Fluoride Information

Fluoride is a poison. Fluoride was poison yesterday. Fluoride is poison today. Fluoride will be poison tomorrow. When in doubt, get it out.

An American Affidavit

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ch. 8. Robert Kehoe and the Kettering Laboratory: the fluoride deception by Christopher Bryson from archive.org

Robert Kehoe and the 
Kettering Laboratory 

FROM THE DARKNESS it can be difficult to determine the source of a 
shadow. Dr. Robert Arthur Kehoe of the Kettering Laboratory cast such a 
shadow over us all, one of the darkest of the modern era. 

For more than sixty years Americans breathed hundreds of thousands 
of tons of raw poison wafted into the atmosphere from leaded gasoline. 
This toxic air contributed to a medical toll of some 5,000 annual deaths 
from lead-related heart disease and an almost incalculable toll of tragedy 
in the neurological injuries and learning difficulties imposed on children. 
One estimate, based on government data, suggests that from 1927 to 1987, 
68 million young children in the United States were exposed to toxic 
amounts of lead from gasoline, until the additive was finally phased out in 
the United States.' 

For this in good measure we can thank Dr. Kehoe. Dark-haired and 
dark-eyed, Kehoe described himself as a "black Irishman" and claimed to 
be descended from Spaniards who had been shipwrecked on the Irish 
coast during Elizabethan times. The scientist possessed boundless energy, 
and a keen mind, and he could also tell "one hell of a dirty joke," 
colleagues remembered. Others who confronted him professionally, 
however, remembered Kehoe as arrogant and aloof. 2 

For almost fifty years Kehoe occupied some of the commanding 
heights of the nations medical establishment. He was at various points 
president of the American Academy of Occupational Medi- 



cine and president of the American Industrial Hygiene Association; he 
served as a consultant to the Public Health Service, the International Labor 
Organization, and the Atomic Energy Commission.' Kehoe also exercised a 
powerful influence on the publication of medical reports, since he sat on 
the editorial boards of leading scientific publications.' He preached the 
gospel of leaded gasolines safety from his pulpit at the Kettering 
Laboratory for the duration of his entire scientific career.' 

Kehoe did much the same for fluoride, with health consequences of a 
potentially similar magnitude. 

The Fluorine Lawyers and the " Infectious 
Idea of Easy Pickings" 

SPOOKED CORPORATIONS STAMPEDED Kehoe's laboratory following 
World War II. 6 The great factories that had throbbed and roared for the 
long years of national emergency had spewed unprecedented volumes of 
poisonous gas and smoke into the skies over numerous American cities and 
manufacturing areas. There were aluminum plants on the Columbia River 
and at Niagara Falls; uranium plants in New Jersey, Cleveland, and 
Tennessee; steel mills in Pittsburgh; gasoline refineries in Los Angeles; 
and phosphate plants in Florida. These were just some of the industrial 
operations that had won the war for the United States, but from which a 
steady rain of fluoride and other pollutants now fell, endangering the health 
of workers in factories and people living nearby. 

Patriotic U.S. citizens tolerated the smoke of war. When peace arrived, 
they turned to the courts. Perhaps the first to file suit were the injured peach 
farmers from the Garden State, downwind from DuPonts Chamber Works. 
They were quickly followed by numerous additional lawsuits alleging 
fluoride damage to crops, farm animals, and citizens.' 

Soon we had claims and lawsuits around aluminum smelters from 
coast to coast," recalled Alcoa's leading fluoride litigator, Frank Seamans. 
"Once this sleeping giant was awakened, claims and lawsuits were brought 
against all types of plants involving fluoride emissions — steel plants, 
fertilizer plants, oil refineries, and the like," he added.' 


