March 29, 2012
In 2006 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) finally admitted what dental researchers had been saying for many years. If powdered infant formula is prepared with fluoridated water infants are put at increased risk of a developmental disturbance called fluorosis. This causes disfigured teeth with white spots, streaks, and occasionally brown stains that can affect a child’s appearance and self esteem. Fluorosis can be expensive to fix, and no government program or dental insurance will pay for it. Fluorosis has been increasing in the U.S. to the point where half of American teenagers are affected to some degree. So to reduce this risk the CDC and ADA both recommended that parents consider the use of non-fluoridated water for infant formula preparation. Now legislators in New Hampshire are trying to inform parents about this risk, but are running into opposition from ADA-connected dentists
Keeping quiet about the risk to infants
After the CDC and ADA published their web pages about the risk they made no further effort to inform parents or pediatricians. They feared too much publicity about this might bring negative attention to fluoridation. They were right. Opponents of fluoridation spread the word about infants at risk and it became one of the key reasons many cities stopped fluoridation after 2006.
Despite efforts to downplay the risk, legislators in New Hampshire thought parents should be informed. A bill to require printed warnings on water bills was introduced. In committee hearings dentists said things like this would “scare people” and “make them think fluoride is dangerous.” Despite such statements, on March 15 the bill passed the assembly by a vote of 253 to 23. Now the bill moves on to the state senate.
Big doses of fluoride now claimed to be good for infants
In 2011 a group of ADA scientists who are fluoridation advocates released new scientific recommendations that apparently were meant to counter efforts to inform parents about this risk to infants. They reversed their earlier advice and said fluoridated water could actually be recommended to prepare infant formula. The reasoning behind this new advice was never explained. The fluorosis risk of disfigured teeth was unchanged and, just as in 2006, there was no good evidence that giving large doses of fluoride to infants provided any benefit. Many of these infants are dosed above the tolerable upper intake level. These large doses of fluoride could be having other negative affects on infants.
Along with the 2011 recommendations the ADA has a new policy that calls for a “shared” decision between parents and dentists about the type of water to use for infant formula. One problem is that infants are born without any erupted teeth, and parents are unlikely to take a toothless baby to see a dentist. Even after their teeth erupt they might not see a dentist until long after they stop drinking infant formula.
New policies to inform parents
WIC programs hand out free powdered infant formula to low-income parents. In 2006 most of these programs refused to inform parents about the risk. But in 2009 the Texas WIC program began to inform parents about the fluorosis risk. The Austin Texas city council, after prodding by fluoridation opponents, had warnings about infant formula posted in local WIC offices.
Infant formula risk is typical of the fluoridation issue. The more people know about fluoridation, the less likely they are to support it. Debates are discouraged by promoters. Campaigns to start fluoridation often use speed and stealthy tactics to get it passed before the public realizes what’s happening.
Sources for this article include:
Earlier Natural News report on the New Hampshire bill:
Fluoride Action Network on fluoride warnings for infants:
ADA study recommending fluoridated water for infant formula:
CDC webpage on infant formula and fluorosis:
About the author:
Doug Cragoe is an activist concerned with the increasing level of fluoride exposure in the United States.
This article was posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 2:54 am