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Scaremongering to Sell Water Filters

There is an obvious survival advantage to the emotion of disgust – we should fear putting unhealthy, tainted, contaminated, or poisonous substances into our bodies. Emotions, however, are a double-edged sword. They are an effective evolutionary mechanism for motivating creatures to engage in certain behavior, but they also tend to be crude and undiscriminating – inadequate to deal with our complex modern society.

A dispassionate consideration of objective scientific evidence is the optimal strategy for deciding on which foods and substances are safe to consume, but it is far easier to scare people about toxins than to reassure them with data. We see this frequently with the anti-vaccine movement, and also with anti-fluoridation attitudes. It is easy to scare people with the idea that there are “chemicals” in our drinking water.

One company, San Diego Pure Water, seems to have made such scaremongering into a marketing strategy. Their website is full of articles and videos claiming that fluoride is the “the greatest fraud that has ever been perpetrated.”

Let’s take a look at their specific claims. They claim:

Fluoride may lower a child’s IQ according to 24 independent studies that have reported an association between fluoride exposure and reduced IQ.

They don’t provide the 24 references, however. The notion that 24 studies support the claim that fluoridation reduces IQ is little more than an urban legend passing around anti-fluoride sites. If you follow the links, when present, they simply refer to other anti-fluoride sites making the same claims.

There are studies looking at the relationship between fluoride and IQ. A recent review and meta-analysis published by Harvard researchers actually reviewed 27 such studies.  They concluded that there is a relationship between high fluoride exposure and lower IQ. However - the studies largely compared high levels of exposure that exceed EPA limits, to low levels of exposure that are at the level of fluoride added to some public water supplies and within the safety range set by the EPA.

So, if anything this meta-analysis demonstrated that the levels of fluoride in the US drinking water supply are safe and associated with a higher IQ.

Toxicity is always about dose. There is no evidence that the level of fluoride in US drinking water poses a significant health risk or lowers IQ. The quoted studies refer to higher levels of fluoride that are considered above the safe limit, and therefore their findings are not applicable to drinking water. Still, it may be effective marketing to use such studies to scaremonger about fluoride in order to sell water filters.

Another claim made on the site is that:

Fluoride accumulates in the body according to the National Research Council “it is apparent that fluorides interfere with brain functions,” and it adds to the formation of beta-amyloid deposits which are associated with Alzheimer’s.

They further argue that fluoride increases the uptake of aluminum by the brain, which causes Alzheimer’s dementia. The hypothesis that aluminum causes AD has been around for over 40 years without definitive evidence that it plays a significant role. The bottom line is similar as for fluoride - high levels of aluminum are certainly toxic, but there is no evidence that ordinary levels of everyday exposure pose any risk.

Conclusion

We are exposed to countless substances in our food and water. At high concentrations any of them are potential toxins. There are a large number of animal and toxicology studies showing that fluoride, aluminum, mercury, and many other substances are toxic – this is not in dispute. This data, however, is not necessarily applicable to the levels of exposure from the environment, food, vaccines, or other relevant sources.

The amount of fluoride in particular in our drinking water is carefully regulated by the EPA and there is no evidence of any measurable toxic effects at this exposure level. In fact, the evidence often cited by anti-fluoridation activists shows that such low levels are, if anything, safe.

Posted in: Public Health

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331 thoughts on “Scaremongering to Sell Water Filters

  1. DugganSC says:

    I feel the same way about the bits that used to be put at the bottom of Brita water filter commercials warning that pregnant women especially shouldn’t drink tap water, never with any explanation of why. I suspect that it’s supposed to be scaremongering over lead and copper from the pipes or somesuch, but I also haven’t seen any evidence that these water filters appreciably fix the problem.

  2. windriven says:

    “So, if anything this meta-analysis demonstrated that the levels of fluoride in the US drinking water supply are safe and associated with a higher IQ.”

    No, it only demonstrates that subtoxic fluoride levels are associated with higher IQ than toxic levels. One could reasonably infer that zero fluoride levels might be associated with higher IQ than subtoxic levels. Apparently neither the meta-analysis nor the underlying studies studied this.

    This is a small point but we shouldn’t hold ourselves to a lower standard of precision than we demand of the scamsters and dreamers.

  3. cervantes says:

    “All substances are poisons: there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy.” Paracelsus (1493-1541).

  4. Janet says:

    A while back, Portland, Oregon (finally) decided to fluoridate its water. The mayor made a clear and point-by-point rebuttal (with clear references) to each point. This effort was promptly met with a deluge (torrent?) of denial, accusation, and demand for “freedom to choose”.

    In 1993, Milwaukee had a problem with cryptosporidium in the water. Hundreds of thousands became ill and 104 with already weakened immune systems died. The city spent many millions rebuilding the entire system. There is still a brisk business in drinking water delivery. Many poor people still haul jugs back and forth from the coop or Whole Foods to refill them with “pure” water in the belief that city water remains “toxic”. When I tell them that I’ve been drinking tap water for all these years, they are not moved. Something about the word “toxin”–same with caused of cancer. Every time someone is diagnosed, friends go on about which toxin or chemical exposure may have caused it.
    The fact that some cancers ARE caused by exposure to carcinogens just makes this all seem very logical to these people. The success of some lawsuits (whether or not they were based in fact) also reinforce these ideas.

    Well, I would write more, but I have a “THANK YOU JESUS” sign to paint.

  5. Angora Rabbit says:

    Thanks for bringing up aluminium and AD. The story I learned (lo, so many years ago) is that a rash of researchers tried to replicate the original finding and could not. That’s when it was realized to be an artifact of the brain histology preparation. Alas, journals are loath to publish negative findings, so the myth still circulates. It’s like whack-a-mole.

    @Janet: Tammy > Tommy – you got it! (from a fellow cheesehead)

  6. DevoutCatalyst says:

    Nothing to add about water filtration, but did you know that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry publication CAS # 7440-66-6 states that you can be exposed to toxic amounts of zinc by licking zinc grave monuments? Bridle your oral passions when visiting cemeteries !

