To the editor:
As summarized in the Aug. 12 Journal-World, a University of Utah study published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. "found a `small but significant' increase in the risk of hip fractures in elderly peple (age 65 and over) who drink fluoridated water." This increased risk was 1.3 times higher for women and 1.4 times higher for men.
For certain age groups, however, the study showed an even higher risk. Women from 70 to 75 had hip fracture rates nearly two times higher with fluoridation than without. Similarly, in the age group of 80-85, the rates for men were also essentially double.
These are not isolated findings. Two years ago, a national survey revealed a statistically significant increase in the risk of hip fractures in women age 65 and older residing in counties with higher percentages of the population using fluoridated water. Other studies, in England and in Iowa, for example, have also found higher fracture rates in older women with increasing levels of fluoride in their drinking water.
Besides increased amounts of unsightly dental fluorosis in fluoridated communities, there also are well-verified reversible toxic effects from fluoridation that gradually diminish or disappear when distilled or other low-fluoride water is substituted for fluoridated water. Among these effects are muscular weakness, abnormal tiredness, bone and joint pains, excessive thirst, headaches and gastrointestinal discomfort. When caused by fluoride, these ailments return when the use of fluoridated water is resumed.
Contrary to popular belief, there is currently little solid evidence of any significant dental benefit from fluoridation. Dental surveys conducted over the past two decades in this country and abroad have shown that the amount of tooth-decay reduction in children is about the same in non-fluoridated as in otherwise comparable fluoridated communities. Apparently, better overall nutrition and dental care during childhood have a large role in this widespread decrease in tooth decay.
With such a clear lack of scientific backing to support claims for the supposed effectiveness and safety of fluoridation, is it prudent or ethical for us to continue the unnecessary addition to our drinking water of such a highly toxic environmental contaminant as the fluoride waste product from the manufacture of phosphate fertilizer?
Albert W. Burgstahler,