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written by Marina Zacharias

This article could be titled "some things you probably don't want to know."

Picture this: your have just discovered that your 4 year old child has placed a substance in his mouth (it tastes good mom), and you read the label on the container. It says: "Do not swallow--use only a pea size amount for children under six. Warnings: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for (--normal function), seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately". Do you panic? Call your doctor?

No! You probably pat him on the head and praise him for being a good boy! Why?

He just brushed his teeth. The substance is Crest toothpaste!

What about swallowing a little bit each day for the rest of your life? What about drinking it in your water? Is it safe? It must be if it has the unwavering support of the government, the American Dental Association and the American Medical Association. After all these prestigious officials wouldn't lie to the public, would they? Can you imagine the potential law suites if fluoride was recognized as a health hazard?

Independent research studies have shown that fluoride has been directly linked to: kidney and bladder disorders; bone malformation; arthritis; skin disease; calcified deposits in the aorta; interference with thyroid function, causing hypothyroidism; and weakening of the immune system; damage to connective-tissue collagen, to ligaments, tendons, bones, arteries and DNA.

In 1990 a 10 year study was completed by the federal government National Toxicology Program (a part of the Department of Health and Human Services) to rule out any possibility that fluoride causes cancer. Much to their surprise, bone tumors found in laboratory animals were found to be the direct result of fluoride ingestion. Even before the study was complete, the NTP contacted the Environmental Protection Agency to inform them that fluoride was carcinogenic.

There is a fascinating book titled "Fluoride, the Aging Factor" written by John Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. that provides a wealth of information about the background and dangers of fluoride. He is a world authority on the effects of fluoridation, and the American Dental Association reportedly has advised it's pro-fluoridation speakers that "Running up against Yiamouyiannis is not recommended."

He points out that fluoride at 1 part per million or less (the amount added to drinking water) inhibits the operation of over 100 different enzymes in the cells of people living in fluoridated areas. This isn't even a controversial point: The National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, and others have published lists of enzymes that are seriously inhibited at 1 part per million fluoride or even less. At levels of more than 1 part per million, fluoride accumulates in body tissues.

Since a large part of aging is the slowing of our bodies' intracellular enzymes, constant exposure to fluoridated water will literally cause premature aging!

Is Dr. Yiamouyiannis a lone voice crying in the wilderness? Not by a long shot. He and Dr. Dean Burke (Chief Chemist at the National Cancer Institute) did studies demonstrating that fluoride added to the nation's water supplies was responsible for 10,000 additional deaths from cancer per year. Other scientists attempted to refute these studies but Drs. Burke and Yiamouyiannis were able to prove them in court more than once.

Dr William Marcus was Chief Toxicologist for the Office of Drinking Water of the Environmental Protection Agency. His opinion that fluoride in drinking water was hazardous did not coincide with the official position of the EPA. He was fired from his job. He sued for reinstatement and won!

Dr. Phyllis Mullenix of Harvard University's Forsyth Research Institute (a dental research institute) published a study pointing out that fluoride was more effective than lead in reducing IQ levels in children!

A citizens' petition to prevent fluoridation of all of California's waters was co-sponsored by scientists of the EPA. In a letter of support from J. William Hirzy, Ph.D., we find the blunt statement that that the EPA scientists unanimously agree that fluoridation has "virtually no evidence of significant benefits", including tooth decay, but there is "substantial evidence of adverse health effects!!"

If you really want to find out how the fluoride fiasco got started and the power politics behind it, I would suggest you read the book "Fluoride: the Aging Factor", available from Safe Water Foundation, 6439 Taggart Road, Delaware, Ohio, 43015, The cost is $15.00 including postage.

Previously we outlined the effects of chlorine and other substances in our water systems. Combined with this article on fluoride you should be justifiably concerned with providing a pure source of drinking water for your animals.

Again a reminder that for 'show dogs' that exhibit skin irritations after bathing, you may want to check the source of the water used (particularly at show sites) rather than blaming it on a shampoo or something else. Dermal absorption can be just as bad as drinking the water.

Also remember that an often overlooked source is the water used in filling up the tanks in a motor home. If you are doing this from a tap, please remember not to use it as drinking or bathing water.

It's a sad state of affairs when we have to worry about the very basics of sustenance, food and water, that we commonly give to our animal companions. However, it does teach us that if we truly want good health it has now become necessary to learn how to "think for ourselves" about the fundamentals of our modern lifestyle.