    @Janet @Rabbit

    We cheeseheads are disproportionately represented here. Can I help paint your sign, Janet?

  7. mho says:

    http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_21942819/denver-detects-lead-tapwater-urges-residents-limit-exposure

    I’ve never has a statistics class, but can high lead levels in 8 out of 60(not random) homes in a city with a population of 1.3 million possibly be a significant test?

    “This month, all 1.3 million metro residents served by Denver Water must be notified and advised of precautions they can take.”

  8. Robb says:

    Toxicity is in the dose, but also in the duration of exposure – especially for substances that tend to accumulate rather than be rapidly metabolized and cleared. I don’t have any concerns about amounts of flouride in the water supply or the quality of most tap water in general and agree water filtration systems (and even plain bottled water) are often a waste of money – although sometimes the water does taste better than tap water. I’m more concerned with accumulation of fat soluble chemicals like Bisphenol A, PBDEs (fire retardants), PCDDs (dioxins), and their resulting combined effects over time.

  9. cervantes says:

    A sample of 60 is not sufficient to estimate the actual prevalence, but does constitute what is called an existential finding — i.e., the thing exists.

    The size of the city, however, is basically irrelevant. If you did take a truly random sample that was only a bit larger, you could make a reasonably reliable estimate of prevalence in a city of 1,000, or a city of 8 million. That’s something of an oversimplification because the big city might have a geographically heterogeneous distribution, so even with a fairly large sample you might happen to miss, or hit, some hot spots. So you wouldn’t actually take a random sample from a list of addresses, you would take a geographically evenly distributed sample of households.

    One more thing, however. Most lead in tapwater comes from plumbing, not the water supply. Old plumbing uses lead solder which can eventually start to leach into the water. If you have PVC plumbing, no problem. If you have old plumbing:

    a) Let the water run till it’s cold before you consume it. (That way you know it hasn’t been sitting in your pipes long enough to dissolve any lead.)

    b) Do not consume hot tap water. Draw cold water and heat it on the stove. (Hot water leaches more lead.)

    If you do that, you should be fine.

  10. Alia says:

    I admit, I use a water filter and drink bottled water. Not because I’m afraid of any toxins – the problem is, my tap water doesn’t taste very well and from time to time it gets brownish. The reason is simple, high iron levels. Not high enough to be dangerous, as our water authorities assure us (and I do believe them), but high enough to influence the taste. However, when I visit my parents in another city, I always drink tap water, there it tastes just great.

  11. The Dave says:

    We use a Brita pitcher because my wife says she can taste the chlorine (she might) but I haven’t replaced the filter in quite sometime and she hasn’t said anything (maybe because she adds a hint of grapefruit flavor) so I’m just gonna let it go until she says something. :)

  12. lilady says:

    @ mho: See my post at 1:24 AM on Dr. Gorski’s article about “chelation” for elevated blood lead levels:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-result-of-the-trial-to-assess-chelation-therapy-tact-as-underwhelming-as-expected/

    The City of Denver ran those test through their water authority…

    http://www.denverwater.org/WaterQuality/LeadPlumbingAwareness/

  13. michaelSkiCoach says:

    My wife is a dental nurse and she says there is a significant downside to not getting enough fluoride during early childhood when the teeth buds are forming. Fluoride is essential to growing and sustaining strong teeth during childhood. Fluoride has less benefit for adults but still helps strengthen and repair tooth enamel.

    Weak teeth and porous tooth enamel leads to tooth loss, gum disease and other oral infections which can lead to serious health issues in later life.

    Its a myth that fluoridation is adding an “unnatural” chemical to the water supply. Fluoride is added to the water supply only in areas where there is not a enough naturally occurring fluoride.

    So the bottom line is that the removal of fluoride from the water supply will adversely effect the dental health of children who, of course, will only reap the consequences of this decision later in life. Some children will be lucky enough to receive fluoride supplementation at the dentist’s office but most will simply be at risk at being fluoride deficient.

    Of course toxicity is only one of the platforms in alt-med. Needless vitamin and mineral supplementation is the other.

    I sense that a “safe and organic” form of fluoride, in homeopathic doses of course, will be on the market soon. ;)

  14. stanmrak says:

    Adding fluoride to municipal drinking water amounts to forced medication on consumers who don’t get a choice (many of us don’t want it), with no control over the dosage. Plus, there’s no way of knowing how much fluoride anyone is getting through tap water, since individual water consumption varies widely, and little kids get the same dose per glass as full-grown adults. This is not science.

    http://www.amazon.com/Fluoride-Deception-Christopher-Bryson/dp/1583227008/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1352318169&sr=1-1&keywords=fluoride+deception

  15. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Stan, fluoride levels are carefully titrated to achieve a dose that is safe of even the benign side effect of mild fluorosis – to the point that some municipalities actually remove fluoride from their heavily-mineralized water supplies. Fluoridation is a preventive intervention that cheaply and equitably prevents cavities, and opposition to it means more cavities for poor families, who are disproportionately impacted by the rich’s unfounded need to be “free” from safe, effective treatments. It means time taken away from work, by citizens generally without health insurance, who can ill-afford it, to pay for fillings that cost a disproportionate and unnecessary chunk of their paycheck, and lack the time and money to invest in preventive care like fluoride treatments, more expensive toothpastes and visits to the dentist.

    All so your precious fluids can be protected from imaginary contamination.

    Cloaking your demands to be “free from unwanted interventions” is a rhetorical strategy used to appeal to emotions due to a lack of sound actual science. It should be opposed for the same reason you would oppose efforts to be “free” from speed limits or vaccination – the common good is greatly enhanced, and the adverse outcomes are nil. Health freedom is a specious argument used to distract from the real point – that your emotions have over-ridden your ability to trust a real expert.

  16. pharmavixen says:

    The anti-fluoride people were the first denialists I met. At a party around 15 years ago, consisting of many left-wing community activist types (not trying to generalize but that’s who they were), an anti-fluoride conversation began around the dinner table. After listening to several minutes of assertions about rat poison in the water supply and lowered IQs, I said, “I’m over 30 years old, and I’ve never had a cavity. When I was very young, my mum gave me multi vitamins with fluoride.”

