The Instigator
jh1234l
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
ax123man
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Water fluoridation is safe

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
jh1234l
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/17/2012 Category: Health
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,300 times Debate No: 27324
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

jh1234l

Pro

I will be arguing that adding fluoride to water is safe, while my opponent will argue that it is not. BOP is shared.

Fluoride is toxic in high doses, the lethal dose for most adult humans is estimated at 5 to 10 g (which is equivalent to 32 to 64 mg/kg elemental fluoride/kg body weight). [1]

If you weigh 160 pounds, you might want to drink at least 80 ounces of water or other fluids per day. [2]
80 Ounces = roughly 2.3 Liters.
A 1994 World Health Organization expert committee suggested a level of fluoride from 0.5 to 1.0 mg/L (milligrams per litre), depending on climate. [3]
2.3 liters = 2.3 mg. (1.0 x 2.3) (1.0 mg/L is the highest recommended amount)

2.3 mg is 0.0023 grams, which is nowhere near the lethal dose of 5-10 grams.

Plus, studies that show that fluoride is dangerous are unreliable.

"Scientific literature does not support the claims that fluoride adversely affects the immune system, collagen, glucose metabolism, the integrity of genetic material, causes, attention deficit disorder, Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, cancer or AIDS, aggravates kidney disease or hypothyroidism. Anti-fluoridationists and anti-fluoride websites cite "scientific articles", most of which have methodological problems:
They are not from reputable peer-reviewed journals and are not obtainable through a medical or dental library
They do not deal with the fluoride compounds that are actually used to fluoridate water
They study exposure levels way above that possible at 1 ppm dilution of fluoridated water
They inappropriately try to extrapolate data from poorly designed animal or bench-top research with no relationship to the levels of fluoride in drinking water." [4]

EPA says "There exists no directly applicable scientific documentation of adverse medical effects at levels of fluoride below 8mg/liter."[5]

And 8mg/liter is way above the recommended dose of 0.5-1.0, but is still not proven scientifically to do any adverse harm.

Fluoride in drinking water cannot harm kids either, as they will need to drink about 20 gallons of water. [6] The person will suffer from water toxicity before actually having an acute reaction to the fluoride. [6]

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]http://nutrition.about.com...
[3]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4]http://fluorideinfo.org...
[5]http://fluorideinfo.org...
[6]http://fluorideinfo.org...
ax123man

Con

I thank Pro for what should be an interesting debate. But first, I'd like to ensure we agree on the debate. I'm fine with sharing BOP, however I'll point out Pro's resolution, "Water fluoridation is safe", carries a high burden since most people place a high value on their own health. My burden is to show that there is enough evidence that most people, given a solid understanding of the facts, would consider water fluoridation unsafe.

Pro did not define Water fluoridation, but I assume we are debating the controlled addition of fluoride to a public water supply to reduce tooth decay. There are naturally occurring sources of water that have fluoride levels above the recommended levels, but that is not the concern of this debate.

I concede Pro's points in regard to lethal doses of fluoride. This is not a primary concern.

I will however point out that Pro's statements in regards to fluoride levels in water could be somewhat misleading:

A 1994 World Health Organization expert committee suggested a level of fluoride from 0.5 to 1.0 mg/L

While this statement is true, this only hints at how much fluoride we actually consume. Fluoride is present in many food items. [1]. We are also exposed to fluoride at various levels in toothpaste and with topical treatments at the dentist. Since 1992 the ADA has required toothpaste manufacturers to include ""Use only a pea-sized amount (of toothpaste) for children under six" on labels. [2]. Overall consumption depends on types of food you eat, how it it processed, how well you monitor our children's brushing, etc.

So while I understand the EPA claims regarding the 8mg/l, my arguments are the following:

1) The EPA does not know for sure what levels of fluoride we consume
2) Recent medical studies refute the EPA claims
3) Given the emphasis placed on aesthetics in relation to tooth care these days, I believe many people would consider visible signs of dental fluorosis as "unsafe".

Given this is only round 1, I've chosen to mainly introduce the framework of my arguments and leave details for later.

I look forward to the next round!

[1] http://www.fluoridedebate.com...
[2] http://www.fluoridedebate.com...
Debate Round No. 1
jh1234l

Pro

Thanks to ax123man for defining water fluoridation.

Rebuttals

"We are also exposed to fluoride at various levels in toothpaste and with topical treatments at the dentist. Since 1992 the ADA has required toothpaste manufacturers to include 'Use only a pea-sized amount (of toothpaste) for children under six' on labels."

