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Fluoridation Is A Racist Policy?

— Since doing a couple of blog posts on fluoridation of San Diego water supplies I've heard from several people who oppose fluoridation based on highly questionable theories and suppositions. This latest one may be the best.

I got a press release from a PR representative of the "Coalition of African American Pastors." It tells of fluoride hazards I'd never heard of, or even imagined. Read their document, which I've copied below. I'll just say it speaks of fluoride's contribution to kidney disease, diabetes and lower IQ. It also claims fluoride has a "disproportionate" effect on black people.

Somehow, the thought of putting this stuff in the water supply makes people a little bit nuts. Of the many hazards I've been told about, related to fluoride, the only one that seems to have any rational basis is dental fluorosis, which is caused by fluoride's overuse. It can give your teeth a mottled appearance. Not unhealthy. Just unsightly.

But fluoridation is not a communist plot and it doesn't make you stupid. Then again... who knows how much higher my IQ would be if I hadn't grown up with fluoridated water? The press release is below. Give it all the consideration it deserves.

Black Pastors Association Leader Calls for Fluoridegate Investigations

Cites Disproportionate Fluoride Risks for African Americans

Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, who resides in Memphis, TN, is joining a growing chorus of leaders calling for federal and state hearings and investigations into new revelations about risks from drinking fluoridated water.

Owens wants to know why important fluoride information wasn't shared with African American leaders and citizens, and is especially concerned about fluoride impacts on poor and inner city families.

"There are so many issues that need to be addressed in Fluoridegate investigations," he states. "This is very disturbing."

"Why wasn't the black community told that blacks are disproportionately impacted by harm from fluorides and fluoridated water? Nobody told me until I learned about this a year ago. African Americans have more kidney disease and more diabetes, but nobody elected to tell us that kidney patients and diabetics are more susceptible to harm from ingested fluorides."

In 2006 the National Research Council (NRC) published a report that listed diabetics, kidney patients, babies and children, seniors, and outdoor workers as "susceptible sub-populations" that are especially vulnerable to harm from fluorides.

Owens also wants to know why the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) didn't issue a press release when it changed its stance about mixing baby formula with fluoridated water after the NRC report was issued.

Shortly after the NRC report was published the CDC posted deep inside its website a statement about children potentially developing permanent staining of teeth called "dental fluorosis" if fluoridated water is used to mix baby formula.

"Do you know how many millions of moms and dads are going to their kitchen sink every day to get water for baby formula? This affects a lot of people. Why no press release?" he asks.

"What are poor families to do if they can't afford unfluoridated water? How are they to learn the information about fluorosis? How are they to pay to repair the stains on their teeth?"

"What about the kidney risks and concerns about IQ impacts?" he continues. "Does the Center for Disease Control really think that fluorides miraculously only affect teeth in the mouth and don't impact the rest of the body?"

Owens is an outspoken advocate for assisting children in their education and is concerned about reports of IQ impacts from children ingesting fluorides.

In 2009 a study in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry noted that black children ingest significantly more fluorides than white children.

The 2006 NRC report included a statement that, "More research is needed to clarify fluoride's biochemical effects on the brain."

CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published data in 2005 showing that blacks have significantly more of the worst forms of dental fluorosis than whites.

Owens wants to know why African Americans leaders weren't openly given this and other important information.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed somewhat reducing the level of fluoride in water in a statement on January 7, 2011.

The HHS actions don't go far enough, according to Rev. Owens, citing the issue that some people drink dramatically more water than others, have medical susceptibilities to fluorides, and have numerous other uncontrolled sources of fluoride in their diet.

"We need to investigate this Fluoridegate mess. This is a civil rights and environmental justice issue. We don't need just a little less fluoride in water. Fluoridation needs to end," he says firmly.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'nyscof'

nyscof | February 4, 2011 at 4:25 a.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

More than 3,500 professionals (including 300 dentists) urge that fluoridation be stopped citing scientific evidence that fluoridation is ineffective and has serious health risks. See statement:

Eleven US EPA unions representing over 7000 environmental and public health professionals are calling for a moratorium on fluoridation.

New York City Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr introduced legislation to stop fluoridation in New York City

New York State communities that stopped or rejected fluoridation include: Levittown, Canton, Corning, Johnstown, Oneida, Carle Place, Rockland County, Suffolk County, Western Nassau County, Albany, Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Central Bridge Water District, Homer, Ithaca, and Amsterdam.

The CDC reports that 225 less communities adjusted for fluoride between 2006 and 2008. Approximately, 90 US communities rejected fluoridation since 2008.

Adverse health effects of fluoride http://www.FluorideAction.Net/health

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Avatar for user 'jwillie6'

jwillie6 | February 4, 2011 at 8:06 a.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

There are many large scientific studies to show that that drinking fluoridated water has no posistive effect on cavity reduction and to show that it causes cancer, thyroid damage, broken hips, lowered IQ and other health problems. The best source for scientific information on fluoridation can be found here: (

If fluoride were "proven," there should be evidence of its success in Kentucky, which has been 100% fluoridated for over 40 years. Kentucky, however, leads the nation in the number of dental cavities in children, and in the number of completely toothless adults, according to government records. The same ineffectiveness is evident in many states and cities.

Most of Europe (16 countries) has considered and has rejected fluoridation and is 98% fluoride free. The WHO (United Nations) reports that they have a better tooth decay rate than any fluoridated country.

