5: EARLY HISTORY of Fluoride

Fluoride has two sources. It can appear 'naturally' in water or it can appear as a toxic waste. Even where it does appear without any help from industry it can cause problems. This leaflet concentrates on some of the possible, if not probable explanations, as to why those industries who produce toxic fluoride wastes are in favour of water fluoridation.


The earliest problems associated with toxic wastes involved those businesses manufacturing aluminium with the resulting waste usually being sodium fluoride. In Britain today, the most frequently used toxic waste product used for fluoridation comes from the phosphate fertiliser industry. However, the principles are the same and what happened in the first half of the 20th century is just as relevant as to what is happening today.


In the 1930's, the aluminium processing industry faced a serious threat to it's existence - it's toxic fluoride wastes were seriously polluting the environment and this resulted in some very expensive litigation settlements. According to George Waldbott's book, Fluoridation, The Great Dilemma ( published 1978 ), the production of aluminium involves the following process;-


"During the smelting and reduction process, when bauxite ( aluminium oxide ) is dissolved and electrolyzed in molten cryolite, hydrogen fluoride and other volatile fluorides are released into the air, and sodium fluoride remains in the bath" ( source: Davenport, S. J., and Morris, G.G.: US Bureau of Mines. Circular 7687, US Department of the Interior, June 1954, page 8 ).


The latter cannot simply be dumped on the ground because it seriously pollutes grass and other forage. Indeed, in 1950 ALCOA's ( the Aluminium Company of America ) plant in Vancouver, Washington, was fined for dumping fluorides into the Columbia River, and the airborne fluorides heavily contaminated the grass and forage, "which resulted in injury and death to cattle." ( Reported by the Seattle Times, Dec.16, 1952 )."


Waldbott continues with a number of incidents which resulted in damages being awarded against the 'industry'. The first involved a trout and fish hatchery. "eggs were worthless" and did not hatch properly; the fish also exhibited malformations. "During the weeks after rains, the Meaders were hauling away about a ton of dead fish per day." So how many hundreds or thousands of parts per million ( "ppm" ) of fluoride caused this? Fluoride levels were no more than between 0.5 and 4.7 ppm in the samples taken from the hatchery. I would take the opportunity at this to remind the reader that our Government want to add 1 ppm of fluoride to drinking water supplies. If you keep goldfish or other tropical fish, or ANY fish and are hoping to breed, then keep this in mind. Waldbott goes on to say that this was not just one in a series of a few incidents. More cases are mentioned which involved $100,000's being paid in compensation with the total liability running potentially into $1,000,000's ( or even $1,000,000,000's ).


The big 'fluoride problem'. Estimated total atmospheric inorganic fluoride emissions from major industries in the USA ( 1968 );-
Industry Tonnage per year
Steel Industry 40,1000
Combustion of coal 16,000
Ceramics industries 21,200
Nonferrous metal industries 4,000
Phosphate fertilizer & processing industries 18,700
Welding operations 2,700
Aluminium industry 16,000
TOTAL 118,700


Why the producers of toxic fluoride wastes had to find another route for their poisons ......


( A cross section of metatarsal bones from cows of same breed, size and age showing normal appearance on the left and severe osteofluorosis on the right ).


An advertisement for ALCOA's sodium fluoride 'drinking water supplement' ).

...... and their solution to this problem was to get ordinary folk to consume it instead.


So how did the fluoride pollution industries get the American Government to turn around and support the disposal of toxic fluoride wastes via the public water supplies? Surely no administration, however evil or corrupt it may be, would endorse such a scheme - would they?


Perhaps if there were another agenda for fluoridation then things may just be different and another use for fluoride would certainly appeal to an unscrupulous Government. Supporting this contention are the well known unprincipled and clandestine experiments carried out on British and American subjects and involving LSD and radiation exposure ( just two examples ). So why not experiment with fluoride as well? This brings us up to the start of World War II and up until this point fluoridation was a non-starter. But during the war another use for fluoride was found and this resulted in a radical change of policy in the USA.


It is the end of World War II and the Allies ( read Americans ) have control of the German I G Farben factories and all of it's technologies. Enter American Charles Eliot Perkins ( "Perkins" ). Perkins, so the story goes, was a researcher in chemistry, biochemistry, physiology and pathology. He and other scientists were put in charge of the Farben industries shortly after the cessation of hostilities but it was Perkins who was informed that the German General Staff adopted the plan of using sodium fluoride to make prisoners-of-war more docile and easier to manipulate and control. There is no surviving evidence to suggest the Germans did actually do this though it was well within their doctrine to carry out such a practice. It is also claimed that the ultimate intention of the Nazis was to fluoridate every country that they occupied and this story, which the Pushers are desperate to ridicule, has gained credibility in recent years for a number of reasons.


So what did Perkins do with the information given to him? Like most other scientists who fear for their job, their future or even their lives, he could have kept quiet. Not Perkins. Even as early as the 1940's to 1950's Perkins realised that fluoride could have an undesirable effect on a certain part of the brain - the hippocampus. Before he died, he urged those who would follow him not to let the anti-fluoride cause fail.


