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.


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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ch. 2. Fireworks at Forsyth: the fluoride deception by Christopher Bryson from archive.org


Ch. 2. Fireworks at Forsyth: the fluoride deception by Christopher Bryson from archive.org

CHAPTER TWO     babies. When the scientists gave fluoride to the baby rats following their  birth, the animals had cognitive deficits, and exhibited retarded behavior.  There were sex differences, too. Males appeared more sensitive to  fluoride in the womb; females were more affected when exposed as  weanlings or young adults.   The two women told Jack Hein and Harold Hodge about the results. The  men ordered them to repeat the experiments, this time on different rats. The  team performed still more tests. Mullenix remembers that Harold Hodge  kept asking her about the results, even though he was by now very ill. He  had gone to his home in Maine but kept in contact by telephone. He
asked  every day. https://www.blogger.com/null  By 1990 the data were crystal clear. The women had tested more than  five hundred rats. "I finally said we have got enough animals here for  statistical significance, said Mullenix. There is a problem," she added.   The two women talked endlessly about what they had found. Mullenix  was a newcomer to fluoride research, but Pamela Den-Besten had spent her  career studying the chemical. She suspected that they had made an  explosive discovery and that dentists in particular would find the  information important. My initial gut reaction was that this is really big,  said DenBesten. Although the Forsyth rats had been given fluoride at a  higher concentration than people normally drink in their water — an  equivalent of 5 parts per million as opposed to 1 part per  million — DenBesten also knew that many Americans are routinely exposed  to higher levels of fluoride every day. For example, people who drink large  amounts of water, such as athletes or laborers in the hot sun; people who  consume certain foods or juices with high fluoride levels; children who use  fluoride supplements from their dentists; some factory workers, as the  result of workplace exposure; or certain sick people, all can end up  consuming higher cumulative levels of fluoride. Those levels of  consumption begin to approach — or can even surpass, for some  groups — the same fluoride levels seen in the Forsyth rats.   "If you have someone who has a medical condition, where they have  diabetes insipidus where you drink lots of water, or kidney  disease — anything that would alter how you process fluoride — then you  could climb up to those levels, said DenBesten. She thought that the  Forsyth research results would quickly be followed up by     FIREWORKS AT FORSYTH 13     a whole series of additional experiments examining, for example, whether  fluoride at even lower levels, 1 part per million, produced  central-nervous-system effects. "I assumed it would take off on its own,  that a lot of people would be very concerned, she added.   Jack Hein was excited as well, remembers Mullenix. (Harold Hodge had  died before she could get the final results to him.)' Hein said, I want you to  go to Washington, Mullenix said. Go to the National Institute of Dental  Research and give them a seminar. Tell them what you are finding.   Jack Hein knew that if more research on the toxicity of low-dose  fluoride was to be done, the government's National Institutes of Health and  the U. S. Public Health Service needed to be involved.   THE CAMPUS-STYLE GROUNDS of the federal National Institutes of  Health (NIH), just north of Washington DC, have the leafy spaciousness of  an Ivy League college. White-coated scientists and government  bureaucrats in suits and ties stroll the tree-lined walkways that connect  laboratories with office buildings. This is the headquarters of the U.S.  governments efforts to coordinate health research around the country, with  an annual budget of $23.4 billion forked out by US taxpayers. 2 The campus  is the home of the different NIH divisions, such as the National Cancer  Institute and the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR), as it was  then known. (Today it is known as the National Institute of Dental and  Craniofacial Research.)   On October to, 1990, Phyllis Mullenix and Jack Hein arrived at the NIH  campus to tell senior government scientists and policy makers about her  fluoride research. As director of the nation's leading private dental-research  institute, Jack Hein was well-known and respected at NIH. He had helped  to arrange the Mullenix lecture. Mullenix was no stranger to public-health  officials either. One of the Institutes' biggest divisions, the National Cancer  Institute, had awarded her a grant that same year totaling over $600,000.  The money was for a study to investigate the neurotoxic effects of some of  the drugs and therapies used in treating childhood leukemia. Many of those  drugs and radiation therapies can slow the leukemia but are so powerful  that they often produce central-nervous-system effects and can retard  childhood intelligence. The government     14     CHAPTER TWO     wanted Mullenix to use her new RAPID computer technology at Forsyth  to measure the neurotoxicity of these drugs.   