If you want fluoride in your water, put it in your own glass of water; leave the rest of us out of it.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | February 4, 2011 at 8:18 a.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

I honestly don't know what to believe when it comes to whether fluoridation is good or bad, however, I had it in my water as a kid and we even had fluoride rinsing days at school and today as an adult I have one tiny filling. One. I have no health problems, but I suppose eventually I will. My guess is the coffee and bagels will be the culprit though, not the fluoride. As for it being a racist policy? Here we go again - grew up in a neighborhood in which maybe the "other than white" percentage was about 5%. We all sucked down the fluoride white or black. California is a crazy state. Everything here is apparently a conspiracy and a racist policy? What will they think of next – taxpayers footing the bill for sex change operations?

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Avatar for user 'tickyul'

tickyul | February 4, 2011 at 8:49 a.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

Don't people get plenty of flouride from toothpaste???? I have pretty strong teeth from using flouride toothpaste and rinse, no need to also be ingesting the stuff.

I do not know who to believe on the health issues as it relates to the ingestion of flouride in drinking water. I mean it is the government that pushes Statins which I believe are not safe and cause a lot of harm to many people.

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Avatar for user 'maureenj'

maureenj | February 4, 2011 at 9:10 a.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

Here you go, folks......the government's own reference; 18 years ago!!
Page 44 and 45

Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride
Subcommittee on Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride
National Research Council
Washington, D.C. 1993

"Although the subject has received little attention, some data suggest that dental fluorosis is more prevalent among African-Americans than among other races or ethnic groups in the same community. Russell (1962), in the Grand Rapids fluoridation study, noted that fluorosis was twice as prevalent among African-American children than white children. In the Texas surveys in the 1980s, the odds ratio for African-American children having dental fluorosis, compared with Hispanic and non-Hispanic white children, was 2.3 (Butler et al., 1985b). Dental fluorosis also tended to be more severe among African-American children than white children in the Georgia study (Williams and Zwemer, 1990), although the difference was not statistically significant. In Kenya, prevalence and number of severe cases were unexpectedly high when related to fluoride concentrations in drinking water (Manji et al., 1986c), although nutritional factors could have confounded these results. The reasons for these findings are unknown and do not appear to have been explored further."

A logical theory is that because it is known that calcium mitigates the toxic effects of fluoride, any race that has high rates of lactose intolerance wherein children would ingest lower levels of milk, cheese and other dairy products, these children would have less exposure to the mineral that mitigates fluoride's toxicity.

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Avatar for user 'Tom Fudge'

Tom Fudge, KPBS Staff | February 4, 2011 at 9:50 a.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

In response to the final comment... Americans do get a lot more fluoride from products (toothpaste and the like) than they did when fluoridation began in the mid-20th century. That's why the US Health Dept recommends fluoride content in drinking water be reduced to a standard 0.7 milligrams per liter... a bit less than what San Diego is now putting into its tap water. Should we trust what the government is telling us? Maybe not. But the fluoride discussion has a history of unfounded, paranoid scenarios, as made clear by the press release you see above. We may not agree on all the facts. But you've got to remain sober and reasonable when you talk about this stuff.

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Avatar for user 'Tom Fudge'

Tom Fudge, KPBS Staff | February 4, 2011 at 9:53 a.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

Sorry... I was responding above to the comment prior to the "final" comment. The other one came in while I was writing mine.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 4, 2011 at 5:54 p.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

Maybe Gen. Jack D. Ripper was right after all?

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Avatar for user 'brixsy'

brixsy | February 4, 2011 at 11:46 p.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

I'd rather not have it decided for me, there are lots of ways to get fluoride (toothpaste, tea, etc).

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Avatar for user 'fluoride'

fluoride | February 5, 2011 at 2:38 a.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

This should be simple - just ask the ADA, CDC, DHHS, EPA and all pro-fluoridation advocates to come forward to name a study demonstrating the safety of current fluoride levels in drinking water and the effect of excessive daily intake of fluoride as a possible cause to chronic fluoride poisoning.
Name one that didn't exclude everyone with symptoms or use inappropriate methods. Don't rely on the sanitized reviews of the studies – ask for the originals.
No one can name a study because none exist. There were no legitimate long-term controlled studies; and no attempt to identify, verify, or gather reports of suspected or confirmed cases.

What do the scientists at tht EPA have to say?

Ron Eheman - I am a fluoride poisoned person. No I am not dead, but was coming close until I started using clean water.

Other fluoride poisoned persons can be found at my support group

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Avatar for user 'alconrad'

alconrad | February 14, 2011 at 6:36 a.m. ― 6 years, 1 month ago

fluoridation is government practicing medicine without a license. period. if i want or need medication I'll ask my doctor, not my city council members, thanks.

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Avatar for user 'informedconsent'

informedconsent | April 14, 2011 at 5:19 p.m. ― 5 years, 11 months ago

It is immoral and unethical to administar a drug without informed consent . The only exception would be when it's a life or death situation and the "patient" is incapacitated, then the medical proffesional must make the decision. This is clearly not the case with fluoridation. We are being dosed without consent , a clear violation of our rights.
The dogmatic view, that fluoridation is safe and good for you, which Tom endorses should not stand, considering the vast body of evidence to the contrary.
The implication that everyone who is against fluoridation is a crackpot,or conspiracy theorist is just an easy way for fluoridation proponents to dismiss the other sides points without having to debate the science. If you have a valid argument you have no need to attempt to denegrate your adversary with name calling or snide personal remarks. Let the science speak for itself and leave the chiding on the school grounds.

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Avatar for user 'x76'

x76 | April 14, 2011 at 7:21 p.m. ― 5 years, 11 months ago

As others have pointed out, there are no positive effects to the consumption of fluoride in any amount. Fluoride is a toxin. The notion of adding it to drinking water is insane.

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