This was done in part in 1987 by someone known as Harley Rivers Dickinson ( An Australian Liberal MP ) who raised the issue of fluoridation and its sinister implications in an "Address in Reply to the Governor's speech in Parliament." The 'Address' forms part of a document compiled by Ian E Stephens and is appropriately entitled the 'Dickinson Statement' ( the "Statement" ). The main thrust of the Address was as follows;-


"At the end of the Second World War, the United States Government sent Charles Eliot Perkins, a research worker in chemistry, biochemistry, physiology and pathology, to take charge of the vast Farben chemical plants in Germany. While there he was told of a scheme which had been worked out by them during the war and adopted by the German General Staff. This was to control the population in any given area through mass medication of drinking water. In this scheme sodium fluoride occupied a prominent place. Repeated doses of infinitesimal amounts of fluoride will in time reduce an individual's power to resist domination by slowly poisoning and narcotisizing a certain area of the brain and will thus make him submissive to the will of those who wish to govern him. Both the Germans and the Russians added sodium fluoride to the drinking water of prisoners-of-war to make them stupid and docile." ( Reference: [Australian ] Victorian Hansard of 12th August 1987 ).


The Statement adds to this;- "... Farben was a German chemical manufacturing concern that supplied Chlorine Gas used by Germany during the first World War, but the eventual creation of the huge Farben Cartel began in 1924 when American bankers began to arrange foreign loans in what Professor Carroll Quigley terms 'The Dawes Plan', "largely a J P Morgan production." ( J P Morgan: one of the Wall Street élite - Author ). In 1928, Henry Ford merged his German assets with Farben to be followed by the American Standard Oil Company who, in concert with Farben, developed the coal to oil hydrogenation process. In a letter to Roosevelt from Berlin in the early thirties, American Ambassador in Germany, William Dodd, said: "At the present, more than a hundred American corporations have subsidiaries here or co-operative understandings. The DuPonts have their allies in Germany that are aiding in the armament business. Their chief ally is the Farben company, a part of the Government which gives 200,000 Marks a year to one propaganda organization operating on American opinion. Standard Oil Company... sent $2 million here in December 1933 and has made $500,000 a year helping Germans make Ersatz gas ( to convert coal to gasoline ) for war purposes; but Standard Oil cannot take any of its earnings out of the country except in goods. The International Harvester president told me their business here rose 33% per year but they could not take anything out. Even our airplane people have secret arrangements with Krupps. General Motors and Ford do enormous business here through their subsidiaries and take no profits out."


The Farben assets in America were controlled by a holding company, American IG Farben which listed on its Board of Directors, Edsel Ford, President of the Ford Motor Company, Chas E Mitchell, President of Rockefeller's National City Bank of New York, Walter Teagle, President of Standard Oil in New York, Paul Warburg, Chairman of the Federal Reserve and brother of Max Warburg, financier of Germany's war effort, and Herman Metz, a Director of the Bank of Manhattan, controlled by the Warburgs."


The Statement says of ALCOA;- "In 1939, ALCOA, then probably the world's largest producer of sodium fluoride, transferred its technology to Germany ( the Alted Agreement ). The Dow Chemical Company transmitted it's experience and technology in that same period." Other Cartel companies mentioned in the Statement include the names of Kellogg and Proctor & Gambol ( of Crest toothpaste fame ).


NB. None of the Americans that sat on the Board of AIG Farben were prosecuted after the war though three "non-Americans" were tried and convicted as war criminals.

Part 2 of the Statement looks at the roll of 'Foundations'. "In Australia, the Dental Health & Research Foundation, which has such names as Colgate, Kellogg and other ex-Farben associates listed among it's 'governors and contributors', has been irreverently but accurately dubbed "the Fluoride Mafia". Closely allied with this Sydney University 'Foundation', in its printed promotional claims for fluorides and fluoridation, is 'Foundation 41'. Unfortunately, the data of the "thorough investigations" said to have been carried out by the Foundation into fluoride, its benefits and its hazards, have never been made available, despite numerous appeals. A recent ABC Science Show's examination of the scientific integrity of Foundation 41 may explain the elusive data. America is literally bursting at the seams with such Foundations, but amongst the earlier names were the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation and the Ford Foundation. It is necessary to mention these specifically because they were the first Foundations to make grants in the population ( control ) field and the Carnegie family merged with the Mellon family Institute to create the Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1967."


The Statement now returns to the ill-fêted Perkins. "In a letter abstracted from "Fluoridation and Lawlessness" ( published by the Committee for Mental Health and National Security ) to the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 2nd 1954, a Charles Eliot Perkins said;-


"We are told by fanatical ideologists who are advocating the fluoridation of the water supplies in this country that their purpose is to reduce the incidence of tooth decay in children, and it is the plausibility of this excuse, plus the gullibility of the public and the cupidity ( meaning covetousness - to desire or eagerly wish for ) of public officials that is responsible for the present spread of artificial water fluoridation in this country. However, and I want to make this very definite and very positive, the real reason behind water fluoridation is not to benefit children's teeth. If this were the real reason there are many ways in which it could be done that are much easier, cheaper and more effective. The real purpose behind water fluoridation is to reduce the masses to domination and control and loss of liberty... When the Nazis decided to go into Poland ... the German General Staff exchanged scientific and military ideas, plans and personnel and the scheme of mass medication was seized upon by the Russian Communists because it fitted ideally into their plan to communize the world... I say this with all the earnestness and sincerity of a scientist who has spent nearly twenty years research into the chemistry, biochemistry, physiology and pathology of fluorine. Any person who drinks artificially fluoridated water for a period of one year or more will never again be the same person, mentally or physically."


