. . . a message about fluoride
by Darlene Sherrell
Just in time for Children’s Dental Health Month, (February 1997) the Reader’s Digest published HOW HONEST ARE DENTISTS?, by William Ecenbarger, winner of the George Polk Award for Investigative Journalism. The article revealed that in 28 states dentists examined the same set of x-rays and the same set of pearly whites, and then recommended widely differing treatments, with price tags to match: $500.00 to $29,850.00. They didn’t seem to know what to do or how much to charge for doing it. “I got 50 opinions,” Ecenbarger writes, “and I am not comforted.”
This article, however, barely scratches the surface with regard to dishonesty. For decades, the American Dental Association has worked hand in glove with industry to cover up the toxic properties of fluoride, causing untold pain and suffering among an unsuspecting population urged to trust their dentists, trust their government, trust their political leaders, no matter what.
In the early 1930s, when American Dentistry was becoming aware of the damage fluoride can cause during the development of our children’s teeth, there was a great call to remove the fluoride naturally present in water supplies. Communities in sixteen states had observed disfiguring stains and pits in their children’s teeth. In 1940 the Journal of Dental Research contained a report describing a survey of the inhabitants of St. David, Arizona, where water supplies contained 1.6 to 4 parts per million of fluoride There was no apparent dental benefit from fluoride. In fact, more than half the people in all age groups over the age of twenty-three had artificial dentures. With this new awareness came fear.
Industries necessary for the production of electricity, aluminum, refrigerants, pesticides, etc., were facing costly litigation due to an emerging environmental consciousness. The Country was facing a great dilemma: impossible choices involving survival. Our military forces could not function without the tools of war — tools that could simply not be made if we were going to restrict the release of fluoride into our environment. Emissions from smokestacks, and in wastewater could not be limited beyond a certain degree, and laborers could not be given the benefit of an absolutely safe workplace.
Today, there are near-daily news reports covering past mistakes — not because of conspiracies, but good intentions — the pavement, they say, on the road to Hell. Today, as then, we are being led by persons with a hidden agenda. The promoters of water fluoridation who speak through the mouth of the American Dental Association are not isolated from those whose concerns are manufacturing costs. Instead, they are one.
Years ago, when I found dozens of discrepancies between the descriptions (abstracts) of scientific journal articles and the journal articles themselves; I also found that the U.S. Public Health Service and the American Dental Association actually prefer to rely on the abstracts — even though the discrepancies involve the movement of decimal points, and simple errors in arithmetic. Like Ecenbarger, I was not comforted . . . it didn’t make sense.
Particularly disturbing were the discrepancies involving the quantity of fluoride capable of destroying a child’s smile or causing osteoporosis, arthritis, lower back pain, heartburn, stomach cramps, diarrhea. These were not theories, but descriptions of the fate of hundreds of millions of people who developed Dental Fluorosis or Crippling Skeletal Fluorosis. . . not necessarily from fluoridated water, but from fluoride — regardless of the source.
Although few of us are aware of the truly ubiquitous nature of fluorides, or their role in our lives and our history; we all understand the words overdose and side effect. Sooner or later, we must face the fact that our children are threatened, as we are, by a legacy of errors. The time has come for common sense, and change.
The U.S. Public Health Service and the American Dental Association are currently promoting the idea of universal mandatory water fluoridation. Why? Their own experts point out that cavity rates have decreased worldwide, without regard to the fluoride in a water supply . . . and without any connection between the fluoride in children’s teeth and their experience with cavities. There’s no benefit in exceeding the recommended dose, they say. On the contrary, the U.S. Public Health Service says fluoride makes dental enamel more porous, and makes bone more brittle.
During the last twenty years Uncle Sam’s Experts have had a great deal to say about the nature of fluoride . . . things everyone should know. The problem is that Policy requires that these things never see the light of day. They lie buried under executive summaries and official interpretations handed out in press releases. . . but facts are facts — no matter whose slick mouthpiece or distinguished scientist tries to tell you otherwise. Most of what you think you know about fluoride just isn’t so. Consider the facts . . . check the references, and dare to think.
According to the National Research Council’s 1993 review “It has been calculated that the amount of fluoride ingested with toothpaste (or mouth rinse) by children who live in a community with optimally fluoridated water, who have good control of swallowing, and who brush (or rinse) twice a day is approximately equal to the daily intake of fluoride with food, water, and beverages. In the case of younger children or those who, for any other reason, have poor control of swallowing, the daily intake of fluoride from dental products could exceed dietary intake.