Well, this does not prove that it is unsafe as although water fluoridation has been praised as one of the top medical achievements of the 20th century, fluoride-containing toothpaste can be acutely toxic if swallowed in large amounts. [1] Without giving the dose ingested and how many fluoride are in there, you cannot just say that it is toxic.

"The EPA does not know for sure what levels of fluoride we consume."

That is because it isn't its job. The EPA regulates tap water and as the name says, protects the environment.

"Recent medical studies refute the EPA claims."

You cannot say that recent studies refute it if you do not say:
-Which medical study says it.
e.g., I can say that I heard that __ happened to __ on the internet, but it has no validity as the website is not given.
-How much fluoride (dosage) is used.
e.g., A study may show that large amounts causes __, but the dose is nowhere near the dose used in water.

"Given the emphasis placed on aesthetics in relation to tooth care these days, I believe many people would consider visible signs of dental fluorosis as "unsafe"."

Dental fluorosis is the developmental disturbance of dental enamel caused by excessive exposure to HIGH concentrations of fluoride during tooth development.[2] This is possibly higher than the recommended dose.

Arguments

Cancer

Science findings show no or uncertain (equivocal) evidence on the correlation between fluoride and cancer. Taken together, the two animal studies fail to establish an association between fluoride and cancer.

"Under the conditions of these 2-year dosed water studies, there was equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity of sodium fluoride in male F344/N rats, based on the occurrence of a small number of osteosarcomas in dosed animals. There was no evidence of carcinogenic activity in female F344/N rats receiving sodium fluoride at concentrations of 25, 100, or 175 ppm (0, 11, 45, 79 ppm fluoride) in drinking water for 2 years. There was no evidence of carcinogenic activity of sodium fluoride in male or female mice receiving sodium fluoride at concentrations of 25, 100, or 175 ppm in drinking water for 2 years." ---The Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Fluoride [5]

"The other carcinogenicity study was sponsored by the Procter and Gamble Company using Cr:CD (Sprague-Dawley) rats and Crl:CD-1 (ICR) mice both treated with 0, 4, 10, or 25 milligrams/kilogram/day sodium fluoride added to a low fluoride-basal diet. A second control group received powdered rodent chow. There was no evidence of malignant tumors associated with sodium fluoride in mice and rats of either sex in the Procter and Gamble study. While there were two osteosarcomas in the low dose female rats, one osteosarcoma in a high dose male rat, and one fibroblastic sarcoma in a mid-dose male rat, these findings in treated animals were not statistically different from controls." [5]

Definitions

Equivocal - uncertain as an indication or sign [3]

Osteosarcomas- A malignant bone tumor. Also called osteogenic sarcoma.[4]

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3]http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[4]http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[5]http://www.health.gov...
ax123man

Con


I'm glad to see Pro has inspired a challenging debate.

Note that, based on the resolution, praises of fluoride in tooth prevention are not relevant to this debate. We are only concerned with it's safety, not whether it's benefits outweigh it's risks.

To begin, I'll clarify my reasons for mentioning other sources of fluoride that we routinely consume. The health affects of fluoride depend on the total amount we ingest, not the source of the fluoride. The EPA would have to be naive to be unaware that fluoride intake has grown over the last few decades [1]. They can't simply claim ignorance by saying "it's not my job". I believe my point #1 in Round 1 still stands.

Regarding Pro's comment about my round 1 statement "Recent medical studies refute the EPA claims", as I said in that round, I will "leave details for later" (see below).

To continue with Pro's points, I'll first address fluorosis. Pro references the wikipedia article on this subject which does indeed use the phrase "high" concentrations (of fluoride). But rather than try to figure out what "high" means, I prefer to look at a chart that shows the increase in fluorosis since 1950 (when fluoridation first started):
http://www.fluoridealert.org...

The chart is important because of the many sources of fluoride intake, and the complexity in gauging total intake. Even if one asserts that fluorosis does not meet the criteria for "unsafe" (which I do not), this is still a clear sign of increased overall fluoride intake. Based on this information, I stand by point #3 from round 1.

Now to Pro's arguments on Cancer and studies from pro-fluoride groups in general. It should be pointed out that the studies Pro refers to in round 1 are suspect. Both studies used sodium fluoride in the testing. In fact, most of the chronic testing done on the health affects of fluoridation was done decades ago using sodium fluoride. This is because it was the original compound used in fluoridation. However, not all fluorides are alike. The compounds actually used these days are either sodium fluoride (NaF), fluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6), or sodium fluorosilicate (Na2SiF6) [3]. Of the three, fluorosilicic acid is most commonly used for water fluoridation. This form of fluoride is a by product of phosphate fertilizer production [4]. Note that the original idea for fluoridation of water came from studies of communities that had naturally fluoridated water. [11]

Second, there is evidence that federal government organizations such as the NTP can't be trusted in these studies . For example [16]:

EPA fired the Office of Drinking Water's chief toxicologist, Dr. William Marcus, who also was our local union's treasurer at the time, for refusing to remain silent on the cancer risk issue.