The Russian connection is further enhanced by the statement of Major George Racey Jordan who was in charge of the shipment of sodium fluoride to Russia from Great Falls, Montana, via Alaska. He queried the shipment of considerable amounts of sodium fluoride to Russia and was told "frankly" that it was put into the drinking water in the prisoner-of-war camps to take away their will to resist. As for the CIA, who ultimately come into this story, the Statement further adds that the 'Rockefeller Report' to the United States President on CIA activities said: "The drug program ( LSD, fluoride?, etc. - Author ) was part of a much larger CIA program to study possible means of controlling human behaviour ( Mk-Ultra? )."


NB. An earlier part of the Statement revealed that an advisor to the American Government on "hypnotism" or psychological behaviour control, Dr George Estabrooks, later became Chairman of the Department of Psychology at COLGATE UNIVERSITY.


The Statement also lists all the fluoridated tranquillisers that were on the market at the time ( and no doubt some still are ). Perhaps it is just coincidence, but the first fluoridation trials were about to begin in the USA in 1945, the year *Operation Paperclip commenced ( *Operation Paperclip involved the movement of Nazi scientists to the USA ). Until 1945, the US Public Health Service ( "USPHS" ) had resisted fluoridation but that was all about to change, and rapidly so. The previous year, one Oscar Ewing was working for ALCOA as an attorney and on an annual salary of $750,000 - an awful lot of money in those days. Was Ewing happy working for ALCOA and receiving such a substantial wage? If so, why did he decide to leave ALCOA to become Federal Security Administrator in the American Government at a lower income. Ewing is reported to have said that "he wanted to serve his country". Consider also that the USPHS, just prior to and possibly during, was part of the US Treasury at the time Ewing was employed. And who was the US Treasurer just prior to Ewing's appointment? It was no other than Andrew Mellon, of ALCOA fame ( or should I say notoriety? ). It is more than a coincidence that in his position he could exert his influence over the reluctant USPHS and arrange for 'favourable' research into fluoride to compel the USPHS to reverse its decision. It has certainly been claimed on more than one occasion that past experiments into fluoridation were not well designed - clearly indicating that such research was biased. The scientists controlling the research programmes, instead of being unbiased, could be carefully selected to produce such favourable results and so the fluoride bandwagon began to roll. Therefore, appointments to influential positions under Ewing's control became a reality. So why did the Government appoint him if he was going to use his position to further the cause of fluoridation? Perhaps President Roosevelt ( 'Mr Wall Street' and I G Farben investor ), also had an interest in fluoride's 'alternative use'.


Sources include;-


[1] The Ian E Stephens story ( the "Dickinson Statement" )




[2] http://www.nexusmagazine.com


3] WALL STREET AND THE RISE OF HITLER, Pub.: Bloomfield Books, 26 Meadow Lane, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 6TD. Tel: 01787 376374


[4] FLUORIDATION: THE GREAT DILEMMA, ISBN: 0-87291-097-0, Pub.: Colorado Press, Lawrence, Kansas.




The early history of fluoridation continues with the following story. It has been written by Joel Griffiths and Chris Bryson.


This version of the story is probably the most accurate, considering the numerous variations which have appeared on different web-sites in recent years. Nothing has been changed or added.


Some fifty years after the United States began adding fluoride to public water supplies to reduce cavities in children's teeth, declassified government documents are shedding new light on the roots of that still-controversial public health measure, revealing a surprising connection between fluoride and the dawning of the nuclear age.


Today, two thirds of U.S. public drinking water is fluoridated. Many municipalities still resist the practice, disbelieving the government's assurances of safety.


Since the days of World War II, when this nation prevailed by building the world's first atomic bomb, U.S. public health leaders have maintained that low
doses of fluoride are safe for people, and good for children's teeth.


That safety verdict should now be re-examined in the light of hundreds of once-secret WWII documents obtained by Griffiths and Bryson --including declassified papers of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. military group that built the atomic bomb.


Fluoride was the key chemical in atomic bomb production, according to the documents. Massive quantities of fluoride-- millions of tons-- were essential for the manufacture of bomb-grade uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons throughout the Cold War. One of the most toxic chemicals known, fluoride rapidly emerged as the leading chemical health hazard of the U.S atomic bomb program--both for workers and for nearby communities, the documents reveal.


Other revelations include:


* Much of the original proof that fluoride is safe for humans in low doses was generated by A-bomb program scientists, who had been secretly ordered to provide "evidence useful in litigation" against defense contractors for fluoride injury to citizens. The first lawsuits against the U.S. A-bomb program were not over radiation, but over fluoride damage, the documents show.

* Human studies were required. Bomb program researchers played a leading role in the design and implementation of the most extensive U.S. study of the health effects of fluoridating public drinking water--conducted in Newburgh, New York from 1945 to 1956. Then, in a classified operation code-named "Program F," they secretly gathered and analyzed blood and tissue samples from Newburgh citizens, with the cooperation of State Health Department personnel.

