To the Editor:
The Newburgh-Kingston Fluorine-Caries Trial, considered one of, if not the most extensive fluoride experiments, began in 1945. Ten years later the study showed a demonstrable reduction in cavities, with the Newburgh students receiving fluoridated water compared with the students in Kingston, whose water was not fluoridated. Fifty years later, however, the rate of dental decay in Newburgh was virtually the same as it was in Kingston.
In 1939 the U.S. Department of Agriculture said due to interfering with the calcification of teeth, fluoride should be avoided during tooth formation in children from birth to age 12. In 1943 the American Medical Association warned in the JAMA that fluorides are protoplasmic poisons which modify cell metabolism, and inhibit certain enzymes in drinking water containing as little as 1 ppm.
In 1944 the American Dental Association itself wrote an editorial stating, “Our knowledge of the subject certainly does not warrant the introduction of fluorine in community water supplies.” “We do know that the use of drinking water containing as little as 1.2 ppm to 3 ppm of fluorine will cause such developmental disturbances in bones as osteosclerosis, spondylitis, and osteopetrosis, as well as goiter.” Yet despite all of these publicized findings, extensive experiments were conducted on schoolchildren.
Detrimental effects to the central nervous system from fluoride were suspected as early as 1944, as indicated in a memo to Col. Stanford Warren, head of the Manhattan Project’s medical section. In fact, in 1995, Neurotoxicology & Teratology printed a study which revealed findings of central nervous system disruptions in rats, and that fluoride actually crosses the blood-brain barrier with chronic exposure.
Dental fluorosis, also known as bone sclerosis, is a biomarker for systemic fluoride poisoning. In 2010 the CDC found that 41 percent of children aged 12 to 15 exhibit fluorosis. This finding was a crucial factor in the decision to lower water fluoridation levels from 1.2 ppm to 0.7 ppm. In 1992, the JAMA published a study which found that water fluoridation was associated with an increase in hip fractures. Today the United States has one of the highest rates of hip fractures in the world, and an epidemic of arthritis in 21 million Americans.
It is no surprise that early studies from 1945 showed dramatic decreases in cavities, as the first clinically proven fluoride-containing toothpaste, Crest, wasn’t made available until 1955. Since then, a number of additional modalities to apply fluoride to teeth are also readily available; rinses, flosses, varnishes, etc.
It is not necessary to ingest fluoride systemically, and there are numerous ways to protect the teeth topically. Additionally, fluoride is classified by the FDA as a drug which is toxic at varying levels, depending on the age and health of each individual. Community water fluoridation is medication of the population with no control or knowledge of the dose being administered or ingested. Would we do this with with any other drug?
There are a lot of unknowns regarding potential effects fluoride could have on our bodies. Even the ADA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the AMA have changed their findings throughout the years. One thing we do know, though, is that the community water supply in Edgartown, the way it is right now, is virtually pure and the envy of many. Let’s not alter or experiment with it. Leave our pure water source alone. Vote no on Question 6.
Debra M. Gaines