Tue, 25 May 2010 05:00 EDT
Arthur Miller wrote, "An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." It's becoming increasingly clear that we are living through such a time. The information age is dissolving many of the lies of corporate capitalism. The rapid exchange of knowledge on the Internet has made the excesses of globalization transparent. It's high time for pointing out the pink elephants and debunking the myths of the system. So here's some more dirt under the fingernails of the American Empire: fluoride. For half a century in North America the commonly held belief has been that fluoride is good for our teeth. This is a PR lie concocted by the most infamous "mad man" of Madison Avenue, Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud. The truth is that fluoride is poison. Yet on account of the longevity of the lie, to this day there is poison in our toothpaste and in our drinking water.
In most of North America, if you turn on the faucet in the kitchen or the bathroom, the water that pours out will be laced with hydrofluorosilicic acid. It's designated a Class 2 poison by the EPA, an acute toxin worse than lead and almost as bad as arsenic. According to the National Cancer Institute it's a known carcinogen. Hydrofluorosilicic acid is a byproduct of the Florida phosphate fertilizer industry. It comes straight from the stacks of industrial plants. It's illegal to dump it into freshwater lakes and rivers because it's toxic to life. Yet it's being trucked in oil tankers all over the United States and Canada to be sold to municipalities that pump it into our tap water. Yet enough scientific evidence has mounted against fluoride that three U.S. judges have ruled in federal court that fluoridation represents an "unreasonable risk" to the public, and the public is beginning to get wind of the danger.
In 2006 the National Research Council published the most comprehensive review to date of the scientific studies into the issue entitled "Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of the EPA's Standards." The review panel found that hydrofluorosilicic acid has been linked with preventable diseases like arthritis, diabetes, osteosarcoma, Alzheimer's, Down's syndrome, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, and hypocalcemia. The weight of evidence suggests that fluoride causes damage throughout the human organism: cells, skins, bones, joints, ligaments, kidneys, liver, lungs, and intestines. Fluoride is shown to depress the thyroid gland, impairs kidney function, and calcify the pineal gland. Fluoride crosses the blood-brain barrier intact and causes neurological damage that lowers IQ. Fluoride is especially dangerous to the brain because it combines with aluminum which is known to cause Alzheimer's and dementia. Fluoride also damages the DNA by causing cells to mutate, which is one of the triggers of cancer.
The official line that we're told is that fluoride prevents tooth decay. Yet fluoride is known to do just the opposite. Fluoride causes dental fluorosis, a condition that makes teeth hard and brittle with discoloration, chipping and pitting of the enamel. It's estimated by the Centers for Disease Control that one-third of the children in the United States have dental fluorosis. In Canada the numbers are lower due to less fluoride in the water: Health Canada estimates between 12 and 14 percent incidence of fluorosis. Furthermore new studies show that the supposed benefits of fluoridation are nonexistent. The National Institute of Dental Research conducted the largest study to date on fluoride's effects on teeth with over 39,000 children ages 5 to 17 and found no significant differences between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities. Another study in New York State found that the only significant difference is that fluoridated Newburgh, New York, has twice the dental fluorosis of non-fluoridated Kingston, New York.
The American Dental Association has warned that parents should make up baby formula with non-fluoridated water because of the damage that fluoride can do to the developing teeth of infants. The EPA has withdrawn its support of fluoridation, after the EPA's headquarters filed a successful grievance against the agency asking for clean drinking water because fluoride is toxic. The National Kidney Federation has also asked to have its name removed from the list of fluoridation, and furthermore warned that kidney patients should be warned about the dangers of fluoride ingestion. The National Cancer Institute has estimated that one-tenth of the quarter-million cancer deaths per year in the U.S. are linked to water fluoridation.
A growing number of scientists are learning the truth about fluoride. Dr. Paul Connett of St. Lawrence University and executive director of the Fluoride Action Network explains his own experience: "I have been researching the scientific literature on fluoride since 1996. I approached this issue with an open mind. If I had any bias when I set out it was that those who were opposed to fluoridation were 'crackpots.' However, the more I read the more concerned I became over the dangers posed by fluoride and by the very poor science underpinning political decisions that allow such a toxic substance to be put into our drinking water."
