Kurt Ferre

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Kurt Ferre is a retired dentist in Portland who has been part of sneak attack efforts to impose fluoridation on Portland.

See: http://www.cleanwaterportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Industrial-byproduct-and-toxics-reference-sheet1.pdf.

Portland is fighting back, and so is Snohomish County.  The difference is that Portland has clean, uncontaminated drinking water while Snohomish County has had industrial grade toxic waste fluoridation materials (including lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, thallium, and orthosilicic acid) added since 1991.

I posted this article in the Edmonds and Mukilteo (Washington) Beacon, and Dr. Ferre responded.

See: http://edmondsbeacon.villagesoup.com/p/fluoridation-without-representation/941546

Dr. Ferre says that fluorsilicic acid does not break down to form orthosilicic acid – which is important to the fluoridation discussion because orthosilicic acid is exceptionally good at dissolving lead in old service lines, copper solder, and faucets, all of which contain lead.

Ferre says “The orthsilic acid mentioned is a bunch of poppycock”. Instead, Ferre says that fluorosilicic acid breaks down into “fluoride, hydrogen, and a little silica”.

Dr. Ferre is not even close to right. The 2006 report on fluoridation issued by the National Research Council, the most prestigious research body in the US, said: “In drinking water at approximately neutral pH and typical fluoride concentrations, all the silicofluoride appears to be dissociated entirely to silicic acid [Si(OH)4], fluoride ion, and HF”.  http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11571&page=53. The “little silica” is a lot of orthosilicic acid.

Dr. Ferre says nothing about the other elements which NSF admits can be present in fluorosilicic acid, nothing about the arsenic, cadmium, mercury, barium, and the radioactive thallium.

To neutralize the acidity of the fluorosilicic acid, Everett adds tons of soda ash, sodium carbonate, as alkalizer, enough to bring the sodium level up from zero to 7 ppm. However, the amount of alkalizer sufficient to neutralize the fluorosilicic acid is not sufficient to neutralize the orthosilicic acid.

Dr. Ferre cites the Environmental Sciences Technology article, 2006 Apr 15;40(8):2572-7, which can be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16683594. This article does not support his position and supports my position in two more ways:

The article says: “The buffer capacity of all of these systems was found to be insufficient to prevent acidic shifts in pH when hexafluorosilicate was added.” This statement relates to the fact that it is hard to neutralize the daughter acids which fluorosilicic acid produces. It is not practical to add enough alkalizer to neutralize the orthosilicic acid. You could raise the pH to 10 and the orthosilicic acid would still be dissolving the lead out of our plumbing.

For more on orthosilicic acid see Dr. Sauerheber’s article at http://fluoride-class-action.com/silicic-acid.

Moreover, when we add soda ash as alkalizer, sodium carbonate, we are adding a large load of salt to our drinking water. We should not be adding salt to our drinking water.

The Environmental Sciences article also says: “The pH change is sufficient explanation for the observed inhibition of acetylcholinesterase that was previously attributed to hexafluorosilicate hydrolysis intermediates.” This is a reference to the fact that fluorosilicic acid (and the other contaminants it contains) is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, which is not good for health.

For more detail see: http://fluoride-class-action.com/what-is-in-it.

See also: http://fluoride-class-action.com/arsenic-and-lead.

Comment from Dr. Richard Sauerheber, Ph.D.:

Mr. Deal understands basic chemistry better than Mr. Ferre does. Deal agrees with Ferre, that fluorosiicic acid diluted at pH 7 is fully dissociated. That was his point. It dissociates into fluoride ion and the weak acid silicic acid (with trace HF) as described by the NRC in 2006. The NMR article cited also confirms this.

But the point is that silicic acid is the ingredient involved in the leeching of lead salts in old plumbing as found in Seattle and Everett.  The NMR article also confirmed that a complex, SiF5-, forms at pH below 3, which is a pH common in man and animal stomachs and this complex is assimilated, as is HF, the form of most of the fluoride at stomach pH.