* The original secret version--obtained by these reporters--of a 1948 study published by Program F scientists in the Journal of the American Dental Association shows that evidence of adverse health effects from fluoride was censored by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) --considered the most powerful of Cold War agencies-- for reasons of national security.

* The bomb program's fluoride safety studies were conducted at the University of Rochester, site of one of the most notorious human radiation experiments of the Cold War, in which unsuspecting hospital patients were injected with toxic doses of radioactive plutonium. The fluoride studies were conducted with the same ethical mind-set, in which "national security" was paramount.
* The U.S. government's conflict of interest--and its motive to prove fluoride "safe" -- has not until now been made clear to the general public in the furious debate over water fluoridation since the 1950's, nor to civilian researchers and health professionals, or journalists.


The declassified documents resonate with a growing body of scientific evidence, and a chorus of questions, about the health effects of fluoride in the environment.


Human exposure to fluoride has mushroomed since World War II, due not only to fluoridated water and toothpaste, but to environmental pollution by major industries from aluminum to pesticides: fluoride is a critical industrial chemical.


The impact can be seen, literally, in the smiles of our children. Large numbers of U.S. young people--up to 80 percent in some cities--now have dental fluorosis, the first visible sign of excessive fluoride exposure, according to the U.S. National Research Council. (The signs are whitish flecks or spots, particularly on the front teeth, or dark spots or stripes in more severe cases.)


Less-known to the public is that fluoride also accumulates in bones --"The teeth are windows to what's happening in the bones," explains Paul Connett, Professor of Chemistry at St. Lawrence University (N.Y.). In recent years, pediatric bone specialists have expressed alarm about an increase in stress fractures among U.S. young people. Connett and other scientists are concerned that fluoride --linked to bone damage by studies since the 1930's-- may be a contributing factor. The declassified documents add urgency: much of the original proof that low-dose fluoride is safe for children's bones came from U.S. bomb program scientists, according to this investigation.


Now, researchers who have reviewed these declassified documents fear that Cold War national security considerations may have prevented objective scientific evaluation of vital public health questions concerning fluoride.


"Information was buried," concludes Dr. Phyllis Mullenix, former head of toxicology at Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, and now a critic of fluoridation. Animal studies Mullenix and co-workers conducted at Forsyth in the early 1990's indicated that fluoride was a powerful central nervous system (CNS) toxin, and might adversely affect human brain functioning, even at low doses. (New epidemiological evidence from China adds support, showing a correlation between low-dose fluoride exposure and diminished I.Q. in children.) Mullenix's results were published in 1995, in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal.


During her investigation, Mullenix was astonished to discover there had been virtually no previous U.S. studies of fluoride's effects on the human brain. Then, her application for a grant to continue her CNS research was turned down by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), where an NIH panel, she says, flatly told her that "fluoride does not have central nervous system effects."


Declassified documents of the U.S. atomic-bomb program indicate otherwise. An April 29, 1944 Manhattan Project memo reports: "Clinical evidence suggests that uranium hexafluoride may have a rather marked central nervous system effect.... It seems most likely that the F [code for fluoride] component rather than the T [code for uranium] is the causative factor."


The memo --stamped "secret"-- is addressed to the head of the Manhattan Project's Medical Section, Colonel Stafford Warren. Colonel Warren is asked to approve a program of animal research on CNS effects: "Since work with these compounds is essential, it will be necessary to know in advance what mental effects may occur after exposure...This is important not only to protect a given individual, but also to prevent a confused workman from injuring others by improperly performing his duties."


On the same day, Colonel Warren approved the CNS research program. This was in 1944, at the height of the Second World War and the nation's race to build the world's first atomic bomb. For research on fluoride's CNS effects to be approved at such a momentous time, the supporting evidence set forth in the proposal forwarded along with the memo must have been persuasive.


The proposal, however, is missing from the files of the U.S. National Archives. "If you find the memos, but the document they refer to is missing, its probably still classified," said Charles Reeves, chief librarian at the Atlanta branch of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, where the memos were found. Similarly, no results of the Manhattan Project's fluoride CNS research could be found in the files.


After reviewing the memos, Mullenix declared herself "flabbergasted." She went on, "How could I be told by NIH that fluoride has no central nervous system effects when these documents were sitting there all the time?" She reasons that the Manhattan Project did do fluoride CNS studies --"that kind of warning, that fluoride workers might be a danger to the bomb program by improperly performing their duties--I can't imagine that would be ignored"-- but that the results were buried because they might create a difficult legal and public relations problem for the government.


The author of the 1944 CNS research proposal was Dr. Harold C. Hodge, at the time chief of fluoride toxicology studies for the University of Rochester division of the Manhattan Project. Nearly fifty years later at the Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, Dr. Mullenix was introduced to a gently ambling elderly man brought in to serve as a consultant on her CNS research--Harold C. Hodge. By then Hodge had achieved status emeritus as a world authority on fluoride safety. "But even though he was supposed to be helping me," says Mullenix, "he never once mentioned the CNS work he had done for the Manhattan Project."


The "black hole" in fluoride CNS research since the days of the Manhattan Project is unacceptable to Mullenix, who refuses to abandon the issue. "There is so much fluoride exposure now, and we simply do not know what it is doing," she says. "You can't just walk away from this."