It's interesting that the EPA uses the following friendlier wording to describe fluoride [2]:

Fluoride compounds are salts that form when the element, fluorine, combines with minerals in soil or rocks.

Given this information, references to fluoride in this debate should be specific whenever possible. When the term fluoridation is used, we can assume it is one of the three compounds listed above, however sodium fluoride only makes up 10% of fluoridation programs [5].

Note that the above reference also states:

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency have told Masters and Coplan that the EPA has no information on health effects of chronic ingestion of SiF-treated water.

SiF is silicofluoride, another name for H2SiF6

Given this information, I find Pro's cancer studies in round 2 to be largely irrelevant.

In addition, the positive propaganda behind fluoridation has a disturbing history. I'll list just a couple examples:

The American Dental Association is paid to endorse fluoride. They also provide grants for studies in support of fluoridation [9]. In fact, Pro's source from round 1, fluorideinfo.org, is a domain owned by Steve Schonfeld, an ADA spokesperson.

The union of scientists and workers at the EPA has twice come forward in opposition to water fluoridation: in 1998 and again in 2005. Scientists at the EPA have been targeted for speaking out against fluoridation. They have also been pressured to modify reports to favor fluoridation or ignore ill affects. [7] [8] [10]

In 1951, members of the PHS (Public Health Services) used strong tactics to promote fluoridation, such as: [11]

If it is a fact that some individuals are against fluoridation, you just have to knock their objections down. The question of toxicity is on the same order. Lay off it altogether. Just pass it over. 'We know there is absolutely no effect other than reducing tooth decay,' you say, and go on.

Bette Hileman, in a 1988 report appearing in Chemical & Engineering News, states [11]

For example, Zev Remba, the Washington Bureau editor of AGD Impact, the monthly publication of the Academy of General Dentistry, wrote last year that supporters of fluoridation have had an"unwillingness to release any information that would cast fluorides in a negative light," and that organized dentistry has lost "its objectivity - the ability to consider varying viewpoints together with scientific data to reach a sensible conclusion.

Now, as promised, I will address point #2 from round 1:

Dr. Phyllis J. Mullenix began work investigating fluoride in 1987 as Head of the Toxicology Department at the Forsyth Dental Center. Here studies led to a paper on fluoride neurotoxicity in 1995 [14]. In a letter of response to inquiries regarding fluoridation by U.S. Army Medical Command, Dr. Mullenix responded:
In our 1995 paper (2), we reported that brain function was vulnerable to fluoride, that the effects on behavior depended on the age at exposure and that fluoride accumulated in brain tissues….. Overall, we concluded that the rat study flagged potential for motor dysfunction, IQ deficits and/or learning disabilities in humans.

It's interesting note that Dr. Mullenix didn't expect to find any significant results from these studies and was, in fact, surprised by the results [15]:

Initially, the fluoride study sparked little interest, and in fact we were quite anxious to move on to something academically more exciting. Using an animal model developed for the study of dental fluorosis, we expected rats drinking fluoride-treated water would behave the same as matching controls. They did not. The scientific literature led us to believe that rats would easily tolerate 175 ppm fluoride in their drinking water. They did not. Reports in the literature indicated that fluoride would not cross the blood brain barrier. But it did. Prenatal exposure to fluoride was not supposed to permanently alter behavioral outcome. It did.

[1] http://www.fluoridealert.org...
[2] http://water.epa.gov...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.cdc.gov...
[5] http://www.globalresearch.ca...
[6] http://www.fluoridedebate.com...
[7] http://www.nteu280.org...
[8] http://www.organicconsumers.org...
[9] http://www.fluoridedebate.com...
[10] http://www.ucsusa.org...
[11] http://www.fluoridation.com...
[12] http://www.nofluoride.com...
[13] http://slweb.org...
[14] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[15] http://www.fluoridation.com...
[16] http://www.fluoridation.com...
Debate Round No. 2
jh1234l

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for his response.

