Professor Mark Diesendorf*, BSc, PhD Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
Paper published in Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health 21 (2): 187-190 (1997)
Watch Dr Mark Diesendorf s Power Point Presentation about Fluoridation.
Dr Mark Diesendorf was the Professor of Environmental Science and Foundation Director of the Institute for Sustainable Future at the University of Technology, Sydney from 1996 to 2001.
He is a director of Sustainability Centre Pty Ltd, which is a Sydney-based public-interest research, consulting and training organisation that is devoted to various aspects of ecologically sustainable development.
He is also an adjunct Professor of Sustainability Policy at Murdoch University, vice-president of the Australia New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics, and co-editor and principal author of the book, Human Ecology, Human Economy: Ideas for an Ecologically Sustainable Future, Allen & Unwin, 1997.
He has more than 20 years of extensive research, studies, scientific knowledge and experiences pertaining to the issues of artificial water fluoridation of household drinking water supply and ‘Sodium Fluoride’, the chemical which the State of Queensland has made the decision to add into Queensland’s household drinking water supply.
He has also from time to time published papers on the subject in scholarly journals such as Nature and Australia & New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Recently, He attend the international conference on fluoride research, held in Dunedin, New Zealand in January 2003, and had the opportunity to review the issues.
Artificial water fluoridation involves increasing the levels of fluoride in drinking water to a level of about one part per million, which is 5 to 10 times typical natural fluoride levels in most Australian towns and cities. This is a major adjustment of the fluoride level in water. Unlike vitamins, fluoride is not an essential nutrient and there is no scientific definition of ‘optimal concentration’.
Quote: “It is unethical, unsafe and unreasonable that the State Governments and State Water Commissions to make very reckless and irresponsible decision to make since millions of small children, especially infants will be ingesting this toxic substance in Australia”.
Also, the type of fluoride chemicals added into the water supply is not safe or beneficial in anyway to the teeth and bones of consumers in the long run. The type of fluoride chemicals used is actually an aluminium /phosphate fertiliser industrial waste grade ‘sodium fluoride’.
When one drinks fluoridated water, the fluoride chemicals or ions are systemically accumulated in one’s body and internal organs. This is because, even with a completely healthy kidney, the amount of ingested fluoride that can be excreted by our kidneys is only 50%. The remaining 50% is stored in our bones. Over the years, the stored fluoride can damage bone structure and cause the calcification of bones and joints. This disease is known as skeletal fluorosis. In its early form, it is virtually indistinguishable from arthritis. In its more advanced forms, it can be observed from X-ray.
The other manifestation of fluoride toxicity is the high prevalence of dental fluorosis. This is not simply a cosmetic effect as apologists for water fluoridation like to say. In the more severe form, dental fluorosis involves damage to tooth enamel and tooth function. In artificially fluoridated regions, dental fluorosis is now much more prevalent and severe than the initial proponents of fluoridation predicted.
Skeletal fluorosis is a major public health problem in several countries where there are significant natural concentrations of fluoride in drinking water, most notably India, China and some Persian Gulf or Africa countries. Ironically, in those countries, the authorities are trying to find the cheapest and most effective way of removing natural fluoride concentration from their drinking water.
After one of the most thorough reviews of the artificial water fluoridation issues and literatures in 60 years, a prestigious 12-member panel of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has unanimously found that US Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘safe’ drinking water standard for fluoride (the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal, or MCLG, currently set at 4 ppm) should be lowered. This is necessary to protect children against severe dental fluorosis and adults from bone fracture and Stage II skeletal fluorosis.
In the USA the MCLG of 4 ppm was originally derived by assuming that the ‘average’ adult drinks 2 litres of water per day. However, NAS found that many people drink far more water than this. Using NAS’s exposure analysis, it can be readily shown that some people will exceed a ‘safe’ intake of fluoride even at 1 ppm.
NAS found many important adverse effects at low water concentrations. These include lowered IQ in children in Chinese studies at levels of 2.5-4.0 ppm; increased hip fracture rates in the aged at levels between 1 and 4 ppm; adverse effects on the human thyroid; and increased uptake of aluminum into the brains of rats at 1 ppm. While NAS concluded that 4 ppm is not protective against bone fractures for a lifetime exposure, it did not indicate what level is protective, leaving that for the US Environment Protection Agency to determine.
Recent laboratory experiments in Europe find that fluoride, in the presence of traces of aluminium, disrupts G-proteins, which take part in a wide variety of biological signalling systems, helping to control almost all important life processes. There is also growing evidence from animal experiments that ingesting fluoride may cause brain damage. Due to their stubborn adherence to the dogma that ‘fluoridation is safe and effective’, both American and Australian health authorities have severely limited research into fluoride’s health effects on any issue other than the teeth.
Particularly shocking is NAS’s revelation that no efforts have been made in either Australia or the US to track the levels of fluoride in urine, blood or bones of citizens. Such baseline research is critical to explore potential connections between fluoride exposure and reported health effects, such as hypothyroidism, neurological effects, skeletal fluorosis, bone fractures and other diseases. Any pro-fluoridationists’ statements, implying that there is skeletal fluorosis in Australia is worthless and misleading.
There has never been a scientific study of skeletal fluorosis in high-risk groups in Australia and, to make things worse, GPs are not taught how to identify the disease. A recent epidemiological study finds that boys exposed to fluoridated water in their 6th, 7th and 8th years had a 5-fold increased risk of getting osteosarcoma (bone cancer), compared to matched controls for each age, before the age of 20.
