CAPE Statement on Drinking Water Fluoridation

October 8, 2008

Canadians who are concerned about the quality of our drinking water and who wish to know about the effects of fluoridation and chemicals are encouraged to read the Council of Canadians information and CAPE’s position paper below:

Council of Canadians

I wish to provide you with a statement on fluoridation of drinking water (see below and attached in .pdf) that we recently received from CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment) regarding water fluoridation. This powerful lobby group which was so instrumental in creating the Ontario Pesticide Ban which should pass into law next year, has also taken a position on the toxic chemicals we are diluting in our drinking water.

The president of the ISDE, Dr. Vyvyan Howard, PhD, M.D. recently visited Mississauga, Ontario for the 28th International Society of Fluoride Research Conference, to discuss the 20+ recently published studies demonstrating neurotoxic effects of fluorides in drinking water and urge the discontinuation of this outdated policy. Dr. Howard can be reached at: CAPE is an affiliate member of ISDE.

* Connett M, Limeback H. 2008 Fluoride and its effect on human intelligence. A systematic review. 2008 IADR 86th General Session & Exhibition

* Tang QQ,, Du J,  Ma HH , Jiang SJ,, Zhou XJ. Fluoride and Children’s Intelligence: A Meta-analysis. Biol Trace Elem Res. (abstract distributed on PubMed, August, 2008)

“The biggest current debate is over osteosar­coma—the most common form of bone can­cer and the sixth most prevalent cancer in children.” Scientific American Jan 2008, p 79.

According to the chairman of the largest review ever done on water fluoridation and health effects (NRC 2006 – 1,000 studies) “we’ve gone with the status quo regarding fluoride for many years-for too long really…and now we need to take a fresh look.” Scientific American Jan 2008, p 79. (see attached)

Is it time for CofC to also examine the status quo regarding water fluoridation and protect our source water?

Every tanker truck of hydrofluorosilicic acid which is delivered to a municipality contains about 1 pound of arsenic and up to 8 pounds of lead (permissible according to AWWA standards).

According to the Camargo 2003 Review (see attached) and the recent Hamilton Board of Health Presentation, sewage effluent contains 10 times the CWQG. (Sewage effluent = 1.2mg/L; CWQG – 0.12).

DWSP data from the Ontario MOE demonstrates that background levels of fluoride are up to double the CWQG e.g. 0.25mg/L.

Hamilton Board of Health July 8, 2008

Environmental Pollution

“The Woodward WTP produces approximately 350 million litters of water per day and adds HFS to reach a level about 0.7 mg/L of fluoride. Less than 0.1% of this water is consumed for drinking water and given that the primary target of water fluoridation are children, the water fluoridation therefore potentially serves only less than 0.5% of the total water produced. Most of the water provided to the community returns back in the form of sewage. The wastewater has high concentration of fluoride compared with potable water because of the fluoride added due to toothpaste use and some industrial discharges. A sample of the wastewater was tested for fluoride and the concentration was approximately 1.2 mg/L. Very little fluoride is removed in the wastewater treatment process and effluent had fluoride concentration of 1.05 mg/L.

There are many studies about the impacts of fluoride in aquatic environment and generally there is a consensus that fluoride concentration of about 0.6-0.7 mg/L has detrimental impact on aquatic life. If water fluoridation is stopped, it may be possible that the wastewater fluoride concentration would drop by 0.5-0.6 mg/L, which will be beneficial to aquatic environment.

The Canadian Council for Ministers of the Environment (CCME) is currently in the process of finalizing a Canada-wide Strategy for the Management of Municipal Wastewater. The draft strategy was posted for public consultation and comments. The draft strategy proposed a compliance requirement of end of the pipe toxicity testing for the wastewater treatment plants. It is anticipated that this requirement will be included in the Certificate of Approval for the Woodward WWTP upgrades.

The fluorides in wastewater can’t be removed in the treatment processes and as such the toxicity associated with it will be a significant challenge, if source controls are not implemented. Failure to achieve toxicity targets will require substantial future investments in the wastewater treatment systems.

Hazardous Waste, Toxic Substances, Dangerous Goods

These chemicals are classified as “Hazardous Waste” (Environment Canada), “toxic substances” (Canadian Environmental Protection Act 2006 update and “dangerous goods” (Transport Canada). This was confirmed in responses to Petition 221, available at the Auditor General of Canada website:


Fluoridation chemicals degrade the quality of our drinking water and contaminate our source water.

Fluoridation chemicals do not prevent cavities.

