Illustrations by Brad Harley
Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi recently dubbed fluoride “the new F-word.” Mayor Nenshi came to this conclusion in the course of the debate that led Calgary’s municipal government to remove fluoride from the city’s tap water in 2011. Calgary is one of 30 Canadian cities, including Windsor, Whitehorse, Thunder Bay, Churchill and Okotoks, to say no to the addition of the highly toxic chemical promoted as a deterrent to tooth decay.
This same pattern is reflected in the United States if on a more modest scale. The USA remains the world’s major bastion of fluoridated water. Honolulu and Portland are prominent among those US cities whose citizens have declined fluoride in their tap water. The fight to remove fluoride from the chemical mix that continues to be shoved down many of our throats by unseen overlords in the state is becoming part of the struggle to achieve a more wild and robust culture. All of us are, after all, mostly made up of water and it behooves us to try to make the aquatic flow running through us as pristine and unadulterated as possible.
There is a large and growing body of credible evidence that the health risks associated with fluoride in our drinking water fall disproportionately on certain groups. Among the most vulnerable are young children, pregnant women, the very old, as well as those already afflicted with kidney ailments, diabetes, and thyroid malfunctions. Fluoride contamination of our drinking water has also been shown to make bones more brittle over time.
Fluoride in our drinking water is not ethical and it is not safe.
Here in my hometown of Lethbridge Alberta some of the leading lights in Calgary’s successful anti-fluoride campaign have been visiting us with the hope that we will follow their lead. Fay Ash, a teacher and twenty-year veteran of anti-fluoride activism in Calgary, spearheaded the information initiative with her well-attended talk. One of those that Ms. Ash attracted to the anti-fluoride cause many years ago is Dr. James S. Beck. Dr. Beck is now Prof. Emeritus of Medical Biophysics at the University of Calgary. In 2010 Dr. Beck co-authored The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics Keeping It There.
Recently this senior medical research scholar shared a podium at the University of Lethbridge with Calgary Family Physician, Dr. Bob Dickson. During the height of the fluoride wars in Calgary Dr. Dickson told the CBC that it makes about as much sense to force-feed the public fluoride as an antidote to tooth decay as to force the public to ingest sunscreen as a way of preventing sunburn. He added that the addition of fluoride to our drinking water “is not ethical and it is not safe.”
The Roots of the Fluoride Deception
How could the fluoride delusion have become so entrenched? One part of the answer is intertwined with the ascendance of the national security state after World War II as justified in the language of anti-communism. It privileged the rise of executive authority in the United States through the creation of powerful federal agencies like the CIA. A primary function of the CIA was to manipulate public opinion in order to clear aside obstacles for the retention of a permanent war economy in which fluoride became an essential ingredient in many key products including nuclear weapons.
In Canada the rise of the national security state empowered scientists like Dr. Ewen Cameron of the Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University to conduct horrific experiments in methods of mind control on unsuspecting human subjects. Naomi Klein began the narrative of her important book with a commentary on Dr. Cameron's work as the initiating episode of Disaster Capitalism.
Dr. Harold Hodge, one of the early promoters of the imagery of fluoride as a dental wonder drug, was cut from the same cloth as Dr. Cameron. The lead toxicologist in the Manhattan Project, Dr. Hodge led a now-notorious test involving the injection of plutonium into unknowing human subjects. The staff of the Manhattan Project designed and manufactured the first atomic weapons. In the early stages of the US nuclear program it was not the negative health effects of radiation but rather those of fluoride that set off medical and legal alarm bells in the national security apparatus. The extreme toxicity of fluoride was illustrated in 1943 and 1944 when some of the finest fruit orchards in New Jersey were decimated as a result of heavy fluoride gas emissions from a nearby factory engaged in producing atomic weapons. Joel Griffiths and Chris Bryson describe this episode in their article, “Fluoride, Teeth, and the Atomic Bomb.”  They write,
A severe pollution incident occurred downwind of the E.I. du Pont du Nemours Company chemical factory in Deepwater, New Jersey. The factory was then producing millions of pounds of fluoride for the Manhattan project, the ultra-secret U.S. military program racing to produce the world's first atomic bomb.
The farms downwind in Gloucester and Salem counties were famous for their high-quality produce – their peaches went directly to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Their tomatoes were bought up by Campbell's Soup.
But in the summer of 1943, the farmers began to report that their crops were blighted, and that "something is burning up the peach crops around here."
Poultry died after an all-night thunderstorm, they reported. Farm workers who ate the produce they had picked sometimes vomited all night and into the next day. "I remember our horses looked sick and were too stiff to work," these reporters were told by Mildred Giordano, who was a teenager at the time. Some cows were so crippled they could not stand up, and grazed by crawling on their bellies.
In a subsequent secret Manhattan project memo, a broader solution to the public relations problem was suggested by chief fluoride toxicologist Harold C. Hodge. He wrote to the Medical Section chief, Col. Warren: "Would there be any use in making attempts to counteract the local fear of fluoride on the part of residents of Salem and Gloucester counties through lectures on Fluoride toxicology and perhaps the usefulness of Fluoride in tooth health?" Such lectures were indeed given, not only to New Jersey citizens but to the rest of the nation throughout the Cold War.
