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Your Environment. Your Health.

Visionary Ideas: Environmental Agents

New Strategic Plan

Visionary Ideas

NIEHS established a special website for visitors to submit, vote on, or comment on Visionary Ideas, as well as discuss strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for NIEHS. Visionary Ideas are as submitted, unedited for grammar or spelling.

Idea 1: Be careful about global warming

If NIEHS hitches its wagon too closely to that of Global Warming, NIEHS will become the bullseye of the anti-global warming forces.  Focus on the science.


There are defensible, reliable, comprehensible facts (that constitute the outcomes of credible science) about global warming. The "the anti-global warming forces" mentioned above base their arguments on non-scientific, political rhetoric and persuasion.  The NIEHS needs to confront, on all fronts, drivers (such as climate change) that impact human health and environmental health. NIEHS needs to continue to rely on science.

Idea 2: Cancer


Testing a chemical for carcinogenicity in the NTP Rodent Bioassay (NTPRB) costs between 5 and 10 million dollars per chemical, making the assay the most expensive toxicity test on the planet.   Regulatory agencies require tests like the NTPRB for registering food additives, drugs, and pesticides.   Efforts to replace the NTPRB with less expensive alternative tests have been going on at institutions around the world, including NTP, for decades, but success has been limited.   The search goes on.  Validation of alternatives to the NTPRB center upon comparison of results from the NTPRB with the results obtained from the proposed alternative method.   Achieving better than 60-65% accuracy across a large, diverse set of chemicals for any alternative has proven to be virtually impossible.  Several problems with NTPRB are recognized.    High doses (MTD and fractions thereof) and near lifetime exposures are used in an effort to reduce the numbers of animals required.  This raises suspicions that the test may be oversensitive, i.e., detecting too many carcinogens or inappropriately recognizing chemicals as carcinogens when no carcinogenic risk to humans exists.   On the other hand, the use of only two genotypes in the NTPRB raises concerns that appropriately susceptible (sensitive) individuals may not always be used in the test.   Thus, a negative response  in the NTPRB might sometimes occur when  human carcinogens was tested.    The rate of false positive and false negative responses that occur with use of the NTPRB is not known, and the uncertainty as to the accuracy of the NTPRB as a standard limits the success that alternative methods can be expected to achieve.  The IARC has done a remarkable job of identifying human carcinogens in the environment, but has almost ignored the identification of human noncarcinogens.   No other institution has stepped in to try to fill this knowledge gap.   The lack of knowledge of human noncarcinogens means that there is no standard available with which to validate the NTRB or any test aimed to differentiate human carcinogens from noncarcinogens.

I propose that NTP undertake an effort to lead the world in the identification on of human noncarcinogens to move this field forward.

Idea 3:  The Conemaugh Project: heavy metals negative effects on health

According to the Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association, Inc. papillary and follicular thyroid carcinomas are referred to as well-differentiated thyroid cancer and account for 80–90% of all thyroid cancers. If detected early, most papillary and follicular thyroid cancer can be treated successfully. Over the past few years, I have noticed a dramatic increase in the young women who wear what many call the "Chernobyl necklace" around their necks. The last facts that were posted on Thyca's website are outdated and there needs to be research done on the clusters of people found with thyroid cancer. I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma in 2004 at the age of 16. I had a total thyroidectomy, which was extremely painful, and almost totally lost my ability to speak; the surgeon came too close to my vocal chord and as a result, the right side of it is now paralyzed. Since 2004, I have received 3 separate radioactive I-131 treatments, 3 surgeries (which include 1 radical neck dissection, and 2 modified radical neck dissections). Initially, I was told by a primary care, which I no longer see that "this is the best kind to have and the most curable." While, this might be true for some, I am still not out of the woods yet, my recent CT scan showed more growth. I have fluctuated on my dose of Synthroid for many years, and still cannot explain what's going on. I started to wonder if maybe the radiation I was supposedly exposed to, wasn't still here! Last year, my family and I had our well water tested, while that didn't show much because we had no idea what exactly to test for, we did find out that there were specific forms of bacteria that were elevated. Through research of my own and speaking with individuals who have battled the continuing effects of thyroid cancer, I have come to find out that there are many, many other things such as Mercury, Iron, Aluminum, Manganese, Selenium, and Boron which could be found in well water or the rivers. I think it is important for me to tell you that as of March 23, 2011 GenOn Power Plant is facing millions of fines over waste dumping into the local Conemaugh River. The court has ruled that they have violated the Clean Water Act 8, 684 since 2005. According to an article posted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "the river has been designated as an impaired waterway by the state due to high concentrations of heavy metals, which can damage aquatic life and fisheries and inhibit recreation." I am sure that this is nothing new to many of you reading this, however, in 2004 GenOn struck a side deal to postpone any real court rulings until 2012. But, what about the people who fish in the Conemaugh River, the children who play and swim, and the people whose drinking supply may stem from this river? It would be hard to ignore this problem when so many of us have been watching the news coverage of Japan. My heart goes out to them and I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through. I know that despite how terrible it is right now, that everything happens for a reason, and that perhaps, specific things were brought to light in order to make people more aware of the surroundings and to speak up when something isn't right. That's what I am doing now. I am begging and pleading with whoevers reading this to think before drinking from your tap, to have your water tested, and to do the research. There isn't anyone out there that's going to tell you what to do, or where to go. We are in this alone, but if we all stick together then maybe we can make a difference. I refuse to sit back and watch a company complain about having to pay fines when there are children being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, leukemia, anemia, heart failure, etc. I am proposing that someone with authority come to the town of New Florence, Pennsylvania and have our water tested by professionals. No more cover-ups, no more scandals, no more avoiding punishment. This case is about right and wrong not about how much toxic waste you are supposedly allowed to dump into rivers. GenOn is facing millions in fees, but may just get a slap on the wrist. I need as much help as I can get. The numbers collected, facts drawn up, and charts made hardly seem as important as the health of those that make up those numbers.


