By Jonathan V. Wright, M.D.
While holding a dual appointment with the Department of Neuropathology and Psychiatry at Harvard University and the Forsyth Institute (at the time, a dental research organization) in the 1980s, Phyllis Mullenix, Ph.D. established the Department of Toxicology at Forsyth for the purpose of investigating the environmental impact of substances that were used in dentistry. As part of this effort, she was instructed by then Forsyth Institute’s director, Dr. Jack Hein, to investigate fluoride toxicity. That’s where, as she puts it, “things got weird.”
The Forsyth Institute is a highly respected independent research institution, originally established in 1910 for the purpose of providing free dental care for the children of Boston. Presently located “across the river” in Cambridge, Forsyth is affiliated with Harvard School of Dental Medicine and has collaborations with university and research organizations around the world. Harvard dental students are required to take a portion of their training at Forsyth.
According to Dr. Mullenix, Dr. Hein—who was responsible for her assignment to fluoride toxicology studies—was also instrumental in some of the original research that led to the introduction of fluoride into toothpaste while he was working for Colgate.
Dr. Mullenix has said: “I wasn’t too excited about studying fluoride, because, quite frankly, it was ‘good for your teeth’ and all that, and I thought the studies would be basically just another control and I had no interest in fluoride.” However, because it was part of what she was hired to do, she said, and because she had just astounded the institute by achieving the unattainable—securing a grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the neurotoxicity of the treatments used for childhood leukemia—she decided to incorporate the fluoride studies into the research grouping.
Mullenix said: “I was in the top four per cent in the country” for such funding. “The Institute was tickled pink, but I really had no idea what a quagmire I was getting into.”
For her toxicology studies Dr. Mullenix designed a computer pattern recognition system that was described by other scientists as nothing short of elegant in its ability to study fluoride’s effects on the neuromotor functions of rats.
Fluoride damaged the brains of test animals
“By about 1990 I had gathered enough data from the test and control animals,” Mullenix said, “to realize that fluoride doesn’t look clean.” When she reviewed that data she realized that fluoride was adversely affecting the brains of her test animals. They had all (except the non-fluoridated control group) been administered doses of fluoride sufficient to bring their blood levels up to the same as those that had caused dental fluorosis (brittleness and staining of the teeth) in thousands of children. Up to this point, Mullenix explained, fluorosis was widely thought to be the only effect of excessive fluoridation.
Dr. Mullenix’ first indication that her research—despite its objectivity—might not be at all popular came when she was asked to present her findings to los federales National Institute of Dental Research, a division of los federales NIH, the National Institutes of Health. “That’s when the ‘fun’ started,” she said, “I had no idea what I was getting into. I walked into the main corridors there and all over the walls was ‘The Miracle of Fluoride.’ That was my first real kick-in-the-pants as to what was actually going on.”
The NIH display, she said, actually made fun of and ridiculed those that were against fluoridation. “I thought, ‘Oh great!’ Here’s the main NIH hospital talking about the ‘Miracle of Fluoride’ and I’m giving a seminar to the NIDR telling them that fluoride is neurotoxic!”
Evidence shows that fluoride reduces intelligence
What Dr. Mullenix presented at the seminar that, in reality, sounded the death knell of her career was that: “The fluoride pattern of behavioral problems matches up with the same results of administering radiation and chemotherapy [to cancer patients]. All of these really nasty treatments that are used clinically in cancer therapy are well known to cause I.Q. deficits in children. That’s one of the best studied effects they know of. The behavioral pattern that results from the use of fluoride matches that produced by cancer treatment that causes a reduction in intelligence.”
At a meeting with dental industry representatives immediately following her presentation, Mullenix was bluntly asked if she was saying that their company’s products were lowering the I.Q. of children. “And I told them, ‘basically, yes.’”
In 1994, after refining her research and findings, Dr. Mullenix sent her results to the Journal of Neurotoxicology and Teratology, probably considered the world’s most respected publication in that field.1 Her findings clearly detailed the pre-natal and after birth developmental effects of fluoride in the rats she studied. Pre-birth doses administered to mother rats produced marked hyperactivity in their rat-pups. Postnatal administration of fluoride caused the infant rats to exhibit what Dr. Mullenix calls the “couch potato syndrome”—a malaise or absence of initiative and activity.
