Interviewer: If we know as many things as we do about fluoride and the
potential dangers, I guess the big question is: Why is it used as much as
it still in countries like the United States?
Professor Paul Connett: Quite a number of communities have stopped doing
this, I'm glad to say. Many countries in Europe stopped doing it. It's
denial. There's no question. The dental lobby, the dental professional has
seen fluoridation as a sense of pride in this thing. It's been a source of
a huge amount of funding. The dental research profession was literally
built on the backs of the fluoridation program. The researchers that
researched fluoridation in the '40s went on to become the head of a new
agency called The National Institute for Dental Research.
It was at a time when this practice sort of brought dentistry into the
medical profession. It brought it onto a level playing field, which meant
they could get a lot of money for research from the government and so on,
and respectability and pride. People have made whole careers out of
extolling the virtues of this thing. It's very difficult to turn around and
say we were wrong, that this was a bad idea.
For most dentists and doctors, they only get one side, at dental school,
that it's safe and effective and that people who are opposed to it are
loony tunes, at dental school. Then, when they've graduated, most are
extremely busy treating patients. They don't have time to read this
literature. Then, if you go into the middle levels of bureaucracy, they
quickly learn that you don't question policy. Someone who questions policy
is a troublemaker, and you're not going to get promoted, and so on.
If you're within the bureaucracy, either the dental profession or the
public health people, in the state health department and the federal
bureaucracy and so on, you don't question. You're left with a handful of
people at the very top, and their motivations are difficult to unravel.
It's pure conjecture on my part. My feeling is, after 16 years of
struggling with this question, why? Why do you continue to do this, even
though the evidence that you're causing harm is there? The evidence that
you're reducing tooth decay is very weak indeed. Why are they continuing to
do it? Why are they pushing even harder? Why, right now, are three people
about to vote in fluoridation in Portland, Oregon? Why are they refusing to
debate the issue? Why are they refusing to let the citizens vote on it?
Three times, the citizens have voted in Portland against this thing, but
no, there's something out there that is determined to push this into every
last non-fluoridated city that they can. I say, why? Why?
The only thing I can come up with is that, I think this is the calculation.
If they lose fluoridation, they lose credibility. If they lose credibility,
I'm talking about the public health community now, then it threatens other
public health practices. For public health, you have to have the public's
trust, and they're scared stiff of losing that public's trust. Therefore,
they've got to keep denying that they're damaging health or doing anything
wrong with fluoridation.
I think it's more or less they're defending fluoridation with so much
frenzy, because if they weren't defending fluoridation, they might be
defending some other things, like vaccination and some other public health
practices, which I think is much more dear to them at the center, the US
Surgeon General and the other people in NIH. I think these are more
important public health practices. They feel that they don't want to
protect those naked. They want the skirmish to be on fluoridation.
I don't know. If anybody that watches this has any other ideas why they
think this is going on, who's making money out of it. We know the phosphate
fertilizer industry is making money. We know the sugar lobby has always
been pro-fluoridation, because it's a distraction from one of the real
causes of tooth decay, is too much sugar. As long as you have the magic
bullet of fluoride, you don't have to worry about whether your kids are
eating too much candy, drinking too much soda, chocolate cookies, and so
We have possibly the dental products people are worried that if
fluoridation goes, that they could take a hit, too, if we establish that
fluoride is causing, say, osteoarthritis. We know it's causing dental
fluorosis. If it's causing osteosarcoma, then they could be in trouble with
lawsuits. They have deep pockets, and they know that.
Then, if you want to be cynical about it, the people that sell bottled
water, maybe they have an interest in keeping fluoridation going, because
all the time you're putting poison, which is what it is, in the public
drinking water, then you're going to be able to sell your bottled water to
those people when they learn about it.
Maybe, and this being really cynical, maybe the pharmaceutical industry is
only too happy to see us sick, because if it's true that fluoride
contributes to arthritis, then that's a big medication there. Pain-killers
are big, big, big. If it's contributing to gastrointestinal problems,
another big thing, all those things that you take for indigestion and
diarrhea and constipation and headaches and stuff like that.
There are people out there that are pretty convinced that they are
sensitive to fluoride. They have these symptoms, and they usually don't
know about it until they go to the doctor with these symptoms, common
symptoms. They go to the doctor and they start getting treatment. Nothing
works. Nothing works. This goes on for several year, and they're buying all
kinds of medications. Then somebody says to them, "Is your water
"I don't know," they don't know.
"Well, try not drinking the tap water," and mysteriously, these symptoms
disappear. After a few months, they come back again, and then they say,
"What happened?" and they find out they got fluoride from somewhere.
There is money being made out of there from some of the ailments caused by
fluoride, and there's certainly some economic interest.