Yet for some doctors speaking the truth has not come without a price. The best example may be Dr. Phyllis Mullinex, who used to be a leading researcher with the Forsyth Dental Institute. She created an innovative computer pattern recognition software to study the neurotoxicity of chemicals. Then she was asked to study fluoride. At first she balked that it was a waste of time. Like most doctors, she believed that fluoride as safe and harmless because it was in toothpaste and drinking water. Yet the software revealed that fluoride even in small doses causes effects similar to hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder. The results were congruent with numerous studies in China that show that fluoride lowers the IQ of children. When Dr. Mullinex published these surprising results, she was promptly fired from Forsyth and since then has not been able to find a position or receive research grants.
Another fluoride expert is Dr. Hardy Limeback, the Head of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto and former president of the Canadian Association for Dental Research. He was on the panel of the National Research Council that published the scientific indictment of fluoride. Like many practicing dentists, Dr. Limeback used to promote fluoride, but when he learned the truth he recanted his earlier position and apologized for misleading the public. Since then he's been a leading opponent of fluoridation. Yet his integrity has also cost him professionally. Since changing his position Dr. Limeback also has not received any research grants.
There are many examples but all exemplify the pattern: scientists and doctors who have the integrity to speak the truth against fluoridation are marginalized by the corporate medical establishment. Yet the weight of evidence certainly suggests that those who support fluoridation are in violation of the most fundamental principle of the medical profession, the Hippocratic Oath: do no harm.
National Cancer Institute co-founder Dr. Dean Burke has said: "We estimate that since fluoridation was introduced into the U.S., there have been almost as many excess deaths associated with fluoridation as the sum total of all American military deaths since the founding of the USA 1776. Now that's an awful burden for pro-fluoridationists to bear if they can come to see that they have been responsible for this. The underlying clandestine force behind water fluoridation is a need by various industries to get rid of various toxic fluoride byproducts, about as tough to get rid of as radioactive waste. The dentists are by and large pawns."
So the fact is that we're being poisoned. Fluoride is put into our drinking water quite deliberately, and despite the laws that uphold fluoridation, it's clearly a moral crime of negligence at the very least, a crime that harms the health of millions of people. One question that arises is why it's happening: out of ignorance or greed or both? In ancient Rome when politicians were assassinated people asked themselves: cui bono? Who benefits? It's doubtful that city councilors have much to gain from fluoridation, although politicians receive contributions from lobbyists. It's doubtful that dentists who promote fluoridation are informed about the dangers involved, although it must be said that the profits of dentists are 17 percent higher in areas where water is fluoridated. Yet it's clear that the lion's share of the profits in the fluoride racket go to corporations. For the chemical corporations fluoridation is a double win: they receive a big handout of taxpayers' dollars and they get rid of toxic waste. And whereas politicians and dentists can claim ignorance with justice and may be forgiven because they not what they do, the same cannot be claimed by corporations.
The truth is that fluoride has a long shady history as a toxic chemical that goes all the way back to the Manhattan Project. Declassified documents show that scientists like the Manhattan Project's chief toxicologist Harold Hodge were ordered to cover up the dangers of toxins like fluoride in order to prevent lawsuits against the Pentagon and military contractors. Later Harold Hodge was a leading promoter of fluoride and appeared in education films in a white smock spelling out on a blackboard that fluoride is both safe and effective in preventing tooth cavities. The research to support such claims came from scientists like Gerald Cox of the Mellon Institute, who also argued on behalf of asbestos, and Robert Kehoe of the Ketting Laboratory, who also defended lead. Such "science for hire" was financed by corporations, and the skewed findings were used as ammunition for the Fluorine Lawyers Committee of litigators who defended the industry in lawsuits. Dr. Leonard Weinstein of Cornell University said in 1983: "Certainly there has been more litigation on alleged damage to agriculture by fluoride than all other pollutants combined."
