Plans to Expand Water Fluoridation Will ‘Make People Ill,’ Campaigners Claim

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They pointed to 76 studies that suggest increased fluoride consumption can lower IQ in babies and children and cause thyroid and bone illness in later life.

The government has announced plans to expand water fluoridation in the northeast of England, raising concerns from health campaigners who point to numerous studies linking higher fluoride consumption to lower IQ in children and disease in later life.

The proposal to add the fluoride compound to another 1.6 million homes has been put out for public consultation, the Department of Health announced on March 25. Around half of the northeast already has fluoridated water, including parts of County Durham, Gateshead, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Public health authorities maintain that fluoridation at the correct level is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay, with the Health and Care Act of 2022 taking the power to introduce water fluoridation schemes away from local councils and placing it in the hands of central government.

Professor Peter Kelly, regional public health director for the northeast, said, “Tooth decay is largely preventable but remains a major public health issue, particularly in more deprived areas, including parts of the north east, and among children.”

However, the UK Fluoride Free Alliance (FFA) does not believe the compound is safe, pointing to the 76 out of 85 human studies carried out worldwide which have found a link between elevated fluoride exposure and reduced IQ, with an average reduction of five to seven points between those who consumed fluoridated water and those who did not.

Joy Warren of the FFA told The Epoch Times her group is opposed to fluoridation by UK water companies—which began in 1964 at the behest of local authorities and without public consultation—because evidence shows that far from reducing health inequalities, it increases them.

‘No Proof Whatsoever’

“If you can’t afford to buy filtration units or bottled water, you’re going to have to drink tap water. And that means that you’re disadvantaged because it does make you ill,” she said.

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The Department of Health points to a 2022 health monitoring report which showed 5-year-olds in areas with fluoridated water in England were less likely to experience tooth decay compared to areas without, and are less likely to be admitted to hospital to have teeth removed.
But Ms. Warren said there are “two really systematic reviews”—known as the CATFISH and LOTUS studies—which found “no proof whatsoever” that fluoridation reduces dental health inequalities across social groups.

And she claimed the available evidence clearly shows fluoridation causes a reduction in IQ in the unborn child, with this being more marked in bottle-fed infants.

“The reduction in intelligence happens more in the womb. Nobody tells a pregnant mum to stop taking in fluoride. And what’s in her bloodstream goes into the fetus and because her blood supply increases during pregnancy, she needs to drink more. And she can’t drink alcohol, so she drinks more tea.”

In drinking tap water and perhaps several cups of tea a day, a pregnant woman can easily consume more than the “safe” daily allowance of fluoride which is set at 66 milligrams per day, Ms. Warren said, adding that many dental treatments and pharmaceutical products contain fluoride, all adding to an individual’s daily consumption.

Two villages from China that essentially only differ in fluoride concentrations show discrepancies in the IQ of the children.
Two villages from China that essentially only differ in fluoride concentrations show discrepancies in the IQ of the children.

Benefits ‘Hugely Overstated’

Ms. Warren said the two major long-term health problems which can arise from fluoridation are hypothyroidism and bone problems.

“The problem with the thyroid has been known about for over a century because fluoride was used to correct hyperthyroidism,” she said, referring to the historic treatment of patients in fluoridated baths.

The opposite problem of hypothyroidism was shown to be significantly more likely in people who drank fluoridated water by Professor Stephen Peckham of Kent University in 2014.

Mr. Peckham found in his research: “The benefits of water fluoridation are hugely overstated and there is significant evidence of harm in terms of neurotoxicological effects.

“Recent high-quality UK studies show how limited the benefits to dental decay are. Oral health in Scotland has significantly improved without fluoridation. The government and dental lobby are wrong to keep overstating the benefit and saying fluoridation is safe and effective.”

Post-mortem research done by Jennifer Luke revealed the “silting up” of the pineal gland in people who had drunk fluoridated water throughout their lives. The job of the pineal gland—located outside of the blood-brain barrier—is to produce melatonin to regulate the sleep cycle, meaning too much fluoride could cause sleep problems.
Ms. Warren pointed to research done in Sweden in 2021 that found post-menopausal women living in fluoridated areas were twice as likely to suffer from fractured hips as those who didn’t, saying it is a “real scandal” that the Department of Health took no notice of this.