Dental Fluorosis

Even though dental fluorosis has increased, [1] most people only have mild or questionable levels of dental fluorosis. [1] The study also found that among persons aged 6-49, 16.0% had very mild fluorosis, 4.8% had mild fluorosis, 2.0% had moderate fluorosis, and less than 1% had severe fluorosis. For the remaining three-quarters of persons in this age group, 60.6% were unaffected by dental fluorosis and 16.5% were classified as having questionable dental fluorosis. [1]
This means 77.1% have no or questionable dental fluorosis, leaving 22.9% with true dental fluorosis, which is less than the 41% in your chart. Also, this is the same time period (1999-2004), but my chart shows a better understanding as it includes 6-49 year olds and your chart only has 12-15 year olds counted, which is biased as adolescents aged 12-15 had the highest prevalence of dental fluorosis. [1]

Cancer

No refutation is given other than "it is irrelevant" and attacking on the EPA and similar organizations.

More than 50 population-based studies looking at the potential link between water fluoride levels and cancer have been reported in the medical literature. Most of these have not found a strong link to cancer. [2] The NCI study identified no trends in cancer risk which could be attributed to the introduction of fluoride into drinking water. The study examined nationwide moronity data and incidence data from counties in Iowa and the Seattle, Washington, metropolitan area. There were no consistent differences in the trends in cancer mortality rates among males and females living in counties having initiated relative mortality rates from cancer, including cancer of the bones and joints, were similar after 20-35 years of fluoridation as they were in the years preceding fluoridation. In addition, there was no relationship between the introduction and duration of fluoridation and the patterns of cancer incidence rates, including those of the bone and joint, and the subset of osteosarcomas (Appendix E). For example, there were 91 observed cases of osteosarcoma in the fluoridated areas, when 93 cases were expected based on rates in non-fluoridated areas. [3]

Neurotoxins

This study does not show that adding fluoride to drinking water is unsafe.

"Weanlings received drinking water containing 0, 75, 100, or 125 ppm F for 6 or 20 weeks, and 3 month-old adults received water containing 100 ppm F for 6 weeks. " [4]

However, the MCL and MCLG for fluoride is 4.0 mg/L or 4.0 ppm. EPA has set this level of protection based on the best available science to prevent potential health problems. [5] 4 ppm is nowhere near 100 ppm of fluoride, therefore this study does not prove that water fluoridation is toxic to the nervous system.

Propaganda

"In addition, the positive propaganda behind fluoridation has a disturbing history."

Propaganda is aiming to influence the attitude towards a position or cause by only showing a side of the argument.

Shown side: Fluoride levels higher than 75 ppm can be toxic to the nervous system.
Hidden side: The EPA only allows 4ppm of fluoride in water. [5]
Shown side: "The scientific literature led us to believe that rats would easily tolerate 175 ppm fluoride in their drinking water. They did not."
Hidden side: 175 ppm is 171 ppm higher than 4 ppm.

[1]http://www.cdc.gov...
[2]http://www.cancer.org...
[3]http://www.health.gov...
[4]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[5]http://water.epa.gov...
ax123man

Con

First, given that it's thanksgiving and Pro's round 3 was less than 4000 characters, I'll keep this short.

Also, apologies to readers regarding any quotes I used in round 2. Normally I italicize and indent them, so hopefully it's not too confusing.

I'll start by reviewing my list of points thus far:

1) The EPA does not know for sure what levels of fluoride we consume.
2) Recent medical studies refute the EPA claims
3) Given the emphasis placed on aesthetics in relation to tooth care these days, I believe many people would consider visible signs of dental fluorosis as "unsafe".
4) Propaganda (the organizations pushing fluoridation can't be trusted)
5) The additional danger of using other "fluoride" compounds as substitutes (such as fluorosilicic acid)

Regarding point #1, it appears Pro has dropped this argument for now.

Regarding point #2 and the study from Dr. Mullenix, Pro says:

This study does not show that adding fluoride to drinking water is unsafe.

As I said in round 1, the resolution: ""Water fluoridation is safe" carries a high burden". Dr. Mullenix is a trained toxicologist so, in regards to my own health, I'd be concerned with her wording here [1]:

every effort we made sank us further into the realization that brain function was impacted by fluoride.
In summary, my opinion is that there are no advantages to water fluoridation. The risks today far exceed the hoped for benefit.

In addition, Pro errors in attempting to refute this study by claiming the levels of fluoride were too high. As Dr. Mullenix explains [1]

These criticisms are without merit because our doses in rats produce a level of fluoride in the plasma equivalent to that found in humans drinking 5- 10 ppm fluoride in water, or humans receiving some treatments for osteoporosis.

Regarding cancer studies, I disagree with Pro that I simply stated the studies where irrelevant without refutation, but will leave that to voters to decide. However, there are certainly studies on both sides of the debate regarding cancer as you can read here [4].

Regarding point #3 and fluorosis, I accept Pro's numbers regarding dental fluorosis in age groups 0-49. Now, even if we were to agree that fluorosis must be moderate or severe to be "unsafe", we are still talking about a large number of people. The CDC figures [2] show that 66% of the U.S. population receives fluoridated water. This means that more than 4 million people are "unsafe" due to fluoridation.