The need to prevent the development of any concerted public resistance to the building up by the US government of its nuclear arsenal after the Second World War was afforded top priority. This industrial activity was situated at the very pinnacle of the national security state’s oversight of the capitalist side in the Cold War. A trend was beginning that would see all laws, ethics and democratic principles rendered subordinate to the imperatives of so-called national security. From his academic perch at the University of Rochester Dr. Harold Hodge took charge of the damage control in response to the New Jersey fluoride disaster. The main aim of his initiative, done in close collaboration with a lobby group known as the Fluorine Lawyers Association, was to curb the proliferation of law suits that might lead to a slowdown of the production of nuclear weapons and other key industrial enterprises dependent on fluoride.
The result was a perversion of the scientific method as well as a betrayal of the principles of public health.
As demonstrated in Christopher Bryson’s The Fluoride Deception, the transformation of the imagery of a dangerous pollutant into that of a benign medicine is one of the most telling episodes in the history of Cold War spin doctoring. In 1950, with the advice of Harold Hodge, Madison Avenue’s chief “public relations” guru, Edward Bernays, was called in to complete the ruse. Bernays was the inventor of the term “Public Relations.” He proposed it as a replacement for the term “propaganda” after it had been given such a bad name when Adolf Hitler appointed Joseph Goebbels as Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany. The legendary salesman of cigarettes to women in the 1920s and then of the fraudulent cover story to disguise the violent US overthrow in 1953-54 of the elected leadership of Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz, Bernays helped pioneer the deep integration of Madison Avenue into the engineering of public consent for the overt and covert activities of the military-industrial complex.
In the effort to persuade the public that fluoride diluted in water was actually benign, Bernays enlisted none other than Dr. Benjamin Spock, the most high-profile medical practitioner to the post-war baby boom and their parents. For a hefty fee Dr. Spock joined forces not only with the nuclear industry but also with the sugar lobby, aluminum makers, and fridgidation purveyors, all of which shared an interest in promoting the imagery of fluoride as a medicinal substance rather than a toxic contaminant. This induction of Dr. Spock was just the beginning. In conditions of the Cold War the medical and dental establishment dutifully fell in line with the propaganda requirements of the military-industrial complex. The result was a perversion of the scientific method as well as a major betrayal of the most basic professional principles of public health. Unfortunately these travesties remain operative to this day. The Fluoride Deception does not meet any aspect of the criteria of informed consent for medical intervention. Citizens are denied the basic human right to decide what they will or will not ingest. They are denied the basic human right to uncontaminated water, a necessary ingredient for all healthy life.
Putting an End to the Fluoride Deception
Many of the most economically-successful parts of the world have avoided the fluoride deception. The citizens of British Columbia, Quebec, and western Europe, for instance, are almost completely fluoride free. There is no evidence to suggest those regions are more prone to tooth decay as a result. On the other hand a recent neurotoxicity study done at Harvard University and sponsored by the US National Research Council found that “children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas.” In other words, the addition of fluoride to our drinking water is making our children less intelligent than they would otherwise be. It is high time we moved fluoride from the category of a medicine back to the category of a highly toxic industrial chemical, which is what it is. It is high time that Canada’s biggest city, Toronto, become the site of a full-scale reckoning with the serious public health deficits connected to the Fluoride Deception. Let’s turn the page on this harmful legacy derived from the machinations of the darkest era in the Cold War.
 Joel Griffiths and Chris Bryson, Fluoride, Teeth, and the Atomic Bomb,” Waste Not, September, 1997 at http://www.fluoridealert.org/articles/wastenot414/
 Christopher Bryson, The Fluoride Deception (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2004)
 Anna L. Choi et. al., “Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis,” published online 20 July, 2012 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491930/
PAPER: “Associations Between Fluorosis of Permanent Incisors and Fluoride Intake From Infant Formula, Other Dietary Sources and Dentifrice During Early Childhood”, by Steven M. Levy, Barbara Broffitt, Teresa A. Marshall, Julie M. Eichenberger-Gilmore, and John J. Warren. http://jada.ada.org/content/141/10/1190.abstract
PAPER: “Fluoride: risks and benefits? Disinformation in the service of big industry”, by David R. Hill
PAPER: “Impact of Drinking Fluoride Content in Water”, by Dr Khaled AbuZeid and Eng Lama El Hatow
WEBSITE: Citizens advocacy: “No Fluoride” http://www.nofluoride.com/
ARTICLE: Adding Fluoride to Portland Drinking Water? Really?
ANTHONY HALL is professor of Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada and a member of the 9/11 Truth Movement. He is the author of several books, including Earth into Property, a description of the effects of capitalism upon indigineous peoples.
BRAD HARLEY is an artist, theatre designer and artistic director of Shadowland Theatre. He has worked extensively as a theatre designer with VideoCabaret, Peter Minshall's Callaloo productions in Trinidad, Horse and Bambo (UK), and Bread and Puppet Theater (US).