Could Fluoridation Be Linked to Cancer?

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Since the 1960’s, fluoride has been rapidly implemented into the lives of the masses. It has been added to everything from our drinking water to the dental products we use, and the amount put into our water systems has only increased over the years.

Even despite it being considered safe by the CDC, at 1 PPM (Parts per Million), at the current time (2014), the levels of fluoride in drinking water are from 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter.

However, this amount is being reconsidered due to many other sources of fluoride being in our diets. The new recommendation is 0.7 milligrams fluoride per liter of water. The CDC says that the level at which it is added to the water (around 1 ppm) is safe and effective. At 4 PPM, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, is too high for water systems.

In 2011, talk about lowering the fluoride levels was rampant and even made the news a couple of times with statements such as “Government recommends lowering fluoride levels in US drinking water.”

fluoridationSince fluoride is a chemical that we’re all consuming on a daily basis, and at such high levels, it’s important to stay informed of its effects, benefits, safety and other such information. That said, we should look objectively at all angles — the negatives, the positives and the in-betweens —  of the  information available regarding fluoride so that we can make informed decisions for ourselves.

When it comes to the fluoride controversy and whether it’s good or bad for us, the amount of information available is overwhelming.  One internet search containing the single-word fluoride will present you with results that identify the likely damages fluoride has on our health. Interestingly enough, there’s more bad than good.

While many have said that the studies done on fluoride showing adverse effects are mostly of “low quality,” it’s important to be able to look at all the information for yourself, especially considering not everyone will arrive at the same opinion regarding the quality of a study.

In this article, we’ll look at as many of these angles as possible based on the information available to the public, including speculative, but plausible information. I’ve personally spent the last year devoting much of my time to researching this issue so that I could make the best decision for my health, so this article will include much of what I have learned.

While there is an overwhelming amount of research and studies available that link fluoride consumption to hundreds of health problems, including cancer, at present, there’s little proof that fluoride is not to blame or that it’s totally safe.  Yet dentists and the Government pump us full of it.

Let’s start with some of the positive information that’s been fed to us.

The Positives of Consuming Fluoride

The National Cancer Institute looked at cancer cases and deaths, evaluating over 2 millions records of deaths from cancer and 125,000 cancer case records of countries with fluoridated water and found no sign that there were links between the disease and fluoridated drinking water.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in 1987 published a review stating that fluoride’s carcinogenicity to humans was not classifiable and that the studies “have shown no consistent tendency for people living in areas with high concentrations of fluoride in the water to have higher cancer rates than those living in areas with low concentrations.”

They’ve also made the statement that the studies available on fluoride and its link to cancer “fail” to establish a connection between the two, and that “optimal fluoridation does not pose a detectable cancer risk to humans as evidenced by extensive human epidemiological data available to date…”

According to the CDC website, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine published ”a systematic review” in 2002 “of published studies conducted by a team of experts on behalf of the independent, nonfederal Task Force found that community water fluoridation was effective in reducing tooth decay among populations.”

Interestingly enough, that report was titled  “Interventions to Prevent Dental Caries, Oral and Pharyngeal Cancers, and Sports-Related Craniofacial Injuries.” (American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2002)

The above information could be considered positive since it mentions fluoride as a beneficial chemical to consume due to its effectiveness in reducing tooth decay. Other information shown above says that there’s no link between fluoride and cancer.

This is just a drop in the bucket.

The Negatives of Fluoride Consumption and Whether it Could Play a Role in Cancer

Fluoride has been believed by some to be a cancer risk promoter since 1975. It is now the year 2014 and 66% of all US cities have fluoridated tap water. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2536164/)

According to some research, fluoride promotes bone cancer.  (Bone Cancer Incidence Rates in New York, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 81, pp. 81, 475 (1991); Irwin Herskowitz)

Others continue to maintain the argument that there’s no link between cancer and fluoridation, but it’s hard to ignore some of the information presented by folks like Dr. Burke.

Dr. Dean Burke finds Link Between Cancer and Fluoride Consumption

Dr. Dean Burke, former head of the National Cancer Institute Cytochemistry Research Department, was a bio-chemist as well as a medic and 50-year cancer researcher who was so strongly opposed to water fluoridation that even after his retirement from NCI, he spent a great deal of his time spreading awareness about the dangers of human consumption of fluoride.

Dean Burke was one of the most-recognized people to publicly oppose water fluoridation. His research and findings have been the basis of many others influenced by his findings. Doctors all over the world have devoted themselves to this topic, in an attempt to find out once and for all if fluoride does in fact have any link to cancer.

Burke believed there was a link between fluoride and cancer rates. He referred to fluoridation in our water as being a form of murder due to fluoride being a poison and carcinogen. Burke spent much of his time looking at the discrepancies and comparisons between fluoridated and non-fluoridated cities, and even cities before and after fluoridation of water was introduced. His findings were quite frankly shocking, even if one were to disregard any truth to them.

