Statement Of Loretta Van Coppenolle
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
San Antonio, Texas
April 8, 2003
Loretta Van Coppenolle
I wish to thank the EPA for this opportunity to address an environmental health issue that has been too-long ignored by your agency and by others. That issue is the fluoridation of our nation's municipal water supplies, whose effects are far-reaching and more often negative than positive. And those effects are acutely felt by the elderly, among whom we will all sooner or later be counted.
When, in the 1960s, a fluoridating chemical switch was made from sodium fluoride to silicofluoride - a waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry - the EPA and the U.S. Public Health Service waived all testing procedures of the new additive. In 1999 the Assistant Administrator of the EPA acknowledged that his agency knew of no study of human health effects of chronic, low-level exposure to silicofluoride.
Though classified as a drug because it is added to drinking water for the purpose of fulfilling a health claim, silicofluoride has never been tested or approved by the FDA, the only drug given to people without such approval. And it is given en masse, by and large without the informed consent of the medicated.
A 1993 Toxicological Profile for Fluorides published by the U.S. Public Health Service stated and I quote: "Existing data indicate that subsets of the population may be unusually susceptible to the toxic effects of fluoride and its compounds. These populations include the elderly, people with deficiencies of calcium, magnesium, and/or vitamin C, and people with cardiovascular and kidney problems. Impaired renal clearance of fluoride has also been found in people with diabetes mellitus and cardiac insufficiency. People over the age of 50 often have decreased renal fluoride clearance."
The elderly match all of these profiles. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in this country and it affects older Americans more than younger, as does Type II diabetes, whose incidence is reaching epidemic proportions. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C deficiencies are commonplace among Americans, particularly among seniors who do not metabolize nutrients well. The elderly and many others are thus especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of fluoride and fluoridation.
Two of the health conditions that have been linked to fluoride are osteoporosis and Alzheimer's Disease. A series of scientific reports has found a statistically significant association between water fluoridation and increased risk of hip fracture. Fluoride destroys the tensile strength of hip bone. One large study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people living in fluoridated areas suffered 86% more hip fractures than people in non-fluoridated areas.
As for Alzheimer's Disease, an article in the journal Brain Research states that fluoride enhances the bioavailability of aluminum and allows it to cross the blood brain barrier and be deposited in the brain. The pathological changes found in the brain tissue of animals given fluoride was similar to the alterations found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia.
Fluoride in water increases the total dosage of fluoride that seniors are getting from other sources. There is fluoride in the food they consume because the likelihood is great that that food was prepared in a fluoridated community or it comes from pesticide residues. And seniors are the chief consumers of pharmaceutical drugs, many of which are fluorinated, with fluoride content often at 16% or more. These fluorinated drugs include tranquilizers, corticosteroids, and some cancer therapy and anesthetic preparations. All the statin drugs, I believe, are fluorinated and the widely used Prozac contains fluoride.
In 1990 William Marcus, a senior EPA toxicologist, questioned the safety of fluoride and was subsequently fired by your agency. He sued the EPA and won reinstatement, a major victory for whistleblowers. As a result of going to bat for William Marcus, the entire union of EPA professionals in Washington, D.C., formally opposes fluoridation of U.S. drinking water. In effect, all the scientists at EPA headquarters oppose water fluoridation, yet your agency's politically appointed leaders continue to disregard the hazards of the practice.
I submit that the bodies of people should not be the conduits and the repositories of toxic refuse that would more appropriately be consigned to secure hazardous waste sites. The elderly, quantified by the EPA as numbering 52 million Americans, are classified as a particularly susceptible subset of the population and are obscenely disserved by water fluoridation, from which they derive no benefits whatsoever.
My questions to you are: Why is the EPA not calling a halt to water fluoridation based on the health risks assessed by its own scientists? And, if the EPA purports not to be responsible for regulation of drinking water chemical additives, why did it discontinue that role? Was it because the agency knew its scientists were opposed to water fluoridation and sought to prevent them from having an influence on this issue?
I wish to conclude by quoting former EPA scientist Robert Carton who, in 1991, stated that "Fluoridation is the greatest case of scientific fraud of this century, if not of all time." I do not see how anyone knowing the truth about this process and whose concerns for the aging are genuine can fail to concur.