Dr. Antonio Noronha, an NIH scientific review advisor familiar with Dr. Mullenix's grant request, says her proposal was rejected by a scientific peer-review group. He terms her claim of institutional bias against fluoride CNS research "farfetched." He adds, "We strive very hard at NIH to make sure politics does not enter the picture."


Fluoride and National Security


The documentary trail begins at the height of WW2, in 1944, when a severe pollution incident occurred downwind of the E.I. du Pont du Nemours Company chemical factory in Deepwater, New Jersey. The factory was then producing millions of pounds of fluoride for the Manhattan project, the ultra-secret U.S. military program racing to produce the world's first atomic bomb.


The farms downwind in Gloucester and Salem counties were famous for their high-quality produce -- their peaches went directly to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Their tomatoes were bought up by Campbell's Soup.


But in the summer of 1943, the farmers began to report that their crops were blighted, and that "something is burning up the peach crops around here."


Poultry died after an all-night thunderstorm, they reported. Farm workers who ate the produce they had picked sometimes vomited all night and into the next day. "I remember our horses looked sick and were too stiff to work," these reporters were told by Mildred Giordano, who was a teenager at the time. Some cows were so crippled they could not stand up, and grazed by crawling on their bellies.


The account was confirmed in taped interviews, shortly before he died, with Philip Sadtler of Sadtler Laboratories of Philadelphia, one of the nation's oldest chemical consulting firms. Sadtler had personally conducted the initial investigation of the damage.


Although the farmers did not know it, the attention of the Manhattan Project and the federal government was riveted on the New Jersey incident, according to once-secret documents obtained by these reporters. After the war's end, in a secret Manhattan Project memo dated March 1, 1946, the Project's chief of fluoride toxicology studies, Harold C. Hodge, worriedly wrote to his boss Colonel Stafford L. Warren, Chief of the Medical Division, about "problems associated with the question of fluoride contamination of the atmosphere in a certain section of New Jersey. There seem to be four distinct (though related) problems," continued Hodge;


"1. A question of injury of the peach crop in 1944."


"2. A report of extraordinary fluoride content of vegetables grown in this area."


"3. A report of abnormally high fluoride content in the blood of human individuals residing in this area."


"4. A report raising the question of serious poisoning of horses and cattle in this area."


The New Jersey farmers waited until the war was over, then sued du Pont and the Manhattan Project for fluoride damage -- reportedly the first lawsuits against the U.S. A-bomb program.


Although seemingly trivial, the lawsuits shook the government, the secret documents reveal. Under the personal direction of Manhattan Project chief Major General Leslie R.Groves, secret meetings were convened in Washington, with compulsory attendance by scores of scientists and officials from the U.S War Department, the Manhattan Project, the Food and Drug Administration, the Agriculture and Justice Departments, the U.S Army's Chemical Warfare Service and Edgewood Arsenal, the Bureau of Standards, and du Pont lawyers. Declassified memos of the meetings reveal a secret mobilization of the full forces of the government to defeat the New Jersey farmers:


These agencies "are making scientific investigations to obtain evidence which may be used to protect the interest of the Government at the trial of the suits brought by owners of peach orchards in ... New Jersey," stated Manhattan Project Lieutenant Colonel Cooper B. Rhodes, in a memo c.c.'d to General Groves.


27 August 1945


Subject: Investigation of Crop Damage at Lower Penns Neck, New Jersey
To: The Commanding General, Army Service Forces, Pentagon Building, Washington D.C.


"At the request of the Secretary of War the Department of Agriculture has agreed to cooperate in investigating complaints of crop damage attributed... to fumes from a plant operated in connection with the Manhattan Project."


Signed, L.R. Groves, Major General U.S.A


"The Department of Justice is cooperating in the defense of these suits," wrote General Groves in a Feb. 28, 1946 memo to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Atomic Energy.


Why the national-security emergency over a few lawsuits by New Jersey farmers? In 1946 the United States had begun full-scale production of atomic bombs. No other nation had yet tested a nuclear weapon, and the A-bomb was seen as crucial for U.S leadership of the postwar world. The New Jersey fluoride lawsuits were a serious roadblock to that strategy.


"The specter of endless lawsuits haunted the military," writes Lansing Lamont in his acclaimed book about the first atomic bomb test, "Day of Trinity."


In the case of fluoride, "If the farmers won, it would open the door to further suits, which might impede the bomb program's ability to use fluoride," said Jacqueline Kittrell, a Tennessee public interest lawyer specializing in nuclear cases, who examined the declassified fluoride documents. (Kittrell has represented plaintiffs in several human radiation experiment cases.) She added, "The reports of human injury were especially threatening, because of the potential for enormous settlements -- not to mention the PR problem."


Indeed, du Pont was particularly concerned about the "possible psycnhologic reaction" to the New Jersey pollution incident, according to a secret 1946 Manhattan Project memo. Facing a threat from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to embargo the region's produce because of "high fluoride content," du Pont dispatched its lawyers to the FDA offices in Washington, where an agitated meeting ensued. According to a memo sent next day to General Groves, Du Pont's lawyer argued "that in view of the pending suits...any action by the Food and Drug Administration... would have a serious effect on the du Pont Company and would create a bad public relations situation." After the meeting adjourned, Manhattan Project Captain John Davies approached the FDA's Food Division chief and "impressed upon Dr. White the substantial interest which the Government had in claims which might arise as a result of action which might be taken by the Food and Drug Administration."