After studying rats given fluoridated water, Burke’s findings showed an increase in tumors, thyroid follicular cell tumors and cancers in oral squamous cells, as well as an increase in developing a bone cancer (osteosarcoma) and a liver cancer.

After his study in 1971 on the effects of fluoridated drinking water, Burke concluded that:
“One-tenth of the 350,000 cancer deaths per year in the U.S. are linked with artificial public water fluoridation.”

“This aspect, this murder aspect clearly indicates a very strong, unethical aspect to forcing people to kill themselves Burke had said during the interview — which can be found on YouTube today — when asked about the “ethical law aspects” of water fluoridation.

There is so much more to be read about Dr. Burke’s many findings on fluoride and the damage it’s capable of causing. Burke, however is only one of thousands of people, including dentists, doctors, and others who have come to this realization about fluoride.

Christina Walsh Says Fluoride Has Been Found to Cause Cancer
Christina Walsh, another popular “no-fluoride” activist has shared her belief that fluoride causes cancer.

“It is a complete fraud to suggest that fluoride reduces dental caries when this has never been proven. The opposite is true; fluoride has been found to cause cancer, osteoporosis and DNA damage among dozens of other illnesses.”

 “Fluoride was found to be an equivocal carcinogen by the National Cancer Institute Toxicological Program.”(Bucher, Results and conclusions of the National Toxicology Program’s rodent carcinogenicity studies with sodium fluoride, Int J Cancer, 1991 Jul 9;48(5):733-7.)

According to Natural Society, fluoride is known to cause 10,000 cancer deaths.

Furthermore, in a Government ran study in 1990 where they treated rats with fluoride, the findings were that young male rats showed osteosarcomas, although females did not.

Fluoride should be considered a possible cause of lung and bladder cancer” say authors of “Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Issue 19,” Jorgen Olsen and Dr. Philippe Grandjean.

The following excerpt from that issue explains why Grandjean and Olsen arrived at such a conclusion:

“We previously reported the cancer morbidity from 1943 through 1987 for 422 male cryolite workers employed for more than 6 months at the mill from 1924 through 1961. We observed excess incidences of primary cancer of the lungs and of urinary bladder tumors (including bladder papilloma)… We have now extended the follow-up of this cohort by 12 years, at the end of which the total percentage of cohort members who had died exceeded 90%. These findings amplify our previous observation of increased bladder cancer rates among cryolite workers… We therefore believe that fluoride should be considered a possible cause of bladder cancer and a contributory cause of primary lung cancer.”

“We observed that, for males diagnosed before the age of 20 years, fluoride level in drinking water during growth was associated with an increased risk of osteosarcoma,” (Bassin, Cancer, Causes & Control, 2006) This is due to studies showing fluoride can cause genetic damage, the conclusion therefore, while it may seem weak, was that “a chemical that can cause genetic damage is one that can likely cause, or contribute to, the development of cancer.

Upon looking to compare the differences in communities who stopped fluoridating their water to their dental health during fluoridation, five different peer-reviewed studies, done between the year 2000 and 2001 showed that in East Germany, 4 out of 5 cases actually showed improvements, while others showed no increase in dental caries. (Kunzel W, Fischer T (2000). Caries prevalence after cessation of water fluoridation in La Salud, Cuba.  Caries Research 34:20-5)

In 2003, Machalinski reported that “four different human leukemic cell lines were more susceptible to the effects of sodium hexafluorosilicate, the compound most often used in fluoridation, than to NaF.”

EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) Stance on Fluoride
Although many union members from the Environmental Protection Agency, (in charge of the fluoride levels present in water systems) union members have been very outspoken in their opinions on fluoride’s health consequences, and actively worked to get the level of fluoride in water reduced, to date, the EPA has not succumbed to any of the concerns regarding the growing levels of fluoride in water over the years. At 4.0 milligrams per liter, this number remains the same since 2006.

However, just this year the EPA warned Wolfforth and two other cities of Texas that their drinking water contained excessive amounts of fluoride and ordered them to lower the levels within an 18 month time frame.

Portland was one of the few un-fluoridated cities that remained until the City Council approved of the fluoride addition to their citizens water, beginning in 2014 without allowing a citywide vote. This decision garnered angry citizens determined to not stand by and let their officials make their decisions for them. They took action and gained 30,000 signatures, petitioning for a citywide vote, one that would allow the citizens to contribute to the decision of what would go into their bodies.

The EPA members are of mixed feelings:
According to one EPA committee member, Dr Hardy Limeback, “we were clearly instructed to avoid trying to figure out a new MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Level Goal).”

