E.P.A. PROFESSIONALS OPPOSE FLUORIDATION
(NB. Originally published in the Australian Fluoridation News, Nov-Dec 2000 issue)
Preliminary Hearing, U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water concerning Fluoridation.
Thursday, June 29, 2000, a preliminary hearing was scheduled in the US Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water concerning fluoridation. Dr. J. William Hirzy, Vice-President of EPA's National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 280, presented his testimony at this hearing.
STATEMENT OF DR. J. WILLIAM HIRZY, VICE-PRESIDENT, E.P.A. NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION CHAPTER 280 BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON WILDLIFE, FISHERIES AND DRINKING WATER UNITED STATES SENATE. JUNE 29, 2000
Good morning Mr Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before this Subcommittee to present the views of the union, of which I am a Vice-President, on the subject of fluoridation of public water supplies.
Our union is comprised of and represents the professional employees at the headquarters location of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. Our members include toxicologists, biologist, chemists, engineers, lawyers and others defined by law as "professionals". The work we do includes evaluation of toxicity, exposure and economic information for management's use in formulating public health and environmental protection policy. I am not here as a representative of EPA, but rather as a representative of EPA headquarters professional employees, through their duly elected labour union. The union first got involved in this issue in 1985 as a matter of professional ethics. In 1997 we most recently voted to oppose fluoridation. Our opposition has strengthened since then.
Summary of Recommendations
1) We ask that you order an independent review of a cancer bioassay previously mandated by Congressional committee and subsequently performed by Battelle Memorial Institute with appropriate blinding and instructions that all reviewer's independent determinations be reported to this Committee.
2) We ask that you order that the two waste products of the fertiliser industry that are now used in 90% of fluoridation programs, for which EPA states they are not able to identify any chronic studies, be used in any future toxicity studies, rather than a substitute chemical. Further, since federal agencies are actively advocating that each man, woman and child drink, eat and bathe in these chemicals, silicofluorides should be placed at the head of the list for establishing a MCL that complies with the Safe Drinking Water Act. This means that the MCL be protective of the most sensitive of our population, including infants, with an appropriate margin of safety for ingestion over an entire lifetime.
3) We ask that you order an epidemiology study comparing children with dental fluorosis to those not displaying overdose during growth and development years for behavioural and other disorders.
4) We ask that you convene a joint Congressional Committee to give the only substance that is being mandated for ingestion throughout this country the full hearing that it deserves.
National Review of Fluoridation
The Subcommittee's hearing today can only begin to get at the issues surrounding the policy of water fluoridation in the United States, a massive experiment that has been run on the American public, without informed consent, for over fifty years. The last Congressional hearings on this subject were held in 1977. Much knowledge has been gained in the intervening years. It is high time for a national review of this policy by a Joint Select Committee of Congress. New hearings should explore, at minimum, these points:
1) excessive and uncontrolled fluoride exposures;
2) altered findings of a cancer bioassay;
3) the results and implications of recent brain effects research;
4) the "protected pollutant" status of fluoride within EPA;
5) the altered recommendations to EPA of a 1983 Surgeon General's Panel on fluoride;
6) the results of a fifty-year experiment on fluoridation in two New York communities;
7) the findings of fact in three landmark lawsuits since 1978;
8) the findings and implications of recent research linking the predominant fluoridation chemical with elevated blood-lead levels in children and antisocial behaviour; and
9) changing views among dental researchers on the efficacy of water fluoridation.
Fluoride Exposures Are Excessive and Uncontrolled.
Centres for Disease Control and EPA claim that dental fluorosis is only a 'cosmetic' effect. God did not create humans with fluorosed teeth. That effect occurs when children ingest more fluoride than their bodies can handle with the metabolic processes we were born with, and their teeth are damaged as a result. And not only their teeth. Children's bones and other tissues, as well as their developing teeth are accumulating too much fluoride. We can see the effect on teeth. Few researchers, if any, are looking for the effects of excessive fluoride exposure on bone and other tissues in American children. What has been reported so far in this connection is disturbing. One example is epidemiological evidence 2a,2b showing elevated bone cancer in young men related to consumption of fluoridated drinking water.
Without trying to ascribe a cause and effect relationship beforehand, we do know that American children in large numbers are afflicted with hyperactivity-attention deficit disorder, that autism seems to be on the rise, that bone fractures in young athletes and military personnel are on the rise, that earlier onset of puberty in young women is occurring. There are biologically plausible mechanisms described in peer-reviewed research on fluoride that can link some of these effects to fluoride exposures (e. g. 3,4,5,6). Considering the economic and human costs of these conditions, we believe that Congress should order epidemiology studies that use dental fluorosis as an index of exposure to determine if there are links between such effects and fluoride overexposure.
