New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 3, 1980, New Braunfels, Texas
★ No health danger
Ne tv Braunfels Hera/d-Zeitung
Sunday, Aug. 3, 1980 3A
Continued From Page 1A
cities,” an NCI report stated.
Burk and Yiamouyiannis' report also ignored other aspects known to have an impact on the cancer death rate, including ethnic composition and socioeconomic status, the report added.
After reanalyzing the study in April 1975, the NCI said in a letter that it “fails to show any relationship between the fluoridation of water and cancer. In fact, the results of the study rather suggest a protective influence from fluoridation.”
NCI came up with the same conclusions the following year after reanalyzing another Burk-Yiamouyiannis report which compared cancer death rates in 20 large cities—IO with fluoridated water, and IO without. The biochemists again found cancer death rates were higher in the fluoridated cities.
“If anything, the new study was even more amateurish,” according to Consumer Reports. One NCI official termed it “the worst piece of work that has been done to date on fluoride.”
This time, Burk and Yiamouyiannis’ report had ignored the three most important factors in determining cancer death rates—age, sex and race. Blacks have a higher cancer mortality rate than whites; old people die from cancer more often than young; and more men die from cancer than women, the NCI reported.
When NCI re-examined data on the second study, it found the difference in the death rates “was due entirely to the age and and racial makeup of the respective populations,” Consumer Reports said. “Fluoridation was irrelevant.”
A second claim is that the overall death rate in cities with fluoridated water is higher than those without it. That claim was recently outlined in an article by David W. Dye, who said he is a former executive director of Schick laboratories in Seattle. The article appeared in the July IO issue of the Herald-Zeitung.
Pointing to a study made in 1978 by Dr. J. David Erickson of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Dye noted that 24 cities with fluoridated water reported a higher crude death rate than 22 cities without it.
Applying the figures to New Braunfels, he suggested fluoridation locally could lead to “one unnecessary death every 13 days.” Dye also suggested many others might become chronically sick as well.
However, Erickson, whose data Dye used as the basis of his article, arrives at a different conclusion.
“I found no evidence of a harmful effect of fluoridation,” he reported.
The crude death rates were 1,190.9 and 1,053.6 per 100,000 in fluoridated and non-fluoridated cities, respectively, Erickson and Dye both reported. However, Erickson applied differences in age, sex and race to the death rates and then applied “analyses of covariance.” which he described as a “standard statistical tool” and for which he listed two references in his bibliography.
As a result, cities with nonfluoridated water wound up with a higher death rate—1,137.1 per 100,000 versus 1,123 9 for fluoridated cities, he said.
Erickson’s study reaches the same conclusion as a 1974 report compiled by Janice Nixon of the Medical Research Council of the London Institute of Psychiatry and R.G. Carpenter, with the Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The article, which was published in the Nov. 2, 1974 issue of Th* Lancet, a British medical journal, examined data from an earlier study of mortality and its relationship to the natural fluoride content of drinking water.
They reported correlations between fluoride content and mortality were “weak and negative.” When water hardness and socio-environmental factors were included, “no significant associations (between fluoride content and mortality) occurred,” they added.
Although cancer and death rates have been the major issues, over the years reports have popped up linking fluoridation with other ailments, or terming it poisonous. Here’s what
Consumer Reports has to say about them.
Fluoride as poison. “Uke many substances essential to good health—iron, vitamins A and D, oxygen and even water itself—fluoride can be toxic in excessive quantities. However, at the level in fluoridated water I one part per million), you’d have to drink at least several hundred gallons at one sitting to get a lethal dose. The water alone would kill you first.”
But what about a gradual poisoning after years of drinking fluoridated water? According to the National Academy of Sciences, it would take a daily dosage far in excess of the average intake to produce symptoms of chronic toxicity.
Fluoride and birth defects This connection was made in the 1950s, when a French physician reported that mongolism occurred more frequently in some cities with fluoridated water thru in others with little or no fluoride.