In fact, fluoride was involved in the worst air pollution accident in American history. Fluoride gas was found to be the cause of 19 deaths and thousands of injuries near a U.S. Steel plant in Donora, Pennsylvania, in 1948. It was this accident that instigated the first environmental movement. So the historical record shows that corporations are well aware of the dangers of fluoride though it's continued to be sold to the public.
So why does water fluoridation continue? If fluoride is a clear and present danger to the public, why don't the health authorities put an end to this irrational and irresponsible practice? The simple truth is that the government regulatory bureaucracies have been captured by the dental lobby on behalf of the industry that produces, sells and profits from fluoride.
For example, Canada's Chief Dental Officer is Peter Cooney, a fervent supporter of fluoridation. Cooney also holds a position with the World Dental Federation, which is an international trade association funded by corporations that profit from fluoride like Colgate, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, etc. So it's no surprise that Cooney was appointed to the panel when Health Canada put together a panel of experts to study the issue of fluoridation.
According to Paul Connect, "The report is sloppy, superficial, selective, biased and clearly designed to protect the fluoridation program at all costs. In short, it should embarrass any Canadian who believes that Health Canada's policies are based on sound science and bound by scientific integrity. These are harsh words and I don't use them lightly. But it is very clear that this whole 'product' was a fix from the very beginning."
Basically, once again in the instance of water fluoridation the public has been swindled and defrauded by yet another "iron triangle" of collusion between corporations, politicians and regulators. That's what "establishment" means. It's a network of connections and a system of corruption that subverts democracy and sells out the integrity of public office. The quid pro quo goes like this: corporations make political contributions in exchange for the political appointments of corporate lackeys to key positions in regulatory bureaucracies where they won't interfere with the rackets. So after they do a stint in so-called public service they'll be rewarded with plush gigs in the exact same corporations they were supposed to regulate.
The iron triangle is a characteristic staple of the capitalist system. It's the same on Wall Street where executives from Citibank and Goldman Sachs are appointed to key positions to regulate the financial sector. It's the same with the military-industry complex where Pentagon generals who promote military spending are rewarded with jobs with the military contractors. The latest example relevant to fluoride: Julie Gerberding, head of the Centers for Disease Control and a die-hard fluoridationist, has just been rewarded with a job as head of the vaccines division at Merck Pharmaceuticals, where she can be trusted not to blow the whistle on toxic chemicals in the drugs.
With lead, with asbestos, with DDT, and now with fluoride, we have seen time and again how corporations are perfectly willing to put out a dangerous product that harms the health of countless people, and how our elected representatives and politically appointed bureaucrats fail to take action until it's too late or not at all. The reason is corporations call the tune and governments dance the jig.
In the past century we have seen epidemics of preventable diseases like arthritis, diabetes and cancer. When we stop to think, we understand that the true cause is the pollution by toxic chemicals of our air, food and water. We know that fluoride in the water is one of the causes of these diseases. The damage cannot be undone, but if we wish to begin to heal our society, if we want to cleanse the public body of the poisons we consume, then we must begin by facing the truth. Fluoride is more than just a health care issue. It's about more than mass medication without informed consent. Fluoride is a metaphor for what's wrong with how the system works. Water fluoridation is a racket being perpetrated upon the people. It's a scheme that costs the public hundreds of millions for the fluoride itself plus incalculable millions in health care costs. It's yet another case of public finance of private profit, a business model that simply would not be viable without government subsidy, which is a truism of the whole capitalism system. Fluoride demonstrates once again how big business is able to control public opinion with bullshit and twist politics around its little finger like a mobster's pinky ring. Fluoride has been one of the myths of our culture for fifty years, and as the lie unravels around a moral crime, we find the fingerprints of unscrupulous corporations out for profit with no regard for the planet and no respect for life. Until we can face up to this reality, and speak out against the status quo, we continue to live with poisoned water and everything it represents.
Be Your Own Messiah
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