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Is Water Fluoridation an Environmental Racism issue?

Most Likely, Yes. Here's why...

REASON #1: Urban drinking water systems are more likely to be fluoridated than suburban and rural water systems, affecting blacks and Hispanics more than whites.  

REASON #2: Commonly used fluoridation chemicals cause increased absorption of lead, and this lead-absorbing effect is more pronounced in black & Hispanic populations (which are already over-exposed to lead). This increased lead exposure is connected to increases in learning disorders, violent behavior and affinity for cocaine addiction.

REASON #3: Studies have found that in fluoridated communities, African-American children are at greater risk for dental fluorosis (discolored teeth from damaged tooth enamel caused by fluoride exposure).

REASON #4: A blue ribbon panel of scientists has identified kidney patients and diabetics as being especially susceptible to harm from ingested fluorides. Blacks suffer disproportionate amounts of kidney disease and diabetes in America.

REASON #5: The American Dental Association and the CDC are now recommending that parents of newborns avoid using fluoridated water when mixing infant milk formula for their babies -- but they offer no outreach to tell parents this information, and no funds to pay for minority and other low-income families to purchase other sources of water.

REASON #6: A potential link between water fluoridation and preterm births has been shown to be most prominent among the poor and people of color.

Background information:

REASON #1: Urban drinking water systems are more likely to be fluoridated than suburban and rural water systems, affecting blacks and Hispanics more than whites.

Half of Blacks & nearly half of Hispanics live in cities (compare to 21% of non-Hispanic whites).
www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p20-541.pdf
www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p20-545.pdf

Most large cities fluoridate the public water supply (42 of the largest 50 in 2000, according to the Surgeon General).
www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/fact_sheets/benefits.htm

In Pennsylvania, where only about half of the state's population is fluoridated, the major cities are fluoridated, but the largest unfluoridated water system is AquaPA, formerly known as Philadelphia Suburban Water Company (serving much of the city's suburbs).

REASON #2: Commonly used fluoridation chemicals cause increased absorption of lead, and this lead-absorbing effect is more pronounced in black & Hispanic populations (which are already over-exposed to lead). This increased lead exposure is connected to increases in learning disorders, violent behavior and affinity for cocaine addiction.

Does exposure to water fluoridated with silicofluorides (SiF) cause people (especially blacks and Hispanics) to have increased exposure to lead?

The leading research in this area has been done by Dartmouth University professor, Dr. Roger Masters, along with Myron J. Coplan and others. Key relevant documents can be found here:

The most common fluoridation chemicals appear to increase the uptake of lead into the body.
www.dartmouth.edu/~rmasters/AHABS/summary.html#sifusage

Dr. Roger Masters of Dartmouth College has looked at the relationship between the use of various fluoridation chemicals and high blood lead levels in Massachusetts, Georgia and New York.
Association of silicofluoride treated water with elevated blood lead. (Neurotoxicology. 2000 Dec;21(6):1091-100. )

He found that, even when controlling for socio-economic and demographic factors, children drinking silicofluorides in the water had higher blood lead levels than children in communities that were non-fluoridated or used sodium fluoride (which is a fluoride compound that is often used in toothpaste).

In plain English, Master's studies found that children drinking fluoridated water had higher lead levels. Black & Hispanic children are more likely to drink fluoridated water (because they live in cities) AND more likely to be exposed to lead (from old paint and from pollution). Blacks are also more vulnerable to the lead-absorbing effects of silicofluorides in the water than whites are. So fluoridation helps to increase lead poisoning of children of color.

Dr. Master's studies also found high blood lead levels to be associated with behavioral issues like violence and drug addiction, and found that such behavior was more common in fluoridated communities. The logical implications are quite insidious. This could mean that the public policy of water fluoridation is increasing the levels of violence and drug use among blacks & Hispanics in the inner cities.

The following quotes are from pages 27-30 in: The Social Implications of Evolutionary Psychology: Linking Brain Biochemistry, Toxins, and Violent Crime (By Dr. Roger Masters, 2003)

"For each race and each age, lead levels are significantly higher for children exposed to SiF-treated water, with effects of exposure to SiF that are significantly worse for minorities than for whites, and worse for blacks than for Hispanics."

"The results show that SiF-treated water consistently increases the odds of high blood lead, but that this effect is exacerbated where risk factors for high blood lead are above average. Moreover, as seen in other statistical tests, this enhancement of environmental risks by SiF is much greater for black children than for whites."

"...the enhanced lead uptake due to exposure to silicofluoridetreated water seems to be a critical factor explaining high blood lead among American blacks."

"Although it has long been noted that blacks tend to be more vulnerable to lead uptake (due to characteristics such as low calcium in diet, which is perhaps associated with lactose intolerance), SiF water treatment increases this risk substantially."

"In the counties with fewer percent living in poverty and where silicofluorides are NOT in use, there is virtually no difference between the average blood lead levels of whites (3.62g/dL) and blacks (3.90g/dL). For similar counties with silicofluoride use, blood lead in white children averages 4.62g/dL, whereas it is 5.95g/dL among blacks. Similar increases occur in the counties with above average poverty: in both environments, blacks are affected more strongly than whites by SiF-treated water."

"Because the policy of water fluoridation has been justified by the poor dental health of minorities, it is ironic that the principal chemicals used for this purpose seem to have especially deleterious effects on blacks and other minorities."

Does poor diet cause more lead absorption?

www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/CaseManagement/caseManage_chap4.htm
Correlation seems possible, but not conclusive, for iron, calcium and Vitamin C deficiencies and high-fat diet. The suggestion is strong enough that many public agencies recommend giving nutritional advice to parents of children with high blood-lead levels.

