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An article in Salon Magazine, Feb. 17, 2000 reported that the workers' union at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was requesting that bottled water be made available for employees.  Their reason?  The municipal water is contaminated with fluoride, a poisonous chemical once used  in rat poison.


This event brought to mind the book Super Drug Story written in the late 50's (?) by Morris A. Bealle, who quit his job as an editor to devote full time to investigative reporting.  He blamed the inclusion of fluoride in drinking water on the owners of  the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) amongst whom the names Mellon and Rockefeller were prominent if one looked below the surface. Fluoride is a toxic substance left over from certain industrial processes, notably the smelting of aluminum.

Bealle drew attention to a scientific trial involving two New York State cities along the Hudson River: Newburgh and Kingston.  Newburgh children were given the advantage of fluoridated water; Kingston children were not.  Examination of the children's teeth by the State Board of Education five years later came as a shock to the fluoride promoters when it found that 63% of Newburgh children had bad teeth compared to 41% of the Kingston children who had not been forced to drink fluoridated water.  To top it off, the Newburgh City Department of Health found a 50 % increase in heart disease and "other soft tissue organ disorders".

Bealle attributes the fact that these results did not end fluoridation to the efforts of Oscar Ewing, a highly-paid ALCOA lawyer, who had been appointed Federal Security Administrator with jurisdiction over the US Public Health Service (USPHS).  Abetted by the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Dental Association (ADA), USPHS stepped up its campaign to fluoridate every city's water just as the Clinton Administration is still doing today.


The Salon article by Mark Hertsgaard and Philip Frazer points out that "A growing body of scientific research suggests that long-term fluoride consumption may cause numerous health problems, ranging from cancer and impaired brain function to brittle bones and fluorosis (white splotches on teeth that indicate weak enamel)."

Echoing the Newburgh/Kingston results, the article points out that tooth decay rates in Western Europe, which is 98% fluoride free, have declined just as fast they have in the US where 62% of the people have fluoride  in their drinking water.

Dr William Marcus was fired as EPA's chief drinking water toxicologist (but later reinstated after he fought back) for insisting that a study showing that fluoride is a carcinogen be reviewed by an independent panel with no ties to USPHS.  Among other things the study had found that rats who developed bone cancer when fed fluoride, had a lower levels of the poison in their bones than people who regularly drank tap water with concentrations of 4 ppm.

Dr Phyllis Mullenix was fired from her job as a department chairwoman by the Forsyth Research Institute after permitting her findings, that fluoride adversely affected rats' brain function, to be published in Neurotoxicology and Teratology.  Mullinex claims that she was told her article might cause the institute to lose its funding from the National Institute of Dental Research which comprised 90% of its income.


Hertsgaard and Fraser attribute the success of fluoride advocacy to Andrew W. Mellon, Treasury Secretary and founder and major stockholder of ALCOA, Oscar R. Ewing in charge of the USPHS and his aide Edward L. Bernays, "father of modern public relations, ...who sought to portray fluoride's opponents as wackos."

There was a big push for fluoridation after World War II when aluminum and steel companies were faced with getting rid of their toxic stockpiles of  fluoride.  The fertilizer industry also generates a lot along with coal-burning power plants and the glass and cement industries.  It was to their advantage to sell this toxic waste for use in water treatment plants as opposed to paying to dispose of it.

People are slowly catching on, however.  Bedford and Natick MA, Newark and Jersey City, NJ, and Los Angeles have seen fit to stop adding fluoride to their water.  Hertsgaard and Fraser suggest that more cities might follow suit if more people were to read the special warning for children aged 2-6 on their toothpaste tubes:

"Use only a pea-sized amount and supervise the child's brushing and rinsing (to minimize swallowing)."  Parents are further advised to keep toothpaste "out of the reach of children under 6 years of age" and "In case of accidental a Poison Control Center immediately."

Report on Analysis of British Medical Journal article on fluoride

Report on Fluoride Politics from Kamloops BC  Canada

Fluoride can make you sick by Paul Beeber & Paul Connett, PhD 8/02

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The Civil Abolitionist

Summer 2000