To battle this awakened giant, Seamans and attorneys for other 
beleaguered corporations organized themselves into a self-described 
Fluorine Lawyers Committee, which met regularly through the cold war 
years.' The Committee would eventually include attorneys representing 
several of Americas top corporations, including Aluminum Company 
of Canada, U.S. Steel, Kaiser Aluminum and Steel, Reynolds Metals 
Company, Monsanto Chemical, the Tennessee River Valley Authority 
( TV A), Tennessee Corporation and subsidiaries, Victor Chemical, and 
Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation. Those corporations, 
guided by the needs of the Fluorine Lawyers, and directed by a Medical 
Advisory Committee of doctors from the corporations, funded the 
fluoride research at the Kettering 
Laboratory. 10 

The gathering storm clouds were surveyed after the war at a confidential 
conference at the Mellon Institute on April 30,1946. Among the guests 
filing through the ornately decorated aluminum doorways of the bunkerlike 
structure on Pittsburgh's Fifth Avenue were representatives from several of 
the companies facing fluoride lawsuits and complaints, including Alcoa, 
Pennsylvania Salt, and Harshaw Chemical." 

Robert Kehoe dispatched a loyal young Kettering lieutenant to the 
conference. Although Edward Largents only degree was a BA obtained in 
1935 from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, his willingness to 
sacrifice his own body and the bodies of others on behalf of the Kettering 
Laboratory's corporate clients, had already propelled him to the front line 
of industry's defense against fluoride litigation.' Starting in 1939, the giant 
Pennsylvania Salt Company and the Mead Johnson food company paid for 
a special experimental diet for the Kettering researcher. Pennsylvania Salt 
manufactured numerous fluoride products, including a cryolite pesticide 
spray, while Mead Johnson made a children's food, called Pablum, 
containing animal bone meal. (Bone meal can contain high amounts of 
fluoride.) Largent converted to a human guinea pig for the Kettering 
sponsors, eating, drinking, and breathing large quantities of fluoride for 
several years." Under the direction of a Kettering toxicologist, Francis 
Heyroth, the eager young researcher consumed fluoride in various forms: 
as cryolite, calcium fluoride, hydrogen fluoride, sodium fluoride, and 
sodium fluoroborate. As 



with similar experiments, in which human volunteers breathed lead fumes 
in a Kettering Laboratory gas chamber, the data were subsequently used to 
promote industry s position that moderate levels of fluoride — or lead — in 
the body were in "equilibrium with the environment and, if kept below 
certain thresholds, were both natural and safe. Such a hypothesis was 
immensely practical, of course. Following Largents wartime experiments 
eating cryolite, for example, the Department of Agriculture raised the 
amount of cryolite pesticide residue permitted on agricultural produce, an 
obvious windfall for the Pennsylvania Salt Company.' 

Now, in April 1946, Largent was one of those sitting in the audience at 
the Mellon Institute as the grand old man of prewar fluoride science, 
Alcoa's director of research, Francis Frary, took the stage. Frary explained 
to the Mellon audience some of industry's worries: how fluoride 
accumulated in the human skeleton and how coal had recently been 
identified as an "important" new source of airborne fluoride.' Largent was 
well aware of the legal risks that fluoride posed to corporations. He had 
been battling farmers who had launched court cases against several big 
chemical companies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, alleging damage to 
crops and herds in a postwar barrage of litigation in the Philadelphia and 
Delaware Valley area. Largent described these as almost epidemic." 6 

Industry confronted a potentially devastating cold war domino 
effect — that Americas industrial workers would follow the farmers into 
court. Largent had been monitoring the fluoride exposure inside the 
Pennsylvania Salt Company s two big plants in Natrona and Easton, 
Pennsylvania. The X-rays showed "bone changes" in workers skeletons 
and pointed to a clear and present danger, he stated. "These X-ray data 
could easily be misused by dishonest people to conduct a probably 
successful attempt to obtain compensation, Largent told a colleague from 
the Harshaw Chemical Company in an April 1946 letter that discussed the 
importance of the pending Mellon conference. The infectious idea of easy 
pickings may spread to include damage claims regarding occupational 
injuries," he added.' 

