No to mandatory fluoridation of Cascadia!
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Lord, Jack.
General Jack D. Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: I... no, no. I don't, Jack.
General Jack D. Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. Nineteen forty-six, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen, tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first... become... well, develop this theory?
General Jack D. Ripper: Well, I, uh... I... I... first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
General Jack D. Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I... I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
General Jack D. Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh... women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh... I do not avoid women, Mandrake.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No.
General Jack D. Ripper: But I... I do deny them my essence.
(from "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" 1964)
This week the Oregon GOP (the puppets of the Texas based national Fascists) pushed legistation to make fluoridation mandatory in communities above a specific number of residents. This has as much logic as saying that people need to have clean hair so let us add shampoo to the water too. Or maybe we can all sign up for the new EPA's CHEERS program and add pesticides too? Why the Hell do people only think we use water for children to drink? Oh that is right it is all about money ... Corporate profit (why do I keep thinking this smells of Texas, doesn't it?). I do not think the commies are trying to take us over using our precious bodily fluids. But! I do believe the Corporatists are willing to slowing poison us and the planet for profit!
Do people only use water for drinking?
What does fluoride do to the eco-systems?
Fluoride is concidered a pollutant. Why the *&^%! do people think that potable water is only for drinking? Anyone of those yuppies wash their SUVs with water? How about gardening? How about bathing? Every thinking it just might effect other life and the general environment? What a bunch of greedy dumb asses!
I can not help but think of the Romans who lined their aqueducts with lead and added lead to their wine to spice it up. Towards the end the Romans had to enlist "barbarians" into their armies, because of population decline of Roman citizens. Lead poisoning was one factor to this decline.
Cascadians when are you going to wake up, take control of your lives and reject these Corporatists, Dominionists, Texans, snake-oil salesmen, corrupt federal government agencies, Fascists, religious fanatics, Christo-fascists, Neo-Cons, war-mongers, imperialists, sociopaths, psychopaths and genocidal maniacs? This is not going to get better under either fascist party of America (if fascism is "the merger of state and corporate power" then both political parties are guilty), because corporations are seen as more valuable than humans, other animals, plants, the network of eco-systems, communities, the bioregion and the planet as a whole. We here in Cascadia can at least start the ball rolling "US out of Cascadia!"
Some articles and URLs of interest (I encourage all to read "Fluoride: Commie Plot or Capitalist Ploy" by Joel Griffiths just scroll down or go to http://www.primitivism.com/fluoride.htm ) :
"More than 70% of Texans drink community fluoridated water,
but tooth decay is twice as high in San Antonio as in any other
Texas city. Fluoride should be put in the drinking water because
it will prevent tooth decay and save money in medical costs."
The Honorable Ed Garza, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas
http://fluoride.oralhealth.org/ (I believe from a Texas operated website)
Scientists at Drug Company Admit That Fluoride Causes Gum/Mouth Disease
>>> From Patent #5,807,541 "NSAID/fluoride periodontal compositions and methods" (15 Sept 1998), filed by the pharmaceutical company Sepracor:
A method for preventing dental caries [cavities] by administering fluoride and, at the same time controlling periodontal bone loss precipitated by the fluoride, by providing a combination of fluoride and NSAID is disclosed.
We have found that fluoride, in the concentration range in which it is employed for the prevention of dental caries [cavities], stimulates the production of prostaglandins and thereby exacerbates the inflammatory response in gingivitis and periodontitis.
Thus, the inclusion of fluoride in toothpastes and mouthwashes for the purpose of inhibiting the development of caries [cavities] does, at the same time, accelerate the process of chronic, destructive periodontitis.
House Votes to Require Fluoridated Water
Salem-News.com (Mar 21, 18:15)
Salem-News.com Capitol Watch
(Salem) - The Oregon House has passed a bill requiring cities with more than ten-thousand people to add fluoride to their drinking water.
The bill passed by a 36-22 vote.
Some Oregon cities, like Salem, already add fluoride to their drinking water.
Lawmakers for decades have argued about requiring statewide fluoridation.
Dentists say adding fluoride to drinking water is a cost-effective way to cut back on tooth decay. But critics argue there are health risks from exposure to the chemical.
The bill allows cities that lack the money to pay for fluoridation to opt out. That amendment was added when it became clear no state funds would be available to help cities with the cost.
The fluoridation requirement would apply only to cities that had money from other sources, such as federal funds, to cover the expense.
Fluoride: Commie Plot or Capitalist Ploy
Cows crawled around the pasture on their bellies, inching along like giant snails. So crippled by bone disease they could not stand up, this was the only way they could graze. Some died kneeling after giving birth to stunted calves. Others kept on crawling until, no longer able to chew because their teeth had crumbled down to the nerves, they began to starve....(1)
These were the cattle of the Mohawk Indians on the New York-Canadian St. Regis Reservation during the period 1960-75, when industrial pollution devastated the herd and along with it, the Mohawks' way of life. Crops and trees withered, birds and bees fled from this remnant of land the Mohawk still call Akwesasne, "the land where the partridge drums." Today, nets cast into the St. Lawrence River by Mohawk fishers bring up ulcerated fish with spinal deformities. Mohawk children, too, have shown signs of damage to bones and teeth.(2)
In 1980, the Mohawks filed a $150 million lawsuit for damage to themselves and their property against the companies responsible for the pollution: the Reynolds Metals Co. and the Aluminum Co. of America (ALCOA). But five years of legal costs bankrupted the tribe and they settled for $650,000 in damages to their cows;3 the court, however, left the door open for a future Mohawk suit for damage to their own health. After all, commented human rights lawyer Robert Pritchard, "What judge wants to go down in history as being the judge who approved the annihilation of the Indians by fluoride emissions?"(4)
Fluoride emissions? Fluoride, as in toothpaste? Well, yes. Fluoride was the pollutant primarily responsible for the Akwesasne devastation.(5)
For nearly 50 years, the U.S. government and media have been telling the public that fluoride is safe and beneficial--it is supposed to reduce cavities, especially in children. Manufacturers add it to toothpaste, municipalities put it in the public's drinking water. The only people who question the safety of fluoride, says the government, are quacks and lunatics--particularly of the far-right-wing variety.
But fluoride has another side the government never mentions. It is a toxic industrial pollutant--one of the oldest and biggest of them all. For decades, U.S. industrial plants have rained heavy doses of waste fluoride on people, such as the Mohawks. The nation, however, has been successfully conditioned to think of fluoride solely as a benevolent substance and to dismiss as a crackpot anyone who claims otherwise.
In recent years, because of rampant environmental damage, some of the worst fluoride pollution plants such as those at Akwesasne have been forced to reduce their emissions, but not terminate them. At Akwesasne, cows still live only half their normal lifespan.6 Nationwide, fluoride remains one of industry's largest pollutants. By the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) last estimate, at least 155,000 tons a year were being released into the air by U.S. industrial plants.(7)
Emissions into water lakes, rivers, and oceans have been estimated to be as high as 500,000 tons a year.
While people living near and/or working in heavy fluoride-emitting industrial plants have received the highest doses, the general population has not been spared either. Fluoride is not biodegradable; whatever comes around stays around, gradually accumulating in the environment, in the food chain, and in people's bodies, where it settles in bones and teeth. If this general increase in fluoride dose were proved harmful to humans, the impact on industry which pollutes both air and water would be major. The nation's air is contaminated by fluoride emissions from the production of iron, steel, aluminum, copper, lead and zinc; phosphates (essential for the manufacture of all agricultural fertilizers); plastics; gasoline; brick, cement, glass, ceramics, and the multitudinous other products made from clay; electrical power generation and all other coal combustion; and uranium processing.(9)
As for water, the leading industrial fluoride polluters are the producers and processors of glass, pesticides and fertilizers, steel and aluminum, chemicals, and metals.(10) The metal processing industries include copper and brass, as well as titanium, super alloys, and refractory metals for military use.
The list of polluters extends across industry from basic to strategic. Industry and government have long had a powerful motive for claiming an increased dose of fluoride is safe for the population. Maintaining this position has not been easy because, of industry's largest pollutants, fluoride is by far the most toxic to vegetation, animals, and humans.l2 In fact, it's one of the most toxic substances known.(13)
"Airborne fluorides," reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "have caused more worldwide damage to domestic animals than any other air pollutant.''(14) As for vegetation, as early as 1901, studies "found that fluoride compounds are much more toxic than the other compounds that are of significance in the industrial smoke problem.''15
Fluoride pollution has caused aquatic damage of similar magnitude.(16) In other words, there have been many Akwesasnes.
"Man [sic] is much more sensitive than domestic animals to fluoride intoxication [the medical term for poisoning]."(17)
Evidence that industrial fluoride has been killing and crippling not only cows but human beings has existed at least since the 1930s. The government has not only dismissed the danger and left industry free to pollute, but it has promoted the intentional addition of fluoride most of which is recycled industrial waste to the nation's drinking water.
"It might be economically feasible to reduce industrial fluoride emissions further," says Fred L. Metz of the EPA's Office of Toxic Substances, "but eliminating them would probably be impossible.''(18)
Of the highly toxic elements that are naturally present throughout the earth's crust such as arsenic, mercury and lead, fluoride is by far the largest in quantity.(l9) Normally, only minute amounts of these elements are found on the earth's surface, but industry mines its basic raw materials from deep in the earth and brings up vast tonnages--none in greater quantity than fluoride.
Historically, perhaps no other pollutant has posed a greater threat to industrial expansion. As early as 1850, fluoride emissions from the iron and copper industries poisoned crops, livestock, and people. By the turn of the century, consequent lawsuits and burdensome regulations threatened the existence of these industries in Germany and England.(20) They saved themselves by introducing the tall smokestacks which reduced damage by dispersing the fluorides and other toxins into the upper air.
In twentieth century America, however, enormous industrial plants and new technologies increased fluoride emissions so that even tall stacks could not prevent gross damage for miles around. Following the period of explosive industrial expansion known as "industry's roaring 20s," the magnitude of industry's fluoride dilemma became starkly apparent.
International reports of fluoride damage mushroomed in 1933 when the world's first major air pollution disaster struck Belgium's Meuse Valley: several thousand people became violently ill and 60 died. The cause was disputed, but investigations by prominent scientists, including Kaj Roholm, the world's leading authority on fluoride hazards, placed the blame on fluoride.(21)
Here and abroad, health scientists were beginning to regard fluoride as a poison, pure and simple. The trend toward its removal from the environment was potentially disastrous from industry's point of view. "Only recently, that is, within the last ten years, has the serious nature of fluoride toxicity been realized," wrote Lloyd DeEds, senior toxicologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1933. "It is a well established fact that chronic intoxication [poisoning] may manifest itself in man as recognized abnormalities only after constant, or at least frequent, exposure over many years....The possibility of fluoride hazard should...be recognized in industry...where this element is discharged into the air as an apparently worthless by-product."(22)
It was abundantly clear to both industry and government that spectacular U.S. industrial expansion and the economic and military power and vast profits it promised would necessitate releasing millions of tons of waste fluoride into the environment. Furthermore, two large new industries would be adding to the dose: fluorocarbon chemicals (the aerosol propellants and refrigerants now depleting the ozone layer) and aluminum, slated for a crucial economic and military role during the upcoming Second World War. By 1938 the aluminum industry, which then consisted solely of ALCOA, had been placed on a wartime schedule. And fluoride was the aluminum industry's most devastating pollutant.(23)
U.S. future industrial expansion, then, would be accompanied by complaints and lawsuits over fluoride damage on an unprecedented scale--the most threatening aspect of which was harm to human health. Damage to animals and the environment might be tolerated and easily paid off; if, however, serious injury to people were established, lawsuits alone could prove devastating to companies, while public outcry could force industry-wide government regulations, billions in pollution control costs, and even mandatory changes in high-fluoride raw materials and profitable technologies.
