This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Dr. Frankel answers questions about fluoridation and Dental Health Week.
Gabriel Pressman hosts.
Panelists: Sue MacMahon, Ursula Mahoney, Robert Krauss, and Martin Birmingham
Explains the process of fluoridating water. Studies showing the effects of fluoridation on children and adults have not found any deleterious effects. Explanation of the objections to fluoridation, including hysteria. The "anti-scientific attitude." Comments on other doctors' concerns. The Dental societies all support fluoridation.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 72033
Municipal archives id: LT6602
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Dr Frankel can we give our children better T two fluoridation is fluoridation of our water supply socialized medicine just flooring really reduced to T.K. Are there any harmful effects from Florida agents for the answer to these and other questions listen now to campus press conference I transcribed program in which college editors interview a prominent personalities in the news now to introduce today's panel and their guest here is your moderator radio reporter Gabriel Crossman Good morning and welcome to another edition of campus press conference tomorrow is the opening day of dental health week sponsored by dental societies throughout the country to promote interest in improving the teeth of children our guest today is Dr H. William Frankel member of the oral hygiene Committee and the Council on dental health of New York City the sponsors of Dental Health Week here are proud today consists of so much mine of Hunter College Ursula Mahoney of Columbia University and Bob Kraus and Martin Birmingham of Washington Square College and now the first question from so McMahon Dr Frank Ahrens what exactly is the fluoridation process. Well fluoridation of the drinking water or the community water Ave have a city or town consists in bringing into this water a certain very small amount of sodium chloride or similar solved in order to make this water contains sufficient Florian's for the proper dental health of the community and this is done by chemists and waterworks experts in such a manner that the amount of fluorine is equal to one part per million which is a very tiny amount not to be tasted cannot be tasted rather and is completely colorless and there is no evidence except the evidence that you can find through chemical analysis that this has been introduced in a similar manner to the way we have been introducing down the years this chlorine for the purpose of purifying our drinking water does that answer the questions you and what exactly is the effect of the fired a should while studies that have been going on for many years and one very very important study has just been completed here in New York State or is about to be completed after the city of Newburgh and in conjunction with another city of Kingston which is the so-called control city. They have been trying out or studying the effects of fluoridation and have found that fluoridation can only do good to the teeth of the children of the community and can do no harm in any other respect does not answer that question I'm not to Franco has has there been any investigation of what is done to the adults in these communities you as a medical studies have been made in many communities throughout the country. Medical analysis and medical experts public health top priorities have been studying this very very carefully and nothing has been found that could be considered in any way deleterious when you use one part per million in the drinking water supply of your community isn't it true that the some have conducted tests where certain people not the general but certain people have had violent reactions to water that was far dated bombing and so on this is been found to be incorrect has been found to be based on perhaps a hysteria as a matter of fact some of the public health workers on these various projects throughout the nation have found that when they announced that the water will be fluoridated at a certain date that date is chosen by many hysterical or excitable people for vomiting spells another manifestations of hysteria when actually the water has not been introduced in the flooring Rod I have not been introduced as yet those questions from Martin Birmingham now Bob Cross doctor without getting too technical thing give us some idea what exactly the action of sodium for ideas on the teeth I'd like to say in answer to that Bob that I couldn't get too technical because I'm not what you might consider a technical expert I am a dentist in general practice who has worked on a considerable number of children in his lifetime as a practitioner and I have been able. Rather I've had the good fortune to be placed in a position to look and inspect some of the teeth of some of the children up at Newburgh where the water had been to Florida aid and I'd like to say this. Let us take any man who is an expert as a general or a man who knows diamonds Radek. If you were to subject his knowledge about diamonds to some sort of scientific analysis you might find that he couldn't break it down scientifically but he knows a good diamond from a bad Diamond I would say that for most of the dentists in America they know a good two through a bad two they are able after a few years of experience to detect structure in the tooth and to be able to see whether the anomaly and the general development of that tooth is hardy and sturdy and can cope with the years of attrition and of chilling and of of decay arms lot we have seen the children in Newburgh and we've been able to detect or to differentiate which of these children were not raised in new but were not exposed to the flora dated water because some of them had been recent. Migrants to the city of Newburgh and those children who didn't live in Newburgh were wonderful a protected against Kerry's or B.K. that does not mean that they didn't need dental attention that they did not have to have a certain amount of. Decay attended to but it was reduced to such a great extent that it gave great to gave a great in protest to the development of the fluoridation drive all over the state of New York Dr Frank airworthy so many people objected fluoridation program. Well there always is objection I suppose to something that you knew that the fear of the unknown and there was the hysteria that I referred to previously and that will always be people who will object to things that they don't fully understand and we know for example that there are people today who object to chlorination of our drinking water supply there are a good many people who object to vaccination for example we don't. Most of us rather don't believe that we should not vaccinate we think we should vaccinate most of us believe we should have coronation in our water that's for the great majority those with the common sense and those who know how to depend on people who have the knowledge that's very important we must learn to depend on the people who have the knowledge and experience because we ourselves must be guided dentists are guided by the chemists and the scientists and the medical authority in this field as well from your answers to Ms Mahoney's questions and the questions of the others Dr I take it you believe that New York City should for a date its water supply I'm heartily in the favor of it the Council on dental health of New York City has gone on record in favor of it the Council on dental health of New York State similarly down the line or up the line the National Council on dental health and the American Dental Association speaking for the non-vote park across the oral hygiene committee in New York City area helped to bring this message to the public and