Comment 1
Heavy metals are a double edge sword.  On one hand, some heavy metals such as arsenic are useful as chemotherapeutic agents on cancers that are refractory to other forms of treatments.  On the other hand, they are poisons, carcinogenic, and decrease quality of life.  We need to know more about these metals so we can eliminate, as much as possible, their negative effects and accentuate there positive.


Comment 2
We are having the same problems in our city in Northern California. There is a considerable amount of thyroid issues and cancers. People are being tested for heavy metal exposure and are coming up positive. We have a prevalence of lead here, and we are trying to inform the public as we test our water supplies, our air, and our soil. We find the help for our community is limited. This is happening in one form or another everywhere.


Idea 4: Diagnosis to electro hypersensibility

From 2 to 5% of population is affected by this new environmental illness (EHS) defined by WHO as ' phenomenon where individuals experience adverse health affects while in vicinity of devices emanating electric, magnetic, electromagnetic fields ...'.


Biological effects are different from iduce of  oxidative damage, to calcium efflux, red blood cells' clumping together, to production of melatonin, and dopamine, etc.


Diagnosis criteria are not well set. For sure, they cannot be based on double- bind tests because are painful to patients and the speed of symptoms are not the same and, in any case, are normally based on cumulative loading of 'charging'.


Some studies on diagnostic tests  have been developed in France or Sweden, but they should be finalized.


Comment 1 
I agree there needs to be some study of electrosensitivity to nonionizing radiation.  This proposal was a bit hard for me to follow, but I did agree that the areas of study should include things like calcium efflux, which have already been shown to be factors.  Perhaps the proposer was saying that we should also look for other effects?  Sounds good to me.


I think double blind tests WOULD be worthwhile, as long as we are taking into account individual sensitivities.  There are likely many people who are sensitive who don't know it, and a double blind test would be great for them.  For those who know they are sensitive, a double blind test could still be set up, but with lower power levels, so as not to induce too much harm.  It could be double blind in the sense that sometimes they would be exposed and sometimes they wouldn't, with neither the researcher nor the participant knowing until after all the data was collected.


Comment 2 
I understand to your viewpoint.

According to my personal experience (my wife is EHS) her symptoms'  'speed' is very relative: sometimes immediately after  she enters  on a , for example, Bar - like today - she  started to have dizziness ... other times after one hour or more  of shopping in an outlet she's starting to feel bad with redness on the throat and loss of energy etc (due some kind of 'charging of elettrosmog'.

So, the test should be looking for some blood elements or within skin cell or some scanning (not NMR !!!).


Comment 3
 re: environmental agents submitted by cinciripini. 
My computer wouldn't let me agree.  Finally, I could agree but the result was the same i.e. -1.  With my vote it should now be "1, I agree."

Idea 5: Director of operations

We have all been trained regarding relationship between lung cancer and RADON.

I am kind of a new person in the industry, but it seems to me the more I learn about protecting our bodies from Free Radicals(including eating blueberries) I believe it is reasonable and logical to express that Radon Mitigation significantly lessens exposure to “Free Radicals” in indoor air quality.

Common sense seems to support the fewer “Free Radicals” (Radon Particles) our bodies have to defend against the less our immune systems are compromised and worn down.  Radon Mitigation allows the body a vacation from indoor Free Radicals which then allows our bodies to fight off other disease causing elements that we can NOT control.? 

One less thing?  Right?

Dawn Goard
Director of Operations
Certified Radon Mitigation Professional
1-800-844-7236 (RADON)

Idea 6: Effects of electromagnetic technology on the human body

Please consider an intense study regarding the effects on the human body from wind turbines, dirty hydro power, cell phones and towers, WiFi technology, smart meters, laptop computers, etc.  There are many reports of various health concerns due to exposure, but they are not taken seriously.  The symptoms and signs manifest as various autoimmune diseases.  It is crucial that findings be taken seriously, published extensively and media has to become involved.  We ignore the findings at our peril ~ how much will health care cost in the future for cancer, lupus, heart disease, mental health, etc....all products of these new technologies.


Comment 1
As someone who is sensitive to wireless devices, I couldn't agree more that this area needs to be studies.  I'm not sure that symptoms do manifest as autoimmune diseases, but it deserves to be studied to determine what the effects actually are.  There is a good deal of evidence from the studies of RADAR workers from world war II.  More recent studies showing biological effects from cell phone radiation are also intriguing.

Money needs to be put into studying the effects of the proliferating array of wireless devices surrounding us.   As someone who had trouble believing electromagnetic fields (of the nonionizing sort) could actually do harm, I can understand the position of the general public.

This has the potential to be a very large public health issue in time, particularly if not addressed.


Comment 2 
A Wireless device puts out Energy.  The question we need to ask is where does that Energy Go?  Does the Energy stay in the Air?  How does this Energy Affect Us?  What Preventative Measures can we take?


Comment 3
I know of no clear evidence that the wavelengths involved in these devices could have sufficient energies to have significant biological effects, although I generally keep an open mind. There have been a number of scientific evaluations from which it has been concluded that the devices pose zero risk. I would like to know of any reputable study showing that an individual is "sensitive to wireless devices".


Idea 7:  Environment and chronic kidney disease

Epidemiologic data from parts of Central America, India, and Sri Lanka show a high prevalence of decreased kidney function of unknown origin, possibly environmental in nature, among male agricultural workers. One hypothesis suggests that the increased risk is pesticide related. Heavy workload in a hot climate, leading to chronic dehydration, has emerged as another hypothesis. A finding that kidney disease is heat related would be significant, given changing weather worldwide and the conditions under which people need to work to generate the world’s food supply.

Idea 8: Explore role genetically modified grains on health of GI tract

There seems to be a dramatic increase of gluten insensitivity in the general population as evidenced by the explosion of gluten free foods on supermarket shelves and the growing number of persons reporting symtoms of gluten intolerance.  Research directed to examine the impact of genetically modified grains on gluten digestion, inflamation, and  GI health would be valuable.


Comment 1
After reading Seeds of Change, I was quite surprised to learn of the preliminary research on the effects of GMO crops.  Scientists did find lesions in the stomach after animals ate certain GMA crops (potatoes or corn, I think) but did not look at the rest of the GI tract.

