At the height of the Cold War, fears over fluoridation triggered a series of chain reactions that could have ultimately led to the thermonuclear destruction of, not just the United States and the Soviet Union, but the entirety of civilization. What? You don’t remember that story from your history class? Well that’s because it isn’t part of the historical record, but rather the plot of the black comedy Dr. Strangelove. General Jack D. Ripper, the commander of a U.S. airbase, supposedly discovers that fluoridation of our water and other foods is part a massive Soviet conspiracy to weaken and control the American populace. As he puts it, “I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.” Although it should be well beyond his command capabilities, Ripper then launches a full-scale nuclear assault against the Soviets. Thus the remainder of the movie becomes a race against time as the bumbling President of the United States, the intoxicated Soviet Premier, the mysterious and insane Dr. Strangelove, and the incompetent military brass try to stop this attack before humanity is completely wiped clean from the world.
Obviously, most rational people would quickly dismiss General Ripper’s bizarre claims as delusional paranoia. But should they? Recent studies by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and other organizations show that Ripper might be right. No, they are not claiming that the Soviets have tainted our water supply, but rather water fluoridation might be detrimental to our health. As I understand it, the fluoridation process began many decades ago as an attempt to improve dental care. Unfortunately, this new report indicates that fluoridation creates an extremely negative drawback among developing children. Supposedly, prolonged consumption of this modified water can result in lower IQ scores and even an increased risk of mental retardation. Although I strongly encourage you to read the entire article found here, as Dr. Tara Blank writes, “This should be the study that finally ends water fluoridation. Millions of American children are being exposed unnecessarily to this neurotoxin on a daily basis. Who in their right minds would risk lowering their child’s intelligence in order to reduce a small amount of tooth decay, for which the evidence is very weak?” In addition, according to the EPA, overdosing on fluoride can pose health risks such as bone disease, bone pain, or bone tenderness.
Personally, I have been opposed to fluoridation for some time now for two separate reasons not related to health concerns. The most important one is that I object to the idea of adding any chemical to public drinking water without the consent (and quite often the knowledge) of the people who consume it. Any citizen of a modern nation should be able to enjoy clean and safe water from his or her faucet without worrying what chemicals or contaminants are dissolved within it. An individual is the best person to decide the contents of his or her drinking water, not bureaucrats and politicians. As with vitamins, one could argue that the government has the authority to suggest appropriate fluoride levels, but the private citizen should determine what amount, if any, is best for him or herself. The second reason is merely cosmetic. Having ingested considerable sums of fluoridated water during my youth, I now suffer from a very mild case of dental fluorosis; white streaks or spots on my teeth. I cannot speak about modification in my IQ for obviously any change in my mental development as a result of fluoridation is completely unknown.
I will readily admit that the character of General Ripper is an unbalanced psychopath and the idea of ending water fluoridation may sound like crackpot rubbish at first, but it is an issue that we should explore. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have a community of greater cavities and false teeth than one marked by a noticeable decrease in mental capacity. If the studies are indeed correct, we must end fluoridation, and we must end it as soon as possible. But even if fluoridation poses no serious risk, I still maintain that its inclusion in drinking water ought to be a personal choice.
Now I’m certainly not a conspiracy theorist and I confess that I need to learn more myself. Nevertheless, I recommend that you read the evidence both for the process and against and see what you think. You should watch Dr. Strangelove when you get the chance for it is a brilliant film; however you shouldn’t dismiss questioning of fluoridation simply due to their association with Ripper’s mad ramblings.
Special thanks to Brian for sending me the link.