In addition, fluorosis levels has implications beyond it's affect on teeth. Fluoride embeds itself in bones and, as Dr. Mullenix proved, crosses the blood brain barrier. In fact, studies show a correlation between fluoride and both osteoporosis and skeletal fluorosis [3]

Regarding point #4 and the trust factor with pro-fluoride organizations, I have shown in round 2 that there has been coercion, cover ups and interference. To add to that, I'd like to include a bit of history in regards to this subject. Edward Bernays is considered to be a pioneer in the field of propaganda. His book "Propaganda", published in 1928, contains some interesting text [5]:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

Who is Edward Bernays? His resume includes selling our involvement in WW 1, influencing propaganda techniques in the third reich, the cold war, the selling of tobacco, and of course, the fluoridation campaign [5]. Suffice it to say that, in the 1950's Bernays had his work cut out for him. Fluoride at the time had a nasty reputation, being primarily associated with rat poison [6]. And based on the results, his work was quite effective.

Lastly, it appears Pro also dropped point #5 for now.

[1] http://www.nofluoride.com...
[2] http://www.cdc.gov...
[3] http://fluoridation.com...
[4] http://www.nteu280.org...
[5] http://en.wikiquote.org...
[6] http://www.lewrockwell.com...

Debate Round No. 3
jh1234l

Pro

Thank to Ax123man for his response.
Point 1: Conceded, the EPA only regulates fluoride in tap water.
Point 2:
Neurotoxin

There is no generally accepted scientific knowledge establishing a casual relationship between consumption of fluoridated water and central nervous system disorders or effects on intelligence. A seven-year study compared the health and behavior of children from birth through six years of age in communities with optimally fluoridated water with those of children the same age without exposure to optimally fluoridated water. Medical records were reviewed yearly during the study. At age six and seven, child behavior was measured using both maternal and teacher ratings. The results suggested that there was no evidence to indicate that exposure to optimally fluoridated water had any detectable adverse effect on children's health or behavior. These results did not differ even when data was controlled for family social background. [1]

Cancer Studies: Conceded as no refutation is given.

Point 3: dental fluorosis

Still, we only have 22.9% with true dental fluorosis (does not include "questionable" ), and 16.0% of them are very mild. [3] Also, we cannot ignore the fact that there can be natural sources for this, too.

Bone fluorosis

According to generally accepted scientific knowledge, drinking optimally fluoridated water does not have an adverse effect on the bones. [2] Also, the two animal studies available at this time fail to establish an association between fluoride and cancer. [2] However, fluoride has only been used as an experimental therapy for osteoporosis. [2]

[1]http://www.tooelehealth.org...
[2]http://www.tooelehealth.org...
[3]http://www.cdc.gov...
ax123man

Con

Pro's first source in round 4 is interesting. It's a link to the Tooele County, Utah health department web site. Fluoridation in Utah overall has increased dramatically over the years [1], while the residents of the city of Tooele have continually fought against it [2]. Fluoridation cases like this are good examples of several human psychological behaviors coming into play:

Group Think: Fluoridation must be good because everyone's doing it.

Appeal to authority: In Tooele City, the question was brought to a council vote by one Dr. Clair Vernon, DDS. Fluoridation proponents then appeal to even higher authorities, such as the ADA, WHO, etc.

Complacency: The majority of people will choose not to get involved in these decisions.

In the Tooele City case, the two main proponents appear to be Dr. Vernon and Myron Bateman from the County Health Department. In the 2005 city council meeting minutes on fluoridation [1], Mr. Bateman and Dr. Vernon answer questions from concerned citizens:

A concerned citizen asked if Mr. Bateman was saying there were no health issues? Mr. Bateman responded that scientific evidence shows that fluoride is safe. She asked if someone drank too much water if it would harm them? Dr. Vernon said you would die of drinking too much water before the fluoride would affect you. Some cities in the United States have been fluoridating their water for 60 years and have not encountered problems. She then asked if you could get stained teeth? Mr. Bateman said if you had 8-10 parts per million you could get stained teeth but they were looking at 1-2 parts per million.

After reading our debate here on DDO, it should be clear that the Tooele council responses are very much one-sided. It is telling that the "Pro" side of this debate is almost always either a government employ or someone associated with the ADA, while the "Con" side are everyday citizens.

In addition, on the Tooele County web site, one of the first things you read is [3]:

Since fluoride is a natural occurring nutrient, giving it a boost in areas where the levels are too low is an added bonus for adults and children as well.

A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment.

