ZWA REPORTS: The ADA and Liability For Fluoride Overexposure
PHILADELPHIA, July 23, 1998--- The American Dental Association (ADA) may be building a legal defense to shield itself from culpability in patient lawsuits for fluoride overexposure. Dentists and patients should take note, says Lynn Landes, Director of Zero Waste America, a non-profit organization specializing in waste and toxic issues, and co-author of America: OverDosed On Fluoride.
Since 1995, the Journal of American Dental Association (JADA) has published a series of scientific reports on the growing prevalence of fluorosis in the U.S. population. Fluorosis is caused by over-exposure to fluoride, resulting in tooth and bone decay. Fluoride is also linked to Alzheimer's, kidney damage, cancer, genetic damage, neurological impairment, and bone pathology. Fluoride is in most toothpaste products. It is also in an unknown number of food and drink products, due to the artificial fluoridation of over half of the U.S. municipal water systems.
"The JADA reports and ADA's actions should raise a red flag for dentists and patients," says Landes. "At the same time that the ADA is promoting fluoridation of municipal water systems nationwide, they are warning of fluoride over-exposure. They seem to be working at cross purposes," adds Landes. She believes that there will be a growing movement by patients to sue over the harmful health effects of fluoride over-exposure.
Dentists may be at significant risk of liability if they have prescribed fluoride supplements since 1994. In April of that year, the ADA's Council on Scientific Affairs approved a new Fluoride Supplementation Dosage Schedule with the following cautions, "All sources of fluoride must be evaluated with a thorough fluoride history ... Patient exposure to multiple sources can make proper prescribing complex...Caries reduction benefits must be balanced with risk for mild and very mild fluorosis."
The ADA directive to dentists, amounts to 'Mission Impossible,' according to Landes. "How can a dentist take a 'thorough fluoride history?' " she asks. "Americans ingest fluoride from multiple sources. Any assessment of a patient's fluoride exposure would be highly speculative," she adds.
Government data indicates that dentists should no longer prescribe supplements. In 1991, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Review of Fluoride Benefits and Risks, published the estimated intake of fluoride for Americans, at as much as 120% over the assigned 'optimum dosage' of 1 milligram/day in unfluoridated areas and 605% in fluoridated areas.
Reports of increased cases of fluorosis have caused concern within other dental organizations. The Academy of General Dentistry, which represents 34,000 dentists, issued a press release in February of 1997, warning parents to limit their children's intake of juices due to excessive fluoride content.
Legal Issues of Public Water Fluoridation - This appears to be a home study course for dentists to fend off any legal action against them regarding fluoride and fluoridation. They stress they aren't siding with anti-fluoridation information, but make a point of Mullenix 1995 work, lead information, total fluoride intake and more.