water-f
Figure 1: a simple glass of water.

A brief definition of fluoride is needed to understand the controversy that has resulted. Fluorides are compounds consisting of fluorine (the element) and another substance, usually a metal.[1] These compounds, if ingested, absorb into the blood through the digestive tract and collect in areas with high calcium, like bones and teeth.

Water started to contain fluoride in the 1940s. Objection to the incorporation of fluoride within water sources did not begin until ten years later, in the 1950s and the 1960s.[2] The main use of water fluoridation is to prevent cavities in children and also to prevent Dental caries from occurring. Dental caries is a bacterial by-product that can dissolve the hard surfaces of teeth. It can cause loss of tooth structure and potentially progress to an infection.[3]

It’s said that the US government sent a researcher, Charles Eliot Perkins, to overlook the Farben chemical plants in Germany at the end of World War II. He had a strong knowledge in chemistry and biochemistry. While there, Perkins overheard the Germans speak of a tactic they used to medicate the drinking water by placing large amounts of sodium fluoride in it. Fluoridation was said to have caused “slight damage to a specific part of the brain, making it more difficult for the person affected to defend his freedom and causing the individual to become more docile towards authority.”[4]

From this, other theories involving Hitler’s planned control of the masses emerged. The notion that fluoride is an anti-psychotic and an ingredient in major tranquilizers added to the notoriety surrounding the substance. Other theories have emerged in addition to this one. Some claim that fluoride is also a waste product made from the manufactured processes of explosives and fertilizers. For easy elimination of fluoride, it has been placed in the water system, although it’s still considered a hazardous waste.[5] Because some consider fluoride a “systemic poison” administered by the government, with control in mind, the ailments it creates vary and thus the effects are hard to diagnose. This further incites people who are under the assumption that fluoridation is being administered as a drug.

jesse-ventura
Figure 2: Jesse Ventura

Jesse Ventura, former Minnesota Governor and professional wrestler, claimed that the US government has put fluoride in water in a similar fashion to how the Nazi’s used it in their water supply (fig.2).[6] [7] Jesse Ventura mentioned his viewpoint on this matter in Salon.com. Ventura was the governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003 and was a member of the Reform Party but later joined the Independence Party of Minnesota. As a former government official, this statement is alarming, because he was once privy to private government information.

Dr. George Waldbott was a lead scientist for the Manhattan Project, which is the project sponsored by the US government to make the atomic bomb. The project involved high level security and science oversight to create a bomb that would destroy enemy territory immediately. Dr. Walbott was on the team that dealt with the Manhattan Project, and in later years, he also warned against penicillin and the dangers of smoking to the US government, and fluoridation in water, claiming that it was detrimental to US citizens.[8]

Christian Scientists, who believe that sickness can be cured by prayer, have stringent views on medication. In place of medication, Christian Scientists believe that prayer can heal all wounds.[9] This view on medicine is problematic with the free flow of fluoride in water. In a report from the 1980s, the Christian Science Church claimed that “the compulsorily fluoridation may violate the right of the individual in his freedom of choice in the matter of personal health.”[10] The Christian Science Monitor, a Christian Science publication asserts that the chemical placed within their drinking water might be harmful or detrimental to their bodies. This is an issue because they would be involuntarily medicated, which is a major problem against their beliefs.

portland
Figure 3: Portland crowd celebrates a vote that doesn’t allow for fluoridation in their water systems.

Progressives and Libertarians also don’t support the fluoridation within water systems. They feel that the government is adding pollutants to their water.[11] Portland, Oregon is an example of this phenomena; the city has voted to repeal fluoridation in water. This action has occurred four times since 1956, with the most recent being in 2013 (fig. 3). Although the city is largely democratic, there are a few liberals and progressives who have differing viewpoints. The libertarian side of the polls showed a push back and opposition against the establishment which favored fluoridation of water. [12] In this case, the push back was against those who did want the chemical in the water. According to the statement of principles for libertarians, they believe that “all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so along as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.”[13]

Libertarians saw fluoridation as willingly polluting the water system and this gave way to more support. The libertarians are a small group in Portland but their use of fear tactics made the vote sway in their direction. Although recent science refutes this claim, the opposition that won the election used simple messages to promote their platform. They picketed with signs that read reject “fluoridation chemicals.”

