Flouride first patented as insecticide: Charles Henry HIGBEE, of New York City, N.Y., Manager of Manufacturing Company:
“An improved composition or material for destroying insects”, British Patent GB 8236; filed April 18, 1896; pat. May 23, 1896. (“The compounds of fluorine which I employ for the purpose of destroying insects, are certain soluble ones, viz.: sodium fluoride, ferric fluoride, the silico-fluorides of the same bases, hydro-fluo-silicic acid, and the boro-fluo-silicates”)
From the “Introduction” to Chapter 7, “Fluorine-containing insecticides“, by R. L. Metcalf (Handb. exp. Pharmacol. XX.1, pp. 355-386, Springer, Berlin-Heidelberg-New York, 1966):
“Fluorine has played a significant role in insect control since about 1896 when sodium fluoride and various iron fluorides were patented in England as insecticides. Sodium fluoride was used in the United States for cockroach control before 1900 and was introduced in 1915 for the control of poultry lice. However, the use of fluorine insecticides did not become general until the 1930´s when the disadvantages of arsenical residues on food crops became apparent and the inorganic fluorine compounds were introduced as safer substitutes. Systematic investigation of organofluorine insecticides began about 1935 in the I. G. Farbenindustrie and the fluoroalcohols and fluorophosphates (phosphorofluoridates) were intensively investigated largely through the research of Schrader (1952). During World War II fluoro-DDT or “Gix” was used for the control of insects of medical importance. More recently, fluoroacetamide and analogues have been used as systemic insecticides and a large variety of other fluorinated organic compounds have shown insecticidal activity. Sulfuryl fluoride has recently been marketed as a fumigant for household and structural pests…”
Alvord and Dietz, of Grasselli Chemical Company, Cleveland, Ohio, point out certain problems with the use of soluble fluorides as insecticides (Ind. Eng. Chem. 25 (June 1933) 629-633):
“The fact that sodium fluoride would control certain types of insects had been known for many years, but all attempts to use it and other fluorine compounds on plants failed because of plant injury. Progress along the line of utilizing the fluorine compounds in this connection really began with the discovery by Roark that the relatively insoluble fluorides would not injure the foliage and would control certain insects. About the time of this discovery, the Grasselli Chemical Company began to experiment with barium fluosilicate. The development of this material was held back for several years because of plant injury following its use, and it was not until the discovery, quite by accident, that the injury was due to an unsuspected impurity and that the pure compound was in reality safe to most foliage, that rapid progress was made.”
S. Marcovitch gives some details as to how those fluoride insecticdes work (Ind. Eng. Chem. 16 (1924) 1249):
“The value of sodium fluosilicate as an insecticide is due to the fact that it is both a contact and stomach poison. Shafer has determined that when a roach walks over powdered sodium fluoride a little of the powder adheres to the lower part of the body, antennae and tarsi of the feet, and dissolves in the exudations of the integument. This seems to cause some irritation and uneasiness; the insect soon begins to clean the moistened powder from the body by licking it. In doing this enough of the poison may be brought into the mouth and swallowed, to kill after a period varying in from five to ten days. Other insects, such as Mexican bean beetles, also have the habit of cleaning themselves and by putting their feet in their mouths become very easy to kill. For this reason the sodium fluosilicate is more effective against the adult beetles than the larvae, which do not have these habits.”
When the U.S. Public Health Service endorsed water fluoridation in 1950, there was little evidence of its safety. Now, six decades later and after most countries have rejected the practice, more than 70 percent of Americans, as well as 200 million people worldwide, are drinking fluoridated water. The Center for Disease Control and the American Dental Association continue to promote it–and even mandatory statewide water fluoridation–despite increasing evidence that it is not only unnecessary, but potentially hazardous to human health.
In this timely and important book, Dr. Paul Connett, Dr. James Beck, and Dr. H. Spedding Micklem take a new look at the science behind water fluoridation and argue that just because the dental and medical establishments endorse a public health measure doesn’t mean it’s safe. In the case of water fluoridation, the chemicals that go into the drinking water that more than 180 million people drink each day are not even pharmaceutical grade, but rather a hazardous waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry. It is illegal to dump this waste into the sea or local surface water, and yet it is allowed in our drinking water. To make matters worse, this program receives no oversight from the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency takes no responsibility for the practice. And from an ethical standpoint, say the authors, water fluoridation is a bad medical practice: individuals are being forced to take medication without their informed consent, there is no control over the dose, and no monitoring of possible side effects.
At once painstakingly documented and also highly readable, The Case Against Fluoride brings new research to light, including links between fluoride and harm to the brain, bones, and endocrine system, and argues that the evidence that fluoridation reduces tooth decay is surprisingly weak.
With the narrative punch of Jonathan Harr’s A Civil Action and the commitment to environmental truth-telling of Erin Brockovich, The Fluoride Deception documents a powerful connection between big corporations, the U.S. military, and the historic reassurances of fluoride safety provided by the nation’s public health establishment. The Fluoride Deception reads like a thriller, but one supported by two hundred pages of source notes, years of investigative reporting, scores of scientist interviews, and archival research in places such as the newly opened files of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission. The book is nothing less than an exhumation of one of the great secret narratives of the industrial era: how a grim workplace poison and the most damaging environmental pollutant of the cold war was added to our drinking water and toothpaste.