Three days after she happily announced to the Forsyth Institute that her results had been accepted for publication by a scientific journal (but not which one), she was dismissed from her position!
What followed was a complete evaporation of all grants and funding for any of Dr. Mullenix’s research. As nearly all university-level scientific research is funded by grants from government and corporations, withholding all grants is the equivalent to an academic burial. Incredibly, she reports her dismissal letter from the Forsyth Institute stated as their reason for that action that her work was somehow not “dentally related.” Dr. Mullenix notes that the institute’s director stated “they didn’t consider the safety or the toxicity of fluoride as being their kind of science.” What a contradiction! If that’s the case, why was Dr. Mullenix assigned the study of fluoride toxicity in the first place if it was not “their kind of science”?
The Forsyth Institute and the NIH kept asking her which scientific journal had accepted her results for publication. Dr. Mullenix says she refused to disclose that information because she knew the purpose of this continual interrogation was so that they could attempt to quash its publication.
Almost immediately following her dismissal—and very likely ‘just a coincidence’, right?—the Forsyth Institute received a quarter-million dollar grant from the makers of a leading brand of fluoridated toothpaste. In another amazing coincidence following her dismissal, the scientist’s equipment and computers, designed specifically for the studies, were mysteriously damaged and destroyed by water leakage before she could remove them from Forsyth Institute. (Reminds me of the fire which totally destroyed the factory which made Royal Rife’s cancer-curing “Beam Ray” devices—cancer cures documented by faculty physicians at the University of Southern California. But that’s another topic for another time.)
Dr. Mullenix was then given an unfunded research position at Children’s Hospital in Boston, but with no equipment and no money! Dr. Mullenix told a reporter: “The people at Children’s Hospital, for heaven’s sake, came right out and said they were scared because they knew how important the fluoride issue was. Even at Forsyth they told me I was endangering funds for the institution if I published that information.”
Multi-study review backs Dr. Mullenix’s findings
Dr. Mullenix—a lone but honest scientific voice—lost her job by reporting the neurotoxicity of fluoride in experimental animals. Her work got no attention at all in the mainstream media which has also largely ignored the Environmental Protection Agency’s Union of Scientists anti-fluoridation recommendations (1999), the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science warnings about fluoride (2006), and now the multi-study review (“meta-analysis” for the technically inclined) by the Harvard School of Public Health (2012) which demonstrated a loss of IQ points in children exposed to fluoride in water. So forget the mainstream media! It’s time for all of us as parents and grandparents to demand directly at local meetings that our local water districts stop dumbing down our children!
The Above article was from July 2013, and this following article is September 2013. Because of the IMPORTANCE of this, I feel compelled to share it with as many as read this blog. Why? Because it’s all about HEALTH. This is what we get as we take Dr Wright’s newsletter “Nutrition and Health”If one can be armed with FACTS, then intelligent “action can follow” Jan
Millions exposed to this unnatural chemical in their “drinking” water may now be paying the consequences
By Jonathan V. Wright, M.D.
Two months ago in Nutrition & Healing, you read about the effects fluoride has on the brain, particularly its devastating effect on IQ in children. You also learned that a number of prestigious institutions—including the Harvard School of Public Health, UNICEF (the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Union of Scientists—have also issued their own warnings about fluoride-induced brain damage.
Unfortunately, fluoride isn’t eliminated easily from the body. It settles the most into bones and teeth, and being from the same family as chloride and iodide, it also interferes with the action of these elements. For example, fluoride interferes with iodide in the thyroid gland. At higher levels, the chemical causes an unsightly mottling of the teeth, known as dental fluorosis. And those are only a few of the many alarming ways that fluoride affects the body.1
Industry waste is being dumped into your “drinking” water
We’re exposed to two types of fluoride. The natural form, which has been around as long as humans (probably longer) is called calcium fluoride. Calcium fluoride is relatively insoluble and not absorbed into our bodies in appreciable amounts. But this naturally occurring form isn’t what’s being dumped into our drinking water with the stated goal of reducing cavities.