I could find no scientific evidence that fluoride is a nutrient. Where do the major players stand on fluoride as a nutrient? Those in favor are the ADA and the WHO. Those against are the U.S. Public Health Service, EPA, FDA and the National Academy of Sciences. One might pose the question: If there is no evidence fluoride is a nutrient, how do the ADA and WHO make this claim? An even better question might be why do they make such a claim?

Regarding whether fluoride is a neurotoxin that affects the brain, Pro's source sites one study done in New Zealand in 1986. I'm unable to refute the details of this study since I'm unable to see them. The only details I can find show that the study seems reasonable on the surface. It was conducted in Christchurch, NZ where, at one time, only part of the city was fluoridated. However, I did find this [4]:

The last two studies in New Zealand on dental health (Auckland 2009 and Southland 2005) show that there is no difference in decay rates between children in fluoridated areas and children in non-fluoridated areas. The only difference is that 30 per cent of the children in the fluoridated areas have some form of dental fluorosis whereas only 15 per cent of children in the non-fluoridated areas do.

A 2012 Harvard study of children in china showed a correlation between fluoridated water and lower IQ's [5]. This study has an interesting follow on story. This year Wichita, Kansas voted on an initiative to begin fluoridating their water. They rejected the initiative, as they did in 1964 and 1978 [8]. During the Wichita debate, the Harvard study was referenced, but the Harvard researchers communicated that "very high" levels of fluoride where necessary for this link so the study was not applicable to the United States [7]. However, it turns out that what "very high" actually meant was 2.47 mg/l. While it is true that the recommended fluoridation level is only .7 mg/l (it was previously 1.2 mg/l) levels from other sources can increase total intake beyond recommended daily levels [10]. As Dr. Steven Levy, a director of an Iowa fluoride study states [10]:

"There's a huge variation in levels of intake," says Levy.

If it wasn't for the fact that fluoridation is so common already, how many people who understood the above information would accept water fluoridation as being "safe".

Regarding Pro's cancer studies, I again disagree that I conceded the cancer debate. In round 2, I showed why the referenced studies were suspect. In round 3, I indicated there were studies on both sides and provided a source to prove it. But for good measure, I will reference another source that provides a summary of studies from the National Cancer Institute in 1990, the New Jersey Department of Health in 1992, Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 2001, and Harvard University team of scientists in 2006 [11].

Now on to the fluorosis issue, I stand by my round 3 argument that more than 4 million people are "unsafe" in regards to fluorosis. Pro argues that natural sources may add to fluorosis, which I concede. But this does not help Pro's position at all. You can't argue to that fluoridation is safe because fluoride comes from other sources.

Pro's statement:

According to generally accepted scientific knowledge, the ingestion of optimally fluoridated water does not have an adverse effect on bone health.

Has no backing and comes from a biased source as I showed above. In researching this subject, I've found that there are plenty of studies on both sides of this debate. It's easy to find studies that correlate fluoridation to issues in bones [11] [10]. And here is another page that has an overview of more than a dozen studies confirming a relationship between fluoridation and hip fractures [12].

[1] http://www.tooelecity.org...
[2] http://www.fluoridealert.org...
[3] http://www.tooelehealth.org...
[4] http://www.stuff.co.nz...
[5] http://www.hsph.harvard.edu...
[7] http://www.kansas.com...
[8] http://www.kansas.com...
[10] http://www.slweb.org...
[11] http://www.world-wire.com...
[12] http://www.slweb.org...

Debate Round No. 4
jh1234l

Pro

My opponent first starts attacking the Tooele site, and ends up with a fallacy.

"After reading our debate here on DDO, it should be clear that the Tooele council responses are very much one-sided. It is telling that the "Pro" side of this debate is almost always either a government employ or someone associated with the ADA, while the "Con" side are everyday citizens."

Let's say that A is the PRO side and B is the CON side.

If A is true then B is false.
If B is true then A is false.
Just because A is a government organization means A is false.
A is false, therefore B is true.

Just because A is a government organization does not mean it is not credible, second, "A is not credible" is not automatically evidence for B.

"I could find no scientific evidence that fluoride is a nutrient. Where do the major players stand on fluoride as a nutrient? Those in favor are the ADA and the WHO. Those against are the U.S. Public Health Service, EPA, FDA and the National Academy of Sciences. One might pose the question: If there is no evidence fluoride is a nutrient, how do the ADA and WHO make this claim? An even better question might be why do they make such a claim?"

If there is no source to prove that these are the standings of the organizations above, how did you make the claim? An even better question, why did you make the claim?