“Investigators seeking to examine the possible relation between fluoride intake and health outcomes, such as dental caries, fluorosis, or quality of bone, need to be aware of the complex situation that exists today. It is no longer feasible to estimate with reasonable accuracy the level of fluoride exposure simply on the basis of concentration in drinking water supply.”
Although the recommended “upper limit” for children is 0.04 to 0.07 mg/kg/day (milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day), and the “optimum” is 0.04 mg/kg/day; the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council (NAS/NRC) reported in 1993: “Recent estimates of daily intake of fluoride from food and drink by North American children up to 2 years of age are 0.01 to 0.16 mg/kg in areas without fluoridation and 0.03 to 0.13 mg/kg in areas with fluoridation.”
In 1951, NAS/NRC wrote: “For practical public health purposes, it has been proposed that a safe level has been reached when not more than 10 to 15 per cent of children age 12-14 years, who have used water supplies since birth, and who have been examined under standard conditions, show the mildest detectable type of mottled enamel”
In 1993 NAS/NRC reported that in optimally fluoridated Augusta, Georgia, 80.9% of the children aged 12-14 had mottled enamel due to excess fluoride. Most was mild to very mild, but moderate to severe fluorosis was found in 14% of the children. Some studies, they report, have found that with increasing fluoride, the number of cavities increases as well. They also note, “the most severe forms of dental fluorosis might be more than a cosmetic defect if enough fluorotic enamel is fractured and lost to cause pain, adversely affect food choices, compromise chewing efficiency, and require complex dental treatment.”
In 1977 the National Research Council (NAS/NRC) reported: “The possibility of mutagenesis due to hydrogen fluoride is potentially important in cancer of the stomach. … the much higher stomach cancer rates in Japan are related to intake patterns that are compatible with a hypothesis that fluoride is the crucial factor involved.”
NAS/NRC also noted that “a retention of 2 mg/day would mean that an average individual would experience skeletal fluorosis after 40 years, based on an accumulation of 10,000 ppm fluoride in bone ash.” It is generally agreed that approximately one-half of the total daily intake of fluoride will be retained. . . thus, according to our most prestigious scientists, the ingestion of less than 5 milligrams (mg) of fluoride daily will result, after 40 years, in the condition called Crippling Skeletal Fluorosis.
In 1977, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) explained, “Fluorine and some of its compounds are primary irritants of skin, eyes, mucous membranes, and lungs. Thermal or chemical burns may result from contact … even when they involve small body areas (less than 3%) can cause systemic effects of fluoride poisoning by absorption of the fluoride through the skin.” Brief exposure to inhaled fluorine “has caused sore throat and chest pain, irreversible damage to the lungs, and death. Gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diffuse abdominal cramps and diarrhea can be expected. Large doses produce central nervous system involvement with twitching of muscle groups, … convulsions, and coma.” Fluoride is the active ingredient in the deadly nerve gas, Sarin, and in the fungicide Flusilazole, which caused crop damage and physical ailments in 40 states in the early 90s. Teflon is a fluoride product, as is freon.
In the 1940s, the U.S. Public Health Service was reporting a total daily fluoride intake from typical diets in the range of 0.2 to 0.3 milligrams. If the drinking water contained about 1 part per million fluoride, the total daily intake could be expected to reach about 1 to 1-1/2 milligrams.
By the 1970s, the total from dietary sources had increased to as much as 3.44 mg/day, even in non-fluoridated areas; and by 1991, the range in total daily dosage had exceeded 6-1/2 milligrams in areas said to enjoy optimal fluoridation; exceeding 7 mg/day in areas having 2 or more ppm in the water supply.
Once confined almost exclusively to drinking water, fluorides now reach us from a variety of sources, including virtually every food and beverage item; as well as dental products and drugs.
“Whereas dental fluorosis is easily recognized,” said the World Health Organization in 1970, “the skeletal involvement is not clinically obvious until the advanced stage of crippling fluorosis … early cases may be misdiagnosed as rheumatoid- or osteo-arthritis.”
