Ald. Bohl proposes legislation to stop Milwaukee’s fluoridation program

May 22, 2012

Source: Alderman Jim Bohl

New research shows that ingesting fluoride delivers health risks without benefit of less tooth decay which makes water fluoridation obsolete, unhealthy and a waste of money, and that is why I introduced legislation today calling for the end of Milwaukee’s water fluoridation program.

Fluoride chemicals have been added to Milwaukee’s water supply since 1953 when it was believed that ingested fluoride incorporated into children’s developing teeth would resist cavities. But science disproved that theory.

There is little convincing scientific evidence that swallowing fluoride actually reduces tooth decay. According to World Health Organization figures there is virtually no difference in tooth decay in 12-year-olds whether they have grown up in fluoridated or non-fluoridated countries. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that fluoride hardens teeth from topical application and swallowing fluoride can lead to fluoride overdose symptoms such as dental fluorosis (yellowing, brown, white spotting or pitted teeth). Fluorosis rates increased from 22% of teens in 1986 to an alarming 41% in 2010, according to CDC statistics. If fluoride works topically why are we forcing people to swallow it, especially those who after doing their own research on the issue have emphatically stated that they do not wish to drink fluoridated water? If any one wants fluoride in Milwaukee they can buy fluoridated toothpaste and brush it onto their teeth and spit it out. Milwaukee shouldn’t be playing either doctor or dentist to our citizens. We are not qualified to do this and those who urge us to continue accept no legal responsibility for any harm it may be causing.

It’s accepted that fluoride can also damage bones, but no studies have researched the bone damage caused to children with fluoride-induced tooth damage. The condition of teeth and bones may be the least of our worries, however. There have now been 26 published studies that indicate an association between fairly modest exposure to fluoride and lowered IQ in children. Promoters tell us that the level we add to water is very small (1.1 milligram per liter or 1.1 ppm) but that is actually greater than 250 times the level of fluoride that occurs in mothers’ milk (0.004 ppm, National Research Council, 2006, p.40).

Further, the prestigious National Research Council’s (NRC) 2006 fluoride report revealed that fluoride, even in low doses, can harm the thyroid gland, kidney patients, babies and high water drinkers. They also report studies linking fluoride to osteosarcoma (bone cancer). A study conducted at Harvard in 2001 and published in 2006 showed that young boys exposed to fluoridated water in their 6th to 8th years had a 5-7 fold increased risk of succumbing to osteosarcoma by the age of 20. Despite promises that this study would be refuted, no published study has done so.

As a result of the afore mentioned NRC report, government, health and dental organizations now advise against routinely mixing fluoridated water into infant formula to avoid dental fluorosis.

The National Kidney Foundation is among a growing list of organizations that has withdrawn its support of water fluoridation saying, “Individuals with CKD [Chronic Kidney Disease] should be notified of the potential risk of fluoride exposure.” The American Dental Association itself now admits fluoride is a concern to all kidney patients, not just those on dialysis.

Fluoride is not a nutrient or essential for healthy teeth. Fluoride is regulated as a drug in toothpaste by the FDA. Fluoride supplements have never been FDA safety tested and it classifies fluoride as an “unapproved drug.” The EPA regards the type of fluoride used to supplement water supplies as a contaminant. Even the CDC reports on its website saying, “It is not CDC’s task to determine what levels of fluoride in water are safe.” If it is not the CDC’s task, and the FDA refuses to do it, then whose task is it? Is the Milwaukee Common Council expected to do this?

While the less toxic calcium fluoride does appear in some waters naturally (.17 ppm in Lake Michigan water), Milwaukee adds hydrofluosilicic acid, a waste product of phosphate fertilizer manufacturing captured in its smokestacks, trucked as hazardous waste then injected unpurified into the water supply. These industrial grade fluoridation chemicals contain trace amounts of lead, arsenic, mercury, and other toxins. Arsenic is a known human carcinogen for which there is no safe level. By using these fluoridating chemicals we are knowingly increasing the cancer risk for our citizens. Why should we take these risks to reduce a negligible amount of tooth decay? Such a policy is reckless to say the least.

The ADA continues to actively promote the expansion of water fluoridation programs at the same time the CDC admits growing numbers of kids are fluoride-overdosed. National statistics show that tooth decay has grown in numbers and severity in toddlers more recently, and untreated tooth decay has grown in many age groups. The Pew Foundation reports “preventable dental conditions were the primary reason for 830,590 ER visits by Americans in 2009—a 16 percent increase from 2006.”