The John Birch Society is a conservative society that advocates for anti-communism and limited government. It’s known as a far-right organization.[14] The main problem the JBS had with water fluoridation was government control of public sources. The JBS did not support the fluoridation of water because “it is a form of government mass medication of citizens in violation of their individual right to choose which medicines they ingest.” They also do not consider it a mind-control plot.[15]

The relationship between health effects and water fluoridation is layered with confusion and controversy. Fluoride in drinking water is regulated, at least in America. The standard amount is a level of 0.7 mg/L. This amount has been updated to reflect an amount that is already placed within toothpastes.[16] Fluoridation has been added to toothpastes to strengthen teeth and reduce cavities. Bottled water sources vary in fluoridation levels, and are monitored by the Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA.

There are some obvious health problems associated with fluoride, but they’re not connected to mind control. The EPA or the US Environmental Protection Agency has set 4.0 mg/L as the maximum amount for allowable drinking water. If long term exposure occurs with higher levels, skeletal fluorosis might occur, which can cause pain, joint stiffness and lead to weak bones and fractures later in life.

In some cases, fluoride has been linked to cancer, specifically a type of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma (fig. 4).

osteosarcoma
Figure 4. A look at the growth of Osteosarcoma on a bone.

‘Fluoride tends to collect in parts of bones where they are growing.’ There’s a connection between fluoride and Osteosarcoma. Fluoride might accelerate the rate of cells in the growth plate, causing it to grow faster, and thus make the cells become more cancerous.[17]

A study of Chinese children who were exposed to higher levels of fluoride within their drinking water had their IQ tested. It was found that the “children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas.”[18] Fluoride thus was noted for its toxicity and its potential poisonous ability. It’s been compared to lead, mercury and other poisons that cause brain developmental problems.

Fluoridation, to some, has been considered treason. Dr. E.H. Bronner, Einstein’s nephew and a chemist who was also a prisoner of war during WWII, claimed that fluoridation was destroying “the moral fiber of American life.” [19]

In January 1952, Dr. E.H. Bronner sent a letter to The Catholic Mirror of Springfield, Massachusetts and in the letter he claimed that fluoridation (which had begun a few years’ prior in that region) was meant to “demoralize, paralyze and destroy our great Republic—from within if they can, according to their plan—for their own possession.”[20]

A clear fallacy within this argument, presented by Dr. E.H. Bronner, is that the notion of fluoride as a drug is very radical. The simple notion of mind control, meaning an individual cannot control their own actions and behaviors, is concerning. The bizarreness effect is at play here. The bizarreness effect claims that there’s a tendency of bizarre material to be remembered more clearly than common material.[21] The absurdity and heavy emotional rhetoric within this letter, and echoed through other sources mention fluoride as problematic, but it also mentions what is being lost at the fluorides expense, which is the ability to think for oneself, and thus, the ability to reason and rationalize situations. Here, it seems that democracy is at stake. In the letter example, democracy is at stake within Massachusetts, and then the USA. But within the example of Portland, personal choice is at stake. Freedom.

Another fallacy relating the argument of mind control is the negativity bias. The negativity bias states that a negative nature has a greater effect on a psychological state than neutral or positive things.[22] Mind control is not typically welcomed by many, and thus the negative archetype of an outside, authoritative force using chemicals to control the masses is negative in itself. With the theory that the Nazi’s used this method on prisoners, it seems to add to the dangerous nature of additives in water supply.

The theory that fluoridation was used as a drug to make citizens passive during WWII has been debunked by the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The Museum has publicly stated that it has never “heard of fluoride being used by Nazis as a mind-control drug.”[23] Instead, most of the Nazi medical experiments centered around finding new drugs or treatments for war wounds or for the desire to proliferate Nazi racial ideals. In fact, water delivery in the concentration camps was not a priority. A few days prior to liberation, water lines hardly delivered water.[24]

One bias, of course, is to gain more traction of grassroots organizations that do not support big government. The fluoridation process can be considered by some a ‘mass medicating’ scheme, because of the “consumers of public water cannot opt-out of fluoridated tap water and go with another utility.”[25]

A few questions have been raised:

  1. How many people are part of this conspiracy?

This statistic isn’t known. Because there are other health concerns about the use of fluoride, it’s hard to dictate if someone forwent fluoridated water because of that or because of their belief in mind control. There have been a few public figures mentioned above that are supporters of this conspiracy, but others are found online.

  1. If they are organized through known channels or entities (the internet, the government, science research) how do they keep non-members who work there from uncovering the conspiracy?

Contamination of water has been a big conspiracy pull for decades now, lauded about in Hollywood and elsewhere. For example, the movie Agent Cody Banks has a plotline that is relies heavily on corrupting America’s water.

In reality, though, the Centers of Disease Control and the American Dental Association have herald fluoride in water as a ‘public health triumph.’ This means that they support the water fluoridation and advocate for its continuation, because of its beneficial health effects. Clearly this endorsement from a Disease Control Center and a Dental Association have the public’s health in mind.

