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The Return of Tryptophan
Prozac, Zoloft, imipramine and some other antidepressant drugs also affect serotonin levels. But unlike tryptophan, which increases serotonin production, these drugs block the destruction of serotonin in the brain by interfering with the body's natural physiological regulatory system.
Tryptophan supplements were once used as a safe, inexpensive and effective means to treat depression, insomnia, weight gain, migraines and anxiety. But in 1989 the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) banned sales of the nutrient after one contaminated batch caused thousands of cases of eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS). Before the outbreak was over, between 7,500 and 10,000 cases of EMS were identified and 39 people had died.
Almost a decade later, the FDA has yet to lift the ban on tryptophan. Why would the agency ban all sales of a nutrient because one batch became contaminated? Critics suggest that the FDA's unfair action is typical of its pro-pharmaceutical-industry agenda. They point out that the ban on tryptophan, a safe, natural substance was soon followed by the introduction of expensive, prescription-only mood-elevating drugs such as Prozac that have serious side effects.
Fortunately, tryptophan is now available to the public in its 5-HTP form,
which studies have shown may be helpful for insomnia, anxiety reduction,
depression, weight loss, and migraines. Studies comparing 5-HTP with prescription
drugs have found that they are equally effective, but 5-HTP produced no
side effects. (It is suggested that daily doses of 5-HTP not exceed 100
milligrams, since higher doses may produce mild side effects.)
Battling Food-Borne Bacteria
IDEXX Labs, a diagnostic testing service, examined 39 samples of fresh bean sprouts purchased from grocers, and found that each gram of sprouts averaged over 10 million coliform bacteria. These bacteria do not pose a disease risk themselves, but their presence suggests the potential for contamination by other soil-dwelling pathogens. Ten of the samples were contaminated with E. coli. Similar bacterial findings have been noted in studies of other vegetables.
In one experiment, researchers purposely contaminated sprouts with E. coli or Salmonella to determine if washing would remove the pathogens. After three washings in clean water, significant numbers of microbes remainedómany thousands of times the number needed to cause disease in those with weakened immune systems.
In addition to surface bacterial contamination, pathogens can make their way inside plant cells. Japanese researchers found that radish plants grown from seeds soaked in E. coli-contaminated water harbored bacteria within their cells.
Fresh manure and human feces are common crop fertilizers in many parts of the world, and the U.S. is now importing a great deal of food from other countries. The FDA cannot be relied upon to keep contaminated food out of the food supply, since the agency has the resources to inspect fewer than 2% of non-meat imports.
Scientists are currently working on various chemical washes to kill surface
bacteria. One mixture that has proven effective is a combination of vinegar
and hydrogen peroxide.
Tend Your Intestinal Garden
Eating foods or supplements containing beneficial bacteria can increase the numbers of heath-promoting organisms in the intestines. Non-pasteurized yogurt, miso, pickled vegetables and other fermented foods are known to increase the numbers of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. But recent research indicates that when ingestion of beneficial bacteria stops, their populations dwindle rapidly to previous levels, so consuming these foods must become a regular practice to experience continued health benefits.
[Editor: Traditional cultures practiced the regular consumption of fermented
foods, often at every meal.]
Prevailing Over PMS
Research indicates that brewers' yeast, magnesium and vitamin B6 are beneficial for some of the symptoms of PMS, so Italian researchers decided to put all three nutrients together to see how a combined approach would work. In their double-blind study, 40 women with mild to moderate PMS were given either the combination supplement, or a placebo, over six menstrual cycles. By the end of the study, the women taking the supplement had an 80% reduction in symptoms.
The supplement used for the study contained 1.5 mg. of vitamin B6, 400
mg. of magnesium, 0.2 mg. of folic acid, 12 mg. of vitamin E, 4 mg. of
copper, 20 mg. of iron, and one gram of brewers' yeast.
Fish on Drugs
To meet the soaring demand, new methods of fish farming have been developed to maximize production, and this has led to severe environmental problems. For example, expansion of shrimp farms in developing countries had resulted in a staggering loss of tidal flats, mangrove forests and wetlands where the farms are commonly sited.