Are African-Americans & Latinos overexposed to lead in housepaint or industrial pollution?

More Blacks Live With Pollution (AP)
"An Associated Press analysis of a little-known government research project shows that black Americans are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger."
"And while Hispanics and Asians aren't overrepresented in high-risk neighborhoods nationally, in certain states they are... All told, there are 12 states where Hispanics are more than twice as likely as non-Hispanics to live in neighborhoods with the highest risk scores. There are seven states where Asians are more than twice as likely as whites to live in the most polluted areas."

What You Should Know About Lead Based Paint in Your Home: Safety Alert (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
Older homes may contain lead based paint.
"Lead was used as a pigment and drying agent in "alkyd" oil based paint. "Latex" water based paints generally have not contained lead. About two-thirds of the homes built before 1940 and one-half of the homes built from 1940 to 1960 contain heavily-leaded paint. Some homes built after 1960 also contain heavily-leaded paint. It may be on any interior or exterior surface, particularly on woodwork, doors, and windows. In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission lowered the legal maximum lead content in most kinds of paint to 0.06% (a trace amount)."

Getting the Lead Out: Controlling Lead Paint Hazards in Housing
"Children from poor families are eight times more likely to be poisoned than those from higher income families. Because they are more likely to be poor and to live in older housing, African-American children are five times more likely to be poisoned than are white children. The poisoning rate among African-American children living in older housing is 21.6 percent a shattering statistic."

Mfume Calls Lead Paint Poisoning (NAACP, 7/17/2001)
"Kweisi Mfume, President & CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP) today called on the federal government and the lead paint industry to take the actions necessary to end lead paint poisoning of children, calling it a civil rights issue that affects children of all races, ethnic backgrounds and income levels."

Length Of Time To Rid Homes Of Lead Hazards Unacceptable, Researchers Say (Science Daily, 2/6/2007)
"Researchers also found that African-American children were almost twice as likely as other races to live in homes taking longer than six months to be made lead safe. Zierold said a possible reason for the difference is that many of the African-American children in the study lived in rental housing."

REASON #3: Studies have found that in fluoridated communities, African-American children are at greater risk for dental fluorosis (discolored teeth from damaged tooth enamel caused by fluoride exposure).

The report shows that, by far, Pittsburgh has the highest percentage of 15-year-olds with cavities -- over 70% (the statewide average is just under 50%). Pittsburgh has been fluoridated since the 1950s. Philadelphia (also fluoridated since the 1950s) also has tooth decay rates above the state average. Outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, most of the rest of the state is not fluoridated. The study also shows that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have the state's highest rates of dental fluorosis (fluoride-induced discoloration of tooth enamel). See Table 2R on p2 and Table 13R on p6. Most of the people of color in Pennsylvania are concentrated in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh -- the state's two largest cities.

The high tooth decay rate in Pittsburgh was reported in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Sink your teeth into health care" (2/13/2005)

REASON #4: A blue ribbon panel of scientists has identified kidney patients and diabetics as being especially susceptible to harm from ingested fluorides. Blacks suffer disproportionate amounts of kidney disease and diabetes in America.

The National Research Council's 2006 report, "Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA's Standards" (pp. 297-298) acknowledged that diabetics and kidney patients are "susceptible subpopulations" that are especially vulnerable to harmful effects from fluoride ingestion.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, blacks comprise 28.4% of kidney failure patients, but number only 13% of the U.S. population. The American Diabetes Association states that African Americans are 1.8 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.

Read more about Fluoride & the Kidneys.

REASON #5: The American Dental Association and the CDC are now recommending that parents of newborns avoid using fluoridated water when mixing infant milk formula for their babies -- but they offer no outreach to tell parents this information, and no funds to pay for minority and other low-income families to purchase other sources of water.

American Dental Association: "ADA offers interim guidance on infant formula and fluoride" (11/9/2006)

Centers for Disease Control: "Background: Infant Formula and the Risk for Enamel Fluorosis" (12/15/2006)

REASON #6: A potential link between water fluoridation and preterm births has been shown to be most prominent among the poor and people of color.

Source: Relationship between municipal water fluoridation and preterm birth in Upstate New York (Paper presentation by Hart, et al. at 2009 American Public Health Association conference)

"The annual incidence of preterm birth (PTB) (<37 weeks gestation) in the United States is approximately 10% and is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. Current literature suggests an association between periodontal disease and PTB. Domestic water fluoridation is thought to have lessened the burden of dental disease. Theoretically, one would expect water fluoridation to be protective against PTB. The aim of our study was to examine the relationship between municipal water fluoridation and PTB. A retrospective, cohort study was conducted using the Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System(SPARCS) database. Inclusion criteria were 1) women with live singleton births between 1993 and 2002 (ICD-9-CM); 2) residence in Upstate New York State; 3) residence in a zip code fully contained within a county; and 4) residence in a county where municipal water fluoride content was uniformly therapeutic (≥1.0 mg/L) or sub-therapeutic(<1.0 mg/L).

"Domestic water fluoridation was associated with an increased risk of [preterm birth] (9545 (6.34%) [preterm birth] among women exposed to domestic water fluoridation versus 25278 (5.52%) PTB among those unexposed, p < 0.0001)). This relationship was most pronounced among women in the lowest [socio-economic status] groups (>10% poverty) and those of non-white racial origin. Domestic water fluoridation was independently associated with an increased risk of [preterm birth] in logistic regression, after controlling for age, race/ethnicity, neighborhood poverty level, hypertension, and diabetes."

http://www.actionpa.org/fluoride/ej.html