To present her fluoride data, Mullenix and Hein had flown from Boston,  arriving a little early. Hein met up with some old friends from NIDR, while  Mullenix strolled into the main hospital building on the Bethesda campus,  killing time before her seminar. In the hallway, the scientist started to  giggle. On the wall was a colorful posterboard display, recently mounted  by NIH officials, titled The Miracle of Fluoride.   "I thought how odd," remembered Mullenix. "It's 1990 and they are  talking about the miracle of fluoride, and now I'm going to tell them that  their fluoride is causing a neurotoxicity that is worse than that induced by  some cases of amphetamines or radiation. I'm here to tell them that fluoride  is neurotoxic."   She read on. Ironically, her trip to Washington fell on the historic  fortieth anniversary of the Public Health Service's endorsement of  community water fluoridation. Mullenix knew little about fluoride's history.  The chemical had long been the great white hope of the NIDR, once  promising to vanquish blackened teeth in much the same way that  antibiotics had been a magic bullet for doctors in the second half of the  twentieth century, beating back disease and infection.   Terrible teeth had stalked the developed world since the industrial  revolution, when the whole -grain and fiber diet of an earlier agrarian era  was often replaced by a poorer urban fare, including increased quantities of  refined carbohydrates and sugars.' Cavities are produced when bacteria in  the mouth ferment such sugars and carbohydrates, attacking tooth enamel,  with the resulting acid penetrating into the tooth's core. Hope of a simple  fix for bad teeth arrived in the 1930s, when a Public Health Service dental  researcher named Dr. H. Trendley Dean reported finding fewer dental  cavities in some parts of the United States, where there is natural fluoride in  the water supply. Dean's studies became the scientific underpinning for  artificial water fluoridation, which was begun in the 1940s and 1950s.  Dean also became the first head of the NIDR. By the 1960s and 1970s, with  rates of tooth decay in free fall across the United States, dental officials  pointed a proud finger at the fluoride added to water and toothpaste. NIDR  officials revered H. Trendley Dean as the father of fluoridation."     FIREWORKS AT FORSYTH     15     "It was a major discovery by the Institute, said Jack Hein.   But opposition to fluoridation had been intense from the start. The  postwar decline in rates of dental decay in developed nations had also  occurred in communities where fluoride was not added to drinking  water and had begun in some cases before the arrival of fluoride  toothpaste.' Widespread use of antibiotics, better nutrition, improved  oral hygiene, and increased access to dental care were also cited as  reasons. And while medical and scientific resistance to fluoridation  had been fierce and well-argued — the grassroots popular opposition  was in many ways a precursor of todays environmental  movement — Mullenix found the NIH's posterboard account of  antifluoridation history to be oddly scornful. "They made a joke about  antifluoridationists all being little old ladies in tennis shoes," she said.  "That stuck in my mind."   Since Deans day laboratory studies have forced a revolution in  official thinking about how fluoride works.' While early researchers  speculated that swallowed fluoride was incorporated "systemi-cally"  into tooth enamel even before the tooth erupted in a child's  mouth — making it more resistant to decay — scientists now believe  that fluoride acts almost exclusively from outside the tooth, or "topi-  cally" (such a "topical" effect has always been the explanation for how  fluoride toothpaste functions, too). This new research says that  fluoride defends teeth by slowing the harmful "demineralization" of  calcium and phosphate from tooth enamel, which can leave teeth  vulnerable to cavities. Fluoride also helps to remineralize enamel by  laying down fresh crystal layers of calcium and a durable fluoride  compound known as fluorapatite. And there is a third "killer" effect, in  which the acid produced from fermenting food combines with fluoride,  forming hydrogen fluoride (HF). This powerful chemical can then  penetrate cell membranes, interfering with enzyme activity, and  rendering bad bacteria impotent.'   I still believe that fluoride works, says the Canadian dental  researcher turned critic of water fluoridation, Dr. Hardy Limeback.  It works topically.   But these new ideas have not quenched the old debate. Dental  officials now argue that water fluoridation produces a lifelong benefit  not just for children; by bathing all teeth in water, officials argue,  fluoride is continually repairing and protecting tooth enamel in     16     CHAPTER TWO     teeth of all ages. Critics worry, however, that if hydrogen fluoride can  inhibit bacteria enzymes in the mouth, then swallowing fluoride may  unintentionally deliver similar killer blows to necessary bodily enzymes,  thus also inhibiting the ones we need.'   