The fear tactic is very clear within this piece. Propagandists use a tendency of fear appeal seem more immediate and obvious so that the public will be swayed to their side of reasoning. It is well known and used quite frequently.

[1] “Water Fluoridation and Cancer Risk.” Water Fluoridation and Cancer Risk. American Cancer Society, Inc., 24 July 2015. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[2]  Jones, Sheila. “The Effective Use of Fluorides in Public Health.” International Journal of Biosciences (IJB) 4.1 (2014): 671. Web. 7 Nov. 2016

[3] “Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 Aug. 2001. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[4]“Nazi Connections to Fluoride in America’s Drinking Water”“Truth11.” Truth11. N.p., 1 Dec. 2009. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[5] Goldacre, Ben. “Bad Science: Fluoride, Teeth, and an Argument That’s Full of Holes.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 08 Feb. 2008. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[6] Isquith, Elias. ““These Pseudo-religious People Who I Find Laughable”: Jesse Ventura Talks Republicans, Nazis and Running for President.” Salon.com. Salon Media Group, Inc., 02 Dec. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[7] Biography.com Editors. “Jesse Ventura Biography.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[8] Bryson, Christopher. “The Fluoride Deception: How a Nuclear Waste Byproduct Made Its Way Into the Nation’s Drinking Water.” Democracy Now! Democracy Now! 17 June 2004. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[9] Paul C. Gutjahr, “Sacred Texts in the United States”, Book History, 4, 2001 (pp. 335–370), p. 348.

[11] Ryan Kost. “Portland Fluoride: For the Fourth Time since 1956, Portland Voters Reject Fluoridation.” OregonLive.com. Oregon Live LLC, 22 May 2013. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[12] Ryan Kost. “Portland Fluoride: For the Fourth Time since 1956, Portland Voters Reject Fluoridation.” OregonLive.com. Oregon Live LLC, 22 May 2013. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

 

[13] “2016 Platform.” Libertarian Party. Libertarian National Committee, Inc., May 2016. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[14] Van Doren, Charles Lincoln, and Robert McHenry. “Webster’s Guide to American History.” Google Books. Google Books, p. 576. n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[15] Stern, Eric. “Myths vs Facts.” The John Birch Society. JBS.org, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[16] “Water Fluoridation and Cancer Risk.” Water Fluoridation and Cancer Risk. American Cancer Society, Inc., 28 July 2015. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[17] “Water Fluoridation and Cancer Risk.” Water Fluoridation and Cancer Risk. American Cancer Society, Inc., 28 July 2015. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

 

[18]“Impact of Fluoride on Neurological Development in Children.” News. The Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College, 22 Dec. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[19] By This Method They Could Control the Population. “The Use Of Fluoridation For Mass Mind Control.” The Use Of Fluoridation For Mass Mind Control. Rense, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[20] By This Method They Could Control the Population. “The Use Of Fluoridation For Mass Mind Control.” The Use Of Fluoridation For Mass Mind Control. Rense, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[21] Schmidt, Stephen R. “Extraordinary Memories for Exceptional Events.” Google Books. Google Books, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[22] Rozin, Paul, and Edward B. Royzman. “Negativity Bias, Negativity Dominance, and Contagion.” Negativity Bias, Negativity Dominance, and Contagion. Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc., 01 Nov. 2001. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[23] Weathers, Cliff. “5 Wild Consumer Conspiracy Theories, Debunked.” Salon.com. Salon.com, 30 July 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[24] Bowers, Becky. “Truth about Fluoride Doesn’t Include Nazi Myth.” Politifact Florida. Tampa Bay Times, 6 Oct. 2011. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

[25] Ryan Kost. “Portland Fluoride: For the Fourth Time since 1956, Portland Voters Reject Fluoridation.” OregonLive.com. Oregon Live LLC, 22 May 2013. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

Images:

figure 1: Edwards, Allene. “What’s the Best Water for Detoxifying and For Drinking?” Organic Lifestyle Magazine. Organic Lifestyle Magazine, 16 Oct. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

figure 2: Biography.com Editors. “Jesse Ventura Biography.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

figure 3: Ryan Kost. “Portland Fluoride: For the Fourth Time since 1956, Portland Voters Reject Fluoridation.” OregonLive.com. Oregon Live LLC, 22 May 2013. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

figure 4: “Bone Cancer: MedlinePlus.” Bone Cancer: MedlinePlus. US National Library of Medicine, 29 Aug. 2016. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

 

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