I can easily imagine one GMO food affecting sensitivities to other foods which would not normally cause a reaction (such as GMO corn causing increased sensitivity to gliadin or gluten.)

Good idea for a study.


Comment 2
Distinction must be made between allergy-like sensitivity to gluten in the diet and celiac disease, an auto-immune response to glutens in the diet.  Further, there is growing trend to avoid processed grains in favor of whole grains and grain alternatives to wheat, such as quinoa, buckwheat and even refined flour alternatives, like potato and tapioca starches. The reaction to GMO crops may have more to do with understanding the consumer than with understanding the intricacies of the grain.


Comment 3
The effects of a gene in a plant have to be teased apart from the effects of the herbicides used on the GMO crops.


Comment 4
I 1st. want to applaud you for this Conversation.  Many People are suffering from Auto Immune Response to Glutens and it is Epidemic in Scale.  We need to find some solutions to this problem & “Genetically Altered Grain on Gluten Digestion” is one very solid Direction.  

We need to also study the affects of all Genetically Altered Seeds in Farming across the Board.  We could potentially double our Agricultural Output in the US within (2) years with Genetically Altered Seeds.  It is a Top Priority to Study the affects that Genetically Altered Seeds has on the General Population.  The Cost Benifits speak for themselves---Double our Farm Output and Feed the World.

1) We need to study the affects the High Bred
Grains that we Feed our Livestock. 
2) We need to look at look at all Auto Immune
Diseases in relationship Genetically
Altered Seeds.


Comment 5
We need to look at the impact of GMO grains, but we cannot forget pesticides too.  Our foods contain so many impurities that I am sure there is an interaction for people who are susceptible.


Comment 6
The research proposals on this website focus on possible environmental causes of autoimmune diseases, autism, chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivity/intolerance, military veterans’illnesses, as well as individuals who report symptoms associated with oil spills, fracking, hazardous waste sites, various community exposures, dioxin, home remodeling, poor indoor air quality, mold, pesticide use, and myriad other environmental exposures. But, in fact, individuals with these seemingly unrelated exposures and multi-system health problems share a great deal in common: their multi-system symptoms are often triggered by every day, low-level chemical exposures. Many also report adverse reactions to foods, medications, alcoholic beverages and/or caffeine. Dr. Nicholas Ashford of MIT and I first described this phenomenon 15 years ago. Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) is the name we gave to the underlying dynamic. It involves a two-step process whereby an initial acute or chronic toxic exposure causes loss of tolerance for everyday exposures. These new-onset intolerances perpetuate the disease process. We described how low-level exposures to common chemicals, foods, and medications may be the driving force behind the increased incidence of many hitherto unexplained medical symptoms and how masking—resulting from overlapping responses to multiple incitants—obscures the fact that everyday exposures can perpetuate illness. These concepts arose from reports by physicians, researchers and patients from more than a dozen industrialized nations. Collectively, their observations provide evidence that toxicant-induced loss of tolerance may be a new theory of disease. Currently, we are at the germ theory stage in terms of our understanding of this phenomenon. Well-founded theories—those based on careful observation, as in the case of the germ theory—are vital for developing shared scientific understanding and igniting future research.

In summary, it appears we are dealing with a two-stage disease process: (1) loss of tolerance resulting from an acute or chronic exposure event, followed by (2) repeated triggering of symptoms by everyday exposures, such as gasoline vapors, engine exhaust, fragrances or cleaning agents—exposures which had not been a problem for the person previously. This phenomenon became increasingly common with the widespread introduction of synthetic organic chemicals following WW II. This, coupled with the fact that 90% of Americans spend 90% of their day inside poorly ventilated structures where unprecedented types and levels of synthetic volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) are present, has led to the epidemic of chronic illnesses we are witnessing today. If we are to understand the extent to which these exposures contribute to the host of chronic illnesses mentioned on this website, doctors and researchers must have access to environmental medical research units— hospital-like research facilities in which people with major illnesses such as autism or autoimmune disorders, can be placed on an elimination diet in a chemically clean environment to see if their symptoms improve. If their symptoms resolve, then everyday exposures and foods can be reintroduced, one at a time. We are all so different and we respond differently to different exposures. NIEHS has an unprecedented opportunity: new approaches for assessing gene and protein expression and new brain imaging techniques can be used both before and after challenges in an EMU. We need to move forward, but not without this essential research tool—the Environmental Medical Unit (EMU). The EMU has been a priority recommendation of several professional and governmental conferences, yet still no research EMU exists in the U.S. It is time for NIEHS/NIH to add the EMU to its portfolio, so that we can all begin to understand the common dynamic shared by so many chronic, costly, and disabling medical conditions. The many excellent comments shared on this website testify to this need.

1. Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes by Nicholas A. Ashford and Claudia S. Miller (Wiley). May be downloaded at no charge from, along with a published and validated screening questionnaire for chemical intolerance, the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI).
2. Toxicant-induced loss of tolerance—an emerging theory of disease? Miller CS. Environmental Health Perspectives: vol 105 Supp 2:445-453 (1997).
3. Empirical approaches for the investigation of toxicant-induced loss of tolerance. Miller C, Ashford A, Doty R, Lamielle M, Otto D, Rahill A, Wallace L. Environmental Health Perspectives: vol 105 Supp 2:515-519 (1997).
4. Toxicant-induced loss of tolerance. Miller CS. Addiction 96(1):115-139 (2000).

Idea 9: Fluoride's negative effect on IQ and mental retardation

Over 20 human studies report 8-10 IQ loss in areas of fluorosis and comparing states in the USA indicates more than 300% increase in mental retardation with increased fluoride exposure.
Dentists fix teeth, no one fixes IQ.

Ingesting fluoride no longer reduces dental caries if it ever did.

Mother's milk usually contains no fluoride and infants on formula made with fluoridated public water are ingesting too much fluoride.  Fluoride ingested with the intent to prevent disease is a drug and not approved by the FDA CDER and therefore an illegal drug. 

The harm governments are doing to infants with fluoride is perhaps the greatest public health blunder of the 20th Century.  Research on neurologic, thyroid, heart, and GI harm from ingesting fluoride should be the top priority of the NIH. 