This inter-war period saw the birth of the military-industrial complex, with its concomitant public disinformation campaigns. It also saw a federal blitz campaign to convince the public fluoride was safe and good for them. The kick-off was the 1939 announcement by ALCOA-funded scientist Gerald J. Cox: "The present trend toward complete removal of fluoride from water and food may need some reversal."(24)
New evidence of fluoride's safety began emerging from research centers plied with industry 's largess. Notable among these was the University of Cincinnati's Kettering Laboratory, whose specialty was investigating the hazards of industrial chemicals. Funded largely by top fluoride-emitters such as ALCOA, the Kettering Lab quickly dominated fluoride safety research. A book by Kettering scientist and Reynolds Metals consultant E.J. Largent, for example, written in part to "aid industry in lawsuits arising from fluoride damage," became a basic international reference work. (25)
The big news in Cox's announcement was that this "apparently worthless by-product" had not only been proved safe (in low doses), but actually beneficial: it might reduce cavities in children. A proposal was in the air to add fluoride to the entire nation's drinking water. While the dose to each individual would be low, "fluoridation" on a national scale would require the annual addition of hundreds of thousands of tons of fluoride to the country's drinking water.
Government and industry--especially ALCOA--strongly supported intentional water fluoridation. Undoubtedly, most proponents were sincere in their belief that the procedure was safe and beneficial. At the same time, it might be noted that fluoridation made possible a master public relations stroke--one that could keep scientists and the public off fluoride's case for years to come. If the leaders of dentistry, medicine, and public health could be persuaded to endorse fluoride in the public's drinking water, proclaiming to the nation that there was a "wide margin of safety," how were they going to turn around later and say industry's fluoride pollution was dangerous?
As for the public, if fluoride could be introduced as a health enhancing substance that should be added to the environment for the children's sake, those opposing it would look like quacks and lunatics. The public would question attempts to point out its toxicity or its unsavory industrial connections.
With such a powerful spin operating, fluoride might become a virtually "protected pollutant," as writer Elise Jerard later termed it. (26) One thing is certain, the name of the company with the biggest stake in fluoride's safety was ALCOA, whose name is stamped all over the early history of water fluoridation.
Throughout industry's "roaring 20s," the U.S. Public Health Service was under the jurisdiction of Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon, a founder and major stockholder of ALCOA. In 1931, the year Mellon stepped down, a Public Health Service dentist named H. Trendley Dean was dispatched to certain remote towns in the West where drinking water wells contained high concentrations of natural fluoride from deep in the earth's crust. Dean's mission was to determine how much fluoride people could tolerate without obvious damage to their teeth--a matter of considerable concern to ALCOA. Dean found that teeth in these high fluoride towns were often discolored and eroded, but he also reported that they appeared to have fewer cavities than average. He cautiously recommended further studies to determine whether a lower level of fluoride in drinking water might reduce cavities without simultaneously damaging bones and teeth, where fluoride settles in humans and other animals.
Back at the Mellon Institute, ALCOA's Pittsburgh industrial research lab, this news was galvanic. ALCOA-sponsored biochemist Gerald J. Cox (27) immediately fluoridated some lab rats in a study and concluded that fluoride reduced cavities and that: "The case should be regarded as proved."(28) In an historic moment in 1939, the first public proposal that the U.S. should fluoridate its water supplies was made not by a doctor, or dentist, but by Cox, an industry scientist working for a company threatened by fluoride damage claims.(29) Cox began touring the country, stumping for fluoridation.
Initially, many doctors, dentists, and scientists were cautious and skeptical, but then came World War II, during which industry's fluoride pollution increased sharply because of stepped-up production and the extensive use of ALCOA aluminum in aircraft manufacture.
Following the war, as expected, hundreds of fluoride damage suits were filed around the country against producers of aluminum, iron and steel, phosphates, chemicals, and other major polluters.(30) The cases settled in court involved only damage to livestock or vegetation.
Many others were settled out of court, including those claiming damage to human health, thus avoiding legal precedents. In one case, for the first time in the U.S. an Oregon federal court found in Paul M. and Verla Martin v. Reynolds Metals (1955) that the couple had sustained "serious injury to their livers, kidneys and digestive functions" from eating "farm produce contaminated by [fluoride] fumes" from a nearby Reynolds aluminum plant. (31) Soon thereafter, no less than the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) and six other metals and chemical companies joined with Reynolds as "friends of the court" to get the decision reversed. According to a local paper, a Reynolds attorney "contended that if allowed to stand, the verdict would become a ruling case, making every aluminum and chemical plant liable to damage claims simply by operating [emphasis added]."(32) Despite extensive medical testimony for Reynolds from Kettering Lab scientists, the Martins kept on winning. Finally, in a time-honored corporate solution, Reynolds mooted the case by buying the Martins' ranch for a hefty price.
The postwar casualties of industrial fluoride pollution were many from forests to livestock to farmers to smog stricken urban residents but they received little more than local notice. National attention had been diverted by fluoride's heavily publicized new image. In 1945, shortly before the war's end, water fluoridation abruptly emerged with the full force of the federal government behind it. In that year, two Michigan cities were selected for an official "15-year" comparison study to determine if fluoride could safely reduce cavities in children, and fluoride was pumped into the drinking water of Grand Rapids.
Other early experiments were performed, not only without publicity, but without the knowledge of the subjects. The scientific value of these experiments and their ethics were dubious in the extreme. In Massachusetts and Connecticut, for example, the first fluoridation experiments (1945-46) were conducted on indigent, mentally retarded children at state-run schools. According to the 1954 congressional testimony of Florence Birmingham, a trustee of the Wrentham (Massachusetts) State School for Feebleminded Children, her school's administration learned only by accident that fluoride was being put in the drinking water.(33)
The trustees immediately voted to stop the fluoridation, Birmingham testified, "but to my shocked surprise, we were told by the [Massachusetts Department of Health] that it was not an experiment and the fluoridation continued on.... I found in the files a letter revealing that [a health department representative] had come to the institution school and in a conference with administration officials warned them that there should be no publicity on the fluoride program there..."
The federally sanctioned experimenters did not seem concerned that these children might accidentally receive a toxic overdose of fluoride. "The method used in putting fluoride in the water," said the president of the school employees' union, "...is enough to cause panic at the institution.... A boy patient does it...He knows what it is for he said, 'Come up with me and I can show you how I can take care of you if I get mad at you."(34)
Meanwhile, in 1946, despite the fact that the official 15-year experiment in Michigan had barely begun, six more U.S. cities were allowed to fluoridate their water. The fluoridation bandwagon had begun to roll.
At this juncture, Oscar R. Ewing, a long-time ALCOA lawyer who had recently been named the company's chief counsel--with fees in the then-astronomical range of $750,000 a year(35)--arrived in Washington. Ewing was presumably well aware of ALCOA'S fluoride litigation problem. He had handled the company's negotiations with the government for the building of its wartime plants. l
In 1947, Ewing was appointed head of the Federal Security Agency (later HEW), a position that placed him in charge of the Public Health Service (PHS). Under him, a national water fluoridation campaign rapidly materialized, spearheaded by the PHS. Over the next three years, 87 additional cities were fluoridated including the control city in the original two-city Michigan experiment, thus wiping out the most scientifically objective test of safety and benefit before it was half over.
The government's official reason for this unscientific haste was "popular demand." And indeed, these 87 cities had become so wild for fluoridation that the government claimed it wasn't fair to deny them the benefits. By then. in fact, much of the nation was clamoring for fluoridation. This enthusiasm was not really surprising, considering Oscar Ewing's public relations strategist for the water fluoridation campaign was none other than Sigmund Freud's nephew Edward L. Bernays,(37) "The Original Spin Doctor," as a Washington Post headline recently termed him.(38) Bernays, also known as the father of public relations," pioneered the application of his uncle's theories to advertising and government propaganda. The government's fluoridation campaign was one of his most stunning and enduring successes.
In his 1928 book Propaganda, Bernays explained "the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and how it is manipulated by the special pleader [i.e., public relations counsel] who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity....(39) Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country...our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of "
"If you can influence the [group] leaders," wrote Bernays who had many confidential industrial clients, "either with or without their conscious cooperation [emphasis added], you automatically influence the group which they sway..." (40)
Describing how, as PR man for the Beech-nut Bacon Company, he influenced leaders of the medical profession to promote sales, Bernays wrote, "The new salesman [would] suggest to physicians to say publicly that it is wholesome to eat bacon. He knows as a mathematical certainty that large numbers of persons will follow the advice of their doctors because he understands the psychological relationship of dependence of men on their physicians." (41)
Substitute "dentists" for "physicians" and" fluoride" for "bacon" and the similarities are apparent. Almost overnight, under Bernays' mass mind-molding, the popular image of fluoride which at the time was being widely sold as rat and bug poison became that of a beneficial provider of gleaming smiles, absolutely safe, and good for children, bestowed by a benevolent paternal government. Its opponents were permanently engraved on the public mind as crackpots and right-wing loonies.
Fluoridation attracted opponents from every point on the continuum of politics and sanity. The prospect of the government mass-medicating the water supplies with a well-known rat poison to prevent a non-lethal disease flipped the switches of delusionals across the country as well as generating concern among responsible scientists, doctors, and citizens.
Moreover, by a fortuitous twist of circumstances, fluoride's natural opponents on the left were alienated from the rest of the opposition. Oscar Ewing, as Federal Security Agency administrator, was a Truman "fair dealer" who pushed many progressive programs such as nationalized medicine. Fluoridation was lumped with his proposals. Inevitably, it was attacked by conservatives AS a manifestation of "creeping socialism," while the left rallied to its support. Later during the McCarthy era, the left was further alienated from the opposition when extreme right-wing groups, including the John Birch Society and the Ku Klux Klan, raved that fluoridation was a plot by the Soviet Union and/or communists in the government to poison America's brain cells.
It was a simple task for promoters, under the guidance of the "original spin-doctor," to paint all opponents as deranged and they played this angle to the hilt. For example, one widely distributed dossier on opponents "listed in alphabetical order reputable scientists, convicted felons, food faddists, scientific organizations, and the Ku Klux Klan."(42)
Actually, many of the strongest opponents originally started out as proponents, but changed their minds after a close look at the evidence. And many opponents came to view fluoridation not as a communist plot, but simply as a capitalist-style con job of epic proportions. Some could be termed early environmentalists, such as the physicians George L. Waldbott and Frederick B. Exner, who first documented government-industry complicity in hiding the hazards of fluoride pollution from the public. Waldbott and Exner risked their careers in a clash with fluoride defenders, only to see their cause buried in toothpaste ads.