There was no embargo. Instead, new tests for fluoride in the New Jersey area would be conducted -- not by the Department of Agriculture -- but by the U.S. Army's Chemical Warfare Service because "work done by the Chemical Warfare Service would carry the greatest weight as evidence if... lawsuits are started by the complainants." The memo was signed by General Groves.


Meanwhile, the public relations problem remained unresolved -- local citizens were in a panic about fluoride.


The farmer's spokesman, Willard B. Kille, was personally invited to dine with General Groves --then known as "the man who built the atomic bomb" -- at his office at the War Department on March 26, 1946. Although he had been diagnosed with fluoride poisoning by his doctor, Kille departed the luncheon convinced of the government's good faith. The next day he wrote to the general, wishing the other farmers could have been present, he said, so "they too could come away with the feeling that their interests in this particular matter were being safeguarded by men of the very highest type whose integrity they could not question."


In a subsequent secret Manhattan project memo, a broader solution to the public relations problem was suggested by chief fluoride toxicologist Harold C. Hodge. He wrote to the Medical Section chief, Col. Warren: "Would there be any use in making attempts to counteract the local fear of fluoride on the part of residents of Salem and Gloucester counties through lectures on F toxicology and perhaps the usefulness of F in tooth health?" Such lectures were indeed given, not only to New Jersey citizens but to the rest of the nation throughout the Cold War.


The New Jersey farmers' lawsuits were ultimately stymied by the government's refusal to reveal the key piece of information that would have settled the case --how much fluoride du Pont had vented into the atmosphere during the war. "Disclosure... would be injurious to the military security of the United States," wrote Manhattan Project Major C.A Taney, Jr. The farmers were pacified with token financial settlements, according to interviews with descendants still living in the area.


"All we knew is that du Pont released some chemical that burned up all the peach trees around here," recalls Angelo Giordano, whose father James was one of the original plaintiffs. "The trees were no good after that, so we had to give up on the peaches." Their horses and cows, too, acted stiff and walked stiff, recalls his sister Mildred. "Could any of that have been the fluoride ?" she asked. (The symptoms she detailed to the authors are cardinal signs of fluoride toxicity, according to veterinary toxicologists.)


The Giordano family, too, has been plagued by bone and joint problems, Mildred adds. Recalling the settlement received by the Giordanos, Angelo told these reporters that "my father said he got about $200."


The farmers were stonewalled in their search for information, and their complaints have long since been forgotten. But they unknowingly left their imprint on history -- their claims of injury to their health reverberated through the corridors of power in Washington, and triggered intensive secret bomb-program research on the health effects of fluoride. A secret 1945 memo from Manhattan Project Lt. Col. Rhodes to General Groves stated: "Because of complaints that animals and humans have been injured by hydrogen fluoride fumes in [the New Jersey] area, although there are no pending suits involving such claims, the University of Rochester is conducting experiments to determine the toxic effect of fluoride."


Much of the proof of fluoride's safety in low doses rests on the postwar work performed by the University of Rochester, in anticipation of lawsuits against the bomb program for human injury.


Fluoride and the Cold War.


Delegating fluoride safety studies to the University of Rochester was not surprising. During WWII the federal government had become involved, for the first time, in large-scale funding of scientific research at government-owned labs and private colleges. Those early spending priorities were shaped by the nation's often-secret military needs.


The prestigious upstate New York college, in particular, had housed a key wartime division of the Manhattan Project, studying the health effects of the new "special materials," such as uranium, plutonium, beryllium and fluoride, being used to make the atomic bomb. That work continued after the war, with millions of dollars flowing from the Manhattan Project and its successor organization, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). (Indeed, the bomb left an indelible imprint on all U.S. science in the late 1940's and 50's. Up to 90% of federal funds for university research came from either the Defense Department or the AEC in this period, according to Noam Chomsky's 1996 book "The Cold War and the University.")


The University of Rochester medical school became a revolving door for senior bomb program scientists. Postwar faculty included Stafford Warren, the top medical officer of the Manhattan Project, and Harold Hodge, chief of fluoride research for the bomb program.


But this marriage of military secrecy and medical science bore deformed offspring. The University of Rochester's classified fluoride studies -- code- named Program F -- were conducted at its Atomic Energy Project (AEP), a top-secret facility funded by the AEC and housed in Strong Memorial Hospital. It was there that one of the most notorious human radiation experiments of the Cold War took place, in which unsuspecting hospital patients were injected with toxic doses of radioactive plutonium. Revelation of this experiment in a Pulitzer prize-winning account by Eileen Welsome led to a 1995 U.S. Presidential investigation, and a multimillion-dollar cash settlement for victims. (Read Eileen Welsome's account of the U. of Rochester's Medical Experimentation at http://www.fluoridealert.org/p-files.htm)


Program F was not about children's teeth. It grew directly out of litigation against the bomb program and its main purpose was to furnish scientific ammunition which the government and its nuclear contractors could use to defeat lawsuits for human injury. Program F's director was none other than Harold C. Hodge, who had led the Manhattan Project investigation of alleged human injury in the New Jersey fluoride-pollution incident.


