Numerous studies demonstrate links between fluoridation and cancer; however, agencies promoting fluoride consistently refute or cover up these findings.
Even in the earliest days of fluoridation there were clear indications of the fluoride-cancer link. In the early 1950s Dr. Alfred Taylor, a biochemist at the University of Texas conducted a series of experiments in which cancer-prone mice consuming water treated with sodium fluoride were found to have shorter lifespans than similar mice drinking distilled water.(131) Taylor’s studies were carried out twice, because after the first run the scientist himself discovered that the chow that his mice had eaten had itself contained fluoride, thus clouding the results. On his own initiative, Taylor ran the whole experiment a second time. The second run, with mice fed fluoride-free chow, was conclusive. Clearly fluoride could no longer be considered a harmless additive to drinking water.(132)
John Remington Graham and Pierre-Jean Morin, in their exhaustive survey of fluoridation litigation(133) observe that “Taylor’s work was published at a politically sensitive time, because the last stages of the much-boasted surveys at Newburgh and Kingston were underway. The obvious meaning of Dr. Taylor’s results was that a possible danger to human health had been overlooked, and that widespread fluoridation should be delayed until the situation had been clarified. However, the ADA and the USPHS had already endorsed and begun the drive to promote fluoridation.”(134)
What happened next is a classic study in denial. The Final Report published by the authors of the Newburgh-Kingston study refers only to the results of Taylor’s first round of tests, even though his second, conclusive round had been peer-reviewed and published over two years before. They wrote:
“The reports by Alfred Taylor, a biochemist at the University of Texas, on the increased incidence of cancer in mice drinking fluoride treated water have been shown to be unfounded, since the food he was giving the mice had many times the fluoride content of drinking water, and the food was supplied to both the control and the experimental groups. Subsequent tests did not confirm the differences.”(135)
And this same denial has been repeated over and over for the succeeding 45 years by the United States Public Health Service and its affiliates. Graham and Morin cite a standard history of the National Institute of Dental Research, published over 35 years later, alleging that Dr. Taylor refrained from publishing his findings “because he was unable to confirm those results in a second experiment.”(136) The author of this fabrication goes on to say that “a literature search of scientific journals failed to show any publication of this work by Taylor….”(137) Legal scholars Graham and Morin comment: “The most powerful forensic evidence of the importance of Dr. Taylor’s work is that the USPHS officials have done so much to conceal it.”(138)
That was not to be the last study to reveal carcinogenic effects for fluoride, and it was not to be the last fluoride-related cover-up. In 1977, Dr. John Yiamouyiannis and Dr. Dean Burk, former chief chemist at the National Cancer Institute, released a study that linked fluoridation to 10,000 cancer deaths per year in the U.S. Their inquiry, which compared cancer deaths in the ten largest fluoridated American cities to those in the ten largest unfluoridated cities between 1940 and 1950, discovered a 5% greater rate in the fluoridated areas.(139) The NCI disputed these findings, since an earlier analysis of theirs apparently failed to pick up these extra deaths. Federal authorities claimed that Yiamouyiannis and Burk were in error, and that any increase was caused by statistical changes over the years in age, gender, and racial composition.(140)
In order to settle the question of whether or not fluoride is a carcinogen, a Congressional subcommittee instructed the National Toxicology Program (NTP) to perform another investigation.(141) That study, due in 1980, was not released until 1990. However, in 1986, while the study was delayed, the EPA raised the standard fluoride level in drinking water from 2.4 to 4 ppm.(142) After this step, some of the government’s own employees in NFFE Local 2050 took what the Oakland Tribune termed the “remarkable step of denouncing that action as political.”(143)
When the NTP study results became known in early 1990, union president Dr. Robert Carton, who works in the EPA’s Toxic Substances Division, published a statement. It read, in part:
“Four years ago, NFFE Local 2050, which represents all 1100 professionals at EPA headquarters, alerted then Administrator Lee Thomas to the fact that the scientific support documents for the fluoride in drinking water standard were fatally flawed. The fluoride juggernaut proceeded as it apparently had for the last 40 years – without any regard for the facts or concern for public health.
“EPA raised the allowed level of fluoride before the results of the rat/mouse study ordered by Congress in 1977 was complete. Today, we find out how irresponsible that decision was. The results reported by NTP, and explained today by Dr. Yiamouyiannis, are, as he notes, not surprising considering the vast amount of data that caused the animal study to be conducted in the first place. The results are not surprising to NFFE Local 2050 either. Four years ago we realized that the claim that there was no evidence that fluoride could cause genetic effects or cancer could not be supported by the shoddy document thrown together by the EPA contractor.
“It was apparent to us that EPA bowed to political pressure without having done an in-depth, independent analysis, using in-house experts, of the currently existing data that show fluoride causes genetic effects, promotes the growth of cancerous tissue, and is likely to cause cancer in humans. If EPA had done so, it would have been readily apparent – as it was to Congress in 1977 – that there were serious reasons to believe in a cancer threat.
