In 1931 at the University of Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station M. C. Smith, E. M. Lantz, and H. V. Smith discovered that when given drinking water supplied with fluorine, rats would develop tooth defects. Further testing by H. T. Dean and E. Elove of the United States Public Health Service confirmed this report, and stated that what is known as mottled tooth. Mottled tooth is a condition in which white spots develop on the back teeth. Gradually the white spots get darker and darker until the tooth is eroded completely. This was believed to be caused by fluorine in drinking water (Behrman pg. 181). A strong uproar was heard when this was released and people wanted all fluorine out of their water. But later tests concluded that communities with high levels of fluorine in their drinking water suffered less dental cavities. Further testing concluded that at least 1.0 parts per million of fluorine could help to prevent cavities, but more than 1.5 PPM would cause mottled tooth, so basically a little fluorine would be okay but a lot of fluorine would be bad (Behrman 182). In 1938, with this information, Dr. Gerald Cox of the Mellon Institute began to promote the addition of fluoride to public water systems, claiming that it would reduce tooth decay, however there were two major obstacles in his path, The American Medical Association, and The American Dental Association. Both associations wrote articles in their journals about the dangers of fluoridation of water supplies. The American Dental Association wrote the following in the October 1, 1944 issue: "We do know the use of drinking water containing as little as 1.2 to 3.0 parts per million of fluorine will cause such developmental disturbances in bones as osteoslcerosis, spondylosis and osteoperosis, as well as goiter, and we cannot afford to run the risk of producing such serious systemic disturbances in applying what is at present a doubtful procedure intended to prevent development of dental disfigurements among children." (Yiamouyiannis pg. 138) Despite these warnings Dr. Cox continued to promote fluoridation of water supplies and even convinced a Wisconsin dentist, J. J. Frisch to promote the addition of fluoride to water supplies in his book, The Fight For Fluoridation. Frisch soon garnered the support of Frank Bull. Frank Bull organized political campaigns in order to persuade local officials to endorse fluoridation. This began to apply heavy pressure on the United States Public Health Service and the American Dental Association. (Yiamouyiannis pg. 139) In 1945 before any tests had been proven to show that fluoride reduced cavities, it was added to the drinking water supply of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This was done as a test. It would be the experiment to see if fluoride would decrease the number of cavities. The data would be collected periodically over the next five years, and in 1950 the data showed that the number of cavities was decreasing, but in the town of Muskegon, which did not have a fluoridated water supply, cavities decreased by the same margin. However the information about Muskegon was covered up (Waldbott pg. 262). A few days after the information about Grand Rapids was released the United States Public Health Service called a press conference in which they said that: "Communities desiring to fluoridate their communal water supplies should be strongly encouraged to do so." (Waldbott pg. 263) In June 1951, dental health representatives from around the U. S. met with dental health officials to discuss the promotion and implementation of fluoride. It was at this conference that the United States Public Health Service formally endorsed fluoridation. It had finally succumb to the pressure. Two years later in 1953, the American Dental Association also began to support fluoridation, when they released a pamphlet, sending it to every dentistry office in the U. S. The pamphlet told the advantages of using fluoride, encouraged acceptance and use of fluoride, and sought to overcome public resistance to fluoride (Coffel). From 1953 till 1977 the only debates going on about fluoridation was how to fund it. Most organizations supported fluoridation, and those that did not soon did, including, the National Research Council, the American Water Works Association, the American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization. All of these organizations endorsed fluoridation (Waldbott pg. 277). However in 1977, the fluoridation controversy was brought back up by John Yiamouyiannis. A committee was commissioned to clear up the fluoride controversy once and for all. But it did not, it just raised it even more. Yiamouyiannis led this committee. Yiamouyiannis in his statement to congress referring to the results the committee gathered, said: "provide clear evidence that fluoride is a carcinogen". In his study Yiamouyiannis learned that people living in the nation's ten largest fluoridated cities suffered 15 percent more cancer than those living in the ten largest non- fluoridated cities. Backing up this report was senior science advisor for the Environmental Protection Agency, William L. Marcus. He stated that the committee report not only overlooked liver cancer evidence, but also would have reported clear evidence of carcinogenicity, had they not fallen to pressure