Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Crumbling Infrastructure Causes Fluoride to Fade From Public Water Supplies


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Testing water for fluoride.

The anti-fluoride movement is gaining steam in the U.S. And with celebrities like Ed Begley Jr. and Rob Schneider on board, how could it fail?

But the debate over whether fluoridation benefits communities’ dental health or amounts to the forced medication of the masses isn’t why Oklahoma towns like Lawton, Purcell, and Fairview stopped adding the chemical to their water.

From The Oklahoman‘s Jaclyn Cosgrove:

Paul Southwick, Fairview city manager, said a few years ago, a tornado damaged the city’s water treatment equipment, leaving them without a way to fluoridate the water.

At this point, it would be costly to replace the equipment.

… Meanwhile in Lawton, officials chose to stop fluoridating the city’s water last year for cost and infrastructure reasons.

…Dale Bunn, Purcell city manager and public works authority general manager, said they stopped fluoridating the water after an equipment failure that would be expensive to replace, probably costing tens of thousands of dollars.

Dr. Jana Winfree with State Department of Health told the paper fluoridating water actually saves money in the long run, with $38 dollars in savings for every dollar spent to add fluoride to the water. But Cosgrove reports that, right now “there are no state dollars available to allow communities to pay for the equipment or chemicals needed to fluoridate water.”

It’s been up to individual communities whether or not to fluoridate their water since the process became the norm more than six decades ago. The paper reports 62 percent of Oklahomans’ water supplies have fluoride added. That number was 70 percent five years ago.

As StateImpact has reported, ceasing fluoridation can have observable health impacts, with one Shawnee dentist reporting an increase in cavities in children since that city stopped adding fluoride to its water.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.


  • James Reeves

    That old saw about fluoride saving $38 is pure propaganda.
    Fluoridation is a WASTE of Tax Money

    All Civil Engineers and all water managers know that people drink only 1/2% of the water they use. The rest goes directly down the drain in toilets, showers, dishwashers, etc.

    So for each $1000 of fluoride added annually to drinking water, people drink $5 and $995 is wasted down the drain. Children would drink only $0.50 (fifty cents).

    That would be comparable to buying one gallon of milk, using six-and-one-half drops of it, and pouring the rest of the gallon in the sink.

  • James Reeves

    It is illegal for a doctor or a dentist to force anyone to take a drug or a chemical.

    It should be illegal for the government as well. Fluoride should not be added to drinking water, which forces everyone to consume it against their will. It affects the brain (lowered IQ), the bones (fractured hips & bone cancer), the thyroid gland, etc.

    The world has learned the truth that fluoridation is ineffective for teeth and dangerous to health, so only 5% of the world and only 3% of Europe fluoridate their drinking water, more in the U.S. than the rest of the world combined. This shows that fluoride is ineffective for teeth.

    To see why fluoride is dangerous, Google “Fluoride dangers” and read a few of the over 1,000,000 articles.

    • Steve Slott

      To “Google ‘Fluoride Dangers’ as deceptively suggested by antifluoridationist, James Reeves, will lead only to the filtered and efited “information” posted on a little antifluoridationist website.

      In regard to his ridiculous, unsubstantiated claims:

      1. “lowered IQ’?   No.

      “Results. No significant differences in IQ because of fluoride exposure were noted. These findings held after adjusting for potential confounding variables, including sex, socioeconomic status, breastfeeding, and birth weight (as well as educational attainment for adult IQ outcomes).
      Conclusions. These findings do not support the assertion that fluoride in the
      context of CWF programs is neurotoxic. Associations between very high fluoride exposure and low IQ reported in previous studies may have been affected by confounding, particularly by urban or rural status.”

      —Community Water Fluoridation and Intelligence:
      Prospective Study in New Zealand
      Jonathan M. Broadbent, PhD, W. Murray Thomson, BSc, PhD, Sandhya Ramrakha, PhD, Terrie E. Moffitt, PhD, Jiaxu Zeng, PhD, Lyndie A. Foster Page, BSc, PhD, and Richie Poulton, PhD

      (Am J Public Health. Published
      online ahead of print May 15, 2014: e1–e5. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301857)’

      2. “fractured hips and bone cancer”?   No.

      “Overall, we found no association between chronic fluoride exposure and the occurrence of hip fracture. The risk estimates did not change in analyses restricted to only low-trauma osteoporotic hip fractures. Chronic fluoride exposure from drinking water does not seem to have any important effects on the risk of hip fracture, in the investigated exposure range.”

      —–Estimated Drinking Water Fluoride Exposure and Risk of Hip Fracture
      A Cohort Study
      P. Näsman, J. Ekstrand, F. Granath, A. Ekbom, C.M. Fored
      Journal of Dental Research
      Received April 19, 2013.
      Revision received August 23, 2013.
      Accepted August 30, 2013.