In a 1992 census the majority of “fluoridated” communities reported using fluorosilicic acid—a form of fluoride derived from industry and not Nature—as their fluoridation source for drinking water.2 Fluorosilicic acid is drastically more toxic than naturally occurring calcium fluoride, a fact studied and proven decades ago.3,4 The “silicofluorides” (referring to a complex that includes the compounds hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride)5 are waste products of industry, most notably phosphate fertilizers,6 but are also derived from other industrial processes, including the manufacture of steel and the production of coal and oil. Industry sells many tons of these silicofluoride waste products to communities to use in water fluoridation annually.7
Many suspect that disposing of these industrial wastes, and making a profit while doing it, is the real reason for the forced fluoridation of our water supplies nationwide since the 1940s. But that’s a topic for another time; if you wish to learn more about it now, read The Fluoride Deception by Christopher Bryson (2004) and do an online search.
Studies link fluoride to a long list of health problems
Studies have shown that fluoride in this form can contribute to thyroid problems, affect the immune system, cause bone degradation and osteoporosis, and contribute to premature aging. It can also have an impact on the heart, liver, kidneys, brain, pancreas, skin, and arteries. Some report it has an adverse effect on reproductive health and a possible association with birth defects. It’s even been found to accumulate in livestock, affecting their dental and skeletal health as well.8
In 2006, the National Research Council published a comprehensive report summarizing the many findings on fluoride and its dangers. In addition to the effects on the brain previously discussed, they outlined key findings about fluoride’s effects on the pineal gland, endocrine system, fracture risk, thyroid function, reproductive health, and the immune system.9
In July’s Nutrition & Healing, you learned about Dr. Phyllis Mullenix’s animal research with fluoride, and what happened to her career when the she published her findings on the neurotoxic effects of the chemical, so it won’t all be repeated here. (If you missed that issue use the username and password on page 8 to log into the archives to catch up.) But considering the virtual epidemic of hyperactivity we’ve seen in children in the last half of the 20th century and into the 21st, one part is worth repeating. Dr. Mullenix’s research revealed that animals exposed to fluoride before birth developed hyperactivity that was present all of their lives, and the young and adult animals showed depressed activity.10
In a 1999 letter to the U.S. Army Medical Command, which had requested more information related to her fluoride studies, Dr. Mullenix wrote: “… Overall, we concluded that the study flagged potential for motor dysfunction, IQ deficits and/or learning disabilities in humans.”11
In 1998, another researcher looked into the underlying causes of the neurotoxicity observed by Mullenix. This animal study found that certain natural substances normally found in brain-cell membranes—and important to proper brain-cell function—were significantly decreased following exposure to fluoride. The unexposed control group had no decrease in these important natural substances.12
Fluoride acts as an endocrine disrupter
Studies show that fluoride is a hormone disrupting agent with the potential to alter reproduction, sexual maturity, thyroid function, and other aspects of endocrine function.
Effects on the pineal gland
Among other things, the pineal gland plays an essential role in regulating our biological clocks by producing melatonin, a hormone necessary for sleep. The internal clock of the pineal gland also helps initiate the hormonal changes that occur in puberty. Studies show that high amounts of fluoride accumulate in the pineal gland.
In the 1990s, English scientist Jennifer Luke Ph.D. and her research team examined the pineal glands of human cadavers, with an average age of death of 82, and found evidence of fluoride build-up in those glands.13 The pineal gland is only weakly protected by the blood-brain barrier and is vulnerable to accumulation of fluoride. It can actually absorb more fluoride than teeth and bones. Dr. Luke reported levels ranging from 9000 to 21,000 parts per million.14
Two things occur when fluoride accumulates in the gland; first, it stops melatonin production and second, it causes earlier sexual maturity, a disturbing development noted in animal and human studies. Other researchers have found evidence in animal studies of lowered levels of melatonin and an earlier age of sexual maturation in those animals.15 In another study reported in 1956, many years before Dr. Luke’s studies, it was reported that girls living in fluoridated communities had earlier onset of their menstrual cycles than girls living in communities without fluoridated water.16
Effects on the thyroid
Since the 1930s it’s been known that bathing in water containing small amounts of fluoride could interfere with thyroid function. In larger amounts—5 to 10 milligrams daily—fluoride has actually been used as a treatment for overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). In a 1958 study, researchers reported that ingesting this amount of fluoride could improve symptoms of hyperthyroidism.17 Until the 1970s, it wasn’t uncommon for European doctors to treat overactive thyroid with between 2 and 10 milligrams of fluoride taken orally each day.
