Water fluoridation viewpoint, from one of the 2% who cannot ingest

By Marianne Lincoln

This is a story about fluoride and about drinking water. It’s not about dental health, it’s about science that is known and those of us that know more about it than the health department or dental society puts in their cute promotional flyers. You see, I am a person medically identified as “allergic” (hypersensitive if you split hairs) to fluoride ingestion and I have a chemistry degree. This fact was discovered in my dentist’s chair with a standard fluoride treatment when I was about 25 years old. The application was like putting hot sauce on my tongue. Shortly after that incident, I discovered why certain foods caused me problems.  Ingestion is different from a topical tooth application, there are more things that can happen once you swallow items with fluoride.

Tea for instance, has high fluoride content. That’s why promoters say green tea is “good for your bones.” Fluoride is attracted to calcium. That bond is like crystallizing it. The hardened layer makes it more brittle. So bones and teeth get harder, but more brittle. Sometimes you will hear about green tea making bones stronger, that is because of the fluoride in the tea. They didn’t put that on the label, did they? For me, drinking ice tea in the summer made my fingers and their joints swell. I quit drinking all tea and no longer have any joint problems in the summer. Herbal teas do not have the tea leaves or the fluoride in them. It may actually make you more thirsty too.

When the promoters of water fluoridation come to town, they meet with city or county officials in unofficial meetings1, lobbying for their product with slick and preplanned procedures. The have a book of canned statements and statistics. They prepare to make the process public with extremely short notice or too late in the year for people who oppose the idea to have time to get a referendum on the ballot. Often before the hearings are set, the council members are already completely sold on the idea. The public doesn’t stand a chance to influence their own elected officials. When the issue comes to a hearing, the promoters get 20 minutes or an hour to give their promotion and the professional opposition does not get an equal hearing, they get 2 or 3 minutes like every other person off the street. It is lop sided, not democratic, fair or balanced. The newspapers are already in on the gig too. The papers usually print stories using innuendos to make the people in opposition look either stupid or make them out to be quacks, using Dr. Strangelove quotes and black helicopter statements to insult the people in opposition. They essentially use bullying tactics. Never mind that those people may also be health practitioners, people with injuries associated with fluoride or people like me who have experienced actual directly related problems with fluoride. It’s all in the procedure book. They do it again and again across the US in cities far enough apart so the opposition cannot share ideas on how to fight them.

Yes, there is a book provided to the people who go out and “sell” water fluoridation. The fluoride that is most predominantly used these days is hydrofluorosylicic acid. It is taken directly from the wet scrubbers of a phosphate fertilizer plant, put in a truck and taken to your friendly neighborhood water supply. The batches are not tested. Occasionally a curious scientist gets a sample. These samples have been found to have contaminants like zinc, copper, lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic.2There is a certification process for that material that is not followed.

Wait? Explain this? How does material untested and potentially contaminated get into our water?! Yes, its called the art of marketing. You show a poor child with bad teeth. You tell people that he is hungry and his mouth hurts so he cannot concentrate at school. You feel so sorry for him. And you agree that this small dosage of fluoride will make him a happy, smiling healthy kid again, who will go on to get good grades and, probably become a dentist. You get the idea. It’s salesmanship. It appeals to your empathetic nature and makes you vote to put the fertilizer industry’s byproduct into your water so they don’t have to pay to dispose of it as hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste?! Yes, do you see why they have to pay the newspaper in town to go along with this? If the newspaper printed it the way I just did, would people vote for it? On the east coast, where these fertilizer plants are located, the area near those factories used to belch this stuff out into the air. Within a two mile radius of the plants, it fell on the grass and trees. It killed the flora and the livestock that ate the grass grew gaunt and starved.3 The livestock joints and bones became weak, and broken until they could no longer stand. The culprit was identified and a new plan was devised.

Actually, the original idea came from an Alcoa executive. The aluminum plants had similar issues with material discharged in the air. Near Portland, along the Columbia River, the water was tested near an aluminum plant and it had higher than normal fluoride content. It was shown in a study that in fresh water, high levels of fluoride caused migrating salmon to be confused and not migrate properly to spawn.4

Aluminum plants? Wait! Wasn’t there a Reynolds plant in the Port of Tacoma for years? Yes. There has been a lot said about the impact of the ASARCO plant and arsenic, but as far as I know, no one studied the medical fallout from the Pacific Northwest’s Kaiser16 aluminum plants. Someday perhaps we will realize there has been a sudden turn-around in the rate of a disease that used to be prevalent in our state, for no explained reason. Considering the effect of fluoride on the nervous system, I have some un-scientific prognostications of what that might be. But I am not writing this to make stuff up. I want to explain the things that have been shown to be fact, but have been ignored, suppressed or slurred by the marketeers of fluoride.

Kidneys are an amazing enterprise these days. Have you noticed all the dialysis centers popping up around the area? There is one near the Parkland-Spanaway Library now. They convenience is appreciated by the people in need of them. It is a difficult way to live, being regularly attached to a machine to clean your blood. Fluoride is unhealthy to those with reduced renal function.5 They have to use distilled water in that dialysis or risk an unfortunate outcome. Parkland water is fluoridated, it won’t do.

Chlorine can be taken out with filtration, fluoride cannot. If you boil a pan of water, the fluoride will become more concentrated in it. If you live in Tacoma or Parkland, I hope you don’t leave your teapot on the stove endlessly. It’s not healthy. Refill and refresh each time you want a cup or you might end up overdosing yourself over time.

