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Published On: Fri, Sep 5th, 2014

U.S. Law Professor questions legality of Water Fluoridation

Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Associate professor at Chapman University’s David E. Fowler School of Law, Rita Barnett-Rose, questions the legality of water fluoridation in the United States and Canada, arguing that it may be human research without consent while evidence is mounting that suggests that the practice causes harm, especially among children, while it yields little or no effect with regard to preventing tooth decay. 

Professor Barnett-Rose states that most Americans are under the impression that water fluoridation is a safe and effective public health measure to fight tooth decay and that courts routinely have upheld compulsory water fluoridation schemes as legitimate exercise of police power to ensure the dental health of communities.

Rira Barnett-Rose_USAShe adds, however, that evidence is steadily mounting against water fluoridation, stressing that recent studies are suggesting that not only is fluoridation not effective at achieving the stated public health goal, but that excess exposure to fluoride contributes to a host of far more serious health concerns, particularly in the very population which fluoridation allegedly should benefit – children.

Part of this mounting evidence is a study by Philippe Grandjean MD from the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Philip Landrigan MD, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai, New York, published in the prestigious journal “The Lancet” in 2014.

The study correlates the epidemic increase in neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and other cognitive impairments to industrial chemicals, including fluoride.

Dental fluorosis.

Dental fluorosis.

Professor Rita Barnett-Rose also stressed that there is growing evidence to suggest that the systemic intake of fluoride is linked to dental and skeletal fluorosis, endocrine disruption, hypothyroidism and lowered IQ in children.

She added that it is not surprising that a growing number of U.S. and Canadian communities join the 97% of Europe and most of what she described as “the developed world” in rejecting compulsory water fluoridation.

She criticized that new scientific evidence and recommendations from the National Research Council have not been followed up upon sufficiently by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and that the EPA to date has not yet come out with any revised Maximum Contaminant levels which are consistent with latest scientific studies.

Skeletal fluorosis.

Skeletal fluorosis.

The law professor stressed, that in the light of the mounting scientific evidence and ongoing federal agency reconsideration on safe levels in drinking water, compulsory water fluoridation must now be reassessed to determine whether it remains both legally and ethically justifiable as a coercive health measure.

Barnett-Rose concludes that it is questionable whether compulsory water fluoridation can withstand systematic scrutiny of its risk, benefit, human rights burden and economic costs, or whether the significant gaps in research suggest that compulsory water fluoridation is more properly viewed as human subjects experimental research, requiring the application of strict informed consent and vulnerable population control protocols.

CH/L – nsnbc 05.09.2014

Read more in our extensive coverage of the international debate on fluoridation with news, expert analysis and opinion, in nsnbc international – your daily independent.

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About the Author

- Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and former independent political consultant on conflict, conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. In March 2013 he established nsnbc as a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at

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  1. Richard Hudon says:

    I am interested in all reports and articles on the Fluorine element, the Fluoride ion as they relate to any facet of health, the environment, law and ethics, and on fluoridation. Thank you for publishing this interesting though brief article on fluoridation by Prof. Barnett-Rose.

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