If we place our trust in the wisdom of the American Dental Association, and their pamphlet, Fluoridation Facts, we learn that for adults, “The possibility of adverse health effects from continuous low level consumption of fluoride over long periods has been studied by the National Academy of Sciences. The Academy found that the daily intake required to produce symptoms of chronic toxicity after years of consumption, is 20 to 80 milligrams or more depending upon body weight. Such heavy doses are associated with water supplies that contain at least ten parts per million of natural fluoride.” However, if we take the time to check the World Health Organization reference cited by the ADA, we can immediately see that the dosage figures are just 2 to 8 mg per day, and the water supplies generally contain less than 1 part per million of natural fluoride.
The reference cited by NAS/NRC describes the development of Crippling Skeletal Fluorosis after exposures of eleven years duration, with a daily total expressed as 0.2 to 0.35 mg/kg/day. . . the equivalent, in terms of lifetime exposure to 2 milligrams daily for each 110 pounds of body weight. (lifetime = 55 to 96-1/4 years)
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that 2 is considerably less than 7 — trusting your dentist in the matter of water fluoridation requires a certain leap of faith.
NIOSH connects the dots between dentistry, industry, and fluoride in listing the various sources and uses of fluoride: “Elemental fluorine is used in the conversion of uranium tetrafluoride to uranium hexafluoride, in the synthesis of organic and inorganic fluorine compounds, and as an oxidizer in rocket fuel.
“Hydrogen fluoride, hydrofluoric acid, and its salts are used in the production of organic and inorganic fluorine compounds such as fluorides and plastics; as a catalyst, in the petroleum industry; as an insecticide; and to arrest the fermentation in brewing. It is utilized in the aluminum industry, in separating uranium isotopes, in cleaning cast iron, copper and brass, in removing effloresence from brick and bone, in removing sand from metallic castings, in frosting and etching glass and enamel, in polishing crystal, in enameling and galvanizing iron, in working silk, in dye, and analytical chemistry, and to increase the porosity of ceramics. Fluorides are used as an electrolyte in aluminum manufacture, in smelting nickel, copper, gold, and silver, as a catalyst for organic reactions, a wood preservative, a fluoridation agent for drinking water, a bleaching agent for cane seats, in pesticides, rodenticides, and as a fermentation inhibitor. They are utilized in the manufacture of steel, iron, glass, ceramics, pottery, enamels, in castings for welding rods, and in cleaning graphite, metals, windows, and glassware. Exposure to fluorides may also occur during preparation of fertilizer from phosphate rock.”
When I wrote to the National Academy of Sciences asking for the source of the 20 to 80 mg/day figures in the ADA pamphlet, they said the figures came from Harold C. Hodge, Ph.D., who was formerly Chairman of the NAS/NRC Committee on Toxicology. Dr. Hodge was also a consultant to several industries, involved in the development of the atomic bomb, worked with the Atomic Energy Commission, and participated in panels convened by NAS/NRC in 1951 and 1953. Panel chairman, Kenneth Maxcy, was consultant to the Secretary of War and editor for one of the leading industrial health journals. Panel member Francis Heyroth was Assistant Director of the Kettering Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati — source of the abstracts used by the ADA as well as the Dental Division of the Public Health Service. Kettering’s sponsors included aluminum, steel, petroleum, and chemical companies; and Kettering’s director, Robert Kehoe, was medical director of the Ethyl Corporation, consultant to the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Atomic Energy Commission, the U.S. Air Force, and the Division of Occupational Medicine of the Public Health Service. He was a primary spokesman for the safety of fluoridation, and also testified for the safety of atmospheric lead from auto exhausts.
Hodge prepared a chart of fluoride effects for NAS/NRC in 1953, naming Roholm as his data source; and offered it in testimony before Congress in 1954, as they considered a bill to outlaw water fluoridation.
However, in order to convert the original data into a milligram per day figure, Hodge had to apply the mg/kg figures to a typical range in body weight. He chose 100 to 229 pounds. . . multiplying 100 times 0.2 to get 20 mg/day, and then multiplying 229 times 0.35 to get 80 mg/day — the dosage in his chart and in the ADA pamphlet. Hodge had neglected to convert pounds to kilograms; and in doing so, he created an artificial margin of safety for water fluoridation. The erroneous figures found their way into hundreds of pamphlets, magazine articles, journals, and textbooks; unchecked for forty years.
The fluoride that is added to community water supplies does not come from a clean laboratory — it comes with the rest of the scrubber water from the smokestacks of the fertilizer or aluminum industry. . . contaminated with other poisons in small but measurable quantities that industry considers safe. Just think of the savings!