Exner's voluminous files were a source of pivotal evidence in lawsuits decided against industry and against fluoridation promoters. In 1978, following his death, his files were destroyed in a mysterious fire.(43)
But all the opponents, credible and cracked alike, were run over by the fluoridation bandwagon. In 1950 the Public Health Service, along with leaders of dentistry, medicine, and practically everything else, officially endorsed fluoridation, and the transformation of fluoride's image was complete. Since then, two thirds of the nation's reservoirs have been fluoridated, and about 143,000 tons of fluoride are pumped in yearly to keep them that way.(44) Meanwhile, the government continues to campaign for "universal fluoridation."
Which brings us to the last benefit to industry from fluoridation: Companies forced to reduce their emission can recoup some of the expense by selling the waste to cities for water fluoridation. And most of the fluoride added to drinking water has been recycled waste, particularly from the fertilizer industry.(45)
Since the 1950s, fluoride as industrial toxin has remained largely unknown to the public, replaced by fluoride as children's friend and creator of beautiful smiles. The 1930s trend toward its removal from the environment has been reversed with a vengeance. For example, in 1972 the newly formed EPA did a survey of atmospheric fluoride polluters. It found that five of the top six typically didn't bother to control their fluoride emissions at all and weren't measuring emissions.(46) The most lax was the iron and steel industry, which, according to the report, was also the biggest fluoride emitter.(47)
And why should these industries worry, as regulatory agencies have maintained ever since water fluoridation that industrial fluoride emissions are harmless to humans? As the EPA report stated: "The fluorides currently emitted [by industry] may damage economic crops, farm animals, and materials of decoration [i.e., flowers and ornamental plants] and construction [i.e. buildings, statuary and glass]...
"...However, the potential to cause fluoride effects in man is negligible."(48) Or, as another EPA report puts it, "It is clear that fluoride emissions from primary aluminum plants have no significant effect on human health. Fluoride emissions, however, do have adverse effects on livestock and vegetation."(49) In other words, the stuff withers plants, cripples cows, and even eats holes in stone, but it doesn't hurt people. Nature ever surprises.
When it comes to water pollution, of course, industry has even less reason to fear conviction for damage to human health. The government's fluoridation studies have supposedly established beyond a doubt that hundreds of thousands of tons of fluoride a year can be poured directly into the nation's drinking water supplies with a "wide margin of safety" for humans. So industrial fluoride emitters only have to worry about the fish when they poison nearby bodies of water. The same concentrations added to human drinking water for cavity prevention can be fatal to freshwater fish.
When new scientific evidence threatens fluoride's protected pollutant status, the government immediately appoints a commission, typically composed of several veteran fluoride defenders and no opponents; usually, these commissions dismiss the new evidence and reaffirm the status quo. When one didn't in 1983, the government simply altered the findings. It's an instructive tale.
In 1983, the Public Health Service convened a panel of World-class experts" to conduct a pro forma review of safety data on fluoride in drinking water. A panel transcript of the private deliberations revealed its members discovering that much of the vaunted evidence of fluoride's safety barely existed.51 The 1983 panel recommended caution, especially in regard to fluoride exposure for children,52 but its chair, Jay R. Shapiro, then with the National Institutes of Health, was aware that recommendations which conflicted with government fluoride policy might run into trouble. In an attached memo, Shapiro remarked, "Because the report deals with sensitive political issues which may or may not be acceptable to the PHS [Public Health Service], it runs the risk of being modified at a higher level...."(53)
Shapiro was prescient. When Surgeon General Everett Koop's office released the official report a month later, the panel's most important conclusions and recommendations had been thrown out, apparently without consulting its members. "When contacted," wrote Daniel Grossman, "...members of the panel assembled by the Public Health Service expressed surprise at their report's conclusions: They never received copies of the final altered version. EPA scientist Edward Ohanian, who observed the panel's deliberations recalled being 'baffled' when the agency received its report."(54)
All the government's alterations were in one direction and any conclusion suggesting low doses of fluoride might be harmful was thrown out. In its place, the government substituted this blanket statement: "There exists no directly applicable scientific documentation of adverse medical effects at levels of fluoride below 8 PPM [parts per million]."(55)
This contradicted the panel's final draft, which firmly recommended that "the fluoride content of drinking water should be no greater than 1.4-2.4 PPM for children up to and including ace 9 because of a lack of information regarding fluoride effect on the skeleton in children (to age 9), and potential cardio toxic effects [heart damage]..." All that, and more, was tossed out by the government. (56)
To quote from the transcript of the panel's meeting:
Dr. Wallach: "You would have to have rocks in your head, in my opinion, to allow your child much more than 2 PPM."
Dr. Rowe: "I think we all agree on that."(57)
But in 1985, basing its action on the altered report issued by Surgeon General Koop, EPA raised the amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water from 2 to 4 PPM for children and everybody else.
What are the effects of the decades-long increase in fluoride exposure on the nation's health? The best answer is, given the size and persuasiveness of the motive for bias and the extreme politicization of science on this question, no one knows. Recently, scientists have taken a new look, especially at the most likely place to find fluoride damage: human bones, where it accumulates. In the past two years, eight epidemiological studies by apparently disinterested scientists have suggested that water fluoridation may have increased the rate of bone fractures in females and males of all ages across the U.S. (58) The latest study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that "low levels of fluoride may increase the risk of hip fracture in the elderly."(59) These results, if correct, would also implicate industrial fluoride pollution. Another group likely to show damage from fluoride is young males. Since 1957, the bone fracture rate among male children and adolescents has increased sharply in the U.S. according to the National Center for Health Statistics. (60) The U.S. hip fracture rate is now the highest in the world, reports the National Research Council. (61)"...Clearly, " wrote the Journal of the American Medical Association in an editorial, "it is now appropriate to revisit the issue of water fluoridation. "
Fluoride and cancer, too, have been linked by the government's own animal carcinogenicity test.(63) Evidence that fluoride is a carcinogen has cropped up since at least the 1940s, but the government has dismissed it all. A 1956 federal study found nearly twice as many bone defects (of a type considered possibly pre-malignant) among young males in the fluoridated city of Newburgh, New York, as compared with the unfluoridated control city of Kingston; this finding, however, was considered spurious and was not followed up.(64) For a long time, the government avoided performing its official animal carcinogenicity test which, if positive, would require regulatory action against fluoride. It had to be pushed into doing that.
In 1975, John Yiamouyiannis, a biochemist and controversial fluoridation opponent, and Dean Burk, a retired National Cancer Institute (NCI) official, reported a 5 to 10 percent increase in total cancer rates in U.S. cities which had fluoridated their water supplies.(65) Whether scientifically valid or not, the paper did trigger congressional hearings in 1977, at which it was revealed, incredibly, that the government had never cancer tested fluoride. Congress ordered the NCI to begin.
Twelve years later, in 1989, the study was finally completed. It found" equivocal evidence" that fluoride caused bone cancer in male rats.(66) The NCI was immediately directed to examine cancer trends in the U.S. population that _ might be fluoride-related. The NCI found that nationwide evidence "...of a rising rate of bone and joint cancer at all ages combined, due mainly to trends under the age of 20, was seen in the 'fluoridated' counties but not in the 'non-fluoridated' counties....The larger increase in males under the age of 20 seen in the aggregate data for all bone and joint cancers is seen only in the 'fluoridated' counties.(67)
The NCI also did more detailed studies focused on several counties in Washington and Iowa. Once again, "When restricted to percent under the age of 20, the rates of bone and joint cancer in both sexes rose 47 percent from 1973-80 to 1981-87 in the fluoridated areas of Washington and Iowa and declined 34 percent in the non-high fluoridated areas. For osteosarcomas [bone cancers] in males under 20 [emphasis added], the rate increased 70 percent in the fluoridated areas and decreased four percent in the non-fluoridated areas."(68) But after applying sophisticated statistical tests, the NCI concluded that these findings, like those in Newburgh in 1956, were spurious.
It was commission time again.
The new commission, chaired by venerable fluoridation proponent and U.S. Public Health Service official Frank E. Young, concluded in its final report that "...its year-long investigation has found no evidence establishing an association between fluoride and cancer in humans." As for the evidence on bone fractures, the commission merely stated, "further studies are required." And finally, as always: "The U.S. Public Health Service should continue to support optimal fluoridation of drinking water."(69)
If fluoride presents any risks to the public at the levels to which the vast majority of us are exposed," intoned U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, James G. Mason, when releasing the report, "those risks are so small that they have been impossible to detect. In contrast, the benefits are great and easy to detect."(70) That is, fewer cavities in children.
There are signs, however, that 50 years of official unanimity on this subject may be disintegrating. Referring to the government's animal study, James Huff, a director of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, told a 1992 meeting he believes "that the reason these animals got a few osteosarcomas [bone cancers] was because they were given fluoride...Bone is the target organ for fluoride." In other words, the findings were not "equivocal" but solid.
"Perhaps we need to learn more about this chemical," said Huff.(71)
Others feel more than enough has already been leamed. William Marcus, an EPA senior science adviser and toxicologist was indignant. "In my opinion," he said, "fluoride is a carcinogen by any standard we use. I believe EPA should act immediately to protect the public, not just on the cancer data, but on the evidence of bone fractures, arthritis, mutagenicity and other effects." Marcus adds that a still-unreleased study by the New Jersey State Health Department has found that the bone cancer rate is six times higher among young males in fluoridated communities.
"The level of fluoride the government allows the public is based on scientifically fraudulent information and altered reports," charges Robert Carton, an EPA environmental scientist and past president of its employee union, Local 2050, National Federation of Federal Employees. The EPA union has been campaigning for six years against what it terms the "politicization of science" at the agency, citing fluoride as the archetypal case. "People can be harmed simply by drinking the water," Carton warns.(73) A subcommittee headed by Congressman Ted Weiss (DN.Y.) is investigating the government's handling of the evidence on fluoride's safety. And there the matter rests until the next commission.
Does fluoridation reduce cavities in children? Almost everyone feels certain that it does, but only because trusted authorities have told them so, and those authorities in turn received their information from leaders who, as the original spin-doctor noted, must be influenced if you want to make the public believe something.
Actually, over the years, many health professionals especially abroad have decided the beneficial effects of fluoride are mostly hokum; but open debate has been stifled if not strangled. Repeatedly dentists and doctors who were regarded as paragons of professional excellence when they supported fluoride have been vilified and professionally ostracized after they changed their minds. During the early 1980s, New Zealand's most prominent fluoridation advocate was John Colquhoun, the country's chief dental adviser. Then he decided to gather some results. "I was an ardent fluoridationist, you see. I wanted to show people how good it was..." "When as chair of the Fluoridation Promotion Committee, I gathered these statistics...I observed that...the percentage of children who were free of dental decay was higher in the unfluoridated part of most health districts in New Zealand"(74) The national health department refused to allow Colquhoun to publish these findings, and he was encouraged to resign.
Now Colquhoun writes that "new evidence...suggests that the harmful effects of water fluoridation are more real than is generally admitted while the claimed dental benefit is negligible."(75)
A more recent example is Canadian physician Richard G. Foulkes, who is currently being accused by his former colleague, Brent Friesen, chief medical officer of Calgary, B.C., of "a classical case of manipulation of information and selective use...to promote the quackery of anti-fluoridationists." In 1973, as a special consultant to the health minister of British Columbia, Foulkes had authored a report recommending mandatory fluoridation for the province. But, after reviewing the evidence, he has concluded that "fluoridation of community water supplies can no longer be held to be safe or effective in the reduction of tooth decay....Even in 1973, we should have known this was a dangerous chemical."(76) He adds that "there is, also, a not-too-subtle relationship between the objective [the promotion of fluoridation] and the needs of major industries..."(77)
"I was conned," Foulkes thinks, "by a powerful lobby."(78)
Joel Griffiths is a medical writer who lives in New York city
1. Janet Raloff, The St. Regis Syndromes Science News, July 19, 1980 pp.42-43. The account w as verified by F. Henry Lickers, director, environmental division Mohawk council of Akwesasne, Cornwall Ontario, Canada. For primary data on cattle damage at Akwesasne, see Krook, L and Maylin, G. A. "Industrial Fluoride Pollution," The Cornell Veterinarian, Vol. 69, supplement 8 April 1979.
