Sludge Watch ==> EPA lowers Fluoride in Water due to Health Hazards

Maureen Reilly maureen.reilly at
Sat Jan 8 12:24:27 EST 2011
EPA lowers Fluoride in Water due to Health Hazards   

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are lowering the recommended amount of fluoride recommended for drinking water from 0.7 – 1.2 mg per liter to 0.7 mg per liter.
 The change in policy is in response to new findings by the National Academies of Science (NAS) that excess fluoride in the diet can cause dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis.1 The following is an excerpt from an EPA report: 

“At low intake levels, fluoride has been shown to have therapeutic value in the prevention of dental caries; however, slightly higher levels, particularly in children during the period of enamel development can lead to dental fluorosis, a condition in which the enamel covering of the teeth fails to crystallize properly. Possible resulting problems include enamel defects ranging from barely discernable markings to brown stains and surface pitting. Prolonged high intake of fluoride, at any age, can result in skeletal fluorosis, a condition which may increase bone brittleness, and in a potential increase in risk of bone fracture. In high-dose cases, severe bone abnormalities can develop, crippling the affected individual.”2
The HHS noted that access to fluoride has increased and that health and safety concerns prompted the change in policy. The HHS published, “Water is now one of several sources of fluoride. Other common sources include dental products such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, prescription fluoride supplements, and fluoride applied by dental professionals… This updated recommendation is based on recent EPA and HHS scientific assessments to balance the benefits of preventing tooth decay while limiting any unwanted health effects.”3
Comprehensive evaluations of many patient case studies appear in EPA reports. One patient, for example, was cited as contracting severe dental and skeletal fluorosis due to the fact that he drank a lot of water because he lived in the dry climate of Arizona. The study reads, “He presented with neurological deficits and severe weakness in both legs. Fluorosis was confirmed in an extracted tooth in which fluoride content ranged from 614 to 5299 ppm, depending on the part of the tooth….The characteristic vertebral changes of skeletal fluorosis and severe osteophytosis were probably the basis for the patient’s neurological deficits…. the neurological symptoms are adequately explained by the marked narrowing of the sagittal diameter of the cervical and lumbar spinal cord and the vertebral osteophytosis secondary to fluorosis. Neurological deficits occurred as a manifestation of spinal cord and nerve root bony compression.”4
[1] “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards.” 2006 National Research Council (NRC) report.
[2] EPA, 820-R-10-017, “Fluoride: Dose-Response Analysis For Non-cancer Effects.” 1-08, p xiv.
[3] “HHS and EPA announce new scientific assessments and actions on fluoride.” US Dept. Health & Human Services, news release, 1-7-2011.
[4] EPA, 820-R-10-017, “Fluoride: Dose-Response Analysis For Non-cancer Effects.” 1-08, p 15. 
Fluoride in your drinking water may be too high

Dear readers, 

FAN was all set to report on some of the exciting developments that have taken place in the first 7 days of this year, when this morning it got a lot more hectic with the announcement that the CDC is lowering its recommended "optimal" level for fluoride in water from a range of 0.7 to 1.2 ppm, down to single level: 0.7ppm. More about that decision below. First, the events we are tracking and with which we are trying to help with ONLINE messages. 

San Diego
Citizens are stepping up their campaign to keep fluoridation out of San Diego, California. We are supporting their efforts by sending out a third online message. We believe our previous two online messages helped to delay the start of the program from December 22 (horrible Christmas present) to mid-to-late January. Our third online message is to encourage San Diego to abandon fluoridation completely. If you are a resident of SD we ask you to sign and send this message . If you live outside SD and even outside the US please sign and send this message . These messages are also going to the local media and the city supervisor.

Meanwhile, today (Jan 8), the San Diegans Against Fluoridated Water coalition is meeting to plan a strategy for the month of January. The meeting takes place from noon to 2 p.m. at Joyce Beers Community Center, 1230 Cleveland Avenue at the Ralph's Shopping Center in Hillcrest (off University Avenue). According to one of the organizers, "Attendees will leave the meeting with action items that include confronting the broadcast media and elected officials, and increasing the involvement of other San Diegans. We want them to know we are with them to support this endeavor." Patty Ducey-Brooks, the publisher and executive editor of the Presidio Sentinel, will be moderating the meeting and invites anyone in SD interested in assisting this cause toemail her or phone at 619-296-8731 .

