whether the evidence is convincing enough? I wouldn’t trust Levy, based upon his comments.

            You seem to think my mentioning of my background was an attempt to claim credibility as a professional. Another interpretation would be that I was demonstrating first that I was not a toxicologist, and also that I might have a bias , but that any bias Lauren might perceive could be disputed by the fact that I could have chosen to add fluoride to our water and market it on that basis to local rural residents, but I didn’t do that. Your bias led you to a conclusion that was opposite to that.

    • I also agree that more research is needed and the obvious marker for early exposure is staring right at us. Why has no government body undertaken such a study? Is it because they are afraid of what might turn up?

  14. Linus

    http://www.independentsciencenews.org/science-media/the-puppetmasters-of-academia-ny-times-left-out/

    It’s probably not a good idea to base any of our conclusions on “studies” these days. Although not about fluoridation, the above linked article illustrates the dynamics of corporate interests and academic work. It’s important that we understand that science is “rigged” in a big way. I have no idea if the science of fluoridation is similar to this story, but come on, do you all think it’s not?? There are countless stories of this type of dynamic playing out in all realms of our society.

    It’s high time that we trust in our experience, observation, and the stories of our trusted peers to come to conclusions of what is right and wrong for us. I am of the opinion that we need to be vigilant in basing our conclusions not on the results of studies, but on the funding of those studies and the dynamics that have led to the conclusions. Questions like: “what were the actual circumstances that led Dr. Stephen Levy to write his letter refuting the claims of the anti-fluoride people?” should be asked.

    When you get into the woo woo side of things you find claims of fluoride as a tool for control of the masses and one of the first things experienced by Jews in concentration camps. Of course you find that this “myth” is debunked and supported by many entities online. Who to believe?

    My conclusion, is there needs to be a choice.
    If there is then,
    We will then find that if in fact the pro fluoride folks are correct then we’ll all suffer terrible tooth decay — and the dental industry would benefit. Or wait…is there already benefit to the industry through distracting fluoride arguments in lieu of instilling honestly beneficial eating practices? (Show me a dentist who tells you to eat high omega 3 fats, bone broths and stocks, properly sprouted or fermented grains, fermented vegetables, and mineral rich water and to stay away completely from refined carbs and sugar to improve your dental health.).

    If terrible tooth decay doesn’t present itself and instead people understand the true connection between nutrition and physical degeneration and learn to improve their diets to affect tooth decay, then we’ll know what’s going on. We won’t get any “truth” from studies done or funded by “interested” parties. check this out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-eisenstein/the-need-for-venture-scie_b_8045434.html

    Don’t worry about finding supporting third party evidence or double blind studies. Trust your own observations, and make sure you learn from your own experience more than learning from studies that you have no idea what the circumstances were behind their creation. Don’t waste time arguing about a rigged science. Cause it’s rigged folks. It is. come on. :)

    For me, this issue is about freedom of Choice in what kind of water we create as a city, not whether fluoride is good or bad. If fluoride could be issued separately by the city for mixing with drinking water, that seems like the most likely way to respect both stances. And if that can’t be done, then why not??

    Last suggestion: read Weston A. Price’s work– 1930s world traveling dentist who took pictures of many cultures’ teeth and facial structures. Thousands of photos, and the diets of the people to go with them. Pictures show vast differences in bone structure and dental health correlated with absence or presence of certain nutritional components in the diets of those photographed. The basics : overall physical degeneration is first visibly detectable in the teeth and skull structure. Poor nutrition leads to an un attainable genetic potential. Mouths become too small to fit our teeth (thus braces and wisdom tooth extraction), and systemic issues arise that cause tooth decay and bone loss in general. According to this study, this is an intergenerational problem. (search “pottenger’s cats” for more on intergenerationality). To me the evidence presented in Price’s work is heavy. And the results I see in myself and others who eat that way helps confirm many of his findings for me. I’m sure there’s weston a price debunkers out there as well…so who to believe? Well who funded Price’s work and under what circumstances; and what were the circumstances that led to it being suppressed by the dental community?

    Take home message: Let’s wake up a little to what is behind the information we receive.

    Excuse me for my preachy-ness.

    NOTE: I will not be arguing any of these points (I honestly don’t have time), so please don’t expect responses. I just had a big urge to shift the conversation. Happy to hear what you all think though.

    • Well, Linus, at least you’re honest. Most antifluoridationist do exactly as you suggest. They ignore and deny the science, claim conspiracy nonsense……and rely instead on anecdotes, personal opinions, and misinformation from antifluoridation websites. They just don’t admit it, as you have.

      Fortunately, intelligent people know better.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

  15. I like it, overall. Sure science is rigged in many cases but I don’t know about just trusting personal observations completely. We all see what we wish to see.