    Cue crickets. After a minute of awkward silence, they then resumed the anti-fluoride convo as if I hadn’t spoken.

    Montreal doesn’t have fluoridated water while Toronto does. A friend in Montreal recently quipped that the biggest houses in that city are owned by dentists.

  17. Alia says:

    When I was a kid at primary school, my country was still a part of the Soviet block. We did not have water fluoridation, but guess what? We had compulsory fluoridation at school. Once in a while we would be marched to bathrooms, where we would brush our teeth with a nasty-tasting, fluoride-containing liquid. Or we would be given small fluoride tablets. And nobody asked our parents for permission. Now, that is forced medication if I know one. We also had a dentist at school and we were marched to her at regular intervals. And if a kid had a cavity, she would fill it on the spot, free of charge, unless the kid promised that their parents would take them to a dentist immediately – and that was checked too. And you know what? I visit a dentist just to have plaque removed, because I have no cavities.
    Anecdata, I know, but I thought I would share my story with you.

  18. windriven says:

    @stanmrak

    “who don’t get a choice”

    Bullhockey. Don’t buy city water. Poke a well. Have Culligan deliver. Catch rainwater on your tongue. No one is tying you to a gurney and pouring fluoridated water down your pie hole.

  19. Scott says:

    The “individual choice” argument does have some merit. That merit is heavily outweighed by the general public benefit – especially since there are no rational grounds for anyone to choose the other way. But it’s not meaningless.

  20. stanmrak says:

    Sure, water fluoridation is supported by “science.” We’ve seen this before, with “tobacco science,” “lead science” (as in gasoline) and “asbestos science.” Remember when science insisted these were safe, too? Wake up folks. This is not real science- it’s a sophisticated con job designed to rake in profits for the aluminum industry.

    The original sales job for water fluoridation was done by the Mellon institute, the same people who sold us asbestos as safe.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3y8uwtxrHo

  21. windriven says:

    @stanmrak

    Tobacco science?
    Lead science?
    Asbestos science?
    Really?

    Where are the peer reviewed scientific studies that purport to show tobacco, lead or asbestos to be safe? I’m not saying that it is inconceivable that such studies exist but I would like to see when they were done and under what conditions. And while I admit that it isn’t inconceivable I am more inclined to believe that you’re full of baloney and are going to cite the opinions of some random scientist and call that tobacco science or asbestos science.

    You’ve made an extraordinary claim so let’s all see your extraordinary evidence.

    Is stanmrak a wit or just full of …

  22. Always Curious says:

    Janet-
    I truly cannot understand how Portland can play politics with water safety–the water board clings desperately to 1950′s standards for water storage and treatment . Because of this, basic improvements don’t get made and the water is not up to the standard it should be. I cannot wholly blame the people for overreacting beings there hasn’t been a lot of calm, educated voices in the public debate. “Keep Portland Weird” morphed into inappropriate public stances on water. I consider fluoridation a minor victory in the long march ahead {fixing uncovered reservoirs, tightening restrictions on public access to treated water, adding cryptosporidium treatment}. I’m not saying that Portland water is unsafe or undrinkable–it simply isn’t up to modern standards.

    Another strange thing I’ve noticed about people with water filters–they rarely do upkeep on them. So after going through all the trouble to filter the already clean water, they then fail to take good care of the apparatus and subsequently undoing the small benefits gained.

  23. mho says:

    cervantes and lilady thanks for the additional info on the statistics and lead questions.

  24. Always Curious says:

    stanmrak–
    Simply calling oneself a scientist does not make one’s actions “science”. I think what you’ll find after looking into “tobacco science” and “lead science” is a collection “scientists” paid to find/generate data that didn’t fit neatly into the bulk of the science. You should look at the bulk of the data before letting people make scientific claims.

    You also claim that it’s impossible to figure out fluoride dosing–that statement is rubbish. Fluoride is tracked and regulated in municipal water just like heavy metals, turbidity, coliform and a whole host of other aspects. And while it is impossible to say EXACTLY how much fluoride a person may consume, it is possible to make educated estimates (average & maximal exposure).

    You’re worried about choice you say? Well, when was the last time your bottle of water (or soda or soup) listed the amount of fluoride in it? Or listed the heavy metal content, turbidity, coliform, etc? This isn’t on the label because nobody makes a choice of what to eat & drink based on this information. Given free space on the label, most companies brag about “organic”, “sugar-free” or “low sodium” rather than “No fecal coliform”, “Meets FDA standards of turbidity”, or “Exceeds toxic metal safety standards”.

  25. Chris says:

    windriven:

    Don’t buy city water. Poke a well.

    Except if he did that in certain areas of the western USA he may end up with an even higher dose of fluoride. Some city water systems actually remove excess fluoride because their ground water has it in high concentrations. It was the cause of Brown Stain in Colorado, which was noticed by a dentist because even though the children’s teeth had brown spots they had much fewer caries.

    Ah, yes. I have interesting memories of the well water we had in Texas. It smelled of sulfur. While it made my parents’ mixed drinks taste funky, it did wonders for my teenage skin (reduced acne!).

    Many many years ago just as the Napa Valley was starting to be a vacation destination we stayed in the “Roman Spa Motel” in Calistoga, CA (which was right next door to its tiny police station). The same town that had its name attached to bottled water we could buy in the grocery store. It brought back memories of the Texas water with the funky sulfur smell in the jakuzzi, and even more so in the shower!

    (Just checked, and there is a Roman Spa Resort in Calistoga, which is nothing like motel we stayed in over thirty years ago! Though from Google Street View, it is still a small charming town.)

  26. windriven says:

    @Chris

    “Ah, yes. I have interesting memories of the well water we had in Texas. It smelled of sulfur.”