Program F's purpose is spelled out in a classified 1948 report. It reads: "To supply evidence useful in the litigation arising from an alleged loss of a fruit crop several years ago, a number of problems have been opened. Since excessive blood fluoride levels were reported in human residents of the same area, our principal effort has been devoted to describing the relationship of blood fluorides to toxic effects."


The litigation referred to, of course, and the claims of human injury were against the bomb program and its contractors. Thus, the purpose of Program F was to obtain evidence useful in litigation against the bomb program. The research was being conducted by the defendants.


The potential conflict of interest is clear. If lower dose ranges were found hazardous by Program F, it might have opened the bomb program and its contractors to lawsuits for injury to human health, as well as public outcry.


Comments lawyer Kittrell: "This and other documents indicate that the University of Rochester's fluoride research grew out of the New Jersey lawsuits and was performed in anticipation of lawsuits against the bomb program for human injury. Studies undertaken for litigation purposes by the defendants would not be considered scientifically acceptable today, " adds Kittrell, "because of their inherent bias to prove the chemical safe."


Unfortunately, much of the proof of fluoride's safety rests on the work performed by Program F Scientists at the University of Rochester. During the postwar period that university emerged as the leading academic center for establishing the safety of fluoride, as well as its effectiveness in reducing tooth decay, according to Dental School spokesperson William H. Bowen, MD. The key figure in this research, Bowen said, was Harold C. Hodge-- who also became a leading national proponent of fluoridating public drinking water. Program F's interest in water fluoridation was not just 'to counteract the local fear of fluoride on the part of residents,' as Hodge had earlier written. The bomb program needed human studies, as they had needed human studies for plutonium, and adding fluoride to public water supplies provided one opportunity.


The A-Bomb Program and Water Fluoridation


Bomb-program scientists played a prominent -- if unpublicized -- role in the nation's first-planned water fluoridation experiment, in Newburgh, New York. The Newburgh Demonstration Project is considered the most extensive study of the health effects of fluoridation, supplying much of the evidence that low doses are safe for children's bones, and good for their teeth.


Planning began in 1943 with the appointment of a special New York State Health Department committee to study the advisability of adding fluoride to Newburgh's drinking water. The chairman of the committee was Dr. Hodge, then chief of fluoride toxicity studies for the Manhattan Project.


Subsequent members included Henry L. Barnett, a captain in the Project's Medical section, and John W. Fertig, in 1944 with the office of Scientific Research and Development, the Pentagon group which sired the Manhattan Project. Their military affiliations were kept secret: Hodge was described as a pharmacologist, Barnett as a pediatrician. Placed in charge of the Newburgh project was David B. Ast, chief dental officer of the State Health Department. Ast had participated in a key secret wartime conference on fluoride held by the Manhattan Project, and later worked with Dr. Hodge on the Project's investigation of human injury in the New Jersey incident, according to once-secret memos.


The committee recommended that Newburgh be fluoridated. It also selected the types of medical studies to be done, and "provided expert guidance" for the duration of the experiment. The key question to be answered was: "Are there any cumulative effects -- beneficial or otherwise, on tissues and organs other than the teeth -- of long-continued ingestion of such small concentrations...?" According to the declassified documents, this was also key information sought by the bomb program, which would require long-continued exposure of workers and communities to fluoride throughout the Cold War.


In May 1945, Newburgh's water was fluoridated, and over the next ten years its residents were studied by the State Health Department. In tandem, Program F conducted its own secret studies, focusing on the amounts of fluoride Newburgh citizens retained in their blood and tissues - key information sought by the bomb program: "Possible toxic effects of fluoride were in the forefront of consideration," the advisory committee stated. Health Department personnel cooperated, shipping blood and placenta samples to the Program F team at the University of Rochester. The samples were collected by Dr. David B. Overton, the Department's chief of pediatric studies at Newburgh.


The final report of the Newburgh Demonstration Project, published in 1956 in the Journal of the American Dental Association, concluded that "small concentrations" of fluoride were safe for U.S.citizens. The biological proof -- "based on work performed ... at the University of Rochester Atomic Energy Project" -- was delivered by Dr. Hodge.


Today, news that scientists from the atomic bomb program secretly shaped and guided the Newburgh fluoridation experiment, and studied the citizen's blood and tissue samples, is greeted with incredulity.


"I'm shocked -- beyond words," said present-day Newburgh Mayor Audrey Carey, commenting on these reporters' findings. "It reminds me of the Tuskegee experiment that was done on syphilis patients down in Alabama."


As a child in the early 1950's, Mayor Carey was taken to the old firehouse on Broadway in Newburgh, which housed the Public Health Clinic. There, doctors from the Newburgh fluoridation project studied her teeth, and a peculiar fusion of two finger bones on her left hand she had been born with. Today, adds Carey, her granddaughter has white dental-fluorosis marks on her front teeth.


Mayor Carey wants answers from the government about the secret history of fluoride, and the Newburgh fluoridation experiment. "I absolutely want to pursue it," she said. "It is appalling to do any kind of experimentation and study without people's knowledge and permission."


Contacted by these reporters, the director of the Newburgh experiment, David B. Ast, says he was unaware Manhattan Project scientists were involved. "If I had known, I would have been certainly investigating why, and what the connection was," he said. Did he know that blood and placenta samples from Newburgh were being sent to bomb program researchers at the University of Rochester? "I was not aware of it," Ast replied. Did he recall participating in the Manhattan Project's secret wartime conference on fluoride in January 1944, or going to New Jersey with Dr. Hodge to investigate human injury in the du Pont case--as secret memos state? He told the reporters he had no recollection of these events.