Americans are fluoride-overdosed and dentist-deficient. The lack of accessible, affordable dental care to many Milwaukee and Wisconsin residents has been widely reported. With no evidence, some claim that fluoridation helps the poor the most. Actually, the poor and malnourished are the most harmed by fluoride. They also are least in a position to afford expensive filtration systems required to remove fluoride from water, making this an environmental justice situation. According to civil rights leader and former mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young, “I am most deeply concerned for poor families who have babies: if they cannot afford unfluoridated water for their babies’ milk formula, do their babies not count?”

We have served as guinea pigs in this ongoing and failed experiment for far too long. In my position as Alderman, it is my duty to promote the health, safety and welfare of all our residents. Adding fluoride chemicals into our public water supply runs counter to this and therefore needs to end.


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22 Comments on "Ald. Bohl proposes legislation to stop Milwaukee’s fluoridation program"

  1. Jakenow on Tue, 22nd May 2012 11:45 am 

    The alderman seems to have rushed to reach his conclusion about fluoridation. There are so many misrepresentations that it’s hard to know where to start, but here’s an example.

    The alderman refers to the 2006 National Research Council (NRC) report. In a summary of its own report, the NRC pointed out that the focus of its concern was people living in areas of the U.S. with natural levels of fluoride that are at least double or triple the level used to fluoridate a public water system. Nothing in the NRC report casts doubt on the safety of fluoride at the recommended optimal level.

    He tries to cite rising decay rates among some groups of children as proof that fluoridated water doesn’t help. But he neglects to point out that: 1) 72 million Americans still don’t have access to fluoridated water, and 2) many parents are buying non-fluoridated bottled water for their kids.

    It’s really disturbing that a public official would try to spin the facts in this misleading way. Fluoridation makes good sense. I trust dentists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which endorses fluoridation) much more than I would ever trust this politician.

  2. jwillie6 on Tue, 22nd May 2012 1:41 pm 

    It’s time to retire fluoridation because it doesn’t work, wastes money and is harmful to health. Topical application may help, but drinking it to prevent tooth decay is as foolish as drinking sunscreen to prevent sunburn. People should not be forced to consume a drug against their will.

    Read the best scientific information on fluoridation in Dr. Paul Connett’s book “The Case Against Fluoride,” published last year. It contains many hundreds of peer reviewed studies and sound scientific reasoning showing the ineffectiveness and dangers to health from fluoride.
    Also see his very informative site here (

    You will see a petition at this site signed by over 4000 professionals, including hundreds of dentists, hundreds of doctors, and other medical researchers calling on governments everywhere to stop fluoridation.
    There are many large scientific studies referenced there to show that drinking fluoridated water has no positive effect on cavity reduction and to show that it causes cancer, thyroid damage, broken hips from brittle bones, lowered IQ, kidney disease and other health problems.

  3. jwillie6 on Tue, 22nd May 2012 1:44 pm 

    Fluoridation is a Waste of Tax Money.

    As a Civil Engineer, I know that people drink only 1/2% (one-half percent) of the water they use. The remaining 99 ½ % of the water with this toxic industrial waste fluoride chemical (Hexafluorosilicic acid) is dumped directly into the environment through the sewer system. The company CEO would be arrested immediately if they dumped their toxic waste fluoride into a river. The only way they can do it legally is to run it through the community drinking water system first. It is an absolutely insane condition.

    For example, for every $1000 of fluoride chemical added to water, $995 would be directly wasted down the drain in toilets, showers, dishwashers, etc., $5 would be consumed in water by the people, and less than $0.50 (fifty cents) would be consumed by children, the target group for this outdated practice.

    That would be comparable to buying one gallon of milk, using six-and-one-half drops of it, and pouring the rest of the gallon in the sink.
    Fluoridation surely is in contention as the most wasteful government program. Giving away fluoride tablets free to anyone who wants them or adding it to salt would be far cheaper and certainly more ethical, because then we would have the freedom to choose.

  4. Carol Weber on Tue, 22nd May 2012 3:18 pm 

    The following is submitted on behalf of Dr. Monica Hebl, a Milwaukee general dentist, past-president of the Greater Milwaukee Dental Association and Wisconsin Dental Association and vice chair of the American Dental Association Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations, in response to Ald. Jim Bohl’s proposal to end Milwaukee’s community water fluoridation program.