Unfortunately, many communities in the U.S. have been exposed to fluoridated water containing levels 1.6 to 6.6 milligrams per day, well within the levels used to treat an overactive thyroid. Fluoride’s dampening effect on an overactive thyroid suggests that in a healthy person it could increase the risk of developing an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) even in individuals with normal thyroid function, particularly when iodine intake is insufficient.
In an animal study, fluoride’s adverse effect on thyroid function was inversely related to the amount of iodine ingested.18 (In English: less iodine, worse adverse fluoride effect, the more iodine, less adverse fluoride effect.) Low levels of iodine—as little as 0.06 milligrams of fluoride per kilogram per day or 1.2 milligrams per day in a 44 pound child—had a very noticeable effect on thyroid function. Researchers described what they observed as a “competitive antagonistic action between fluorine and iodine in the thyroid gland.”
Iodine (mostly in its iodide form) is essential for normal thyroid function. If you have studied chemistry you know that fluorine/fluoride, chlorine/chloride, iodine/iodide, and bromine/bromide are all members of the same family of elements, and all participate in very similar chemical reactions. So it just makes sense that our thyroid glands accumulate all of these minerals. Research confirms what common sense already told us, thyroid glands accumulate all these elements.19 (The only other soft tissue that accumulates more fluoride than the thyroid is the kidney.)
In 1955, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that, in San Francisco, there was a 400% increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer since water fluoridation was introduced.20
Effects on the pancreas
Human and animal studies show that ingesting high levels of fluoride can impair blood-sugar regulation or increase blood-sugar levels.21 Fluoride may cause this effect by disrupting the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas.22 One study with animals demonstrated that blood sugar increased after just one large dose of fluoride.23
Effects on bone and bone-cancer risk
Fluoride disrupts processes associated with bone formation and repair by affecting the cells which build bone (“osteoblasts”) and the cells which break down bone (“osteoclasts”). While fluoride can increase bone density as seen on bone scans, it actually decreases bone strength causing bone to crystallize abnormally. Only a few decades ago, some of the women I worked with were advised by MDs following the “standard of care” of the time to take extra fluoride (no kidding!), “because it improves bone density.” A few of them took that ill-advised advice, and ended up with bone fractures which took much longer than usual to heal.
Skeletal fluorosis is a condition in which the bones become brittle and hard, leading to bone pain, higher risk of fracture, and other bone health risks. As anyone might guess, it’s the result of years of ingesting fluoride at levels higher than those recommended for “drinking water.” Skeletal fluorosis is a particular problem in Asia. In its early stages, the condition is sometimes confused with rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis. Irritable bowel symptoms and joint pain have also been associated with skeletal fluorosis.24
Once fluoride is deposited in bone, it depletes glutathione, an important antioxidant and detoxifier in the body. When it does this, it affects the bone-forming (osteoblasts) and remodeling (osteoclasts) processes of the body. The result is increased bone breakdown and inflammation.25
In 1995 French research found an increased rate of hip fracture in individuals over the age of 65 who had been exposed to moderate concentrations of fluoride in water.26 Risk was significantly higher for hip fracture in those whose intake was 0.11 milligrams per liter or higher, amounts found in so-called drinking water in many American communities.
