4 Jan 2014

The new paradigm - aluminium may be responsible
for two of the greatest threats to public health.
Doug Cross
The most persuasive argument against water fluoridation is that fluoride can contributes to the epidemic of dementia. Whilst proponents and opponents of fluoridation argue over the minute details of its direct impacts on health, an almost unnoticed revolution in the understanding of dementia in the elderly is set to render such debates trivial in comparison.
New research into the relationship between aluminium poisoning and dementia has suddenly thrown a new spotlight on the contribution that water fluoridation could be making to the future burden of dementia within our society. We ignore this new understanding at the peril of both ourselves and our descendants.

The prevalence of dementia, and particularly Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), is already a far greater health concern than cancer, and it’s expected to triple in the next thirty years. For years the cause of AD has been controversial, and the main contender as the causative agent, aluminium, has been a matter of hot dispute. "It's the third most common element in the Earth's crust," these environmentally illiterate ignoramuses claim, "It can't possibly be toxic!" Well it is, and now we have the proof.
Now things are about to change. In an authoritative review published last year in the highly regarded Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Lucija Tomljenovic concludes unequivocally that aluminium accumulation in brain tissue over a lifetime is a leading cause of the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in the elderly.

She warns that “In stark contradiction with the abundance of research evidence . . there appear to be “several hostile intellectual attitudes” that reject the possibility that Al toxicity contributes to the growing incidence of AD. She says that the evidence that aluminium is not merely associated with AD, but actually contributes significantly to its development, “is built upon very solid experimental evidence and should not be dismissed.”
Most of the bioavailable aluminium that accumulates in our brains comes from our drinking water. That’s right - it appears that the almost universal use of aluminium sulphate in modern water treatment works may actually constitute one of the greatest health threats to the older people in our community.

As Tomljenovic says, resistance to the evidence that aluminium is a causative agent for dementia is extremely dangerous: "Such widely circulated opinions hamper implementation of preventive plans to lessen exposure to aluminium which, according to some leading scientists advice, would be the most sound and cost-effective approach to the growing incidence of Alzheimer’s dementia.”

Why is this of interest to the anti-fluoridation community - and of course, those intellectually paralysed health professionals and politicians who still think that it’s a great policy? Because anything that increases the ability of aluminium to get into our bodies is liable also to be capable of accelerating the onset of dementia in old age - and fluoride is the most effective substance that increases its absorption from the environment.
Tomljenovic describes the problem very clearly: "In the presence of fluoride, only trace amounts of Al are needed to produce substantial neuronal injury. Both fluoride and Al when complexed in AlF–x [fluoroaluminates] appear to be more easily absorbed from the GI [gastrointestinal] tract compared to their ionic forms."
She is particularly concerned over the practice of water fluoridation: "In spite of these observations, water fluoridation persists in USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, whilst most of Europe has abandoned this practice. . . .In fluoride-treated water, fluoroaluminates are the prevalent species. The enhanced transport of fluoroaluminates across the GI tract and the BBB [blood-brain barrier], in context to their highly neurotoxic potential, raises significant concerns about the prevalence of these compounds in drinking water of various countries".

The practice of adding to our drinking water the very substance that is most likely to increase the risk of aluminium intoxication leading to Alzheimer’s Disease in the elderly - fluoride - could not represent a more direct threat to the future welfare of increasing numbers of our elderly. Already one in five over the age of 80 develops dementia, and things are only going to get worse.
It is essential that we get rid of the aluminium in our public drinking water supplies, and stop stupidly adding fluoride to it. The evidence that the cumulative effects of chronic aluminium intoxication are responsible for this and related disastrous medical condition is now overwhelming, and causation established beyond reasonable doubt.
Claiming that there remains any uncertainty about aluminium as a primary cause of AD, in the face of the convincing evidence that it is, is as perverse as the persistent and perverse fiction that fluoride is ‘safe and effective’ as a prophylactic treatment for dental decay.

Now it is apparent that two rampant forms of man-made environmentally-mediated epidemic disease - dental fluorosis and dementia - could quite easily be brought under control. But this requires both the health and water sectors to recognise their responsibilities and take appropriate action.
Dental fluorosis could be brought under control within a decade or so, as the last vulnerable children pass through adolescence and experience the degradation of their teeth caused by their unfortunate exposure to fluoride during their earlier childhood.

But even if we take action now to replace the aluminium-based flocculants that are almost universally used in modern water treatment with less hazardous substances, most of us will not see a significant reduction in the prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease within our own lifetimes. The latent development period for dementia appears to be sixty to seventy years, suggesting that exposure over many decades eventually causes an inexorable progression towards the onset of this dreadful result of chronic poisoning. But that is no excuse for failing to act now - this is truly a just case for the imposition of the Precautionary Principle, for the future benefit and protection of those who will come after us.

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