Because of overcrowding and unnatural conditions, disease is unavoidable in commercially farmed fish, so fish farmers must rely on the use of drugs to keep their stocks alive. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five drugs for use in food fishóTerramycine (an antibiotic), Sulfamerazine (an antibiotic), Romet 30 (an antibiotic), Finquel (an anesthetic) and Formalin (a parasiticide).
The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is responsible for approving drugs for use in animals, but it does not carry out routine inspections for enforcement purposes. In 1991, the National Academy of Sciences concluded that chemicals are not effectively controlled in fish farming under current conditions, and advised that additional safety studies be conducted on contaminant risks.
Under the FDA's Investigational New Animal Drug Exemptions, experimental drugs can be used on fish. These treated fish can later be sold on the market, even though these experimental drugs have not yet received safety testing. Another drug-related risk comes from the numerous drugs permitted by those countries from which we import much of our fish. While the FDA only considers 5 drugs adequately tested, European authorities have approved 15 drugs, while Japan allows 24.
In related news: Due to public outcry over health safety issues, two British supermarket chains have halted sales of fish-farmed salmon treated with the pesticide ivermectin used to kill sea lice.
[Editor: Perhaps the safest choice, aside from having your own fishpond
or fishing in waters known to be unpolluted, is to consume ocean fish
whose habit is far from polluted shores.]
Studies show that populations in countries with lower dietary fat intakes have fewer degenerative diseases, and there is a general consensus among scientists and health agencies that Americans should reduce the amount of fat in their diet to improve their health. But just advocating a low-fat diet does not seem to translate into changes in people's eating habits. In fact, studies show that low-fat diets are usually considered bland and monotonous, and many individuals find a reduction in fat intake difficult to achieve, even when they believe it will result in better health.
Rather than tell people to avoid fat, researchers in Scotland have discovered a roundabout way to help people maintain a low-fat diet with a more positive recommendationóincrease consumption of starchy foods.
Bread, cereals and other starchy foods were once thought to put on the pounds, but it seems that fat is the real culprit. In a recent study, subjects who were told to consume two portions of ready-to-eat cereals with skim milk each day experienced a 5% reduction in dietary fat intake. Simply by adding these starchy calories to their diets, subjects automatically reduced their intake of fat-rich sweet snacks and other fatty foods. Not only was dietary fat reduced, there was a trend toward weight loss, and an increase in vitamin and mineral intake among the subjects. Interestingly, the subjectsí overall caloric intake remained the same, suggesting that a fat calorie is more fattening than a starch calorie.
This study adds support to the growing body of evidence that a high-fat intake promotes obesity, while a high complex carbohydrate diet may be protective.
In related research, British scientists at the Institute of Food Research found that artificially sweetened foods were unlikely to help in weight control, since people tend to add them to their diet, rather than use them in place of foods that contain sugar.
[Editor: Why should achieving reasonable weight have to be a struggle
of will power, as it is for so many people? In many countries that still
follow their traditional grain-based diets and lifestyles, obesity is
uncommon. The above study suggests that by simply adding more cereals
to their diets, people may be able to achieve their weight goals without
Unlike clothing made with some synthetic fibers, cotton clothes feel good and allow the skin to breathe. But cotton also has a dark side in regards to human and environmental health.
It takes about one-third of a pound of chemicals to grow the cotton required to make one T-shirt, and more than 10% of the world's pesticides are used on the 82 million acres of cotton grown worldwide. In California, one of the top cotton-growing states in the U.S., five of the nine most frequently used pesticides applied to cotton are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as highly dangerous. In addition to harming wildlife and poisoning ground water, these toxic chemicals also threaten farm workers and, possibly, consumers.
After cotton is grown, it is usually chlorine bleached, defoliated, and starch sized. A by-product of these processes is dioxin, which has been detected in residual amounts on cotton T-shirts. Dioxin is associated with cancer, endocrine disruption, immune system impairment and learning disorders.
Organic cotton is grown without the toxic chemicals that can harm the
environment or people. About 30,000 acres of organic cotton are now grown
in the U.S., and more than 100 companies are selling cotton products ranging
from clothing to tampons.
It seemed that the controversy over the alleged connection between electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and cancer had been settled once and for all. In 1996, a National Academy of Sciences panel decided that there was no "conclusive and consistent evidence" of harm from residential exposure to EMFs generated by appliances, powerlines or other sources.