    The funding of research is obviously a problem. Another issue is when researchers, like Levy , do a study that contradicts their position and then they are willing to lie in defense of that position and not even acknowledge that their own results dispute their lie. The Iowa study is evidence that fluoride is not even beneficial in preventing tooth decay, let alone essential. Maybe a lifetime of consuming fluoridated water has clouded his mind.
    Our family dentist (not my personal one) has recently put some dietary advice in his newsletter so I think that is progress.

    Thanks for the input.

    • David Green –

      Instead of throwing spitballs at Dr. Levy on a discussion he is unlikely to see (unless Dr. Slott feels inclined to forward your remarks to him). I would suggest stepping up to the plate, putting a formal complaint together about his lying along with your best supporting evidence and sending it to him so you can get his response directly instead of making up these ridiculous false accusations. You can then post your query and his response.

      • That’s not a bad idea. I’ll give it a shot. I sent a complaint to the ADA when those same lies appeared on their website. They didn’t reply and the last time I looked (about 6 months ago) they were still referring to fluoride being essential, although when I went looking just now, I didn’t see the original statements. I have also seen something similar from Howard Pollick. so it is hard to know whether Levy is the originator or just the repeater. Either way he knows what he is saying is completely false. Let’s see if he will admit it.
        Do you think “the appropriate amount of fluoride is essential to prevent tooth decay”? Remember essential is not the same as beneficial. I think everyone on both sides agree that there is no evidence that fluoride is essential.

        How about “fluorosis is not a disease”? Here is the first part of the Wiki definition of disease: “A disease is a particular abnormal condition, a disorder of a structure or function,…”. If you read the whole thing you will see the word “distress” also mentioned. We have at least one study showing that those suffering from fluorosis suffer from self-consciousness about the appearance of their teeth. I think that would be considered distress.

        I’ll let you know if Levy comes back with anything. I’m not really hopeful, as he seems to have crossed over from just being a researcher to being a PR person. Either way I’ll let you see my letter to him once I have sent it.

      • Okay, here is what I sent. It seems he is out of the office until the 16th.

        Thanks for the suggestion. It is always better to go straight to the source. Speaking of that, have you found any research yet that you are confident in presenting as evidence of fluoride’s effectiveness?

        Dear Dr. Levy,

        Steve Slott has posted the attached letter from you on an on-line discussion about fluoridation:

        I was shocked to see your claim about fluoride being “essential” in preventing tooth decay since, as far as I know, there is universal agreement that it is not. Do you have any evidence of such essentiality?

        I was also surprised that you claimed “fluorosis is not a disease”. It certainly meets the common definitions of one.

        Given your background, it seems impossible that these are errors made out of ignorance, but if that is the case, I will apologize for claiming you were lying in making these two statements.

        I am also very interested in when the final examination of the subjects in your cohort study will take place. My math indicates it should be very soon.

        Thank you,

        David Green

  16. Hygienist in Asheville

    So recently I had a rather wealthy eighty some year old patient whom told me she wanted me to support she and her activist friends in having fluoride taken out of the water in Asheville. In my mind I was already prepared to “not touch that with a ten foot pole”, I tip toed around it changing the subject. I spoke with my dentist before he came in to give him a heads up. When she tried to persuade him to join in the legal pursuit he simply stated “I think you have a fabulous idea, and it will make lots of money for all the local dentists, where do I sign up?” At that moment it was like the lady had an epiphany, and she realized perhaps for the first time the contraindication of what the loss may entail.
    I personally am a product of Buncombe County’s swish and spit program from the 80’s. I have never had a cavity and am proud to say so. I would be a huge supporter of this program over putting it in the water supply if it comes right down to it. I think it is a parents decision to decide if they would like to experiment with how many cavities they can prevent with or without the use of cavity preventing elements. I find a huge majority of parents can’t / don’t have or force their children to brush for 2 minutes twice a day with or without fluoridated toothpaste to begin with. I have been practicing for 14 years, just so you know.

    • Thank you for your contribution and observations –

      The fluoridation issue is quite interesting, and you identified one of the biggest factors in the controversy – individual choice vs. communal mandate. Despite what the fluoridation opponents say, community water fluoridation and disinfection (where needed) involve exactly the same decisions by any regulatory group in authority over practices that affect an entire community of individuals. The benefits, risks and costs must be evaluated based on what is demonstrated to be best for the community as a whole rather than individuals. That’s how a democratic government works – we allow others to make some decisions for the good of most citizens. It’s not perfect, but I believe it’s far better than anarchy, dictatorships or other alternatives.