"The last two studies in New Zealand on dental health (Auckland 2009 and Southland 2005) show that there is no difference in decay rates between children in fluoridated areas and children in non-fluoridated areas. The only difference is that 30 per cent of the children in the fluoridated areas have some form of dental fluorosis whereas only 15 per cent of children in the non-fluoridated areas do."

I already refuted the fluorosis claim, and the fluoride does help in protecting teeth.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that prevents tooth decay systemically when ingested during tooth development and topically when applied to erupted teeth.
1. It reduces the solubility of enamel in acid by converting hydroxy apatite into less soluble fluor apatite;
2. It exerts an influence directly on dental plaque by reducing the ability of plaque organisms to produce acid; and
3. It promotes the remineralization or repair of tooth enamel in areas that have been demineralized by acids. [1]

"A 2012 Harvard study of children in china showed a correlation between fluoridated water and lower IQ's. This study has an interesting follow on story. "

Well, that is probably because they raised them in china plates.

Okay, I know that you meant China.

Well, a seven year study suggested that there was no evidence to indicate that exposure to optimally fluoridated water had any detectable adverse effect on children's health or behavior. [2]

Cancer

According to widely accepted scientific knowledge, there is no connection between cancer and adding fluoride to drinking water. [3] In fact, more than 50 epidemiologic studies in different populations and at different times have failed to demonstrate an association between fluoridation and the risk of cancer. [4] The consensus of the scientific community continues to support that the incidence of cancer is unrelated to the introduction and duration of water fluoridation. [5]

Bones

Studies do not show an increase in the incidence of bone fractures due to fluoride; one study provided evidence of a lower incidence of bone fractures in an optimally fluoridated community as compared to a similar community with trace levels of fluoride in the water. Therefore, further research is required.[6]

[1]http://www.tooelehealth.org...
[2](Shannon FT, Fergusson DM, Horwood LF. Exposure to fluoridated public water supplies and child health and behaviour. N Z Med J 1986;99(803):416-8.)
[3](American Cancer Society. A statement on fluoride and drinking water fluoridation by Clark W. Heath, Jr. MD, Vice President of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research of American Cancer Society;February 17, 1998.)
[4](US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. Review of fluoride: benefits and risks. Report of the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Fluoride. Washington, DC; February 1991.)
[5](US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. Review of fluoride: benefits and risks. Report of the Ad Hoc subcommittee on Fluoride. Washington, DC; February 1991.)
[6]http://www.health.gov...
ax123man

Con

Pro's formal logic statements try to paint a black-and-white picture of my arguments regarding government and trust. But, I never claimed you can't trust an organization just because they are tied to government. Rather, I showed examples of behavior from pro-fluoride organizations that would cause people to have doubts regarding their stance on fluoridation.

Also, Pro's use of the word "attack" here is unwarranted. I merely pointed out that the Tooele county web site called fluoride a nutrient when there is no scientific basis for it.

Pro is correct that I didn't provide sources to back up my statements regarding claims of fluoride as a nutrient. I will correct here:
Those in favor of fluoride as a nutrient are the ADA [1] and the WHO [2]. Those against are the U.S. Public Health Service [4] , EPA [3] , FDA [4] and the National Academy of Sciences [4]. As a side note, the U.S. Public Health Service once claimed fluoride was a nutrient [5]. I'm no conspiracy theorist. I'm sure these people have our best interests at heart. However, I think this is clear evidence that their exuberance clouds their thinking.

Pro claims to have refuted my arguments regarding fluorosis. As stated in round 3, this could only be true if you ignore 4 million people, pretend people don't want white teeth, and ignore the fact that fluorosis of the teeth is an outward sign of the same thing occurring in your bones, and ignore the references to studies I've sourced while discounting evidence I've shown that casts doubt on Pro's sources (see below).

Pro again discusses the benefits of fluoridation, which I've already shown is irrelevant to his resolution. Pro also claims that "Fluoride is a naturally occurring element". Fluorine is an element while one type of fluoride, sodium fluoride (NaF) is naturally occurring. However, what we are drinking is most likely fluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6).

Next Pro uses the Christchurch, NZ study as a reference to refute my claims regarding the Harvard IQ study along with other sources. We could debate back and forth for ages using studies. But lets take a moment to review Pro's sources for studies:

fluorideinfo.org - organization tied to the ADA
www.health.gov - division of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
www.cdc.gov - division of Department of Health and Human Services
www.tooelehealth.org - Tooele, Utah County Health Department
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov - division of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The only source used that wasn't tied to the either government or the ADA was www.cancer.org.

There are many studies that show the negative affects of fluoride:

Study from India showing a link between fluoride and intelligence [6].
JAMA study done in Utah linking fluoride to increased hip fractures [7].
A doctors account summarizing eight studies showing links to increased hip fractures [8].