Both natural and un-Natural fluoride accumulate in bone. In 1990, los federales National Toxicology Program (NTP) studied the effects of fluoridated water on the development of bone cancer and found an association between the development of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in male animals at 100 and 175 parts per million.27
Another report from the New Jersey Department of Health suggests that there was a 6-fold increase in osteosarcoma in males following exposure to fluoridated drinking water.28
A 2001 study conducted by a Harvard clinical instructor for her doctoral dissertation (published in 2006) presented evidence that boys have a higher risk of osteosarcoma with exposure to fluoridated water. Girls didn’t show a similar risk. Specifically, boys exposed to levels of fluoride as little as 1 part per million to a high of 4.07 parts per million developed more cases of osteosarcoma than boys who lived in communities with no fluoride added to their drinking water.
The results of the study suggest that the risk was age related. Between the ages of 6 and 8, when most children are experiencing growth spurts, the risk increased when the child was exposed to a higher level of fluoride in the water. By the age of 20, the risk of bone cancer was more than 5 times higher than those boys with the lowest levels of exposure to fluoride.29
Effects on other cancer risks
What the studies immediately above and other studies point out is that fluoride is potentially “mutagenic,” meaning that it triggers cellular changes and increases the risk of not only osteosarcoma but other forms of cancer.
Researchers have focused on occupational exposures to fluoride to get a better idea of its effect on cancer risk. A 12-year study of workers in the cryolite industry—where there’s a known occupational exposure to fluoride—found that there was an increased risk of bladder and lung cancer. It was an important study as it reported increased cancer levels due to fluoride itself and not exposure to other chemicals as many previous studies have claimed.30,31,32
Effects on kidneys
As mentioned earlier, the only soft tissue that accumulates more fluoride than the thyroid is the kidney. Until 1970, kidney dialysis performed in fluoridated communities used the fluoridated tap water. In that year, it was discovered that those kidney-dialysis patients had high levels of fluoride in their blood, predisposing them to osteomalacia (“painful bones” in Latin), and softening of the bones.
Switching the water used in dialysis to non-fluoridated water (imagine that!) reduced the risk of those problems. Weak kidneys aren’t able to excrete fluoride as effectively as healthy kidneys.33,34
Fluoride promotes lead toxicity
An association has been found between intake of silicofluorides—the form of fluoride used in drinking water—and increased levels of lead in children. The presence of silicoflurorides in drinking water could be an additional risk factor in developing lead toxicity because this chemical may increase the uptake of lead in the body.
A study evaluating blood lead levels in more than 280,000 children in Massachusetts, compared serum lead levels in thirty communities with fluoridated water versus thirty towns without fluoridated water. Children in the communities with fluoridated water were twice as likely to have serum lead levels in excess of 10 micrograms per deciliter. Los federales Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that in towns and cities with above 15 parts per billion of lead in the water, adding silicofluorides to drinking water increased lead absorption even further. Similar results were found in communities in Georgia. There was also an association between more behavior problems and an increased intake of silicofluorides and lead levels in both the Massachusetts and Georgia communities.35
The same researchers found similar increased lead levels in more than 150,000 venous blood results from children ages newborn to 6 years who lived in New York communities that add silicofluorides to drinking water. In their report, they wrote “We find that [silicofluoride] is consistently associated with increased risk of having [venous blood lead] >l0 [milligrams per 100ccs] for virtually any race/age group, controlling for most factors commonly associated with increased blood lead.”36
A very small step in the right direction
Finally in 2009, possibly as a result of the accumulation of adverse findings, los federales Department of Health and Human Services (DSHS) reduced its recommendation for fluoride levels in water to no more than 0.7 milligrams per liter (1000 ccs). But for members of the generations deliberately exposed to higher levels of silicofluorides (the majority) and sodium fluoride, this reduction is likely too little, too late.
In the name of reducing tooth decay people have been forced to drink water fluoridated with industry waste products that come with a staggeringly long list of potential side effects including neurotoxicity, lower IQ in children, hyperactivity (ADHD), hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer, adverse effects on blood sugar, glutathione depletion in bone, increased risk of hip fracture in those over 65, osteosarcoma, possibly other cancers, and increased lead accumulation to name just a few. Meanwhile Xylitol—a safe, proven means of reducing tooth decay—is now available nearly everywhere.
Isn’t it time to stop dumping toxic industrial waste, with all its health risks, into our nation’s water supplies? All in favor of continuing water “fluoridation” raise your hands!