LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News Volume 7 No 4, 2000, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News ( ISSN 1440-0561)
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Fluoridation Increases Lead Absorption in Children

By New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation

The chemical most commonly used to fluoridate America's drinking water is associated with an increase in children's blood lead levels, according to research being presented to the 17th International Neurotoxicology Conference ("Children's Health and the Environment," Little Rock, Arkansas, October 17-20, 1999).

Most studies that purport fluoridation's safety and effectiveness in preventing cavities use the chemical sodium fluoride. However, most communities inject cheaper silicofluorides (fluorosilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride) into their drinking water based on the theory that each chemical comes apart totally, so that freed fluoride can incorporate into tooth enamel. How-ever, the silicofluorides (SiF) do not separate completely, as sodium fluoride does, reports Professor Roger D. Masters, Ph.D., of Dartmouth College, and co-researcher Myron Coplan, chemical engineer. "As a result, water treatment with silicofluorides apparently functions to increase the cellular uptake of lead," they state.

In research published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies (September 1999), Masters and Coplan studied lead screening data from 280,000 Massachusetts children. They found that average blood lead levels are significantly higher in children living in communities whose water is treated with silicofluorides. Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey (NHANES III) and a survey of over 120,000 children in New York towns (population 15,000 to 75,000) corroborate this effect. Masters and Coplan reported that some minorities are especially at risk in high SiF exposure areas, where Black and Mexican American children have significantly higher blood lead levels than they do in unfluoridated communities.

Silicofluorides are used by over 90% of U.S. fluoridated towns and cities. Ironically, children with higher blood lead levels also have more tooth decay (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 23/30, 1999 [see below]). "So water fluoridation may prove to cause tooth decay rather than prevent it," says lawyer Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation. "This research is just another block stacked on a giant wall of evidence that proves fluoridation is neither safe nor effective -- no matter what fluoride chemical is used," he says.

Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and at high levels, seizures, coma and even death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). "Lead is a highly significant risk factor in predicting higher rates of crime, attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity and learning disabilities," says Masters. In an interview with the Coalition, Dr. Masters said that in still another study, now in press, his research team found higher rates of violent crime and substance abuse in silicofluoridated communities. "We're appalled that this month, the CDC celebrates fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of this country, when science tells us it's harming our children," says Beeber.

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For more information e-mail New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation on: [email protected]

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