The negative economic impact from fluoridation exceeds $8,000/person/year.


Comment 1
In 1930 12 year olds averaged about 11 cavities each.  When fluoridation started dental caries had dropped in half and have continued the steady decline until about 2000.  Countries not fluoridating water or salt have also reduced dental cavities the same as fluoridated countries.

In other words, a huge unknown confounding factor has reduced dental caries without ingesting fluoride.  Because we don't know what that unknown factor is, research is unable to correct for the unknown confounding factor.


Comment 2
It is well established and not disputed  that fluoride overdose damages teeth, bones, the gastrointestinal system and more. The US government acknowledges that over 41% of adolescents are fluoride overdosed and are afflicted with dental fluorosis (discolored teeth) but fails to study these children for IQ deficits, or other possible fluoride-induced damage such as skeletal fluorosis (bone and joint pain), gastrointestinal symptoms (similar to irritable bowel syndrome). Fluoride is also known to affect the endocrine system, the thyroid in particular. Do hypothyroid Americans ingest more fluoride?

Fluoride is the most consumed drug in America, prescribed and given the "seal of approval" by governments but which has been little studied for adverse side effects except to teeth.


Comment 3
I agree with Bill. Adding silicofluoride to water supplies when it is toxic to the brain makes no sense. Other toxicity concerns are also present including the effects of fluoride on thyroid function, the pineal gland, arthritis, fertility, and glucose metabolism. Bruce Spittle.


Comment 4
I would like to see a look at this, but given the presence of fluoride in water in some areas and not in others and the too broad "Over 20 human studies report 8-10 IQ loss in areas of fluorosis and comparing states in the USA indicates more than 300% increase in mental retardation with increased fluoride exposure," I think more has to done to tease out the confounders. Where does a 300% increase in mental retardation come from? Is the 8-10 for IQ loss, in points and how far outside or inside the margin of error? Statistics can lie, be distorted in both directions...


Comment 5
Bill has summarized the IQ studies. Details of some of the IQ studies with details of the confounding factors studied are available at
e.g. enter intelligence Xiang as key words in the search engine. Xiang et al. looked at both lead and iodine as confounding factors in addition to socioeconomic factors (Fluoride 2003;36(2):84-94 and 36(3):198-199).

A 2011 study by Ding Y, et al. was published in J Hazard Mater. doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.12.097. They discuss confounding factors including economic factors, education, geographical factors, arsenic and iodine. Bruce Spittle.


Comment 6
The alleged benefit to teeth from fluoridation is miniscule compared to the absolutely devastating life altering consequences of the harms from decreased intelligence, potential increase in cancer rates and increase in bone fracture in the elderly.
Even if these risks are low, the consequences are so great they cannot be ignored


Comment 7
Apirie, Spittle, Arnold, Nyscof,

Thank you for your comments and interest.

Apirie, you are absolutely correct there are confounders which need to be "teased" out and that process should be encouraged by the NIH rather than censured and quashed by NIH. In this internet age, the current practice by NIH to be the "gate keeper" of scientific "truth" is backfiring.  

The NIH should support academic freedom rather than attempt to restrict science to current bias.  A striking example is the lack of inclusion of the peer reviewed Fluoride Journal (ISFR) in PUB MED searches.  Lack of inclusion harms the public, science, and NIH.

University accreditation supports academic freedom. NIH should support academic freedom and not censure dissent.

John Ioannidis's Essay (8/2005)(currently at Stanford) (open access)"Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" should be most sobering to all of us.  Decades ago my mentor said "50% of what I learned in Dental School was wrong, they simply didn't know which 50%."  It appears the 50% figure was one of those errors and the percentage of what we think we is right but is actually wrong is much higher than 50%.

Rather than circling the wagons around tradition, NIH needs to be inclusive of research which confronts tradition. Absolutely, standards must be set, but clearly stated and fairly maintained and achievable without preferential bias. 

For example, look at the list of publications accepted by Pub Med/NIH and the huge paid advertisements by corporate sponsors. The Journal of the American Dental Association is an example of corporate stake holder marketing and corporate bias.  In stark contrast, the ISFR (Fluoride Journal) with no advertising does not have corporate stakeholder bias but it has a handicap of low budget and does not look as glossy, polished and expensive. 

Pub Med/NIH inclusion should be based on more than glossy paper and well paid staff.  Not every researcher has a big grant to hire expensive authors to polish their papers.  Big grants, big advertisements, and highly paid staff may reflect their source of funding rather than the data.  Researchers on low budgets with great theories and discoveries need to be included in publication search engines and encouraged to publish rather than be discouraged from publishing.

We need both both types of Journals in search engines such as Pub Med and readers need to read the articles understanding the bias of each Journal and funding of the researcher.

By excluding stakeholders (low budget Journals and Researchers)who do not arrive at a predetermined expected corporate sponsored "truth" is not a form of academic freedom.

Science is messy and when scientists agree, check your wallet. 

My hat is off to the NIH for holding these open comments and permitting, yes indeed, encouraging open discussion.  The NIH has done much good and the future is bright when the NIH is willing to receive input from stakeholders and not be dogmatic with tradition.

I am calling for high quality standards, but fair and equal standards clearly spelled out so good scientists can achieve those standards.

It is time for Pub Med/NIH to be inclusive of the International Society of Fluoride Research Journal.


Comment 8
I thought fluoridation was good and prevented tooth decay. 
And many say that fluoridation is safe. 
Please explain why fluoridation is not safe and effective.


Comment 9
You are correct there is an "Iodine" - "Fluoride"- "Thyroid" connection.  Too much iodine is not good and throwing one chemical to reduce another chemical's side effects is not wise. Reducing the fluoride exposure is much better.


The NIH needs to back up and once again review the science on fluoride exposure and iodine exposure.


One big problem is public health professionals market theories and do not evaluate the science. NIH has "sanitized" the research rather than promoting open honest investigation.

Bill Osmunson DDS, MPH


Comment 10

You have asked the most fundamentally important questions the NIH must consider.

Lets look at "effective."

First: Fluoride is defined in law as a poison.  We need to understand some basics of what we are dealing with.  5 mg/kg body weight of fluoride is considered lethal.  State laws usually define a poison as a substance which causes violent sickness or death with 50 mg/kg body weight.  5 is less than 50 and therefore fluoride is defined by laws as a poison.

Second: Fluoridation is an illegal drug. Poisons are exempt from poison laws if they are used as drugs. The ingestion of fluoride with the intent to prevent dental caries has never been approved by the FDA CDER and unapproved drugs are illegal drugs.  The NIH and branches such as NIDCR must only promote legal drugs and stop promoting illegal drugs.  The Washington State Board of Pharmacy confirmed the ingestion of fluoride with the intent to prevent dental caries is a prescription drug.  Go to a pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for fluoride to ingest and they will require a prescription.  Dosage is irrelevant. Intent of use defines the substance as a drug.  The FDA CDER confirms fluoride ingestion with the intent to prevent disease is a drug and unapproved.  Fluoridation is a misbranded, contaminated, illegal drug.

Third: Fluoride is not a food.  Some try to circumvent laws and call fluoride an "Essential Trace Element" (ETE).  However, dental caries is not the result of a lack of fluoride in the diet.  If fluoride were an ETE then mother's milk usually with no fluoride should be
determined incomplete and inadequate. 

Fourth: The NIH makes no sense. Read a fluoridated toothpaste label and it says "do not swallow."  The amount of concern not to swallow is 0.25 mg of fluoride in a pea size of toothpaste.  So on the one hand the FDA CDER warns not to swallow 0.25 mg of fluoride and on the other hand the NIH recommends everyone swallow 0.25 mg of fluoride in every glass of water.  The NIH makes no sense.

Fifth: The ingestion of fluoride no longer reduces dental caries if it ever did.  The lack of efficacy of fluoridation has been the hardest point for me, as a dentist, to accept. I was convinced I could see the difference in teeth, the harder shine of fluoridated enamel.  However, four points are hard to avoid. 

A: Comparing mostly fluoridated countries, states or counties with non- or mostly non-fluoridated countries, states, or counties does not show lower cavities in the fluoridated ones. 

B:  Many studies confirm the lack of reduction of dental caries from fluoridation and a cessation of fluoridation does not appear to increase caries. We do not have one single high quality randomized controlled trial of fluoridation.  Studies finding benefit have numerous flaws and bias.

C: Dental Treatment Costs.  Comparing the dental treatment costs of fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities does not show a reduction in dental expenses. (One study disagrees, but the study has many limitations).  After 50-60 years of a the public health intervention, fluoridation, we should have good strong clear evidence of a reduction of dental expenses.  After all, if after 50 years of polio vaccination the costs for polio treatment were the same in vaccinated and non-vaccinated communities, we should ask, "what's wrong?"

D: Fluoride Concentration in enamel.  The fluoride concentration in healthy enamel and decayed enamel is similar. (Except the top half a micron where topical application of highly concentrated fluoride, such as toothpaste, appears to maybe decrease caries.) 

Rose, think this carefully through.  NIH recommends ingesting fluoride in water even though some drink a lot and others drink very little, dosage is uncontrolled.  Fluoride then goes into the blood. NIH does not have a goal or understanding of the desired serum fluoride concentration in the blood. Kidney function is not the same for everyone, synergistic chemicals are unaccounted for, etc.  The fluoride goes through the blood to the tooth and some deposits in the tooth, bones, brain, thyroid and all tissues of the body; however, the NIH has no goal or understanding for the desired concentration of fluoride in the tooth which will benefit the tooth and prevent cavities.

The pineal gland has the highest concentration of fluoride of any organ.  What is the safe or desired fluoride concentration for the pineal gland?  No one knows and dentists don't treat the pineal gland, the brain, the thyroid or any other body part except the mouth, stomatognathic system.

Bottom line: a careful evaluation of both sides of the research does not support the ingestion of fluoride.

The hardest part of the public's job is to get governments to obey the law.
Good questions Rose. I'll answer the second question in a second comment.
Bill Osmunson DDS, MPH


Comment 11
I had a problem for more than 25 years. I was generally a person who followed all the recommendations for good health. I worked out with weights and jogged. I ate what I thought was a healthy diet. I noticed that as I aged, certain symptoms that I had barely noticed since childhood began to grow. They included;  chronic fatigue, dryness of the throat and excessive water consumption, problems with urinating, aches and stiffness in muscles and bones with arthritic like pain where it shouldn't be, muscular weakness, muscle spasms, tingling sensations in my fingers, bloating in my gut, extended flu symptoms beyond what would have normally been expected, skin rash after showers, loss of mental acuity or symptoms like depression, nervousness, and occasional dizziness. I went through about four doctors trying to discover the root cause, and perhaps obtain some relief. But, all they gave me were lots of drugs that really only masked the symptoms. My most diagnosed ailments were depression and arthritis and the side effects of having asthma and sinusitis. I can't tell you how often they told me, "Now Jack, you're going to have to accept that you are getting older. None of them really knew what was wrong, and none of them had the time to really figure it out. So, I just toughed it out as best I could. But, I knew something was very wrong.

Then, my life changed back in January of 2007. I was watching local television station. One of the noon guests was a bodybuilder and owner of a local health products store. I don't really remember much of what he said on the program, but I do very clearly remember him saying to the moderator, "don't ever use fluoridated toothpaste." When the moderator asked him what to use, he stated that his shop had some alternatives available. But, that one statement slowly worked its way into my mind for a few days. I began to think, "why would he say that? Haven't we been told over and over during all of my childhood that fluoride prevented cavities, and that it was placed in our drinking water for that very reason?" Well, I'm a very curious person who tries not to ignore good advice. So, I went on the internet, and looked up the term "fluoride." Suddenly, rather than lots of positive information extolling the virtues of fluoride, I saw article after article concerning the nature of fluorides and some of the history of how this substance had first been introduced into our diets back in 1947. (2011, by the way, is the 66th year of fluoridation). Then, I ran across several websites that contained tremendous amounts of information about fluoride and fluoridation, including the Fluoride Action Network, which seemed, to my way of thinking, to be the best and most comprehensive of all the sites devoted to this issue. In fact, the shear amount of information available was completely overwhelming. It took me most of the year to even begin to realize the scope of a national problem that had every earmark of being not only a controversy, but also a scam from the beginning. Far from being a settled issue, as stated by so many dentists, the CDC and the ADA, fluoridation has been a contentious issue since its beginnings. Well, to make a long story short, I kept studying how to recognize where fluoride was present in my water, foods and environment. I discovered that fluoride has such a small molecule that you can't simply filter it out. So, in September of 2007, we began to distill our drinking water at home. We installed a special filter to our shower, and we instituted methods of purchasing organic foods that avoided high fluoride suspects. Finally, we stopped using fluoride toothpaste.

As God is my witness, once I had reduced my exposure to fluoride for only a week, twenty-five years worth of "mysterious" symptoms that had confounded my doctors slowly went away. I know I'll never recover completely, but as time goes by, those symptoms have kept decreasing. It was like waking up from a 25 year dream. Suddenly, I could think more clearly, I had more strength, and I could do a full workout once again without the severe pains that once put me in bed for days. My doctor was amazed. In fact, my physical exam blood work has improved every year. I'm back to working out with heavy weights once again, and I put a lot of the younger folks at the fitness center to shame.

Heck, my teeth even got whiter, stopped feeling odd, and have gotten stronger. It was amazing. The change was so startling, I actually went out and found a dentist who could safely remove my mercury amalgams. That helped even more. And, several doctors that I had met in the anti-fluoride movement advised me what supplements to take to help reverse the effects of fluoride, supplements that can be easily obtained from a health food store at a reasonable price.

I can't tell you just how good it is to be healthy once again. I no longer get colds, and I'm no longer beset with serious problems during flu season. In fact, I just don't get sick anymore.

Not only is Bill's suggestion for research a great idea, it is far far overdue. Let the science speak for itself. For the time being, I would not drink fluoridated tap water if you paid me to do so.


Comment 12
I have a 25 yr old autistic son that is extremely sensitive to fluoride (and other chemicals too).  Unfortunately, it took me almost 20 years to fully understand how miserable transdermal exposure to fluoridated water was making him.  Heating bottled water on the stove for him to sponge-bathe is a hassle, but necessary once we discovered that his every morning headache (sometimes migraine) was caused by his fluoridated shower. 

All this time I have been blaming his pain and behaviors on about 100 other things when it was actually the shower!  We now have a very expensive filter, but have to change it twice as often as the manufacturer says to.  I honestly don't know if he is reacting to the fluoride or the other contaminants in the fluoride mix that they add to the water. 

I have tested many times to see if the chlorine may be the culprit and have found that he has either no reaction or a very minor reaction to chlorine alone but a massive reaction with fluoridated water.  I knew a decade ago that he reacted to drinking fluoridated water so he has no exposure there and we use only organic foods and no chemical products whatsoever, religiously. 

Frankly, when I finally realized that his showers were causing him so much pain, which dramatically increased his autistic behaviors, I was first in denial and then simply dumbfounded.  How could I NOT have figured that out?  I feel so guilty for all those years of his pain.  He can't talk so it's all up to me and I failed him.  But government is failing all of us by not protecting the most vulnerable. 


When I read the studies on fluoride and IQ reduction, I was furious!  It is very well established that children with autism have impaired detoxification, low glutathione and chemical sensitivities, sometimes very severe.  Studies have further found that we mothers of autistic children also tend to be low in glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant.  It stands to reason, then, that a child with impaired detoxification, born of a mother who also wasn’t detoxing chemicals very well, would be much more vulnerable to the negative effects of chemicals.  Add to that the compounding synergistic effect of combining multiple chemicals together in that child and you’re toying with disaster.

In other words, the child most likely to experience brain or other damage from a chemical is the child with autism!  The studies are very clear that fluoride damages the brain, but no chemical affects every child the same—there is a spectrum of toxicity to individuals.  So even if 0.7ppm fluoride were safe for the average child’s brain (and I don’t believe that it is), a safe level of fluoride for a child like mine might be 0.07 or 0.007.   Autism now affects about 1 in 110 children—an epidemic of catastrophic proportions—so  roughly 1% of children may be hyper-sensitive (and hyper-vulnerable) to fluoride.

How many IQ points did my chemically-vulnerable autistic son lose from his formula mixed with fluoridated water as a baby?  How many points did he lose drinking our fluoridated tap water and eating food prepared in it throughout his early formative years?  Instead of needing care and supervision 24 hours a day for the rest of his life, if he had that extra brain power, would he be less disabled and less dependent?  I think yes.

How much money per year of taxpayer dollars might be saved if all the children like mine had never received fluoride in their water, food or dental products?  Why isn’t our governmental agencies responsible for health-related issues bothering to ask such questions and fund the research to find the answers?  Since when do teeth trump brains?  Our governmental agencies, from the local water district all the way up to the CDC, NIH, FDA and EPA, are more interested in protecting a bad policy than our children.  Who pays the price?  We do.  My son does.

No drug belongs in the water!  Frankly, even if fluoride eliminated all cavities (which of course it does not), it should never be forced on citizens in public water.  There is no drug that is safe for everyone, but in the case of water fluoridation chemicals, it appears that it isn’t safe for anyone.  No chemical or drug that has even the tiniest suspicion of harm to a child’s brain should ever be allowed in any products that a child might come in contact with, but for God’s sake WHAT CAN OUR GOVERNMENTS BE THINKING TO ADD FLUORIDE TO WATER?!!! 


Comment 13
"Icook" and Audrey,

As a Dentist speaking out in opposition to fluoride exposure, I am hearing more and more of your experiences from my patients.

I still haven't responded to Rose on the "safety" issue from a scientific point, and I will.

So what can NIEHS do? 

99% of fluoridated public water is not ingested.  Much goes down the sewer and into the rivers, increasing the content of fluoride in rivers contributing to harm.  The attitude of "the solution to pollution is dilution" is wrong and does not protect the public. 

