In 2001, Maureen Stout came out with a book called, The Feel Good Curriculum; The Dumbing Down of America’s Kids.
The phrase “dumbing down of America” immediately took hold in the American psyche. Today, if you Google it, you will get over 300 hits, most of them confirming the increased stupidity, not only of U.S. children, but of their parents and other adults as well.
Are Americans becoming more ignorant? And if so, why? Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, in her book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, charges the U.S. government with diluting, and otherwise downsizing, the education system. Other, more radical, elements say it is the effect of deliberate government programs that produce chemtrails and the like. Some also cite cell phones, or chemical pollutants like mercury from industrial activities, or food additives, GMO foods, or vaccines. Some charges are so esoteric and controversial they warrant consideration only by those who understand the science, though a tinfoil hat might actually be useful if HAARP (the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is being activated against us.
All are potential causes, since we still don’t entirely understand how the human body functions at a cellular level, but some are more likely than others. One of the most intriguing suggestions is fluoride in water, a practice that began in the U.S. in 1945, when Grand Rapids, Michigan began adding fluoride to its public water supply to prevent tooth decay.
A Chinese study in 2007 showed that children drinking water with very high levels of fluoride (8.3 milligrams per liter, or mg/L) did significantly worse on intelligence tests than their peers, whose water had less fluoride (.05mg/L).
In the U.S., public water supplies frequently add fluoride, ranging from .07 to 1.2 mg/L. Well water can also have naturally-occurring levels of fluoride. Only about 5 percent of the world’s population drinks fluoridated water, and more than 50 percent of these people live in North America. In 2002, more than 67 percent of Americans were drinking fluoridated water. Seventeen out of 21 countries in Western Europe do not add fluoride to water.
In 2006, in the face of rising concern, the Environmental Working Group, or EWG, drafted a request to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, to reconsider fluoridating public drinking water. The EWA’s primary concern is infant exposure to high levels of fluoride via bottle-feeding, and cites the equally high incidence of dental fluorosis among children.
This fluorosis exhibits as “scarring, mottling and weakening of the tooth enamel that is caused by fluoride exposures during tooth formation that occurs from birth through age 6”. A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)) from 1999-2002 found an overall rate of fluorosis as high as 32 percent among U.S. school children aged 6 to 19 years old.
The EWG further states that fluoridation should be confined to toothpaste, where it does the most good preventing cavities and the least harm, assuming children are taught not to swallow toothpaste.
Fluoride in water has also been connected with such health concerns as weak bones, thyroid problems, bone cancer and other problems. A greater risk, pointed out by the EWG, is malfunctioning fluoridation systems, which in some cities may have actually poisoned residents.
In 1997, the employees union of the Environmental Protection Agency, representing 1500 scientists, engineers, lawyers, and other professionals, came out strongly against fluoridation. Their statement cites the dangers of fluoride to people with impaired kidney function, and went on to delineate other hazards, including gene mutations, cancer, reproductive defects (particularly in men), neurological impairment, loss of bone density and bone cancers, damaged immune systems, and an increased uptake of lead. An article in the August 16, 1999 Irish Times (subscription only) based on research conducted in Holland, says fluoride is the likely cause of a range of health problems, from stomach and intestinal disorders to rashes, headaches, arthritis, cancers and neurological symptoms.
Fluoride has also been tentatively linked to ADD, ADHD, autism and Alzheimer’s. Studies dating back to the 1950s have shown links between Down’s Syndrome and fluoridation. As early as the 1940’s, fluoride was linked to fetal deformities. Other studies have linked increasing levels of fluoride to the rising incidence of Down’s Syndrome babies among younger and younger women, even though Down’s Syndrome was previously thought to occur only among women over 35.
The most verifiable danger of fluoride is hypothyroidism. Fluoride has been used for decades to lower thyroid levels among hyperthyroid (too much thyroid hormone) patients. Treatment consisted of administering less than 1 milligram per day, or far below the levels now administered through public drinking water. Unfortunately, fluoride in high doses is also a poison, and the over 150 symptoms and associations of hypothyroidism are identical to the symptoms of fluoride poisoning.
Pioneering Grand Rapids is rethinking the fluoridation of its water. Antigo, Wisconsin discontinued the practice in 1960. Other cities are considering doing the same. Little will be gained however, if companies like Dannon, which now offers bottled fluoride water to children as a healthy replacement for soda, persist in seeing fluoride as beneficial.
It is beneficial in very small amounts, but those amounts are contained naturally in water, soil, and thus the foods we eat. Tea, surprisingly, takes up large quantities of fluoride from the soil. More fluoride than nature provides is not necessary and, at the levels currently being administered to the American public in 42 out of 50 major cities, and most municipal governments, the dumbing down of America – if intentional – is succeeding admirably. Even if accidental, you might want to invest in a specially-designed water filter to go along with that tinfoil hat.