And by the way, of course fluoride is fluoride in any substance, but that is an incomplete statement because the toxicity of fluoride is determined by its environment. Calcium fluoride is not a toxic compound, but all industrial fluorides lack calcium and are listed as toxic calcium chelators.  If dentists used calcium fluoride for teeth treatments we would not be so concerned, and we would not have lost chidlren to heart attack who swallowed some of the gel. Fluoride in the presence of calcium behaves totally differently than fluoride in the absence of calcium, as in fluoride dental gels and as added into Everett water supplies.

And ingested fluoride from water produces only 0.02 ppm fluoride ion in saliva to topically bathe teeth (NRC), which is worthless for dental caries compared to toothpaste with fluoride at 75,000 times higher concentration. Systemic fluoride was ruled ineffective by the CDC in 2001, which is old news for most of us, but not for those who still promote its ingestion. The truth can hurt one’s stubbornness, but not acting on the truth can hurt most everyone else.

Fluoride is not listed in any Clinical Chemistry or Nursing or Veterinary Manual as a normal constituent of blood for a very good reason–it isn’t.

Richard Sauerheber, Ph.D. Chemistry

4 thoughts on “Kurt Ferre

  1. Dr. Richard Sauerheber

    In all balanced chemical reactions involving weak acids the accepted rule is to write weak acids in their intact rather than their dissociated forms, i.e. HF rather than H+ and F-. This serves a useful purpose. In the case here it is not objectionable to write the reaction as though HF as a weak acid were fully dissociated, as long as it is made clear in the discussion that the extent of dissociation depends on prevailing pH. If the pH is maintained at 7, HF even though a weak acid is 99.9% dissociated:6 Ka = [H+][F-]/[HF] and [F-]/[HF] = Ka/[H+] = 7.2 x 10^-4/10^-7 = 7200; 7200/7201 x 100 = 99.9%. This happens because substantial amounts of base are added along with the fluorosilicic acid materials to bring the pH back to neutral after adding the acid. Indeed the weak acid is forced into a high degree of dissociation at this pH. If sodium-based alkalizing agents were not added, the weak acid would not dissociate well (to only 3.8% dissociation).

    Of course the most important consideration is the form of the acid in the acidic stomach, not that at the water district outlet, and as James correctly points out our experimental data demonstrate that at pH 3 more than 50% of the fluoride is indeed hydrofluoric acid HF, which is the form by which fluoride gains entry into the bloodstream in the first place. Please consult Whitford and Bruzalaf (Archives of Oral Biology, 53 (2008) 1037–1041) where the data are published that HF is 1,000 times more permeable across the biologic membrane than fluoride. Our results are consistent with that reported by the NRC p.268, where fluoride is 2.4% HF at pH 5 and a whopping 96% HF at pH 2. Human pH of 3 is typical in the stomach and racehorses with a whopping 90% incidence of ulcers have a pH of only 2.6. Horses consume fluoridated water during racing that in part is responsible for missteps and breakdowns in the U.S. HF is also responsible for the 1% of people who have significant gastric upset when consuming fluoridated water, as observed in controlled human trials (NRC, 2006, p. 269). HF causes significant mucosal damage in humans at pH 3 at 20 ppm in about 15 minutes. As the NRC noted, far lower concentrations cause stomach pain without causing visible cellular damage. Also, any pH less than 3 as in the horse is potentially disastrous since a mere misstep caused by pain can cause bone breaks which are lethal. We have 7 racehorse deaths per 1,000 starts now at Los Alamitos in CA, an incidence that was 7 times lower before water fluoridation ever began here (manuscript in preparation). There is no excuse to place diluted industrial fluorosilicic acid into public water supplies for its fluoride, a toxic calcium chelator, en masse into all public water supplies for man and beast. Ingested fluoride does not and cannot decrease teeth caries, no matter how many anecdotal, impossible-to-control-all-variables claims are published. The CDC correctly published it does not work systemically from the blood (MMWR, Aug, 2001) and the NRC published that in saliva, fluoride bathes teeth topically at only 0.02 ppm, 75,000 times less concentrated than in toothpaste.

    Indeed the truth does hurt sometimes.

    Richard Sauerheber, Ph.D.

