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John Howard

The effects of fluoride on the immune system: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

By: Dr John McLaren Howard, Biolab Medical Unit (UK)

(NB. Originally published in Australian Fluoridation News, Nov/Dec 1999 edition).

Many patients diagnosed with M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) have a history of initiating infection or ongoing depression of their immune systems.

The immune system is the major defence from harmful bacteria, viruses and some parasites. It also monitors, and acts on cells which show a potential cancer risk. The efficiency of the immune system can be reduced in many ways. Anything which is toxic to white blood cells may have a deleterious effect and it is known that substances that interfere with the release of messenger proteins and cytokines can reduce resistance to infection and increase the cancer risk.

Immune depressed conditions such as M.E. may be exacerbated by exposure to chemicals that affect immune functions. These 'poisons' may indeed be the cause of some immune deficiency diseases, and they can slow down the response of white blood cells. The white cells may attack some of the body's other cells. This is called auto-immune disease and is seen in some M.E. patients.

Fluoride is an example of a chemical which can slow down white cells. This is easily demonstrated in the laboratory, using a number of microscopic techniques.

"Fluoride is an example of a chemical which can slow down white cells."

Fluoride is one of the most toxic inorganic chemicals, but, starting in 1945 the addition of 1ppm to drinking water has been advocated as a measure to reduce dental caries. More recent studies have shown equal reduction in tooth decay from areas not adding fluoride to water and evidence of harm from fluoride is increasing.

The evidence of an increase in a type of bone cancer that affects young males when drinking water which is fluoridated, is now very strong. Increase in hip fracture rates have also been shown to occur at 1ppm fluoridation. A recent survey concludes that "Fluoride is toxic to bone and increases the risk of fracture at all levels of exposure including fluoridation at 1ppm. Regardless of any other consideration, this is reason enough to discontinue fluoridation immediately."

The major consideration of relevance to M.E. sufferers is immune suppression. Serious reduction in the migration rate of blood cells has been shown to occur when they are exposed to 1ppm fluoride for six hours. Significant effects were demonstrated with exposure at 0.1 ppm and migration completely ceases at high exposure levels. When this work was repeated at the University of Glasgow, significant effects were shown with only 30 minutes of exposure to fluoride levels as low as 0.2ppm.

The inhibition by fluoride has been shown to be greater than that caused by paraquat and equal to that produced by mercury. Fortunately neither mercury or paraquat is added to drinking water, but fluoride often is!

The unexplained and continuing rise in diseases, including M.E., that relate to suppression of the immune system, highlights the importance of identifying causative or contributing factors. I am not suggesting that fluoride is the cause of M.E., but I do believe that it can contribute to the immune suppression that is a feature of, and may precede, this disease.

I certainly think that M.E. patients should consider avoiding artificially fluoridated water.

Extract from: 'Interaction', the journal of Action for M.E., Issue 14, Autumn 1993.