The erroneous 20-80 mg figures created by the alliance of dentistry, industry, and national security made this possible. However, the error was corrected by the National Research Council’s Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology in the 1993 review for EPA titled Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride. (page 59)
Although the new figures are 10 to 20 mg/day for 10 to 20 years, the total quantity of fluoride ingested is the single most important factor in determining the clinical course of skeletal fluorosis. The severity of symptoms correlates directly with the level and duration of exposure, so that the advanced crippling stages can occur at any age, and has been reported even in pediatric age groups. If the time span is expanded to 40 to 80 years, the intake producing crippling would be 2-1/2 to 5 mg/day.
The symptoms of phase one skeletal fluorosis include sporadic pain and stiffness of joints, with minor osteosclerosis of the pelvis and vertebral column. Phase two is described as chronic joint pain, arthritic symptoms, slight calcification of ligaments, increased osteosclerosis of cancellous bones, with or without osteoporosis of the long bones; and phase three, limitation of joint movement, calcification of ligaments in the neck and vertebral column, crippling deformities of the spine and major joints, muscle wasting, and neurological defects with compression of the spinal cord. The condition has been observed in many countries throughout the world, but has never been a “reportable disease” in the United States.
This, then, is the risk we face with excess fluoride; and since fluoride is the 13th most abundant element and widely distributed throughout the earth, arthritis from fluoride has been a threat since the earliest times.
There is also the strong possibility of a connection between fluoride intake and kidney stones. In 1987 the fifth edition of Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition was published by Academic Press; edited by Walter Mertz, U.S. Department of Agriculture. It describes symptoms including headache, gastrointestinal problems, and the arthritic complaints mentioned earlier; adding, “Although the exact genesis of renal stones in fluoride toxicity is not known, it is conjectured that insoluble calcium fluoride is deposited in the urinary tract as a nucleus around which other salts are deposited.” They also discuss “neighborhood fluorosis,” caused by the discharge of fluoride in smokestack emissions, mentioning reports from Ohio, where Chi Vit, an enamel factory in Urbana, managed to avoid the purchase of smokestack scrubbers in the late 1970s. As is the custom, the American Dental Association provided speakers to assure residents that fluoride is harmless. Anyone who disagreed was obviously misinformed, they said. “Trust your dentist.”
In 1977, NIOSH explained, “Substances that act chemically to produce injury to organs and tissues of the body usually do so by two basic means: either by depressing or by stimulating the activity of the enzyme systems. A single substance may have more than one pathway and site of action. Multiple pathways of action may be invoked simply by differing doses of the toxic agent; low doses may stimulate enzyme action, high doses depress and inhibit the same or different enzyme systems. This is a characteristic action of most, if not all, toxic substances, including arsenic, benzene, chloroform, cobalt, fluoride, and vanadium.
“Potentiation and synergism, the enhanced toxicity of two or more simultaneously acting substances, can be explained by the action of one preventing the elimination or the metabolism of the other, wholly or in part, thus maintaining elevated systemic levels of the toxic agent, resulting in an observed toxicity greater than the additive toxicity of the combined components.
NIOSH quotes: “A. Marier, in his report, Environmental Fluoride, states that ‘In several surveys in which sulphur dioxide had been suspected as the primary air pollutant, fluoride was found to be the factor responsible for environmental blight.’ He points out that industries that release fluoride effluents also use fossil fuel as an energy source, thereby emitting significant quantities of sulphur dioxide, and comments on possible synergistic effects. ‘Synergistic’ means that a substance stimulates and enhances the effect of another substance. Thus, if the two occur together, the combined effect would be greater than the sum of either occurring alone. It is a phenomenon well known in pharmacology, but it does not appear to have been seriously considered in connection with fluoride from the medical point of view. So far, only environmentalists have looked at it.
“A large number of pesticides, chiefly organic phosphates and carbamates, act in the body by blocking this enzyme action, thus allowing excessive amounts of the muscle stimulator to accumulate. The excessive stimulation results in paralysis of the host.”
If all this comes as a surprise to you, it is precisely because too many civic leaders, and others, have trusted their dentists in matters that have nothing to do with dentistry. Even more alarming, according to William L. Marcus, Ph.D., Senior Science Advisor, Office of Science and Technology, Environmental Protection Agency, “the levels of fluoride found in the bones of rodents who had osteosarcoma (bone cancer) was lower than the level found in human adults exposed to allowable levels of fluoride … with the exception of fluoride, no other compounds including radioactive compounds, have been able to produce osteosarcomas in rodents.”