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Press reports indicate that Calgary City Council in Alberta is preparing to end fluoridation, a move that is receiving strongeditorial support from the local newspaper. Originally, the Council was ready to vote on the issue next Monday (Jan 10) but the mayor may delay the process to allow input from "experts." I think we all know what that means. The promoters will trundle in every dentist that they can find and probably Health Canada representatives as well to tell the councilors that fluoridation is the best thing since sliced bread and they will be sentencing their kids (especially poor kids) to the dark ages of rampant tooth decay if they stop fluoridation now! So we have prepared another ONLINE message to send to the mayor and the councilors to encourage them to do the right thing and end fluoridation now. Please sign and send this message.

New York City
We have heard from Peter Vallone, Jr.'s office that he intends to introduce his bill calling for an end to fluoridation in NYC on Jan 18. We have thus prepared another online message to NYC. This time the message is addressed to ALL the councilors to give them the facts before they are twisted and spun by the dental lobby and other promoters like the American Council and Science and Health, an industry supported group. This message will be available for sending some time next week. We will let you know when it is ready.

There are other things in the works but this is enough for the moment. Now for today's dramatic events

DHHS lowers optimal level of fluoride in drinking water to 0.7 ppm.
This morning started with an "exclusive" interview that the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) gave to the Associated Press on their decision to lower the so-called "optimal" level of fluoride in drinking water to 0.7 ppm. Previously it could go as high as 1.2 ppm.

Next was a 7:23am email from the "EPA Office of Public Engagement" on a "Stakeholder" phone conference at 11am on the DHHS announcement (see email at bottom), then the release of new documents on EPA's site, and for the rest of the day a barrage of media requests for interviews, ending with major media coverage around the country and world (we have already heard from our contacts in Australia, Israel and New Zealand).

The "Stakeholder" conference call was a miserable affair. 
The DHHS message was that the lowering of the fluoride level was being done because of rampant dental fluorosis in children (it now effects 41% of children aged 12-15 in the US). EPA's message was the grandness of the collaboration between agencies and the importance of fluoride in the water to protect teeth, even though they now admit that their former "optimal" level to protect teeth (0.7 - 1.2 ppm) actually harmed a significant percent of US children's teeth. The key message, however, was that the EPA was signalling that they were going to engineer an MCLG which would protect the fluoridation program. Once again politics is going to trump science.

Although we were invited to be part of this conference via phone our attempts to ask questions were ignored. Even when there were long pauses in questioning and we were frantically pressing the *1 buttons on our telephone (which we were told to do to ask a question) we were never called on. Nearly all the questions came from the dental lobby. Nothing was heard from opponents.

0.7 ppm is STILL too high
An infant who receives formula reconstituted with fluoridated tap water at this new level (0.7 ppm), will receiveapproximately 175 times more fluoride than a breast-fed infant. These infants are STILL not being protected with this new level. The CDC, the ADA and the EPA must clearly inform parents, caregivers, and health providers that infant formula should only be reconstituted with non-fluoridated water. Only when they make a determined and aggressive effort to do this should the public believe that the CDC is serious about reducing the rate of dental fluorosis. Without that effort it will become abundantly clear that this whole exercise today was a sham - simply an effort to divert attention from the fact that the CDC continues to push fluoridation while ignoring reports of serious health concerns at doses which offer no adequate margin of safety to protect everyone in our population, drinking fluoridated water, especially, but not limited to, bottle-fed infant (NRC, 2006).

Once again the CDC has been brilliant at confining the discussion to teeth, as if this was the only tissue in the body that needed protection! In its announcement, the DHHS made no mention of other adverse effects of fluoride in drinking water aside from dental fluorosis. The landmark 2006 report published by the National Research Council of the National Academies noted three adverse health effects that led them to call for a lowering of the current Maximum Contaminant Level for fluoride in drinking water (currently set at 4 ppm). The following two effects singled out by the NRC panel were not mentioned by DHHS: bone fractures and pre-clinical stages of skeletal fluorosis, which manifests as arthritis.

But the DHHS's (and the EPA's) biggest omission was their failure to mention fluoride's impact on the brain. There have now been over 100 studies that fluoride damages animal brain. There have also been 24 studies that have shown an association between exposure to moderate to high levels of fluoride and lowered IQ in children. While some proponents have criticized the methodology of some of these studies, no fluoridated country (except for one small study in NZ) has attempted to repeat them in the US. Ironically, the 24th IQ study was pre-published (Dec 17) online by Environmental Health Perspectives - the journal published by the National Institute for Environmental Heath Sciences which is part of the DHHS. So the DHHS's willingness to ignore this study can hardly be based on a challenge to the methodology because one of its own agencies had the article peer-reviewed and deemed it of sufficient quality to be published in its premier publication!

