The Cancer Connection

Most regulatory agencies responsible for public safety cite preventing cancer and lowering risk as the major criteria in limiting exposure to potentially toxic substances. In general, wide margins of safety are adopted for safe doses and toxic or cancer-causing doses. The differential recognizes wide variances in human sensitivity to various cancer-causing agents, and also takes into consideration the problem of accumulation and long-term exposure to known toxins. We know that each of us possesses unique metabolic and biochemical differences, and our individual responses to a toxin can vary widely. For example, if you give one hundred people a large dose of arsenic, most will become violently ill and many will die. But some will be able to consume the very same dose with very little toxic effect. In fact, it may take massive doses of arsenic to kill such a person. The same is true for all toxins.

There are many reasons for our variable tolerance to poisonous substances, including: our ability to detoxify poisons, our antioxidant defenses, strength of our DNA-repair enzymes, degree of absorption of the toxins, differences in our cellular enzymes, age differences, presence of pre-existing diseases, genetic inheritance, exposure to other toxins at the same time, and the strength of our immune system. To complicate matters, there exist many as yet unknown or poorly understood factors.

In a paper published in the journal, Cancer Research, in 1984 Dr. Takeki Tsutsui and his coworkers demonstrated that fluoride could indeed induce cancer (fibrosarcoma) when injected under the skin of hamsters.114 This original research was confirmed by other independent laboratories, including the Argonne National Laboratories. Of special importance, the Argonne Labs found that fluoride enhanced the cancer-causing ability of other chemicals as well.115

Clinical studies on humans also demonstrated precancerous transformation of cells in patients who had received fluoride as a failed treatment for osteoporosis.116 These precancerous cells reverted to normal when fluoride treatments were stopped.

Alerted by these studies, other researchers examined the effects of exposing animals to a concentration of 1 ppm in drinking water, and observed a 25 percent increase in tumor growth in mice.117 This 1965 study was available to all of the government agencies pushing fluoridation of city water systems at that time, as well as to the Proctor & Gamble company, who made the decision to start adding large amounts of fluoride to toothpaste. The importance of this study cannot be stressed too highly. Consider that there are hundreds of thousands of cancer patients in the United States alone, and cancer has become one of the two leading causes of death in this country since the end of WWII (along with heart disease). The idea that fluoride could increase the growth rate of cancers in the population by 25 percent is truly frightening.

The next step in connecting fluoridation of drinking water to cancer involved a careful look at the incidence of cancer in fluoridated cities versus unfluoridated cities. This important study was carried out in 1977 by Dr. Dean Burke, former chief chemist at the National Cancer Institute, and Dr. John Yiamouyiannis. They compared the cancer death rates in the ten largest fluoridated cities with rates in ten matched unfluoridated cities. The cities' cancer death rates were very similar during the period just prior to fluoridation, but once public water supplies were fluoridated, they found a strong association between cancer death rates and fluoridation. In fact, fluoridated cities demonstrated a 10 percent increase in cancer deaths following the first thirteen to seventeen years of fluoridation.

To appreciate the enormity of this number, that means that during this period, for a city the size of San Francisco with 6.6 million people, fluoridation could potentially be responsible for hundreds of new cancers. Who wants to volunteer to be the one to die? But there are no volunteers: fluoridation has been forced on you and millions of others.

That fluoridation of drinking water is a significant risk factor for cancer has even been proven in several court cases, one in Pennsylvania and one in Illinois. The judges in these cases not only cited fluoride added to water as a cancer risk but also as a risk to health in general."8

To confirm what they had discovered in the first cancer study, Drs. Burk and Yiamouyiannis conducted a second study of cancer deaths rates in all cities east of the Mississippi River with populations greater than ten thousand, and again found statistically significant elevated death rates in fluoridated cities as compared to unfluoridated cities.'"

As a result of these studies, Congress became concerned with the effect of the fluoridation program and began hearings on the subject in 1977. The US Public Health Service tried to allay Congressmen's fears by presenting data that refuted Drs. Burke and Yiamouyiannis' studies. But the USPHS' study was seriously and flagrantly flawed, a fact addressed in the course of the hearings: it contained significant mathematical errors and left out 80-90 percent of the data pertinent to the issue.

Congress, not convinced by the USPHS' answers, ordered them to conduct a study that would definitively answer the question of whether fluoridation of drinking water causes substantial cancer risk. In an effort to carry out this mandate, the USPHS obtained the services of the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, to carry out the studies. On February 23, 1989, the Institute announced the results of its careful research.120 Of particular importance, they had discovered that exposure to fluoride in drinking water caused a rare form of liver cancer in male and female mice called a hepatocholangiocarcinoma. The incidence of these cancers was, yet again, dose-dependent—the higher the dose of fluoride, the greater the incidence of the cancer.

This tumor is so rare that it was the first one of its kind the project leader of Battelle Labs had ever seen in his years of testing carcinogenic substances. The USPHS actually tried to deny that the observed growths were cancerous tumors at all, but when the slides were later examined by the scientist who had first described this rare cancer he confirmed that the growths were indeed hepatocholangiocarcinomas.

A second part of the study revealed that there was also a dose-dependent relationship between fluoride consumption in drinking water and cancer of the mouth. Exposure of the tissues had produced a precancerous lesion called oral squamous cell metaplasia. At 11 ppm there was a 2 percent incidence and at 45 ppm a 12 percent incidence. While this may seem far above the doses most people would be exposed to, consider that fluoride treatments at dentists' offices contain 15,000 ppm of fluoride, which soaks into the tissues of the mouth. Also the use of fluoride varnishes, plus fluoride mouthwashes and toothpaste all add up to very high levels of fluoride in direct contact with the tissues of the mouth.

It is not unreasonable, given the Battelle study's findings, to conclude that the cumulative effect of all this fluoride exposure would produce oral cancers in a small, but significant, percentage of people, especially if they engaged in other risky practices such as smoking and chewing tobacco. An examination of fluoridated communities compared to unfluoridated communities confirms our fears: oral cancers are more common in fluoridated communities. Once again, the incidence is related to the number of years the community has been fluoridated, the data indicating a 33-50 percent increase in oral cancers in fluoridated communities.

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