Children have died in the dentist’s chair after treatment with topical fluoride. Adults have died during kidney dialysis when fluoride spills occurred but were not reported. Household products, including toothpaste, have caused serious illness among unsuspecting consumers.
In February of 1972 the ADA reported that in fluoridated cities, the dentists reaped a net profit 17% higher than in nonfluoridated cities. And, today, although the vast majority of children are already showing clear signs of fluoride overdose, dentists follow the party line, arguing for universal mandatory water fluoridation, while ignoring current studies showing no significant difference in tooth decay rates between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas worldwide.
In summary: documents sent to me by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control, describe increasing numbers of children whose teeth require complex dental treatment because of excess fluoride; and adults with headaches, back pain, gastro-intestinal problems, arthritic symptoms, and hyperparathyroidism; but no correlation between cavities and the fluoride incorporated into dental enamel, except that with increased dosage, cavities tend to increase as well.
In 1979, Edward Groth III, Senior Staff Officer, Environmental Studies Board, National Research Council, wrote: “…the politically minded zealots have used tactics of intimidation, professional and financial reprisals, derogatory personal attacks, and relentless public relations propaganda to silence scientific critics, to prevent the publication of adverse evidence, and to make politically untenable any interpretation except the official view, that fluoridation is absolutely safe. Can scientific evidence really be suppressed in the free world? Easily.”
Obviously, things are not always what they seem. . . bargains not always bargains; and, as Francis Bacon observed, “Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.”
- The Merck Index – An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals (1996) #8520 Sarin
- Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride (1993) National Academy of Sciences
- Review of Fluoride Benefits and Risks (1991) U.S. Dept. Health & Human Services, p.17,46
- Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition (1987) editor: Walter Mertz, U.S.D.A.
- Occupational Diseases – A Guide to Their Recognition (1977) NIOSH, (U.S.Dept. H.E.W.)
- Drinking Water and Health (1977) National Academy of Sciences, page 372
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1974) volume 27, pages 590-594
- Fluorides – Biological Effects of Atmospheric Pollutants (1971) National Academy of Sciences, pp. 211,218
- Fluorides and Human Health (1970) World Health Organization, pages 37,239,240
- The Role of Fluoride in Public Health (1963) Kettering Laboratory, University of Cincinnati, Ohio
- Fluoride Drinking Waters (1962) F. J. McClure, Editor, U.S.D.H.E.W.
- Fluoridation: Facts, Not Myths (1957) American Dental Association
- Fluoridation as a Public Health Measure (1954) James H. Shaw, Editor, page 49
- American Journal of Public Health (December 1952) volume 42, page 1568
- Fluorine Intoxication (1937) K. Roholm, H.K. Lewis & Co., Ltd., London, page 319
- Journal of Dental Research (1933) volume 13, page 139,140
- Fluoridation Facts, American Dental Association
Who is Darlene Sherrell?
The Detroit News headline for March 28, 1978 read, “State study to find out if we’re fluoride OD’s. The article quoted Craig Ruff, an aide to Governor Milliken: “It’s a good example of what one citizen on a white horse can do.” On the previous day, in the capitol, the State Journal quoted Dr. Maurice Reizen, Director of the Michigan Department of Public Health, who said “There is nobody more knowledgable or dedicated on this subject than Darlene Sherrell.”
In a recent talk, she described herself as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen. I have often been asked questions about my credentials . . . my background . . . my qualification to speak or write about fluoride . . . my right, so to speak, to disagree with a dentist or physician.
So, let’s get it over with. Beyond what I learned at my mother’s knee, plus a few of the tricks of arithmetic from my father, I am largely self-educated. Take a look at my school records and you’ll find I missed a great deal of time because of illness.
However, at twenty-seven I was the administrative assistant to the Chief Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals, in charge of preparing the budget, maintaining the library, checking the citations in opinions, recruiting new law clerks, purchasing, public relations, etc. I had a large office to myself, with my name on the door, a state car and expense account, and was expected to keep the other judges on their toes with respect to getting their opinions written on time.
