Copyright 2006 by Mary Sparrowdancer
In what many are regarding as a first step in the long-awaited correction of a 60-year old nationwide medical mistake, a study by the National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC), sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has found that the current maximum levels of fluoride allowed by the EPA in drinking water should be lowered due to concerns over adverse health effects. The current maximum contaminant level of fluoride is 4 mg/L and the secondary maximum contaminant level is 2 mg/L. The NRC found that these levels are too high, “not protective” of the population and the Council urged further studies.
Although the press release of this fluoride report states, “The report does not examine the health risks or benefits of the artificially fluoridated water that millions of Americans drink…” the 576-page report cites numerous studies that describe adverse health effects associated with water fluoridation, and after reviewing this evidence, the committee concluded unanimously that the maximum contaminant level of fluoride in drinking water should be lowered. (1, 2)
The press release makes reference to tooth enamel discoloration as a side effect of excessive fluoride consumption, a risk factor for bone fractures and possibly bone cancer. Again, however, the 576-page report contains numerous studies showing an association between fluoride ingestion and a variety of other health problems that are now prevalent and widespread in The United States, where now two-thirds of the people are exposed to fluoridated drinking water. Among those now-prevalent conditions found in Americans of all backgrounds, are thyroid malfunction and GI problems.
Numerous studies are reviewed in the NRC report that indicate subclinical or malfunctioning thyroid is “associated with increased cholesterol concentrations, increased incidence of depression, diminished response to standard psychiatric treatment, cognitive dysfunction, and in pregnant women, decreased IQ of their offspring.” (Page 198.) Additionally, their study reveals that a number of authors have reported enamel disorders in juveniles suffering from hypothyroidism. Yet, the possibility that dental fluorosis might actually be late-appearing signs of thyroid fluorosis and malfunction has not yet been studied in this country.
The NRC also reported on pages 231 and 236 that fluoride can “stimulate secretion of acid in the stomach…reduce blood flow away from the stomach lining…dilate blood vessels…increase redness of the stomach lining…and cause cell death and desquamation of the GI tract epithelium.”
In referencing a 1961 study pertaining to GI complaints, the NRC tentatively states on page 230, “Perhaps it is safe to say that less than 1% of the population complains of GI symptoms after fluoridation is initiated (Feltman and Kosel, 1961).” The “less than 1%” figure based on the 1961 Feltman and Kosel report does not seem reasonable at the present, however, because we have new and better evidence than in the past of widespread gastric problems including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and acid reflux.
A population-based study in Olmsted County, Minnesota, published in a 1997 issue of Gastroenterology also decried a lack of available data on GERD. “Gastroesophageal reflux is considered a common condition, but detailed population-based data on reflux in the United States are lacking.” The findings of their study in Olmsted were, “The prevalence per 100 of heartburn and/or acid regurgitation experienced at least weekly was 19.8.” Olmsted County was fluoridated 1959, and according to the CDC’s records, most of Olmsted is now fluoridated at 1.20 mg/L. (3, 4, 5,)
The IMS Health’s list of top ranking pharmaceuticals sales for 2005 also indicates a much greater prevalence of national GI problems. Two drugs that decrease stomach acid, Prevacid and Nexium, were among the top ten bestsellers, with sales for the combined products totaling 9.7 billion US dollars during 2005. The top seller for 2005 according to this report was Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering agent, with sales of 12.9 billion US dollars. (6)
According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, approximately 27,000,000 Americans have thyroid disorders, but only about half of them are aware of it. In the RxList website’s, “Top 300 Prescriptions for 2004 by Number of US Prescriptions Dispensed,” Synthroid, a thyroid drug, is ranked as the fifth most popular prescription, with a total of 44,056,176 prescriptions dispensed during that year. Lipitor, had the second highest number of prescriptions dispensed, at 69,766,431. The NRC states on Page 2 of their report that in 2000, there were approximately 162,000,000 people receiving water artificially fluoridated at levels of 0.7 to 1.2 mg/L. (7, 8)
One report studied by the NRC on page 194 showed “statistically significant changes in TSH concentrations (increased), T3 concentrations (decreased),” following “prolonged consumption of ‘high-fluoride,’” at 2.3 mg/L. On page 195, another study examined children in a high fluoride and low iodine area. The “high” fluoride level in this study was “0.88 mg/L.” The children were found to have a “lower mean IQ,” as well as deviations in TSH and T3 levels. An additional study by Shusheela et al. (2005), found “well-defined hormonal derangements” in children with fluorosis from drinking water with “1.1 - 14.3 mg/L” fluoride. On page 196, the NRC states that “studies showing no effect of fluoride on thyroid function did not measure actual hormone concentrations…did not report iodine intakes,” and used lower fluoride doses than other studies.
“Thus,” NRC stated on page 197, “several lines of information” were reviewed that indicated fluoride exposure had an effect on thyroid function. The effects included decreased production of thyroid hormone, disruption of conversion of T4 to T3, and effects on blood transport - the details of which remain unclear. Also mentioned was the fact that some studies were not available in English.
The historic impact of this extraordinary report is immeasurable. I contacted Dr. Hardy Limeback - BSc, PhD, DDS, Associate Professor and Head of Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto - one of the twelve members of the NRC who had co-authored the report. I asked if there were any comments he might have.