2. The pollution continues today, but at reduced levels; cows survive to about half their normal life spans.
3. Robert Tomsho "Dumping Grounds" Wall Street Journal. November 29 1990.
4. Karen st. Hilaire, "St. Regis Indians to Settle Fluonde Dispute" Syracuse Post-Standard, January 8, 1985.
5. See also accounts cited above for further documentation.
6. Author's 1992 interview with F. Henry Lickers,op cit.
7 Summary Review of Health Effects Associated with Hvdrogen Fluonde and Related Compounds,' s EPA Report Number 600/8-29/002F, December 1988 p. 1-1.
8. John Yiamouviannis, Lifesaver's Guide to Fluoridation (Delaware Ohio: Safe Water Foundation, 1983), p. 1; see also D. Rose and J.R. Maner "Environmental Fiuonde," National Research Council of Canada Publication Number NRCC 16081,1977.
9. Enginering and Cost Effectiveness Study of Fluoride Emissions Control, U.S. EPA repon, Volume 1, Number SN 16893.000, January 1972, p. 1-3, et seq.
1O Final Draft for the Drinking Water Criteria Document on Fluoride, EPA Repon Number PB85-199321, Apnl 1985, p. 11-5.
11. "Treatment and Recovery of Fluoride Industrial Wastes," EPA Repon Number PB-234 447, March 1974, p. 5.
12. E. Jerard and J.B. Patnck, "The Summing of Fluoride Exposures," International Journal of Environmental Studies, Volume 3, 1973, p. 143.
13. G.J. Cox, "New Knowledge of Fluoride in Relation to Dental Caries," Journal of American Water Works Association, Volume 31:1926-30, 1939; see also standard toxicology manuals. Tube terms "fluorine" and "fluoride" were used interchangeably in early literature.
14. Air Pollutants Affecting the Performance of Domestic Animals U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook No. 380, August 1970, p. 41.
15. Kaj Roholm. Fluorine Intoxication (London: H.K. Lewis & Co., 1937), pp. 64-65.
16. Jerard and Patnck, op. cit., pp. 149-50.
17. USDA Handbook, op. cit., p. 46. Around industrial plants, how-ever, grazing animals such as cows get the highest doses.
18. Author's 1992 interview.
19. Roholm, op. cit., p. 46.
20 H. Ost," The Fight Against Injurious Industrial Gases." Angew Chem Volurne 20,1907, pp. 1689-93. Also Roholm op.cit, pp. 36 41.
21. Kaj Roholm "The Fog Disaster in the Meuse Vallev: A Fluorine Intoxication" Journal ofIndustrial Toxicology Vol. 19, 1937, pp. 126-37.
22. Lloyd DeEds, "Chronic Fluorine Intoxication," Medicine. Vol. 12, 1933, pp. 1 60.
23. R. Berk, et al, Aluminum: Profile of the Industry (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985), p. 5.
24. Cox, op. cit
25. G.L. Waldbott, et aL, Fluoridation: The Great Dilemma (Lawrence, Kans.: Coronado Press. 1978), pp. 304-05, and F.B. Exner, Economic Motives Behind Fluoridation (monograph) (Toronto: Westlake.~, Press, 1966), pp. 1-2.
26. Elise Jeranl, ed., The Case of the Protected Pollutant (New York: Independent Phi Beta Kappa Study Group, privately printed, 1969).
27. ALCOA's sponsorship was verified in a 1992 interview by the author with a Mellon Institute public information spokesperson
28. GJ . Cox, ' Discussion, " Journal of the American Medical / Associate on Vol. 113, 1938, p. 1753.
29. In his 1939 public address in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. before any safety studies had been conducted, Cox urged that city to fluoridate its water supplies immediately. They turned him down. See Waldbott, op. clt., p. 304.
30. Waldbott, op.cit., pp. 296-301; Exner, op. cit., p. 4. Fluoride has also been the worst pollutant in the phosphate and iron industries (Exner, pp.3, 6) re: iron and steel see Engineering and Cost, EPA, op. cit., pp.111 5940.
31. "ThreeWin in Fume Suit, " The Oregonian (Portland), September 17,1955.
32. 'Seven Enter Fluoride Case," The Oregonian, October 15, 1957.
33. Heanngs before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, 83rd Congress, Second Session on H.R. 2341, May 25 27, 1954, pp. 46-48.
34. Ibid The accuracy of Birrningham's testimony concerning the Wrentham school was confirmed by John Small, Information Specialist, Fluorides and Health, National Institute of Dental Research. Interview with author, 1992.
35. Birmingham testimony, Op. cit, p. 51. Newspaper accounts from the period also refer to Ewing as ALCOA's "chief counsel." Later ASIA responding to charges that it had been behind the fluoridation scheme, claimed that Ewlng was just another of its many lawyers and that his fees had been much lower. Undisputed, however, is that Ewing was an extremely wealthy corporate lawyer and that his major client was ALCOA
36. Time, "Aluminum," November 10,1941.
37. Birmingham testimony, op.cit., confirmed by Bernays, at age 100, in a 1991 interview with author.
38. 'The Original Spin Doctor. " Washington Post, November '3, 1991, p. B 1.
39. Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda (New York: H. Liveright, 1928), p. 18.
40. Ibid, pp.9, 49.
41. Ibid., p. 53.
42. Bette Hilernan, 'Fluoridation of Water," Chemical and Engineering .Views, Volume66, August 1,1988, p. 37.
43. Author's interview with Exner's associate Len Greenall, 1992, Bntish Columbia. Canada; more recently a similar case of possible arson involved the files of Greenpeace scientist Pat Costner in 1991 (CAIB, Number 41, Summer 199^, pp. 42 44).
44. Letter to author from American Water Works Association, Denver Colorado, public information department, 1991.
45. A 1983 letter from an EPA administrator dessnbes the system: "In regard to the use of Sulfuric acid as a source of fluoride for foundation, this agency regards such use as an ideal environmental solution to a long-standing problem. By recovenng by-product sulfuric acid from phosphate enilizer manufacturing, water and air pollution are minimized, and water utilities have a low cost source of blonde available to them...." (Rebecca Hammer, EPA Deputy assistant administrator for water, March 30, 1983.)
46. "Engineering and Cost...," op. cit., pp. 1-1, II-1, 11-L
47. Ibid., p. 1-3.
48. Ibid, p. 1-2.
49. Primary Aluminum: Draft Guidelines for Control of Fluoride Emissions from Existing Aluminum Plants, EPA report Number Ps2s4s38, 1979, pp. 11-9.
50. Berk, et aL, "Aluminum: Profile...," op. cit., p.l48.
51. Joel Griffiths, " 83 Transcripts Show Fluoride Disagreements," Medical Tribune, April '0. 1989, p. 1.
52. Joel Griffiths, "Fluoride Report Softened," Medical Tribune, April 27, 989.
53. Daniel Grossman, "Fluoride's Revenge," The Progressive December 990 p. 31.
55. Griffiths 'Fluoride...," Op. cit., p. 11.
57. Griffiths, "83 Transcripts...," Op. Ott.
58. Cooper, et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 266 Julv24, 1991, pp.513-14. See also Sowers, et al,"A Prospective Study of Bone Mineral Content and Fractures in Communities with Different Fluoride Exposure," American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 133, No. 7, pp. t's49-60. For a summary of the most recent studies and a review of the scientific debate, see "Summary of Workshop on Drinking Water Fluoride Influence on Hip Fracture and Bone Health," Osteoporosis international, Vol. 2, 1992, pp. 109-17.
59. Christa Danielson. et al.. "Hip Fractures and Fluoridation in Utah's Elderly Population," JAMA Vol 268, August 12, 1992, p. 746-4S.
60. Author's 1992 interview with Sharon Ramirez, statistician, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Hyattsville, Md.
61. U.S. National Research Council, Diet and Health (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1989). p. 121.
62. JAMA, "Hip...." op. cit.
63. Not just anything causes cancer in the government tests. The majority of substances tested, all suspected carcinogens, prove negative, according to the National Cancer Institute. And there's good reason to worry about the few, like asbestos and DES. that do prove positive, says the NCI brochure March 1990.
64. U.S. National Research Council. Drinking Water and Health, (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1977), pp.3S8-S9.
65. John Yiamouyiannis and Dean Berk, "Fluoridation of Public Water Systems and Cancer Death Rates in Humans," presented at the 67th annual meeting of the American Society of Biological Chemists, and published in Fluoride, Volume 10, Number 3; 1977, pp. 102-23. Follow-up studies were conducted here and abroad which claimed to refute this paper and it remains controversial .
66. U.S. Public Health Service, Review of Fluoride Benefits and Risks (Washington D.C.: Department of Health and Human Services, February l991), p. iii.
57 Ibid, p. F-2.
6S. Ibid, p. F-3.
69. Ibid, pp. 84-so.
70. HHS press release, February 19,1991.
71. Mark Lowey, "Scientists Question Health Risks of Fluoride," Calgary Herald (Canada), February 28,1992.
7r Author's interview 1992*
73 Author's interview 1992.
74 Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory, Standing Committee on Social Policy, "Inquiry into Water Fluoridation in the Act [sicl," January 1991, pp. 183-84.
75. John Colquhoun, Community Health Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3, 1990, p. 288.
76 Mark Lowey, "Doctor Warns Fluoride Risky," Calgary Herald, January
77. Richard G. Foulkes, Letter to Thomas Perrv, Minister of Advanced Education, Victoria, British Columbia, March 3, 199'.
78. Tom Hawthorne "MD Who Pushed Fluoridation Now Opposes Idea," The Province (Vancouver), January 26, 1992.
Fluoride "It's Pollution, Stupid!"
Semantics, Politics or Fraud?
In April, 2,000, the Palm Beach Dental Director, Robert Dumbaugh, found himself in a dilemma in his push to fluoridate the drinking water of the small town of Wellington. When local activists revealed that the product used to fluoridate is, in reality, captured pollution from the production of phosphate fertilizer, Thomas Reeves, the US National Fluoridation Engineer, remained silent on the issue, refusing to answer any questions about the origin of the fluoridation agent.
An obviously worried, Dumbaugh emailed the Palm Beach County Pollution Supervisor, Frank Gargiulo, copied to Gargiulo's subordinate, Darrel Graziani and prominent pro-fluoridation lobbyist, Michael Easley, at the University of Buffalo.
"Frank: You can see what we are up against. This argument represents the major thrust of the opposition in Wellington. We will have to come up with some very convincing explanation that defuses the mass hysteria surrounding 'pollution scrubbers' and toxic waste dumping. Any suggestions? They even have Tom Reeves on the ropes now. I think we have to have somebody that understands the industrial process and can speak to the regulations which govern and permit the production of fluosilicic acid, and speak to the safety issue. Thanks, Bob."
