The Truth About Fluoride and Drinking Water

Vernon Coleman

Fluoride is deliberately added to drinking water supplies in the hope that it will help reduce the incidence of tooth decay. Many governments have announced their determination to add fluoride to all drinking water.

The link between fluoride and tooth decay was first established at the end of the nineteenth century and there is little doubt that fluoride does help to protect the teeth by making tooth enamel - the hard outside covering of teeth - tougher and more decay resistant. When tests done on large numbers of people showed that tooth decay is slower in those parts of the country where drinking water supplies naturally contain fluoride some scientists and politicians suggested that putting fluoride into the drinking water supplies might improve the dental health of the general population. The fluoridation of water supplies began in America in 1945 and today the move towards fluoridation is spreading all over the world. Politicians are enthusiastic about using fluoride in this way because they have been convinced that the end result will be a reduction in health costs. (There is nothing politicians love more than to be able to cut the cost of looking after the people while at the same time claiming that what they are doing is for the good of the electorate. It's a double whammy for the modern, crooked politician.)

However, those who oppose fluoridation are able to put forward several arguments in their favour.

First, you do not, of course, have to add fluoride to drinking water in order to protect teeth. You can get exactly the same effect by persuading people to use fluoride toothpastes. And since many toothpastes now do contain fluoride most people already get all the fluoride they need simply by brushing their teeth.

Second, there is no doubt that putting fluoride into drinking water supplies is a potentially dangerous business. The amount of fluoride that you can put into drinking water has to be judged very accurately. To get the best effect from the fluoride you need to add around one part per million. However, if you get the sums wrong the consequences can be devastating. Just two parts of fluoride per million can cause mottling of the teeth and if the quantities are allowed to rise a little higher bone disorders and cancer may be the result. Naturally, the scientists and politicians who are keen on putting fluoride into our drinking water supplies claim that the methods used are foolproof but I think that one would have to be a fool to believe that! Many people have already been poisoned by accidental overdoses of chemicals and in 1986, the World Health Organization published a report in which concern was expressed about the incidence of dental problems caused by there being too much fluoride in public drinking water supplies. Needless to say getting unwanted, excess fluoride out of the drinking water supplies can be extremely difficult. To all this we must add the fact that since drinking water supplies already contain a number of chemicals - some of which occur naturally in the supplies, nitrates which accumulate because of the use of fertilizers, chlorine and aluminium sulphate which are added deliberately and lead or copper from the pipes which are used to supply the water to our homes - adding fluoride to the mixture may increase the risk of a dangerous interaction between the various chemicals in the water. Whenever chemicals exist in solution together there are chemical reactions. I don't think anyone really knows what the consequences are of putting all these chemicals into our drinking water.

The fourth anti-fluoridation argument is that a growing number of people seem to be allergic to the chemicals which are being put into our drinking water. Many people are allergic to fluoride and cannot drink fluoridated drinking water.

Finally, I am particularly worried by the fact that as the pro-fluoridation argument is won in more and more parts of the world, scientists and politicians are suggesting putting other chemicals into the drinking water supplies. One scientist has, for example, already suggested that drinking water should have antibiotics added to it (to reduce the incidence of infection and so to reduce health costs). Another has recommended that tranquillisers be added to drinking water supplies (in order to calm down the voters and allow the politicians to get on with running the world the way they want to run it). A third suggestion has been that contraceptives be added to the drinking water in order to reduce the birth rate.

A surprising number of doctors and politicians support the compulsory fluoridisation of water (it is difficult to think of a more fascisst act than to force people to take medicine, regardless of their need, whether they want it or not) and in much of the world it seems that this battle is now lost. However, it isn't lost everywhere.

In Switzerland (perhaps the only true democracy remaining in the world) the Swiss Canton of Basel-Stadt recently repealed a resolution on fluoridation which had been introduced in 1962. The Swiss stopped adding fluoride to their water after over 40 years on the following grounds:

1. Although fluoridation has been going on for many decades there are no studies proving that the fluoridation of drinking water prevents tooth decay.

2. Dental caries in the area had increased in children, despite the fluoridation of the drinking water (rather suggesting that the added fluoride hadn't done any good and might be doing harm).

3. The fluoridation of water might cause bone damage - and could be a particular problem in young children and babies.

4. More than 99% of water with added fluoride is used for washing, bathing, cleaning etc and so does nothing for teeth but does pollute the environment.

Taken from How To Stop Your Doctor Killing You by Vernon Coleman, published in the UK by EMJ Books and available through the webshop on this site and through all good bookshops everywhere.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2005