Phyllis Mullenix, reading the NIH fluoride posters and preparing to  give her speech on that fall day in 1990, knew almost nothing of the history  of controversy surrounding fluoride. She was about to walk into the lion s  den. She was stunned when she entered the lecture hall at the National  Institutes of Health. It was packed. There were officials from the Food and  Drug Administration. She spotted the head of the National Institute of  Dental Research, Dr. Harald Loe, and she noticed men in uniform from  the Public Health Service.   The lights dimmed. Mullenix told them about the new RAPID  computer technology at Forsyth. At first the audience seemed excited.  Then she outlined her fluoride experiment. She explained that the  central-nervous-system effects seen in the rats resembled the injuries seen  when rats were given powerful antileukemia drugs and radiation therapies.  The pattern of central-nervous-system effects on the rats from fluoride  matched perfectly, she said.   The room fell suddenly quiet. She attempted a joke. I said, I may be a  little old lady, but I m not wearing tennis shoes, she remembers. Nobody  was laughing. In fact, they were really kind of nasty.  The big guns from the NIH opened up. Hands shot into the air. They  started firing question after question, attacking me with respect to the  methodology," remembered Mullenix. She answered their ques tions  patiently, and finally, when there were no more hands in the air, she and  Jack Hein climbed into a cab and headed for the airport. Jack Hein is  reluctant to discuss these long-ago events. It was a messy ending to his  career. He retired from Forsyth the following year, in 1991. He agrees that  the Mullenix fluoride results were unpopular but adds that data showing  fluoride damage to the central nervous system should have been  "vigorously" followed up. " That perspective had never been looked at  before," he remarks. "It turned out there was something there. Hein  believes that getting the NIDR and the government to change their position  on fluoride, however, is a difficult task. Many senior public-health officials  have devoted their professional careers to promoting fluoride. NIDR really  fought hard showing that fluoride was effective, Hein says.     FIREWORKS AT FORSYTH     17     "It was a major discovery by the Institute. They did everything they  could to promote it. "   Hein made a final effort to sound a warning on fluoride. He told  Mullenix that he was going to call a meeting of industry officials  whose products contained fluoride. Like Mullenix, Hein had spent a  career cultivating ties with various large-scale industries. He sent her  a note listing the people who are coming for a private Fluoride  Toxicity conference that would be held in his Forsyth office. He  said, NIDR were being stupid, the industries will respond better,  Mullenix recalls.   Several months after the Washington seminar, Phyllis Mullenix  sat at the table in Jack Hein s office with representatives from three of  the worlds most powerful drug companies: Unilever,  Colgate-Palmolive, and SmithKline Beecham. Anthony Volpe,  Colgate-Palmolive s Worldwide Director of Clinical Dental Research,  was there, and so was Sal Mazzanobile, Director of Oral Health  Research for Beecham. The senior scientist Joe Kanapka was sent by  the big transnational company Unilever.   Mullenix outlined her fluoride findings. The men took notes.  Suddenly Joe Kanapka of Unilever leaned back in his chair with an  exasperated look. "He said, Do you realize what you are saying to us,  that our fluoride products are lowering the IQ of children?  remembers Mullenix. And I said, Well yes, that is what I am saying  to you.'" As they left, the men "slapped me on the back," Mullenix  said, telling her, "We will be in touch, we need to pursue this."   The next day a note from Jack Hein's office arrived with the tele-  phone numbers of the industry men, so that she could follow up. "I did  call them," says Mullenix. "And I called. And the weeks went by and  the months went by." Eventually Joe Kanapka from Unilever called  back, she remembers. "He says, V I gave it to my superiors and they  haven t gotten back to me.   Contacted recently, Joe Kanapka said that he had visited Forsyth  many times" but had no memory of the fluoride conference. When  asked if he had once worried that his products might be hurting  children's intelligence, he replied, "Oh God, I don't remember any-  thing like that, Im sorry. He explained that open-heart surgery had  temporarily impaired his memory. I dont remember who Mullenix  is," he added.     18     CHAPTER TWO     Beechams Sal Mazzanobile remembers the meeting. The fluoride data  presented that day were preliminary, he recalled. Mullenix never called  him again, he claims, and he therefore presumed her data were inaccurate.  I cant see why, if somebody had data like that, they would not follow up  with another study in a larger animal model, maybe then go into humans,  he said. It could be a major health problem.   