Fluoride is toxic and illegal to be dumped into rivers or air.  That's why the EPA ordered the phosphate fertilizer companies to scrub the fluoride out of their emissions.  As a toxic waste scrubbing from the fertilizer companies, the only disposal site is as a hazardous waste. And. . .

By some strange sanitization of pollution/toxic waste practice and science, the fluoride toxic waste is dumped into your faucet without your consent.  Governments make no sense.  If the substance is too toxic to dump into the rivers, then fluoride should not be dumped into the rivers after filtering through humans.

NIEHS should do more research on what the toxic substances dumped into sewers is doing for humans and the environment. . . especially illegal drugs like fluoridation.

Bill Osmunson DDS, MPH


Comment 14
Rose, Icook and Audrey,

Part of the problem with fluoridation and fluoride is jurisdiction is divided among several government agencies and each defers to the other for regulation. 

FDA CDER confirms fluoridation is a drug and they are "deferring" regulatory enforcement. 

EPA only looks at naturally occurring fluoride for safety and safety is based on assumed efficacy. In other words, fluoride is a protected pollutant. The SDWA prohibits the EPA from adding anything to water for the prevention of disease.

HHS/CDC only markets what some dentists tell them to market and they cherry pick the science and participants to reviews.  CDC has no authority to approve drugs.

State health agencies rely on Federal agencies to determine safety and efficacy, yet the state health agencies fail to seek FDA CDER approval as they should.

And as pointed out above, NIH does not have clean hands.


Comment 15
Rose,  Here are a few references.

The increasing prevalence of dental fluorosis is a sign of other risks.  Dental fluorosis is found in over 40% of children and is damage to the protein of tooth cells.  To assume the protein of tooth cells are the only cells at risk is simply absurd.

Here are a few examples of about a hundred human and animal studies finding neurological damage with increased fluoride exposure.

“This paper presents a systematic literature review conducted to investigate whether
fluoride exposure has increased the risk of low intelligence quotient (IQ) scores in China over the past 20 years.  .   .   .  Children who live in a fluorosis area have five times higher odds of developing low IQ than those who live in a non-fluorosis area or a slight fluorosis area.”   SOURCE: Tang QQ, DuJ, Ma HH, Jiang SJ, Zhou XJ, Fluoride and children’s intelligence: a meta-analysis, Biol Trace Elem Res. 2008 Winter: 126(1-3):115-20

3. “We found that exposure to fluoride (F) in urine was associated with reduced Performance, Verbal, and Full IQ scores before and after adjusting for confounders. The same pattern was observed for models with F in water as the exposure variable.... The individual effect of F in urine indicated that for each mg increase of F in urine a decrease of 1.7 points in Full IQ might be expected.” SOURCE: Rocha-Amador D, et al. (2007). Decreased intelligence in children and exposure to fluoride and arsenic in drinking water. Cadernos de Saude Publica 23(Suppl 4):S579-87

26. “The effects of excessive fluoride intake during pregnancy on neonatal neurobehavioral development and the neurodevelopment toxicity of fluoride were evaluated. Ninety-one normal neonates delivered at the department of obstetrics and gynecology in five hospitals of Zhaozhou County, Heilongjiang province, China were randomly selected from December 2002 to January 2003. The subjects were divided into two groups (high fluoride and control) based on the fluoride content in the drinking water of pregnant women. The results showed that the urinary fluoride levels of mothers from the high fluoride group were higher than those of the control group. There were significant differences in the neonatal behavioral neurological assessment score and neonatal behavioral score between the subjects in endemic areas and the control group. There were also significant differences in the non-biological visual orientation reaction and biological visual and auditory orientation reaction between the two groups. It is concluded that fluoride is toxic to neurodevelopment. Excessive fluoride intake during pregnancy can cause adverse effects on neonatal neurobehavioral development.”
SOURCE: Li J, Yao L, Shao Q-L. (2004). Effects of high-fluoride on neonatal neurobehavioral development. Chinese Journal of Endemiology 23:464-465. 

27. “The levels of neurotransmitters and receptors in brain tissue of aborted fetuses from areas of endemic fluorosis were tested. The results showed that in 10 subjects from a high fluoride area ranging in age from 5 to 7 months, the levels of norepinephrine, 5-hydroxyltryptamine, and α1-receptor were lower and the level of epinephrine higher as compared with levels seen in the control fetuses from a non-fluorosis endemic area; each of these results was statistically significant (P<0.05). Other monoamine neurotransmitters and metabolic products, such as dopamine, 5-hydroxy-indole acetic acid, and 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid showed no significant differences (P>0.05). The results suggest that the accumulation of fluoride in the brain tissue can disrupt the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters and receptors in nerve cells, leading to neural dysplasia or other damage.”  SOURCE: Yu Y, et al. (1996). Changes in neurotransmitters and their receptors in human fetal brain from an endemic fluorosis area. Chinese Journal of Endemiology 15:257-259.  Fluoride 41(2)134-138

29. “Fluoride can pass through the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in brain tissue, thus in our study the brain tissue of the fetuses from the fluoride endemic area showed higher fluoride levels than the control. The mechanisms involved are not yet clear. Besides increased amounts of fluoride, the brain tissue of the endemic subjects also showed nerve cells with swollen mitochondria, expanded granular endoplasmic reticula, grouping of the chromatin, damage to the nuclear envelope, a lower number of synapses, fewer mitochondria, microtubules, and vesicles within the synapses, and damage to the synaptic membrane. These changes indicate that fluoride can retard the growth and division of cells in the cerebral cortex. Fewer mitochondria, microtubules, and vesicles within the synapses could lead to fewer connections between neurons and abnormal synaptic function, influencing the intellectual development after birth. These questions await further research.”  SOURCE: Han H, et al. (1989). The effects of fluorine on human fetus. Chinese Journal of Control of Endemic Diseases 4:136-138.


Comment 16
Q 1.

If fluoride negatively impacts IQ, presumably by being deposited in the brain, it follows that after a lifetime of ingestion even greater signs must be apparent in the elderly, such as in dementia and Alzheimer’s?  Is there any research on the extent of these conditions in the elderly today, compared with those who died say, 40-50 years ago, before much fluoride had built up in their bodies?

