Thursday, August 04, 2016

Is the "fluoridation v. African Americans" a canard (like the vaccine debate)?

Is the new “fluoridation crisis” real, or another example of identity politics?  KPBS asks the question here. Is this another vaccine debate?

It’s hard to say so far.  I can remember the issue of public water fluoridation when I was growing up, and even having my teeth painted with fluoride.  I don’t think it was particularly effective.

Does fluoridated water hurt blacks more?  Is there something we’re missing, or is it an indirect consequence of more diabetes and kidney disease (especially ESRD) among African Americans?

1 comment:

Nys Cof said...

Gov’t Fails to Disclose Fluoride’s Disproportionate Harm to Black Community

Government health authorities knew over 50 years ago that black Americans suffered greater harm from fluoridation, yet failed to warn the black community about their disproportionate risk

In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan, experimentally added fluoride chemicals into the water supply anticipating that children’s tooth decay would decline without causing fluoride’s unwanted toxic effects – dental fluorosis (white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth).

A January 10, 1962 internal memorandum, from a U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) official, F.J. Maier, revealed that “negroes in Grand Rapids had twice as much fluorosis than others.”

Based on this, Maier asked, “In a community with a larger number of negroes (say in Dekalb County, Georgia) would this tend to change our optimum fluoride levels?”

No change was made. Worse, government officials have taken no steps to educate the black community about their heightened fluoridation risk.

In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledged for the first time that the black community has higher rates of dental fluorosis. It took a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, however, to learn the full extent of this disparity. According to recently released FOIA documents, 58% of black children were diagnosed with dental fluorosis in CDC’s 1999-2004 national survey, versus 36% of white children.

The epidemic of fluorosis now seen in the black community is the visible legacy of the government’s failure to act on what it knew.

When the Public Health Service first endorsed fluoridation in the early 1950s, it was estimated that the “safe level” of fluoride is exceeded when “more than 10 to 15 percent of children” have “the mildest” type of fluorosis.

Black children now far exceed the safety threshold. One study from fluoridated Augusta, Georgia found 17% of black children suffering from advanced forms (moderate and severe) of fluorosis, the kind of fluorosis that was once only seen in high-fluoride communities. (Williams 1990).

Despite being fluoride-overdosed, blacks still suffer from higher rates of tooth decay, with many low-income minority communities suffering from what health officials have called a “silent epidemic” of untreated tooth decay.

Not only are fluorosis and cavity rates higher in the black community, but so too are various health conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease, that increase susceptibility to fluoride’s harmful effects.

Because of this, a number of civil rights advocates have begun calling for an end to fluoridation, including former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, the Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, the Reverend Bernice King (daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King), and LULAC (the largest Hispanic civil rights organization).

FOIA documents reveal that, instead of taking steps to notify the public about minorities disproportionate harm from fluoride, HHS officials worry that the issue may be "gaining traction" and worked with the American Dental Association to formulate a response. Protecting fluoridation rather than minorities seems to be the priority now, as it was back in 1962, as revealed in the memo.

NYS Department of Health dentist, J. Kumar, reported in 1998 (NYS Dental Journal and American Journal of Public Health) that the risk of dental fluorosis is greater in African-American children. But he never shared this information with New Yorkers.

Dental fluorosis is only the most obvious effect of fluoride, because you can see it And there is no dispute that too much fluoride, not only damages teeth, but also damages bones. But no studies are done to discern how much fluoride damages has occurred in children with fluoride damaged teeth. So officials can claim there is no evidence of harm - because they aren't looking for it and probably never will.

More about Racial Disparities in Dental Fluorosis