      The findings from this study provide no evidence that higher levels of fluoride (whether natural or artificial) in drinking water in GB lead to greater risk of either osteosarcoma or Ewing sarcoma.”

      ——Int J Epidemiol. 2014 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print]
      Is fluoride a risk factor for bone cancer? Small area analysis of osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma diagnosed among 0-49-year-olds in Great Britain, 1980-2005.
      Blakey K, Feltbower RG, Parslow RC, James PW, Gómez Pozo B, Stiller C, Vincent TJ, Norman P, McKinney PA, Murphy MF, Craft AW, McNally RJ.

      3. “Thyroid”?  No.

      “The available medical and scientific evidence suggests an absence of an association between water fluoridation and thyroid disorders.

      Many major reviews of the relevant scientific literature around the world support this conclusion. Of particular importance are:

      * an exhaustive review conducted in 1976 by an expert scientific committee of the Royal College of Physicians of England;

      * a systematic review in 2000 by the NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York; and,

      *  a 2002 review by an international group of experts for the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), under the joint sponsorship of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

      None has found any credible evidence of an association between water fluoridation and any disorder of the thyroid.”

      ——-BRITISH FLUORIDATION SOCIETY STATEMENT (January 2006) on the absence of an association between water fluoridation and thyroid disorders.
          This statement has been reviewed and endorsed by the British Thyroid Association (BTA); however, the BTA would recommend that appropriate monitoring of thyroid status should be considered in areas where fluoridation is introduced to enable an ongoing epidemiological evidence base for thyroid status with fluoridation to be created.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Dan

        Good point, and the so-called studies comparing fluoride impacts on IQ have levels in the “low” or “no” category, which is the supposed safe control, that are equal to or even higher than the levels in North American drinking water after treatment. So, if the reports are reliable, then it is OK. But the studies compare apples and oranges, so no sensible conclusion can be drawn.

  • Steve Slott

    In regard to cost savings of water fluoridation:

    1. “With base-case assumptions, the annual per person cost savings resulting from fluoridation ranged from $15.95 in very small communities to $18.62 in large communities. Fluoridation was still cost saving for communities of any size if we allowed increment, effectiveness, or the discount rate to take on their worst-case values, individually. For simultaneous variation of variables, fluoridation was cost saving for all but very small communities. There, fluoridation was cost saving if the reduction in carious surfaces attributable to one year of fluoridation was at least 0.046.”

    On the basis of the most current data available on the effectiveness and cost of fluoridation, caries increment, and the cost and longevity of dental restorations, we find that water fluoridation offers significant cost savings.”

    — An economic evaluation of community water fluoridation.
    Griffin SO, Jones K, Tomar SL.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Oral Health, Surveillance, Investigations and Research Branch, 4770 Buford Highway, MSF10, Chamblee, GA 30341, USA. sig1@cdc.gov

    2. “Conclusions After ranking by IMD, DSRs of hospital admissions for the extraction of decayed or pulpally/periapically involved teeth is lower in areas with a fluoridated water supply.”

    —An alternative marker for the effectiveness of water fluoridation: hospital extraction rates for dental decay, a two-region study
    T. B. Elmer, J. W Langford,and A. J. Morris
    Online article number E10
    Refereed Paper – accepted 16 December 2013
    DOI: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2014.180
    ©British Dental Journal 2014; 216: E10

    3. “The difference in treatment costs per Medicaid-eligible child residing in F parishes compared with those residing in NF parishes ranged from $14.68 for 1-year-olds to $58.91 for 3-year-olds (Table 2); at all ages, costs were higher in NF than in F parishes. Louisiana Medicaid-eligible children were distributed uniformly by age; the mean difference in treatment costs per eligible preschooler was $36.28 (95% confidence interval=$9.69-$62.87).”

    —Water Fluoridation and Costs of Medicaid Treatment for Dental Decay — Louisiana, 1995-1996
    US Centers For Disease Control
    MMWR Weekly
    September 03, 1999 / 48(34);753-757

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

    • James Reeves

      “Fluoride is toxic waste and our bodies are not toxic waste dumps.”

      Medical scientists now conclude that in addition to being ineffective for teeth, this toxic waste fluoride, hydrofluorosilicic acid, is dangerous to health. It is a waste product from phosphate fertilizer.

      See the first 20 minutes of this video by Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon for over 25 years and now an expert in nutrition. Baby brains are damaged in the womb or at a very early age with only 0.5 ppm, which is lower than most communities use.


