Denver occupies the spot light of the fluoride debate: The largest supplier of public drinking water in Colorado is considering how much fluoride to pump into the delivery system. The debate was fueled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommending that fluoride drinking levels be lowered to 0.7 milligrams per liter. Federal health officials originally recommended 0.7 milligrams to 1.2 milligrams per liter.(1)
The Denver Water Board organized a public forum that allowed citizens to discuss the pros and cons of fluoridated water. Those in favor of adding fluoride to the water supply touted the same tired arguments — namely, that fluoride is a safe and inexpensive way of boosting oral health.(2)
A form of mass medication
Anti-fluoride activists joined together in a campaign sponsored by the Fluoride Action Network and “We Are Change Colorado,” which called out water fluoridation for what it really is — a form of mass medication. The campaign has convinced 200 cities to quit adding fluoride chemicals to drinking water. They hope to convince Colorado as well.(1)
The campaign’s impact caused Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and his chief medical officer, Dr. Larry Wolk to issue a joint statement prior to the public forum. “More than 70 years of research has proven that community water fluoridation is a safe, effective and inexpensive method of improving the oral health of all Coloradans,” the statement read.(1)
As reported in the independent media, most developed nations, like Japan and several European countries, do not fluoridate their water. In contrast, approximately 70 percent of the United States’ water supply is fluoridated, and an estimated 72 percent of Colorado’s municipal system contains fluoride chemicals.(1,3)
The reason that developed nations do not fluoridate their drinking water is because they recognize it is a form of mass medication. Since fluoride is a drug used to thwart certain ailments, adding fluoride to water forces the public to swallow a drug without consent. Furthermore, there is no evidence that tooth decay rates are higher in developed nations that do not fluoridate their than in those that do not. The latter countries recognize that public drinking water is not an appropriate place to add drugs, and that the government has no businesses in quite literally feeding the public medication without informed consent.(3)
One size doesn’t fit all
The problem with the one-size-fits all approach is that people respond differently to the same amount of a drug. Doctors prescribe medication based upon a variety of factors, including age, weight, gender and nutritional status, among other considerations. Water fluoridation disregards these considerations.
Unlike prescription drugs, however, there is no oversight with fluoridated water. Rather, it nurses the public with uncontrolled doses of fluoride. Although authorities can control the amount of fluoride put into the water, they cannot control the amount of water each individual consumes.(3)
Anti-fluoride activists also noted at the forum that children are overexposed to fluoride. Children ought to consume less sugar, not consume more fluoride. Furthermore, public drinking water isn’t the only source of fluoride. If some people want to use fluoride, then they can consult the dental hygiene aisle at the supermarket.(2)
Fluoride also has side effects. It has been shown to cause fluorosis, which disfigures the teeth of children who are overexposed to fluoride. This is particularly damaging to children, since permanent teeth develop during the first eight years of life.
Denver water is expected to update its position on fluoridation August 26. Its’ time for the U.S. to follow the footsteps of Japan and other developed countries by recognizing that public drinking water is a source for nourishment rather than medication.