Are there any examples of whistle blowers coming forward from the anti-fluoridation camp? No, there is on the pro-fluoride side [9].
Are there any examples of coercion being used against researchers from the anti-fluoridation camp? No, there is on the pro-fluoride side [10].

In January of 2011, the HHS and the EPA reduced recommended fluoridation levels from 1.2 mg/l to 0.7 mg/l in 2011 due to safety concerns regarding dental fluorosis [11]. It's interesting to compare the EPA announcement to the American Dental Associations [12]:

EPA includes this:
Prolonged high intake of fluoride, at any age, can result in skeletal fluorosis, a condition which may increase bone brittleness, and in a potential increase in risk of bone fracture. In high-dose cases, severe bone abnormalities can develop, crippling the affected individual

The ADA does not mention anything about bones and says this:
Enamel fluorosis is considered a cosmetic condition with no known health effects, appearing primarily in very mild to mild form in the U.S., but it can cause tooth discoloration and pitting in rare, severe cases.

Is this a complete breakdown in communications? I doubt it. You simply have individuals who are determined to continue these programs, being convinced that reducing cavities is worth the risk of the long term health affects.

One of Pro's statements in this round was:

In fact, more than 50 epidemiologic studies in different populations and at different times have failed to demonstrate an association between fluoridation and the risk of cancer.

I was able to find a reference to this on the hhs.gov web site [13]. As Pro has stated, this report does state that more than 50 studies show no relationship between fluoridation and cancer (although it does not source them). At the same time, it also states the following regarding dental fluorosis:

• instruct children to rinse carefully after brushing and not to swallow fluoride-containing toothpaste
• urges consumers and health professionals to become more aware of the fluoride levels in their drinking water
• that scientific conferences be held to develop more detailed guidance to the public about what the total level of fluoride exposure should be from all sources
• recent U.S. studies that show no clear benefit from high doses of fluoride and, indeed, indicate some increases in non-vertebral fractures

I wonder how many consumers are aware of the this? Note that this study came from the Dept. Of Health and Human Services.

That same source states the following regarding cancer:

There are about 750 cases of osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in Americans each year. Although the number appears to have increased, no association was found to the onset of fluoridation.

I find the above statement troubling. Researchers would have to determine where these 750 people lived their whole lives, what the fluoride levels where in the water during those times and how much tap water they consumed, along with determining fluoride levels consumed from other sources. That's an impossible task, yet they claim to have done it. What we know for sure is that fluoride intake is increasing and so are cases of osteosarcoma.

Pro tries to show that fluoridation has no affect on bones by referencing a health.gov web page [14]. However, Pro cherry picked his text, as the full paragraph is:

There is some suggestion from epidemiological studies that the incidence of certain bone fractures may be greater in some communities with either naturally high or adjusted fluoride levels. However, there are a number of confounding factors that need resolution to determine whether or not an association exists. Additionally, other studies do not show an increase in the incidence of bone fractures; one study provided evidence of a lower incidence of bone fractures in an optimally fluoridated community as compared to a similar community with trace levels of fluoride in the water. Therefore, further research is required.

In addition to the sources I gave above, there are other studies that have been done more recently to show a correlation between increases in fluoride intake and hip fractures. [15]. One particular anti-fluoride site has a good summary of evidence relating fluoride to problems with bones, referencing sources from several doctors and organizations [16].

Pro's resolution is that fluoridation of water is safe. Given that we all put a high priority on our health, I feel I've given enough evidence to cast serious doubt on that claim.

[1] http://www.ada.org...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://www.fluoridation.com...
[5] http://www.dentalwatch.org...
[6] http://tinyurl.com...
[7] http://tinyurl.com...
[8] http://tinyurl.com...
[9] http://www.fluoridation.com...
[10] http://www.fluoridation.com...
[11] http://tinyurl.com...
[12] http://www.ada.org...
[13] http://tinyurl.com...
[14] http://tinyurl.com...
[15] http://rense.com...
[16] http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by ax123man 4 years ago
ax123man
@Muted
"Con used argument from sources"
What does that mean exactly?
(re: organization, yea, I need to do outlines or something. my thoughts wander)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by tmar19652 4 years ago
tmar19652
jh1234lax123manTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments were just about equal, but pro did not copy from sources, and had better organization.
Vote Placed by Muted 4 years ago
Muted
jh1234lax123manTied
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Total points awarded:33 
Reasons for voting decision: Con used argument from sources, so sources Pro. Arguments to Con because his was slightly better. Pro's thoughts were better organized, so S/G goes to him. A good debate, both. Keep it up!