By June, arrangements had been made for Dumbaugh and Darrel Graziani, to spend a day on an educational visit at the Cargill Fertilizer Inc. phosphate fertizer complex at Riverview, Florida. Subsequently, after one field trip and reviewing some information, Mr. Graziani became Palm Beach County's resident 'expert' on the pollution effluent used to fluoridate drinking water.
Under an odd Florida law, pollution is not considered to be pollution until it reaches the environment. Using this device, Graziani declared, before a Wellington forum held on July 19, that the recovered pollution was indeed a 'product' and therefore was not pollution.
However, after several emails from this writer, Graziani and Dumbaugh became concerned that the issue may flare up again. Dumbaugh wrote Graziani:
"Darrel: If you can write a brief rebuttal to Mr. Glasser's statement, I will not release it to anyone, but I can verbally discuss it with the mayor when I meet him tomorrow. What do you think. Bob."
Graziani responded to Dumbaugh's note:
"I was suprized (sic) to see that you received a copy of Mr. Glasser's e-mail. which appeared to be not only directed to myself, but Governor Jeb Bush. Due to the nature of the email, I will not respond to Mr. Glasser unless Governor Jeb Bush orders me to."
On receipt of copies of the email correspondence between Dumbaugh and Graziani, this writer responded to the allegations as follows:
"In the email response that you wrote for Dr. Dumbaugh to use as rebuttals to my allegations, it was stated: 'Mr. Glasser's statement "You seemed not to know what you are talking about!!! a superficial knowledge at best" appears to be a personal attack in light of the results of our findings versus his publications. He also continues to show little if any professional respect for those of differing opinion. This can be noted within his e-mail by the implied description of those supporting fluoridation as not "having the slightest amount of common sense." I find the underling (SIC) messages to be unjustified, offensive and concerning.'
"In reality, the questions pertained to known carcinogens in the fluoridation agent such as Arsenic and Beryllium which are cumulative and Group 1(a) carcinogens (known to cause cancer in humans).
"The actual statement Graziani was referring to was stated as such: "My question to you is: Why would anyone with the slightest amount of common sense justify the addition of any non-essential product containing any amount of a known human carcinogen into the drinking water?"
In the interim, Dumbaugh, himself an executive member of the secretive National Center for Fluoride Policy and Research (NCFPR), headed by Easley, was planning a presentation and an article for the National Fluoridation Summit in Sacramento, California. Dumbaugh again emailed Graziani, cc'd to Michael Easley, Teran Gall (Special Events Director for the California Dental Association) and Thomas Reeves:
"Darrel: As we discussed yesterday, I forwarded your Cargill photos to Mike Easley this morning. Can you send me the two diagrams you used during the Wellington presentation to send him also? Also, how do you feel about working on an article for publication? You, I, Mike and Tom Reeves from CDC could collaborate. You would be the principal author. Would you have a preference of journals to send it to? How about the AWWA journal? I could look into presenting the article at the Fluoridation Summit that Teran Gall (California Dental Assoc.) is setting up in September."
In the same sequence of email correspondence, Dumbaugh wrote to Thomas Reeves:
"Tom: I have a copy, but I'd like you to talk with Darrel Graziani, P.E. who went to Cargill with me and take a look at the slides. It will be fine with him. He also has an FSA production flow chart which would be helpful in your presentation. The presentation would be designed to refute Glasser's allegation that FSA is toxic waste that is recovered from pollution scrubbers."
"I have asked Darrel if he would be willing to co-author an article, perhaps to be published in AWWA Journal, with you, Mike and I asco-authors. He has agreed, and his boss concurs, but I would ask you and Mike to put together the article outline. I don't really have to be an author, but would be if you wished. At any rate, I think it would be useful to talk with Darrel, just to discuss the issue and your presentation at the Summit."
Meanwhile, Reeves was emailing Dumbaugh and NCFPR colleagues to clarify matters:
"Hi Folks, There is a small point of correction I would like to make about the production of the fluorosilicic acid [which is the source for the sodium fluoride and sodium fluorosilicate, as well]. A lot of people sometimes say, even once in a while myself, that the acid is captured with pollution scrubbers. That is not technically correct....This is a small point because the pollution scrubbers and the product recovery units are similar. But since the antis make such a big point about the "pollution" part of the pollution scrubbers, maybe we should start using the correct term."
In the very next sequence of emails uncovered under the Florida Public Records Act from Dumbaugh to Graziani, Dumbaugh comments, wryly:
"Darrel: It appears that the correct term is "product recovery unit." It would be nice if that's what the people at Cargill called it. Do you think it would be in order to call them and ask? They were still calling a scrubber when we were there."
On August 3, Graziani emailed Dumbaugh, saying, "Mr. Glasser claims that he has written extensively on the subject of Phosphate Fertilizer Pollution. This may be the basis of his confusion since he is unable to distinguish between the FSA production process and the Air Pollution Scrubbers."
So, during the one day field trip to the Cargill Fertilizer facility, Graziani and Dumbaugh had managed to redefine the nature of FSA pollution effluent!
However, the US Environmental Protection Agency has a different view of the captured pollution. In 1999, the EPA established that all facilities producing phosphate fertilizers in the United States must use the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) to reduce emissions of hydrogen fluoride, and heavy metals, including arsenic, beryllium, radionuclides, chromium and lead, as well as methyl isobutyl ketone.
Many of the hazardous air pollutants (or air toxics) released from the production of phosphate fertilizer are known or suspected of causing cancer or other serious health effects in humans and animals. EPA's action was estimated to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants by about 345 tons annually, representing approximately 57 percent reduction from current levels.
National Sanitation Foundation International, which "certifies" the fluoridating agent, stated in correspondence to Florida Department of Health administrator, Pepe Mendez, that because of the EPA's proposed new guidelines for Arsenic levels in drinking water, there might be "more product failures" due to inherent arsenic in the fluorosilicic acid. They also stated that beryllium was also a problem.
Both beryllium and arsenic are Group 1(a) substances or known to cause cancer in humans. Scientists have found that arsenic is responsible for causing, prostate, bladder, kidney, liver, skin and lung cancers in humans. Beryllium is considered the only verified causative of osteogenic sarcoma, and the EPA's maximum contaminate level of Beryllium allowed in drinking water is 4.0 parts per billion. Both, arsenic and beryllium are cumulative toxicants in the body. Lead, a neurotoxicant, is also present in the fluoridating agent. It, too, is a cumulative poison.
While heated arguments continue about the fluoridation of drinking water, the revelations about the product used in fluoridation schemes are causing much consternation among the proponents. This is evidenced by the email exchanges between top level fluoridation proponents as they frantically attempt to sanitize the toxic pollution soup. However, as much as they try, the reality is stated in the EPA air pollution regulations.
They show the National Fluoridation Engineer, Thomas Reeves, trying to turn a pollution scrubber into a "product recovery unit." It was a matter of semantics because the product being recovered was pollution.
Darrel Graziani based his view on a curious Florida environmental law which states that pollution is not really pollution unless it reaches the environment and that the effluent product recovered from phosphate fertilizer production is "high quality fluorosilicic acid."
Meanwhile, Thomas Reeves and Darrel Grazani were aware of another nasty little carcinogenic secret about the toxic soup. While everyone was conspiring to sanitize the pollution soup, Graziani was in possession of a 1998 letter and analysis results for radium and uranium levels from Cargill lab manager, Mike Wells to Reeves. The accompanying lab results from Thornton Laboratories of Tampa, Florida stated that the sample contained up to 3.0 parts per million of uranium. Interestingly, other contaminants which are not carcinogens are listed at levels as low as 2.0 parts per billion while the level of uranium is 1.5 thousand times that amount.
Another interesting aspect with the presence of uranium is the fact that other carcinogenic decay rate products will be present such as Radon 222, Lead 210, Polonium 210 and others. Radon is a gas which is released by heat and can be carried over to the toxic soup in greater quantities than uranium. Consequently, the toxic soup contains a variety of radioactive contaminants that are not reported on the certified analyses/specification sheets. This revelation leaves one to question the motives behind those people pushing a toxic waste product as a beneficial health measure by semantically transforming a pollution scrubber into a "product recovery unit."
The more frightening aspects of the uranium and its decay rate products is that a "half life" means that one-half of the radionuclide decays to the next product within a given amount of time. In other words, when we are talking about Polonium 210 (or whatever) lasting for 138 days (or whatever), what actually happens is that after 138 days (one half life), half of the polonium will have changed to something else, but half will still be there. After another half life, it will be down to a quarter activity, and after another half life it will be down to an eighth - i.e. - decreasing by half with each half life; consequently, radionuclides are the poison that keeps on poisoning in ever diminishing amounts.
In March this year, Jane Jones, campaign director of the National Pure Water Association, UK, wrote to Mr. Thomas Reeves, the U.S. Chief Fluoridation Engineer, asking him to confirm or deny that the fluoridating agent is pollution scrubber liquor and to provide Safety Testing Data for the product.
"Reeves replied without answering either question," said Ms Jones. "The push to fluoridate is largely driven from America, so I also wrote to Dr Michael Easley, the 'chief fluoridation guru' over there, and to Dr Gennady Pakhomov, the Responsible Officer for the World Health Organization's Oral Health Program. He acknowledged my email but ducked the questions. I've written three times to each of these top men, who are supposed to be 'experts'. Their silence is scandalous. We know that the fluoridating agent is hazardous waste which has never been tested as safe for human consumption."
To date, none of the above mentioned enthusiastic promoters of fluoridation have responded to Jane Jones' query. Despite the semantics, - "Product Recovery Unit" or "Air Pollution Scrubber" - the end product remains the same: it is a concentrated soup-mix of Hazardous Air Pollutants. Neither Darrel Graziani, Thomas Reeves nor the Grand Poopah of drinking water fluoridation, Michael Easley can transform toxic pollution into a beneficial nutrient.
Water Fluoridation - Therapy or Fallacy?
by Sheila L.M. Gibson, MD, BSc, MFHom
Water fluoridation - is this really a way to improve dental health, or is it another nail in our coffins, causing hip fractures, dental fluorosis, immune system problems and, possibly, cancer?
In 1936, fluoride was considered to be a general protoplasmic poison, and the Journal of the American Dental Association warned that detectable signs of fluoride toxicity appear from drinking water containing one or more parts per million (ppm) of fluoride.
All that was soon to change.
During the early part of the twentieth century industrial fluoride emissions from the aluminium, iron smelting, brick, glass and ceramics industries was posing an increasing problem because of their devastating effects on trees and crops, farm animals, wild life and people. The installation of scrubbers in factory chimneys to reduce these fluoride emissions left the fluoride-producing industries with the problem of how to dispose safely, and without crippling costs, of their toxic fluoride wastes. The more recent growth of the phosphate fertiliser industry has added substantially to the volume of fluoride wastes produced.
It had been noted in the 1920s that people living in parts of Texas and Colorado had mottled, brown-stained teeth which seemed to be more than usually resistant to dental decay. In 1931, scientists discovered that this tooth defect was due to fluoride in the drinking water. Further studies of children living in naturally fluoridated areas confirmed their lower incidence of dental decay. It was a biochemist named Gerald Cox, sponsored by the American aluminium giant ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America) who first suggested that if naturally fluoridated water prevented tooth decay, then it was only logical to add fluoride to all drinking water to achieve the same benefits for all people. From being a troublesome industrial pollutant, fluoride suddenly became a desirable medication, and the fluoride-producing industries had a market for their toxic wastes.