After leaving the court I worked as research associate for the American Business Men’s Research Foundation, an educational organization concerned with beverage alcohol. We produced educational materials for schools and helped bring about recognition of fetal alcohol syndrome.
Still later, my concern for the environment and growing knowledge of nutrition and agricultural practices caused me to gather a group of people together for the purpose of establishing a new 501c3 — a non-profit tax-exempt foundation — which I called Orenda. We taught classes in natural foods cooking, co-op buying, organic gardening methods, solar and wind power, identifying wild edible plants, herbal remedies, etc. I published a monthly newsletter called The Golden Thread. With the exception of $15.00 to file the original papers, everything was done by the barter method. . . with contributions paying for postage and materials costs.
During my early youth I suffered with arthritis, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, and chemical sensitivities. When I was eighteen an episode with anaphylactic shock almost killed me. Within a year, there were two others, less severe. Until the age of twenty five, my medical problems were a mystery.
I began to study nutrition, and within a year, every sign of arthritis, allergies, chronic fatigue, etc. were gone. . . but still, I had no knowledge of fluoride. Without realizing it, I was avoiding fluoride.
In 1976, while living in Lansing, Michigan, I met our local typical little old lady in tennis shoes, carrying a large paper shopping bag full of tattered newspaper clippings and copies of magazine articles about fluoride. She told me fluoride caused cancer and was put into our water to keep us docile. I was 35, she was in her mid- 60s, and I immediately classified her as a nutcase.
Then, one day, I got curious and looked in my pharmacology book to see what I could find about fluoride. What I found changed my life.
I learned that when the drinking water contained about one part per million of fluoride, 10 to 15 percent of the children would show a faint change in the appearance of their teeth called dental fluorosis; but with 2 or 3 parts per million, nearly all will be affected by this first and only visible sign of fluoride poisoning. I also learned that fluoride is the key ingredient in a widely used cancer drug called 5-FU. The cells die because fluorine enters into one of the molecules in DNA — the genetic material.
At that time, I lived very near to Michigan State University, was not employed, and was able to spend as much time as I needed at the science library. Not having gone to college, I was unaware of the indexing which makes a search of the literature much easier. I began my study with the year 1930, and the dental journals. This was before computers took over. I pulled each book off the shelf and looked at the index in the back, searching for anything mentioning fluoride. With each article I found references to other articles, and the names of other journals. I carried rolls of nickels and made copies to read at home. There were well over a thousand, spanning the years to 1976, and have been many more since then.
Now, let me tell you. When a person of my age sees The Atomic Energy Commission listed as the sponsor of an article about tooth decay, it brings up a red flag. . . and when an article called Toxicological Evidence for the Safety of Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies is based on studies involving “a man, or six people in South Africa, two people, heights and weights, pediatric exams, rabbits, sheep, cattle, swine, pooled urine samples, and x-rays,” it doesn’t require much intelligence to suspect that something is wrong. Comments such as “we excluded everyone with symptoms of disease, no matter how mild,” will grab the attention. After all, what were they looking for, if not symptoms of disease. These were safety studies!
During the early years, before anyone suggested adding fluoride to the water supply, everyone seemed hell-bent on removing it.
H. Trendley Dean, who later became known as the “father of fluoridation” wrote about an apparent tendency to a higher incidence of gingivitis, and a greater proportion of filled teeth lost due to their brittleness. He wrote “The same amount of fluorine that causes a mild toxic reaction in one individual may cause a severe reaction in another. In other words, we are dealing with a low-grade chronic poisoning of the formative dental organ, . . . some authors have called attention to an apparent delay in the eruption of permanent teeth of children living in endemic areas.”
In 1942, an article in The Lancet reported, “The family derived their water from a surface well containing at different times 0.3 to 1.2 ppm fluorine. All the children show severe dental fluorosis with pitting of the teeth.” In another article, in the journal Radiology, skeletal fluorosis is described in an area having just 1.2 ppm fluoride in the water supply. . . though most reviews describe this case with the erroneous figure 12 ppm.
The Journal of the American Dental Association reported that at 1.6 to 4 ppm, 50% or more past age 24 have false teeth because of fluoride damage to their own. . . and the journal Oral Surgery reported mottled enamel at 0.5 ppm fluoride. This was at a time when the food supplied only 0.2 to 0.3 milligrams of fluoride daily, and there was no such thing as fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash.