In the interim, while this epidemiology is conducted, we believe that a national moratorium on water fluoridation should be instituted. There will be a hue and cry from some quarters, predicting increased dental caries, but Europe has about the same rate of dental caries as the U.S 7 and most European countries do not fluoridate 8. I am submitting letters from European and Asian authorities on this point. There are studies in the U.S. of localities that have interrupted fluoridation with no discernible increase in dental caries rates (e.g., 9). And people who want the freedom of choice to continue to ingest fluoride can do so by other means.
The change prompted Dr William Marcus, who was then Senior Science Adviser and Toxicologist in the Office of Drinking Water, to blow the whistle about the issue 22, which led to his firing by EPA. Dr Marcus sued EPA, won his case and was reinstated with back pay, benefits and compensatory damages. I am submitting material from Dr Marcus to the Subcommittee dealing with the cancer and neurotoxicity risks posed by fluoridation.
We believe the Subcommittee should call for an independent review of the tumor slides from the bioassay, as was called for by Dr Marcus 22, with the results to be presented in a hearing before a Select Committee of the Congress. The scientists who conducted the original study, the original reviewers of the study, and the "review commission" members should be called, and an explanation given for the changed findings.
Given the national concern over incidence of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and autism in our children, we believe that the authors of these studies should be called before a Select Committee, along with those who have critiqued their studies, so the American public and the Congress can understand the implications of this work.
In other words, the solution to pollution is dilution, as long as the pollutant is dumped straight into drinking water systems and not into rivers or the atmosphere. I am submitting a copy of her letter.
Other Federal entities are also protective of fluoride. Congressman Calvert of the House Science Committee has sent letters of inquiry to EPA and other Federal entities on the matter of fluoride, answers to which have not yet been received.
We believe that EPA and other Federal officials should be called to testify on the manner in which fluoride has been protected. The union will be happy to assist the Congress in identifying targets for an inquiry. For instance, hydrofluosilic acid does not appear on the Toxic Release inventory list of chemicals, and there is a remarkable discrepancy among the Maximum Contaminant levels for fluoride, arsenic and lead, given the relative toxicities of these substances.
We believe that the authors of this study and representatives of the Centres For Disease Control and EPA should be called before a Select Committee to explain the increase in dental fluorosis among American children and the implications of that increase for skeletal and other effects as the children mature, including bone cancer, stress fractures and arthritis.
In November, 1978, judge John Flaherty, now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, issued findings in the case. Aitkenhead v. Borough of West View, tried before him in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas. Testimony in the case filled 2800 transcript pages and fully elucidated the benefits and risks of water fluoridation as understood in 1978. Judge Flaherty issued an injunction against fluoridation in the case, but the injunction was overturned on jurisdictional grounds. His findings of fact were not disturbed by appellate action. Judge Flaherty, in a July, 1979 letter to the Mayor of Auckland New Zealand wrote the following about the case: "In my view, the evidence is quite convincing that the addition of sodium fluoride to the public water supply at one part per million is extremely deleterous to the human body, and a review of the evidence will disclose that there was no convincing evidence to the contrary... "Prior to hearing this case, I gave the matter of fluoridation little, if any, thought, but I received quite an education, and noted that the proponents of fluoridation do nothing more than try to impugn the objectivity of those who oppose fluoridation."
In the Illinois decision, Judge Ronald Niemann concludes: "This record is barren of any credible and reputable scientific epidemiological studies and or analysis of statistical data which would support the Illinois Legislature's determination that fluoridation of the water supplies is both a safe and effective means of promoting public health."
Judged Anthony Farris in Texas found: "[That] the artificial fluoridation of public water supplies, such as contemplated by (Houston) City ordinanced No. 80-2530 may cause or contribute to the cause of cancer, genetic damage, intolerant reactions, and chronic toxicity, including dental mottling in man; and that the value of said artificial fluoridation is in some doubts as to reduction of tooth decay in man."
The significance of Judged Flaherty's statement and his and the other two judges' findings of fact is this: proponents of fluoridation are fond of reciting endorsement statements by authorities, such as those by CDC and the American Dental Association, both of which have long-standing commitment that are hard if not impossible to recant, on the safety and efficacy of fluoridation. Now come three truly independent servants of justice, the judges in these three cases, and they find that fluoridation of water supplies is not justified.
Proponents of fluoridation are absolutely right about one thing: there is no real controversy about fluoridation when the facts are heard by an open mind.
I am submitting a copy of the excerpted letter from judge Flaherty and another letter referenced in it that was sent to Judge Flaherty by Dr Peter Sammartino, then Chancellor of Fairleigh Dickenson University. I am also submitting a reprint copy of an article in the Spring 1999 issue of the Florida State University Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law by Jack Graham and Dr Pierre Morin, titled "Highlights in North American Litigation During the Twentieth Century on Artificial Fluoridation of Public Water." Mr Graham was chief litigator in the case before Judge Flaherty and in the other two cases (in Illinois and Texas).We believe that Mr Graham should be called before a Select Committee along with, if appropriate, the judges in these cases who could relate their experience as trial judges in these cases.