      With chlorine disinfection, the benefits of providing drinking water without pathogenic contaminants far outweighs the known risks that some individuals in the community might get cancer after years of drinking disinfection byproducts (even water with levels below MCL) and experience other potential currently unknown risks of the various disinfection byproducts. It is also very easy to demonstrate the effects of discontinuing chlorination. Consequently, very few in a community argue that to protect those who may be harmed by disinfection byproducts, disinfection should be halted and everyone should be responsible for their own water purification.

      With community water fluoridation, the benefits of providing drinking water containing a few milligrams of the fluoride ion and reducing tooth decay in a community are not particularly obvious to most people. Similarly, the possible increase in the number of cavities and associated health problems in a community without fluoridation are not nearly as dramatic as people dying from cholera or E.coli poisoning if disinfection were stopped.

      However, over 70 years of evidence has documented the modest (in comparison to disinfection) benefits of fluoridation in addition to the risks of exposure to high levels of the fluoride ion. As a result, the consensus of scientists, dentists and doctors is that the benefits of community water fluoridation in reducing dental decay significantly outweigh the risk of mild fluorosis (if too much fluoride ion is ingested – mostly from swallowing toothpaste). Other known risks require much higher exposure levels to cause any problems for the majority of the population.

      Fluoridation is something of a casualty of its success – and the overall increase in the effectiveness of preventive dental care over the last 70 years. With the introduction of fluoridation the fluoride ion has been increasingly available in foods and drinks – even in non-fluoridated areas. That increase in the availability of the fluoride ion lead to the recent recommendation (based on science) to lower the optimal level to 0.7 mg/liter.

      The bottom line is that fluoridation provides a ‘buffer of protection’ for those in a community who tend to eat cavity causing foods &/or fail to brush regularly or get dental treatments. Will fluoridation completely eliminate cavities? Of course not – and the difference between cavity prevalence in fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities is small and difficult to distinguish. Most drinking municipal water regulatory groups in the US that evaluate the evidence impartially have, like the Denver Water Board of Commissioners, have decided to accept the scientific, dental and medical consensus and provide fluoridated water for their citizens.

      Personal opinions on this issue are important, but they should be based on an accurate interpretation of the available scientific evidence and not on the arguments of fluoridation opponents as presented in this discussion. Fluoride opponents have been using the same arguments for 70 years regardless of how many times they have been demonstrated to be false by individuals interested in scientific accuracy like Dr. Slott.

      • Andy Anderson

        I would like to point out that for over 2,000 years the medical experts of their day also believed blood letting to be a safe and appropriate treatment for every ailment. Fortunately they finally admitted that it caused more harm than good. It is time to admit that fluoridation of public water supplies is neither safe, effective, nor cost justified.

  17. Randall Snyder, Jr.

    Good afternoon Jonathan,

    Thank you for story Food Policy Council urges Asheville to stop fluoridating water.

    It is inspiring to see this kind of story in print in the local press. I have long studied this issue and in my research I found a research paper entitled Comparative Toxicity of Fluorine Compounds by Margaret Cammack Smith and Ruth M. Leverton University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz. (https://goo.gl/tFTqTB- hyperlink is to a copy I purchased) that presents the most comprehensive and solid research on the comparative toxicity of naturally occurring calcium fluoride and the sodium fluoride added to drinking water. The results are astounding. Sodium fluoride is 2000 times more toxic.

    The source for this paper is http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie50295a026
    Comparative Toxicity of Fluorine Compounds
    Margaret Cammack. Smith , Ruth M. Leverton
    Ind. Eng. Chem., 1934, 26 (7), pp 791–797
    DOI: 10.1021/ie50295a026
    Publication Date: July 1934

    I have also posted this information on G+ This destroys the argument that fluorides added to drinking water is safe. This July, 1934 research paper proves it is not safe. (https://goo.gl/Y3X8Y8)

    I was thinking you could add this to your arsenal of facts to help persuade others that this concern is significant and that there is conclusive information suggesting that adding sodium fluoride has not been a good policy since July 1934.

    I have also shared this same information with Dawa Hitch (dhitch@ashevillenc.gov)– City of Asheville Director of Communication & Public Engagement on May 6th of this year.

    Thank you again for your engagement on this issue.

    Make a great day!
    Randall Snyder

    “Attract what you expect, reflect what you desire, become what you respect, mirror what you admire.”

    #fluoride #toxic #drinkingwater #Asheville

  18. Does anyone know what city councilors or candidates are on record supporting or opposing flouride? I think Wainscott opposes flouride but didn’t he drop out with other problems? For my part I think Asheville should do the opposite of what Woodfin is doing so that people can relocate to the town that is doing what they want without having to change jobs.

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