Although at first there was considerable scientific and medical doubt about the wisdom of mass-medicating the water supplies with fluoride, the first trial of water fluoridation was begun in 1945 in Newburgh, New York State, with Kingston, New York as its 'control' city. Grand Rapids, Michigan was also experimentally fluoridated, with another Michigan city as its 'control'. The experiment was scheduled to run for 10-15 years. However, after only 3 years of fluoridation, it was announced that dental health in children in Newburgh had improved by about 31%, with the youngest age groups benefiting most. These results were widely publicised, and many more fluoridation schemes were implemented, including the 'controls' for the fluoridated cities, thus aborting any possibility of long-term scientific study.
In the enthusiasm engendered in the US by a carefully orchestrated propaganda campaign, it was forgotten that fluoride is one of the most toxic substances present in the Earth's crust - more toxic than lead and only marginally less so than arsenic and mercury - with documented adverse effects on bones, teeth, stomach, liver, kidneys and thyroid gland. Ignored were the findings of Dr Robert Weaver's studies in North and South Shields, on Tyneside,1,2 which showed that fluoride merely delays tooth eruption by about one year, but does not offer any long-term benefits to teeth in the way of resistance to decay. Weaver also noticed an increased infant mortality rate in naturally fluoridated South Shields compared with unfluoridated North Shields. Other workers also observed the phenomenon of delayed tooth eruption in both the deciduous and the permanent teeth.3-6
H. Trendley Dean,7 who conducted the original studies of naturally fluoridated teeth in the 1930s, had observed that at concentrations of fluoride in the water around 1 ppm, approximately 10% of the population had mottled teeth, now recognised as dental fluorosis, and that at higher concentrations the prevalence of dental fluorosis rose rapidly. It was also recognised that dental fluorosis was the first visible sign of fluoride toxicity. The dilemma facing the early fluoridationists was therefore how to judge the dose for maximum benefit to teeth, without incurring adverse health effects. All this, however, was forgotten in the fervour to fluoridate America in the 1950s, ostensibly to prevent dental decay. All objectors were dismissed as cranks who obviously did not care for the health of the nation.
As water fluoridation schemes spread across the US, and extended to Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, dentists eagerly awaited the results of studies showing improvements in children's teeth. They never materialised. Instead, by the 1980s it was obvious that dental health was improving in all Westernised, industrial countries, in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas alike.8 Nor were the improvements in non-fluoridated areas related to the use of fluoridated toothpaste. What was benefiting the teeth was better diet and improved dental hygiene. It became increasingly apparent, with study after study published from the US, Canada and New Zealand,9-12 that water fluoridation had not contributed to improvements in dental health. The figures published by the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD), in 1990,13 showed no benefits to teeth from water fluoridation. Some studies even suggest that dental health is worse in fluoridated areas. Figures for Birmingham, fluoridated in 1964, showed, by 1992, an 85% increase in the number of dentists for a 15% drop in population. This suggests that fluoride, far from being a cheap and economic way of preventing tooth decay, is ineffective and expensive. Dental health estimates from the US show a similar dismal picture. Dental expenditure in 1990 was $34 billion, rose to $36.8 billion in 1991, and was nearly $40 billion in 1992. It is projected to be $63 billion by the year 2000, and this for a country which has been more than 50% fluoridated for more than 50 years!
Concern is also expressed over the prevalence of dental fluorosis in the US. The National Research Council of America, in its 1993 publication "Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride"14 admitted that by the 1980s where the fluoride content of the water was around 1 ppm, 22% of the population now had dental fluorosis, compared with 10% in the 1930s. At 1.8-2.2 ppm, 53% of the population had dental fluorosis and at concentrations greater than 3.7 ppm, 84% had dental fluorosis. In effect, between one fifth and four fifths of the fluoridated population of the US is showing visible signs of fluoride toxicity.
Which brings us to a consideration of the knock-on effects of fluoridation on the environment. Once fluoride is into the food chain, it stays there, and as it is not biodegradable, it accumulates. Nature in her wisdom, locked up most of the fluoride present in the Earth's crust in the form of complex fluoride ores, buried deep within the crust, but man has mined these ores and released the fluoride freely into the environment, where it is continually accumulating. The increase in dental fluorosis from 10% to 22% in areas with a water fluoride concentration of around 1ppm, occurs because, in addition to the water drunk, all foods and beverages manufactured in fluoridated areas, and all food cooked with fluoridated drinking water, also contains added fluoride.
It is also added inadvertently to all crops watered with fluoridated water, and gets into sewage, rivers and the ground water. It is used in pesticides, herbicides, medicines and anaesthetics. The environmental effects were not taken into account when fluoridation was first mooted, and now poses a problem on the scale of the toxic industrial emissions of the early part of this century.
A 1994 paper by Fejerskov et al,15 in Advances in Dental Research, a prestigious American dental journal, effectively showed that there is a linear relationship between the dose of fluoride and the degree of fluorosis of the tooth enamel, even at very low doses. Even at a very low intake of fluoride from water, some fluorosis will be found, which suggests that there is no safe dose of fluoride. This throws doubt on all claims that water fluoridation is safe. There is no documented evidence that safety studies have ever been carried out, and a recent communication (July 1997) from the Birmingham Health Authority assures us that they have no facility to collect biological samples in Birmingham. It is clear that Birmingham has never monitored the safety of its fluoridation scheme. Birmingham has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country.
Although it has been claimed that fluoride is an essential nutrient, there is no scientific evidence to support this suggestion, despite numerous animal experiments. The Report of the Department of Health and Social Subjects, No. 41, Dietary Reference Values, Chapter 36 on fluoride (HMSO 1996) states: "No essential function for fluoride has been proven in humans." This accords with scientific opinion world-wide. Fluoride was recently removed from the US list of essential nutrients. It is now suspected that it is the other trace elements, such as magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper and cobalt, which occur along with fluoride in most naturally fluoridated waters, which are responsible for the improved dental health seen in these areas. Soft fluoridated waters, such as are found in some areas of Turkey and the Punjab, cause crippling skeletal and severe dental fluorosis at fluoride levels not much higher than those found in Texas and Colorado.16,17
The co-discoverer of streptomycin, Albert Schatz, PhD, while studying health in Chile in the 1960s18 found that in populations on borderline nutrition, deficient in essential trace elements, water fluoridation at 1 ppm had a devastating effect on health and produced high neonatal death rates. It also adversely affected their previously good dental health. His findings induced the Chilean Government to abandon its water fluoridation schemes.
Schatz's findings are not really surprising. We now know that fluoride inhibits a wide range of enzymes (biological catalysts) in the body and at the soft tissue fluoride levels found in people living in fluoridated areas, it is likely that over 100 enzymes are inhibited. Fluoride either inhibits enzymes by distorting their molecular structure, as in the case of cytochrome C peroxidase,19 or by combining with their essential trace-element co-factors. People who are deficient in these trace elements are therefore more at risk from the toxic effects of fluoride than people who are well nourished.
In health about 50% of the fluoride ingested is excreted in the urine, the rest being stored in the body, principally in the bones and teeth, with some in the soft tissues. It used to be thought that fluoride strengthened bones because fluorosed bones are more dense on x-ray, and it was standard practice in the 1970s and 1980s to use sodium fluoride to treat osteoporosis, in the expectation that it would reduce the tendency for hip fractures. This practice has now been largely discontinued (to be replaced by HRT!) since it was discovered that osteoporotic patients treated with fluoride were more likely, not less likely, to sustain hip fractures.20-22 Several recent studies show that elderly people living in fluoridated areas are also more likely to suffer hip fractures than those living in non-fluoridated areas.23-26
A recent Polish study,27 using x-ray assessments of the distal metaphyses (growing areas of the long bones), in children with dental fluorosis showed abnormalities when compared with children free from dental fluorosis. The changes were particularly apparent in boys and in younger children. A small angle x-ray scattering study of the bones of patients with osteoporosis treated with fluoride28 likewise showed bone abnormalities. Fluoride causes abnormal mineralisation of bone,29 causing the bone to appear denser on x-ray, but in fact weakening the structure. Two studies, by the US Public Health Service and the New Jersey Department of Health,30,31 found an increase in osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in young men living in fluoridated areas. This finding is interesting in view of the bone abnormalities found in young boys with dental fluorosis.
The link between water fluoridation and a rise in cancer death rates has been hotly disputed for over three decades. The findings with regard to osteosarcoma are suggestive. A number of laboratory studies in animals show that fluoride predisposes to genetic damage,32-35 one mechanism for inducing cancer, and the US National Toxicology Program showed that fluoride is a "probable human carcinogen". This finding alone should have led to the discontinuation of all water fluoridation schemes. However, the results of the study were suppressed and although Dr William Marcus successfully exposed the cover-up, nothing further has been done.
Both my own,36 and other studies37,38 have demonstrated inhibitory effects of fluoride on the functional abilities of white blood cells, an integral part of the immune system. Interference with immune system function is another way in which fluoride could predispose sensitive individuals to cancer, since one of the functions of the immune system is to find and destroy developing cancer cells.
Adverse effects of fluoride on teeth, bones, kidneys, heart and blood vessels, the gastrointestinal tract, thryoid and parathyroid glands, eyes, skin, immune system and our genetic structure are now documented. That fluoride also has an adverse effect on the brain has been known since 1944, if not earlier. This information came to light recently with the declassification of certain US military documents. This effect of fluoride has been confirmed in rats by Dr Phyllis Mullenix39 and in children in China (Zhao et al40).
It is incredible, with all the evidence of harm now available, that both the British Dental Association and the British Medical Association are still calling for an extension of the water fluoridation schemes in Britain. Public opinion is against it, and in virtually all instances where it has been put to a vote, the idea of water fluoridation has been soundly rejected. Even if fluoride did improve dental health, it is unethical to mass-medicate whole populations irrespective of their need or their state of health. No doctor would consider prescribing medication for a patient he has never seen and whom he could not monitor for adverse reactions, yet this is precisely what water fluoridation does. Not only is it unethical, but the measure is still being pushed despite the lack of efficacy and the mounting evidence of harm.
The tide, however, is beginning to turn. The National Federation of Federal Employees, the Union of more than 1,200 Government Scientists at the US Environmental Protection Agency, recently voted unanimously to support a California initiative to ban water fluoridation. Earlier this year (April 1997), the US Food and Drug Administration acknowledged that fluoride is a poison and that all tubes of fluoridated toothpaste sold in the US must carry a warning to this effect.
It is to be hoped that the 1936 situation will soon be restored and that water fluoridation, together with other forms of fluoride medication such as drops, tablets and toothpaste, will soon be a thing of the past. Let us ensure, however, that the lessons of this long fluoride experiment which has been so costly to both human and environmental health, will finally be learned.
1 WEAVER, R. Fluorine and dental caries: further investigations on Tyneside and in Sunderland. BDJ, 1944, 77, 185-193.
2 WEAVER, R. The inhibition of dental caries by fluorine. Proc. Roy. Soc. Med., 1948, 41, 284-290.
3 AINSWORTH, N. J. Mottled teeth. BDJ, 1933, 55, 233-250.
4 LEMMON, J. H. Mottled enamel of teeth in children. Texas State J. Med., 1934, 30, 332-336.
5. SUTTON, P. R. N. Fluoridation, Second Edition, Melbourne and Cambridge University Presses, 1960.
6 FELTMAN, R. and KOSEL, G. Prenatal and postnatal ingestion of fluoride - Fourteen years of investigation - Final Report. J. Dent. Med., 1961, 16, 190-199.