Did the director of consumer brands at Beecham — makers of several  fluoride products — call Mullenix himself or find out if her data were ever  published? "I wasn't the person responsible to follow up, if there was a  follow-up," Mazzanobile answered. He did not remember who at Beecham,  if anybody, might have had responsibility for keeping apprised of the  Mullenix research.   Procter and Gamble followed up on Mullenix's warning. They flew her  out to their Miami Valley laboratories in Cincinnati. Mullenix flew home  with a contract and some seed money to begin a study to look at the effects  of fluoride on children s intelligence. Shortly afterward, however, "they  pulled out and I never heard from them again, recalls Mullenix.   In 1995 Mullenix and her team published their data in the scientific  journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology. Their paper explained that, while  a great deal of research had already been done on fluoride, almost none had  looked at fluorides effects on the brain. And while earlier research had  suggested that fluoride did not cross the crucial blood brain barrier, thus  protecting the central nervous system, Mullenix's findings now revealed  that "such impermeability does not apply to chronic exposure situations." 9   When the baby rats drank water with added fluoride, the scientists had  measured increased fluoride levels in the brain. And more fluoride in the  brain was associated with "significant behavioral changes" in the young  rats, which resembled "cognitive deficits," the scientists reported. The  paper also suggested that when the fluoride was given to pregnant rats, it  reached the brain of the fetus, thus producing an effect resembling  hyperactivity in the male newborns.   The Mullenix research eventually caught the attention of another team  of Boston scientists studying central-nervous-system problems. They  produced a report in 2000 reviewing whether toxic chemicals had a role in  producing what they described as an epidemic     FIREWORKS AT FORSYTH     19     of developmental, learning and behavioral disabilities in children.  Their report considered the role of fluoride, and focused on the  Mullenix research in particular. In Harms Way — Toxic Threats to  Child Development by the Greater Boston chapter of Physicians for  Social Responsibility described how 12 million children (17 percent)  in the United States suffer from one or more learning, developmental,  or behavioral disabilities." Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder  (ADHD) affects 3 to 6 percent of all school-children, although recent  evidence suggests the prevalence may be much higher, the scientists  noted. Not enough is known about fluoride to link it directly to ADHD  or other health effects, the report pointed out. Nevertheless, the  existing research on fluoride and its central-nervous-system effects  were " provocative and of significant public health concern," the team  concluded.   The Mullenix research surprised one of the authors of the report, Dr.  Ted Schettler. He had previously known almost nothing about fluoride.  It hadnt been on my radar screen, he said. Most startling was how few  studies had been done on fluorides central-ner vous-system effects.  Schettler turned up just two other reports, both from China, suggesting  that fluoride in water supplies had reduced IQ in some villages. That  just strikes me as unbelievable quite frankly," he said. "How this has  come to pass is extraordinary. That for forty years we have been  putting fluoride into the nations water supplies — and how little we  know about [what] its neurological developmental impacts are.... We  damn well ought to know more about it than we do."   Does Mullenix s work have any relevance to children? Schettler  does not know. Comparing animal studies to humans is an uncertain  science, he explained. Nor was Schettler familiar with Mullenix's  computer testing system. But the toxic characteristics and behavior  of other chemicals and metals, such as lead and mercury, concern  him. For those pollutants, at least, human sensitivity is much greater  than in animal experiments; among humans, it is greater in children  than in adults. The impact of other toxic chemicals on the developing  brain is often serious and irreversible.   So is the Mullenix work worth anything? I don t know the answer to  that," Schettler said. "But what I do draw from it is that it is quite  plausible from her work and others that fluoride inter-     20     CHAPTER TWO     feres with normal brain development, and that we better go out to get the  answers to this in human populations.   The burden of testing for neurological effects falls on the Public Health  Service, which has promoted water fluoridations role in dental health for  half a century. Whenever anybody or any organization attempts a public  health intervention, there is an obligation to monitor emerging science on  the issue — and also continue to monitor impacts in the communities where  the intervention is instituted. So that when new data comes along that says,  Whoa, this is interesting, here is a health effect that we hadnt thought  about,' we better have a look at this to make sure our decision is still a  good one, Schettler said.   