The Mellon Institute audience was captivated by the bold new medical 
theory of a second speaker. According to the roentgen-ologist (X-ray 
expert) Paul G. Bovard, much of the bone damage 



seen on workers X-rays was probably not caused by fluoride, and the 
Danish scientist Kaj Roholm had been a needless worrywart.' x Dr. Bovards 
fresh perspective was terrific news, Largent reminded the Pennsylvania 
Salt Company. Several of [your] employees show bone changes which 
might be successfully, even if it were dishonestly, made to appear like 
fluorine intoxication. The possibility of a roentgenologist being led by a 
dishonest lawyer to make such an error is not too far-fetched; it shows with 
great emphasis how fortunate we are to have the help and interest of a man 
with Dr. Bovard's capabilities." 19 Bovard's fresh thinking would prove 
"invaluable assets to the defense against dishonest claims for 
Largent concluded. 20 

Largent passed on more good news. Following the Mellon conference, 
other U.S. companies had also expressed "intense interest" in the fluoride 
problem. Alcoa's Francis Frary had told Largent that the aluminum 
company might support an expanded research program at Kettering. Other 
companies soon contacted Robert Kehoe directly. The DuPont medical 
director, Dr. G. H. Gehrmann, told Kehoe that DuPont, too, might be 
interested in joining the fluoride research at Kettering!' Such collaboration 
became a reality that summer and fall. On July 26, 1946, industry 
representatives met again, this time in the Philadelphia headquarters of the 
Pennsylvania Salt Company. And by the end of the year DuPont, Universal 
Oil Products, Reynolds Metals, and Alcoa had all agreed to pay for 
expanded fluoride studies at Kettering. Of special interest to sponsors: the 
willingness of the Kettering team to procure additional humans for 
experimentation. "This program should allow for new human subjects and 
should materially contribute to this subject," noted Pennsylvania Salts S. C. 
Ogburn Jr., in a November 1946 letter to Edward Largent. 

More Human Experiments, 

and a Suspicious Scientific Study 

THE EXPANDED RESEARCH program quickly bore fruit, both in fresh 
human experiments and in an influential scientific paper attacking Kaj 
Roholm. In January 1947, as industry checks for the fluoride research 
started to arrive in the Kettering Laboratory 



mailroom, Edward Largent looked around for more human subjects. He did 
not have to look far. Largent sometimes ate in the Ketter-ing lunchroom 
with members of a local African American family, the Blackstones, several 
of whom worked for the University of Cincinnati as laboratory assistants 
and animal handlers. A group of black boys — a wonderful family, Elmo 
and Peanut and Gentry," remembered Edward Largent years later. 22 

The Blackstone brothers had helped Dr. Robert Kehoe in his lead 
experiments. In 1947 a new item appeared on the Blackstones 
menu — extra-dietary fluoride. In May of that year, forty-one-year-old 
Elmo Blackstone began eating fluoride and carefully collecting his urine 
and excreta. The industrial experiments would continue for three and a half 
years, during which time he would consume a startling 12,047 mg of 
fluoride in the form of sodium fluoride and sodium fluoroborate, 
considerably more fluoride than even Lar-gent had ingested. In one 
experiment, begun in June 1948, Elmo was given 84 mg of sodium fluoride 
each week in his food for 130 weeks.' There is no surviving record of 
whether Elmo Blackstone experienced injury as a result of these 
experiments, but the historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner 
describe similar Kettering human experiments with lead as particularly 
pernicious because their objective was not the discovery of a therapy for 
those with lead poisoning but was to gather evidence that could be used by 
industry to prove that lead in the blood was normal and not indicative of 
poisoning by industry. 25 

