Right or Wrong: San Jose California About to Fluoridate Drinking Water

Right or Wrong: San Jose California About To Fluoridate Drinking WaterThe largest city in U.S. without fluoride, San Jose, is about to add fluoride to their drinking water. The Santa Clara Valley Water District voted on November 15th to support fluoridation to most of the county.

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that it will be at least a year before the water district can secure funding to add fluoride to the water. The fluoridation project is expected to cost anywhere from $4.4 million to $9.5 million, with annual operating expenses at $836,000.

A 1995 law prohibits water companies from passing fluoridation costs on to rate payers. So both the water district and San Jose Water Company must seek outside methods of providing the capital needed to build the infrastructure necessary to fluoridate the water.

Residents who are against the fluoridation project site fears of dental fluorosis, lowered IQ and raised cancer risks. But the National Cancer Institute supports a February 1991 Public Health Service report, where the agency found no evidence of an association between fluoride and cancer in humans. The report, based on a review of more than 50 human epidemiological (population) studies produced over the past 40 years, concluded that optimal fluoridation of drinking water “does not pose a detectable cancer risk to humans” as evidenced by extensive human epidemiological data reported to date.

Dentist Donald Lyman, of the California Department of Public Health tells The Washington Post, “When you fluoridate the water, childhood tooth decay drops 40 percent and among the elderly, tooth loss and decay drops 70 percent.”

The American Dental Association continues to endorse fluoridation of community water supplies as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. This support has been the Association’s position since policy was first adopted in 1950. The ADA’s policies regarding community water fluoridation are based on the overwhelming weight of peer-reviewed, credible scientific evidence. The ADA, along with state and local dental societies, continues to work with federal, state and local agencies to increase the number of communities benefiting from water fluoridation. (From the ADA website)

New York City cosmetic dentist and Huffington Post contributor, Thomas P. Connelly, D.D.S. writes, In my years of being a dentist, I’ve found enough to make me feel that fluoride in the water just isn’t worth it. Even if some research is scoffed at, the question itself is enough to make me pause. Especially because I do feel we have enough education on oral health that everyone should be brushing their teeth. And trust me, if you are brushing like you should be (and your dentist is using a topical treatment every so often), then I feel you don’t need fluoride in your water. I’m not a fan of inserting a chemical into our water that most of us simply don’t need to help the few that won’t help themselves.”

What are your thoughts on the use of fluoridation in public water supplies? Leave us a comment or take our most recent survey on fluoridation here.

For more information see: Santa Clara Valley Water District Approves Adding Fluoride to Water in Spite of Objections.

Dentists State Powerful Reasons for Supporting Fluoride in Water

Dentists State Powerful Reasons for Supporting Fluoride in WaterSome dentists think that the water fluoridation debate is a non-issue.

“With over 65 years of research and practical experience of this proven safe and effective public health measure, it amazes me that this is still an issue,” complained one dental professional.

In our most recent survey, 68% of dentists said that they support the fluoridation of public water supplies, while 32% said fluoridating our drinking water is unnecessary.

Here are some dentist comments from this survey…

Fluoride is beneficial —

“My parents grew up with good oral hygiene and habits, but without public fluoridated water. They both had numerous cavities restored while growing up. My brother and I are in our 40s and grew up with fluoridated water. Neither of us have had any caries! I’m a big proponent of properly fluoridated public water.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“It eliminated caries in American urban cities until “boutique bottled water” became fashionable.” (New York periodontist)

“I practice in the county where Muskegon was the control city when Grand Rapids started fluoridating their water in 1945. 80-90% of my patients had fluoridated water when their teeth were developing. With probably 99% accuracy I know whether they had city water (with fluoride) or well water (no fluoride). The difference in decay rate is substantial.” (Michigan dentist)

“I am a proponent of public water fluoridation for its known effects over the past 70 years. The shift to bottled water is diminishing that effect I believe so other modalities should be looked at such as adding it to salt as they do in Europe. Perhaps that would make McDonald’s fries a wee bit healthier!” (Pediatric dentist)

“How could one not support this? As a dental professional?” (Indiana dentist)

“It’s a no-brainer.” (Alabama dentist)

“The most cost effective means of caries prevention for all age groups.” (General dentist)

“If we have ever demonstrated that preventive measures can work, it was done with fluoride. Why do we need to prove this again and again and again???” (New York orthodontist)

Fluoride is bad science —

“This is based on old science and needs to be stopped. Infant warnings should be on water bills.” (Dental hygienist)

“Should not mass-medicate without the will of the masses! There are controversies that are appalling. The truth is in question about the benefits versus the risks. The opposition should be given an opportunity to present scientific data.” (Florida dentist)

“The ADA is out of touch. It is a Civil rights issue for black-American infants. The cost is too great to remove from their drinking water so they are in reality being forced-medication. Most of this expensive bio-hazard does not get on the teeth it is used to wash clothes water lawns. You can get fluoride in many products OTC that is sodium fl and not untested bio-hazard waste from fertilizer plants. The fertilizer plants should have to pay for the safety tests.” (General dentist)

“Dental decay is not caused by a lack of fluoride in our water supply.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

“High concentrations currently can have adverse affects on the systemic health of medically-compromised adults. Ingestion of H2o with fluoride is ONLY beneficial for children during adult tooth formation, but many children do not drink water consistently or may be risking fluorosis from fluoride intake from multiple sources, including water.” (Illinois dentist)