Ultimately, for the time being, the decision is still yours, although it is admittedly tough to avoid exposure to something that’s so pushed on us. Fluoride has even managed to find its way into water wells, according to this statement from the CDC website:

“A 2008 U.S. Geological Survey study found that 4% of sampled wells had natural fluoride levels above the EPA Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) of 2 mg/L. A smaller set of 1.2% of all wells exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 4 mg/L.”

The ADA is Okay with Mass Fluoridation
The ADA’s stance has been to avoid giving infants fluoridated water, but they slap their label of approval on fluoridated toothpastes.

Things to Consider
On my quest to find out is fluoride actually poisoning us, here are just some things I took into consideration.

Do we need fluoride for cavity prevention?
National Institute of Dental Research performed a review regarding 39,000 children from ages 5-17, which showed that cities with high tooth decay had 9.34% more decay in children consuming fluoridated water. When 1 PPM (Parts Per Million) was added to the water, a 5.4% increase of decay among the children was found. Finally, 9 cities of high-fluoridation and high decay had 10% more decay than nine equivalent non-fluoridated cities.

However, the Federal Government and health officials alike say fluoride causes a 25% tooth decay reduction nationwide.

This is only one study of many that prove fluoride does not prevent tooth decay, not in the long run anyways. There are some findings that show fluoride, when applied topically can harden enamel, but the effects tend to increase decay after a year or so.

The FDA hasn’t even given their safety approval. As it stands, fluoride is labeled an “unapproved drug,” and they’ve never approved a fluoride product, but have disapproved two fluoride-containing supplements.

In fact, fluorides are listed by the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) among the top 20 of 275 substances that pose the most significant threat to human health.

Fluoridating US water is estimated to cost around $1.02 a year, per person.

Could vitamin intake play a role in fluoride – damage prevention?
On a more positive note, a study, one done by China showed that the toxicity of fluoride could be interfered with by calcium. They did a study on rats deficient in calcium and rats sufficient in calcium. The latter showed that it took 45 PPM of fluoride to interfere with the strength and density of their bones. On the other hand, rats without calcium showed damage to their bones with just 1 PPM of fluoride. This spoke volumes to me (and also gave me the sudden urge to down the remaining calcium supplements I have on hand.)

More findings suggested that magnesium deficiencies caused the bones of rats to hold more fluoride than rats with significant magnesium levels.

In the end, the truth is that nobody knows how much fluoride any of us are getting. This likely explains, at least somewhat, the inconsistent results of so many different studies that have been done on fluoride. Of course with the exception being those studies where the test subject(s) were given specific amounts. The rats, for example were given particular amounts of fluoride that could be kept up with throughout the studies.

Keep in mind that this article has focused mainly on the many opinions and suggestions that link fluoride to cancer. I’ve not included the links between the various other health problems in which fluoride has been shown to most definitely have, such as the increased risk of hip fractures.

Why, if even the FDA cannot come to a conclusion on whether or not fluoridation is harmful are we still consuming it at such a high rate?

It appears that in the case of fluoride and our health, we’ll have to choose based on the information we’re given whether to use or not use according to what resonates within us.

As it stands today, fluoride’s relation to cancer has yet to be agreed upon. Many prominent figures in our society have plausible evidence that suggests fluoride has innumerable health consequences, including cancer.

At this moment, it’s nearly impossible to figure out which information is most reliable, but it’s never the less a good idea to look at fluoridation with caution.

It is, however, interesting to say the least that with all the research, studies and findings, the conclusions have come to either “unknown” or a definitive yes, fluoride causes cancer and more, it is interesting that with these two answers, it’s tough to not ask yourself why are we still pushing it through the water systems, including it in baby water, formulas and toothpastes?

We aren’t always in a situation that allows us to choose the quality of water we receive. While there are ways to remove fluoride from our water systems (reverse osmosis), it is a very expensive process, and the truth of the matter is, many aren’t able to afford such luxuries.

So, what can we do?  Many fortunate cities have formed a sort of “anti-fluoridation” group, which fights for pure water, and there are cases where folks have won the battle in their cities. For example, the folks of Pinellas county Florida have managed to have fluoride removed from their water systems.

You can also seek help from the fluoride action networks available in getting non-fluoridated water in your own city. Speaking up to your legislators is always recommended by anti-fluoride organizations.

Will you acquiesce and use fluoridated drinking water and toothpaste, or will you be more conscious of this stuff? Will you add more vitamins to your daily regimen in hopes of them preventing the damage fluoride may cause?

Those who choose to avoid fluoride appear to be on a good path. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to put something that was once used to make prisoners “docile” and that has the ability to corrode a metal pipe into my own pipes.

2 Comments
  1. Bart says

    I think you managed to get people to reconsider their unquestioning behaviour (if they read your piece, that is…)
    Well referenced, well researched, and well written.
    Thank you for another great article, Kendra.

  2. Kendra says

    Bart,
    Wow, thank you so much for your reply, and for taking the time to read all that & to comment! Means a lot to me that you did so, and that you thought it was well done! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂

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