Fluoridation chemicals harm susceptible individuals, especially young children.

Fluoridation chemicals are a waste of taxpayers’ money. Every dollar spent is a dollar wasted.

Is this practice of water fluoridation sustainable?

Is it time to protect our source water?

I look forward to future correspondence,

Carole Clinch

People for Safe Drinking Water – Research Coordinator
Grand River Environmental Network (GREN) – Secretary


Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Statement on drinking water fluoridation

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) does not support fluoridation of drinking water for the following reasons.

1) The decline in caries in communities that are fluoridated has been highly significant — but so has the decline that has occurred in non-fluoridated communities. There has, in fact, been a general decline in dental caries throughout the Western world, and the decline in fluoridated cities has not exceeded that in non-fluoridated communities. For example, BC drinking water is 95% non-fluoridated, whereas drinking water in Alberta is 75% fluoridated; yet the two provinces have similar rates of caries. Furthermore, Europe is 98% non-fluoridated, but global European dental health is generally equivalent to or better than that in North America. Whatever the reason for the decline in dental caries, it can not be concluded that it is the result of drinking water fluoridation.

2) The incidence of toxic effects in humans from fluoridation may well have been underestimated. The most serious potential association is with osteosarcoma in boys, which appears to have been loosely associated with age of exposure to fluoride. It is true that the CDC has (as has the original researcher) acknowledged that current data are tentative, but a further larger-scale study is pending from the Harvard School of Dentistry. At the very least, such data are grounds for caution.

3) Animal studies have shown a wide range of adverse effects associated with fluoride. It has been shown to be a potential immunotoxin, embryotoxin, neurotoxin and harmful to bony tissues, including both dental and ordinary bone. In addition, it can damage (inhibit) thyroid function in several species, including humans. Its effect on ecosystem balance has been little researched, but is unlikely to be positive.

4) The intake of fluoride from drinking water is uncontrolled, and can lead to dental fluorosis in children who are inclined to drink large amounts of water. Both natural and artificially flouridated water can cause this effect, which is, of course, simply a visible representation of an effect on the entire bony skeleton. The cost of repairing teeth damaged by fluorosis is not trivial; moderate to severe effects can require $15,000 or more in dental fees.

It seems clear that a) fluoridation is unlikely to be the cause of the decline in caries in Europe and North America b) the potential for adverse effects is real, and c) current evidence points in the direction of caution. Over the last decade, recommendations with respect to acceptable fluoride exposure have steadily declined, and cautions have increased. Any dental benefit that may accrue from fluoride exposure is fully achieved by controlled topical application of fluoride compounds by trained dental professionals, not by fluoride ingestion. [The analysis of Dr. Hardy Limeback (, Head, Preventive Dentistry, at the University of Toronto, further clarifies these points.]

On the basis of this “weight of evidence” we believe that fluoridation of drinking water is scientifically untenable, and should not be part of a public health initiative or program.


Tomgram: Snitow and Kaufman, Water Wars in America

September 26, 2008

[Note to TomDispatch Readers: Since the following piece is excerpted from a new book produced by the invaluable website, I thought this might be a fine moment to urge all of you — if you don’t it the site already — to visit that ever vigorous, thoughtful, provocative site. Everyday it has a menu of superb pieces — some from websites like this one, others original — that add up to some of the best reading on the progressive blogosphere. You can sign up (as I have) for their emails, which put their top pieces in your email box daily, by clicking here.]

The headlines scream. The world goes mad. The Bush administration, which failed to fully impose its unitary executive presidency on the nation through war via a Commander-in-Chief presidency, now seems intent on doing the same in its waning days through a Treasury-Secretary-in-Chief version of the same. The following passage in the original proposed bill for the $700 billion bailout legislation now in Congress may take your breath away — “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency…” — but it is recognizably pure Bush.

Though that particular phrasing is now gone, administration officials are using the politics of fear and panic over the very financial mess they had a hand in creating to institutionalize a presidential power grab of startling magnitude. And then, of course, following the pattern of this administration, they will privatize that power, undoubtedly subcontracting the work of governmental buying and selling to the very financial characters involved in creating this mayhem. As a result, in the Bush years the Treasury Department, like the Pentagon, will have both expanded its power exponentially and privatized it all at once. Yes, Congress will add caveats and “oversight,” but these may be little more than window dressing from a body of government which has already essentially given up the ghost (of power) along with its power of the purse. If you thought we had an imperial presidency before the present economic meltdown, what’s coming may put that to shame.

