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Beware of Chemical Miracle Cures of Any Sort: Fluoride, A Case Study...Sort Of.

01/12/2011 10:13 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

This is not a Harvard Business School Case study; it's a Maria's Farm Country Kitchen case study. Which means I tell it like it is!

About 50, maybe even 60, years ago, my grandfather, J.I. Rodale, went on a revolt against the dental medical establishment of the day. (He wasn't just an organic pioneer, he was a health pioneer too). He believed that adding fluoride to our water systems to provide a miracle cure for cavities was dangerous and, frankly, stupid (take that Harvard!). As the founder of Prevention magazine, he believed that true prevention comes from the food we eat, and the exercise we do, and the way we choose to live our lives--either healthfully or...stupidly. In general, he was against the idea that artificial synthetic chemicals can be good substitutes for the real thing, whether in the food we eat, or in the soil which grows our food--hence, his work as an organic and health pioneer.

But Papa (as I called him) was easy to make fun of. Firstly because he wasn't a doctor or a scientist. Secondly, because he was a Jew at a time when Jews were not allowed to join country clubs. And third, because he loved to poke fun at things himself. He wrote plays in his later years, and one of them was called A Fluoridation Comedary Dromedary. But he was right about a lot of things. His very outsiderness gave him insight into things that have proven more right than wrong over the past decades--even though he spent his whole life labeled a quack.

A few weeks ago I was having breakfast with a lovely older doctor gentleman who was lauding his own great work on the idea of preventative health. He spoke at length about how kids have better teeth now because he brought fluoride to the water in our local region. The idea of chemicals possibly being harmful to children wasn't on his radar. I kept my mouth shut. After all, fluoride has been shown to prevent cavities, right?

Well, my grandfather must have been working overtime from wherever Jews go after death, because just this past week I saw the following study results in our daily library report:

Too Much Fluoride May Lower Kids' Intelligence

Previous studies have suggested an association between high levels of fluoride in drinking water and reduced intelligence, but data is limited. Researchers collected blood samples and IQ tests results from 512 children, aged 8-13 years, from two villages in China. After adjusted for age and gender, blood fluoride levels were found to be significantly linked to IQ, with increasing fluoride levels linked to lower IQ scores. Children's family income and parent's education level were not related to IQ scores. These results suggest too much fluoride in drinking water may not be a smart idea. Environmental Health Perspectives (Online 17 Dec. 2010).

And even the EPA is calling for reduced levels because, God forbid, our kids are starting to get spots and holes in their teeth from too much fluoride!

How many times must I explain that our kids should not be the guinea pigs to someone else's chemical experiment!?!?! Whether it's fluoride, agricultural chemicals, plastics, or antibacterial chemicals, something is messing with our kids' health and intelligence, because despite all our spending, all our efforts, and all our good intentions, our children are getting sicker and their school scores are getting worse. The majority of these chemicals are unnecessary, untested, and unsafe. And the only people benefiting are the companies that make them. Isn't it time to stop the toxic poisoning of our kids and our planet?

For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.