We believe the authors of these papers and their critics should be called before a Select Committee to explain to you and the American people what these papers mean for continuation of the policy of fluoridation.
We believe that Dr Limeback, along with fluoridation proponents who have not changed their minds, such as Drs Ernest Newbrun and Herschel Horowitz, should be called before a Select Committee to testify on the reasons for their respective positions.
Thank you for your consideration, and I will be happy to take questions.
1. Dental caries and dental fluorosis at varying water fluoride concentrations. Heller, K.E., Eklund, S.A. and Burt, B.A. J. Pub. Health Dent. 57 136-43 (1997).
2a. A brief report on the association of drinking water fluoridation and the incidence of osteosarcoma among young males. Cohn, P .D. New Jersey Department of Health (1992).
2b.Time trends for bone and joint cancers and osteosarcomas in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program. National Cancer Institute. In: Review of fluoride: benefits and risks. Department of Health and Humarrservices. 1991: Fl-F7.
3. Neurotoxicity of sodium fluoride in rats. Mullenix, PJ., Denbesten, R K. Schunior, A. and Keman, W.I. Neurotoxicol. Teratol.17169-177 (1995)
4a. Fluoride and bone - quantity versus quality [editorial] N. Engl. J. Med. 322 845-6 (1990).
4b.Summary of workshop on drinking water fluoride influence on hip fracture and bone health. Gordon, S.L. and Corbin, S.B. Nall. Inst. Health. April 10, 1991.
5. Effect of fluoride on the physiology of the pineal gland. Luke, J.A. Caries Research 28 204 (1994).
6 Newburgh-Kingston caries-fluorine study XIII. Pediatric findings after ten years. Schlesinger, E.R., Overton, D.E., Chase, H.C., and Cantwell, K.T. JADA 52 296-306 (1956).
7. WHO oral health country/area profile programme. Department of Non-Communicable Diseases Surveillance/Oral Health. WHO Collaborating Centre, Malmo University, Sweden URL: www.whocollab.odont.lu.se/countriesalphab.html
8. Letters from government authorities in response to inquiries on fluoridation status by E. Albright. Eugene Albright: contact through J.W. Hirzy, PO. Box 76082, Washington, D.C. 20013.
9. The effects of a break in water fluoridation on the development of dental caries and fluorosis. Burt B.A., Keels, Heller KE. J. Dent. Res. 2000 Feb.79(2):761-9.
10.Toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of sodium fluoride in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice. NTP Report No. 393 (1991).
11. Effect of high fluoride water supply on children's intelligence. Zhao, L.B., Liang, G.H., Zhang, D.N. and Wu, X.R. Fluoride 29 190-192 (1996).
12. Effect of fluoride exposure on intelligence in children. Li, X.S., Zhi, J.L. and Gao, R.O. Fluoride 28 (1995).
13.Chronic administration of aluminium-fluoride or sodium-fluoride to rats in drinking water: alterations in neuronal and cerebrovascular integrity. Varner, J.A., Jensen, K.F., Horvath, W and Isaacson, R.L. Brain Research 784 284-298 (1998).
14. Influence of chronic fluorosis on membrane lipids in rat brain. Z.Z. Guan, Y.N. Wang, K.Q. Xiao, D.Y. Dai, Y.H. Chen, J.L. Liu, P Sindelar and G. Dallner, Neurotoxicology and Teratology 20 537-542 (1998).
15.Letter from Rebecca Hammer, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water, to Leslie Russell re: EPA view on use of by-product fluosilicic (sic) acid as low cost source of fluoride to water authorities. March 30, 1983.
16.Transcript of proceedings - Surgeon General's (Koop) ad hoc committee on non-dental effects of fluoride. April 18-19, 1983. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
17. Recommendations for fluoride use in children. Kumar, J.V and Green, E.L. New York State Dent. J. (1998) 40-47.
18. Highlights in North American litigation during the twentieth century on artificial fluoridation of public water supplies. Graham, I.R. and Morin, P Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law 14195-248 (Spring 1999) Florida State University College of Law.
19. Water treatment with silicofluorides and lead toxicity. Masters, R.D. and Coplan, M.J. Intern. J. Environ. Studies 56 435-49 (1999).
20. Why 1 changed my mind about water fluoridation. Colquhoun, J. Perspectives in Biol. And Medicine 41 1-16 (1997).
21.Letter. Limeback, H. April 2000. Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto.
22. Memorandum: Subject: Fluoride Conference to Review the NTP Draft Fluoride Report; From: Wm. L. Marcus, Senior Science Advisor ODW; To: Alan B. Hais. Adine Director Criteria & Standards Division Office of Drinking Water, May 1, 1990.