His reply was, “I, for one, would look at the graph at the top of page194 and ask, ‘Are undernourished black children in fluoridated cities (1 ppm) more susceptible to thyroid problems than those living in non-fluoridated cities, as that graph might suggest?’ Perhaps. As far as I know, we have no data for this problem in North America.”
Perhaps, indeed, this might explain the pandemic of obesity and type-2 diabetes seen in low-income, ethnic neighborhoods in the United States.
Since current recommendations suggest that babies up to six months of age receive no fluoride at all, Dr. Luise Light, former USDA Director of Dietary Guidance and Nutrition Education, proposed other questions that concerned parents should now ask: “How do we avoid giving babies fluoridated water if it’s in our municipal water systems? Does this mean we have to buy special water to make our babies’ food and drinks? And what about the water we bathe them in?”
Because the EPA has now been advised of the potentially adverse effects fluoride has on the entire body when administered systemically in unknowable doses via drinking water, it would be in the interest of this nation if diligent members of the EPA would now locate and have translated the extensive German studies dating back to the 1930s. That was when German scientists discovered that fluorides could be used as an effective agent to block thyroid function in patients suffering from overactive thyroids. Of particular national interest would be translations of the German studies in which hundreds of patients with overactive thyroids had their thyroid function blocked by being bathed in fluoridated water.
The EPA should call for an immediate moratorium on water fluoridation until scientists and healthcare professionals can determine - at last - what the true health impacts have been and will continue to be as a result of fluoridating a nation of people through their drinking water.
Mary Sparrowdancer is the author of The Love Song of the Universe, (2001, Hampton Roads), and is a science and health writer with training in clinical laboratory sciences, including bacteriology, electroencephalography, hematology and microscopic evaluation. www.sparrowdancer.com
Mary co-authors a health newsletter with Dr. Luise Light, author of “What to Eat,” (2006, McGraw-Hill). Luise is former USDA Director of Dietary Guidance and Nutrition Education, and was the creator of the real fruit and vegetable Food Pyramid. www.luiselight.com
2. News Release - National Academies - “EPA Standard for Fluoride in Drinking Water Is Not Protective; Tooth Enamel Loss, Bone Fractures of Concern at High Levels” March 2006 http://www4.nationalacademies.org/news.nsf/isbn/030910128X?OpenDocument
3. Medscape - Gastroenterology, 1997, “Prevalence and clinical spectrum of gastroesophageal reflux: a population-based study in Olmsted County, Minnesota.” March 2006. http://www.medscape.com/medline/abstract/9136821
4. Rochester, MN - Olmstead Fluoridation record: 1959. March 2006. https://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/attorney/ordinances/pdf/ORD140.pdf
6. IMS Health - “Leading
Products by Global Pharmaceutical Sales, 2005” -
7. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists - “Thyroid
Awareness Month, 2003.” March 2006
9. Schuld, Andreas, Parents of Fluoride Poisoned Children -
A. “History of Fluoride” - “Around the same time (1932) Gorlitzer von Mundy, being aware that fluorides also get absorbed through the skin, began fluoride treatments of hyperthyroid patients in Austria by prescribing 20 minute baths containing 30ccm (0.03l) HF per 200 liters of water. He reported on his successful treatment spanning over 30 years and involving over 600 patients at a 1962 symposium on fluoride toxicity…in Bern, also attended by other world-leading experts including…George Waldbott.”
B. Gorlitzer von Mundy V - "Ein neuer Weg zur Behandlung der
Thyreotoxikose mit Fluorwasserstoffsäure" Med Klin 21:&17-719 (1932)
(reports on the first successful use of baths containing HF in the treatment of hyperthyroidism)
C. Gautier - Bull Soc Chim 14:241 (1914); cited in: Kraft K -“Beiträge zur Biochemie des Fluors I.Über den Antagonismus zwischen Fluor und Thyroxin.” Hoppe-Seglers Z.Physiol. Chem 245:58 -65 (1937)
D. May W - "Behandlung der Hypothyreosen einschließlich des schweren genuinen Morbus Basedow mit Fluor" Klin Wochenschr 16:562-564 (1937) March 2006
Schuld, Andreas, PFPC - http://www.bruha.com/pfpc/html/thyroid_history.html
10. Meiers, Peter - (Historian) -
A. “Guenther Schiemann, Wolfgang Winkelmueller, Wilhelm Roselius: ‘Verfahren zur Darstellung von Kondensationsprodukten kernfluorierter Arylaldehyde’, German Patent DE 621,862; filed July 1, 1932; pat. Nov. 14, 1935.” - Patent for fluoride medication used to treat hyperthyroidism.
B. Kurt Kraft, Ferdinand Dengel: “Verfahren zur Herstellung kernsubstituierter Phenylessigsäuren,” German Patent DE 819,696; filed Feb. 3, 1943; pat. Nov. 5, 1951 (A compound similar to fluorotyrosine, i.e. 3-Fluoro-4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, was patented by Kraft and Dengel of Knoll, pharmaceutical company of Ludwigshafen, and became known under the names of “Capacin,” “Kapacin,” and “Wiflucin” [marketed by Knoll] as a treatment against hyperthyroidism. - s.a. The Merck Index, 9th edition, Merck & Co., Rahway, N.J., 1976) March 2006
Meiers, Peter - http://www.fluoride-history.de/