Some fluoride advocates have recently decried those who raise alarms concerning the prospective fluoridation of the Springs' water supply, dismissing them as "Chicken Littles." Reference to the Center for Disease Control's recent imprimatur has also been made, with the subtext that they represent the final authority in matters of epidemiology.
Maybe so, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're judgment is detached from the realm of political expediency -- or a government-endorsed spin campaign that dates back to the Manhattan Project. This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road when it comes to fluoridation.
While a number of people have correctly drawn attention to the use of an industrial waste byproduct (hydrofluorosilic acid), hardly anyone has questioned fluoride itself. Yet, as Joel Griffiths and Chris Bryson noted in a recent article based on declassified documents (Fluoride, Teeth and the Atomic Bomb, Project Censored Yearbook 1999, p. 74), the original so-called safety arguments for fluoride were developed in the 1940s by scientists working with the Manhattan Project as a device to counter possible litigation for atomic workers (since fluoride came off as a byproduct). Few writers either seem to be aware of this, or note it.
The same article notes clearly that fluoride was confirmed by the original Project workers as "one of the most toxic substances known" and further that PR efforts were needed to blunt any alarm by the public. To that end, government misinformation campaigns began in earnest in the 1950s, attempting to deflect the public's toxicity concerns by referring to fluoride's "benefits in fighting tooth decay."
This brainwashing has been sounded so often and convincingly it's become part and parcel of that vast constellation of accepted verities in public consciousness.
The controversy pivots around claims by experts that fluoridation "re-minerals" tooth enamel to inhibit decay, while denying any negatives. However mounting evidence shows the serious side effects of fluoride. The studies are viewed seriously in Europe, where 98 percent of communities have refused fluoridation initiatives.
Meanwhile, extensive "double blind" studies disclose no difference in tooth decay rates between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities.
Consider this: When you or I drink water, often up to eight glasses a day (the healthy, recommended minimum), we don't think we're doing ourselves any harm. But imagine something in the water -- at a level that can't be easily filtered -- with the potential to:
Distort the filtering "packets" (called glomeruli) in the kidneys, making it more difficult to remove toxins, which can then accumulate.
Alter brain cells (neurons) in terms of their receptive capacity, as well as cause deterioration of blood flow -- leading to Alzheimer's-like symptoms.
Both the above effects were noted in a 1998 study published in the journal Brain Research (Vol. 784, pp. 284-298), in which rats were administered the human equivalent of eight glasses of fluoridated water per day.
Why has the CDC not come out and warned us of these risks? There are at least two plausible reasons. First, CDC as an arm of the government is unlikely to overturn more than 50 years of carefully crafted government spin on fluoride's "benefits."
Second, it's hardly credible that, after giving its benediction for fluoride addition to hundreds of other municipalities, the CDC suddenly changes its stance, arousing the ire of earlier guinea pigs. Thus, their concurrence with fluoride addition is not surprising at all, nor does it translate into any genuine confirmation of alleged "benefits."
A final question that surely bears attention is: Why does this nation continue a public policy -- one that forces each man, woman, and child to ingest an identifiable toxin -- that's already been rejected by 98 percent of European communities?
During upcoming discussions, the Colorado Springs City Council can make only two possible decisions: They can responsibly err on the side of caution in the interests of the welfare of all Springs residents. Or, they can irresponsibly make its citizens unwilling, unwitting fluoride guinea pigs while capitulating to the entrenched spin campaign on behalf of fluoride's "dental benefits."
Phil Stahl lives in Colorado Springs. In coming weeks, the Colorado Springs City Council will be debating whether to incorporate fluoride into the city's water supply. Visit this column at www.csindy.com for links to sites offering more information on this issue.