State University of New York (SUNY) researchers found more premature births in fluoridated than non-fluoridated upstate New York communities, according to a presentation made at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting on November 9, 2009 in Philadelphia. (1)
Fluoridation is the addition of fluoride chemicals into public water supplies ostensibly to prevent tooth decay. Many groups oppose fluoridation because of its scientifically-documented health risks. (2)
Human pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks or just more than 9 months. A baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered a preterm (or premature) birth. About 12 percent of US pregnancies are preterm and this is one of the top causes of infant death in the US, according to the US National Institutes of Health. (3)
The SUNY researchers used 1993-2002 data from the NY Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS), which collects patient characteristics, diagnoses, treatments, services and charges for every hospital discharge, ambulatory surgery patient and emergency department admission in New York State. They recorded fluoridation residence status (under or over 1 milligram fluoride per Liter of water) and adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, neighborhood poverty level, hypertension and diabetes.
“Domestic water fluoridation was associated with an increased risk of PTB [preterm birth]. This relationship was most pronounced among women in the lowest SES [socio-economic-status] groups (>10% poverty) and those of non-white racial origin,” write Rachel Hart, et al. Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, SUNY School of Public Health.
Previous published research by others has shown that fluoride can interfere with the reproductive system. (4)
“It would be wise to follow the lead of the 7,000 Environmental Protection Agency scientists and public health professionals (5) who asked Congress to place a moratorium on fluoridation until definitive studies are conducted to prove fluoridation is safe for every human consuming it,” says attorney Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. “Clearly fluoridation is not safe for everyone," says Beeber.
At the request of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a National Research Council (NRC) panel of experts reviewed current fluoride toxicology. In 2006 they concluded that the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water is too high to be protective of health. At least three NRC panel members believe water fluoride levels should be as close to zero as possible. The EPA has yet to perform a fluoride risk assessment based on the NRC's findings leaving millions of Americans at risk of fluoride's adverse health effects.
According to Dr. Bill Hirzy, Chair of American University’s Chemistry Department and former EPA scientist from 1981 to 2008, the EPA fears “setting a maximum contaminant level goal of zero because that would mean the EPA is going to be responsible for the end of the water fluoridation program. EPA knows that there will be enormous political flak for doing that.” (6)
1) 197468 Relationship between municipal water fluoridation and preterm birth in Upstate New York Rachel Hart, BA, MPH, et al. Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York, Rensselaer, NY
(2) Fluoride Action Network – Health Effects Database
(3) National Institutes of Health, “Preterm Labor and Birth,”
(4) Fluoride Action Network - HEALTH EFFECTS: Fluoride & the Reproductive System http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/repro/index.html
(5) Why EPA Headquarters Union of Scientists Opposes Fluoridation