The Fluoride Shell Game

The Fluoride in our Water is not What it's Supposed to Be

By John R. Lee, M.D.

As many of you know, I have been a staunch opponent of putting fluoride into our water supplies for more than 30 years now, and I receive correspondence about it from all over the world on an almost-daily basis. There are dozens of hard-working and dedicated people out there trying to stop our water from being poisoned, and much of this information comes from one of them named George Glasser.

What’s in Your Water Hasn’t been Studied

We’ve known for decades that excess ingestion of fluoride causes a long list of serious health problems, but now it turns out that what’s in our water is even more dangerous than what has been tested by government scientists. In tests of fluoride safety, the public health department has always used sodium fluoride (NaF) which, in water, ionizes into sodium and fluorine ions. But the reality is that since the late 1960s, what has been put in our water is not NaF, but HSiF and/or NaSiF (i.e., silicofluorides, or SiFs).

Why would the Public Health Service, charged with protecting our health, allow this switch to be made? It’s because NaF is expensive whereas SiFs are cheaper and are readily-available industrial waste products. The problem for us consumers is that SiFs do not dissociate (ionize) completely as NaF does. Instead, they react with Al(OH) (a type of aluminum) to produce toxic derivatives, or may re-associate in the acid environment of the stomach or in food preparation to produce various SiF species, including silicon tetrafluoride and other highly toxic compounds. The reaction of SiFs with aluminum may explain the association that has been made between water fluoridation and Alzheimer’s disease.

What’s in a Name in the Fluoride Game

In 1952, Congress requested studies “… to determine the long-range effects upon the aged and chronically ill of the ingestion of water containing inorganic fluorides,” but such tests have never been done. All animal studies of the health and safety of fluoridation, such as the National Toxicology Program (NTP tests) in 1991, have used NaF instead of SiFs.

The switch from NaF to SiFs is a boon to the fluoride-producing industries such as fertilizer production and uranium extraction. A typical phosphate fertilizer factory, for example, produces 600 tons of waste fluoride per day. The EPA regulations on the handling of waste fluoride are very strict since fluoride is a class 4 poison. Scrubbers must be used on factory smokestacks to prevent fluoride waste from being emitted into the air. Fluoride waste cannot be piled on the ground or buried in the ground, and it cannot be allowed to enter any waterway since it kills all life forms and results in “dead” streams and “dead” lakes.

Safe disposal of fluoride is an almost impossible task. It is no secret that fluoride-waste industries are delighted to sell it to unsuspecting communities to have it dribbled away as fluoridation. As Rebecca Hammer, former EPA Deputy Administrator for Water, wrote in 1983, “In regard to the use of fluorosilicic acid as a source of fluoride for fluoridation, this agency regards such use as an ideal solution to a long-standing problem. By recovering byproduct fluorosilicic acid from fertilizer manufacturing, water and air pollution are minimized, and water utilities have a low-cost source of fluoride available to them.” Isn’t it interesting that, prior to sale to water utilities, it is a pollutant, whereas after sale to water utilities it somehow becomes a nutrient akin to health-giving minerals and vitamins?

Not Just a Poison Anymore

But the problem of industrial waste-fluoride (SiFs) is even worse than described above. Being an industrial waste product, it is contaminated with a variety of other toxic industrial waste matter. As George Glasser reports, these other industrial wastes found with SiFs include: fluosiloxanes; arsenic; heavy metals such as lead, beryllium, cadmium, mercury, sulfides, iron, and nickel; and two radionuclides, uranium and radium. While both of these radioactive elements are known carcinogens, two decay products of uranium (radon-222 and polonium-210) are even more dangerous and carcinogenic.

Radon-222 transmutes quickly into lead-210, which is absorbed into bone. The lead-210 slowly decays into polonium-210, which then emits intense alpha radiation (5,000 times greater than the same amount of radium) before turning into regular lead and becoming stable. The carcinogenicity of polonium-210 occurs at extremely minute doses (6.8 x 10-12 grams). Something that small is difficult to grasp. Does it help to say that 6.8 trillionths of a gram is carcinogenic? And remember that, with fluoridation, you are accumulating these elements over many years, subjecting your body to constant radiation.

Further, we should not ignore the well-known fact that water-borne fluoride extracts lead out of lead-containing pipes, increasing the lead exposure to all who drink the water.

To add insult to injury, you may be surprised to learn that fluoride ingestion does not benefit teeth. This is acknowledged by a recent comprehensive study in the Journal of the American Dental Association (Vol 131), in which Dr. JDB Featherstone explains that any dental benefit of fluoride is only via direct topical contact, as in through toothpaste or mouthwash (please don’t ever use fluoride mouthwash, as it’s too easy to swallow it and get a poisonous dose).

Questions for the APHA

This is the challenge that the American Public Health Association will sooner or later have to face: How can you continue to support fluoridation, given the following circumstances?

  • The American Dental Association agrees that it is topical fluoridation that has the dental benefit, and yet we don’t get much topical application when we drink water (see JADA above).
  • Fluoridation uses silicofluorides, not sodium fluoride.
  • Silicofluorides are not the same as sodium fluoride; they convey multiple toxic effects beyond that of sodium fluoride.
  • There are no FDA, EPA, NIH, NTP, NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Science) or any Public Health Service animal studies of the safety of fluoridation that used silicofluorides. All such studies used pharmaceutical-grade NaF.
  • The potential damage to health by silicofluorides is extensive and serious.
  • The EPA states that “…there are no Federal safety standards which are applicable to additives, including those for use in fluoridating drinking water.” (US EPA Fluoride: Regulatory Fact Sheet, 1997)

For the sake of the public health, I hope that this problem is addressed sooner rather than later. At the very least, we should immediately cease fluoridating our water until we find out whether it’s safe. In fact, since dental authorities now agree that fluoridation has little or no dental benefit, why not cease fluoridation on that basis alone?