Water fluoridation is a peculiarly American phenomenon. It started at a time when Asbestos lined our pipes, lead was added to gasoline, PCBs filled our transformers and DDT was deemed so "safe and effective" that officials felt no qualms spraying kids in school classrooms and seated at picnic tables. One by one all these chemicals have been banned, but fluoridation remains untouched.
For over 50 years US government officials have confidently and enthusiastically claimed that fluoridation is "safe and effective".
However, they are seldom prepared to defend the practice in open public debate. Actually, there are so many arguments against fluoridation that it can get overwhelming.
To simplify things it helps to separate the ethical from the scientific arguments.
For those for whom ethical concerns are paramount, the issue of fluoridation is very simple to resolve. It is simply not ethical; we simply shouldn't be forcing medication on people without their "informed consent". The bad news, is that ethical arguments are not very influential in Washington, DC unless politicians are very conscious of millions of people watching them. The good news is that the ethical arguments are buttressed by solid common sense arguments and scientific studies which convincingly show that fluoridation is neither "safe and effective" nor necessary. I have summarized the arguments in several categories:
Fluoridation is UNETHICAL because:
1) It violates the individual's right to informed consent to medication.
2) The municipality cannot control the dose of the patient.
3) The municipality cannot track each individual's response.
4) It ignores the fact that some people are more vulnerable to fluoride's toxic effects than others. Some people will suffer while others may benefit.
5) It violates the Nuremberg code for human experimentation.
As stated by the recent recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine (2000), Dr. Arvid Carlsson:
"I am quite convinced that water fluoridation, in a not-too-distant future, will be consigned to medical history...Water fluoridation goes against leading principles of pharmacotherapy, which is progressing from a stereotyped medication - of the type 1 tablet 3 times a day - to a much more individualized therapy as regards both dosage and selection of drugs. The addition of drugs to the drinking water means exactly the opposite of an individualized therapy."
As stated by Dr. Peter Mansfield, a physician from the UK and advisory board member of the recent government review of fluoridation (McDonagh et al 2000):
"No physician in his right senses would prescribe for a person he has never met, whose medical history he does not know, a substance which is intended to create bodily change, with the advice: 'Take as much as you like, but you will take it for the rest of your life because some children suffer from tooth decay. ' It is a preposterous notion."