7 DEAN, H. T. Investigation of physiological effects by the epidemiological method. In F. R. Moulton, Ed.: Fluorine and Dental Health, 1942, 23-31.
8 DIESENDORF, M. The mystery of declining tooth decay. Nature, 1986, 322, 125.
9 COLQUHOUN, J. Influence of social class and fluoridation on child dental health. Oral Epidemiol. 1985, 13, 37-41.
10 GRAY, A. S. Fluoridation. Time for a new base line? J. Canad. Dent. Ass., 1987, 53, 763-765.
11 HILDEBOLT, M., ELVIN-LEWIS, S. et al. Prevalences among geochemical regions of Missouri. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 1989, 78, 79-92.
12 YIAMOUYIANNIS, J. A. Water fluoridation and tooth decay: results from the 1986-1987 National Survey of US schoolchildren. Fluoride, 1990, 23, 55-67.
13 Survey co-ordinated by the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry, 1988-89. Community Dental Health, 1990, 7.
14 Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride. National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1993.
15 FEJERSKOV, O., LARSEN, M. J. et al. Dental tissue effects of fluoride. Adv. Dent. Res., 1994, 8, 15-31.
16 JOLLY, S. S., PRASAD, S. et al. Human fluoride intoxication in Punjab. Fluoride, 1971, 4, 64-79.
17 JOLLY, S. S., PRASAD, S. et al. Endemic fluorosis in Punjab. 1. Skeletal aspect. Fluoride. 1973, 6, 4-18.
18 SCHATZ, A. Affidavit in support of motion for summary judgment, circuit court, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, 1993.
19 EDWARDS, S. L., POULOS, T. L. and KRAUT, J. The crystal structure of fluoride-inhibited cytochrome c peroxidase. J. Biol. Chem., 1984, 259, 12984-12988.
20 HEDLUND, L. R. and GALLAGHER, J. C. Increased incidence of hip fracture in osteoporotic women treated with sodium fluoride. J. Bone Min. Res., 1989, 4, 223-225.
21 ORCEL, Ph, de VERNEJOUL, M. C. et al. Stress fractures of the lower limbs in osteoporotic patients treated with fluoride. J. Bone Min. Res., 1990, 5, suppl. 1, s 191-194.
22 GUTTERIDGE, D. H., PRICE, R. I., et al. Spontaneous hip fractures in fluoride-treated patients: potential causative factors. J. Bon Min. Res., 1990, 5, suppl. 1, s 205-215.
23 COOPER, C., WICKHAM, C. A. C. and BARKER, D. J. R. Water fluoridation and hip fracture, (letter), JAMA, 1991, 266, 513.
24 DANIELSON, C., LYON, J. L. et al. Hip fractures and fluoridation in Utah's elderly population, JAMA, 1992, 268, 746-748.
25 LEE, J. R. Fluoridation and osteoporosis, '92. Fluoride. 1992, 25, 162-164.
26 JACQMIN-GADDA, H., COMMENGES, D. and DARTIGUES, J-F. Fluorine concentration in drinking water and fractures in the elderly. (Letter). JAMA, 1995, 273, 775-776.
27 CHLEBNA-SOKOL, D. and CZERWINSKI, E. Bone structure assessment on radiographs of distal radial metaphysis in children with dental fluorosis. Fluoride, 1993, 26, 37-44.
28 FRATZL, P., ROSCHGER, P. et al. Abnormal bone mineralisation after fluoride treatment in osteoporosis: a small-angle x-ray-scattering study. J. Bone Min. Res., 1994, 9, 1541-1549.
29 CARTER, D. R. and BEAUPRE, G. S. Effects of fluoride treatment on bone strength. J. Bone Min. Res., 1990, 5, suppl. 1, s 177-184.
30 HOOVER, R.N., DEVESA, S., et al. Review of fluoride. Benefits and risks. Public Health Service, USA, 1991, Appendix F 1-7.
31 COHN, P. D. A brief report on the association of drinking water fluoridation and the incidence of osteosarcoma among young males. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy and the New Jersey Department of Health, 1992.
32 TSUTSUI, T., SUZUKI, N. et al. Cytotoxicity, chromosome aberrations and unscheduled DNA synthesis in cultured human diploid fibroblasts induced by sodium fluoride. Mutation Res., 1984, 139, 193-198.
33 THOMSON, E. J., KILANOWSKI, F. M. and PERRY, P. E. The effect of fluoride on chromosome aberration and sister-chromatid exchange frequencies in cultured human lymphocytes. Mutation Res., 1985, 144, 89-92.
34 COLE, J., MURIEL, W. J. and BRIDGE, B.A. The mutagenicity of sodium fluoride to L5178Y (wild-type and TK +/- <[>3.7.2 C]) mouse lymphoma cells. Mutagenesis, 1986, 1, 157-167.
35 AARDEMA, M. J., GIBSON, D. P. and le BOEUF, R. A. Sodium fluoride-induced chromosome aberrations in different stages of the cell cycle: a proposed mechanism. Mutation Res., 1989, 223, 191-203.
36 GIBSON, S. L. M. Effects of fluoride on immune system function. Complementary Med. Res., 1992, 6, 111-113.
37 GABLER, W. L. and LEONG, P. A. Fluoride inhibition of polymorphonuclear leukocytes. J. Dent. Res., 1979, 58, 1933-39.
38 GOMEZ-UBRIC, J. L., LEIBANA, J. et al. In vitro immune modulation of polymorphonuclear leukocyte adhesiveness by sodium fluoride. Europ. J. Clin. Invest., 1992, 22, 659-661.
39 MULLENIX, P. J., DENBESTEN, P. K., et al. Neurotoxicity of sodium fluoride in rats. Neurotoxicol. Teratol., 1995, 17, 169-177.
40 ZHAO, L. B. et al. Effect of a high fluoride water supply on children's intelligence. Fluoride, 1996, 29, 190-192.
Harvest the Rain
Wrangle water from the sky for watering, washing and even drinking, no matter where you live.
Adapted from Environmental Building News
Rainwater harvesting systems can be as simple as directing gutters to a lidded garbage can or as complex as a concrete cistern, roof washer and filtration system. But whatever your application, rest assured that you'll be getting some of the purest - and cheapest - water around.
Rainwater can be used for potable water (drinking, cooking, bathing) or nonpotable uses such as landscape irrigation, livestock watering and washing. Collecting and using rainwater has numerous benefits, ranging from improved water quality to reduced stress on underground aquifers.
"All water is rainwater," rainwater systems enthusiast and author Richard Heinichen is fond of saying. And indeed, he's right: All our water, whether sucked from an aquifer, river or well, or harvested from a rooftop, once was cloud-borne.
But after it falls from the sky, rainwater percolates through the earth and rocks, where it picks up minerals and salts. As Heinichen points out, in many cases, this water also collects other contaminants such as industrial chemicals, pesticides and fecal coliform bacteria found in the soil. Captured before it hits the ground, rainwater is free of many pollutants that plague surface and underground water supplies and, according to the Texas Water Development Board, "almost always exceeds [the quality] of ground or surface water."
Rainwater typically has very low hardness levels, which reduces the use of soaps and detergents, and eliminates the need for a water softener. Fewer minerals also saves wear and tear on your plumbing fixtures.
Stored rainwater also is a good standby in times of emergencies such as power outages or during periods of extreme drought when wells dry up. In some areas where water supplies may not be available or dependable (or may be prohibitively expensive), collected rainwater is sometimes the least expensive option and can easily be less expensive than bottled water. Rainwater harvesting reduces the impact on aquifers, lessening the demand on ecologically sensitive or threatened aquifers. Collecting some of the rainwater falling on impervious surfaces also minimizes erosion and flooding: On some lots, as much as 50 percent of the land area is covered by roof surface.
Because it doesn't have to be treated, pumped or distributed through a complex network, harvested rainwater saves energy and the use of chemicals. Some municipal water users sometimes switch to harvested rainwater as a way to avoid chlorination and fluoridation treatments.
Capture the Cloud Juice
Rain barrels, the simplest rainwater collection devices, can save thousands of gallons of tap water each year, and save money and energy, too. (Lawn and garden watering typically consume 40 percent of total household water use in the summer.) Your plants also will love the warm, soft, chlorine-free rainwater.
Ready-made rain barrels, most commonly made from UV-protected plastic and fitted with lids and screens, are available in capacities ranging from 50 to 65 gallons. With a spigot and carefully fit top and screen, wooden wine barrels and recycled food-grade plastic barrels also can be made into water catchment devices. Maryland's Green Building Program Web site provides step-by-step plans on making your own rain barrel with a recycled barrel, a vinyl hose, PVC couplings and a screen grate (see "Get Rainwater Ready").
The best barrels are made of an opaque material (metal, wood or colored plastic) to prevent light transmission and inhibit algae and bacterial growth. To stop barrels from becoming mosquito breeding grounds, fasten a tight-fitting top to them, and screen the ends of downspouts leading into the barrels. As an added measure of protection, add mosquito dunks (which release Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis, a biological agent toxic to mosquito larvae) to your barrels (but make sure to label barrels "Not Potable Water"). Tahoma, Washington, resident Dan Borba, who has been harvesting rainwater since 1999, adds a tablespoon of vegetable oil to his barrels' stored rainwater. The oil, he says, coats the water's surface and kills larvae by depriving them of oxygen.
For rainwater harvesting systems to be practical as the sole household water source, average annual rainfall of at least 24 inches is recommended, says Gail Vittori of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems in Austin, Texas. The entire eastern half of the United States, from the southern tip of Texas to northwestern Minnesota, meets this requirement, as does much of California, western Oregon and Washington, significant pockets throughout the Rocky Mountains and even areas in Arizona.
If you just want a system to offset your water use, a small system usually can be designed for a few thousand dollars. Ole and Maitri Ersson of Portland, Oregon, installed their 1,500-gallon rainwater system, which includes a plastic cistern, well pump, roof washer and UV sterilizer, for less than $1,500. A state-of-the-art rainwater harvesting system (adequately sized for a typical family and with sophisticated filtering and purification components) can cost $15,000 to $20,000.
The cost of your system depends on whether you have an appropriate roof surface or have to replace your roof, how big and what kind of cistern you choose, and what level of filtration and purity you require.
The average American uses about 100 gallons of water per day for showers, toilet flushing, clothes washing, cooking and lawn watering. By simply switching to low flush, 1.6-gallon toilets, low-flow showerheads and faucets, horizontal-axis washers and other water-saving appliances, you may be able to reduce your water use by half or more. Conserving water means that you will need less storage capacity, making it possible to buy a smaller (and more inexpensive) cistern. Similarly, if you live in an area that receives a steady supply of rainfall throughout the year, you may only need to size your cistern for a few weeks' worth of water.
But if you're in an area that experiences frequent drought conditions, or in an area with sporadic rainfall and a decidedly dry season, plan accordingly. Experts recommend planning for half your region's expected rainfall, while projecting twice as much water use.
