Letters to the Editor

Fluoride concern

January 21, 2011


To the editor:

Nearly two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended lowering the levels of fluoride in drinking water. As a fluoridated city, I expected to see an article in the Journal-World about this radical shift in health thinking. For 50 years we’ve been told to drink, brush, swish and swallow. Now, all of a sudden, 40 percent of kids have fluorosis. It seems like only the anti-fluoride camp saw it coming. Why? In light of this reversal, are there other fluoride-connected health issues we should also be concerned about?

Looking over the city’s water report, our fluoride levels frequently surpass this new recommendation. So what’s being done about it? Does anyone care? There is also a free fluoride treatment coming up next week for low-income children. How does this new announcement impact it? Is it even needed or would the additional fluoride be a problem?

On a larger scale, where does the sodium fluoride that ends up in our water come from? Nationally, most is from China’s manufacturing and mining. What about ours?

How about even larger. Why is there no difference in cavity occurrences between the U.S. and Europe/Asia where they don’t add it to their drinking water? Or even between Lawrence and Wichita?

C’mon J-W, this story should be covered. There are many angles/perspectives to this story the public should at least get the chance to learn about.


Darrell Lea 7 years, 4 months ago

Ten questions in four paragraphs. That's enough curiosity for a week long series of articles.

Some of those questions can be answered here:


Anybody else need a research assistant?

canyon_wren 7 years, 4 months ago

Good letter with important questions that need to be answered.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 4 months ago

Canyon-wren hits one outa the ballpark with simplicity!

Now, all of a sudden, 40 percent of kids have fluorosis.

I know LTE's have limited space, but where does this figure come from?

Fluorosis? reference to comparison with Wichita. is that city fluoride free?

and with our more transitory population here, is it a proper test of fluoride on teeth?

dontsheep 7 years, 4 months ago

The 40% figure comes from the department of health and human services and the CDC. 2 out of 5 kids have fluorisis. Splotchy, discolored, weakening teeth.

The EPA piled on to that by saying high intake of fluoride can increase the risk of brittle bones, fractures and crippling bone abnormalities.


Yes. Wichita is fluoride free.

gudpoynt 7 years, 4 months ago

yeah seriously. I mean, should we really just sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids?

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 4 months ago

OMG Red Communist Chinese fluoride! That's their plan! First, they cripple us by making us fat on their delicious egg rolls and now they are giving our children fluorosis! Damn you CCP!

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 4 months ago

The letter writer failed to point out that Fluoride is only one of the "Unholy Three" along with Polio vaccines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Unholy_three.png

As everyone already knows, "[the 1950's] polio vaccine drive is the entering wedge for nation-wide socialized medicine..."

Sound familiar?


Bill Getz 7 years, 4 months ago

HEW Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby was fired by Ike for trying to suppress the nation-wide free Salk vaccination program because it smacked of "socialized medicine." We just couldn't have that, could we?

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 4 months ago

Evidently this letter writer also believes that "mustard gas" is derived from mustard, the condiment.

I am also guessing he would be glad to sell you a water filtration system from his business.

dontsheep 7 years, 4 months ago

Nice job B_C. I wondered how long it would be until someone turned the questions into something personal, or jumped on the conspiracy bandwagon..

I'm simply asking why the LJ World has been completely silent on this very significant story. You don't find it the least bit concerning that in the matter of 2 weeks, the CDC, HHS and EPA have all come out saying too much fluoride is bad for us? That China is adding additional regulations to their Fluoride exporting business. That's right, they export, we ingest.

Doesn't this at least warrant a story or 2? Newspapers around the country are printing stories, doing interviews, providing both sides of the issue, etc. But not here.

You may not care and would rather detract and distract from the issue at hand, but others may actually be interested.

Oh...and as far as filters, I don't care where you go. Just make sure you have one.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 4 months ago

You are correct: I am not very concerned.