I noticed that after 17 years of fluoridation in Grand Rapids, 19.3% of continuous resident white children, and 40.2% of continuous resident black children had dental fluorosis.
In poverty areas of Puerto Rico, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, there was relatively little reduction in dental caries, but dental fluorosis was common.
I learned that the original suggestions for benefits from fluoride came from industries being sued for fluoride pollution, and that fluorides have caused more damage to crops and livestock than any other airborne pollutant . . . and learned that the fluorides added to city water supplies are not naturally occurring calcium or magnesium fluoride, but the contents of smokestack scrubber water — difficult to dispose of because they are so corrosive, and so deadly to all living things.
In the areas of Texas, where dental health was good, the soil and water contained elements which help to de-toxify fluorides. An article in Caries Research reported that 42 elements can be incorporated into developing enamel. The Journal of the American Dental Association reported that “There was no significant difference in the fluoride content of high and low caries individuals,” and strontium was more closely associated with dental health. The journal Archives of Oral Biology reported: “Studies which show that there are substantial differences in caries prevalence between localities which have equivalent fluoride concentrations in water supplies substantiate the possible role of other trace elements.”
I found several reports of skeletal fluorosis — from areas having less fluoride in the water supply than EPA considers safe today. . . and in reading the Occupational Health journals, noticed that over the years the pre-employment physicals included measurements of fluoride in urine which were higher and higher as the years passed. The rules for Workmens Compensation were established to eliminate anyone whose exposure to fluoride was below the 20 to 80 milligram per day mark, for 10 to 20 years — an erroneous figure established by Harold Hodge in 1953.
Each time I wrote to the Michigan Department of Public Health asking about a particular point, the answer contained references to journal articles, but the articles themselves failed to support the answers.
Eventually, I learned that the Public Health Service used abstracts — not journal articles — and that was the difference between my opinion and theirs. They were following industries’ version, which often included the movement of decimal points or significant differences in describing study methods. . . and with these side-by-side examples, easy enough for a child to see and understand; I was able to convince the Governor of my State, as well as several legislators, to abandon their faith in the advice of the experts at Public Health.
One day, in a fruitless attempt to instruct the chief of the dental division, I showed him several dozen examples of the side-by-side discrepancies — using only the most obvious. After looking at the fraudulent abstracts, he said, “Look, lady, if the abstracts don’t agree with the originals, there must be something wrong with the originals.” He went on to explain that he had been involved when fluoridation began in Grand Rapids . . . they had always used the abstracts from the Kettering Laboratory, he said, . . . they must be right!
Now, as I said earlier, I did not go to college, and have no claim to superior intelligence regarding water fluoridation; but, when I see studies involving rats that show increasing cavities with increasing doses of fluoride, or studies involving pooled urine samples which have been controlled for fluoride content ahead of time, or see the major proportion of the data rejected in order to support a pre-determined conclusion, and see that almost all of the books used by the Public Health Service have been funded by industries threatened with litigation due to fluoride pollution; my nose knows. . . something smells of deception.
I have kept up a correspondence with the U.S. Public Health Service for over twenty years, asking in vain for the name of just one safety study in which the researchers actually looked for the symptoms of skeletal fluorosis. According to all that I can find, these occur prior to the advanced crippling stage of the disease when x-rays are useful. I have asked to know why no physicians have ever been allowed to report cases of skeletal fluorosis. I have asked why EPA’s maximum contaminant level for fluoride in drinking water does not take into account the fluoride ingested from foods, dental products, or other beverages — which, today, usually represent three-quarters of the daily dosage in a fluoridated area. I’ve asked why, with all the mounting evidence of overdosage, they still want to add more fluoride to our diet.
In 1989 I began writing to the National Academy of Sciences, asking for the basis of their 20 to 80 mg/day threshold dosage for skeletal fluorosis. These figures appear in the American Dental Association’s pamphlet, Fluoridation Facts, as well as in numerous magazine articles, journals, textbooks, etc. After more than two years, the Academy identified Hodge’s interpretation of Roholm as the data source.
Roholm studied the effects of fluoride on cryolite workers who were exposed to 0.2 to 0.35 milligrams of fluoride per kilogram of body weight per day for several years. Although some developed crippling skeletal fluorosis in a very short time, in general, after 2-1/2 years, the first stage of the disease appeared. After 4-1/2 years, the second stage; and after 11 years, crippling skeletal fluorosis appeared.