    “This is an extremely misguided proposal based on junk science, not fact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, along with greater use of vaccines and recognition of tobacco as a health hazard. Killing the City’s community fluoridation program would severely threaten the oral health of Milwaukee residents and those who live in the other 15 local communities that get their water from Milwaukee.

    “Verifiable science confirms community water fluoridation helps reduce tooth decay by 20 to 40 percent.

    “After 65 years of research and practical experience, the evidence has consistently indicated that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe. Of the hundreds of credible scientific studies on fluoridation, none has shown health problems associated with the consumption of optimally fluoridated water.

    “And it’s economical – a person can have a lifetime of fluoridated water for less than the cost of one dental filling, and studies show that every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves a community approximately $38 in future dental treatment costs.

    “There is simply no easier, safer or cheaper way to prevent tooth decay than community water fluoridation. The Greater Milwaukee Dental Association and the Wisconsin Dental Association strongly urge the City to reject Ald. Bohl’s short-sighted idea. Community water fluoridation, one of modern medicine’s greatest achievements, is too important to go without.”

  5. Joy Warren on Tue, 22nd May 2012 3:45 pm 

    OK – I am sick and tired of the CDC’s “one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century”. How many more times are they going to trot this one out? This proclamation is a statement which is of their own making and which has no statistical validity to back it up.

    Today, I learned that Fluoride Action Network FAN) and United Kingdom Councils Against Fluoridation (UKCAF) have been right all along. Go to www. and for the low-down on fluoridation.

    How dare the pro-fluoridation movement tell us what to put into our bodies. Doctors consult with us before prescribing so why should the ADA and the British Dental Association be allowed to prescribe and to compel us to drink a medicine when we haven’t been consulted! It’s preposterous!

    I refuse to ingest a substance which has been categorised by the EPA as a developmental neurotoxin

  6. jwillie6 on Tue, 22nd May 2012 5:06 pm 

    “Every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves a community approximately $38” is pure propaganda.
    As I pointed out above, only about 50 cents of each $1000 of fluoride reaches the children in the community. So more than $999 is wasted down the sewer and contaminates the environment. No one can believe it saves any money at all but is an absolute waste of tax money.
    Trying to distribute any drug in drinking water is the most wasteful and inefficient methiod.

  7. Tooth Fairy on Tue, 22nd May 2012 7:31 pm 

    Ald. Bohl is listening to nutty people. Fluoride in water is one of the top 10 public health innovations of all time, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. Take a look at peer-reviewed studies before you swallow the line of bull he is peddling. I can get you a thousand nutty people to say fluoride is harmful but that doesn’t make it so! This is a fruitcake proposal, Alderman. Stick to things within your limited competence, like deciding the design of manhole covers or whether or not Johnny’s Packer Bar should be permitted to renew its liquor license!

  8. Tooth Fairy on Tue, 22nd May 2012 7:33 pm 

    Jwillie, great that you are a civil engineer, but that doesn’t make you an expert in this area! Would you want a dentist to design a bridge or a physician to lay out a road? You’re outside your area of competence when you opine here.

    Bohl is citing junk science, written by idiots. Check it out. He’s all wet. He’s in waaay over his head!

  9. Santa Claus on Tue, 22nd May 2012 10:30 pm 

    Tooth Fairy,

    Don’t know what junk science you are referring to? Same issues have been raised about lead 20 years, DDT, and asbestos. Not to mention how the federal government was a shill for big tobacco for decades as well. In each instance, the federal government resisted independent science for decades and stood with industry– serving as a shill by advocating for industry led scientific reports. Open your eyes Fairy Tale. If anyone is ignorant and close minded it is you.

  10. NOFLUORIDE on Tue, 22nd May 2012 11:02 pm 

    Why are some people so unwilling to accept the truth until it’s much too late?? I guess it’s all that FLUORIDE they’ve ingested over the years. Job well done, government.

  11. SconnieMama on Tue, 22nd May 2012 11:52 pm 

    Please keep in mind the source of the fluoride for public water supplies: it is a by-product of fertilizer manufacturing (and other manufacturing, too); not anywhere pharmaceutical grade. This is a substance, as the civil engineer stated, that is classified as a hazard and needs to be disposed of properly (read – disposal COSTS money). Because this substance can be sold, it is not regulated in that way. The compound is “harvested” from smokestack scrubbers – no joke. Hexafluorosilicic acid or hydrofluorosilicic acid. Read about Edward Bernays and his association with The American Aluminum Company (Alcoa).