Sizing Your System
First, calculate your water usage. For residential systems, this includes toilet flushing, bathing, clothes washing, dishwashing and outdoor watering. With water-conserving plumbing fixtures and little or no outside watering, per-person usage can range from 55 to 75 gallons per day. If you're already connected to municipal water, study your monthly water bills to get your average household usage.
Next, determine rainwater availability in your area. A quick estimate of rainwater collection can be made based on your region's annual rainfall, but more thorough calculations will examine average, minimum and maximum rainfall on a per-month basis. This information should be available from the National Weather Service or a local meteorological station. In areas with less than 24 inches of rainfall per year, building a large enough collection area and cistern to provide adequate water may not be feasible.
Actual collection calculations are made based on the available roof area (the projected horizontal area of the roof surface used for collection) and an "efficiency coefficient," which accounts for the fact that not all the rainwater falling on the roof gets into the cistern. (See "Calculating Catchment Capability.")
Size the cistern to provide enough water storage for reasonably expected dry periods. The Texas Guide to Rainwater Harvesting includes detailed information on carrying out all of these calculations, including an advanced method that factors in storage capacity. (You can download this document at www.twdb.state.tx.us.)
Catchment, if You Can
The most common rainwater catchment system is a roof. Typically, this is the roof of the building where the water will be used, though it may be a separate building designed expressly for rainwater harvesting (a "water barn"). Nearly all types of roofs have been - and are being - used for rainwater collection, but some are better than others.
The best roofing material for rainwater catchment is uncoated stainless steel or factory-enameled galvanized steel with a baked-enamel, certified lead-free finish. With any metal coating, ask the manufacturer whether the coating contains heavy metals (red paint used on metal often contained lead in the past). Any existing metal roof being used for a potable water catchment system should be tested for lead.
Wood shakes, concrete or clay tiles, and asphalt shingles are more likely than other materials to support the growth of mold, algae, bacteria and moss, which can potentially contaminate water supplies. Treated wood shingles may leach toxic preservatives, and asphalt shingles may leach small amounts of petroleum compounds. In addition to the health concerns, a porous or rough roof surface holds back some of the water that would otherwise make it into the cistern. Asphalt roofing has a "collection efficiency" of about 85 percent while enameled steel has a collection efficiency of more than 95 percent. With asphalt roofing, more of the rainwater stays on the roof in a typical rainstorm (i.e., the roof stays wet), though the actual percentage will depend on the duration of the storm.
To be most effective, the roof should be fully exposed and away from overhanging tree branches. This reduces the risk of contamination from rotting leaves or droppings from birds and insects in the trees. If possible, avoid using roofs of buildings that rely on wood heat, as the smoke particles and soot deposited on the roof may contain polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and other hazardous materials.
Wash Your Roof
Between rainstorms, various pollutants can settle out of the air and onto your roof. Many rainwater harvesting systems incorporate a roof washer to keep these contaminants from entering the cistern. Roof washers capture and discard the first several gallons of rainwater during a storm before conveying the rest to the cistern. A very simple roof-wash system can be made out of a 6- or 8-inch vertical PVC or polyethylene pipe installed beneath the gutter, with an inlet just above each downspout to the cistern. Commercial roof washers range in price from $100 for a water diverter (available by mail order only from SafeRain, an Australian company) to $600 for a separate roof washer. (See illustrations. For sources of roof washers, refer to "Get Rainwater Ready.")
The cistern is the single largest investment for most rainwater harvesting systems. A cistern can range from a recycled whiskey barrel under the eaves of a house (suitable for watering plants) to a large aboveground or buried tank that will hold 30,000 gallons or more. Cisterns are constructed out of a wide range of materials (see "Tank Types.")
Most cisterns are cylindrical for optimal strength-to-weight ratios. A cistern with a 10,000-gallon capacity (a reasonable minimum for a family of four depending solely on rainwater) might be 12 feet in diameter and 12 feet deep, for example. No matter what the material, most experts recommend keeping the tank tightly closed to prevent evaporation and to keep out sunlight (which will support algae growth) and animals (insects, rodents and amphibians). Cisterns often are designed with settling compartments that keep sediment from mixing with the water. The cistern also needs an overflow pipe for additional rain that falls after the cistern is full. If the rainwater harvesting system is the only water source, it makes sense to locate the cistern so that it can be filled by a water tank truck if necessary.
In cold climates, protect the cistern from freezing by burying it underground or incorporating it into a basement. In northern climates where rainwater is the sole water source, it may be necessary to oversize the cistern to provide carry-over during a significant portion of the winter when snow falls instead of rain.
Route Your Rainwater
Rainwater falling on the roof can be captured and conveyed to the cistern via gutters and downspouts constructed of roll-formed aluminum, galvanized steel, PVC (vinyl) or copper. As with the roofing, make sure that lead-based solder was not used in gutter or downspout connections. Downspouts should be designed to handle 11/4 inches of rain in a 10-minute period. Depending on the cistern location, 4-inch PVC or polyethylene piping may be used to convey water around the building to the cistern. A continuous 1/4-inch mesh screening and basket strainers at the downspouts help catch leaves and other debris. Gretchen Rupp, director of the Montana Water Center at Montana State University, recommends providing a downspout for each 50 feet of gutter run.
If the rainwater collection and storage system is located uphill from where the water will be used, gravity-flow conveyance might be possible, but the vertical distance between storage and use is rarely enough to achieve adequate pressure for modern household plumbing. For most rainwater harvesting systems, a pump and pressure tank are required for water delivery. Richard Heinichen uses a Grundfos MQ on-demand pump, eliminating the need for a pressure tank.
Water Treatment Systems
Preliminary filtration and a roof-wash system provide the first line of defense against contamination. Rainwater harvesting systems supplying potable water also should include measures to treat water before use. Several treatment options, including microfiltration, UV sterilization and ozonation, are available. Many experts agree that filtration and UV treatment provide adequate protection, making ozonation unnecessary.
Most systems use a combination of physical filters, which remove particulates, and a UV-light chamber, which kills bacteria and other organisms by exposing them to high-energy ultraviolet light.
Water treatment systems can add significantly to the initial cost as well as operating costs of a rainwater system. A UV sterilization system costs from $300 to $1,000 or more. Because the lamp generating the UV light needs to be left on all the time, annual electricity consumption can be significant. An ozonation system can cost more than $1,200 and can consume as much as 6,000 kilowatt-hours per year (primarily to operate a circulating pump that mixes the ozone in the cistern 12 hours per day).
A less expensive option is to treat water with chlorine or iodine, as is typically done with municipal water. The most common chemical added is chlorine in the form of sodium hypochlorite, which is available in liquid form. Household bleach, which is 5 percent sodium hypochlorite, is commonly used. The downsides to chlorination are the taste of the treated water and health concerns about harmful chemicals that could result from the added chlorine. In the presence of organic matter, chlorinated hydrocarbons, which are suspected carcinogens, may be formed.
"The privilege of [water] independence comes with responsibility," says Heinichen. "You are the sanitation engineer, the maintenance mechanic, the troubleshooting technician. You can't point the finger at some hapless bureaucrat if you let your pipes freeze or you forget to change your filters or you don't keep your gutters clean or can't learn to conserve during dry spells."
To keep a rainwater harvesting system functioning properly, periodic maintenance is required - this is particularly important with systems used for potable water. Gutters and downspouts need to be kept free of leaves and other detritus. Roof-wash water may need draining after each storm. The cistern may need periodic cleaning or repairs if cracks or leaks develop. Filters and UV lamps need to be replaced on a regular schedule. Pumps and ozonation systems may need occasional servicing. All piping and connections should be inspected periodically. Finally, occasional testing should be considered to ensure that suitable water quality is being achieved.
Environmental Building News, in Brattleboro, Vermont, publishes information on environmentally responsible design and construction. For more information, visit www.BuildingGreen.com.
Calculating Catchment Capability
If you're using a roof to harvest rain, the size of your catchment area is the square footage of the building's footprint. Each square foot of collection area should yield 0.6 gallons of water per inch of rainfall, although some water will be lost to evaporation and leakage, which is factored in by an efficiency factor of 0.8.
To determine your roof's water-harvesting potential:
1. Multiply the square feet of collection area by 0.6 gallons (per square foot of area).
2. Take this total times 0.8 (the efficiency factor).
3. Multiply the total from Step 2 by your area's annual average rainfall (in inches).
You can find the average precipitation in your area by visiting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Web site at www.noaa.gov/climate.html. Click on "Climate Data," then "Data Tables." Under the heading "Climatological Norms," go to "Normal Precipitation." This data chart gives monthly and yearly averages of data collected for specific cities during the past 30 years.
For our sample calculation, we used Austin, Texas, which receives an annual average rainfall of 32 inches. From 2,500 square feet of collection area, about 38,400 gallons of water per year, or 105 gallons per day, can be harvested.
To more accurately determine how much storage capacity you need and what kind of demand your system can withstand, a monthly balance calculation is necessary. The Texas Guide to Harvesting Rainwater gives step-by-step instructions on figuring this calculation (see "Get Rainwater Ready.").
Galvanized steel is probably the most common cistern material. Off-the-shelf farm tanks are available up to about 3,000 gallons. Because most farm tanks are not approved for potable water, some rainwater catchment system designers recommend coating the inside with an American Water Works Association-approved epoxy-based sealer. Larger, custom, steel tanks can be manufactured with galvanizing that is FDA-approved for potable water.
Concrete tanks are generally site-built using forms, though smaller pre-cast tanks are available. High-strength concrete (7,000 psi) is recommended for watertightness. Such a tank can be integrated into the basement, with the tank sides serving as the foundation walls. Tanks inside a building may serve a secondary function as thermal storage.
Ferrocement tanks are made by spraying or plastering a cement mortar over a wire mesh form. Wall thicknesses as thin as an inch can be produced, depending on the materials and the skill of the contractor. Because cracks can develop, some maintenance and repairs can be expected. Ferrocement is potentially one of the least expensive cistern materials.
Mortared stone was traditionally used in some areas for cisterns. Construction cost is high, but resulting cisterns can be highly attractive.
Fiberglass tanks are available with FDA approval for potable water. They are relatively inexpensive, lightweight and available in large sizes (up to about 10,000 gallons).
Polyethylene tanks are available with FDA approval for potable water in sizes up to several thousand gallons. They are lightweight, easily moved, and can be used above or below ground (tanks designed for burial may be more expensive).
Durable wood, such as redwood or cypress, also can be used for tanks. If properly built, such tanks are highly durable - often lasting 50 years or longer. Salvaged wood such as old wine vats and whiskey-aging casks may be available.
A polyethylene liner over a non-watertight frame usually provides the lowest-cost cistern option, though it also is the least permanent. Liners for cisterns should be 20 or 30 mils thick and made of a UV-stabilized, FDA-approved material.
"Sulfuryl fluoride (Vikane) Fumigant used to kill termites and other pests. Restricted for extreme acute toxicity. In 2002, EPA granted Dow a three-year experimental permit to use sulfuryl fluoride as a post-harvest crop fumigant on walnuts and raisins to evaluate its efficacy and safety as a replacement for methyl bromide. Sulfuryl fluoride is a PAN Bad Actor pesticide." (I am hoping that "Sulfuryl fluoride" is not the same fluoride they plan to poison our water supply with.
From the Pesticide Action Network North America
"PANNA Corporate Profile: Dow Chemical Company" http://www.panna.org/campaigns/caia/corpProfilesDow.dv.html
contribute to this article
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion