Oregon's Drinking Water
A threat to its safety

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong,
gives it a superficial appearance of being right."
            Tom Paine, Common Sense

February 2001
Index page 1 of 2

Dispelling the Myth of Fluoridation

Why It Makes No Economic or Scientific Sense
to Fluoridate Our Drinking Water

Mute swans symbolize fluoridation chemicals. (See endnote.)

Of all life's necessities, water is perhaps the most vulnerable to contamination. Oregonians are gifted with a natural bounty of clean drinking water, yet we are intentionally compromising this precious resource.

The Oregon State Legislature is now considering Senate Bill 99. If passed, it would require water systems serving more than 10,000 people to fluoridate their drinking water.

This report presents research that proves why adding fluoride compounds to our water supply is unsupportable from any angle. It dispels the misconception stated in SB 99 that fluoride is "necessary to insure safe and healthy drinking water."

What ever you think you know about fluoridation,
please consider the following facts.
Then let your legislators know your position on SB 99.

  1. Fluoride in Water Does Not Prevent Tooth Decay.
Dental experts now recognize that it is brushing with fluoride toothpaste that prevents cavities not drinking fluoridated water.
  2. Water Fluoridation Does Not Save Money.
Studies show no significant savings in dental costs in fluoridated vs. non-fluoridated areas. On the contrary, fluoridation leads to higher costs.
  3. Congress is Now Investigating the Chemicals Used to Fluoridate Water.
It wants to know why several regulatory agencies have no studies showing that the industrial waste products used to fluoridate drinking water are safe for long-term human consumption.
  4. EPA Scientists Want a National Moratorium on Water Fluoridation.
Numerous studies link fluoride to neurological impairments, cancer, and other disorders according to the EPA's union of scientists.
  5. Fluoride Supplements are Not Approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
The FDA considers fluoride an unapproved new drug and requires toothpaste labels to warn that fluoride is poisonous.
  6. Water Fluoridation Goals Conflict with Fluoride Prescription Limits.
Children under six years old will be overdosed with fluoride if it's added to drinking water.
  7. Too Much Fluoride is Already in Our Diets and is Causing Widespread Fluorosis.
We now consume well over the 1 mg of fluoride that fluoridated water was originally intended to deliver creating serious health consequences.
  8. Fluoride Pollutes Rivers and Threatens Salmon Populations
The U.S. government's own study shows that fluoride increases salmon mortality even at one-eighth the level of fluoride allowed by fluoridation.

1)  Fluoride in Water Does Not Prevent Tooth Decay.
Current research shows that ingested fluoride does not prevent cavities. Only topical application works brushing with fluoride toothpaste or having fluoride applied by a dentist. Drinking fluoridated water is ineffective.

"Fluoride, the key agent in battling caries, works primarily via topical mechanisms," according to the July 2000 cover story in the Journal of the American Dental Association ("The Science and Practice of Caries Prevention" by John D. B. Featherstone, M.SC., Ph.D.)

This peer-reviewed report reminded every dentist in America that ingestion of fluoride does not provide any significant reduction in tooth decay.

In his earlier report, Dr. Featherstone (a proponent of fluoridation) concluded: "The level of fluoride incorporated into dental mineral by systemic ingestion is insufficient to play a significant role in caries prevention. . . . The systemic benefits of fluoride are minimal." ("Prevention and reversal of dental caries: role of low level fluoride," Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 1999;27:31-40)

Dental authorities who once supported water fluoridation are now saying it is unnecessary.

Dr. Hardy Limeback, BSC, Ph.D., DDS, Head of Preventative Dentistry at the University of Toronto, says, "There is no point in swallowing fluoridated water. The only benefit comes with direct contact with the teeth." (The Toronto Star, April 25, 1999) In his extensively documented April 2000 report, "Why I am now officially opposed to adding fluoride to drinking water," he explains:

"The major reasons for the general decline of tooth decay worldwide, both in non-fluoridated and fluoridated areas, is the widespread use of fluoridated toothpaste, improved diets, and overall improved general and dental health (antibiotics, preservatives, hygiene, etc.)."

The Principal Dental Officer of Auckland, New Zealand also opposes water fluoridation. "I now realize that what my colleagues and I were doing was what the history of science shows all professionals do when their pet theory is confronted by disconcerting new evidence: they bend over backwards to explain away the new evidence." Read why John Colquhoun changed his mind about water fluoridation.

A good example of this mentality of denial recently occurred in England, where the British Medical and Dental Associations blatantly misrepresented the findings in a major review of fluoridation research.

The rate of dental caries is similar in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. In 1986-87, the National Institute of Dental Health collected dental data of 39,207 school children, aged 5-17, in 84 areas throughout the United States. Analysis showed no significant differences were found in the decay rates of permanent teeth or the percentages of decay-free children living in fluoridated vs. non-fluoridated or partially fluoridated communities.

What's more as Andreas Schuld, head of Parents of Fluoride Poisoned Children, points out this study did show that cities with high rates of decay "have 9.34 % more decay in the children who drink fluoridated water. Furthermore, a 5.4 % increase in students with decay was observed when 1 ppm (part per million) fluoride was added to the water supply. Nine fluoridated cities with high decay had 10 percent more decay than nine equivalent non-fluoridated cities."

Yiamouyiannis, JA "Water fluoridation and tooth decay: Results from the 1986-87 national survey of U.S. school children," Fluoride 23:55-67 (1990).

Fluoridation is banned in 99% of Western Europe, yet decay rates there are comparable to North America, which is more than 60% fluoridated. When the Berlin Wall fell in Germany, the East was ordered to stop fluoridation. According to an extensive study, poor children did not suffer increased tooth decay. In fact, decay rates dropped further. Also, a 1984 Canadian survey proved there were no statistically significant differences in decay rates of children in unfluoridated Calgary children vs. longtime fluoridated Edmonton. (Calgary Herald, April 22, 1998)

A January 2001 Canadian government report "undermines the credibility of fluoridation as a public health initiative."

Ireland is the most fluoridated population in the world (73%). Its second largest political party, Fine Gael, is calling for a ban on water fluoridation, as well as an investigation into the naturally-occurring fluoride in their groundwater.

"Fine Gael believes that there are sufficient grounds to point to serious health risks from the cumulative amount of fluoride in our piped water supply system. . . Since fluoridation was first introduced back in the early '60s, not one survey has ever been carried out here on its impact on human health and the environment although this was a legal requirement. . . The Government does not take into account the levels of fluoride already naturally present in water." (Irish Independent, January 15, 2001)

The Dutch have even introduced a constitutional amendment so that fluoridation can never be reintroduced.

See the Fluoride Action Network report:
Cavities Not Increasing, But Decreasing, When Fluoridation Stops.

Read more about how fluoride works,
or read on. . .


2)  Water Fluoridation Does Not Save Money.
In his push to fluoridate the state, the Oregon Health Division's dental director Dr. Whitney Payne proclaims: "For every dollar spent, you save $80 in dental treatment rendered." (The Bulletin, Jan. 31, 2001) Payne got this "statistic" from Dr. Michael Easley, America's number one fluoridation salesman. He got it from a 1992 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which said: "Based on a national average cost per restoration of $40 and a mean national weighted cost of 51 cents per person per year to fluoridate drinking water, each $1 expenditure for water fluoridation could result in a savings of $80 in dental treatment costs."

In their 1999 report, the CDC no longer makes this speculative conclusion. Instead, it says, "One economic analysis estimated that prevention of dental caries, largely attributed to fluoridation and fluoride-containing products, saved $39 billion (1990 dollars) in dental-care expenditures in the United States during 1979-1989."

What fluoride promoters fail to mention is that it's the "fluoride-containing products" not fluoridated water that prevent dental caries. As mentioned in Reason #1 above, dental decay rates in non-fluoridated areas have declined at about the same rates as in fluoridated areas.

In reality, there are no significant savings in dental costs in fluoridated vs. non-fluoridated areas. An analysis of 1994-95 California State Department of Health dental statistics in 55 counties compared the average annual Medi-Cal costs for dental work per eligible recipient. It turned out that the costs were only a few dollars apart, and the non-fluoridated areas were often lower. (Yiamouyiannis JA, "Dental Costs Not Affected by Fluoridation Large-Scale Tooth Decay Studies Show Lack of 'Beneficial' Effects," Fluoride: Quarterly Journal of the International Society for Fluoride Research, Vol. 31 No. 3, Aug. 1998, pp 129-174)

"Comparing the State of California 1994 non-weighted dental costs for the 14 largest counties reveals that counties 90% fluoridated spent on average $121.93 per eligible recipient for treatment of tooth decay, and counties with less than 10% fluoridation spent only $118.33 per eligible recipient." (David C. Kennedy, DDS, the past president of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology)

In fact, research suggests that teeth damaged by excess fluoride become more susceptible to tooth decay. Andreas Schuld cites several studies showing that fluoridated water caused more cavities! One was the world's largest study on dental caries. It looked at 400,000 students and found that decay increased 27% with a 1 ppm fluoride increase in drinking water. ("Fluoride Worse Than We Thought," Wise Traditions, Vol. 1:3 Fall, 2000)

