Fluoride: A Bad Idea Whose Time Has
Drs. Richard and Karilee Shames on the Thyroid/Fluoride
An interview by Mary Shomon as
it appears on her website Thyroid-Info.
An increasing number of practitioners have identified
fluoride as a health concern, and more jurisdictions are fighting
fluoridation of water, citing health concerns. In addition to believing
that fluoride can cause a variety of health problems, you both
have long held that fluoride can trigger or worsen hypothyroidism.
Can you explain a bit about how and why fluoride can negatively
impact health, and specifically the thyroid?
Of major interest to us was the statement
released Jan 2, 1997 from the employees union of
the Environmental Protection Agency, representing
1500 scientists, engineers, lawyers, and other professionals at EPA headqu
art ers in Washington DC . The statement reads: "Our members' review of
the body of evidence over the last 11 years, including animal and human epidemiology
studies, indicates a causal link between fluoride/fluoridation and cancer,
genetic damage, neurological impairment, and bone pathology."
This art icle was released during a time that we were actively
engaged in reviewing the thyroid medical literature for our forthcoming book.
We were surprised, and at how little of this information was seeping into public
knowledge. In fact, the promoters of fluoride in municipal water supplies were
oddly becoming more zealous than ever.
Then we discovered that the original research intended to
support the initial addition of fluoride into drinking water, was flawed. For
example, in 1945, the US Public Health Service began to add sodium fluoride into
the municipal drinking water of Grand Rapids , MI , the first city in the US
to fluoridate. Grand Rapids was supposed to serve as the test city. It's dental
decay rates were to be compared with those of Muskegon , MI , which was non-fluoridated.
After ten years, it was to be determined if fluoride was both safe and effective.
Amazingly, this "research" was to be performed on
an entire city, rather than using a voluntary sampling group initially. More
strange was that long before the study was completed, the Public Health Service
and the American Dental Association endorsed fluoridation. This was in 1950,
only a few years into the supposed ten-year study. Within a short time after
that, Muskegon , the control city, was also fluoridated. The decision and the
endorsements entirely overshadowed the fact that the tooth decay rate in non-fluoridated
Muskegon had decreased about as much as the fluoridated city, Grand Rapids .
Not only was the science incomplete, but in addition, sodium
fluoride was soon replaced by another fluoride substance, hydrofluosilicic acid,
a byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry primarily, and also from some
Early in the 1950's, the PHS gave its blessing to these alternate
sources of fluoride, without having even attempted to research them. The EPA
admits it still has no data on the long term detrimental effects of silicofluorides.
Furthermore, our research of older medical art icles revealed that fluoride was
once used as an anti-thyroid medicine, prescribed by doctors in hospitals and
clinics. It was used to slow down an overactive thyroid. In addition, it was
also effective in slowing down a normal or already-sluggish hypothyroid gland.
For instance, in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, Volume 18, 1958, page
1102, Drs. Galetti and Goyer explain the "Effect of Fluorine in Thyroidal
Iodine Metabolism in Hyperthyroidism".
Also of historical interest is the item we came across describing
how the Nazi concentration camps used fluoridated water to suppress the will
and vigor of inmates. This appears to have been during the 1930's and was the
first known example of fluoridated water supplies for a specific population.
Since our review of the thyroid literature was revealing a
growing epidemic, we became interested in possible causes for this mushrooming
incidence of a specific autoimmune illness. We came to believe that the thyroid
epidemic could be due, in large part , to the bombardment of our collective
thyroid glands by chemicals considered to be helpful, but which are actually
harmful. Fluoride is just one of a great many such substances dumped into the
environment, with deleterious human results. It is a p art icularly noteworthy
example because it is supposed to be beneficial, as well as totally benign to
even the youngest members of the society, for whom it is targeted. In fact, it
appears to be neither benign nor all that effective.
We now feel convinced that the thyroid epidemic could be due
largely to the excessive harmful chemicals in our food, air, and water, confusing
and stressing our immune systems. The chemical triggering of autoimmune thyroid
falls into the category of "hormone disruption". Wonderful books on
this topic include: OUR STOLEN FUTURE, by Colburn, Dumanosky, and Myers, as well
as HORMONAL CHAOS, by Sheldon Krimsky. We also discuss this topic at greater
length, and provide multiple references, in our forthcoming book THYROID POWER.
Fluoride is seemingly everywhere...in our drinking water, absorbed
via our skin from the water we shower and bathe in, in our toothpastes, being
pushed at us by dentists in fluoride treatments. What can and should the average
thyroid patient realistically do, in terms or reducing -- or even eliminating
-- their fluoride exposure?
Not everyone needs to avoid fluoride like the plague, but thyroid
The first step to take is to stop drinking fluoridated water.
