Battle over fluoride returns
by Heather Senison
Apr 11, 2012 | 8157 views | 5 5 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The dispute over fluoride will continue for another year, with Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. hosting a day of activities at City Hall on May 15 to announce the introduction of legislation to ban adding the chemical to the city's drinking water.

Fluoride was added to the city's drinking water at a level between .7 and 1.2 milligrams per liter In 1962. A state law was passed in recent years, however, that gave local jurisdictions in New York the ability to decide whether to keep the chemical.

In January 2011, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended lowering the levels of fluoride in drinking water closer to .7, as it was reported that two in five children in America show signs of fluorosis, which involves mild to moderate white spots on their teeth.

Vallone, who represents Astoria, said he is introducing legislation to ban fluoride because the city should not self-medicate its residents.

He recommended those who are concerned about fluoride poisoning purchase water filters for their faucets.

“I have serious questions with using the water supply to force-medicate,” Vallone said in a recent interview. “What's next, once you set this precedent that the government can decide what's good for you?

“Maybe they'll decide we're not happy enough, let's put some Xanex in the water,” he said, referring to an anti-anxiety prescription medication.

However, Vallone's good friend Councilman James Gennaro, who represents Forest Hills, Rego Park and Kew Gardens, disagrees with his proposal.

After singing Vallone's praises for being an environmental, public safety and animal rights activist, Gennaro said his Western Queens colleague is misguided by false science.

Lobbyists against fluoride “engage in a lot of scare tactics that are scientifically baseless,” Gennaro said, adding that “water fluoridation is one of the top 10 health advances of the 20th Century.”

However, Gennaro said city residents should not ask advice regarding fluoride from elected officials, but rather from medical professionals whom they trust.

New York City spends roughly $25 million per year adding fluoride to its water, according to the Department of Health.

In addition, according to a 1990 published study “Fluoride: Benefits and Risks of Exposure,” the chemical can be harmful to kidney patients, diabetics and those with fluoride hyper-sensitivity, even at levels deemed safe by the CDC.

But Gennaro said such findings are not backed by actual science.

Dr. Mark Wolff, associate dean of pre-doctoral education and chair and professor at the Department of Cariology, the study of decay, and Comprehensive Care at New York University, agreed that the use of fluoride is one of the largest public health victories for children and the elderly, who are most susceptible to tooth decay. He added that it therefore also has a monetary benefit in public health.

“There's a laundry list of 'what if's',” Wolff said, stating that fluoride has been blamed for numerous health problems, including the growth of tumors and the development of autism. “Every study has come back and said there's just no evidence of risk to the public.

“What we do know is that children, geriatrics,” and other at-risk populations, “all reduce the number of cavities they're going to get because they drink fluoridated water.”

However, he agreed that the CDC lowered its recommended fluoride dose because of the rise in fluorosis among children, which occurs because they consume fluoride from other substances, including toothpaste.

But Wolff said fluorisis is a greater risk for residents in southern states, where they consume more water due to the heat.

In summation, as a medical professional, Wolff said the benefits he's seen from fluoride in drinking water in reducing tooth decay are massive.

“If we take fluoride out of the water in New York City, dentists will be busier in the next decade,” he said.

To further the discussion, Vallone will host a rally on the steps of City Hall at 11 a.m. on May 15.

Later in the day, at 1 p.m., he will announce a proclamation honoring P.S. 122 teacher Rebecca Victoros for her efforts in leading her students through scientific research projects in her program Project Citizen.

Recently, students in Project Citizen studied the effects of fluoride in drinking water, and will stand with Vallone when he announces his legislation at City Hall, a representative from his office said.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
bobby k
April 30, 2012
Actually the science says that fluoride is more toxic than lead. It's true look it up! And it does stop cavities but only by applying it to your teeth, not drinking it. More science: it causes arthritis AND lower IQ. I guess to much fluoride and ya can't tell good science from junk for-profit science.
April 26, 2012
Thank you Peter Vallone ---- you have so much support and we are counting on you to get fluoride out of our water.

If New York City removes fluoride, the world will follow. It's going to be quite a fight, but a good fight for all the right reasons.

Anyone that spends 60 minutes of honest research would have to question the current practice of water fluoridation.
April 13, 2012
"One of the top 10 health advances of the 20th century." That statement is the most over rated lie!

Thank you Mr. Vallone for you consciousness! May the nation take notice when NYC stops fluoridation of their water.
April 12, 2012
By the way, Council Member Gennaro criticizes as unscientific the study mentioned in this article “Fluoride: Benefits and Risks of Exposure,”

That study was produced by the New York State Department of Health and is certainly backed by science as anyone can see for themselves because it is here:

and it's publshed in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

We worry that city council members such as Gennaro know so little about fluoride that they never should be allowed to legislate fluoride or any other drugs into all their constituents' bodies via the water supply.

April 12, 2012
Fluoridation Opposition is Scientific, Respectable & Growing

More than 4,038 professionals (including 331 dentists and 518 MD’s) urge that fluoridation be stopped citing scientific evidence that ingesting fluoride is ineffective at reducing tooth decay and has serious health risks. See statement:

Eleven US EPA unions representing over 7000 environmental and public health professionals are calling for a moratorium on fluoridation

New research shows that fluoride chemicals added to U.S. public water supplies are not reducing in tooth decay in New York City or Nationally as promoted and promised by government agencies and dentists.

Using federal statistics, the West Virginia University Rural Health Research Center reports that urban U.S. children, with more exposure to fluoridated water and dental care, have just as many cavities as less fluoridation-exposed rural children.

The researchers write: "For children's dental health measures, it was found that fluoridation rates were not significantly related to the measures of either caries or overall condition of the teeth for urban or rural areas."

fluoridation fails in NYC also.

NYC's Chinese-American 2-to-11-year-olds, living in the low-income area of Manhattan's Chinatown have much more primary tooth decay when compared to white and other minority groups nationally (NYS Dental Journal June/July 2011).

Most of NYC's Chinese-American children are U.S. born - 63% have primary tooth decay compared to only 38% of children in a national study.

The authors write, "This high prevalence of caries in the primary dentition is also similar to a national survey of children in mainland China, where three out of four children were found to be affected by caries in primary teeth," averaging about 5 decayed teeth.

In 2006 the Children’s Health Fund reported that “a study of adolescents in northern Manhattan, including Harlem, showed that the prevalence of dental problems there is higher than typical in the country, often requiring tooth extraction or root canal therapy.” More evidence that fluoridation fails New York is here