Phyllis Mullenix says that she carried the ball just about as far as she  could. Following the seminar at NIH, Harald Loe, the director of the  National Institute of Dental Research, had written to Forsyth's director  Jack Hein on October 23, 1990, thanking him and Mullenix for their visit  and confirming "the potential significance of work in this area." He asked  Mullenix to submit additional requests for funding. "NIDR would be  pleased to support development of such an innovative methodology which  could have broad significance for protecting health," Loe wrote. 10   "I was very excited about that," said Mullenix. "I took their suggestions  in the letter. [However] every one of them ended up in a dead end.'  Mullenix now believes that the 1990 letter was a cruel ruse — to cover up  the fact that the NIH had no interest in learning about fluoride's potential  central-nervous-system effects. "What they put in writing they had no  intentions [of funding]. It took years to figure that out," she says.   Dr. Antonio Noronha, an NIH scientific -review adviser familiar with Dr.  Mullenix's grant request, says a scientific peer-review group rejected her  proposal. He terms her claim of institutional bias against fluoride  central-nervous-system research "farfetched." He adds, We strive very  hard at NIH to make sure politics does not enter the picture.'"   But fourteen years after Mullenix s Washington seminar the NIH still  has not funded any examination of fluoride's central-nervous-system  effects and, according to one senior official, does not currently regard  fluoride and central-nervous-system effects as a     FIREWORKS AT FORSYTH 21   research priority. No, it certainly isnt, said Annette Kirshner, a  neurotoxicology specialist with the National Institute of Environmental  Health Studies (NIEHS). Dr. Kirshner confirmed that although our  mission is to look into the effects of toxins [and] adverse environmental  exposures on human health, she could recall no grants being given to study  the central-nervous-system effects of fluoride. "We'd had one or two grants  in the past on sodium fluoride, but in my time they've not been neuro  grants, and I've been at this institute about thirteen and a half years." Does  NIEHS have plans to conduct such research? "We do not and I doubt if the  other Institutes intend to," said Dr. Kirshner by e-mail.   Nor do the governments dental experts plan on studying fluorides  central-nervous-system effects any time soon. In an e-mail sent to me on  July 19, 2002, Dr. Robert H. Selwitz of the same agency wrote that he was  "not aware of any follow-up studies" nor were the potential CNS effects of  fluoride "a topic of primary focus" for government grant givers. Dr.  Selwitz is the Senior Dental Epidemiologist and Director of the Residency  Program in Dental Public Health, National Institute of Dental and  Craniofacial Research, NIH. At first he appeared to suggest that the  Mullenix study had little relevance for human beings, telling me that her  rats were "fed fluoride at levels as high as 175 times the concentration  found in fluoridated drinking water.   But his statement was subtly misleading. Rats and humans have very  different metabolisms, and in laboratory experiments these differences  must be compensated for. The critical measurement in studying effects on  the central nervous system is not how much fluoride is given to the  laboratory animals but how much of the chemical, after they drink it,  subsequently appears in the animals blood. The amount of fluoride in the  blood of the Mullenix rats — a measurement known as the blood serum  level — had been the equivalent of what would appear in the blood of a  human drinking about 5 parts per million of fluoride in water. This, of  course, is just five times the level the government suggests is optimal for  fluoridated water- 1 ppm. I asked Dr. Selwitz, therefore, if it was fair to  portray the Mullenix rats as having drunk 175 times the amount of  fluoride that citizens normally consume from fluoridated water.     22     CHAPTER TWO     Wasn't the "blood serum" measurement and comparison more relevant?  Wasn't his statement, inadvertently at least, misleading?   Dr. Selwitz, who had just been ready to dispense medical arguments  and implied reassurances as to why Mullenix's research was not relevant  to human beings, now explained that he could not answer my question.  "The questions you are asking in your recent e-mail message involve the  field of fluoride physiology," wrote the senior dental epidemiologist at  NIDCR. "This subject is not my area of expertise."   FAR FROM USHERING in new opportunities for scientific research,  Mullenixs fluoride studies appear to have spelled the death knell for her  once-promising academic career. When Jack Hein retired from Forsyth on  June 30, 1991, the date marked the beginning of a very different work  environment for Phyllis Mullenix. She gave a seminar at Forsyth on  February 20, 1992, outlining what she had discovered and explaining that  she hoped to publish a major paper about fluoride toxicity with Pamela  DenBesten. "That's when my troubles started," said Mullenix. Pam  DenBesten had been worried about the Boston seminar. Senior  researchers at Forsyth, such as Paul DePaola, had published favorable  research on fluoride since the 196os. The seminar was " ugly," says  Mullenix. DenBesten describes the scientists' response as "angry" and  "sarcastic." "She was risking their reputation with NIH," DenBesten  explains.   