He believes that several more studies would be needed before labelling fluoride as either a carcinogen or a cancer promoter. However, based on the supporting evidence from studies on male rats; from the observations that fluoride is a known mutagen in laboratory studies and the fact that mutagens are often carcinogens; and from the fact that in boys the excess cancer is seen in an organ (bone) where other fluoride-induced diseases are known to occur; common sense would dictate that one should not be ingesting such a chemical in any way, by mouth, breathing or through the skin.
Fluoridation has been discontinued or never implemented in most of Western Europe, Scandinavian Countries and Japan. Now, only 8 countries of the world have the majority of their people forced to drink artificial fluoridated water: USA, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Columbia, Singapore, Malaysia and Israel. Sadly, in these countries artificial water fluoridation is promoted by unscientific propaganda by dental and medical associations that prematurely endorsed artificial water fluoridation decades ago.
Artificial water fluoridation of household drinking water is a violation of medical ethics as it is mass medication with an uncontrolled dose. It is a medicine as it is used to treat people but not to make the water safer to drink and not an essential nutrient like vitamin.
The fact that fluoride is a natural substance does not make it safer or more dangerous. Penicillin, aspirin, digitalis and many other medications were originally natural substances.
Medications should be prescribed individually with a daily dose that takes into account of your age, gender, exposure to other sources, medical history and drug or chemical allergy etc.
Population groups that receive high fluoride doses from artificial fluoridated water include athletes, outdoor workers and people with diabetes and with kidney disease. Infants who ingest milk formula reconstituted with fluoridated water receive a daily fluoride dose that is 100 times the amount ingested by breast-fed babies.
Nature protects babies from this toxic substance, but pro-fluoridation dentists and doctors think arrogantly that they know better.
He agrees that there were large reductions in tooth decay in most western countries in the 1960s and 70s. However, proponents for artificial water fluoridation create the false impression that these reductions were due to artificial water fluoridation, glossing over the facts that large reductions also occurred in many unfluoridated regions and in several cases commenced before fluoride toothpaste and tablets became prevalent.
Nowadays, there are very low levels of tooth decay in many European countries which are unfluoridated. Even within the USA, there is negligible difference in tooth decay between 42 fluoridated and 42 unfluoridated cities studied by National Institute of Dental Research.
Fluoridation proponents, Armfield and Spencer, published a scholarly paper showing that there is no statistically significant difference in tooth decay in permanent teeth between fluoridated and unfluoridated populations in South Australia. Although, the above authors refuse to admit it, their research confirms results. (Exhibit MD-1) (we will try to source for the scholarly paper ourselves, but it will be great if you have it in hands and can send the photocopied original to us)
Many of the early fluoridation ‘trials’ in North America, Australia and elsewhere, have been discredited as poorly designed and subject to examiner bias. Leading overseas dental researchers now recognise that the mechanisms of action of fluoride on teeth involve surface effects and that there is negligible benefit in actually swallowing fluoride. This last point has been even admitted officially by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But Australian pro-fluoridation campaigners ignore or deny this fact. Despite the substantial scientific experimentation that has established it.
The absence of benefits from ingested fluoride is not surprising, because leading international dental researchers, such as Ole Fejerskov and Brian Burt, now recognise that the mechanism of action by which fluoride reduces tooth decay is, to quote the US Centers for Disease Control, “predominantly topical”, i.e. acting on the surface of teeth.
Under Freedom of Information, I have obtained from the School Dental Service the averages and standard deviations of dental caries in all the state capital cities of Australia by age from 1977 to 1987. This data showed clearly and consistently, for all age groups from 6 to 12 years, that dental caries had declined dramatically in both fluoridated and unfluoridated cities over that period. Furthermore, they showed that by 1987 average tooth decay in unfluoridated Brisbane was the same as in fluoridated Adelaide and Perth and less than in fluoridated Melbourne. Exhibit MD 2 (It will be awesome if you can provide us with the photocopy data you obtained)
The statistical data or proof the pro-fluoridationists rely on to “provide clear DMFS scores which showed their children had a significantly higher decay experience than that of a neighbouring community that had water fluoridation”, appeared to be those of carefully selected unpublished data giving averages, without statistical analysis.
For example, one such data based on the child population of Deniliquin is so small that it is unlikely that any comparison with a neighbouring town would be statistically significant. Also, this method of gathering data is not true science but snake oil because the data is usually impossible to be verified scientifically as the authority who conducted the research and data compilation would not provide a copy of the analysis or make all the raw data from the Australian Child Dental Health Surveys available to all interested researchers, not just averages and standard deviations.
Artificial water fluoridation is unethical, unsafe and ineffective. The reason why we still have water fluoridation is that behind the dental and medical associations who promote fluoridation with sincere but almost religious fervour, are powerful corporate and political interests which benefited from it.
Those powerful corporate and political interests are such as the refined sugary industry that benefits from the notion that there is a “magic bullet” that stops tooth decay, whatever sugary food our children eat; the phosphate fertiliser industry that sells its waste silicofluoride, which is contaminated with traces of arsenic and heavy metals, to be put unpurified into our drinking water; the aluminium industry, which had an image problem with the atmospheric fluoride pollution, that it emits from smelters, and funded some of the questionable early research in naturally fluoridated regions of the USA that claimed to show that fluoride was good for teeth.
It is in his professional expert opinion that it is not just unethical, unsafe and unreasonable that the State Governments and State Water Commissions to make the decision to add artificial fluoride into Australians’ household drinking water, but it is also a very reckless and irresponsible decision to make since millions of small children, especially infants will be ingesting this toxic substance in Australia. End. ]
Thank you Dr Mark Diesendorf