letter to the editor
Northland Age

                The F word - again!

        Recently, because of related health concerns, Health Canada has recommended that fluoride levels be lowered in Canadian water supplies to 0.7 of one part per million which is 30 percent lower than previously advocated by health authorities as optimal for dental health.  Reduced fluoride in children's toothpaste and infant formula was also recommended but Health Canada has claimed that "the weight of evidence does not support a link between fluoride and intelligence quotient deficit".
        That reassurance will be seriously questioned this week at conferences in Toronto where new science indicating fluoride's dangers to the brain and other organs will be presented by prominent fluoride research scientists.
        The major conference is the 38th annual conference of the International Society for Fluoride Research, an independent non-profit organization that promotes the sharing of scientific information on all aspects of fluorides. The society publishes the quarterly open access journal Fluoride which can be located, including the latest issue, at <http://www.fluorideresearch.org>.
        The conference will cover a representative cross section of topics in the area of research on fluoride neurotoxicity.  Keynote speaker is Dr. A.K. Susheela (Executive Director, Fluorosis Research and Rural Development Foundation, India) who is reputedly the most knowledgeable of any living scientist about fluoride's toxic effects on the body.  It will be important that officials, such as those in the Northland District Health Board who promote water fluoridation, and those in the Far North District Council who implement it, hear what she and others have to say.
The Ontario Dental Association  did not accept an invitation to present a cogent and scientifically-referenced defense of fluoridation at a conference forum and instead released a media statement urging legislators and communities to stand up in support of fluoridation as is the practice of this countryís Ministry of Health and district health boards.
        Leading into the conference the latest issue of Fluoride has published 12 studies which are made widely available for the first time in English.  They are of great importance worldwide for a fuller understanding of how fluoride can affect neurological development, function, and performance. Comparison of the findings of these 12 studies with those of other research reports published in Fluoride reveals a fairly consistent pattern of the adverse effects of fluoride on brain biochemistry and neurological development and behavior or performance.
    Fluoride is added to water supplies ostensibly to prevent tooth decay.  It is also in many foods and beverages. Fluoride's effects on the brain were never examined prior to water fluoridation.
        In June of this year more concerns surfaced as the National Kidney Foundation withdrew its support of fluoridation at the same time as the largest association of water professionals in the world was warned not to destroy evidence that might be required in legal actions filed by individuals harmed by drinking fluoridated water.
        Following reports of the NKF's acknowledgement that patients with kidney disease should be notified of the potential risk to their health from drinking fluoridated water, the American Water Works Association was given notice that it must not eliminate or tamper with documents or recordings relating to fluoridation, indicating that lawsuits could be filed in the near future.
        A fluoride evidence preservation notice to the 60,000-member water association named AWWA's Denver headquarters, regional offices and national and regional officers as "potentially responsible parties" who might be named in lawsuits filed on behalf of kidney patients and other individuals injured by ingesting fluoride.
        Dr Bruce Spittle, former senior lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine at Otago University, recently published a well reviewed booklet titled 'FLUORIDE FATIGUE - Fluoride Poisoning: Is fluoride in your drinking water -and from other sources - making you sick?'  One reviewer of that paper, Dr Albert W Burgstahler, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, University of Kansas, states that "Those who deny reality and persist in discounting sensitivity to fluoride in drinking water are like ostriches with their heads in the sand.  They would do well to heed what Dr. Spittle has reported here and stop continuing to promote and be misled by scientifically indefensible claims that do not hold up under scrutiny."
        Another interesting and relevant question is "Think about it: If a 100 kg man and a seven kg baby each drink one glass of water, they each receive the same dose of fluoride.  Does it make any sense at all to give both of them the same amount, regardless of body size or health history, and to not know or monitor how much fluoride they're drinking or ingesting from other sources?"
   When asked under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act in April of this year if delivery point monitoring of fluoride was undertaken as part of the stipulated two year monitoring of fluoridation in Kaitaia and Kaikohe the FNDC replied that fluoride sampling was not undertaken at random tap outlets and that surveys at delivery points in the reticulation areas have not been undertaken.  The NDHB did not specifically respond to this question but did state that it had not issued any press release regarding mixing infant formula with fluoridated water.
  The Mayor's office is reported as stating that the FNDC will never hold a referendum on fluoridation but that should not be crucial as the Chief Executive Officer has assured me that it continues to monitor developments in all aspects of drinking water, including fluoride, and will advise Council in the event of any changes.
  It will be interesting to see if the proceedings of the Toronto conferences and the currently available information in Fluoride journal will independently alter Council views on fluoridation or if the ideological mantras of the Ministry of Health and NDHB hold sway.

Ross Forbes