In 1951 Edward Largent mounted a major assault on the research of Kaj 
Roholm, describing health effects of fluoride exposure in American 
workers that were much less severe than those reported by the Danish 
scientist. 26 His paper laid a medical keystone for Americas cold war 
industrial enterprise. 27 The war had hugely increased U.S. industrial 
dependence on fluoride, a hunger that grew voraciously as the American 
economy began its spectacular cold war expansion, with entire new 
enterprises, such as fluorocarbon plastics, aerosols, refrigerants, uranium 
enrichment, rocket fuels, and agricultural chemicals, all requiring 
that employees breathe and absorb fluoride. 28 By 1975 the government 
estimated that 350,000 men and women in 92 different occupations were 
exposed to fluoride in the workplace. 29 Yet the consequences of that 
chemical exposure 



would be largely overlooked, in part because of Largents 1951 paper, 
published in the influential American Journal of Roentgenology. 

Roholm had reported that fluoride produced a host of medical symptoms 
in factory workers. Most distinctly, fluoride could visibly disfigure a 
worker's bones, disabling them with a painful thickening and fusing of 
spinal vertebrae, a condition Roholm called crippling skeletal fluorosis. 
Largent now contradicted the Dane, reporting that no disabilities had been 
caused by fluoride in the U.S. workers he had studied. Instead, he argued 
that fluoride "deposition only highlighted a preexisting condition, making 
it more "apparent" to X-rays. "One wonders if Roholm may not have 
overemphasized the part that fluorides may play in causing limitation of 
mobility of the spine," Largent wrote. Perhaps the crippled spinal columns 
of the Danish workers were mostly the result of "hard labor," he 
suggested. 30 

Largents 1951 paper was influential among those for whom it was 
meant to be influential, so that in 1965, for example, the nations leading 
fluoride expert, Harold Hodge, could state that crippling fluorosis has 
never been seen in the United States. 31 But Largents paper also appears to 
have been a grim scientific hoax. At the end of his paper the Kettering 
researcher had ostentatiously posed a question: why did fluoride appear to 
affect American and European workers differently? "Just why disability 
has not been recorded in American workers remains unanswered, Largent 

The answer is simple. The facts were hidden by a Kettering cover-up 
that misled a generation of medical researchers about the consequences of 
industrial fluoride exposure and sentenced many thousands of U.S. 
workers to undiagnosed fluoride injury. Just three years earlier Kettering's 
Robert Kehoe had privately told Alcoa that 120 workers at its Massena 
aluminum smelting plant had "bone fluorosis" and that 33 were "severe" 
cases that showed evidences of disability ranging in estimated degree up to 
loo per-cent. 32 Similarly, while Largent publicly reported no fluoride dis- 
ability, privately three doctors had told him that workers' X-rays showed 
evidence of fluoride-linked medical injury, according to his personal 
correspondence and long-concealed records. 

Largents 1951 paper was based on X-rays of workers at the 
Pennsylvania Salt Company. Fluoride was burrowing inside the 

1 o 8 


employees bodies, deforming and crippling their bones, according to a 
radiologist, Dr. Thomas Smyth. Ira Templeton, one worker from the 
company s plant in Easton, Pennsylvania, showed marked increase in the 
density of the pelvis, upper portion of the femur, vertebrae, ribs, clavicle, 
scapula and forearm. Dr. Smyth considered these [effects] to be indicative 
of marked fluorine intox ication," Largent told management. At another 
Pennsylvania Salt plant at Natrona, Pennsylvania, X-ray images of a 
worker, Elmer Lammay, revealed that "bone growths on some of the 
vertebrae were extensive enough to indicate that some of the bones of the 
spine were becoming solidly fused together," Largent reported to 
management. 33 A second Natrona worker, Ross Mills, also revealed 
a "clear-cut increase in the density of the lower ribs and the lower 
thoracic and lumbar spine, typical of fluorine absorption," 
according to radiologist Paul Bovard, who classified Mills a "probable 
case of fluorosis." 34 