You will need more than the standard carbon canister water filters for this purpose.
Instead, you will need a reverse osmosis or distillation unit. The carbon block
filters are highly recommended to remove the chlorine and bromine, also major
The next step is to - in general - live a more chemically
free, and immune-friendly lifestyle. You might start by reading household product
labels the same way you read food labels. You might look to see what medicines
have fluorine atoms as part of their chemical structure. The Prozac class of
antidepressants, (which includes Zoloft, Paxil, etc.) is one of the largest-selling
examples of this kind of drug.
Non-fluoridated toothpaste is easily available with a bit
of looking carefully at the health food store shelf (many health food toothpastes
are fluoridated, but not all of them). There are also non-fluoridated tooth powders,
such as Ipsab, an excellent Edgar Cayce product.
In addition, the autoimmune triggering effect is multifactorial.
You can reduce the impact of fluoride, some of which may be unavoidable, by reducing
your exposure to other harmful chemicals. Avoid products that have nasty-sounding
ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Avoid chemically-smelling air whenever
possible. Use regular strength household products, instead of extra strength
or industrial strength products. Substitute diluted vinegar, or full-strength
ginger ale as a good household cleanser.
There are distilled water products available at the stores,
which are preferable to bottled waters, juices, and teas whose fluoride content
you cannot verify. Do your best to avoid cigarette smoke, fabric stores, radiator
shops, and newly carpeted or painted rooms. Ants and fleas in the home can be
handled with boric acid diatumaceous earth, and other non-toxic means. Support
companies that specialize in non-toxic, organic pest control. Also, consider
using a HEPA portable air filter in your sleeping space and office. These can
be purchased from any of the major dep art ment stores.
And finally, get politically involved. Fluoride will
not be such a big p art of the environment when more and more people st art telling
their city councils and local water boards that they don't want this toxic waste
product added to their municipal water supplies. This debate is currently raging
across the US , even though most other industrialized countries have either banned
or rejected this questionable public health practice.
All the popular toothpastes for children have fluoride, and as
early as age 3 and 4, dentists st art suggesting fluoride treatments. As the
parent of a young child, I don't want to neglect her dental treatment, but
concerns regarding fluoride, plus the fact that I have autoimmune thyroid disease
and have likely passed on that tendency to her, make me doubly concerned to
expose her to too much fluoride. But how much is too much? Should all children
be drinking bottled water, using non-fluoride toothpaste, and avoiding fluoride
treatments, or just children of parents with autoimmune thyroid disease? And
if we choose the non-fluoride route, are there other things we can do to ensure
the dental health our our children?
Many thyroid parents would do well to tell their dentist that
their child is allergic to fluoride because of the family history of autoimmune
thyroiditis, and ask for alternative maneuvers. Be sure your child brushes
frequently, flosses regularly, and avoids sugar.
As we mentioned there are many toothpastes without fluoride
when one searches carefully. We realize that it is possible that children not
using fluoride could possibly have more cavities, but this has not been proven
to every doctor's satisfaction. We personally don't believe that is the case.
We believe that the benefits of fluoride, even for children, have been overstated,
and the risks minimized.
Specifically with children in mind, all that we have said
above for adults we emphasize for the younger members of our society. The developing
thyroid gland is p art icularly sensitive to chemical assault. The stage that
is set early in life can become the backdrop for many years of adult problems
- even if there is some benefit in reduction of cavities in children's teeth.
There is also the risk of dental fluorosis, a growing dental problem in fluoridated
areas (too much fluoride is bad for teeth). Moreover, the total health of the
child is more important than the single area of baby teeth (according to John
Yiamouyiannis, PhD, in his book FLUORIDE: THE AGING FACTOR, fluoride has NEVER
been shown to be helpful for adult teeth).
As to your question about how much is too much, we know that
4 or 5 mg per day is too much. The problem is -- NO ONE REALLY KNOWS HOW MUCH
PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY GETTING! People who exercise and drink a lot of water, who
use fluoridated toothpaste, and use fluoride dental treatments thinking they
are doing the right thing, and who drink sodas, juices, and teas likely made
from fluoridated water, including those who bathe frequently, swim in pools,
etc. may be overdosing on fluoride all the time without realizing it. There is
NO way to measure one's exposure. Many children use gobs of toothpaste, and swallow
it because it tastes so good.
We specifically recommend moderation, careful monitoring,
for those who feel a need to use some for their children's teeth, use it sparingly
and under close supervision. As with many health matters, moderation is the key.
For those interested in further pursuing this important topic, we highly recommend
the website www.fluoridealert.org.
An interview by Mary Shomon as
it appears on her website Thyroid-Info.