Giving weight to this conclusion, last year a major National Cancer Institute (NCI) study discovered no evidence of a link between childhood leukemia and EMFs. Now, the controversy has gained new life with the recent report by an advisory panel to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stating that EMFs are a potential carcinogen.
As the experts squabble over how to interpret past research, new studies continue to appear suggesting that the dangers from EMFs are real. German investigators recently discovered that the EMFs generated by mobile phones might increase resting blood pressure. In their study, exposure to a radio-frequency magnetic field for 35 minutes caused a 5 to 10 mm Hg rise in blood pressure. In another study, Swedish researchers recently found that women under fifty years old suffered an increase risk for breast cancer when exposed to EMFs.
Electromagnetic energy is thought to cause cancer by depressing nighttime
melatonin levels. Low melatonin leads to increases in circulating estrogen
levels, and estrogen promotes the growth of breast tumors.
Human activity is significantly altering the Earth's ecosystems, and scientists are struggling to find out what kind of trouble we may be in for as a result. Perhaps the most ominous threat is global warming, which could lead to numerous planet-wide problems such as worsening storms, coastal flooding, and famines.
Like the human body, our planet is a complex web of interlocking natural forces, so it is difficult to predict future climate changes. One factor that has been getting a lot of attention lately is the potential effect of global warming on ocean currents. According to scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, continued warming of the planet caused by human pollution could disrupt ocean currents, which, in turn, could bring about a mini-Ice Age.
Data gathered from ice core and marine sediments indicate that several times in the Earth's past, average temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere have cooled by 10° in a matter of just a few years. This last happened between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago, turning Europe's forests into glacial tundra for a period lasting 1,000 years.
What caused these drastic temperature drops? Scientists also have discovered that the ocean currents carrying warm air to northern Europe and Asia have repeatedly shut down over the past 100,000 years. They now believe that these ocean-current disruptions led to past climatic shifts.
Scientists are presently concerned that greenhouse warming could force
ocean currents once again to slow or come to a halt, bringing a sudden
cooling to the Northern Hemisphere. Even a few degrees of cooling could
severely impact human society. According to a scientist at the University
of Pennsylvania currently studying the problem, "Humanity would continue,
but a lot of us would be very unhappy."
The market for genetically altered seeds may reach an estimated $94 billion by the year 2005, but that assumes that the public will fully embrace the technology. So far, European consumers have been expressing very strong resistance to bioengineered foods, and were recently joined by Prince Charles who denounced farming methods that destroy our "sense of the sacred."
The Europeans have not limited their expressions of disapproval to mere words:
ï A group called the Gaelic Earth Liberation Front ruined a test crop of Monsanto's genetically engineered sugar beets planted outside Dublin, and has carried out similar attacks on other plots of biotech crops.
ï French farmers, concerned that the genes from bioengineered plants may spread to other crops or weeds, illegally entered a Novartis warehouse in January and destroyed five tons of transgenic corn.
ï Nineteen out of 33 test crops planted in Germany in 1996 were tampered with, and nine test plantings were stopped from taking place altogether.
The battle against biotech foods is also being fought in the courtroom.
A British farmer is suing Sharpes International Seeds Limited to stop
the biotech company from planting an experimental crop of genetically
modified corn next to his organic farm. He fears that pollen from the
Sharpes' fields will drift onto his crops, causing him to lose his organic
Some toxic chemical manufacturers want us to believe that the plethora of poisonous substances being spewed into our air and water do not exist in sufficient quantities to cause us any harm. After all, they remind us, governmental agencies set safety limits and protect us from any possible hazard. That protection, however, seems far less than adequate.
ï A study from the University of Arizona found that heavy pesticide exposures have apparently impaired the development of children in a Yaqui Indian community in Mexico. The children there are born with detectable concentrations of many pesticides in their blood, and ingest more toxins through breast milk. Further exposures come from the regular application of pesticides on nearby farm fields, and the use of household bug sprays. The researchers believe that the exposures of the Yaqui children are typical for agricultural areas, even in the U.S.
Scientists compared these children to others living in the foothills, where the only major exposure to pesticides occurs from government spraying to control mosquitoes. The children with greater pesticide exposure performed far worse on measures of gross and fine eye-hand coordination, drawing ability, short-term memory, and staminaóall symptoms of neurological damage.