Although the Kettering researchers hid the incriminating X-ray pictures 
from the workers, on January 31, 1947, a mix-up occurred and Ira 
Templeton's results were sent directly to the Easton plant. " All of the films 
show osteosclerosis previously described and considered to be as a result of 
fluoride poisoning. . . . Very truly yours, Russell Davey, M.D.," read the 
mailed analysis." Pennsylvania Salt's management was furious at the 
misdirected letter. Its workforce might learn of the danger from fluoride 
exposure, the company worried. "You can appreciate the seriousness of 
this situation to us," wrote a senior official, S. C. Ogburn Jr., to Dr. Robert 
Kehoe, Largent's boss at the Kettering Laboratory. "Doubtless, this letter 
has been widely discussed at our Plant and is evidence of extremely poor 
tact, to say the least, on the part of Drs. Pillmore and Davey," 
Ogburn added. 36 

Kehoe asked the offending radiologist, Dr. Davey, to send future X-rays 
directly to the Kettering Laboratory and thereby "absolve the management 
of the Easton plant of any responsibility." He added, "We wish to avoid any 
situations that would result in undue suspicions or anxiety on the part of 
any of these men." And Kehoe swiftly reassured Pennsylvania Salts 
management that any apprehension or concern by workers about their 
health was the result of a semantic misunderstanding. In Europe the terms 



poisoning and fluorine intoxication might suggest disability and even 
worker compensation. In the United States, however, Edward Largent and 
the radiologist Dr. Paul Bovard were using these terms differently, infusing 
medical language with new meaning, Kehoe insisted. Poisoning was 
merely an unfortunate choice of verbal expression," he added. 37 

Dr. Kehoe and Edward Largent now delivered their sponsors some good 
news. Dr. Bovard had reversed the earlier diagnoses of fluoride poisoning 
by Drs. Smyth and Davey. He now claimed that, "with the exception of 
spinous ligament changes seen in films of Ira Templeton, the bone 
changes were so commonly seen in laborers as to have no necessary or 
likely relation to fluorine deposition. Pennsylvania Salt should therefore 
"differentiate between the terms, fluorine intoxication, which carries with 
it the implication of illness and disability, or impending disability, and 
"fluorine deposition, which signifies demonstrable change but without 
implying, necessarily, that illness or disease has occurred or is 
imminent, suggested Largent. 38 

The Kettering researchers published verdict of no disability was 
manifestly suspicious. All three radiologists had diagnosed some degree of 
fluoride-induced spinal thickening, ligament changes, or fluorosis in the 
Pennsylvania Salt workers. A careful reader of Largent's published paper 
might also note an important distinction between the way Largent had 
arrived at his medical conclusions and how Kaj Roholm had investigated 
the same problem. The Dane had listened closely to the health complaints 
of the Copenhagen employees. He had concluded that fluoride poisoning 
was insidious and hydra-headed and that several groups of 
symptoms — including stomach, bone, lung, skin, and nervous 
problems — often presented themselves at different times in different 
people, making fluoride injury both serious and sometimes difficult to 
diagnose. 39 Largent's 1951 published finding of "no disability" in the 
Pennsylvania Salt workers, however, was made without ever talking to the 
employees themselves. Nor had the Kettering team performed any medical 
examinations beyond studying bone X-rays in a distant office. Detailed 
clinical examination of the workmen in these plants could not be carried 
out and therefore no other data are available for consideration, Largent 



Sins of the Father 

EDWARD LA RGENTS WILLINGNESS tO perform human experiments was 
remarkable. In the haste of World War II, he had helped the Manhattan 
Project fix fluoride inhalation safety standards at 6 parts per million for 
U.S. war workers who breathed in fluoride in factories." Following the war 
Largent even turned to his own family to obtain additional scientific data. 42 

He couldnt get experimental subjects, explained his son Edward 
Largent Jr., who today is a classical composer and professor emeritus at 
the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University in Ohio. A lot 
of people were just antifluoride for whatever reasons, he added. 