    The dentists support fluoride in defense of dental caries, but don’t acknowledge (as far as I can see) the other problems that systemic fluoride ingestion does to the body. There is plenty of academic research that shows fluoride is detrimental in other ways. It does have neurological effects; it does have metabolic effects (e.g. thyroid disease). It does make tooth enamel harder, but that doesn’t mean it lessens dental caries, especially when you look at the stats on the incidence of different types of caries. Interestingly enough, WHO charts show that around the world, dental caries are DECREASING, in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities. It’s not fluoride that is lessening caries; it’s better hygiene.

    Most importantly, look at how water fluoridation is regulated. It’s been grandfathered by the FDA. It’s the NSF that “regulates” fluoride for water fluoridation I believe. By the way, look up the main ingredient in Prozac.

    Sorry, but the CDC declaring water fluoridation as such a success truly is government propaganda. In fact, based on the findings of the 2006 NRC study (I believe) the CDC recently reduced the recommended levels of fluoridation. The government cannot go back on something its recommended for years – regardless of what the science says – it will lose credibility.

    Philosophical question: if fluoride is an essential element to human development, why is it BARELY detectable in breast milk? Compare the levels of fluoride that breast-fed babies ingest (even with mothers who drink fluoridated water) to those babies who are formula fed with formula mixed with normally fluoridated water. The science is there.

    At the end of the day, this really is medication without consent. Water fluoridation is entirely unnecessary, and more detrimental than it is beneficial. As jwillie6 suggested, read Connett’s book “The Case Against Fluoride”. Or Google Paul Connett and watch the hours of science he presents. It will make you think.

  12. Judy on Wed, 23rd May 2012 3:06 pm 

    In 1998, when my town was considering fluoridation, I phoned the Chicago headquarters of the ADA and they connected me to their science person. He was selling all the benefits of fluoride when he added “Mother’s milk has little or negligible fluoride levels as mothers’ breasts filter out fluoride.” This bombshell fact astonished me. I asked him where did he get this information and he told me La Leche League. So I verified breastmilk to contain 5-17 mcgs/L——100 times lower than fluoride 1ppm water. I asked “Did he realize the importance of this fact?” God or nature, whoever we wish to give credit to, is protecting newborn brains and kidneys. There was a long pause by both of us as this sunk in. He then told me solemnly “Go vote against it.”

    Fluoride is most dangerous for vulnerable subsets of our population: Pregnant women, newborns and young children fed powdered infant formula made with fluoridated tap water. It is more difficult for the kidneys to get rid of by the elderly, those with chronic illness such as kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, over and underactive thyroid conditions, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. Ingested fluoride can make these problems worse. And who is asking athletes and exercises how many glasses of tap water they are drinking. Bet they’re over the daily limit.

  13. Justmerk on Wed, 23rd May 2012 7:55 pm 

    Fluoride is safe fluoridate community water supplies. It’s important that you get your information from a reliable source. Just because someone posted the “research” on a webpage doesn’t make it factual. Fluoride has been widely used and researched for over 60 years and there are thousands of studies to support the use of fluoride at optimal levels for good dental health. Don’t believe the people who prefer to use scare tactics to persuade you.

  14. Picker22 on Thu, 24th May 2012 5:50 pm 

    The $38 savings with community water fluoridation (CWF) jwillie6 belittles was published in the J Public Health Dentistry and can be read here:

    This study underestimates savings because modern dentistry uses far more expensive treatments – implants for example. The study assumed that only inexpensive “silver” or amalgam fillings were used.

    New research shows fluoridation is the only public health intervention for severe cavities in young children to save more than it costs.

    see: A simulation model for designing effective interventions in early childhood caries. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9:110219.

    Only last year it was shown that kids who swallow fluoridated water become adults with more teeth. This surely must be the most clear end point for better community oral health.

    see: Am J Public Health. 2010 Oct;100(10):1980-5. The association between community water fluoridation and adult tooth loss. Neidell M, et al. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY

    One of the strongest reasons for Wisconsin’s support of fluoridation comes from the struggles legislatures face in paying for children’s dental care. A very large huge Louisiana study showed that 2/3rd of the operations for terrible cavities and 50% of the dental bills were avoided with CWF.

    see: Water Fluoridation and Costs of Medicaid Treatment for Dental Decay — Louisiana, 1995-1996. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention September 03, 1999 / 48(34);753-757

    The Texas legislature commissioned a study of children’s dental bills saved with fluoridation with similar findings.

