drinking water fluoridation and childrens health page

Posted April 21, 2006
SOURCE: Cancer News




No alarm on fluoride: cancer risk unproven

CSuggestions that fluoridated water supplies may be linked to a rare form of bone cancer have not been scientifically established, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr Robert Hall said this week.

“A thorough review of a recently published paper on a possible association between fluoride and osteosarcoma has not diminished the view that water fluoridation is a safe, effective public health measure for preventing Tooth decay,” Dr Hall said.

“The incidence of osteosarcoma in Australia is very low, with an average of nine to ten cases diagnosed each year in children under the age of 15. In Victoria, an average of two to three are diagnosed each year.

"A thorough reading of the recent report shows that the authors say their work is an ‘exploratory analysis’ that will require further scientific confirmation to validate or refute the findings.

“Further, the data in this paper is part of a much more comprehensive 15-year study by the Harvard School of Dental Medicine which is yet to be published. The principal researcher of the larger study has warned against drawing any conclusions before seeing the full study, which will not suggest an overall association between fluoride and osteosarcoma.

“From our perspective there is nothing in this study which should prevent the public from continuing to enjoy the proven health benefits of optimally fluoridated water.

“The overwhelming scientific consensus is that water fluoridation does not increase the risk of osteosarcoma and major systematic and expert reviews have not identified any increased risk of cancer associated with drinking fluoridated water,” Dr Hall said.

Health authorities around the world support the fluoridation of water supplies as a safe, effective, inexpensive and socially equitable way to help reduce Tooth decay in children and adults.

“The World Health Organisation in 2005 reiterated its support for water fluoridation stating that at recommended levels it is a highly effective strategy to control dental caries in both children and adults, and is safe for the environment and human health in general,” Dr Hall said.

“In 2004, all Australian Health Ministers endorsed water fluoridation as a national oral health initiative - a key action in Healthy Mouths Healthy Lives: Australia’s Oral Health Plan 2004-2013,” he said.

Osteosarcoma is a primary bone cancer that usually affects young adults. Primary bone cancer, or cancer that starts in the bone, is very rare. Less than one per cent of people with bone cancer have primary bone cancer.

The causes of primary bone cancer are not known and epidemiological studies show no clear association between fluoride in drinking water and osteosarcoma.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: December 8, 2007
Last revised: by Brenda A. Kuper, M.D


“The fact is that I started out as somewhat skeptical and cautious about fluoridation. But then I became a firm believer as proof was assembled by scientists that fluoridation of a water supply will reduce the production of tooth cavities (our most prevalent disease) by 60%, and, just as important, that no disease or defect is caused by this procedure. What particularly allayed my early doubts about adding a chemical to public water supplies was learning that fluoride has always occurred naturally in water supplies.” Dr. Benjamin Spock
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