His son, then a high school student, was selected by his father because 
he "was available and he was willing," his father told the medical writer 
Joel Griffiths. "Willing human subjects are not that easy to find," he 
explained. Largent told his son that he needed more data for whatever 
research he was doing, Largent, Jr. remembered. "It was really sort of a 
cursory knowledge. I wouldn't have understood a lot of what he was talking 
about because I was only a sophomore in high school. 

The Manhattan Project's Rochester division had already reported 
earlier experiments with hydrogen fluoride gas on dogs. At 
concentrations of approximately 8.8 parts per million of hydrogen fluoride, 
the lungs of one out of five dogs hemorrhaged. 43 Largent, Sr., had read the 
study but appeared skeptical about the results. " When I read it I wasn't 
impressed with what it meant in terms of potential human exposure, he 
told Griffiths. There was no review commit-tee for the Kettering inhalation 
experiment and no formal consent forms. "I was the review committee," he 
said. He did not anticipate health problems in the experimental subjects. 
"As far as we were concerned, there were no such risks," he added. 

In order to perform these new experiments, Largent had to have a gas 
chamber built. The process was a challenge. HF gas is corrosive, and the 
acid attacked the metal cylinders and valves. " It was found to be very 
difficult to maintain a specific concentration of HF in air inside the 
inhalation chamber, he reported. 

Once the gas chamber was built, Largent reserved the greatest amount 
of fluoride for one of the Kettering laboratory s African 


American laboratory assistants, forty-six-year-old male Gentry Blackstone. 
For fifty days in the early spring of 1953 Blackstone sat in the Kettering gas 
chamber six hours a day, breathing an average dose of 4.2 parts per million 
of hydrogen fluoride acid. But Largent did not experiment on Gentry 
Blackstone alone. Largent also exposed his own wife, Kathleen, to a lower 
dose of 2.7 parts per million. And although Gentry Blackstone received the 
largest amount of fluoride over the longest period of time, the single 
highest exposure values were given to Largent's son. On June 22, 1953, 
Edward Largent Jr., aged seventeen, entered a Kettering gas chamber for 
the first time. Cold cosmetic cream was applied to his face. The experiment 
would continue for twenty-eight days, six hours at a time, with weekends 

"I had to sit in this cage," the son remembered. A small fan was placed 
in front of the boy to improve the gas circulation. Outside, his father 
operated the controls and watched. The walls of the chamber were made 
from transparent plastic sheeting. The gas whispered in. At first, it caught 
the teenagers lungs and burned his nostrils, he said. His skin reddened and 
flaked. He read fiction to relieve the tedium, eyes stinging and smarting. 
The average dose for the six weeks that Edward Largent Jr. sat in the 
chamber was 6.7 parts per million — almost two and a half times what his 
mother received. For one remarkable week in early July 1953, however, 
with a break for Independence Day, the scientist gassed his son with doses 
of hydrogen fluoride that averaged 9.1 parts per million and climbed as 
high as 1 1 .9, almost four times the maximum allowable concentration then 
set by federal authorities and twice what the father had tolerated himself. 
The son's urine levels spiked at 40 parts of fluoride per million. The highest 
doses given to his son were accidental, the father said in retrospect; "It was 
our inability to keep it from going higher than we wanted it to." 

