One of the most devastating effects of long-term, low-level fluoride exposure is skeletal damage, a condition referred to as skeletal fluorosis. In general, this condition is classified in stages, phase one presenting as arthritis-type pains and stage three as debilitating crippling. In countries with naturally high fluoride levels, skeletal fluorosis is quite common and considered a major medical disaster. Some villages have been described wherein every single resident has been afflicted with a twisted, bent spine leading to severe crippling. Death rates in such villages begin to skyrocket at about age fifty. In very advanced cases, the spine is so contorted and overgrown that the nerves and spinal cord are gradually crushed, leading to severe neurological injury.
While other countries are researching fluoride-induced problems such as skeletal fluorosis, very little is being done in the United States. In fact, cases of skeletal fluorosis are not recorded or tracked in this country, and most medical textbooks do not even mention the subject. Could it be because those who control our government, and thus our access to information, are afraid of the American public rejecting fluoridation of their drinking water because of the unavoidable dangers it poses?
In 1937 Dr. Kai Roholm of Denmark completed what is now considered a classic study of fluoride toxicity in cryolite workers. His study found that exposure to fluoride in concentrations between 0.2-0.35 mg/kg of body weight could result in skeletal fluorosis. The severity of bone damage depended on the length of the exposure, since fluoride accumulates in the bones.
Those exposed at these levels for two-and-a-half years showed early stages of fluorosis, mainly arthritic pains. Those exposed for four-and-a-half years advanced to phase two bone changes, with increased stiffness and reduced range of motion in the joints. If the exposure continued for eleven years, there was a high incidence of crippling of the spine and other bones.
At this point, let us rejoin the saga of Harold Hodge. In the early years of the fluoridation putsch in this country, Hodge relied on and quoted Dr. Roholm's figures in his own research, substituting pounds for Roholm's metric units—without performing the proper mathematical conversions. This allowed Dr. Hodge to eventually report that skeletal fluorosis was not a danger unless daily fluoride intake of 20-80 mg occurred for ten to twenty years. Dr. Hodge did not publicly correct this glaring and very critical error until 1979, long after his older figures had been cited repeatedly by fluoridation promoters to demonstrate the wide margin of safety for fluoride exposure.
The National Academy of Science and National Research Council also never volunteered to correct Dr. Hodge's error. It was only the insistence of U.S. Senator Bob Graham of Florida and Dr. Robert J. Carton, a senior official at the EPA, that finally forced the public correction of Hodge's scientific debacle many decades later. At long last, it was finally established that as little as 10-20 mg of fluoride per day for ten to twenty years will cripple an otherwise healthy individual. But even these figures understate the danger, since the appearance of crippling skeletal changes is dependent not just on daily dose of fluoride, but on the total cumulative dose. For example, if you ingested or inhaled 2.5-5 mg of fluoride a day for forty years, you would have an extremely high risk of developing crippling bone damage. Bear in mind that some cities have been fluoridating their water for over fifty years now.
Professor Hardy Limeback, a leading Canadian fluoride authority and previously a strong proponent of fluoridation, has been conducting studies on the effects of water fluoridation in Canada. He is also a Professor of Dentistry at the University of Toronto. One of his findings is that people growing up in fluoridated Toronto had bone fluoride levels twice as high as those living in unfluoridated Montreal.
In 1977 the National Academy of Sciences admitted that fluoride intake in fluoridated communities was as high as 3 mg per day, rather than a previously low figure they had given of 1.5 mg per day. The bone retains fluoride and may do so at concentrations as high as 2 mg a day. The average person growing up in a fluoridated community for forty years can accumulate 10,000 ppm of fluoride. In 1993 the National Academy of Science admitted that when bone ash accumulated fluoride at levels of 7,500 to 8,000 ppm, stage two and three skeletal fluorosis was likely to occur. It is at this latter stage that we see crippling of the skeleton.
One of the greatest problems in convincing the public of the danger of adding fluoride to water is that those pushing for fluoridation have ignored studies showing the dangers of cumulative doses. Furthermore, most of their calculations leave out other sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, fluoride tablets, fluoride dental treatments, fluoride in foods, industrial airborne exposure, pesticides, and medications. Many antibiotics, anesthetics, and other medications also contain fluoride. In fact, pesticide exposure alone can exceed the recommended optimum daily fluoride intake for both adolescents and children.
Over the past thirty years of my neurosurgical practice, I have been intrigued by the large number of spinal stenosis cases I have seen. In this condition, the bone and ligaments surrounding the spinal nerves become thickened and overgrown with numerous bone spurs. As the hole in the center of the spine narrows, it compresses the bundle of nerves contained within. These nerves supply sensation and movement to the legs, bladder, and bowels. Weakness and numbness of the legs accompanies worsening compression of the nerves, with eventual total loss of the ability to control bowels and bladder. If untreated, the person will become wheelchair-bound and depend on either a permanent catheter or an adult pad.
With the prolonged exposure of our elderly population to fluoridated drinking water, plus other sources of fluoride, it is no wonder that we are seeing this condition more and more. Incredibly, the medical community has expressed no interest in pursuing the possible connection to fluoride exposure.
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