A Thumbs Up Book Review
The Fluoride Deception
By Christopher Bryson
Seven Stories Press
Review by Claire Bumpkins
One of the attractions of exploring the Weston A. Price nutritional principles is the happy frenzy of touting butter’s benefits to friends and family. There is a real joy in sharing kefir cultures, sauerkraut tricks and new soup recipes. Introducing loved ones to the idea that they (and their trusted doctors) have been duped by industry is a decidedly less agreeable aspect of our expanding awareness.
Fluoride’s long history in America is confusing and emotional. Most people won’t even question fluoride’s role as a dental health aid. Enter Bryson’s exposé, The Fluoride Deception, which reads like a mystery novel, and unflinchingly marches us through a scientific examination of fluoride’s known and suspected toxicity over the past 80 years. The story is exciting, appalling, and at times simply incredible. It would be comforting to write off such a longstanding industry and government cover-up as a fanciful conspiracy. Yet, fully a third of the book is devoted to meticulously noted references to published, suppressed, and recently declassified documents.
With so many wonderful new book titles clamoring for our attention the question arises: why should I read a book so potentially depressing–or enraging–depending upon my constitution? The answer quite simply: knowledge is power. If it weren’t, industry wouldn’t have spent billions of dollars over the years shaping public opinion to convince us that fluoride is beneficial and even perhaps “essential.” Bryson thoroughly documents the successful tactics of industry to withhold safety information from workers, to protect itself from litigation, to skew government science, and to eventually change public opinion despite gruesome evidence of fluoride’s toxicity.
Before the days of environmental awareness, factories simply spewed their pollutants directly into the surrounding air, water and soil. The industries essential to WWII created vast amounts of toxic, fluoridated byproducts. The Manhattan Project itself provided medical investigators with mounting evidence of fluoride’s toxicity. Though patriotic farmers wouldn’t sue for damages during WWII, after the war farmers tried to get some compensation for such problems as “‘something is burning up the peach crops around here, poultry died after an all-night thunderstorm, fields sometimes strewn with dead cattle, and workers who ate the produce vomited all night and into the next day.” Some cows became so crippled by the wartime pollution that they “grazed by crawling on their bellies.”
Workers in wartime industries were not protected from “gross violations of safety” so that most were exposed to dangerous levels of fluoride compounds. In fact, by the end of 1944, two DuPont employees had died from fluoride overdoses. The workers all knew these plants were causing severe health problems like fibrotic lungs and chemical burns, but it was all kept quiet officially. Industry was terrified that the workers would find out how dangerous their jobs really were.
Close to my home–where dentists are pushing hard for mandatory water fluoridation this year–one farming family sued Reynolds Metals in Portland, Oregon in the 1950s for the devastating health problems they experienced on their Troutdale ranch. Paul Martin’s cattle were dying and decimated; they had badly mottled teeth, a clear sign of fluoride poisoning. His young daughter became sore from walking and her ankles clicked. The whole family suffered from “pains in their bones, serious digestive problems, bleeding gums, a fearful anxiety that kept them awake at night and a strange asthma-like exhaustion.” The cattle and the family had been in perfect health until they moved to their new home. Even their window was etched by toxic emissions from the nearby Reynolds Metals aluminum plant. The plant was belching almost 4,000 pounds of fluoride into the air daily. Daily!
Bryson presents many examples of shattered lives and shattered careers of those scientists who dared to speak honestly about the demonstrated hazards of ingesting fluoride in any form. But the most distressing aspect for me as a patriotic American is the collusion between our government, our major cold war era industries (aluminum and steel and atomic), and our military. Although Bryson documents the history of fluoride pollution in America going back to the World War II race to make the bomb, the consistent failure of our public agencies to protect the public, and especially industrial workers, even after the war, is astonishing.
To those familiar with EPA, FDA, US Public Health Service or CDC in other realms, it will come as no surprise that industry leaders were often put in charge of our government regulatory agencies. Our tax dollars funded the US Public Health Service as it officially exonerated industrial polluters while fighting against claims of agriculture and personal health damage made by US citizens.
Maybe some people could justify low level poisoning of people and environment if there were any proven benefits. Fluoridation, however, has failed to prevent dental crises in cities and states across America (and the globe). Many cities that have been adding fluoridation chemicals to their drinking water for decades have serious dental crises (Detroit, Boston, Cincinnati). According to the CDC, tooth decay is concentrated in low income populations who need access to dental care (not more fluoride). In fact, it has been shown that dental fluorosis, (tooth mottling and a sign of chronic low level over exposure to fluoride) actually makes the tooth more brittle, leading to yes, more cavities. Almost all European nations stopped the fluoridation experiment years ago and they have rates of decay no worse than ours. This stuff simply does not work to benefit anyone.
But don’t say “uncle” yet; there are also important bright spots to highlight. As long as there have been shady cover-ups there have been beacons of truth. The history of the fluoride deception is also about the brave souls: doctors, scientists, citizen activists, reporters who investigate with an open mind and report the truth with open heart. It’s an honor to join the ranks. Given the extreme nature of fluoride’s toxicity, making the effort to avoid fluoride in your water, food and toothpaste may be no less important for the health of your family and the planet than buying and preparing real food.
There’s another reason for hope. As fluoride is such a potent toxin, researchers have linked it to everything from cancer, arthritis, and asthma/emphysema to Alzheimer’s, ADHD and lowered IQ. So if we make a concerted effort now to limit our fluoride exposure, it can only help reverse many of our worst public health nightmares. The relief for those suffering from these chronic illnesses will keep us educating for truth as long as necessary.
Even if you’ve been investigating water fluoridation for several years as I have, The Fluoride Deception packs a mighty wallop. If you’re new to the topic, you may want to go slow. It can feel overwhelming. But the tide is turning. Those of us who know the hidden truth instead of the industry-serving propaganda are becoming the critical mass we need to make permanent change in our culture.
If you’re drinking fluoridated water or giving your children fluoride in any form, read this book today. If your community is considering water fluoridation, buy a copy for every member of your city council. Hand it to them in person and look them in the eye while respectfully obtaining their promise to read at least the first chapter. After that they’ll be hooked.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2005.