So what can an overdose do?  The most prominent affect id white or brown spotted teeth. That’s called dental fluorosis. You can find the ugly photos of it on the Internet if you like. You may notice you have seen someone with it. Don’t swallow your toothpaste, that will cause it too. Other symptoms of acute overdose include stomach aches, flu-like symptoms and if the dose was high enough, heart attack. That last one is not likely unless you are a careless worker at the water company with the concentrated product. A major health issue could happen if the water company’s equipment fails as in Dublin, CA in 2002. 6 Most people cannot taste it, so an overdose is possible from an equipment failure. But fluoride is biocumulative. 7 That means it gets into you and stays. The amount you excrete is 50% at the most. A person who gets overdosed can do little about it.

Foods also contain fluoride. Tea, raisins and some vegetables like lettuce often have high fluoride. You can look at this USDA PDF file listing the content of fluoride in foods. 8 So if it is in your toothpaste, your water, your food AND you are taking or giving your children fluoride drops due to your dentist’s recommendation, you could be getting an overdose. Overdose isn’t in the fluoride pushers vocabulary.

Let’s go back to the water company. They use equipment to carefully feed the fluoride into the water system. The person handling it has to wear hazardous waste handling gear to do this. There have been cases of water treatment operators spilling this and injuring themselves. 9 Burns are a common problem, there are articles about much worse medical problems for the handlers who have had accidents.

More recently, 2010 to be exact, the American Association of Pediatric Physicians came out with a statement that fluoridated water should not be used to feed infants under the age of 6 months. 10 Have you ever seen a bottle of “Nursery Water?” That is fluoridated water for babies. Physicians no longer recommend this. Use distilled water to make your baby formula in fluoridated cities.

In 2007, a special board was formed at the Federal government level to review water fluoridation. 11 That board was well balanced with pro and anti fluoridationists. At the end of their review, the National Research Council recommended the recommended optimum level for fluoridated water be reduced from 4.0 to 0.7. 12

 The supporters of fluoridation use statements “safe and effective” and “greatest public health achievement…..” which are just marketing hype. They also use put downs , name calling and dredge up old stupid movies (Dr. Strangelove) to argue against opponents. Apparently, they can’t defend their practice simply with good statistics and unskewed data. If you dig into the way they came up with that “data,” you’ll see places like my community where kids who live in fluoridated areas that have worse teeth than those without. We used our own health department data against them in a mandate attempt.13

Give the kids good nutrition and have them brush their teeth regularly. Then you don’t have to feed that poison to anyone, particularly to those for whom it will do harm: kidney patients, thyroid patients, 14 the elderly and babies under 6 months.

It’s a drag having to haul water regularly from an uncontaminated source, if you’re lucky enough to have your government officials to provide you with one. That’s what I do since I can’t afford purification equipment15 in my rental house or a regular supply of bottled water.

Who in the medical establishment is finally going quit the name calling and finally stand up for folks like me? … or the other sensitive creatures downstream?

Placing fluoride in water is well packaged snake oil with a coating of scientific peer bullying. We have enough contaminants in the water already and you have plenty of fluoride available in many other sources if you still want it. For me, I really would prefer water I can drink.


1  Portland City Council calendars don’t show meetings reported by fluoride lobbyists: Portland City Hall roundup  The Oregonian, October 19, 2012

Pollution Prevention and Abatement Handbook, July 1998

3  The Ledger, June 21st, 2004, By Cinnamon Bair on Fluoride Action Network

North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 9:154-162, 1989, Evidence for Fluoride Effects on Salmon Passage at John Day Dam, Columbia River, 1982—1986, DAVID M. DAMKAER AND DOUGLAS B. DEY

5  Linmans & McMurray 1943, via Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride suspected as 23 in Dublin grow ill, Contra Costa Times, 2002

7  Biocumulative  http://concen.org/forum/thread-47204.html

8  USDA, National Fluoride Database of Selected Beverages and Foods, October 2004

Arkansas Water operator poisoned by fluoride, The Joe Walls Story, May 10, 2012

10  “When formula concentrations need to be diluted, it is recommended parents use bottled water that is fluoride-free or low in fluoride or tap water from a reverse osmosis home water filtration system, which removes most of the fluoride.   SOURCE: Academy of General Dentistry. ”Monitor Infant’s Fluoride Intake.”  http://www.fluoridealert.org/articles/nh_infant01/


“The previous terminology, baby bottle tooth decay and nursing caries, has been replaced with the term ECC because we now understand that the process of caries is independent of the route of feeding but is dependent on the frequency of refined carbohydrates in the diet.”

11  National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council 2006 review of water fluoridation

12  National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council 2006 review of water fluoridation, Recommend lowering NaF in water

13  SEPA on Water fluoridation, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, 2003

14  Thyroid studies references  McClaren 1969; Galletti 1958; May 1937

15  Water fluoridation removal http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryhowtoguide/a/removefluoride.htm

Removal equipment  http://www.water-softeners-filters.com/fluoride-removal-filters

16  Kaiser vs. DOE:   KAISER ALUMINUM & CHEMICAL   CORPORATION, Appellant, STATE OF WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY, Respondent,  PCHB 99-121 & 135,  FINAL FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND ORDER, May 17, 2000    http://www.eho.wa.gov/searchdocuments/2000%20Archive/pchb%2099-121%20final.htm

“Kaiser’s excess emissions of PM are serious.  The particles emitted by the Tacoma Plant are fine particles that pose a potential threat to human health.  There is no amount of emissions of these substances that currently can be quantified as being safe.  They contain carcinogenic substances, which are persistent and tend to accumulate in the environment.  “

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s