The collaboration between the DHHS and the ADA
DHHS in this instance is the Oral Health Division of the CDC. This is a group of 30 people - largely dentally trained - involved primarily in the promotion of water fluoridation. For a long time it has been clear that the CDC and ADA are the tweedledum and tweedledee of fluoridation promotion. That was clearly demonstrated today in an eGram that the ADA sent its membership. It contained this sentence: 

"HHS has asked the ADA and its members to help minimize any concerns and reassure the public that water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to prevent dental disease."

The collaboration between DHHS and EPA
EPA's Office of Drinking Water is mandated to regulate contaminants in water, not additives like fluoride. It should have no say in what constitutes a benefit. The EPA's job is to develop standards for contaminants that are protective of the whole population. In so doing it must utilize the best science available to derive a goal (MCLG) which uses the lowest observable effect level for the most sensitive end point for "known and reasonably anticipated health effects" and then apply a safety factor such that the final level will protect everyone in society, including vulnerable subsets of the population. This determination of safety should not be tainted with considerations of a benefit, which is what clearly happened today when EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water Peter Silva, stated that "EPA's new analysis will help us make sure that people benefit from tooth decay prevention while at the same time avoiding the unwanted health effects from too much fluoride."

The EPA must tell us what is safe and use the best science to do it. Accommodating the DHHS's desire to protect the water fluoridation program at all costs is a betrayal of the public's trust. That betrayal is best observed in the willingness of the EPA to do away with a margin of safety in determining a safe reference dose (RfD). The reasoning they used for eliminating a safety factor (or in their jargon, choosing an "uncertainty factor" of 1) was as follows:

"In establishing an estimated oral RfD for fluoride, data on nutritional benefit were assessed in combination with the data on severe dental fluorosis to define a level that provides anticaries protection without causing severe dental fluorosis when consumed daily for a lifetime. Conventional application of uncertainty factors is not always appropriate when carrying out a risk assessment for nutrients and other beneficial substances, especially when there is a relatively small difference between the levels that satisfy need and those that cause adverse effects. For this reason the total uncertainty factor applied was 1. The widely recognized variability in epidemiological data on the prevalence of severe dental fluorosis combined with the data demonstrating the anticaries benefit of exposures to fluoride at concentrations at or below the BMDL do not support any other approach. The margin of difference between the AI and RfD is 0.03 mg/kg/day."
Ref: page 105 at

What an independent observer would conclude from this statement above was that a lack of an adequate margin of safety between a toxic level and a so-called beneficial level makes the fluoridation program untenable. And that is only considering the damage to teeth - it doesn't even begin to address the issue of a lack of margin of safety between the levels that cause a possible lowering of IQ and the optimal level to reduce tooth decay.

One big family protecting the water fluoridation program
The DHHS (or rather one small part of it, namely the Oral Health Division of the CDC), the ADA and now the EPA are working together to protect the fluoridation program. Who is left to protect the people? As Dr. Mercola said: don't expect any help at the federal level, we are going to have end fluoridation one city at a time. Hence the huge importance of the efforts underway in San Diego, Calgary and New York City discussed above.

Please sign the online messages above and ask your friends to do the same.

Stay tuned.

Paul Connett, Director
Fluoride Action Network

EPA's Email for Stakeholder phone conference:

On 1/7/11 7:23 AM, "Carter-Jenkins.Shakeba at"

EPA Office of Public Engagement
Carter-jenkins.shakeba at

January 7, 2011

Senior EPA and HHS officials to hold Stakeholder Briefings on New Scientific Assessments and Actions on Fluoride

WASHINGTON - Today, January 7, 2011 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
will hold a stakeholder conference call to provide an overview of the new scientific assessments and actions on fluoride.

WHO: Senior EPA and HHS Officials

WHAT: Stakeholder briefing to discuss new scientific assessments and actions on Fluoride

WHEN: Friday, January 7, 2011, 11:00 a.m. EST (winter time)

Participant Dial-in Number: 877-290-8017 ; Conference ID Number: 35759768

Shakeba Carter-Jenkins
Special Assistant to the
Deputy Associate Administrator
Office of the Administrator
Office of External Affairs &
Environmental Education

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Room 2501F ARN
(p) 202.564.6385 - 202.302.6113 (c)
carter-jenkins.shakeba at epa. 		 	   		  

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