(C) Peter Meiers - http://www.fluoride-history.de


Unethical fluoride tests in Massachusetts


In the early 1940´s some public health officials were not quite convinced of the safety of fluorides, as reflected in the discussion among committee members of the Newburgh/Kingston experiment. Nevertheless, the states of Michigan and New York implemented fluoridation experiments officially, while Masssachusetts officials apparently chose another way: the "Sunday Cape Cod Times" of January 2, 1994, claims under the headline "Mentally retarded children given fluoride before legal" that the Massachusetts public health department recommended to the legislature that fluoridation be studied at some state institutions, including schools for mentally retarded (1). Wrentham and Belchertown state schools had clandestinely been selected. Although Florence Birmingham, a trustee at the Wrentham School at the time when fluoridation experiments were installed in that state institution of mentally retarded children, testified already in 1954 before Congress about these experiments (2), investigations started only in 1994, after reports that state schools in the 1940´s and 50´s gave radioactive isotopes to children in food to study digestive systems - without their consent. "When I was appointed trustee of Wrentham State School for feebleminded children, I learned there quite by accident that fluorine was used in the water supply", Birmingham stated in 1954. After her inquiry, the director of the division of dental health of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health referred her to a report of 1945 and a subsequent report which named Wrentham State School, Belchertown State School, and Fernald State School, as selected studies for the fluoridation of water supplies (Fernald served as control). "The trustees voted to halt fluoridation, but to my shocked surprise we were told by the department that it was not an experiment and the fluoridation continues on."

This was, of course, not the first experiment of that kind in Massachusetts. In 1943, Time Magazine published a short article about a dentist´s experiments in a Massachusetts madhouse (3). "Dr. Harootian gave capsules of bone flour (rich in calcium, phosphorus, and fluorine) to nine women whose teeth were decaying very rapidly. Decay seemed to stop almost at once." Harootians heroic study at the Worcester State Hospital was even published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (4). There he also mentions a crucial case "of a patient in whom a labial cavity was prepared for filling, but the actual filling was not inserted. In consequence, the cavity has, on each examination in the succeeding eight months, been found to contain food débris; but it shows no sign of caries."

While Harootian claimed his results (in nine patients!) "are so striking as almost to eliminate coincidence as an explanation" (3), the American Dental Association´s Council on Dental Therapeutics was not quite convinced of the meaning of these alleged outcomes (5).

In the meantime, however, this kind of nonsense had found wide circulation: "Various hospitals now ´pressure cook´ the soup-bones until they become so soft that they may be readily mashed with a wooden spoon. Such softened bones, made ´edible´, are fed to run-down patients in combination with the soup, with a resultant unusually rapid recovery in many instances. This further verifies the stimulating and nourishing value of fluorine when it is utilized according to ´Mother Nature´s´ own plan. Yet certain authorities still maintain that fluorine is ´toxic´ in any combination, from any source" (6).

Acting against "Mother Nature´s plans", the manufacturer of a famous brand of baby food had to change the composition when it turned out that his product caused mottled teeth in children: "Pablum, a popular infant food prepared from bone meal, formerly contained as much as 18 ppm. When this amount of fluoride was found to be excessive -it produced mottled teeth - manufacturers reduced the fluoride content of Pablum to between 1.33 and 2.12 ppm" (7). According to the corresponding patent (8), the product formerly contained 2 percent "edible bonemeal", which ("veal bone ash") was later replaced by tricalcium phosphate (9).

"Mother Nature" has not always the best plans.



(1) "Mentally retarded children given fluoride before legal", Sunday Cape Cod Times, Jan. 2, 1994; "Fluoride was added to water at schools", Boston Globe, Jan. 1, 1994; "Unethical testing: On the retarded by the unscrupulous", The Fluoride Report 2:1 (April 1994) p. 3; (2) Statement of Miss Florence Birmingham, President, Massachusetts Women´s Political Club, Boston, Massachusetts, in "Fluoridation of Water", Hearings before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. House of Representatives, 83rd Congress, 2nd session, May 1954, p.45; (3) "Block that cavity!", Time Magazine, Sept. 13, 1943; (4) Harootian S. G.: "The influence of administration of bone flour on dental caries", J. Am. Dent. Assoc. 30 (1943) 1396; (5) "Bone Meal Preparations. Not acceptable to the Council", J. Am. Dent Assoc. 34 (Feb. 1947), 214 and (March 1947) p. 345; (6) Branson C. B.: "Practical fluorine therapy in dental caries control", J. Am. Dent. Assoc. 31 (1944) 71; (7) Waldbott G., Burgstahler A.W., McKinney L.: "Fluoridation the great dilemma", Lawrence, Kansas, 1978, p. 39; (8) Johnson L. D., et al., assignors to Mead Johnson & Company, US Patent 1,990,329; filed May 8, 1933; patented Feb. 5, 1935; (9) Waldbott G. L.: "Fluoride in food", Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 13 (Dec. 1963) 393;