Simple arithmetic told me that either Hodge was assuming that these men weighed as much as 1600 pounds, or he was severely challenged mathematically. It was obvious he had neglected to convert pounds to kilograms when he applied Roholm’s data to a typical range in body weight (100 to 229 pounds). He simply multiplied 0.2 times 100 to get 20, and multiplied 0.35 times 229 to get 80 milligrams. Then, rather than say 11 years or less, he said 10 to 20 years.
Because this error involved arithmetic, rather than scientific opinion, and because I had the support of Dr. Robert J. Carton, who was, at that time, a senior official at EPA, and Senator Bob Graham of Florida; the National Research Council’s Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology was forced to correct the 40-year old error.
Their new figures agree with the data source, and are equivalent to 2-1/2 to 5 milligrams of fluoride daily for 40 to 80 years. With approximately half the daily dosage, or half the time, the second stage of fluorosis can be expected. . . but the symptoms are not considered “adverse health effects,” and are not currently included in regulations governing the amount of fluoride allowed in water — or anything else. These early symptoms are not crippling, but simply arthritis and osteoporosis.
Over the years, everything I have written about fluoride has been confirmed in official documents published by Uncle Sam. In 1976, without knowing the term itself, I wrote about hyperparathyroidism — the effect of fluoride on the calcium content of our blood. . . which is regulated very closely by the parathyroid gland, and results in osteoporosis. I was concerned about increasing numbers of children whose teeth would need expensive dental treatment because of fluoride damage, and concerned about people whose arthritis would be caused by excess dietary fluoride. I managed to change the law in Michigan, giving people the right to vote on the issue of water fluoridation. Michigan was the first state to repeal their mandatory fluoridation law.
However, to this day, I read about “experts” speaking for the American Dental Association or the Public Health Service, who appear before groups shouting that fluorides do not accumulate, cannot harm anyone, and are essential to life. I often wonder what it would mean to have those letters attached to my name, indicating that I’m qualified as a professional, but suspect I’d rather not. I think, perhaps, they would only mean that I’d have to keep my mouth shut if I wanted to keep my job.
Letter to Senator John Glenn
Darlene Sherrell 426 Heritage Oaks Drive Eugene, Oregon 97405 12 February 1997 The Honorable John Glenn United States Senate Dear Senator Glenn, I believe your efforts regarding the Human Research Subject Protections Act of 1997 may very well be the most important of your career; and am writing to call your attention to another example of ethically-suspect research on human subjects -- including children and other vulnerable populations. The enclosed letter from Robert J. Carton, Ph.D., dated April 24, 1992, refers to my correspondence with the National Academy of Sciences regarding the quantity of fluoride which produces an arthritic condition known as Crippling Skeletal Fluorosis . . . the risk Americans are being forced to take without their informed consent. Because current U.S. policy regarding fluoride was based on an error in arithmetic, rather than one involving scientific opinion, the National Research Council's Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology was forced to correct NAS/NRC's official estimate of the quantity of fluoride which results in Crippling Skeletal Fluorosis. This quantity is smaller than current daily intake estimates published in 1991 by the Department of Health and Human Services. Your own personal knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of the symptoms of chronic fluoride poisoning, the various sources of fluoride in your diet, and the quantity of fluoride you ingest on a daily basis, from all sources -- as well as the quantity of fluoride capable of causing adverse health effects -- is the proof I offer. Were you informed? On 9 November 1995, when the Director of the Centers for Disease Control wrote to Senator Graham in response to my concerns, he mentioned "new research." I wrote to Dr. Satcher on 1 February 1996, calling his attention to the fact that the "margin of safety" with water fluoridation was the product of an error in arithmetic corrected by NAS/NRC in 1993. I wrote again on 1 January 1997, asking Dr. Satcher about the status of the new research he mentioned: "Is it being done on U.S. citizens without their knowledge or consent? Have our physicians been notified? Are they now able to report suspected cases of skeletal fluorosis which mimic arthritis? Have they been notified of the erroneous dosage figures?" I wrote again on 21 January 1997. Officials at the CDC have been avoiding my questions about dosage and reporting for twenty years. Senator Ron Wyden wrote to Dr. Satcher on 4 February 1997, asking to see a copy of his reply. Will you join him? Will you begin your noble effort with the most flagrant example of all? With respect, Darlene Sherrell
cc: The Honorable Senator Ron Wyden