Nor do Easley and Payne take into account the increased costs associated with dental fluorosis, tooth damage caused by excess fluoride; white opaque spots, brown stains, mottling and fracture-prone teeth. (For more on "fluorosis," see Reason #7 below). Dr. Kennedy explains:

"All of the organizations promoting water fluoridation agree that dental fluorosis, which is the first visible sign of systemic poisoning, increases with water fluoride levels. The Legislative Office of Budget Management acknowledges that drinking water fluoridation would increase disfiguring dental fluorosis, but since treatment of this disease is not covered for children on welfare, calculated that there would be no additional cost to the state.

"The correction of this permanent disfigurement involves crowns, laminates, bonding, and bleaching. The physical, psychological, emotional, and financial costs of the repeated trauma necessary to correct this condition far exceeds any projected benefit that fluoridation can possibly produce. This is truly a case where the treatment is worse than the problem."

The real operating costs that taxpayers will pay for fluoridation are not clear, but California provides a good example. In 1995, their original estimate was about $40 million to fluoridate 167 communities in the state (with annual operating costs of $15 million). In 1999, that initial amount jumped to $200 million. (San Jose Mercury News, March 18, 1999)

Because fluoride compounds are so corrosive, water treatment plants must replace their equipment more often, as well as buy and add large amounts of anti-corrosive chemicals. Fluoride also alters the pH of the water, which requires the purchase and addition of even more chemicals to correct the pH.

Also, there have been many costly accidents involving fluoridation chemicals.

Even if ingested fluoride were effective in reducing tooth decay, adding it to the water supply is a grossly inefficient way to deliver any medication. Think about it: most of a household's water goes to the lawn and garden, to cloths and dishes, showers and baths. Only a minuscule amount of the fluoride added to a community's water supply is actually consumed by people. Fluoridation is a foolish waste of taxpayer money.

Read the Fluoride Action Network's "Deconstructing Michael Easley.

Get a revealing look at the Oregon Health Division's motivation to fluoridate vs. their knowledge of the process.

Read more about the push to fluoridate at any cost including "statistical fraud" or read on. . .


3)  Congress is Now Investigating the Chemicals Used to Fluoridate Water.
The U.S. Senate Energy and Environment Subcommittee on Science has learned that the following government agencies have no studies on the safety to humans of the actual fluorine-bearing substances used in 90% of the nation's fluoridation programs.
  Environmental Protection Agency
  Centers for Disease Control
  Food and Drug Administration
  National Academy of Science

they have no scientific studies on the

Questions and answers to and from the government agencies involved
Complete written testimony by panelists submitted prior to the hearing

The most common substances now used in 90% of fluoridation systems are hydrofluosilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride, which are waste products captured in scrubber systems of the phosphate fertilizer industry. When injured workers at a phosphate plant asked investigative writer George Glasser for help, he learned where the chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water originate:

"'Pollution Scrubber Liquor' is a cocktail of hazardous pollutants which have been washed down and collected to prevent them from being emitted to the air. This toxic mix contains about 19% fluorine, but the rest of it contains arsenic, lead, beryllium, cadmium, vanadium, silica and sometimes mercury and radionuclides. Arsenic and beryllium are classified as Group 1 'known human carcinogens.' There is no 'safe level' for arsenic it's an a cumulative poison. Yet all the public health officials say it's as safe as mothers' milk!"

This hazardous waste has never been tested, either alone in distilled water, or in combination with other chemicals and contaminants found in tap water. Jeff Green, Director of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, explains:

The resulting toxic waste cannot be diluted by a million to one (or even 10 million to one) and then dumped into the ocean or a river, into a landfill or allowed to escape into the air, because it would kill all the nearby flora and fauna.

And, it can't be given away because it would still be classified as a Class I toxic waste, and have to be neutralized at the highest-rated hazardous waste facility at a cost of $1.40 per gallon or more, depending on how much cadmium, lead, uranium, and arsenic are also present.

But, if destined for a water district that will pay $0.35 to $0.45 per gallon for transportation, the fluoride solution in industrial waste water is magically pronounced benign and shipped, untreated, to be mixed into our drinking water.

If it were not a hazardous waste, it could have been added to salt more than fifty years ago (like iodine has been), or to some other universally accessible food source. Each of us would then be free to choose for ourselves.

If taxpayers weren't paying for this toxic waste, it would cost the fertilizer industry hundreds of millions of dollars to properly dispose of it. Hence, the reason why money is what perpetuates the myth of fluoridation. But it also takes ignorance to accept it. Thankfully, people are speaking out.