Largent's experiments rang alarm bells for industry. At a 1953 
Symposium on Fluorides at the Kettering Laboratory, he described his 
inhalation studies and spelled out the potential dangers they had revealed.." 
The gathered officials — including the head of the Fluorine Lawyers 
Committee, Alcoa s Frank Seamans — knew that American workers were 
regularly exposed to 3 parts per million of fluoride in their factories and 
workplaces. They also knew that when fluoride urine levels rose above 8 
milligrams per liter, there was real danger 

1 12 


that fluoride was building up in the skeleton and might soon become visible 
to X-rays. Largent delivered the bad news. Fluoride levels in his 
experimental subjects had spiked sharply immediately after their gas 
chamber exposures, even at lower acceptable exposure levels. Urinary 
concentrations averaged about io mg. per liter, he told the industry men, 
"although the atmospheric concentrations of HF were near to 3 ppm, which 
is generally accepted as satisfactory for prolonged occupational exposure. 
95 In public Largent continued to maintain that fluoride was safe in low 
doses. 96 Privately he told the industry representatives at the 1953 
Symposium, One wonders (whether) . . . prolonged exposure to HF at such 
a level may not give rise to medico-legal controversies."" 

Despite his private warnings to industry, Largent s experiments on his 
family and on the Blackstones are now considered a scientific foundation 
for today's official safety standard for the tens of thousands of workers who 
each day breathe the gas in their factories. The other source for safety 
assurances? Experiments done in 
1909 on rats. 98 

Even though the family experiments seem shocking, Edward Largent Jr. 
refuses to judge his father for placing him in a hydrogen fluoride gas 
chamber. Although the music professor has experienced knee problems in 
recent years, he blames a youthful passion for soccer; he doubts that it had 
anything to do with his summer spent breathing fluoride in the basement of 
the Kettering Laboratory, where he remembers only moderate discomfort. 
Mostly, he told me, "It stank and it was very boring. Be careful about 
criticizing," he warned, referring to the 19505 experiments. "Those were 
different times. The criteria and the sensitivities to such things were very 
different." He added, "It is like trying to judge a Beethoven symphony 
today. You have to look at the circumstances, the instruments he was 
writing for, the audience situations." 

After the experiments Edward Largent Jr., abruptly changed his career 
plans. He had passed his entrance exams for medical school at Ohio State, 
but suddenly plumped for music. Science no longer seemed so appealing. 
"I just decided I didn't want to do that, he said. 

His father would be haunted in later life by his own service as a human 
laboratory animal. Painful osteofluorosis led to a knee 


replacement and a reliance on medication for relief, the former Kettering 
researcher told medical writer Joel Griffiths in a taped interview in the 
mid-1990s. Both knees were hurting, Largent explained, because of the 
deposition of fluoride. Ironically, he seemed to have wound up suffering 
from the very type of skeletal disability his industry-funded scientific 
studies said did not exist. (In a second interview, however, Largent 
reversed himself and denied to Griffiths that he had ever suffered 
osteofluorosis.) 49 

Edward Largent Sr. died in December 1998, five days after an operation 
for a broken hip, suffered after a nighttime fall: gripped by Alzheimer's 
dementia, Largent had forgotten to use his walker to get to the bathroom. 
At the end of his life, his son recalled, Edward Largent "was angry and 
frustrated and very frightened because he knew there was something that 
wasn't right and that he couldn't fig ure out how to deal with it. The son 
wondered whether his father's bone pain in later life was because of his 
fluoride experiments. Edward Largent Jr.'s mother also suffered from ill 
health in her final years. Kathleen Largent had a leaking heart valve and a 
nerve disorder known as myasthenia gravis. (Arthritis, increased risk of hip 
fracture, Alzheimer's, and other central-nervous-system disorders have all 
been linked by scientists to fluoride exposure.) 50 

In recent years Edward Largent Jr. has spent hours reading about the 
Manhattan Project, wondering if his father was involved. An elder brother 
said their father had worked at Oak Ridge. And as a boy, Edward Largent 
Jr. remembers his father arriving from Tennessee at their Cincinnati home 
on a Friday night during the 1940s, driving a black car with government 
plates. "The car would go in the garage and I would say "Let's go for a 
ride,' and Dad would say No, no we can't use that car.' And then he would 
leave Sunday after-noon in the government car." 


Donora: A Rich Man's Hocus Pocus 

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