Karen Snapp remembers "hostile" questioning of Mullenix by the audience.  "They looked upon Phylliss research as a threat. The dental business in this  country is focused on fluoride. They felt that funding would dry up. We are  supposed to be saying that fluoride is good for you, whereas somebody is  saying maybe it is not good for you. ... In their own little minds, they were  worried about that." The following day Forsyth's associate director, Don  Hay, approached Mullenix. "He said, 'You are going against what the  dentists and everybody have been publishing for fifty years, that this is safe  and effective. You must be wrong,'" Mullenix recalled. "He told me, You  are jeopardizing the financial support of this entire institution. If you  publish these studies, NIDR is not going to fund any more research at  Forsyth.     FIREWORKS AT FORSYTH     23     Karen Snapp also remembers Don Hay as opposing publication of  the paper. "He didn't believe the science. He didn't believe the  results — and he did not think the paper should go out." Both Snapp  and Mullenix were concerned that somehow Don Hay would prevent  the paper from being published. "I think we were even laughing about  it, saying I think in America we have something called freedom of the  press, freedom of speech?" Snapp recalls.   Don Hay calls allegations that he considered suppressing the  Mullenix research "false." He told Salon.com: "My concern was that  Dr. Mullenix, who had no published record in fluoride research, was  reaching conclusions that seemed to differ from a large body of  research reported over the last fifty years. We had no knowledge of  the acceptance of her paper prior to the time she left [Forsyth] ."   Editor Donald E. Hutchings of Neurotoxicology and Teratology,  where the Mullenix paper was published, says that there was no effort  to censor or pressure him in any way. Her study was first "peer  -reviewed" by other scientists, revised, and then accepted. "Was I  called and told that 'If you publish this we are going to review your  income taxes, [or] send you a picture of J. Edgar Hoover in a dress?'  No," he said. Hutchings was a little bemused, however, to get such a  critical paper on fluoride from a Forsyth researcher. He knew that  Forsyth had long been a leading supporter of a role for fluoride in  dentistry. "It almost strikes me like you are working in a distillery and  you are doing work studying fetal alcohol syndrome. That is not work  that they are going to be eager to be sponsoring. I didn't care — it  wasn't my career. I thought it was really courageous of her to be doing  that."   On May 18,1994 — Just days after the paper had been accepted —  Forsyth fired Mullenix. The termination letter merely stated that her  contract would not be renewed. There was no mention of fluoride. A  new regime was now installed at the Center. The toxicology  department was closed, and a new Board of Overseers had been  established, with the mission "to advise the Director in matters  dealing with industrial relationships." 14   Mullenix describes the final couple of months at Forsyth as the  lowest ebb in her career. The big grant from the National Cancer  Institute had dried up and her laboratory conditions were horrible, she  said. "The roof leaked, they destroyed the equipment, they     24     CHAPTER TWO     destroyed the animals. That was the lowest point, right before I physi cally  moved out in July 1994. Nobody would even talk to me.   Her mother remembers Phyllis calling frequently that summer. She was  very upset about it, said Olive Mullenix. At first she wondered if her  daughter had done something wrong. Phyllis explained that her fluoride  research had been unpopular. There was no use to get angry, said Olive  Mullenix. She was honest about what she found and they didn't like it."   Stata Norton got calls too from her former student. Norton was not  surprised at the hostile response from Forsyth. She knew that clean data  can attract dirty politics. There are situations in which people don't want  data challenged, they don't want arguments," said Norton.   The implications of Mullenix s work have been buried, according to her  former colleague, the scientist Karen Snapp. Is it fair to say that we don't  know the answer to the central-nervous-system effects of the fluoride we  currently ingest? I think that Phyllis got just the tip of the iceberg. There  needs to be more work in that area, Snapp said.   Jack Hein wishes that he had approached things differently. He knew  that the scientific landscape of the last fifty years was littered with the  bodies of a lot of people who, like Phyllis Mullenix, got tangled up in the  fluoride controversy. His team should have tested other dental materials  before tackling fluoride, said Hein. It would have been better if we had  done mercury and then fluoride,"  he said. Less controversial.   