Dr. Greg Jenkins
April 14, 2011
The FDA’s Shortcomings
The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA for short, is a government agency responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation, and by regulating the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods, and to reduce tobacco use to improve health (About FDA 1). I am deeply concerned about how the FDA is regulating food. In my opinion, the FDA is failing miserably with their duties to the citizens of the United States of America. They appear to be more interested in profit than with the overall well being of the public. They are allowing people to consume dangerous amounts of fluoride. Studies have shown that food additives are causing serious health related issues. I feel that the FDA needs a massive overhaul in their top-level leadership positions in order for them to improve.
The use of fluoride in America is an example of the FDA abusing the public’s trust, all for the sake of profit. Fluoride is a natural occurring mineral in the environment. Fluoride levels in water vary around the world, depending on the type of rock and sediment in a region. The higher the fluoride content in water, the greater the likelihood of cancer, malformed babies, mental retardation, bone disease, and severe dental problems (Richards 133). There are certain guidelines set by the FDA that are supposed to protect the public from ingesting too much fluoride. They have set the safe upper limit for drinking water at four milligrams per liter of water (mg/L). According to the FDA, anything higher than four mg/L is putting a person’s health in jeopardy of developing the previously listed afflictions. The FDA has also stated that a person should not ingest more than two mg/L of fluoride, or they will develop cosmetic damage to teeth. This is a goal however, and not a guideline. Therefore, the FDA knows that fluoride levels within their guidelines damages teeth. Currently, fluoride is being added to the water supplies in America. The FDA claims to do this for the prevention of cavities. Adding fluoride to water has been a public-health policy for the last sixty years. The American Dental Association (ADA) and the FDA have established a suggested range of 0.7 mg/L as their target range for fluoride in water for the prevention of cavities (Richards 133). Fluoride is also being added to toothpaste. This can be dangerous to young children because they often swallow their toothpaste. If a person ingests enough fluoride, they will become seriously ill with fluoride toxicity. This is why toothpaste marketed to toddlers does not contain fluoride. I am thankful for that since my two-year-old daughter has a habit of eating her toothpaste like candy.
In July of 2005, the results of an unpublished clinical trial regarding fluoride were falsified. Chester Douglass, a prominent researcher at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, misrepresented an unpublished study about bone cancer and fluoridated tap water, indicating there was no increased risk of bone cancer. It was discovered that he had suppressed data; and was ignoring the fact that bone cancer could result from fluoride use, especially in children (Richards 134). This raised all kinds of red flags; and prompted an expert panel from the National Academy of Sciences to review this issue. On March 22, 2006 the panel declared that the current standard of 4mg/L does not protect against adverse health effects. The panel then went as far as to say, “People drinking water...