News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 31, 2006

Pete Chalos: Fluoridation removal should be on local agenda


Last year, 11 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employee unions, representing over 7,000 environmental and public health professionals, called for a moratorium on drinking water fluoridation programs across the country. I wrote a two-part commentary exploring the evidence that inspired the letter these professionals sent to the U.S. Congress.

According to The Washington Post, in March of this year America’s National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a report concluding that the current allowable level of fluoride in tap water “is not protective of the public health and should be lowered.” The committee called on EPA leadership to re-evaluate current safety standards. This report by our nation’s most prestigious organization of scientists has added a great deal of credibility to the concerns expressed by the EPA unions last year.

The NAS report, “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of the EPA’s Standards,” cited serious concerns about dental fluorosis, increases in bone fractures and stiffness in the joints of the elderly, possible links to Alzheimer’s disease, reduction in thyroid production, reduction of endocrine and hormonal levels that control many functions of the human body, and a possible link to a rare form of bone cancer among other health risks.

Dr. Hardy Limeback, one of the 12 scientists who served on the National Academy of Sciences panel, reported, “In my opinion, the evidence that fluoridation is more harmful than beneficial is now overwhelming and policy makers who avoid thoroughly reviewing recent data before introducing new fluoridation schemes do so at risk of future litigation.” Dr. Limeback is head of the preventive dentistry program at the University of Toronto.

Another panel member, Dr. Robert Isaacson, professor of neurobehavioral science at the State University of New York in Binghamton, said the report should be a wake-up call.

The report was critical of communities which fluoridate at the maximum allowable amount of exposure, 4 ppm (parts per million), but also concluded that those living in communities where water fluoridation is at 2 ppm (the majority of Americans) may also be overexposed due to secondary sources of fluoridation.

An NAS press release stated, “Most exposure to fluoride in the United States results from consumption of water and water-based beverages, but dental products, food, and other sources contribute as well. Highly exposed sub-populations include individuals who have high concentrations of fluoride in their drinking water or who drink more water than the average person because of exercise, outdoor work, or a medical condition. Relative to their body weight, infants and young children are exposed to three to four times as much fluoride as adults.

“Children also may use more toothpaste than is advised or swallow it, and many receive fluoride treatments from their dentists. Fluoride accumulates in bone over time, so groups likely to have increased bone fluoride concentrations include the elderly and people with severe renal deficiency who have trouble excreting fluoride in their urine.”

The very idea of using drinking water as a vehicle for forced medication is, in my opinion, unjustifiable under the American Constitution. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Scientists have been speaking out on the matter for years.

Dr. Charles Gordon Heyd, Past President of the American Medical Association, has said, “I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs. Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long range basis. Any attempt to use water this way is deplorable.”

Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry and Medicine to express opposition to fluoridation include James Sumner, Guilio Natta, Nikolai Semenov, Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood, Arvid Carlsson, Hugo Theorell, Walter Rudolph Hess, Sir Robert Robinson, Artturi Virtanen, Adolf Butendandt, Corneille Jean-Francois Heymans, William P. Murphy, and Hans von Euler-Chelpin.

Some notable opponents to fluoridation include: Dr. J. William Hirzy (senior vice-president at the EPA), Dr. William Marcus (Office of Drinking Water’s chief toxicologist at the EPA), Dr. Albert Burgstahler (Harvard graduate and professor of organic chemistry at the University of Kansas), Dr. David Kennedy (former president of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology), Dr. Lennart Krook (professor emeritus of toxicology at Cornell University Department of Veterinary Medicine), Dr. Roger Masters (professor emeritus of government at Dartmouth College), Dr. Jennifer Luke of Caries Research, Dr. Phyllis Mullenix (formerly of Harvard University’s Forsyth Research Institute), Dr. John Colquhoun of New Zealand, Dr. Philip Sutton (author of “The Greatest Fraud: Fluoridation”), Dr. Paul Connett (professor of chemistry at St. Lawrence University), Richard Shames M.D. (formerly of the National Institute of Health), and Dr. Dean Burk (chief chemist at the U.S. National Cancer Institute).

More information can be found on Second Look’s Web page (www.slweb.org), Fluoride Alert (www.fluoridealert.org), and No Fluoride (www.nofluoride.com). Sources of fluoride-free bottled water include Evian and Perrier. Special filters can be purchased to remove fluoride from tap water.

Terre Haute should join the growing number of cities that have removed this threat to public health. Do it now.



Pete Chalos, a longtime teacher, coach and public servant in Vigo County, was mayor of Terre Haute for 16 years. Send e-mail to pchalos@netscape.com.