It would have made no difference, believes Mullenix. Nor does she  believe another scientist would have been treated differently. She had  stellar academic credentials, powerful industry contacts, and hard scientific  data about a common chemical. "That is the sad part of it," she said. "I  thought I had the people back then. I thought you could reason one scientist  to another. I don't know that there is anything I could have done differently,  without just burying the information."   Mullenix no longer works as a research scientist. Since her fluoride  discovery at Forsyth a decade ago, she has received no funding or research  grants. "I liked studying rats," she said. "I probably would have continued  working with the animals my entire life. Now, she added, I dont think I  will ever get to work in a laboratory again.     FIREWORKS AT FORSYTH     Jack Hein and Pamela DenBesten knew about fluorides bizarre  undertow, one that could pull and snatch at even the most established  scientist, and they were able to swim free from the Forsyth shipwreck But  Mullenix was dragged down by a tide that no one warned her about. "I  didnt understand the depth, she said. And to me, in my training, you pay  no attention to that. The data are the data and you report them and you  publish and you go from there.   Mullenix is disappointed at the response of her fellow scientists. Jack  Hein walked off into the sunset of retirement. Most of her former  colleagues were reluctant to support her call for more research on fluoride,  she said. Instead of saying maybe scientifically we should take another  look, everybody took cover, they all dove into the bushes and wouldn't  have anything to do with me."   Olive Mullenix did not raise her daughter that way. You cant just walk  away from something like this, Phyllis Mullenix said. I mean, they had to  find out that thalidomide was wrong and change. Why should fluoride be  any different?   "A Spooky Feeling"   ONE HOT JULY evening in 1995 the phone rang. Dr. Phyllis Mulle-nix  was in her office, upstairs in her Andover, Massachusetts, home. Scientific  papers were strewn on the floor. She had been depressed. Her firing from  Forsyth the previous summer had hit the family hard. Her daughters were  applying to college ; she and her husband, Rick, were quarreling about  money.   She lifted the receiver. A big bass voice boomed an apology from New  York City for calling so late. Mullenix did not recognize the speaker. She  settled back into her favorite white leather armchair. Joel Griffiths  explained that he was a medical writer in Manhattan. He had a request.  Would Mullenix look at some old documents he had discovered in a U.S.  government archive? The papers were from the files of the Medical Section  of the Manhattan Project, the once supersecret scientific organization that  had built the worlds first atomic bomb.   Mullenix rolled her eyes. It was late. Rick, now an air traffic controller,  was trying to sleep in the next room. The atom bomb, Mul-lenix thought!  What on earth did that have to do with fluoride?     26     CHAPTER TWO     Mullenixs own patience was growing thin. Since her research had  become public, she had been bombarded with phone calls and letters from  antifluoride activists. Some of the callers had been battling water  fluoridation since the 1950s. Late-night radio talk shows were especially  hungry to speak with the Harvard scientist who thought that fluoride was  dangerous. They called her at three or four in the morning from across the  country and overseas. Usually "there was no thank you note, and you never  heard from them again," Mullenix said.   The New York reporter dropped a bombshell. Dr. Harold Hodge,  Mullenixs old laboratory colleague, was described in the documents as the  Manhattan Projects chief medical expert on fluoride, Griffiths told her.  Workers and families living near atomic-bomb factories during the war  had been poisoned by fluoride, according to the documents, and Harold  Hodge had investigated.   Mullenix felt a sudden "spooky" feeling. She shifted in her chair.  Harold Hodge was now dead, but as the journalist continued, Mullenix  cast her mind back to the days in her Forsyth laboratory with the kind old  gentleman, the grandfatherly figure who had some-times played with her  children.   "All he did was ask questions," she told Griffiths. "He would sit there  and he would nod his head, and he would say, You don't say, you don't say.  Once, Mullenix recalled, as Hodge watched her experiments, he had briefly  mentioned working for the Manhattan Project. But he had never said that  fluoride had anything to do with nuclear weapons — or that he had once  measured the toxic effects of fluoride on atomic-bomb workers. Yes,  Mullenix told the journalist, she wanted to see the documents.   Some days later a colleague of Griffiths s arrived at the Mullenix home.  Clifford Honicker handed her a thick folder of documents. Honicker was  part of a small group of researchers and reporters who had unearthed many  of the ghoulish medical secrets of the Manhat tan Project and the Atomic  Energy Commission. Those secrets had included details about scores of  shocking cold-war human radiation experiments on hospital patients,  prisoners, pregnant women, and retarded children.   