Fluoridation: Dogmatic Science?
by George Glasser, August 16, 2011
I wrote about fluoride in drinking water for a number of years. Primarily, I took up the issue because in the early 1990s I discovered that the type of fluoride introduced into the drinking water wasn’t the same product on which they conducted clinical animal and safety studies.
I also picked up on the fact that most of the chemistry was based on experiments done in laboratories under controlled conditions using double distilled/deionized water, a 99.97% regent grade sodium fluoride, and not with typical treated tap water and the actual products used to fluoridated the drinking water.
First off, I was extremely suspect about the use of the fluoridation chemical which captured fluorosilicate-laden fumes from phosphate fertilizer production. (Industry term: “Scrubber liquor.”)
In 1994, I began enquiring into the fluorosilicates used to fluoridate the drinking water. I wanted to see specifics – actual scientific research done with the ‘products.’
After almost a year of incessantly badgering the US Environmental Protection Agency about research, I received a letter in June 1995 stating that EPA determined sodium fluoride was an “appropriate surrogate” for fluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate in toxicological studies.
I knew that we were discussing two different products whose only relationship was the fluoride ion, and the letter I received from the EPA was just an offhanded, manufactured statement to placate me. In reality, the tone of the letter was condescending as if I should shut up and go away.
The way I saw it, if a drug company were to use a surrogate instead of the drug they intended to market for testing purposes, the US Food and Drug Administration would shut them down in a heartbeat. Aside from that, they would find themselves up to their necks in litigation, and the possibility of the company executives facing prison time on felony criminal charges for fraud.
Claiming the safety and efficacy of a product based on research done with another product with different toxicological characteristics amounted to fraudulent misrepresentation in my estimation.
I spent another year communicating with chemists and scientists only to discover that most of the so-called science was simply based on academic assumptions and speculative conjecture because all the tests were done in the laboratory with a ‘surrogate product.’
Curiously, the scientists actually believed they knew what they were talking about, and authoritatively justified everything with ambiguous and often contradictory hypothetical notions.
Tired of all the pathetic excuses and condescending placations, I posed the hard question. I asked, “Why won’t anyone perform animal or cytotoxicology research using typically treated tap water and the actual commercial grade product?”
Well, one of them came back to me and said it was impractical because they would never be able duplicate the results with a commercial grade product in chemically treated drinking water.”
He said that there were just too many variables as far as contaminants that came into play, and they were looking for specific effects from the fluoride ion. In essence, he said, they weren’t concerned about the actual end product (tap water) – just the effects of the “fluoride ion!”
I found that to be somewhat perplexing because if you don’t look at the whole picture, you can’t really make a definitive assessment about anything.
An extreme analogy that came to mind was that sodium ferrocyanide is common anti caking agent used in salt and other food products. However, if they used sodium ferrocyanide as a surrogate for potassium cyanide, and the researchers determined that potassium cyanide could be a substitute based on the ferrocyanide research, there would be a lot of dead people.
There didn’t seem to be any real scientific rationale behind the feedback I was receiving, only a defense of established, dogmatic fluoride research which in no way reflected reality.
They treat drinking water with a number of chemicals of which the types and quantities used depends of the characteristics of the source water. So when you add another toxic contaminant, e.g. fluoride, it changes the toxicokenetics of the chemical soup you drink.
To get a good idea of what’s happening, it’s fairly simple and logical; you set up some controls using distilled water, typical chemically treated tap water, and fluoridated tap water with the typical commercial grade fluorosilicic acid. That way, you get a relatively realistic picture of what is happening.
However, all the safety research is performed under clinical conditions and controlled environments, such as using double distilled distilled/deionized water and 99.97% reagent grades of sodium fluoride. This is mainly because, as I was told numerous times, they want to minimize any chance of contamination because it may spoil the outcome they were trying to establish!
They weren’t interested in the big picture, they were they were just investigating a microscopic section of the picture.
From previous research, I knew that adding fluorides to the tap water wasn’t as straight forward as one might think. Most of the time, the acid/alkalinity balance had to be adjusted so the water wasn’t too acidic or alkaline.
Many water companies use calcium hydroxide because the fluorosilicic acid makes the water acidic; consequently, there is a problem with the fluoride combining with the calcium and precipitating out of solution.
