Alaska’s Capital City Nixes Fluoridation

On October 2 the citizens of Juneau, Alaska voted to keep sodium fluoride OUT of our pure, glacial-melt water. It was a landslide victory (4800 to 1900). Yay! Sodium fluoride is not as bad as hydrofluorosilicate, but it’s still a waste product from the phosphate fertilizer industry.

Breaking news today at Here’s the story: Juneau has been fluoridating city water since 1984. Three years ago, a group of concerned citizens approached our mayor, who put together a commission of doctors, engineers and public health officials. I was one of these commissioners. We studied the available literature in depth for 2 years, meeting at least once monthly. We developed a comprehensive report for the city assembly, which included an analysis of the recently published 506 page review on the toxicology of fluoride by the prestigious National Academy of Science. (

After reviewing our report, the assembly members of Juneau, Alaska voted among themselves 7 to 1 to stop fluoridating Juneau, acknowledging that the risks far outweigh the benefits. The fluoride was turned off on January 15 of this year. In February, a group of doctors and dentists mounted a campaign to get the fluoride put back in. They have raised $161,000 for their campaign; nearly $150,000 of which has come from the American Dental Association in Chicago Illinois.

Wow! $150,000. Think how many toothbrushes the ADA could have sent to Juneau for that sum! This impressive amount might also have paid for topical fluoride varnishes for all local elementary school kids for 5 years. Why have the pro-fluoride folks spent so much money to defend their increasingly indefensible stance? A few years ago the ADA spent $3000,000 in Bellingham, Washington to promote fluoridation. That didn’t work either. Why aren’t they putting that money into actual dental care for those who need it most? Instead, the funds have been used to buy signatures to mount a ballot initiative, to hire a PR firm to conduct two “push polls” (which are not about gathering information but are attempts to influence voters), and to inundate the media with slickly produced ads which contain outright lies, such as “Fluoride benefits everyone” and “fluoridated water reduces dental cavities by 20-40%.”

Juneau Citizens for Clean Water couldn’t compete against this kind of money, but we clearly had the hearts, minds and will of the people behind us. The vast majority of the letters to the editor and local radio polls have been anti-fluoride. The moment of truth is here, and it is sweet. We did use our resources (about $4,000) to mail informative postcards to the frequent voters. And, we brought Dr. Hardy Limeback all the way across the country from Toronto, Ontario, to present several public lectures.

Dr. Limeback is currently the head of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto, Ontario. He is considered the world’s foremost expert on dental fluorosis, a sign of excess fluoride ingestion. He was one of the prestigious scientists who contributed to the National Academy of Science March 2006 report on fluoride to the US Congress. In a nutshell, he no longer supports fluoridation of public water because of:

  1. Lack of effectiveness.
  2. Tooth decay rates have declined globally due to fluoridated toothpaste, improved diets and better awareness of dental health.
  3. Fluoride only works topically to protect the dental enamel. There is no benefit whatsoever, and considerable evidence of harm, from ingesting fluoride. Most dentists still are not aware of this indisputable fact.
  4. Half of all ingested fluoride remains in the skeletal system and accumulates with age.
  5. Fluoride is an effective insecticide and works by destroying critical enzymes (G-proteins). This is how it negatively affects human health as well. For example, fluoride disrupts thyroid health by displacing iodine uptake in the thyroid gland and it also causes calcification of the pineal gland, which disregulates the pituitary gland, which is the master gland of the endocrine system. Pineal calcification is especially prevalent in teens, who are going through growth spurts. Fluoride accretes in bone, and bone turns over more rapidly during periods of growth. Who knows a teen with disrupted sleep habits? Fluoridated communities have higher rates of hip fractures, and higher rates of cancer.
  6. Money saved from halting water fluoridation programs can be more wisely spent on public health education about diet and topical fluoride varnishes for those at risk for dental decay.

I had two pressing questions for Dr. Limeback.

Dr. Em: “Why are most dentists and doctors so entrenched in illogical and outdated thinking about fluoridation?”

Dr. Limeback: “They are on a bandwagon. They have been parroting what the ADA and the AMA has been saying for decades. They don’t have time to really study the issue and read the contemporary studies. They band together to save face. They believe in their own authority. They spout claims like $1 worth of fluoridation saves $38 worth of dental care costs. This is nonsense. Fluoridated cities and non-fluoridated cities have very similar rates of dental decay. Fluoridation causes very expensive-to-fix staining (fluorosis) in at least 30% of those chronically exposed. I recently treated a teen for moderate fluorosis: at the end of the day his parents spent $17,000 on restoring his teeth to a normal appearance. Without fluoride in the water, maybe this kid would have had a half cavity more, which would have cost $200 to fix. Twenty percent caries reduction, in a mouth with 128 dental surfaces, amounts to 1/2 a cavity. So the 20% improvement claim sounds a lot better that it really is.

Further, 50% of 12 year olds today don’t have any cavities at all. This is largely because of fluoridated toothpaste, which was introduced in 1968. Many pro-fluoride folks will say that their kids’ teeth are so much better than their teeth, and this “proves” that fluoride in the water works. That’s not true at all. Fluoride is only beneficial to the dental enamel when applied topically. When fluoride is ingested, it actually weakens the inner structure of the teeth, making them more brittle. Don’t forget the ADA and the AMA are trade organizations. They make a lot of money endorsing drugs, including fluoride. These are not bodies of research scientists.”

Dr. Em: “I’ve heard the CDC is pushing right now for a federal mandate to fluoridate all communities larger than 10,000. Why? And why is the ADA pumping so much money into little Juneau, Alaska?

Dr. Limeback: “OK. You have to turn off the tape recorder here. (Dr. Em paraphrases: ) Follow the money. Dentists, and many doctors, largely stand to lose plenty of income when they serve Medicaid and Medicare patients. When dentists buy into the idea that fluoride cures dental decay, they can justify refusing to see patients who can’t afford the big bills, or don’t have insurance. It’s shocking, but true, that Medicaid and Medicare don’t pay for any kind of dental health. Dentists would prefer to pay dues to their trade organization to promote the idea that fluoridation is the most important solution for healthy teeth. The ADA puts its stamp of approval on that image of the triple-swirl of toothpaste on the side of the toothpaste box.”

By the way, a toddler swallowing a glob of toothpaste that big could die. Even though the CDC now concedes, and has reprimanded the ADA of such, that only a pea sized blob of toothpaste is safe, marginally, if accidentally swallowed. A pea-sized blob of toothpaste has an equivalent amount of fluoride as a litre of water. Think about this: a little blob of toothpaste comes with a warning on the box: may be harmful if swallowed; call your poison control center immediately. But, no such warnings exist on your glass of water, even though a mere 2 big glasses of fluoridated tap water deliver about the same toxic dose. One part-per-million (1 ppm), which is widely considered the “optimal” fluoridation dose for water, delivers 1 milligram (mg) of fluoride per litre of water. Teas, especially green tea, juices, especially grape juices, and most canned foods are very high, containing concentrated fluoride. It`s easy to get way more than the “optimal dose” daily.