    Not sure where in Texas that was but I’ve been to a few towns in Texas where I’m convinced the sulfurous smell derived from the immediate proximity to hell. ;-)

  27. According to the CDC..

    If a public water supply is fluoridated, the following notice shall be posted in the water system’s consumer confidence report: “Your public water supply is fluoridated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if your child under the age of 6 months is exclusively consuming infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water, there may be an increased chance of dental fluorosis. Consult your child’s health care provider for more information.”

    http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2012/HB1416.html

    People should be able to choose whether they want fluoride or not, and get it if they so choose..not put in everyone’s water supply.

  28. Another reason it should be optional, not put in water supply is..fluoride suppresses thyroid function..

    http://rense.com/general57/FLUR.HTM

    Highly damaging to the thyroid gland

    This was the basis of the research in the 1930s of May, Litzka, Gorlitzer von Mundy, who used fluoride preparations to treat over-active thyroid illness. Their patients either drank fluoridated water, swallowed fluoride pills or were bathed in fluoridated bath water; and their thyroid function was as a result, greatly depressed. The use in 1937 of fluorotyrosine for this purpose showed how effective this treatment was; but the effectiveness was difficult to predict and many patients suffered total thyroid loss. So it was given a new role and received a new name, Pardinon. It was marketed not for over-active thyroid disease but as a pesticide. (Note the manufacturer of fluorotyrosine was IG Farben who also made sarin, a gas used in World War II).

    This bit of history illustrates the fact that fluorides are dangerous in general and in particular highly damaging to the thyroid gland, a matter to which I shall return shortly. While it is unlikely that it will be disputed that fluorides are toxic – let us be reminded that they are Schedule 2 Poisons under the Poisons Act 1972, the matter in dispute is the level of toxicity attributable to given amounts; in today’s context the degree of damage caused by given concentrations in the water supply. While admitting its toxicity, proponents rely on the fact that it is diluted and therefore, it is claimed, unlikely to have deleterious effects.

    They could not be more mistaken

  29. DugganSC says:

    While I’m a believer in fluoridation of the water (if not necessarily what I feel are excessive fluoridation treatments for kids in the dentist’s office), I’ll admit that seeing the potential toxicity of excessive doses being brushed off as being a bit odd given how often we lambaste the vitamin folks for taking excessive doses of “safe” vitamins. Yes, it would take a very large dose for bad effects to happen, but when you have fluoridated toothpaste, fluoridated drinking water, and addition fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office, aren’t you adding it from a lot of sources that aren’t being tracked?

    Incidentally, as per my earlier comment about what I felt to be scaremongering among the water filter companies, is there any contraindication or drinking tap water during pregnancy or was that something that they added to boost sales?

  30. daedalus2u says:

    The references to fluoride adversely affecting thyroid function are rather old (none later than 1940), and he gets the chemistry wrong. Sure, fluorine is a halogen and so bears superficial resemblance to iodine which is also a halogen, but chlorine is much more like iodine than fluorine is, and chloride is present at 10,000 times higher levels than fluoride (in blood) and 100,000 times higher levels than iodine.

    What greatly affects thyroid function is perchlorate. Perchlorate is a natural component of “organic” fertilizers such as Chilean nitrate (natural sodium nitrate from the deserts of Chile) which was imported and used at high levels before synthetic ammonia was used instead. There were no techniques to measure perchlorate at the levels that are important in the 1940′s.

    As far as endocrine disruption goes, the most sensitive time is when the tissues that use signaling molecules that are mimicked by the endocrine disruptor are forming, either during differentiation in utero, or when those tissues become active during puberty. Such individuals are at least a couple orders of magnitude to endocrine disruption effects than are adults. Endocrine disruption effects that occur during puberty may not show up until much later, when people try to reproduce.

  31. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Anyone whose knowledge of fluoride comes from the 1930s should not be listened to. Though research conducted 80 years ago is not necessarily wrong, it certainly has been developed far beyond what was known at that point. More recent work on whole populations have uncovered no consistent signal of harm at the levels found in the water, which has been shown to prevent tooth decay. Science is not about picking the research you like and ignoring what you don’t.

  32. The Dave says:

    And any information you get from a website that also promotes the conspiracy theories of chemtrails, et al. should be looked at skeptically

  33. lilady says:

    (A lot more) recent research (2012), about fluoride and thyroid function is available through a simple PubMed search. This study of individuals in India who are exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride…shows no difference in thyroid function tests…versus control study subjects not exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride…

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22509122

    “….METHODS:

    The study group included 65 subjects with dental fluorosis from endemic fluorosis populations. An additional control group was comprised of 10 subjects without dental fluorosis. The drinking water fluoride levels of the study populations were analyzed. Serum free FT3, FT4, and TSH levels of both groups were assessed.
    RESULTS:

    All subjects with dental fluorosis had serum levels of thyroid hormones (FT3, FT4, and TSH) within the normal range, with the exception of 1 individual, who had elevated levels of TSH. Statistical significance was found when FT3 and TSH values were compared with different Dean’s index groups by a 1-way ANOVA test: FT3 (F = 3.4572; P=.0377) and TSH (F = 3.2649 and P=.0449).
    CONCLUSIONS:

    Findings of this study did not show any significant alterations in the levels of the thyroid hormones FT3, FT4, and TSH in subjects with dental fluorosis. Our observations suggest that thyroid hormone levels were not altered in subjects with dental fluorosis. Hence, future studies of this kind, along with more detailed investigations are needed.”

  34. Chris says:

    windriven:

    Not sure where in Texas that was but I’ve been to a few towns in Texas where I’m convinced the sulfurous smell derived from the immediate proximity to hell.

    Not that far from Ft. Hood, where the thunder claps are actually artillery fire way off in the distance. My dad rented a house in the boonies where kids came by asking if we had seen their missing cow, and the bus ride to school was long and boring. And because I wanted to get out of high school a year early I had take an actual class instead of driver’s ed: so yes, it was hell.