Anyone who believes that an administration incapable of getting itself out of its own disasters from Kabul to Baghdad to New Orleans finally has a formula for doing so at a moment of ultimate economic debacle is surely deluded. In the meantime, Congress may turn over the checks (as in checkbooks) from those classic American governmental checks and balances to the Treasury. And as for the balances, well, you already know that story. So, a skyscraper’s worth of private financial indebtedness will now be socialized on the backs of taxpayers; and yet, as Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman, award-winning filmmakers and experts in the privatization of water supplies and systems, indicate below, the most basic public services that once gave meaning to the government now stand in danger of going “private” not just in the developing world but in the United States.

Their post, by the way, is an adaptation of an essay they wrote for a wonderful new book on a subject that will reshape our lives for decades to come — the redistribution of water on this planet, including the present fierce droughts in the American southeast and west. The book, Water Consciousness: How We All Have to Change to Protect Our Most Critical Resource, is in itself a resource of the first order. (Check out the book’s website while you’re at it.) Tom

Drinking at the Public Fountain

The New Corporate Threat to Our Water Supplies

By Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman

In the last few years, the world’s largest financial institutions and pension funds, from Goldman Sachs to Australia’s Macquarie Bank, have figured out that old, trustworthy utilities and infrastructure could become reliable cash cows — supporting the financial system’s speculative junk derivatives with the real concrete of highways, water utilities, airports, harbors, and transit systems.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Tomgram: Elizabeth de la Vega, Those Hard Rains Are Gonna Fall

July 24, 2008

Call it a bizarre water season or think of it as our future. In the Midwest, 500-year level floods. That means hydrologists believe that “a flood of this magnitude has a 0.2 percent chance (1 in 500) of happening in a given year in a specific location.” Of course, the last 500-year Midwestern floods happened only an uncomfortable 15 years ago in 1993. In the Southwest and Southeast, there have been droughts that, in the last year, have threatened to outrun recorded history, and then, of course, there’s California. That state has received a “record lack of rainfall” — state capital Sacramento got only 0.17 of an inch of rain this spring, thoroughly wiping out the previous record set in 1934. The result, of course, has left the state burning up well before its normal fire season officially begins about now.

You might think that Mother Nature, acting like some vengeful goddess, was sending a message to our legislators, but, as former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega points out below, don’t count on them paying much attention. We seem, in short, to be up a swollen creek without a paddle. (Or is it a dry gulch with lots of tinder and too many matches?) De la Vega “indicted” George W. Bush at this site back in November 2006 and wrote the popular book — a TomDispatch spinoff — United States v. George W. Bush et al.. She now returns focused on a remarkably crucial long-term problem — water — and a remarkably consistent, do-nothing Congress. Tom

Our National Water Policy…

Oh, Wait, We Don’t Have One
By Elizabeth de la Vega

“Lisa, the whole reason we have elected officials is so we don’t have to think all the time. Just like that rainforest scare a few years back. Our officials saw there was a problem and they fixed it, didn’t they?” — Homer Simpson

On June 24, 2008, Louie and I curled up on the couch to watch seven of the nation’s foremost water resources experts testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

This was a new experience for us. For my part, the issue to be addressed — “Comprehensive Watershed Management Planning” — was certainly a change of pace from the subjects I ordinarily follow in Judiciary and Intelligence Committee hearings. I wasn’t even entirely sure what a “watershed” was. I knew that, in a metaphorical sense, the word referred to a turning point, but I was a bit fuzzy about its meaning in the world of hydrology. (It’s the term used to describe “all land and water areas that drain toward a river or lake.”)

What was strange from Louie’s point of view was not the topic of the day, but that we were stuck in the house. Usually at that hour, we’d be working in the backyard, where he can better leverage his skill set, which includes chasing squirrels, digging up tomato plants, eating wicker patio chairs, etc. On this particular afternoon, however, the typically cornflower-blue San Jose sky was the color of wet cement, and thick soot was charging down from the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. Sitting outside would have been about as pleasant as relaxing in a large ashtray.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Rare opportunity to meet international aboriginal leaders here to protest Barrick Gold’s abuses

May 7, 2008

I am posting this information in the hopes that a few people in the GTA and Ottawa area may be interested in meeting these folks before they return to their countries of origin. There are opportunities to meet them Wed., Thurs. and Fri. in Toronto. On Saturday they are travelling to Ottawa with a detour to meet those protesting the proposed uranium mine near Sharbot Lake. Contact Natalie (info. below) for details if you wish to meet them or offer support.