It is important to note that the impaired children had none of the obvious signs of pesticide poisoning, which suggests that children throughout the world who are diagnosed as "slow learners" or genetically impaired may, in fact, be suffering from pesticide toxicity.
ï Doctors have discovered that 75% of the people tested in Grand Bois, a town in Louisiana situated near industrial waste sites, have abnormal blood cells. The type of abnormality discovered is typical of damage caused by heavy metal exposure.
ï Many studies have shown that within a few days after concentrations of certain air pollutants rise, death rates from respiratory and heart disease also take an upward turn. Now, a study from the University of Brazil has observed a rise in fetal deaths corresponding to increases in atmospheric pollution. Researchers found that about 20% of fetal deaths could be attributed to the pollutant nitrogen dioxide. The study was undertaken in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which has levels of pollution comparable to those found in many North American cities.
ï The African-American community in Gainesville, Georgia, has been
exposed to industrial emissions for many years. Scientists found that
the incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease,
was nine times higher than the highest previously reported incidence for
According to psychologists at the University of Houston, people have one of two underlying philosophies of relationship: either they believe that relationships are built through work and growth, or they think that two people are destined for each other. Whichever approach a person has, it will dictate the course and outcome of his or her love life.
The growth theorists among us believe that compatibility and closeness develop as people come to know their partners over time. Problems are viewed as challenging obstacles along the way that can actually increase closeness as resolutions are worked out together. Those ascribing to the growth approach tend toward more committed, long-term relationships, and have fewer one-night stands.
Those believing that relationships are destined think that people are
either meant for each other, or they are not. Often, when these people
are not satisfied with their partners their relationships end abruptly.
Those who believe in fate will often engage in denial or pull back from
the relationship when the going gets tough, assuming that things will
work out if it's meant to be.
Want to see a UFO, have an encounter of the third kind, or visit a while with your long-dead Uncle Mortimer? Michael Persinger, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, can help you out, but you may be scared out of your wits in the process.
Professor Persinger has developed a machine that stimulates the experience of alien visitation and ghostly encounters in the mind. The device consists of a modified motorcycle helmet equipped with electrodes that send faint electromagnetic pulses into the brain. People using the device report hallucinations that resemble aliens and ghosts.
The experience is not necessarily pleasant. One subject reported: "It felt for all the world as though two hands had grabbed my shoulders and yanked me upright . . . . Then came the emotions. Totally out of the blue, but intensely and vividly, I suddenly felt angry. Later . . . . I was terrified."
The electromagnetic pulses from the helmet cause nerves to fire in two parts of the brainóthe amygdala, which controls emotions, especially fear, and the hippocampus, which is involved with processing new memories. By activating these two areas at once, past memories will rush in a jumble to consciousness, seem as if they are very real, and be accompanied by considerable emotional content. Subjectively, the experience may be perceived as visitations by scary alien presences or spirits.
Persinger points out that earthquakes produce electromagnetic fields that could produce weird experiences in the same way that his device does. He claims that there is a direct correlation between UFO sightings and earthquakes, and points out that about 90% of luminous events in the sky reported between 1820 and 1926 occurred during periods of seismic activity.
In related news, a panel of nine senior physical scientists recently concluded that some UFO events merited further scientific study. The panel issued a statement saying, "Anything that is not explained is something science at some level ought to be interested in."
[Editor: While some reports of the supernatural undoubtedly are faked,
many people are probably telling the truth about their experiences. The
question is whether these experiences occurred within these peoples' own
minds, or in physical reality. Group sightings of UFOs could be explained
by sudden, large-area anomalies in the Earth's electromagnetic fields.
It would be worth finding out if UFO sightings are more common in earthquake-prone
There are two types of essential fatty acidsóomega-3s (linolenic acids) and omega-6s (linoleic acids). Both are necessary for health. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in many vegetable oils, including soybean, safflower, corn, sunflower, flax, and walnut oils. Omega-3 fatty acids occur in flaxseeds, hemp, borage, pumpkinseeds, walnuts, and several cold-water fish. The modern diet has an estimated 14:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, compared to a 6:1 ratio consumed by people on a traditional, pre-industrial diet.