    These are real cases. They will happen more often in Milwaukee if CWF is stopped.

    The PEW Trust has a nice summary of how CWF saves money and improves oral health.

    Across the USA CWF is the rule, not the exception. If jwillie6’s message that fluoridation is dangerous and doesn’t work anyway were the truth, it simply would no longer be done anywhere.

    Fluoridation is the foundation for a community’s better oral health, especially the children’s. Hopefully Milwaukee’s City Council will affirm its importance and vote with the overwhelming consensus of public health, dental and medical experts.

  15. Dr. Know on Thu, 24th May 2012 6:51 pm 

    That’s right Justmerk…but are you arguing with Harvard University, Dartmouth College, the University of Iowa School of Dentistry and many more highly regarded university studies. These aren’t places of junk science, they offer peer review studies that have panned fluoridation. I suggest you get your facts straight. Amazing how the defenders don’t actually show anything to counter the studies that show harmful effects to humans and then begin with their common refrain of “Junk Science”. Fluoride is a poison that has most commonly been used as rat poison and cockroach poison and other common pesticides. Google it folks!! Buy some of those poisons and use it in your water instead of a lemon because that’s what is going into the water. One previous refrain here was correct in that government and industry fought science the same way on lead. At first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they change. I’m waiting for the day Justmerk.

  16. Dr. Know on Thu, 24th May 2012 7:03 pm 

    Check out this site…

  17. Dr. Know on Thu, 24th May 2012 7:13 pm 

    EPA Scientists and Toxicologists (union represented scientists of the EPA call for a total end of water fluoridation in opposition to the bureaucrat administrators)

    Is this Junk Science???

  18. Justmerk on Fri, 25th May 2012 8:20 pm 

    Fear mongering and junk science at it’s best. The information is filled with half truths and scare tactics. It saddens me to think that people enjoy depriving children, adults, and the elderly of a proven health benefit. Fluoride has been studied for many years and is shown to be safe at the levels we use in our water supplies. These “experts” keep running down a laundry list of things that they say are caused by fluoride. The fact that there is no supporting evidence for such claims does not matter. Their strategy is to keep repeating it….. because if something is said often enough, people tend to think there must be some truth to it. Don’t fall for their tactics! Remember, these are the same people who started out saying that Hitler used fluoride to control his people and when that didn’t work they moved onto something else and then something else…. and now have a list a mile long. This my friends is just a sample of the misguided scare tactics used by poison mongers.

  19. Justmerk on Fri, 25th May 2012 8:23 pm 

    P.S. Google is not a source of scientific research based evidence. Plain and simple. Its been a quick and simple way for a small group of radical thinking people to get their misguided messages out to the public.

  20. Dr. Know on Fri, 25th May 2012 8:55 pm 

    You are now calling the EPA scientists call for an end to water fluoridation because it is dangerous junk science? I’m sure you know better than them. I wouldn’t be surprised find you defending the Inquisition against the junk science of Copernicus and Galileo who said the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around. Afterall, who were these two men other than junk scientist, using your definition.

    Hide behind your innuendos and labels. That’s all you’ve got and time is running out on your side.

  21. Picker22 on Sat, 26th May 2012 1:33 pm 

    The $38 savings with community water fluoridation (CWF) jwillie6 believes is unimportan was published in the J Public Health Dentistry and can be read here:

    This study underestimates savings because modern dentistry uses far more expensive treatments – implants for example. The study assumed that only inexpensive “silver” or amalgam fillings were used.

    New research shows fluoridation is the only public health intervention for severe cavities in young children to save more than it costs.

    see: A simulation model for designing effective interventions in early childhood caries. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9:110219.

    Only last year it was shown that kids who swallow fluoridated water become adults with more teeth. This surely must be the most clear end point for better community oral health.

    see: Am J Public Health. 2010 Oct;100(10):1980-5. The association between community water fluoridation and adult tooth loss. Neidell M, et al. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY

    There is a large literature documenting CWF’s effectiveness which is the real explanation for the overwhelming support in the professional public health community.

  22. George S on Wed, 20th Sep 2017 5:04 pm 

    Interesting, I wonder if there will ever be legislation like this in AZ

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