A spokesperson for the University of Rochester Medical Center, Bob Loeb, confirmed that blood and tissue samples from Newburgh had been tested by the University's Dr. Hodge. On the ethics of secretly studying U.S citizens to obtain information useful in litigation against the A-bomb program, he said, "that's a question we cannot answer." He referred inquiries to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), successor to the Atomic Energy Commission.


A spokesperson for the DOE in Washington, Jayne Brady, confirmed that a review of DOE files indicated that a "significant reason" for fluoride experiments conducted at the University of Rochester after the war was "impending litigation between the du Pont company and residents of New Jersey areas." However, she added, "DOE has found no documents to indicate that fluoride research was done to protect the Manhattan Project or its contractors from lawsuits."


On Manhattan Project involvement in Newburgh, the spokesperson stated, "Nothing that we have suggests that the DOE or predecessor agencies -- especially the Manhattan Project -- authorized fluoride experiments to be performed on children in the 1940's."


When told that the reporters had several documents that directly tied the Manhattan Project's successor agency at the University of Rochester, the AEP, to the Newburgh experiment, the DOE spokesperson later conceded her study was confined to "the available universe" of documents. Two days later spokesperson Jayne Brady faxed a statement for clarification: "My search only involved the documents that we collected as part of our human radiation experiments project -- fluoride was not part of our research effort.


"Most significantly," the statement continued, relevant documents may be in a classified collection at the DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory known as the Records Holding Task Group. "This collection consists entirely of classified documents removed from other files for the purpose of classified document accountability many years ago," and was "a rich source of documents for the human radiation experiments project," she said.


The crucial question arising from this investigation is: Were adverse health findings from Newburgh and other bomb-program fluoride studies suppressed? All AEC-funded studies had to be declassified before publication in civilian medical and dental journals. Where are the original classified versions?


The transcript of one of the major secret scientific conferences of WW2--on "fluoride metabolism"--is missing from the files of the U.S. National Archives. Participants in the conference included key figures who promoted the safety of fluoride and water fluoridation to the public after the war - Harold Hodge of the Manhattan Project, David B. Ast of the Newburgh Project, and U.S. Public Health Service dentist H.Trendley Dean, popularly known as the "father of fluoridation." "If it is missing from the files, it is probably still classified," National Archives librarians told these reporters.


A 1944 WW2 Manhattan Project classified report on water fluoridation is missing from the files of the University of Rochester Atomic Energy Project, the U.S. National Archives, and the Nuclear Repository at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The next four numerically consecutive documents are also missing, while the remainder of the "MP-1500 series" is present. "Either those documents are still classified, or they've been 'disappeared' by the government," says Clifford Honicker, Executive Director of the American Environmental Health Studies Project, in Knoxville, Tennessee, which provided key evidence in the public exposure and prosecution of U.S. human radiation experiments.


Seven pages have been cut out of a 1947 Rochester bomb-project notebook entitled "Du Pont litigation." "Most unusual," commented chief medical school archivist Chris Hoolihan.


Similarly, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by these authors over a year ago with the DOE for hundreds of classified fluoride reports have failed to dislodge any. "We're behind," explained Amy Rothrock, FOIA officer for the Department of Energy at their Oak Ridge operations.


Was information suppressed? These reporters made what appears to be the first discovery of the original classified version of a fluoride safety study by bomb program scientists. A censored version of this study was later published in the August 1948 Journal of the American Dental Association. Comparison of the secret with the published version indicates that the U.S. AEC did censor damaging information on fluoride, to the point of tragicomedy.


This was a study of the dental and physical health of workers in a factory producing fluoride for the A-bomb program, conducted by a team of dentists from the Manhattan Project.


* The secret version reports that most of the men had no teeth left. The published version reports only that the men had fewer cavities.


* The secret version says the men had to wear rubber boots because the fluoride fumes disintegrated the nails in their shoes. The published version does not mention this.


* The secret version says the fluoride may have acted similarly on the men's teeth, contributing to their toothlessness. The published version omits this statement.


The published version concludes that "the men were unusually healthy, judged from both a medical and dental point of view."


Asked for comment on the early links of the Manhattan Project to water fluoridation, Dr Harold Slavkin, Director of the National Institute for Dental Research, the U.S. agency which today funds fluoride research, said, "I wasn't aware of any input from the Atomic Energy Commission." Nevertheless, he insisted, fluoride's efficacy and safety in the prevention of dental cavities over the last fifty years is well-proved. "The motivation of a scientist is often different from the outcome, " he reflected. "I do not hold a prejudice about where the knowledge comes from."


After comparing the secret and published versions of the censored study, toxicologist Phyllis Mullenix commented, "This makes me ashamed to be a scientist." Of other Cold War-era fluoride safety studies, she asks, "Were they all done like this?"


Archival research by Clifford Honicker


About the authors :


Joel Griffiths is a medical writer in New York City, author of a book on radiation hazards and numerous articles for medical and popular publications.


Chris Bryson holds a Masters degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and has worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Manchester Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor and Public Television.



The Truth About Fluoride