  35. Jeff says:

    daedalus2u: In the U.S. perchlorate is manufactured for use as a rocket fuel accelerant:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204090923.htm

  36. Jeff says:

    Sorry, wrong link. This is the correct link for the perchlorate study:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013105309.htm

  37. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Gosh, dental fluorosis. The horrors. Because the symptoms of fluorosis are incredibly durable discoloured teeth. This is where a comprehensive review is helpful – the CDC itself notes that fluorosis consists of visible changes to the enamel surface of the tooth. So again, poor people without insurance should have to disproportionately suffer the cost of fillings and dental work (when you make $500 per week, paying $50 to fill a cavity is not an insignificant cost) because some rich people might have discoloured teeth (the reason they give when trying to pretend they are scientific) and have contamination fears (the real reason – their poor, precious fluids!!!!).

    Duggan, because of the increased amount of fluoride in tootpastes and other sources, many communities are taking the evidence-based decision to lower or eliminate fluoride from drinking water. Others have done this for years because their drinking water supply (often from wells or aquifers) is already heavily fluoridated from natural sources. This is where the idea of fluoridation came from – dentists in certain communities noticed that patients had discoloured teeth that rarely got cavities. The reason was fluoride. An evidence-based decision incorporates real risks and benefits, not research from the 30s that has been quote-mined or misrepresentations of actual research to support a foregone conclusion.

  38. Janet says:

    @Always Curious

    I lived in Portland for 13 years and got mighty sick of taking my kids in for fluoride treatments, giving them little pills, and such–none of which is as easy or effective as having it in the water supply. My grandchildren live across the Columbia in Vancouver, WA where the water has been treated forever and I wish the paranoids in Portland would have a look across the river to see that nothing horrible has happened to the people there and that they spend a lot less time at the dentist.

    I can’t speak to the other parts of the water situation in Portland that you mention, but I never used anything but tap water when I lived there and wasn’t aware of any problems with the water–not to say there aren’t any, but I’m pretty sure it is basically safe for consumption.

    ———

    @Fellow Cheeseheads

    Who knew we were so numerous right here at SBM? I’m a transplant who never thought I would stop moaning about the Midwest, but I’ve come to love this part of the world. Maybe we should start a local SBM support group?

  39. lilady says:

    For you chemistry majors…an interesting report (2004), from the International Journal of Occupational & Environmental Health.

    http://198.246.98.21/fluoridation/pdf/pollick.pdf

  40. Oh no! the rich vs. poor cry! (I’m still waiting for my bank account to be filled Lil..btw..remember? WWJD?) How about freedom to choose, rather than rich vs. poor? This is about freedom …it’s about people being forced to take something they do not want…and you’ve managed to pull the rich vs. poor scheme to force others to get what you or whatever study YOU say we should listen to and what they should get? Fact is, it shouldn’t matter what one study says to another study..it’s still a form of tyranny to force everyone’s water supply to be contaminated against THEIR so choosing. And, it’s actually something I don’t want in my water, against your so choosing for me, WLU.

  41. I think we should take a look at WWJD … according to what we’ve been told anyway…bail out rich corporations, (it would be “unpatriotic” not to, Pelosi wrote the bill, and she should know afterall) $75.00 hour union wages and benefits (and votes), clunkers for new cars (for those who could afford one) 4 Trillion $ spending a year and people somehow still living in the streets, starving and without jobs…and of course, we need fluoride in our water against our will…hmmm and so tell us how do you all know exactly WWJD because it seems maybe signals are a little off :)

  42. BillyJoe says:

    The question here is:
    Is there a consensus statement of experts on fluoridation and is that consensus based on evidence?
    All the rest is just confirmation bias and cherry picking.

  43. No..BJ..it’s about Freedom..the ‘consensus’ according to conventionals is not too great..according to the effects of meds that your ‘consensus’ says.

  44. Narad says:

    Fact is, it shouldn’t matter what one study says to another study..it’s still a form of tyranny to force everyone’s water supply to be contaminated against THEIR so choosing.

    So get your own water supply. It’s not the role of government to serve your peronal whims.

  45. Narad..it’s the role of the government to respect Individual rights..and whims…and we’re a Republic.

  46. lilady says:

    @ Narad: I’m collecting Rusty’s all-time *hits*

    “lillady..asthma is helped by vitamins..C, omegas..in my own experience having got off of 2 inhalers and 2 meds including steroids :/…most childhood diseases are vitamin deficiency…causing low immunity.”

    “For medicinal purposes, no I’m not familiar with how contraceptives will work for it, and we all pay for doctor visits don’t we…in any case that would be an exception to the rule, and could easily be done through doctor and insurance company I’m sure, not to make it a blanket Demand by all for “unintended pregnancies”… and, going to a catholic university, expecting them to go against their own belief and policy for her (who chose to go there) or anyone else is ‘attacking’ the freedom of one’s religious belief..actually.”

    “Won’t you all love the watchful eye of socialism when it takes full root, making sure you spend every penny you get on approved items only? let’s see..drugs are good, contraceptives (of course), mercury filled lightbulbs…chemical filled foods,..what a life:)”

    “ok..I’ll go now, going shopping…what can I buy..is there a socialist approved list out? because, I don’t want to spend my $ on vitamins and organic food..so I can pay for your chemical drugs and bank accounts.”

    “mouse, honestly, I question the FDA’s need also..they’re passing meds untested, unproven, anyway!..as demonstrated with the constant horrendous results and lawsuits that follow. They’ve allowed gmos/ges in our foods without our knowledge or testing/proof that they’re ‘harmless’…we’re on our own apparently anyway.”

    Rusty, didn’t you state that you were going to relocate to another country if President Obama was reelected?

    Here’s some advice for you before you emigrate…

    1. Find a country that doesn’t have a national health care program in place.

    2. Check out the political system in your new country (make certain that it is NOT fascist/communist/socialist controlled).

    3. Check out the local water to make certain there is no natural fluoride or fluoride added to the water supply.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr2bSL5VQgM&feature=related

  47. @lilady: I admire your courage for revisiting the things that rustichealthy has posted in this blog. I’m just waiting for the moment she makes a reference to Nazism or Socialism.

  48. lilady says:

    @ Francois Luong: According to Rusty’s *source*, “Another reason it should be optional, not put in water supply is..fluoride suppresses thyroid function..”

    WARNING: BRAIN ROTTING MAY OCCUR

    http://rense.com/

  49. Robb says:

    I would like to point out the tyranny of the government forcing me to drink plain tap water rather than Evian, my preferred choice of re-hydration. It is despicable that such a lowly class of H20 is being forced upon me. This brings me to my second point. The government also needs to eradicate squirrels. They are nothing but freeloaders – stealing nuts for free while I have to purchase organic lightly salted for $15.99 a tin. It’s absolutely disgraceful that they are able to get away with this!

  50. Btw..WLU..do the ‘poor’ have a choice in getting fluoridated contamination? ..or do they simply get what you say they should? It’s interesting how you all ‘think’ you can speak for everyone…ok, actually..it’s embarrassing..the insinuation that anyone poor is without a mind or capability to do for themselves..but you know.

  51. Geekoid says:

    mho and cervantes –
    If you find lead in your water, get the lead plumbing removed. You steps are wise to take while waiting to have them removed but there is no reasonable way to insure you won’t ingest lead. Take a Shower? Lead. Drink, lead. Over time it’s a problem.
    If you own your house you’re going to have hard time selling it, if you are renting, you may have rights regarding the landlord removing it.

    Everyone should get there water tested.

    Cities may not have a historically great track record regarding paper trails of what pipe they put where 70+ years ago.
    Lead was used in some meters, and has flexible joints in side homes.
    It’s not common, most water systems in the US are pretty good. Tap water is largely fine. I’m not scaring anyone away from that, just be wise, especially if you live in a neighbors and home built prior to 1980.

  52. Geekoid says:

    Rustichealth.
    “Fact is, it shouldn’t matter what one study says to another study..it’s still a form of tyranny to force everyone’s water supply to be contaminated against THEIR so choosing. ”

    A) It does matter becasue using lies as a scare tactic means the citizenry won’t make informed decision.

    B) It’s not contamination. Learn why.

    C) It is not a form a Tyranny

    D) It’s a public health issue. Bad teeth can lead to a myriad of other health issues.

    E) The don’t drink the water.

    F) Do you complain about the other chemicals in the water they ‘Force’ you to drink? the Chlorine? Ammonia?

  53. lilady says:

    And I’d like to point out that I am *forced* to buy expensive non-iodized salt, because of the interference of *Big Pharma*, *Big Gubmint* and the FDA….

    http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=100.155&SearchTerm=table%20salt

  54. @Geekoid
    I have a water filter to filter them out Geekoid… I couldn’t drink tap water..however, I’m ‘poor’ and can’t afford a fluoride filter right now, (I’m still waiting for Lil’s WWJD to fill my bank account :) and I’m tired of hearing from conventionals and what they say is ‘good’ for us, (or non-contaminating), considering the results of the medicines they endorse, and the horrendous results they’ve caused year after year. So pardon me while I don’t trust too much of the ‘studies’ you claim to be so accurate on fluoride either.

  55. And, bad teeth is a lack of nutrients..Vitamin C..as in scurvy ..not a lack of fluoride.

  56. norrisL says:

    When I was a child, we had pretty little fluoride tablets which clearly contained (based on taste) a good amount of sugar. The bottle was left on the kitchen bench and my brother and I would consume them in numbers much greater than the daily recommendation of 1.

    To this day the only fillings I have are due to an excess depth between the buccal and lingual cusps of my molars. In hindsight I feel rather dubious of the need for this procedure. Never had tooth decay requiring a filling. My brother has no fillings at all. OK, so we both brushed daily with fluoride toothpaste which obviously had a positive effect.

    I know this study is an N of 2 (ie: anecdote) but neither my brother or I suffered and harmful effect from excess fluoride consumption.

  57. lilady says:

    I have a study (n=3) which is anecdotal. I and my two older siblings were born before fluoridation of our local water supply and before fluoride containing toothpaste was first marketed under the Crest brand name. We all had many cavities (filled with “amalgam” fillings)…and we never had mercury “toxicity”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_fluoridation_in_the_United_States

    All of our children (eleven) have few or no caries; when my son died eight years ago he had no cavities and my daughter had her first small cavity at age 39.

  58. Ok, so, you choose to get fluoride, and you can have it easily in your toothepaste..all of them have it just about, enough with your cry cry cry for the “poor” WLU ..and I have the right to choose to clean my teeth with baking soda …actually very inexpensive and very effective too..haven’t had a cavity in years…not since use of inhalers and steroids which caused the problems I had :)

  59. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I’m sure you think the poor deserve what they get. After all, since you are so responsible for your health, why can’t they be? Yes, the sick and the poor deserve what they get, of course, everyone is completely responsible for their own health, and all health is completely controllable. That is the delusion that you suffer from and project on to others. Because it means you never have to lift a finger to help them. Good for you. Go take some vitamins, ignore real science, make up your own, and I’m sure it’ll work out for the best. For everyone else.

  60. No WLU, I’m sure you can’t speak for everyone, as so many on the left seem to think they can..like Gov being the mediator of WWJD and tell us all WWJD…you’re delusional actually. Stop forcing your contaminated agenda on us all,..is what I’m saying. And, stop being delusional too while you’re at it.

  61. Narad says:

    ..and I have the right to choose to clean my teeth with baking soda …actually very inexpensive and very effective too..

    And quite abrasive. But nobody much cares what you do to your teeth. You are the one with the sophomoric libertarianism, so, again, if you don’t like the municipal water supply, quit whining about TYRANNY! and supply your own.

  62. Narad..but, what about the ‘poor’? who can’t afford to buy their own water?

  63. lilady says:

    @ Narad:

    I’m still waiting for Rusty to announce her departure to another country…as she *promised* weeks ago…if President Obama was reelected.

  64. Chris says:

    Rusty, no good libertarian cares about the poor. The poor are only responsible for their fate, just like you are.

    So when are moving to Mexico? Don’t bother with socialistic countries like Canada or Australia. Though you might like Belize, they do speak English there. All you have to do is catch water from the rain, and just make sure nothing grows in it.

  65. Chris..I care for the contamination of the water with fluoride for the poor..who can’t afford to buy their own uncontaminated water. I also care for real jobs for the poor, something 16 Trillion $ spending in last 4 years couldn’t seem to get to.

  66. lilady, I’m still waiting for my bank account to be filled by you WWJD’rs so I can then leave :)

  67. Narad says:

    Narad..but, what about the ‘poor’? who can’t afford to buy their own water?

    Spare me the diversionary tactic. Your dopey posturing is yours alone.

  68. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    F) Do you complain about the other chemicals in the water they ‘Force’ you to drink? the Chlorine? Ammonia?

    I wonder if Rusty is concerned about the deadly chemical dihydrogen monoxide, which can cause hypokalemia at doses far below the rates found in city reservoirs.

    I find it amusing that there is tremendous concern over fluoride in the water, when the only side effect cited to date appears to be…fluorosis. Horrible, horrible, scarcely noticeable flurosis…which was the main reason dentists noticed fluoride’s benefits in the first place. Yes, be terrified if your children have fluorosis because it’ll hurt like the dickens when they bite.

  69. and Chris..speaking for me now? No good liberal is able to not speak for others…no matter how many times they’re told they can’t and don’t :)

  70. Dihydrogen monoxide? Oh, it has been the bane of my existence since I saw the Penn & Teller doc about it. I can’t believe there are no governmental regulations against it!

  71. To say nothing about dioxygen.

  72. Or sodium chloride, which has been contaminating our sea waters.

  73. lilady says:

    That deadly deadly chemical dihydrogen monoxide can also cause hyponatremia. Why hasn’t *Big Gubmint* cracked down on the companies that sell dihydrogen monoxide?

  74. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I can’t believe they that they allow the highly explosive sodium to contaminate our waters, let alone the astonishingly corrosive chlorine. It’s a shocking lack of oversight and enforcement. The wealthy should invest heavily in filters to clean their water supply of these deadly components. The poor, of course, deserve to suffer whatever happens to them because they are too lazy to work hard enough to be able to afford such invaluable filtration technology.

  75. Scott says:

    CHLORINE is routinely used to KILL things! And our OCEANS are now FULL of the stuff!!! Nazi-inspired chemical warfare, obviously. The horror!!!!1!!1!!eleventy-one!!1!

  76. Well..this is cool..you ARE concerned with chemicals in drinking water afterall… I believe a regular filter will take out most of those chems..however, you need an expensive one to take out fluoride.

  77. Narad says:

    Well..this is cool..you ARE concerned with chemicals in drinking water afterall…

    While this was an amusing comprehension failure on your part, I’m still waiting for reconciliation of the TYRANNY! argument with the reliance upon a socialist municipal water supply. Were there not enough ellipses in the instructions that came with your shovel?

  78. @rustichealthy: Who wouldn’t be concerned about dihydrogen monoxide? We’re also concerned about the chemicals in the air, like that pesky dioxygen, which can cause hyperoxia. We’re also concerned with chemicals in our bodies, like desoxyribonucleic acid, which can cause multiple cancers or Hutchinson’s chorea, or acetylcholine, which can cause muscular tremors. Why wouldn’t you think we are concerned with chemicals?

  79. @rustichealthy: And I forgot the dangers of ascorbic acid, which can cause haemochomatosis and kidney stones. Never forget ascorbic acid, I say.

  80. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I’m also concerned about vehicle-based pollution. For instance, did you know that a significant number of vehicles are contaminated with hydrous ferric oxide, which causes discolouration, and can also spread to the buildings the vehicles are stored in, requiring a very labour-intensive process to first remove it from the structure then apply protective surface coatings? It is transmitted through the air and the slightest humidity can have catastrophic effects. I can’t believe the government will put fluoride in the water but refuses to ensure our vehicles are free of ferric oxide.

  81. Francois, which is why I stress taking supplements as close to whole foods as one can. I’ve always taken Vit. C with rosehips and bioflavanoids..not ascorbic acid..and never had a kidney stone. You’re right, our bodies are made to have as close to whole healthy foods as possible, which is why I try to have substances that are the least toxic as I can.

  82. The Dave says:

    I continue to be astounded and dumb-founded with Rusty’s total lack of understanding on all things of basic science.

    I’m less concerned with Deoxyribonucleic Acid than I am with the oxygenated Ribonucleic Acid, which not only contributes to cancers, but are also very prominent in many pathogenic viruses

  83. The Dave…thus far I’ve warded off viruses of all kinds with vitamins and supplements I’ve taken daily..some being cancer fighting also..like Vit. C…there are natural anti-virals though also, like garlic, myrrh, peppermint and echincea.

  84. weing says:

    “thus far I’ve warded off viruses of all kinds with vitamins and supplements I’ve taken daily” You have documented exposure to specific viruses like HIV and HBV? If so, try exposing yourself any of these: Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, Machupo, Nipah, or hantavirus. Then report to us how you warded them off.

  85. @cervantes

    “All substances are poisons: there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy.” Paracelsus (1493-1541).

    ^That was when everything was really organic, long before mad scientists figured out ways from the 1800′s, (especially from 1930′s) on.

  86. weing..ok, all kinds of cold and flu viruses thus far :)

  87. Harriet Hall says:

    “I’ve warded off viruses of all kinds with vitamins and supplements I’ve taken daily”

    Elsewhere she specified cold viruses. I have “warded off” cold viruses for longer than Rustic has WITHOUT vitamins, supplements, or organic food. She relies on anecdotal evidence, but when presented with my contradictory anecdotal evidence, she just ignored it.

    She doesn’t want an exchange of ideas, she just wants to promote her opinions. Her mind is closed.

  88. mousethatroared says:

    Just a nitpick. It would be nice to differentiate between types of U.S. drinking water…(as in city water that is regulated) and well water. Clearly the emphasis is on fluoridation, so it’s understandable that it didn’t happen in the article, but just something to keep in mind. In our area well water is pretty common, not fluoridated (unless the fluoride is there naturally, but I don’t think we have that here) and it’s up to the homeowner to discern the quality and safety of the water.

    Like I said, I know it’s a nitpick, but to someone who’s relayed on well water in several homes…well I felt left out. :)

  89. mousethatroared says:

    I ward off viruses by shouting out lyrics to Violent Femmes songs whenever I’m around people. It works – really, you all should try it.

    If you try it for a year and it doesn’t work, well then I’ll believe that it doesn’t work….for you.

    hehe

  90. Chris says:

    mousethatroared, you must have missed my musings about Central Texas well water earlier on… sulfur does wonders for teenage skin.

  91. The Dave says:

    Rusty continues to prove (s)he has no basic comprehension skills. I mention a specific chemical found in viruses and Rusty goes off on some tangent about warding off viruses with vitamins.

    Rusty: if you cannot answer our questions directly and completely, then I think it high time you ride off into the sunset and let the adults talk.

    Please answer, based on your own understanding. (if you don’t know about one of them, don’t look it up, just say so):

    How do you feel about the following chemicals that have all been mentioned by myself and other commenters:

    dihydrogen monoxide
    dioxygen
    deoxyribonucleic acid
    ribonucleic acid
    acetylchloine
    sodium chloride
    ascorbic acid
    hydrous ferric oxide

  92. mousethatroared says:

    Chris – yeah, I did, sorry. I only really read the article and a few of the later comments. I don’t have time these days to keep up with the all the comments.

  93. The Dave, how do I feel about them? Basically, my belief is, the more organic, natural food, water..without man-added substances the better. Sorry, no I’m not a chemist to have feelings for any one of those, except ascorbic acid, which I think is not the best source of Vitamin C imo…as I believe vitamins the closer to their natural form the better they are for processing and use in our bodies. I understand preventing bacteria and other things is the reason chlorine is added, but the closer to nature water and food is, the better, without any other additives and chemicals..which is why I have a water filter..however, it doesn’t take out fluoride, and being forced on others is rather strange to me…if fluoride is good for teeth, it can be found in most all toothpastes commercially today. Not sure why that’s a difficulty for anyone. Sorry, I don’t ‘buy’ the poor/rich bologna either :)

  94. Dr. Harriet, I did answer you..my posts are held for ‘moderation’ however :)

    # rustichealthyon 09 Nov 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Dr. Harriet..I did try your plan, and I got colds 3 or 4 times a year, asthma, bronchitis, flu. The difference I believe is, I am susceptible to them, and so I see the benefits of my plan working in that area. Not every one is the same…I understand..but, I was trying to give an example of vitamins working, and more specifically, not just ascorbic acid in low dose…that it seems the ‘studies’ usually go on.

  95. Narad says:

    which is why I have a water filter..however, it doesn’t take out fluoride, and being forced on others is rather strange to me…if fluoride is good for teeth, it can be found in most all toothpastes commercially today. Not sure why that’s a difficulty for anyone. Sorry, I don’t ‘buy’ the poor/rich bologna either

    So, again, quit whining about the TYRANNY of municipal water fluoridation, get off your faux libertarian ass, and dig a well.

  96. lilady says:

    @ Narad:

    “which is why I have a water filter..however, it doesn’t take out fluoride, and being forced on others is rather strange to me…if fluoride is good for teeth, it can be found in most all toothpastes commercially today. Not sure why that’s a difficulty for anyone. Sorry, I don’t ‘buy’ the poor/rich bologna either”

    From Rusty’s web page…

    http://gethealthybehappy.yolasite.com/i-drink-water-now.php

    “And, just an added note, get a water filter. There is one to filter out fluoride too, which I will be getting as well, activated charcoal cannot remove fluoride..

    Fluoride can result in hyperactivity and/or lethargy, arthritis, lowered thyroid function, lowered IQ, dementia, disrupted immune system, genetic damage, cell death, cancers, deactivated essential
    enzymes and lower life span!”

    Get off your lazy faux libertarian arse and either dig your own well or buy that water filter that filters out fluoride, Rusty.

  97. Narad..if I forced my vitamins on you..in your food/water and we made it a law..you must have Vitamins in your water/food everyday..what would you consider that? just wondering? :)

  98. @rustichealthy: Either you have ADD, you can’t read, or you are deflecting to hide your complete ignorance. Either way, you have not addressed Dave’s questions at all.

    First of all, if you are not getting your Vitamin C from ascorbic acid, I don’t even know if you are getting Vitamin C at all, since ascorbic acid IS the chemical name for Vitamin C. Similarly, dihydrogen monoxide is just (pure) water, dioxygen just oxygen. DeoxyriboNucleic Acid is DNA, RiboNucleic Acid is RNA, both of which are the building blocks of all life on Earth. Good luck having a life without those. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter, responsible, among other things, for the contraction of rough red muscle cells. Without this neurotransmitter, your nervous system cannot tell a muscle to contract. Sodium Chloride is table salt. Hydrous ferric oxide is rust.

    I’m not a doctor or a scientist. I have a BA in English Literature (with three hours short of a BA in Philosophy and six hours short of a Master of Fine Arts), and yet, I have managed to identify all of the chemicals listed by the participants of this thread without resorting to any online help.

    You, on the other hand, have demonstrated again and again your ignorance and your basic lack of critical thinking.

  99. Harriet Hall says:

    @rustichealthy,

    This is a science-based blog. We arrive at provisional conclusions based on the best available scientific evidence.
    You keep telling us about your beliefs and your personal experiences.
    Do you have any understanding of why we cannot accept your beliefs and anecdotes?
    Are you interested in trying to understand how your experiences and beliefs might lead you to false conclusions? Are you interested in learning how your thinking is flawed? If you are, we have much to teach you.
    If you are not, please go away. You are wasting your time here: you don’t understand what we’re saying, and you have no chance of changing our minds unless you can come up with compelling scientific evidence. Your repeated comments here are only exposing you to ridicule. It’s embarrassing to watch.

  100. @rustichealthy: Also screw you for proposing Vitamin C as a cure for cancer. I have nothing but contempt for people like you.

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