“The systemic ingestion of fluoride has shown no significant decrease in decay, but has been shown to damage the body including the skeletal system, the pineal and thyroid glands and the brain causing lowered IQ’s in children. There is also no way to control the dosage of this medication. There are plenty of products containing fluoride that can be used topically, the most effective application, for those who want to use it and it doesn’t need to be in the public water supply.” (Texas dentist)

“No dose control and too many systemic effects, with too many of the general population at risk.” (Texas hygienist)

“Scientific evidence shows NO beneficial effect on teeth when ingesting in water. Too many systemic problems with accumulation, however, so need to stop fluoridating our drinking water.” (General dentist)

A political issue —

“Fluoridation is the worst “public health” fiasco ever foisted upon an unsuspecting populace.” (Arkansas dentist)

“The major problem here is that city water jurisdictions pay for fluoridation and state/federal welfare pays for dental treatment. If either paid for both, fluoridation would be everywhere.” (Oregon dentist)

It is BAD public policy to medicate via the public water supply.” (Dental implantologist)

“If any city wants to op out (of fluoridation) then fine. Just don’t use tax money to fix your children’s teeth!” (California dentist)

“It’s a form of govt mind control! (tongue firmly planted in cheek).” (Oral surgeon)

“Sad state of affairs here in Florida when science takes a back seat to politics-again. It shows the decline of thinking so pervasive in America.” (Florida dentist)

What are your thoughts on fluoride in drinking water?

Dentists: Is There a Relationship Between Children’s IQ and Fluoride?

Is There a Relationship Between Children's IQ and FluorideWhile Portland, Oregon, the second-largest city in the country without fluoride in the water, is considering adding fluoride to their water supply, a Harvard study has been published stating that fluoride impacts children’s neurodevelopment.

The objective of the Harvard study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies to investigate the effects of increased fluoride exposure and delayed neurobehavioral development.

The researchers searched the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Water Resources Abstracts, and TOXNET databases through 2011 for eligible studies. They also searched the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database, as many oral health studies on fluoride neurotoxicity have been published in Chinese journals only.

Lead author Anna Choi, research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH, states, “Although fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in animal models and acute fluoride poisoning causes neurotoxicity in adults, very little is known of its effects on children’s neurodevelopment.”

In total, the study identified 27 eligible epidemiological studies with high and reference exposures, endpoints of IQ scores or related cognitive function measures with means and variances for the two exposure groups.

The results of their study reveals that the standardized weighted mean difference in IQ score between exposed and reference populations was -0.45 (95% CI -0.56 to -0.35) using a random-effects model. Thus, children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low fluoride areas. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses also indicated inverse associations, although the substantial heterogeneity did not appear to decrease.

The study reviewed data based on exposure to high water fluoride levels — not levels found in U.S. drinking water, which is less than 1 part per million.

The study was published online in Environmental Health Perspectives on July 20, 2012.

Dentists, do you think there is a relationship between cognitive function and fluoride?

(Source: Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis)

Science Friday: Calcium Prevents Fluorosis Development in Ethiopia

Science Friday: Calcium Prevents Fluorosis Development in EthiopiaA new Duke University-led study looked at fluoride in the groundwater in the Main Rift Valley of Ethiopia, where as many as 8 million people depend.

They discovered that the residents are at high-risk of dental and skeletal fluorosis as a result of their long-term exposure to high levels of naturally occurring fluoride in the region’s groundwater, according to duke.edu.

By analyzing the groundwater quality in the valley, the study found that as water flows from the surrounding mountains into the valley, where it interacts with volcanic rock, which in turn adds high levels fluoride to the water while also removing most of its calcium.

High levels of fluoride can contribute to tooth decay and dental fluorosis, particularly in children between the ages of 3 months and 8 years.

The new Duke-led study, published online in the journal Environment International (www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412012000530), finds that these efforts “may not be sufficient on their own, because of the region’s geology and the low threshold of exposure at which we found fluorosis was likely to occur,” said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Increasing the amount of calcium in villagers’ diets, or finding alternative sources of drinking water may be necessary in addition to these fluoride-reducing treatments.

Water samples from 48 of 50 wells tested in the Main Rift Valley contained fluoride levels six times higher than the World Health Organization safe guidelines of 0.5 to 1.5 mg/litre (milligrams per liter, equivalent to parts per million). The U.S. optimal level of fluoride in drinking water ranges from 0.7 to 1.2 mg/litre.

In some of the communities in the valley, the fluoride levels in their well water were so high that treating the water to cut the fluoride content by half didn’t drop the fluoride levels below the guidelines.

According to the report, most efforts to combat fluorosis in the Main Rift Valley have focused primarily on treating drinking water to reduce its fluoride content.

However, in villages where people had access to milk, the researchers found that severe fluorosis was about 10 percent less likely to occur. Further research is needed to explain this exception, but it may be possible that by injesting milk some of the population received enough calcium to hinder fluorosis development.

An increase in calcium may be key to addressing widespread oral health problems faced by the millions of rural residents in Ethiopia’s remote, poverty-stricken Main Rift Valley.

For more on this story see: Water Treatments Alone Not Enough to Combat Fluorosis in Ethiopia

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