Right from the start, experts had their doubts about the study. According to the physician's figures, the incidence of mongoloid births in both the fluoridated and nonfluoridated cities was less than half the usual rate, which led the experts to believe he had failed to uncover the majority of mongoloid births in the cities he chose to study.
Since then, three independent and exhaustive studies—one in Britain and two in the United States—have failed to uncover any connection between fluoride and mongolism. The most recent study, which covered 1.4 million births in six U.S. cities and was published in 1976, showed no connection between fluoride and a whole list of birth defects.
Fluoride as genetic hazard. Two researchers in Kansas City claimed in 1976 that various levels of fluoride damaged chromosomes in mice. Experts who reviewed the research noted several inconsistencies in the results, and subsequent tests on mice at three separate institutions showed none sustained any chromosome damage, even at levels IOO times greater than found in fluoridated water.
Fluoride and allergic reactions. An early opponent of fluoridation, George L. Waldbott,
M D., attributed cases of nausea, headaches, “spastic colitis” and other symptoms to fluoridated water between 1955 and 1965.
The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Allergy both reviewed Waldbott’s contentions and found them baseless. The academy concluded, "There is no evidence of allergy or intolerance to fluorides as used in the fluoridation of community water supplies.”
Fluoride and animal cancers. Two reports are used to back this contention. One was botched by the researchers who conducted it; the second has been distorted by opponents of fluoridation.
The first test was conducted in Texas in the 1950s. Researchers using a strain of mice that ordinarily gets cancer concluded mice given fluoridated water developed tumors slightly earlier than mice on non-fluondated water.
But two errors invalidated the study. Researchers unknowingly fed all the mice a dog chow which contained 42 parts per million of fluoride, or IO to IOO times the amount any of the mice got in their water. The fluoride level in the water was also miscalculated.
Two scientists from the National Institutes of Health reviewed the study in 1951 and dismissed it.
The second study was conducted on fruit flies in 1963. It showed that two strains of flies exposed to 20 to 50 ppm i fluoridated water has around I ppm) in their food experienced an increased incidence of melanotic tumors. Fluoridation opponents have interpreted that to mean fluoride causes cancer, which NCI scientists say is an erroneous conclusion.
Humans may be physiological cousins to mice and other mammals, but their relationship to flies is somewhat more distant. And a melanotic tumor in a fruit fly is not the same thing as a cancerous tumor in a human. It more closely resembles scar tissue, is not malignant and can be caused by a wide variety of substances, including some vitamins and two amino acids essential to human growth and health.
Fruit flies can get malignant tumors, but no evidence exists showing fluoride has ever caused any. Fluoride has never proved carcinogenic in tests on a wide variety of animals, including dogs, rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters and sheep.
Fluoride and heart disease. This contention has been based on statistics showing the town of Antigo, Wis., has experienced an increase in heart disease-related deaths since its water was fluoridated.
However, the statistics overlooked the fact that Antigo had grown older since fluoridation was introduced in 1949. Deaths from heart disease become more frequent as people grow older, and between 1950 and 1970, Antigod population of people 75 years or older increased 106 percent.
Taking that into account, the correlation between heart disease and fluoridation vanishes, the National Heart and Lung Institute said. The institute later conducted a study of its own and found no connection between fluoridation and heart disease.
There is one potential hazard associated with fluoride, although it has nothing to do with drinking the water, according to a 1978 article in Consumer Reports.
Since patients undergoing kidney dialysis can be exposed to about 50 to IOO times the amount of fluid consumed by the average person, the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Disease recommends that fluoride, calcium, magnesium and copper be removed from tap water before it is used in a dialysis machine.
I^ast year, the combination of a fluoridation overspill in the water supply and the use of plain tap water caused the death of an Annapolis, Md. man. Failure to remove fluoride from the water, a standard procedure since the 1960s, was the main contributing factor, Crossett said.
Council majority backs fluoridation of water
City Council members seem to have these feelings about fluoridation:
1. They either favor it, or they won’t say.
2. They’re not getting as worked up about the subject as some of their constituents.
Four of six council members surveyed—Mayor Donnie Seay, Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Tieken, I^averne Eberhard and Max Winkler—indicated they were in favor of the fluoridation amendment, which will be on next Saturday’s city ballot.