British researchers suspect that a lack of omega-3s may be responsible for some cases of depression. They examined the fatty acid composition of red blood cell membranes in both depressed patients and non-depressed controls. The depressed group had significantly fewer omega-3s, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), than the control group.
The lower level of omega-3s found in the cells of depressed patients may be due to greater oxidative damage of cell membranes, indicating that these people have inadequate antioxidant defenses. Another study found that patients suffering from more severe depression had lower levels of fatty acids and lower dietary intakes of omega-3s than those with milder cases of depression.
Researchers suggest that supplementation with omega-3s might be of therapeutic
value for those suffering depression.
While 9% of people suffer from the severe headaches called migraines, 20% to 30% are afflicted with the more common, less intense variety known as tension headaches. Although tension headache pain may not be as intense, it can last for hours, days or even weeks. One study found that chronic tension-headache sufferers experienced more pain and disruption of daily activities than patients with diabetes or arthritis. The standard headache treatments, over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, are not without side effects, and can even make pain persist rather than take it away.
One alternative therapy that has proved highly successful in treating tension headaches is progressive relaxation. According to scientists at Ohio University in Athens, it is the best therapy for reducing both the severity and frequency of chronic tension headaches. Several studies have found that most chronic headache sufferers experienced at least a 50% reduction in pain intensity and frequency using progressive relaxation. For some, headaches disappear almost entirely.
In learning progressive relaxation, patients are trained to tense, then release different muscles in a set sequence. It's simple to do, but it takes some time to learn, especially for people who hold a lot of tension. Some people only need one lesson, and can do it from then on with just an instructional tape.
For those having trouble learning progressive relaxation, electromyographic feedback may be helpful. With this technique, a technician applies sensors to the head and neck, then feedback is given to the patient on the location of the tension. Patients gradually learn to recognize when their muscles are tense, and how to release them successfully.
[Editor: A free list of biofeedback practitioners can be obtained by
calling (303) 420-2902. Most people, however, can probably learn progressive
relaxation with an instructional tape.]
About 95% of all women reach menopause by age 55, and many suffer from hot flashes and other symptoms during this hormonal change. The usual medical treatment is hormone replacement therapy, which is associated with many potential side effects such as high blood pressure, abnormal vaginal bleeding, gallbladder disease, depression, weight gain and endometrial and breast cancers. In a large study of 121,700 nurses, those taking estrogen alone, or estrogen and progestin together, had an increased risk of breast cancer compared to women who never used hormones.
Another way of relieving symptoms associated with menopause is the herb black cohosh, which has a long history of treating women's problems in both America and Europe, and was an official drug of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1926. Studies show that the plant strengthens female reproductive organs, and has hypoglycemic, estrogenic, mild sedative and anti-inflammatory effects. Extracts of the root have been found to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and depression. One randomized, double-blind study compared a black cohosh preparation with estrogen and with a placebo. On measures of menopausal symptoms, the herb outperformed both the estrogen and the placebo.
Many studies document black cohosh's effectiveness and its safety. The herb has been used in Germany for more than 40 years with no evidence of serious side effects, contraindications, or harmful interactions with other drugs, however, use during pregnancy or lactation is not recommended.
Mild nausea while taking the herb has been reported in rare cases.
The medical establishment has set up review boards to ensure that experimental treatments are tested in a safe and ethical manner. Patients must be protected from those doctors and scientists who may be overeager to make their earthshaking contribution to humanity, or to earn millions of dollars in royalties for a newly discovered treatment protocol. Unfortunately, a recent study shows that review boards are not doing their job.
Investigators from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that patients who participated in clinical trials of new drugs were often subjected to unethical and unsafe practices because no one oversaw the research to protect their interests. The review boards responsible for this task failed for a number of reasons:
ï Patients were not sought out for feedback on their experiences.
ï Review board members were unqualified to evaluate areas of medicine they were supervising.
ï After approval, reviewers rarely visited the sites of the trials. This is important, because it is not uncommon for biomedical researchers to stray from approved protocols.
One reason given for the review boards' failures is that they are deluged with more studies than they can handle. However, this excuse is not acceptable when human welfare is at stake. One reviewer reported that he only checked up on studies when there was a report of a death, not having time to deal with lesser human sufferings.