For years the media had ignored the information about human  experimentation that Honicker and others were discovering. Finally,     FIREWORKS AT FORSYTH     27     in 1995, an investigative journalist named Eileen Welsome had won a  Pulitzer Prize for revealing how atomic-bomb-program doctors had  injected plutonium into hospital patients in Tennessee and New York.  She uncovered the names of the long-ago victims. Harold Hodge had  planned and supervised many of those experiments, the documents  showed. President Bill Clinton ordered an investigation. His energy  secretary, Hazel O'Leary, began a new policy of openness. And  Honicker and others had gained access to newly declassified cold- war  documents — including much of the new information on fluoride.   That night, after Honicker left, Mullenix settled in her chair and  began to read. Her face drained as she read one memo in particular.  The fifty-year-old document mentioned Harold Hodge — and dis-  cussed fluorides effects on the brain and central nervous system. It  was the same work she had done at the Forsyth Dental Center.   "I went white. I was outraged," said Mullenix. "I was hollering  and pacing the floor. He wrote this memo saying that he knew  fluoride would affect the central nervous system!"   The central-nervous-system memo — stamped "secret" — is  addressed to the head of the Manhattan Projects Medical Section,  Colonel Stafford Warren, and dated April 29, 1944 It is a request to  conduct animal experiments to measure the central-nervous-system  effects of fluoride. Dr. Harold Hodge wrote the research proposal.   "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," states the memo. 15   A light flashed on for Mullenix. At the time, in 1996, she was still  sending grant requests to the National Institutes of Health in  Washington, DC, asking to continue her studies on fluoride's  central-nervous-system effects. A panel of NIH scientists had turned  down the application, flatly telling her, "Fluoride does not have  central nervous system effects." Mullenix realized the absurdity of  what she had been doing. Harold Hodge and the government had sus-  pected fluorides toxic effects on the human central nervous system  for half a century.   She read on. The 1944 memo explained why research on fluorid  e's central-nervous-system effects was vital to the United States'     28     CHAPTER Two     war effort. 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.   All of a sudden it dawned on me, said Mullenix. Harold Hodge, back  in the 1940s, had asked the military to do a study that I had done at  Forsyth.... Hodge knew this fifty years ago. Why didnt he tell me what he  was interested in? Why didnt he say to me, This stuff, I know, is a  neurotoxin?'" All he did was ask questions, and he would sit there and he  would nod his head and he would say, You dont say, you dont say. He  never once said, I know it is a neuro-toxin, I know it causes confusion,  lassitude, and drowsiness.   Today Mullenix calls Harold Hodge a monster for his human-radiation  experiments. In retrospect she compares sharing a laboratory with him with  being in a movie theater, sharing popcorn with the Boston Strangler.   Had the two Rochester alumni — Jack Hein and Harold Hodge —  manipulated the toxicologist to perform the fluoride studies that Hodge had  proposed fifty years earlier, she wondered. Did they let Mullenix take the  fall when her experiments proved what Hodge had already suspected? At  first, Mullenix had shown no interest in studying fluoride, she remembered.  It seems strange that a neuro-toxicology person was brought into a dental  institution to look at fluoride, Mullenix said. I felt that I had really been  lied to, or led along," she added, "used like a little puppet."   Mullenix called up Jack Hein. He denied knowing anything about  Harold Hodges long-ago Manhattan Project fears that fluoride was a  neurotoxin, she said. And instead, he offered to pass the explosive  information on to the government, telling Mullenix, Shouldnt you tell the  NIDR — do you want me to help you take it to the NIDR? (Hein may have  known far more than he told Mullenix, however. In a 1997 interview with  the United Kingdoms Channel Four television, he disclosed that one of the  primary concerns of Manhattan Project toxicologists had been fluorides  effects on the central nervous system.)"   The next day Dr. Mullenix called the head of the National Institute of  Dental Research, Dr. Harold Slavkin. She hoped the nations top     FIREWORKS AT FORSYTH     29     dental officer would be concerned about the wartime memo. Instead,  she remembers, He got very nasty about it. He basically pushed me  off, like I was some kind of a crackpot. She thought that NIDR would  be interested in the memos, that the institute would want to read them.  But he treated her as if she were some kind of a whacko, she recalls.  She put the telephone down and a terrible truth dawned on her. The  public guardians at the National Institutes of Health, like Harold  Hodge, also had a double identity. It seemed they, too, were keepers of  cold war national-security secrets — bureaucratic sentries at the  portcullis of the nuclear-industrial state.     Opposite Sides of the Atlantic   

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