Nor do I believe the LJW to be a newspaper of record regarding many stories having a national interest. If it were, it would need an additional pages a day.

Evidently I guessed correctly however, that you do have a personal pecuniary interest in the sales of water filtration systems. Maybe you should have mentioned your conflict of interest in your letter.

Oh....and you have not yet explained how "mustard gas" comes from a bottle of French's mustard. So much for your understanding of science.

dontsheep 7 years, 4 months ago

For someone who isn't very concerned, you sure spend a lot of time adding comments.

I actually agree with you on 1 thing. The LJW is not where I go for stories of national interest...or nearly anything requiring investigative journalism.

But this is not just a national interest story. Unless you think Lawrence's health is less important than the rest of the country. I don't.

Which is why I wrote the letter. If those who copy/paste the AP stories didn't see this announcement as important, then what filter are they using? This is obviously a hot topic and would guarantee increased readership, numerous story options and more online interaction. Why would they miss out on the opportunity?

I have no conflict of interest. I've made my decision regarding fluoride and have taken appropriate action. None of which did I bring up in the letter. Announcements like this one catch my eye. I then look to see what's happening on a local level and in this case, saw nothing.


No. Mustard gas doesn't come from the condiment. That was a dumb comparison made a long time ago. Bad on me. But because I don't hide behind "anonymous", one I have to acknowledge.

MaryKatesPillStash 7 years, 4 months ago

I suffer(ed?) from dental fluorosis. It's not so noticeable now, but when I was a young girl, the splotchiness was pretty obvious. I can't get a lot of the whitening treatments that others can get. Not the worst problem in the world, but as your smile is often one of the first things people notice about you, I've often wished I had prettier teeth.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 4 months ago

Of course, maybe we went to Iraq because we discovered a hidden warehouse of French's mustard, just waiting to be weaponized.

beaujackson 7 years, 4 months ago

I grew up in a small town that had non flouridated water. I have been plagued with cavities all my life & now have only 11 teeth (of my own).

My three children (all over 50) grew up in Lawrence (with flouridated water), and have NO cavities!

Go figure.

kenos 7 years, 4 months ago

I just got on here to thank you for this letter. The LJW will not address anything controversial. It's like the CFR is pulling their strings; but they will post some of our LTE's if we take the trouble to write them. Judging from the previous comments it's no wonder we can't get anything serious addressed before the City Commission: like water flouridation. I've been meaning to go to the water treatment plant and research what else is in the toxic byproduct of aluminum manufacturing that they're paying supposedly big bucks to put in the water for our health.

dontsheep 7 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Kenos. The LJW does a great job of addressing controversial social/political items like religion, gay marriage, liberal/conservative arguments, etc. They do poorly with anything that has to be independently researched or investigated.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 4 months ago

I remember hearing this whole conspiracy theory as a kid. Mass-medicating the public. Just like vaccinations. Surely the government isn't trying to kill us with all these things, they need our tax money too much; is it designed to make us sick? State Medicaids and federal medicare are already DOA financially.

So why?

dontsheep 7 years, 4 months ago

Stop thinking about a conspiracy and just start researching. If you think it's OK, then that's your choice. If you think it's not, then you have further decisions. Your last question is exactly why I asked the LJW to do a story...or numerous.

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

I should have known that with the return of 1950s' John Birch rightwing nuts would presage the return of 1950s' fluoride "controversy"!

Next stop: a remake of Dr. Strangelove including a cameo appearance by Newt Gingrich, raving about socialism and fluoridation.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 4 months ago

The argument I always heard (and I'm surprised I didn't see it here...and I have no clue as to it's validity) is that fluoride is a waste product of aluminum (or some mineral) so the aluminum industry (or whatever mineral..) paid for some tests to prove fluoride had some (even minimal) useful properties so it could be used for profit, instead of just wasted. Just another example of republicans helping out big business regardless...

A similar idea to hot dogs...why throw it away when someones willing to buy it!?

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