the medical associations throughout the country have done similarly and so have the associations for advancements van Smith of science and so forth I think we could list them right down the line there isn't a well known scientific or Health Organization public health that has not supported and worked for fluoridation Mr President our Dr Frankel didn't see the Laney committee to investigate chemicals and food in one thousand fifty two come out against fluoridation. Congressional Committee High think there was some that was some. Trouble there with the delay in the report but I think that was overridden and that has been the the finding that there would disprove and since then I've just moment I am looking at a. Congressional Committee report an analysis of this report published in September fifteenth two Journal of the American general pointed out that the report brief refers suffers from a lack of out here in the hearings to the proper standards of investigative procedures there specially its failure to substantiate many states statements which it accepted as fact as fact what year was that the rainy report one thousand nine hundred fifty two. There was a doctor Al Miller of the Nebraska Department of Health on that committee and I believe he said that one part per million a floor in what you talked about maybe and eventually hurt the bones and the nerve tissues of adults talking about children and adults very careful investigation has been followed through a long haul these lines where ever a doubt has been raised and it has been disproven beyond a shadow of a doubt as a matter of fact the. Adults who have been taking more than one part per million flooring in the drinking water exist all throughout the country there are several million such adults who have been living in naturally fluoridated areas which carry up to eight ten and thirteen parts per million of fluorine and these folks have been investigated medically and scientifically and it has been found that they did not suffer from many torrid effects we would not expect that and we have not found that to be true I believe Dr Miller said that he thought it might happen in like ten or twenty years in other words that this is a very gradual thing deterioration of bones obviously they don't collapse overnight or something in that and none of what you have an argument that I have studied has agreed with with this assertion Mr Mann. What are the advantages Dr Frankel of Florida in water as opposed to direct application to the teeth by a dentist. Well the direct application of flooring to the teeth by a dentist is proposed where fluoridated water does not exist or isn't possible it's conceivable as you know that some small communities this man are not able to Florida a water and they may not have the facilities and so it is suggested that the dentist in that community floor it topically apply flooring to the teeth of the children in a systematic manner as prepared by the Board of Health of that area are there disadvantages to this direct application method Yes The disadvantages are that it is difficult to bring the child as frequently as is required to get the optimum effect or result and that it is rather costly and one of the wonderful things about fluorine applied into the drinking water is that it is a most a kayak anomic all measure this has to be applied it takes a very young child to does it not the younger the child the greater the after improvement. The younger the child the better the after result the earlier you start the sooner you get your results and the more basic Your improvement is Dr about how much when it's time started its plan cost New York City it has been estimated that it would cost the taxpayer about ten cents a year and that has been shown to be a most wonderful. One of the economic investment for the protection of the teeth of our children who are of course are the adults of the future but aren't there what do you think is holy not the New York City. Well there's an article in the February issue of the Scientific American. Which is headed the study of the anti scientific attitude I think this article clearly demonstrates that Thursday Sion tends to prevent tooth decay and does no harm and yet there are many people who will oppose it they have investigated this and have discovered that there are certain sites psychological reasons why people will oppose thing and it's up to the people who know what's good for the children of their own community including their own children and we must say that dentists have children and doctors have children that just as much concerned about the welfare of their young ones who are to grow into manhood and womanhood and. I think that we just must listen to the voice of reason and not to the voice of hysteria Why do some doctors oppose it then it's like Dr Miller I quoted from before Dr Smith the University of Arizona various doctors have said go slow on it anyway well they may have said go slow but I doubt if there are any doctors to be some or many doctors to be found today who would say the same after having studied the subject as thoroughly. As. These investigators have in the public health department for example of the state of the country do you think Dr Frankel that with every month that goes by the health of the of the teeth of the children of New York City suffers because of the lack of fluoridation I think every day is the last day that we don't have fluoridation in the drinking waters of New York City. And I think that it is shameful that the teeth of the youngsters of the city should be so in such poor condition because of the terrific amount of sweets that they consume and the inability of. The dental profession to cope with the great amount of decay that is existing today in the youngsters if. Just one moment arm is burning I just want to know whether the majority of the dentist in New York City supports fluoridation there's no question about that they're the the devil societies have all gone on record officially supporting fluoridation and the Council on dental health which is the harm that represents the thinking on scientific public measures have supported fluoridation and there's no doubt about that Mr Preston couldn't parents put a capsule and no could not be an expensive fluorine that has been discussed for the child and I would argue MARTIN Yes that has been discussed and that has been thought about it was thought to be too expensive and too subject to inequalities you might say runner seems to be a great equaliser it's very hard to get to get on top results by drinking water because before you could drink too much water you'd you'd have to drink a hundred gallons perhaps a day you see to do any kind of harm but with milk you might just take a cup of milk and have too great a quantity there but you can limit that in the pills often show by the strength of well then you would that says the zero human error your control is much better in your in your water supply system because you have engineers you have scientific analysis constant checks the water supply the flow at the intake at the out and up various points of delivery and it is much more economical. Got you see any hope for the rapid. Rapid system of getting into New York City near future well as I said we're experts about the teeth we're not political experts where we don't know. We believe that the welfare and health council which is the Community Council of the city in New York is very interested in in Florida ation we know that the Bureau of Dentistry of the Board of Health and the Board of Health is very interested in Florida has in the morning how funny adopted a couple of resolutions in favor of an already Yes Gabriel They certainly have and it certainly has and so has its Bureau of dentistry and