Two more—Councilmen Joe Rogers and O.A. “Skip” Stratemann Jr.—preferred not to take a public stand, although Rogers indicated he may be leaning in favor of fluoridation.
Comments of Councilman Gerald Schaefer and his opponent Doug Miller will appear in separate articles later this week. The articles will outline
their views on several city issues.
“I’m sure I’ll vote for it,” Seay said. Indicating he makes sure his children receive fluoride treatments, he said water fluoridation “is not one of my big priorities.”
Indicating he felt it would be beneficial, Seay said, “It’s not that hot an issue with me.”
But it seems to be a hot subject among other New Braunfelsers, he said, and he predicted a fairly heavy turnout Saturday.
“I’m in favor of it wholeheartedly,” Tieken said. She termed fluoridation a “nice addition for everybody” which would cost “a pittance.”
She said she had talked with several dentists and physicians, all of whom supported the amendment.
Eberhard seemed to concur with Seay. “I don’t get that excited about it,” she said.
But she felt fluoridation was beneficial, and indicated she planned to vote for it. Her dentist also supported it, she added.
Eberhard also felt fluoridation might prompt more people into going to the polls Saturday.
Winkler, who said he’s been doing his fluoridation homemork the past few weeks, said, “I have become convinced that no harm can come of it. I endorse fluoridation. I favor it strongly.”
He felt it would be a blessing to the indigent citizens locally as well as for the entire community. But he was not optimistic about its chances of passing, feeling that a heavy turnout of senior citizens (who traditionally have provided the strongest anti-fluoridation vote in other fluoridation referendums in other cities) would spell its defeat.
Rogers said he hasn’t made up his mind yet, but added, “I don’t see how we can be against it.” He declined to take a public stand.
When asked about his personal feelings on the matter, Stratemann's reply was brief and to the point, “No comment.” He explained his rationale.
“This is a decision the people should make. Council should not have an opinion one way or another.”
Rogers seemed to have received the most input from citizens on the issue, and most of it was against the amendment, he said. However, the five dentists he has spoken with are ail for it, he added.
Uke Wmkler, Rogers was not optimistic about the amendment’s chances. “The people that are against it are the most vocal," he said.
Fluoride not linked to cholera, medical school professor says
There is absolutely no connection between fluoridation and cholera, one of the nation’s foremost experts on the disease said Friday.
Dr. Richard Finkelstem, professor of microbiology at the University of Missouri Medical School in Columbia, Mo., said there has been one outbreak of cholera in the United States in this century.
Around a dozen people contracted the disease in louisiana in 1978, he said. The outbreak was linked to contanunated shellfish, he said.
Noting that almost half the people in the United States drink fluoridated water, Finkelstem said if fluoride was connected w’th the disease, outbreaks of cholera would be commonplace.
The cholera issue was raised by
David W. Dye, who said he is former executive director of Schick laboratories in Seattle. In an article which appeared in the July 24 Herald Zeitung, Dye argued that fluoride affects the body in much the same way as the cholera toxin.
That simply isn’t true, Finkelstem said.
“There’s no basis for that whatsoever that I know of or can imagine,” he said.
Dye said that tests in medical laboratories show that sodium fluoride “mimics or duplicates the actions of the cholera toxin.” Finkelstein said what sodium fluoride does in the laboratory and what it does in the water are two different things.
It takes concentrations of sodium
fluoride “hundreds or thousands of times higher” than the amounts found in fluoridated water before it begins to act like the cholera toxin, he said.
Dye also claimed fluoride can cause chronic diarrhea and can act as a diuretic—a substance which increases urine loss. These claims are also untrue, the professor said.
Finkelstein, who has been studying cholera since 1952, knows what he’s talking about, local Dr. Spencer Shropshire, said.
Shropshire, who was a colleague of Finkelstein’s when both were at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas, said of him, “There’s not anyone else in the country’ that knows more about it (cholera) than he does ”
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