from pro-fluoride groups to release a "sanitized" report (Coffel). In 1978 Dr. Wallace Armstrong, Dr. Robert Hoover, and Dr. Stephen Barret published a two part report on fluoridation for "Consumer Reports". These two articles were meant to discredit Yiamouyiannis' findings that fluoridation is linked to cancer. The authors deliberately lied and slandered Yiamouyiannis, so that the general public would feel safe, after all, by now the majority of water supplies in the country had been fluoridated. This battle waged on for several years, with people trying to discredit Yiamouyiannis, but he would not go away. The battle of whether to use fluoride or not is still going on. It has been proven to be toxic and cause some serious health problems, but it is still widely used in dentistry, and more importantly, is still contained in our drinking water supplies (Yiamouyiannis pg. 144). Although fluoride is still used and fluoridated water is still drank, there are many disadvantages that many people may not know about that could cause serious health problems. The first major health threat, is fluoride's link to cancer. The most recent study done was conducted with rats. 180 male rats were given fluoridated water. Out of those 180, 80 were given fluoridated water with a 78 parts per million fluoride count. Out of those 80 rats three developed a very rare type of bone cancer called Osteosarooms. Such a rare cancer should not be found at such a rate of three out of 80, but 78 parts per million is 78 times what is in people's water today, but if given enough water a person could develop cancer. Of course more that 1 part per million would cause mottled tooth, or as it is also known as, dental fluorosis. A condition in which white spots appear on teeth, and gradually become darker and darker until the tooth is completely eroded away and destroyed (Coffel). In the town of Kizilcaoern, Turkey, the water has 5.4 parts per million fluoride. In this town all the people and animals age prematurely. Men that are 30 look 60, this is due to the high fluoride content in the water. Their skin wrinkles excessively, they have severe arthritic pain, and their bones shatter like glass after a fall. The fluoride in the water breaks down the protein Collagen. Collagen makes up 30 percent of the body's protein and serves as a major structural component in skin, ligaments, bones, tendons, muscles, cartilage, and teeth. When the Collagen is broken down the skin and other parts of the body weaken. As the skin weakens it wrinkles (Yiamouyiannis pg. 4). There are many other problems attributed to increased aging due to fluoride. Like severe arthritis. Also other body organs will not function properly because they get old too fast, just like a person getting old, naturally their organs don't function like they once did. Fluoride can also damage the immune system. Studies done by Dr. Sheila Gibson, from the University of Glasgow, show that fluoride slows the migration rate of white blood cells. White blood cells must travel through the walls of blood vessels to fight disease, but fluoride slows down white blood cells. They don't work as fast as they should, and this weakens the immune system. The following table shows the migration rates of white blood cells treated with different concentrations of fluoride. (Yiamouyiannis pg. 23) Another one of the most damaging health hazards caused by fluoride is fluoride poisoning. This does not consist of one symptom or condition, but many. It begins with dental fluorosis. Then the bones begin to show signs of faster aging. The bones get what is known as outgrowth. Bony outgrowth is when the bones get larger unnaturally. This is caused because fluoride redeposits calcium and other ions on the bones and teeth. Bony outgrowth can cause joints to lock because the bone will get too large and prevent the tendons and ligaments from working properly (Yiamouyiannis pg.40). Other damage that can be caused is chromosome damage. When chromosomes are damaged by fluoride the children to be born of the person whose chromosomes were damaged will have serious defects. Other side effects of fluoride that are not as serious as the ones mentioned above are, black tarry stools, bloody vomit, faintness, nausea, vommiting, shallow breathing, stomach cramps, tremors, unusual excitement, unusual increase in saliva, watery eyes, weakness, constipation, loss of apetite, pain and aching of bones, skin rash, sores in mouth and on lips, stiffness, weight loss, and white, brown, or black discoloration of teeth. (Yiamouyiannis pg. 6) Besides all of these disadvantages of fluoride, it has been proven to reduce tooth decay by 25%. It does this by redepositing calcium and other ions onto the teeth, but this comes with many disadvantages, so it is not really beneficial to one's health to use it. It will benefit one's dental health, but will harm many other aspects of their lives. (Coffel) Works Cited 1. Behrman, A. S., Water is Everybody's Business. Doubleday, New York, 1968. 2. Coffel, Steve, "The Great Fluoride Fight", Garbage, Vol. 4, Issue 3. Dovetail Publishers, New York, 1992. 3. Waldbott, George L., Fluoride: The Great Dilemma. Coronado Press, Kansas, 1978. 4. Yiamouyiannis, John, Fluoride: The Aging Factor. Health Action Press, Delaware, 1986.
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