I am a pharmacologist and my interest in fluoridation goes back to when fluoridating the public water supplies was an issue in Sweden. I thoroughly studied the scientific literature and the arguments for and against.
My conclusion was clear: Fluoride is very active pharmacologically, affecting enzymes and tissues in the body even at low concentrations.
In concentrations not far above those recommended, it has overt toxic actions.
Fluoride added to the drinking water can prevent caries to some extent, but it can do so, at least as efficiently, when applied locally. Moreover, local treatment, preferably with toothpaste, is better because the caries-preventive action is exerted directly on the erupted teeth.
An earlier belief, that its action is limited to a period before the eruption of the teeth, is not correct.
In fact, the systemic action of fluoride in the bloodstream, before tooth eruption, can damage enamel, leading to mottled teeth. This side effect (known as dental fluorosis), as well as other toxic actions of fluoride, is very much reduced when fluoride is applied as toothpaste.
The addition of fluoride to water supplies violates modern pharmacological principles.
Recent research has revealed a sometimes enormous individual variation in response to drugs. If a pharmacologically active agent is supplied in the drinking water, the individual variation in response, which is considerable even when the dosage is fixed, will be markedly increased by the individual variation in water consumption.
Fluoridation is ethically questionable and unnecessarily expensive.
In Sweden, decades ago, I took part in the public debate to convince the Swedish Parliament that fluoridation should be illegal. Similar decisions have been taken in most of Europe. I know of no evidence that dental health is worse there than in the United States.
I am intrigued by the story of Phyllis Mullenix and her animal research on the influence of fluoride on behavior and brain development. I am not surprised by the resistance that Phyllis Mullenix so unfortunately experienced. Novel and surprising observations are often met with disbelief by the scientific community, and in this case the prestige of influential people is probably an additional factor.
It is my sincere hope that Christopher Bryson's book, The Fluoride Deception will receive the attention it deserves and that its implications will be seriously considered.
Professor Emeritus Arvid Carlsson, MD, PhD, is the 2000 Nobel Laureate for Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system.