Neev M. Arnell
May 8, 2011
On April 18, Atlanta civil rights leaders called for an end to Georgia’s mandatory water fluoridation practices April on the grounds that it negatively and disproportionately impacts the health of black families and the poor.
Andrew Young, former U.N. Ambassador and former Atlanta Mayor, along with Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, Pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Atlanta, both inductees in the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, expressed concerns about the fairness, safety, and full disclosure regarding fluoridation in letters to the state’s minority and majority legislative leaders.
Studies show that despite fluoridation, tooth decay is higher in blacks. Dental fluorosis, caused by overexposure to fluoride which can result in pitting of tooth enamel and mottling of the teeth, is also higher in blacks.
The Department of Health and Human Services proposes to lower water fluoride levels to alleviate the growing dental fluorosis epidemic but the Fluoride Action Network submitted scientific evidence to HHS indicating that, to preserve health, fluoridation must stop completely.
“My father was a dentist,” Young said. “I formerly was a strong believer in the benefits of water fluoridation for preventing cavities. But many things that we began to do 50 or more years ago we now no longer do, because we have learned further information that changes our practices and policies.”
Fluoride has been linked to many health problems, according to FAN, including lowered IQ in 24 human studies and damage to the brain in over 100 animal studies.
“The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences has designated kidney patients, diabetics, seniors and babies as ‘susceptible subpopulations’ that are especially vulnerable to harm from ingested fluorides.” Dudley said. “Black citizens are disproportionately affected by kidney disease and diabetes, and are therefore more impacted by fluorides.”
Infants, one of the sensitive subpopulations, who are fed formula made with fluoridated tap water will receive up to 175 times more fluoride than breast-fed infants, according to FAN. Infants zero to six months old, the smallest and most vulnerable in our population, were completely excluded from risk calculations in HHS’s proposal.
“I am most deeply concerned for poor families who have babies.” Young said. “If they cannot afford unfluoridated water for their babies’ milk formula, do their babies not count?”
“This is an issue of fairness, civil rights, and compassion,” he said. “We must find better ways to prevent cavities, such as helping those most at risk for cavities obtain access to the services of a dentist.”
The attack on water fluoridation is just one of many building across the country. Others include: An American Association for Justice Newsletter for trial lawyers describes potential fluoride legal actions based on personal injury, consumer fraud, and civil rights harm; a bipartisan group of Tennessee legislators, in a letter to their state’s Health Commissioner, expressed their concern about fluoridation’s undesirable impact on babies and other groups; a bipartisan group of New York City Council Members has also introduced legislation to stop fluoridation in NYC; and, in Central Texas, Austin’s City Council recently held a hearing on fluoridation in response to pressure from local citizens.
“I support the holding of ‘Fluoride-gate’ hearings at the state and national level,” Durley said, “so we can learn why we haven’t been openly told that fluorides build up in the body over time [and] why our government agencies haven’t told the black community openly that fluorides disproportionately harm black Americans…”
Sources for this article include:
This article was posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 6:14 am