Aboriginal leaders from Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Western Shoshone territory (in Nevada) are in Toronto on a rare visit to Canada. They are heading to Ottawa on Saturday.

The Papua New Guinea contingent have flown 32 hours to get here, and risked their own safety and the safety of their families to so do. At home they have suffered outright murder (villagers shot by Barrick security) and rape of women villagers.

In all cases, sacred lands are being desecrated and massive water systems and ecosystems destroyed irreparably. Some of the water systems destroyed are so large the mine tailings can be seen in satellite photos.

Sadly, their stories were not covered by mass media outlets at the Barrick Gold Annual General Meeting yesterday even though all the leaders obtained proxies to get in and all spoke up at the meeting and told invesors what was happening to them.

By not covering their stories, the mass media in Canada are indirectly responsible for the continued murder of their people by Barrick Gold. To arrange an interview with the Papua New Guinea and Australian contingent contact Natalie Lowrey, Friends of the Earth (Australia), 416 809 2755 –

To arrange an interview with the Western Shoshone contingent contact Julie Fishel, Western Shoshone Defence Project (USA) – 775 397 1371 –

Below is a news story printed in the independant media which serves as an example of the kind of coverage that responsible news outlet would publish:

International Indigenous leaders attend Barrick Gold’s Shareholder’s meeting

Tuesday 6th May, 2008 at 10am

Indigenous leaders from Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the United States traveled to Canada this week to attend the shareholders’ meeting of Barrick Gold to make statements against Barrick’s unregulated operations on their lands.

Complaints include the killing, rape and arbitrary detention of local village people in Papua New Guinea by Barrick security, the destruction of spiritual sites in Australia and the United States, and the pollution of water resources at all of Barrick’s mines. The tour is heading to Ottawa after the shareholders’ meeting where they have arranged meetings with members of parliament.

At Lake Cowal, Australia, Barrick is importing 6090 tonnes of sodium cyanide into the flood plain renowned for severe flooding. ‘Barrick Gold has absolutely no respect for our cultural heritage and the very essence of our cultural being is at stake,’ stated Neville ‘Chappy’ William, Wiradjuri elder and spokesperson for Mooka and Kalara United Families, the traditional owners of the Lake Cowal area. In addition to creating an open-pit mine in the ‘Sacred Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation,’ Barrick has confiscated thousands of Wiradjuri cultural objects from the mine site and refuses to return them to the traditional owners.

According to Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer of the Akali Tange Association, a human rights organization in Papua New Guinea, ‘Barrick’s Porgera Mine is a textbook case of what can go wrong when large-scale mining confronts indigenous peoples, ignoring the impacts of its projects and resorting to goon squads when people rebel against it. This outrages the conscience of local Indigenous communities, especially when the mine is right next to our homes; my people are exposed to dangerous chemicals like cyanide and mercury; some of our people down in the tailings and waste during floods; and fishing stocks, flora and fauna are depleted down the river systems, leading to indigenous food sources being threatened.’

‘The international community has spoken quite clearly on these matters. The United States has been told on two separate occasions to cease and desist the destructive activities on Shoshone lands and Canada has been told to rein in its corporate giants like Barrick,’ stated Larson Bill, Western Shoshone Community Planner, referencing the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) in their review of Canada last year.

According to a 2005 Parliamentary Standing Committee report, ‘Canada does not yet have laws to ensure that the activities of Canadian mining companies indeveloping countries conform to human rights standards, including the rights of workers and of indigenous people.’ As of 2008, these regulatory issues have yet
to be resolved.

The leaders include:

Larson R. Bill, Community Planner, Western Shoshone Defense Project, USA

Neville Williams, Mooka/Kalara United Families within the Wiradjuri Nation, Lake Cowal, Australia

Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer, Akali Tange Association, PapuaNew Guinea

Mark Ekepa, Chairman, Porgera Landowners Association,

Anga Atalu, Secretary, Porgera Landowners Association, Papua New Guinea

This effort is supported by:
Western Shoshone Defence Project (USA)
Mining Watch Canada (Canada) (Australia)
Mineral Policy Institute (Australia)
Friends of the Earth (Australia)
Porgera Land Owners Association (Papua New Guinea)
Atali Tange Association (Papua New Guinea)

Julie Fishel, Western Shoshone Defence Project (USA)

&nbs; 775 397 1371 –

Natalie Lowrey, Friends of the Earth (Australia)
416 809 2755 –