“The behavior by EPA in this affair raises questions about the integrity of science at EPA and the role of professional scientists, lawyers and engineers who provide the interpretation of the available data and the judgements necessary to protect the public health and the environment. Are scientists at EPA there to arrange facts to fit preconceived conclusions? Does the Agency have a responsibility to develop world-class experts in the risks posed by chemicals we are exposed to every day, or is it permissible for EPA to cynically shop around for contractors who will provide them the ‘correct’ answers?”(144)
What were the NTP study results? Out of 130 male rats that ingested 45 to 79 ppm of fluoride, 5 developed osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. There were cases, in both males and females at those doses, of squamous cell carcinoma in the mouth.(145) Both rats and mice had dose-related fluorosis of the teeth, and female rats suffered osteosclerosis of the long bones.(146)
When Yiamouyiannis analyzed the same data, he found mice with a particularly rare form of liver cancer, known as hepatocholangiocarcinoma. This cancer is so rare, according to Yiamouyiannis, that the odds of its appearance in this study by chance are 1 in 2 million in male mice and l in 100,000 in female mice.(147) He also found precancerous changes in oral squamous cells, an increasein squamous cell tumors and cancers, and thyroid follicular cell tumors as a result of increasing levels of fluoride in drinking water.(148)
A March 13, 1990, New York Times article commented on the NTP findings:
“Previous animal tests suggesting that water fluoridation might pose risks to humans have been widely discounted as technically flawed, but the latest investigation carefully weeded out sources of experimental or statistical error, many scientists say, and cannot be discounted.”(149)
In the same article, biologist Dr. Edward Groth notes: “The importance of this study…is that it is the first fluoride bioassay giving positive results in which the latest state-of-the-art procedures have been rigorously applied… It has to be taken seriously.”(150)
On February 22, 1990, the Medical Tribune, an international medical news weekly received by 125,000 doctors, offered the opinion of a federal scientist who preferred to remain anonymous:
“It is difficult to see how EPA can fail to regulate fluoride as a carcinogen in light of what NTP has found. Osteosarcomas are an extremely unusual result in rat carcinogenicity tests. Toxicologists tell me that the only other substance that has produced this is radium….The fact that this is a highly atypical form of cancer implicates fluoride as the cause. Also, the osteosarcomas appeared to be dose-related, and did not occur in controls, making it a clean study.”(151)
Public health officials were quick to assure a concerned public that there was nothing to worry about! The ADA said the occurrence of cancers in the lab may not be relevant to humans since the level of fluoridation in the experimental animals’ water was so high. But the Federal Register, which is the handbook of government practices, disagrees: “The high exposure of experimental animals to toxic agents is a necessary and valid method of discovering possible carcinogenic hazards in man. To disavow the findings of this test would be to disavow those of all such tests, since they are all conducted according to this standard.”(152) As a February 5, 1990, Newsweek article pointed out, “such megadosing is standard toxicological practice. It’s the only way to detect an effect without using an impossibly large number of test animals to stand in for the humans exposed to the substance.”(153) And as the Safer Water Foundation explains, higher doses are generally administered to test animals to compensate for the animals’ shorter life span and because humans are generally more vulnerable than test animals on a body-weight basis.(154)
Several other studies link fluoride to genetic damage and cancer. An article in Mutation Research says that a study by Proctor and Gamble, the very company that makes Crest toothpaste, did research showing that 1 ppm fluoride causes genetic damage.(155) Results were never published but Proctor and Gamble called them “clean,” meaning animals were supposedly free of malignant tumors. Not so, according to scientists who believe some of the changes observed in test animals could be interpreted as precancerous.(156) Yiamouyiannis says the Public Health Service sat on the data, which were finally released via a Freedom of Information Act request in 1989. ” Since they are biased, they have tried to cover up harmful effects,” he says. “But the data speaks for itself. Half the amount of fluoride that is found in the New York City drinking water causes genetic damage.”(157)
A National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences publication, Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, also linked fluoride to genetic toxicity when it stated that “in cultured human and rodent cells, the weight of evidence leads to the conclusion that fluoride exposure results in increased chromosome aberrations.” (158) The result of this is not only birth defects but the mutation of normal cells into cancer cells. The Journal of Carcinogenesis further states that “fluoride not only has the ability to transform normal cells into cancer cells but also to enhance the cancer-causing properties of other chemicals.” (159)
Surprisingly, the PHS put out a report called “Review of fluoride: benefits and risks,” in which they showed a substantially higher incidence of bone cancer in young men exposed to fluoridated water compared to those who were not. The New Jersey Department of Health also found that the risk of bone cancer was about three times as high in fluoridated areas as in nonfluoridated areas.(160)
Despite cover-up attempts, the light of knowledge is filtering through to some enlightened scientists. Regarding animal test results, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, James Huff, does say that “the reason these animals got a few osteosarcomas was because they were given fluoride…Bone is the target organ for fluoride.”(161) Toxicologist William Marcus adds that “fluoride is a carcinogen by any standard we use. I believe EPA should act immediately to protect the public, not just on the cancer data, but on the evidence of bone fractures, arthritis, mutagenicity, and other effects.”(162)
Paul Connett notes that “some of the earliest opponents of fluoride were biochemists and at least 14 Nobel prize winners are among numerous scientists who have expressed their reservations about the practice of fluoridation.”(163) He cites Dr, James Sumner, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on enzyme chemistry, who says, “We ought to go slowly. Everybody knows fluorine and fluoride are very poisonous substances…We use them in enzyme chemistry to poison enzymes, those vital agents in the body. That is the reason things are poisoned; because the enzymes are poisoned and that is why animals and plants die.”(164)
It is instructive to note that The fluoride compounds that are added to our drinking water are not pharmaceuticals. They are direct, unfiltered waste products of the aluminum and fertilizer industries.