      • Steve Slott

        “Fluoride is a toxic waste”? Wow, that’s news. And here science has believed it to be the inorganic anion of the element fluorine.

        “Our bodies are not toxic waste dumps”……correct, however, it is unclear as to the relevance of this bizarre statement of the obvious, to the public health initiative of water fluoridation.

        “hydrofluorosilic acid is dangerous to health”…….also correct, however, once again it is unclear as to the relevance of this statement of the obvious, to the public health initiative of water fluoridation. As anyone with even an elementary understanding of fluoridation knows, hydrofluorosilic acid is immediately and completely hydrolyzed upon addition to drinking water. It does not exist at the tap. It is not ingested. Thus, unless you are guzzling hydrofluorosilic acid at the water treatment plant, which would not be surprising for you, you have nothing to fear from it, at least not from fluoridated water from the tap.

        If either you, YouTube star Dr. Russell Blaylock, whomever he may be, or anyone else, has any valid, peer-reviewed, scientific evidence of any damage to “baby brains” from fluoride at the optimal level, then present it, properly cited from its primary source. Bear in mind that “fluoridealert” or any other biased, antifluoridationist website, is not a primary source of anything other than antifluoridationist nonsense.

        Steven D. Slott, DDS

        • James Reeves

          I suppose we can count you as a disbeliever for any science and scientist who does not support the forced medication on everyone against their will. Big money is at risk for the promoters of fluoridation. The industries all have lobbyists to ensure that no government agency will report the truth.

          The science of tobacco, DDT, lead in gasoline, thalidomide, and asbestos were wrong. Remember when the health professionals advertised, “a pack a day keeps cancer away?”

          The 70 year old “science” of fluoride is wrong as well. Recent studies tell the true story that fluoride is ineffective for teeth and dangerous to health.

          • Steve Slott

            Yet more bizarre statements. “Any science and scientist who does not support the forced medication on everyone against their will.”??

            Well, I personally know of no science or scientist who supports such a thing. However, again, this is a discussion of the public health initiative of water fluoridation, so let’s stick to that which is relevant to this issue. Okay?

            If you have any evidence of whatever “Big money” corruption to which you allude, then you need to report this to the proper authorities immediately.

            Please properly these “recent studies” you claim tell the “true story”, from their original sources of publication. Bear in mind that “fluoridealert” and any other such biased websites are original sources of nothing except antifluoridationist nonsense.

            Steven D. Slott, DDS

          • James Reeves

            No surprise here. Any site which reports the scientific studies are (according to you) biased. In other words they don’t just accept the propaganda from the 70 year old science.

          • Steve Slott

            “Any site which reports the scientific studies are (according to you) biased.”

            No, you’ve gotten this all garbled once again. I said that “fluoridealert”, and other such little antifluoridationist websites, are biased, not sites which report the scienific studies.

            Steven D. Slott, DDS

          • amparr

            Should we stop adding chlorine as well & just let Cholera ect. run rampant…because that also seems like “forced medication” under your definition

          • James Reeves

            NO, NO — chlorine is added to treat the water. Fluoride is added to treat the body. That is what makes it a medication. Do you see the difference?

  • There are no studies to show that, when fluoridation ends, tooth decay rates increase. In fact, studies show the opposite. See: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nyscof-report-fluoride-dentists-magic-bullet-is-shooting-blanks-137713193.html

    • James Reeves

      Absolutely correct NYSCOF.

      “Where is the physician who will impose a lifelong prescription for an untested potentially toxic substance (fluoride), without proven clinical benefit, on a patient he/she has never met, interviewed or examined? Such dubious behavior would extract appropriate censure from the licensing authority of the physician involved, on the basis that it is unscientific, unscrupulous, unethical, and therefore unacceptable.”

      • Steve Slott

        Gee, nyscof, James Reeves agrees with you. What more validation of your nonsense could you possibly ever hope to achieve……

        Steven D. Slott, DDS

        • James Reeves

          A voice form the past is still true.
          “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.”

          – Dr. Charles Gordon Heyd, Past President of the American Medical Association.

          • Steve Slott

            Charles Gordon Heyd was President of the AMA in 1936. This is a prime example of the “new, emerging science” to which antifluoridationists constantly refer.

            The American Medical Association fully supports the public health initiative of water fluoridation, in spite of the opinion of it’s President of three quarters of a century ago.

            You probably should shoot for information at least from this side of WW II.

            Steven D. Slott, DDS

    • W. Künzel, T. Fischer, R. Lorenz, and S. Brühmann, “Decline of caries prevalence after the cessation of water fluoridation in the former East Germany Community
      Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 28, no. 5 (2000): 382–89. These authors
      found no increase of caries in two German cities after fluoridation of
      water was stopped. But again the authors suggest why:

      “The causes for the changed caries trend were seen on the
      one hand in improvements in attitudes towards oral health behaviour
      and, on the other hand, to the broader availability and application of
      preventive measures (F-salt, F-toothpastes, fissure sealants etc.).”