Join the nationwide call for congressional hearings on fluoridation.

Read more about the untested chemicals used to fluoridate your drinking water, or read on. . .


4)  EPA Scientists Want a National Moratorium on Water Fluoridation.
Since 1997, Chapter 280 of the National Treasury Employees Union has opposed the fluoridation of drinking water supplies. This union is comprised of and represents approximately 1,500 scientists, lawyers, engineers, and other professional employees at EPA Headquarters in Washington DC.

On June 29, 2000, the union's Senior Vice-President J. William Hirzy, Ph.D., testified at the Congressional investigation on behalf of the toxicologists, biologists, chemists, and physicians who work at EPA headquarters. He rendered a clear record of EPA activities that depart from the agency's own professional standards to arrive at a Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) for fluoride that is at least 8-times less protective than current science supports.

Hirzy explained that applying risk assessment methodology routinely used by EPA to peer-reviewed science would result in scientific computation of a protective MCL that would not allow fluoridation of the public water supplies. He indicated that the largest dental study performed in the U.S. confirms that 66% of children in fluoridated communities now display the visible signs of fluoride over-exposure on at least one tooth.

He cited the existence of numerous studies linking fluoride to neurological impairment, and the findings that fluoride at the level found in fluoridated water did indeed cause adverse health effects, including cancer. As final comment, he reiterated evidence of increased levels of lead in children's blood in areas fluoridated with the untested hazardous wastes from the phosphate fertilizer industry.

Read "Why EPA Scientists Oppose Fluoridation."
Dr. Hirzy's testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Drinking Water on June 29, 2000

The vast difference in the protection provided the public for fluoride exposure is demonstrated by comparing the Maximum Contaminant Levels for lead, fluoride, and arsenic. While fluoride is slightly less toxic than arsenic and more toxic than lead the MCL for lead is 15 ppb (parts per billion) and for arsenic it's (now) 10 ppb. Yet, fluoride's MCL has been established by at 4,000 ppb!

Dr. Payne (Oregon Health Division dental director) suggests that fluoridation is safe because any chemical is dangerous when doses are too high. He makes a comparison: "Caffeine and vinegar are also listed as hazardous chemicals yet we use them with complete safety." (The Bulletin, Jan. 31, 2001)

This is very misleading. Fluoride's toxicity lies between arsenic and lead, not caffeine and vinegar!

Fluoride, like arsenic and lead, is a cumulative poison. Only 50% of the fluoride we ingest each day is excreted through the kidneys. The remainder accumulates in our bones and other tissues. High concentrations (300 parts per million) of fluoride have been found in human pineal glands. If the kidneys are damaged, fluoride accumulation will increase.

Fluoride is quite biologically active even at low concentrations. It interferes with hydrogen bonding which is central to the structure and function of proteins and nucleic acids. Thus, fluoride has the potential to disrupt events at the very heart of living things.

In their May 2000 report, "In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development," the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility concluded: "Studies in animals and human populations suggest that fluoride exposure, at levels that are experienced by a significant proportion of the population whose drinking water is fluoridated, may have adverse impacts on the developing brain."

Read more about the neurotoxic effects of fluoride,
or read on. . .


References continue on the next page:
  5. Fluoride Supplements are Not Approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
The FDA considers fluoride an unapproved new drug and requires toothpaste labels to warn that fluoride is poisonous.
  6. Water Fluoridation Goals Conflict with Fluoride Prescription Limits.
Children under six years old will be overdosed with fluoride if it's added to drinking water.
  7. Too Much Fluoride is Already in Our Diets and is Causing Widespread Fluorosis.
We now consume well over the 1 mg of fluoride that fluoridated water was originally intended to deliver creating serious health consequences.
  8. Fluoride Pollutes Rivers and Threatens Salmon Populations
The U.S. government's own study shows that fluoride increases salmon mortality even at one-eighth the level of fluoride allowed by fluoridation.

Click here to find your legislators' contact information.
Let them know why Senate Bill 99 is a huge mistake.


This report was prepared by John D. MacArthur with research support
from Citizens for Safe Drinking Water and the fine websites linked above.
(photographs by the author)

NOTE: The swans in the image at the top of this page are "mute swans," a European species whose introduction to the U.S. has had devastating effects. They are very aggressive, out-compete native waterfowl, and defoliate large areas of aquatic vegetation. As an exotic, extremely evasive element, mute swans symbolize the fluoridation chemicals that people naively believe are pure and good.

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Updated 10 Feb 01