Another problem with review board supervision is conflict of interest. Boards are under heavy pressure to accommodate the needs of their parent institutions, which are dependent on research funds provided by the very drug companies manufacturing the drugs being tested.
The report also revealed that doctors and pharmaceutical companies often enlisted subjects for their research projects with misleading advertisements in subways, buses, and on college campuses. Risks were often not made clear to potential experimental subjects.
While not necessary the fault of the experimenters, patient consent is another area of concern that needs improvement. In one study, the large majority of patients felt pressure to accept experimental treatments, even though they were repeatedly told that testing was voluntary. One-third admitted that they felt their treatment at the hospital might be compromised if they did not comply.
[Editor: As much as some people may not want to believe it, doctors are
as susceptible to greed, pride and other human failings as other segments
of the populationóperhaps, even more so, since some physicians
were undoubtedly drawn to their profession, in part, because of the especially
lucrative compensation. Since they hold our lives in their hands, doctors
should be subject to the strictest ethical controls and highest levels
of effective supervision.]
A theory has been floating around for several years that AIDS and other diseases were created and spread by scientists, and some versions even suggest that this was done intentionally to eradicate certain segments of the population. A recent study published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet provides some evidence to support at least part of that theory.
For many years, cells and blood from African green monkeys and macaques have been used for vaccine trials. Naturally, scientists want to insure that the animals are healthy, since the vaccines produced from this process will be injected into humans. So animals are first screened by visual examination and blood tests for any signs of disease. But research has now revealed that even apparently healthy animals with normal blood screens can be infected with latent viruses and retroviruses.
Using sophisticated genetic analysis, investigators have found that retroviruses may have been activated in the cells of the monkeys during the preparation of polio vaccines. Passed on to people receiving those vaccines, monkey retroviruses could mutate and cause human disease. According to some sources, contaminated vaccines continue to be produced from infected monkey kidney cells to this day.
Some researchers claim that vaccines carry a wide variety of viral contaminants, including herpes B, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr and HIV. They blame the wide variety of unusual cancers and autoimmune disorders that are so prevalent today on these agents. Retroviruses in hepatitis B vaccine that was partly prepared with contaminated monkeys are alleged to have begun the AIDS epidemic.
Why doesn't the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) step in to take
contaminated vaccines off the market? Critics claim that proprietary laws
and non-disclosure agreements made with the pharmaceutical industry muzzle
the agency, so it can't warn scientists or health practitioners about
the existence of contaminants.
In 1995, the California State Legislature passed a law requiring the
fluoridation of all public water supplies for communities serving more
than 10,000 customers. Santa Cruz, a town about 50 miles south of San
Francisco, said no to the state law, and enacted its own law prohibiting
fluoridation of water without a majority vote of city residents. The town
is not alone in its opposition to the process; legislatures in Hawaii,
Kansas, Pennsylvania and Washington have all voted down fluoridation proposals.
No one questions that fluoride is an extremely toxic chemical at certain levels; even warning labels on fluoridated toothpaste now use the word "poison". The question is, how much is too much?
Fluoride and its compounds are ubiquitous in our environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that at least 155,000 tons a year are discharged by U.S. industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that airborne fluorides cause more damage to domestic animals than any other air pollutant. On top of this widespread environmental contamination, fluoride is added to dental products, and to drinking water in many communities.
Those opposed to fluoridation claim that Americans' exposures to fluoride are excessive, and result in a variety of health problems. For example, bone fracture rates among male children and teenagers have risen dramatically since 1957, and eight different epidemiological studies link water fluoridation and increased bone fractures. In light of the rising fracture rates, the Journal of the American Medical Association has suggested a reevaluation of water fluoridation.
Bone cancer is also linked to fluoride use. Because of the cancer potential and other health risks associated with fluoride, a senior EPA official has stated that the agency should act immediately to protect the public from fluoride's dangers. One former EPA scientist went so far as to say that the government has based its fluoride safety standards on "fraudulent information and altered reports."
What about fluoride's alleged benefits in fighting cavities? There is
data suggesting that fluoride has no benefit whatsoever. For example,
in the 1980s, a prominent fluoride proponent in New Zealand attempted
to gather statistics in support of fluoridation. Instead, he found that
children living in unfluoridated areas had fewer cavities than those in
areas with fluoridated water.
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