She said that most people do not think about water quality when they buy a house, and very few would be aware that the fluoride compound itself is derived from “an industrial hazardous waste product of fostate fertilizer manufacturing,” which she discovered is washed out of chimneys in the Israeli desert, placed in tanks, and transported across the Mediterranean to the UK’s water treatment centres.

England has a current fluoridation rate of around 11 percent, with the compound added to the water supply of 6 million people living in the northeast, Birmingham, and other parts of the west Midlands, and parts of the east Midlands including Lincoln.

‘Imposition of Medicine Without Consent’

While the overwhelming majority of politicians appear to support the “safe and effective” narrative on fluoridation, there are a small number of dissenting voices, including Lord Reay.

Speaking in the House of Lords during a debate on the Health and Care bill, he said: “The question of human rights is important considering that water fluoridation effectively represents the imposition of medicine without consent. Some European countries have rejected the policy because they believe that it conflicts with medical ethics and best practice.”

He said that claims the intervention is safe by the Department of Health should be backed up “by attaching particular weight to the latest evidence and should specifically include international evidence.”

“In the last few years, an increasing number of international peer-reviewed studies have highlighted the distinct correlation between water fluoridation and serious health ailments, particularly with regard to the developing foetus. We would be committing a disservice to the public if all the latest available research was not analysed effectively.”

Lord Reay pointed to a 1983 legal case in Scotland where the judge, Lord Jauncey, concluded that proposed fluoridation by Strathclyde Council amounted to illegitimate medical treatment via the public water supply.

“Since then, the health service in Scotland has focused on other measures to improve children’s oral health, with a considerable degree of success.”

Professor Sir Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, has dismissed safety concerns over fluoridation, condemning what he called “exaggerated and unevidenced” claims about health risks.

He said in the latest policy statement: “Water fluoridation can reduce the prevalence of tooth decay and improve dental health equity across the UK. It should be seen as a complementary strategy, not a substitute for other effective methods of increasing fluoride use such as tooth brushing.”

Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Witty speaks during a press conference about COVID-19 inside 10 Downing Street in London, on March 9, 2020. (Alberto Pizzoli /pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Witty speaks during a press conference about COVID-19 inside 10 Downing Street in London, on March 9, 2020. (Alberto Pizzoli /pool/AFP via Getty Images)

However, a recent study commissioned by Health Canada found “strong evidence” that water fluoridation can lower children’s IQ, with its findings becoming a point of debate in a lawsuit to stop water fluoridation in the United States.

Ms. Warren said her organisation is keeping a close eye on the San Francisco court case as in the event that Judge Edward Chen rules that fluoride is a neurotoxin, she believes this will be difficult for the UK government to ignore.

Most Developed Nations Have Rejected Fluoridation

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral but is only added to about 5 percent of the water supply around the world. Most developed nations in the world have rejected fluoridation, including the vast majority of Western Europe.

Some Asian countries have a notably high percentage of their supply fluoridated, including Hong Kong and Singapore, which has a 100 percent rate. In Ireland, the rate of fluoridation is 73 percent, compared to 64 percent in the United States and 44 percent in Canada.

The World Health Organisation says that too much fluoride can be harmful, and recommends a safe limit of about twice the levels that fluoridation schemes are likely to set. The government has said that levels must be “closely monitored” by drinking water inspectors.

Greg Fell, a director of Public Health England, said in the consultation announcement: “Water fluoridation schemes are the single most effective public health measure for reducing tooth decay rates. This proposed expansion therefore presents a real opportunity to improve health and wellbeing in the north east, and reduce the unacceptable gap in health outcomes that people living in different areas of the country currently experience.”

Ms. Warren said she is worried the consultation will not be “meaningful” because local authorities no longer have to pay for costly fluoridation schemes, and the government believes it will save money on children’s dental extractions, which have to be carried out in hospital.

“There have been no new fluoridation programs since the late 1980s. Every time they’ve floated it, they’ve been defeated—either by people like me, or by local authorities who are most reluctant to spend the money.”

“But now, it’s free as far as they’re concerned. So they’re just basically giving in. I find it really abysmal that this particular fashion hasn’t died out as far as the politicians are concerned.”

The consultation into the plans will last 12 weeks, after which it will gather responses and publish its decision on whether to go ahead with the proposal.

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