By Michael Bielawski
(a version of this article will appear in the March issue of Gwangju News Magazine)
Seoul – Every day we shower, brush our teeth, and many of us take medications… and what do all three activities have in common? They often involve ingesting or adsorbing fluoride. In the US it’s considered one of the all time great medical achievements in modern history that they now put fluoride in their water supplies (about 70 percent of it) for oral hygiene. It’s also one of the most controversial public health policies as fluoride is a neurotoxin and carcinogen linked to several severe health risks including cancer and brain damage.
Now it’s time for Koreans to get into the debate. Currently less than five percent of the nation drinks fluoridated water, but according to a recent report by the Korean Herald if the Ministry of Health has their way then soon all of Korea will be forced to use fluoridated tap water.
Before even getting into the debate about the pros and cons of fluoride regarding our health, it should be established that adding fluoride to water constitutes forced drugging, which violates any nation’s constitution, federal law, common law and the Nuremberg Code set after the WWII Nazi war crimes trials. So even if we were to assume that fluoride is overall good for our health, it still can’t legally be added to a public water supply.
Now let’s look at the history of fluoridated water. Fluoride was first added to drinking water in Russian Soviet and Nazi concentration camps during World War II. After the war ended, the US picked up the trend and now several modern nations around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea all in varying degrees fluoridate their water.
So where does fluoride come from? Many different variants of fluoride are the industrial byproducts of the production of cement, aluminum fertilizer, steal and nuclear weapons. In total there are over 300 chemicals all under the blanket term “fluoride” including arsenic and uranium. These industries would have to pay to dispose of these chemicals at a toxic waste site, but instead cities pay millions to buy the chemicals for their drinking water.
The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has fluoride labeled as a level four hazardous substance (the highest level) meaning it’s “life threatening, major or permanent damage may result from single or repeated exposure…” Other warnings include the American Dental Association released a memo telling parents not to make baby formula using fluoridated water. And if you check the label on a tube of fluoride toothpaste, it says if a child swallows any amount to call the emergency room.
Many people may also be surprised to learn that fluoride is also the main ingredient in most pesticides such as rat poison, and it’s a main ingredient in military nerve gas. In fact one of the most potent sources of fluoride in our diets may not be drinking water at all, it may be fruits and vegetables which are sprayed with the fluoride based pesticides.
So what health defects has fluoride been linked to? A seven-fold increase in bone cancer (New Jersey Department of Health 1992 study), lower IQ (Environmental Health Perspectives 2010 study), Alzheimer’s and memory loss (Journal of Brain Research 1998 study), kidney and thyroid damage (National Research Council 2006 study) are some of the most common harmful side effects. And speaking of being good for our teeth, it also causes dental fluorosis, or the yellowing of teeth with brown spots (CDC 2002 study).
So are there any pros to having fluoride in drinking water? Fluoride when topically applied to teeth does harden the surface, so the notion that fluoride in water supplies fights cavities may in fact be true. This was recently backed up by Korea’s Wonkwang University showing a slight decrease, by about ten to twenty percent depending on age group, in cavities among fluoridated populations. But that begs the question… everything considered is it really worth risking cancer, brain damage and so on just to prevent some cavities? Remember you can still use the toothpaste with fluoride without drinking it.
The opposition to water fluoridation ranges from grassroots activism to within the very government agencies that enforce it. For example the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Union of Scientists petitioned that fluoride be removed from the water supply. Across the US active citizens are successfully convincing their local governments to remove fluoride from their cities and towns, but the federal government is countering by lobbying the state governments to reinstate water fluoridation.
Finally there is the big question… why? Why put something so apparently dangerous into water supply, illegally nonetheless? Remember what the Nazis said… ‘It makes people easier to control’. Consider just these two events of the past three months and the public response (or lack of response) resulting from each. This past December in the US the National Defense Authorization Act was passed legalizing the secret arrest and killing of Americans anywhere in the world without trial. Then just this week (early March), the US military announced to the US Senate that their orders will only come from the President and the United Nations, effectively a foreign coup not unlike Caesar’s dismissal of the Roman Senate during the Roman Empire.
Either of these historical events should, in theory, cause riots at least in the US if not around the world. Now most people probably aren’t even aware of these events to begin with (because of controlled media). The fact is, most people when they here this kind of thing… they call it conspiracy theory. Or they say there is nothing we can do. In any case, we have to consider the possibility that fluoride (among other chemicals in our diet) may be affecting our basic instincts to take action on serious matters.
In 2008 when Korea made a deal with the US to import beef that probably isn’t safe, Koreans hit the streets and demonstrated as if they were protesting a war. Well this is more serious than US beef, because you can choose not to buy or eat US beef. How is anyone going to avoid fluoride when they need to take a shower and it’s in the water?