      13. W. Künzel and T. Fischer, “Caries Prevalence after Cessation of Water Fluoridation in La Salud, Cuba. Caries
      Research 34, no. 1 (2000): 20–25. Again this study found no increase in
      caries after stopping fluoridation but the authors suggested why:

      “A possible explanation for this unexpected finding and
      for the good oral health status of the children in La Salud is the
      effect of the school mouthrinsing programme, which has involved
      fortnightly mouthrinses with 0.2% NaF solutions (i.e. 15 times/year)
      since 1990.”

      14. G. Maupomé, D. C. Clark, S. M. Levy, and J. Berkowitz, “Patterns of dental caries following the cessation of water fluoridation.” Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 29, no. 1 (2001): 37–47. The authors reported “Caries incidence . . . was not different between the still-fluoridating and fluoridation-ended communities.” However, they considered other factors and limitations in their own study and concluded this issue was complex:

      “Our results suggest a complicated pattern of disease
      following cessation of fluoridation. Multiple sources of fluoride
      besides water fluoridation have made it more difficult to detect changes
      in the epidemiological profile of a population with generally low
      caries experience, and living in an affluent setting with widely
      accessible dental services. There are, however, subtle differences in
      caries and caries treatment experience between children living in
      fluoridated and fluoridation-ended areas.”

    • Steve Slott

      Nyscof again cites nyscof as her “support”. Her editorials disguised as “press releases”‘are meaningless, yet typical of the “science” antifluoridationists believe supports their position.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

  • Dan

    As much as the anti-fluoride campaigners really, really want fluoride to hurt people, it doesn’t. Any digging into factual results from testing shows that like anything under the sun fluoride is toxic at some levels, but not the levels used in public drinking water. The same holds with chlorine in water, GMO corn, etc. It may give a superior feeling of doing something, but the complaints are pointless. They should move on to useful projects, consider real (not imagined) risks, and really help get actual toxins under control.

  • Finally! We need to make sure we have clean drinking water wherever we are. Proper filtration can get out even the most harmful toxins like radiation, fluoride and viral and bacterial pathogens as well as the pharmaceutical stuff that is flushed down the drain and right into the drinking water you are drinking. I have a portable filter when I’m out hiking and a home one and I make sure not to drink tap water except in dire emergencies! Read this article for some the best ideas in always having safe drinking water. http://www.thehealingfrequency.com/nuclear-radiation-and-water-purification-tablet-adya-clarity-minerals/

    • Steve Slott

      Yes, you can irrationally carry around filters, tablets, equipment, and whatever else will satisfy your paranoia about your drinking water. Or you could simply understand that your paranoia is groundless, at least in terms of fluoridated water. Fluoride at the misuscule optimal level at which water is fluoridated, is odorless, colorless, tasteless, and causes no adverse effects. It has existed in water since the beginning of time.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

  • johndmac

    Too toxic for air. Too toxic for dirt. Hey, let’s put it in the water.

  • Good, they are doing it for Their Good not Yours! Fluoride destroys your pineal gland, causes dental fluorosis, lowers your IQ and causes Alzheimers. Don’t get it in your tap water! There are ways to make sure we have clean drinking water wherever we are. Proper filtration can get out even the most harmful toxins like radiation, fluoride and viral and bacterial pathogens as well as the pharmaceutical stuff that is flushed down the drain and right into the drinking water you are drinking. I have a portable filter when I’m out hiking and a home one and I make sure not to drink tap water except in dire emergencies! Read this article for some the best ideas in always having safe drinking water. http://www.thehealingfrequency.com/nuclear-radiation-and-water-purification-tablet-adya-clarity-minerals/

  • Doug Cragoe

    City leaders who are secretly opposed to fluoridation are avoiding being targeted by the extremely wealthy entities pushing fluoridation who might campaign to vote them out of office. Instead of speaking against fluoridation they simply say their city cannot afford it. They know that fluoridation typically costs far more than what promoters tell them before the actual work begins.

    Many cities would not fluoridated if they had to pay for it. This is why more and more fluoridation schemes are funded by higher level governments such as the state or the federal government as well as foundations. This is also why there are state mandatory fluoridation laws, to prevent communities from avoiding the expensive cost of fluoridation. Without these state mandatory fluoridation laws the level of fluoridation in the U.S. would be far lower. Preventing the public from voting on fluoridation has been a long term goal of fluoridationists.

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