With surface water sources, the water has to be clarified, so they add a flocculent. Aluminum sulfate is commonly used and the residual aluminum has a propensity to combine with the fluoride.
None of that makes a lot of sense, but nothing about water fluoridation science makes much sense.
In reality, there are a lot of continuous molecular chemical reactions happening in your tap water – it’s not just inert water as the fluoride scientists erroneously tend to delude themselves into believing.
The ‘fluoride ion’ being the most electronegative isn’t just going to remain a lone ion waiting to attach itself to somebody’s tooth with all the reactions going on in the water and minerals to combine with in spite of what the esteemed fluoridation scientists say.
The fact of the matter is that the fluorosilicates are only an additive to the tap water; the actual product is tap water which contains other additives and inherent contaminants.
The tap water is the end product on which any safety research should be based. Unfortunately, for the public, the fluoridation scientists don’t seem to comprehend that and just keep their eyes on the fluoride ion.
There can be any number of contaminants in tap water depending on the source and the chemicals used to treat the water. While one chemical or contaminant might not be a significant health threat; the toxicity of a combination may well be potentiated or synergized by another, and the combination may cause an adverse health effect unrelated to any specific chemical or contaminant. If that were the case, it would be impossible to prove that fluorides had any effect doing research under the established ‘scientific’ criteria.
To use the drug company scenario again, if a manufacturer was caught basing their health and safety claims on just testing one ingredient and using a surrogate for that ingredient, you can bet there would be criminal charges and executives would be serving prison time. Drug manufactures are required to run tests on the actual product. Fluoridated tap water is no different from a drug on which the manufacturer makes health and safety claims.
There is absolutely no relationship to reality between the fluoridated water you drink from the tap and the fluoridation research water except the generic “Fluoride Ion” and 99.9% pure H2O. Tap water is a chemical soup.
Consequently, no scientist with a modicum of intelligence or integrity would make an unequivocal statement to the effect that tap water fluoridation safety has been proven beyond a doubt – it’s a blatant misrepresentation, if not an outright lie.
Justifying their positions, the researchers said that fluorosilicates dissociate in water for form silica and fluoride ions. But, I found a 1947 paper, “Silica Free Boiler Water by Ion Exchange,” from Industrial Engineering Chemistry that directly contradicts their myopic and naïve assumptions about fluorosilicates in drinking water dissociating into silica and fluoride ions and fluoride being a “free, non-reactive ion in water.”
The Paper states:
Fluoridation will provide all or part of the fluorides [as in sodium fluoride] needed to remove silica from boiler water. An ion exchange process is reported to require 1.0 ppm fluoride for each 0.5 ppm silica removed.
Conversely, when sodium fluorosilicate was added to the water, the silica build-up was unaffected thus suggesting that it’s unlikely that fluorosilicates dissociate into silica and fluoride ions in water despite all the assurances of the pedantic experts about “free fluoride ions.” In fact, it states that the fluoride ion will readily attach to any silica present in the source water.
Interestingly, I never got one of the usual lengthy explanatory responses when I posed that scenario to the ‘experts’ backed with the science.
Basically, it’s because it’s not supposed to happen according to their dogmatic scientific indoctrination about the “free fluoride ion” in water being non-reactive, and the hypothetical fluorosilicate “dissociation constants;” consequently, they didn’t know what to say so they just ignored me.
The truth of the matter is that fluorosilicates were grandfathered in as fluoridation agent during the early days, and it didn’t have anything to do with science.
Thus with sodium fluorosilicate currently selling for about half the price as sodium fluoride, the costs of chemicals for fluoridation of 1 million gallons of water at the optimum level of 1.0 ppm is approximately $2.12 using sodium fluoride and 76 cents for an equivalent of sodium fluorosilicate. McClure, FJ. Availability of fluorine in sodium fluoride vs. sodium fluorosilicate. Pub. Health Rep. 1950.
The bottom line is that the use of fluorosilicates was simply a cheap means to fluoridate drinking water and nothing more.
So, in the end, nobody really knows what’s going on with fluorosilicates in the drinking water; subsequently anything said about safety and efficacy is speculative, unsubstantiated notion and not based on solid science.