EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) officials may have unintended consequences for public health, food safety, and the economy if they phase out the fluoride-based pesticide, as reported in the January 13, 2011 New York Times.
Sam Epstein of the Cancer Prevention Coalition told me today that Sen. Inhofe may be right about such potential “unintended consequences.”
“Dr. Epstein, however, is unaware that these effects would be clear beneficial, because they protect against bone cancer risks associated with fluoridated toothpaste to prevent cavities and with fluoridated drinking water.”
Dr. Epstein cites the National Academy of Sciences’ concern in 1977 that fluoridation of drinking water has a strong association with growing cancer risks in young boys.
According to reports released by the National Toxicology Program in 1989, 1990, and 1991, fluorides in drinking water induce bone cancer in rats 10.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) disagreed with this claim, not surprisingly, despite Procter & Gamble, which manufactures fluoridated toothpastes.
The relationship between fluoride exposure and bone cancer is well documented, according to Dr. Epstein.
As a result of an analysis of 1973 to 1987 data by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), it was found that males living in areas where fluoridated water was available were at higher risk of osteosarcoma. A major manufacturer of fluoridated toothpaste, Procter & Gamble, promptly denied the claim.
Several studies have shown that young boys growing up in fluoridated areas of the state are more likely to develop bone cancer than those living in non-fluoridated areas.
These findings were confirmed by a 2001 report by the Harvard School of Dental Medicine after independent analysis of 1990 NCI data revealed an excess risk of bone cancer in young boys exposed to fluoride. Harvard University researchers published a study in 2006 that found teenage boys exposed to fluoridated water between the ages of 6 and 8 have a five-fold higher risk of bone cancer. Furthermore, these results implicated fluoride added to toothpaste in addition to fluoride found in drinking water.
There was a small print warning on the Crest toothpaste label that says, “If you swallow more than what you can brush with, get in touch with a poison control center right away.” This was reported in the Washington Post article “Toothpaste: How Safe.” The FDA also required warning labels for this effect in April 1997. According to the Post article, children who brush their teeth typically swallow some toothpaste instead of spitting it out and rinsing it off.
“Fluoride’s unrecognized 20 percent increase in the incidence of bone cancer in children under 15 over the last three decades further validates the concerns about it as a major avoidable cause of bone cancer,” Dr. Epstein explains, citing the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) report for 1975-2007..”
The American Environmental Health Studies Project’s Chris Neurath emphasizes the importance of such concerns when he points out that 200 million Americans continue to drink fluoridated water.
In addition to bone cancer, and as the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) warned last week, “24 studies have shown that drinking water fluoridation results in the loss of IQ (and brain damage) in children.”
“Fluoridated toothpaste should be banned by the FDA, and the EPA should ban fluoridating drinking water.”
At the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Samuel S. Epstein is a professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, and former President of the Rachel Carson Trust. In addition to the Right Livelihood Award in 1998, he has been awarded the Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medal for International Contributions to Cancer Prevention in 2005.
The causes, prevention, and politics of cancer are the subjects of 270 scientific articles and 20 books by Dr. Epstein. The MIT Press’ “The Legislation of Product Safety” (1974); Anchor Press/Doubleday’s “The Politics of Cancer” (1979); Sierra Club Books’ “Hazardous Waste in America” (1982); Macmillan’s “The Breast Cancer Prevention Program” (1997); East Ridge Press’s “The Politics of Cancer Revisited” (1998); Trafford Publishing’s “What’s In Your Milk?” (2006); and Benbella Books’ “Healthy Beauty” (2010) are a few.
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