Interviewer: Doctor, can you talk about the history of putting fluoride in the water system and the though process that went into that, where they thought ingesting this would actually help oral health?
Dr. Paul Connett: The first thing that happens is 1931, from about 1900 to 1931 there was some dental researchers who were concerned about this mottling of the teeth that they were seeing in Texas, Colorado; it was called a Colorado brown, Texas stain and so on. In 1931, three different researchers found out that what was causing this staining of the teeth was fluoride. Meanwhile, some of the dentists thought that they saw less tooth decay. When you see these black teeth you think, "oh, my god, their teeth are rotting out!" But they didn't find a lot of tooth decay. This notion arose, well, maybe there's a level of fluoride that won't cause too much dental fluorosis, acceptable levels, but at the same time reduce tooth decay.
In 1942, the famous, Trendley Dean, of the US Public Health Service, came forward and said one part per million. We'd only get about ten percent of dental fluorosis, but we would reduce tooth decay quite significantly. Then they embarked upon the trails in 1945. They were meant to be ten-year trials but before any of those trials had been completed, in 1950 the US Public Health Service endorsed fluoridation and that was like a row of dominos. Within a year or two, the American Dental Association, the American Public Health Association, American Medical Association, all these professional bodies followed my leader. Now, the irony and tragedy of this is that in 1950 and '51, none of those trials were completed and they didn't have very many, if any, genuine medical studies to see if there was any other harm being caused.
Clearly, it wasn't science. There wasn't enough science on the table for the mighty US Public Health Service to say, go ahead. If it wasn't science, it was politics and that politics has continued to this day. You know, I wrote a book on this with two other scientists and we were just absolutely appalled at the science that has never been done, is still not being done; fundamental science. For example, you would expect, would you not, that we would, knowing that about 50% of the fluoride that you take in each day accumulates in your bones, you would think by now we would be looking at bone levels of fluoride to see how this is progressing, see if it's having any harm on the bones, like arthritis of bone fractures. We've got practically no bone data. There is no systematic attempt to collect fluoride bone levels in the United States.
Secondly, we know that the severity of dental fluorosis is a very good biomarker of how much the kid has been exposed to fluoride before their permanent teeth have arisen. This is a god send to epidemiologists! If you were interested to see if fluoride had an impact on the child's developing brain, on their IQ levels, on behavior, on concentration, on attention deficit syndrome, on bone fractures, melatonin levels, onset of puberty, all kind of things in children, which have been suggested might be related to fluoride; and here you've got the tool, the severity of dental fluorosis. We've got millions of children in each category throughout the United States. It's an epidemiological study begging to be done. Never been done and the attitude is, if you don't look, you don't find. They're assuming that the absence of study is the same as the absence of harm, which of course is not the case.
Meanwhile, while the United States and other fluoridated countries are being totally irresponsible, not doing the basic studies, other countries which have a different problem, not whether or not their policy is causing harm, but whether the natural levels of fluoride are causing harm, and what levels would be safe? We need to get it out. In India, China, parts of Africa, Mexico and so on, have high, natural levels of fluoride. Millions of people have had their lives ruined by natural fluoride; bone damage. We have a name for it: skeletal fluorosis. In India and China in villages, you have the children show dental fluorosis, but if you look at the adults in that same village, they have skeletal fluorosis. Their bones have been damaged. The Chinese, the Indians, Mexicans are doing a lot of studies. Instead of trying to repeat their studies to see if at lower concentrations we're seeing an effect, they just challenge the methodology. That's the standard thing; denial and nit-picking the methodology. Well, I say, "Look, if you're methodology is so darned good, then go out and do the studies."
Why haven't they done an IQ study in the United States? Here, we have 33 studies, red flags being waived, not doing the studies. Not doing them in Canada, not doing them in the United States, not doing them in England, not doing them in Australia, not doing them in New Zealand. It's atrocious.
Professor Paul Connett discusses the history of fluoride use in this country and around the world. Find out how it became known as a benefit to dental health and what we really know about it's benefits today. Also find out how other cultures are affected by fluoride
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