From Clean Water Newport on proposed fluoridation of Newport’s drinking water
CLEAN WATER NEWPORT’S
TOP 10 FACTS ON FLUORIDATION
Fluoridation chemicals threaten our clean water. The chemical that would be used to fluoridate Newport’s water is fluorosilicic acid, a waste by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry.[i] It’s a matter of public record that it can be contaminated by lead and arsenic.[ii] The EPA has determined that there are NO safe levels of these toxins.[iii]
There are definite health risks. The National Academy of Science’s 2006 report Fluoride in Drinking Water is considered the most comprehensive, authoritative review on the toxicity of fluoride. It determined that fluoride is an endocrine disruptor, causes fluorosis, decreases thyroid function and interferes with brain function. In addition, it said there was a definite possibility that fluoride could increase the risk of bone cancer, bone fractures, diabetes, kidney disease and a lowering of IQ in kids.[iv]
The scientific evidence against fluoridation has grown since 2006. In 2015 alone, a major study covering nearly the entire population of England found that locations with fluoridated water were 30% more likely to have high levels of hypothyroidism (low thyroid function).[v] And a major study in the U.S. found that states with a higher portion of fluoridated water had a significantly higher prevalence of ADHD.[vi]
Finally, for infants, fluoridated water provides no benefits, only risks, especially from fluorosis. Infants consuming formula made with fluoridated tap water consume about 100 times the amount of fluoride they would get from breast milk, which has virtually no fluoride.[vii]
Fluoride is NOT a nutrient. A nutrient is a substance required for growth, development, and maintaining health. A disease can result when it’s removed from the diet. Fluoride doesn’t qualify for any aspect of this definition, unlike real nutrients like vitamin D, calcium and iodine. The FDA, Institute of Medicine, U.S. Public Health Service and National Academy of Sciences have all stated fluoride isn’t a nutrient.[viii]
There are definite environmental risks. There are several peer-reviewed scientific studies finding that fluoride is harmful to salmon and other aquatic life, some at levels below what Newport (.7 parts per million) would set.[ix] British Columbia’s recommendation is no higher than .2 ppm.[x] Newport has done NO environmental assessment of the environmental effects on the fishing industry here.
In the 2013 Portland campaign, numerous environmental organizations, including Columbia Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club and Food and Water Watch actively opposed fluoridation.[xi] Not one environmental organization endorsed it.
Fluoridation is in decline around the world. Out of 196 countries, only 24 fluoridate, and of those, only ten for more than half their population.[xii] In Canada, the percent of fluoridated water has dropped from 45% to 30% in the past seven years.[xiii] In Europe, only five out of 48 nations have fluoridated water – most never started and six that did have quit.[xiv] Israel’s health minister banned the practice in 2014 and in the past two years, seven counties in Ireland, including Dublin, Cork and Kerry, have passed resolutions to stop it.[xv] The vast majority of nations, cities, health and medical organizations around the world do NOT support fluoridation.
Fluoridation is ineffective. Even the CDC acknowledged that fluoride’s effectiveness at preventing cavities is primarily topical.[xvi] The largest U.S. study found that children drinking fluoridated water averaged only about half a cavity less than those drinking unfluoridated water.[xvii] Even that minimal effectiveness is in question. In 2015, the Cochrane Collaboration, considered the gold standard of scientific review, reported that nearly all of the studies supposedly showing fluoridation’s effectiveness were low quality and outdated.[xviii] Indeed, cavity rates in children are as low in unfluoridated countries as in fluoridated ones.[xix]
The estimated cost of fluoridating Newport’s water is $300,000. When you consider that 99% of this water won’t even be ingested but used for lawns, car washes, showers, etc., and that even the 1% that is ingested is ineffective, this is an enormous waste of taxpayers’ money. Moreover, this doesn’t even include the cost of the fluoridation chemicals themselves. There is no guarantee that Newport’s water rates won’t be increased to pay for all this.
Fluoridation takes away the right of Newport residents to choose whether they want to ingest fluoride or not. Fluoride is the ONLY drug that has ever been added to drinking water. Incredibly, the FDA, while classifying fluoride as a drug, has never approved fluoride supplements as safe or effective,[xx] yet it’s been allowed to be added to drinking water. If some people want to give fluoride to their children, that’s up to them. But those who don’t want it should not be forced to drink it through the public water supply.
Fluoridation hurts low-income people and communities of color. Fluorosis, caused by an over-exposure to fluoride, afflicts Mexican-Americans and blacks at a much higher rate than whites.[xxi] It isn’t ethical to force them to choose between drinking water putting their health at risk or buying expensive filters or unfluoridated bottled water to avoid it. Nor is it ethical to force hypothyroid patients, many of whom are low-income, to do the same to avoid fluoridated water. Many will be unable to because they can’t afford it. Numerous cities that have fluoridated for years, including New York, Detroit, Cincinnati, San Antonio and others, are still plagued with high cavity rates in low-income kids.[xxii]
There are more effective (and more cost-effective) ways to prevent cavities. Everyone wants good dental health for both kids and adults, but fluoridation is not the answer. The most effective alternatives are education on proper nutrition, personal dental habits, professional dental care and helping low-income families receive preventative care through the Oregon Health Plan and Head Start.[xxiii]
In rebuttal, the Centers For Disease Control, Atlanta, GA
The safety and benefits of fluoride are well documented. For 70 years, people in the United States have benefited from drinking water with fluoride, leading to better dental health.
Drinking fluoridated water keeps the teeth strong and reduced tooth decay by approximately 25% in children and adults. By preventing tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been shown to save money, both for families and the health care system.
Over the past several decades, there have been major improvements in the nation’s oral health. Still, tooth decay remains one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Community water fluoridation has been identified as the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all members of the community, regardless of age, educational attainment, or income level.
Nearly all water contains some fluoride, but usually not enough to help prevent tooth decay or cavities. Community water systems can add the right amount of fluoride to the local drinking water to prevent tooth decay.
Community water fluoridation is recommended by nearly all public health, medical, and dental organizations including the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Public Health Service, and World Health Organization. Because of its contribution to the dramatic decline in tooth decay in the United States since the 1960s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention