By Rachael Woodhouse
Loyal GCN listeners to Joyce Riley’s information-packed Power Hour know she isn’t afraid to tread into controversial waters. When it comes to important issues like public health, Riley’s power lies in wrangling up the best guests to appear on her show, and setting the airwaves afire with engaging, no-holds-barred conversation.
Recently, the subject of fluoride in the nation’s water supply lit up the phone lines as Riley welcomed Dr. Paul Connett to Power Hour. Along with James Beck and H. Spedding Micklem , Connett co-authored the ground-breaking new book The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It There.
In this book, Dr. Connett, as part of this team of brilliant scientists, clearly shows that water fluoridation is a harmful public policy. Connett is advocating for an immediate end to this practice by detailing the most important arguments against the practice of water fluoridation.
Connett says his journey in understanding the harm posed by fluoridation and becoming an advocate for fluoride-free public water began in 1996. “I’d heard a little bit about fluoride, but it really wasn’t until my wife put a bunch of papers on my desk fourteen years ago at home and gave me a cup of tea” that Connett began examining the issue.
Of particular concern, Connett says, is the fact that too many in the medical community trust the Food & Drug Administration’s official stance on fluoride unquestioningly.
“I think the real problem is that doctors and dentists in particular are so busy treating patients, that they don’t have the time to read the literature as the three of us did…and therefore what they do is they take the word of the professional bodies, and indeed the U.S. Department of Health at face value.
There is crucial difference, Connett explains, between the fluoride in toothpaste and that in drinking water. “The chemicals they use in the toothpaste are pharmaceutical grade. They’re pure stuff. The chemicals that are added to our water are an industrial waste product. When you’re producing soluble phosphates or fertilizer, you have to heat up the phosphate rock with sulphuric acid, and in the process you produced very toxic gases. For a hundred years, they decimated the local vegetation surrounding these plants. They crippled cattle, and eventually they were forced to put a spray of water in their system. And this spray of water captures these gases, thank goodness, but produces silicofluoride. And this stuff, untreated, is put into tanker trucks and taken off to chemical plants and they in turn drive it off to the waterworks.”
Connett says that, shockingly enough, the public water supply is hardly guarded. “The irony is that they can’t dump this stuff into the sea, by international law, and they can’t dump it locally because it’s far too concentrated, but once someone’s bought it from them it becomes a product and then the water people can put it in our drinking water. And the answer to pollution is dilution – or delusion. That’s the attitude here. We dilute it so much – 180 thousand to 1 – and therefore it’s supposed to be harmless.”
There are, however, opinions on fluoride that differ from Connett’s. Writes Michael D. Shaw of HealthNewsDigest.com:
That fluoride occurs naturally in the water at varying levels around the country, including concentrations much higher than 1 ppm, has made it easy to look for negative effects on a grand scale. Studies have been run comparing rates for cancer, heart disease, birth defects, and allergies in regions with high, medium, and low concentrations of fluoride. The results are always the same: The sole adverse effect is staining of the teeth, when the fluoride concentration is much higher than 1 ppm. Recent data indicates that fluoridation reduces the incidence of cavities 20% to 40% in children and 15% to 35% in adults.
But the point Connett continues to drive home is simple. “It’s not regulated by the FDA, even though it’s the most prescribed medication in U.S. history. Today, it’s going to over 180 million Americans in their drinking water with no oversight by the FDA.”
“What makes it worse [yet] is the EPA doesn’t regulate fluoridation. It only looks after contaminants; it regulates contaminant levels, but it doesn’t regulate additives to water. That’s been shunted off to a private entity called the National Sanitation Foundation. They in turn, the NSF, say it’s their best professional judgment that these levels are safe. They won’t produce documentation on the toxicology, and they have a disclaimer that says ‘we are not responsible if people get hurt by this stuff.’ So there’s really nobody in charge.”