In March 2006, the US National Research Council issued a report revealing that even low levels of fluoride jeopardize health.
Dental fluorosis, bone fractures, arthritis-like pain and joint stiffness are described as likely results of even low levels of fluoride exposure and, according to the NRC report, tiny amounts of fluoride are also known to cause thyroid problems, depression and brain damage.
US legislators and officials have already begun to respond to this new evidence of fluoride's adverse effects by rejecting the fluoridation of water supplies.
In December 2006, Juneau, Alaska, and Martin County, Florida, both voted fluoride out of their drinking water. A Tennessee state legislator has also urged water companies to stop fluoridation and the Department of Health in Vermont has sent a fluoridation warning to all dentists and pediatricians in its area.
However, many in the dental community are still swimming doggedly against the tide, as evidenced by a recent Health Letter from the US Mayo Clinic (where George Bush senior had his recent hip replacement) which declares that: "The preventive potential of fluoride is one of the major advances in dentistry in the last century."
Moreover, in addition to advocating the fluoridation of water, the letter also recommends professional topical fluoride treatments for anyone who has recently had cavities, and supplementary fluoride tablets for young children.
It is anyone's guess how long it will be before dentists see the writing on the wall but, in the meantime, research is continuing to stack up.
One recently published study found that boys who drink water containing fluoride at the levels considered safe by US authorities are five times more likely to develop osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, than are boys who drink unfluoridated water. (Cancer Causes Control, 2006; 17: 421-8.
For details of how to oppose fluoride in your own area, see the action plan available from Action Against Allergies at www.actionagainstallergy.co.uk
Click here for more research on fluoride
First Published in Febury 2007