  2. Professor Deal Post author


    Thank you for your comments. It is important to discuss these issues in a professional manner.

    You are saying that fluorosiilicic acid breaks down into fluoride ion, hydrofluoric acid, and amorphous and hydrated silica Si(OH)4.

    We are saying that fluorosilicic acid breaks down into fluoride ion, hydrofluoric acid, and orthosilicic acid (H4SiO4).

    Actually the two terms, “amorphous and hydrated silica” and “orthosilicic acid”, are refer to the same compound. Add up the number of Hs, Os, and Sis, and you see they contain the same atoms in the same amounts.

    We believe it is proper to write the formula as “H4SiO4″ and call the compound orthosilicic acid and not write the formula as “Si(OH)4″ and call it amorphous and hydrated silica. The reason is that the formula Si(OH)4 would imply that it is a base, whereas H4SiO4 more accurately says that it is an acid.

    Orthosilicic acid is in fact an acid. Although orthosilicic acid is a weak acid, it is one of the more persistent acids when it comes to dissolving lead. Compare hydrochloric acid, which is a strong acid, but one which does not dissolve lead well. Orthosilicic acid is a weak acid that does.

    As a dentist, you apply only pharmaceutical grade sodium fluoride or monofluorophosphate to your patients’ teeth. You only recommend toothpaste containing sodium fluoride or monofluorophosphate. If you wrote a prescription for taking fluoride as a pill, you would only prescribe sodium fluoride tablets, also known as Luride. You would never apply fluorosilicic acid to your clients’ teeth as a gel or give away samples of fluorosilicic acid toothpaste or prescribe a fluorosilicic acid pill.

    If you want to preserve your right as a dentist to apply fluoride topically, you ought to oppose putting it in water and food, because from these combined sources people are getting more fluoride than they can effectively excrete or store in their bones. It is making a few people very sick and making all of us a little sick.

    I am sure that Dr. Sauerheber will have something to add. Or he may correct my chemistry.

    Feel free to respond. We will post your side of the issue.


  3. itmatters

    I’m sorry this author feels impelled to grossly misrepresent the facts. Water fluoridation has been proven to be safe.

  4. Kurt Ferre, proud fluoridationist

    Let me help you with a little chemistry, Mr. Deal:

    From the EPA’s information sheet:

    When added to water, hexafluorosilicic acid rapidly bydrolyses to produce hydrofluoric acid and various forms of amorphous and hydrated silica.

    H2SIF6 + 4 H2O = 6 HF + Si(OH)4

    Hydrofluoric acid readily dissociates in dilute aqueous solution to hydrogen ions and fluoride ions:

    6 HF = 6 H+ + 6 F-

    At the pH of drinking water (between 6.5 and 8.5), dissociation of hydrofluoric acid is greater than 99.9%

    The combination of reactions above gives the overall reaction for the hydrolysis of hexafluorosilicic acid:

    H2SiF6 + 4 H2O = 6 H+ + 6 F- + Si(OH)4

    Urbanski and Schock 2000

    From your above link to the 2006 NRC study:

    In drinking water at approximately neutral pH and typical fluoride concentrations, all the silicofluoride appears to be dissociated entirely to silicic acid [Si(OH)4], fluoride ion, and HF (Urbansky 2002; Morris 2004); any intermediate species either exist at extremely low concentrations or are highly transient. SiF62− would be present only under conditions of low pH (pH 50%. Show me in that MMWR report where it states that systemic fluoride was ruled ineffective…………here are two references for you to review;

    “Fluoride in caries prevention: is the effect pre- or post-eruptive?
    Groeneveld A, Van Eck AA, Backer Dirks
    J Dent Res 1990 Feb;69 Spec. No: 751-5

    “Relative Effects of Pre- and Posteruption Water Fluoride on Caries Experience of Permanent First Molars”
    K.A. Singh, BDS, GDPH, PhD; A. John Spencer, MDSc, PhD; J.M. Armfield, BA
    J PHD, Vol. 63, No. 1, Winter 2003

    Dr. Sauerheber: Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan
    The truth hurts, doesn’t it…………………..

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