Q 2

If disposing of toxic waste (including fluoride) in the environment is illegal, why is it not illegal when dumped in the public water supply? Has anyone ever attempted to obtain a legal ruling on this count?


Comment 17
The fluoride put in our water systems is not a pharmaceutical grade; it is a hazardous waste material.  In our local community the Puyallup Tribe refuses to allow fluoride to be added to the water in the Puyallup.  The Tribe knows and understand the negative effect it has on the environment, including it being harmful to children and to the salmon runs.  I use to live in Seattle and in 2000 I moved to the Cascade Tracts area near Carnation.  We use to have wonderful water before the Sammamish Water district purchased equipment at the sum of $65,000 to add fluoride into our water.  I had to purchase a $1500 water filtration system to eliminate the fluoride so I would not have fibromyalgia symptoms like I experienced in Seattle,  For 4 years I was without fluoride from 2000 to 2004 and the illness slowly ceased.  What a waste for the consumers to have to purchase water with hazardous waste material like fluoride, then to get sick from it, and put out thousands of dollars for medical care they wouldn't need, if they had not digested the fluoride.  It affects the nervous system, bone structure and growth, endocrine system, negatively impacts IQ contributing to dementia and Alzheimer’s, contributes to arthritis and related illnesses.  I know I have arthritis.  Can you PLEASE STOP DEPOSITING THIS TOXIC WASTE (FLUORIDE) INTO OUR WATER?  If parents want their children to have pharmaceutical grade fluoride added to their children’s teeth - go to the dentist. There is a warning on each tube of toothpaste to contact the CDC if it is swallowed.  PEOPLE WAKE UP before it is too late!  Consuming it in our water is detrimental, especially to those with multiple chemical sensitivities, like me! Respectfully, Janet Loder


Comment 18
In 1943 the AMA published, "Fluorides are general protoplasmic poisons, probably because of their capacity to modify the metabolism of cells by changing the permeability of the cell membrane and by inhibiting certain enzymes." [Chronic Fluorine Intoxication, Journal American Medical Association, Sept. 18, (1943) Editorial, p. 150]  It was known then that fluoride begins to adversely affect the body at 1ppm in one 10oz glass of water a day.  Now we have the confirmation: every illness has increased in direct relationship to fluoridation of the water supply.


Comment 19
This recent Chinese study makes a profoundly obvious point of why all parents need to oppose water fluoridation: Wang SX et al. (2007). Arsenic and fluoride exposure in drinking water: children’s IQ and growth in Shanyin County, Shanxi province, China. Environmental Health Perspectives 115(4):643-7.

In the low fluoride area, there were 3½ times more bright children as in the high fluoride area. Also, the high fluoride area had 2 ½ times more mentally retarded children than the low fluoride area. 

What do we want for our children?  Why would we even consider giving them fluoridated water, much less ADDITIONAL fluoride supplementation?! 

We didn't used to know these statistics.  Now we do and can make better informed decisions.


Comment 20
My son is in a special needs class. I blame the public 'health' policies of our government, most notably water fluoridation and vaccines that clearly cause neurological damage. Thanks a lot for standing by while our children are poisoned. Thanks a lot for ruining our lives. It's really great to be 'protected' like this. Wow, what a country!


Comment 21
Valerie, You asked two excellent questions.

Q 1 IMO, research has raised serious concerns, but we need more research on the effects of fluoride over a lifetime.  The pineal gland has the highest concentration of fluoride, several times that of enamel.  A big problem is the lack of research.  Too many assumptions of safe.

Q 2  Is it legal to dump a toxic substance into the public water system.  No.


Comment 22 

As a dentist for 25 years I failed to review the science and simply believed fluoridation was effective and safe.  No apology begins to correct the problem of adding toxins to your child. It is hard to sleep knowing we public health professionals have contributed to so much harm.


Comment 23
Water fluoridation is a public health disaster of the worst kind---the kind that is forced on citizens without consent, and at great harm, for money.


Idea 10: Health effects of environmental contaminant mixtures

Considerably more research is needed into effects of contaminant mixtures.  The focus needs to be not just mechanistic studies, but also epidemiologic studies.  These would be large-scale endeavors, made more efficient by focusing on populations highly exposed to contaminant mixtures (e.g, unregulated electronic waste "recycling).

Idea 11:  Increase life expectancy!

Radon Mitigation improves your indoor air quality reducing exposure to  Free Radical Radon Particles.  A Radon  Mitigation System protects your families Immune System from naturally occurring  radiation 24/7!

Comment 1
 I like the idea of an Alternative to curing the Problem.  If we could achieve a 50% Radon
 Reduction---What does this Mean? Great Idea if it works


Comment 2
 Radon needs a positive spin!

Idea 12: One less thing?

We have all been trained regarding relationship between lung cancer and RADON.

I am kind of a new person in the industry, but it seems to me the more I learn about protecting our bodies from Free Radicals(including eating blueberries) I believe it is reasonable and logical to express that Radon Mitigation significantly lessens exposure to “Free Radicals” in indoor air quality.

Common sense seems to support the fewer “Free Radicals” (Radon Particles) our bodies have to defend against the less our immune systems are compromised and worn down.  Radon Mitigation allows the body a vacation from indoor Free Radicals which then allows our bodies to fight off other disease causing elements that we can NOT control.? 

One less thing?  Right?

Dawn Goard
Director of Operations
Certified Radon Mitigation Professional
1-800-844-7236 (RADON)

We need a positive message. Not scary ones!

Idea 13: Radon gas exposure research on all cancers and other diseases

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and second only to tobacco overall; however, most people dismiss the seriousness of lung cancer because of the stigma attached to smoking.  Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of all, and radon gas is the leading environmental cause of cancer mortality.  According to the World Health Organization radon induced lung cancer accounts for about 14% of lung cancer which takes the lives of about 22,000 people each year. Research into other cancers and other diseases that may be caused by radon will greatly enhance the public's awareness of the danger of living with elevated levels of radon gas; and lives will be saved.


Comment 1
I strongly agree.  As a radon measurement professional, nine out of ten of my clients do not understand the health dangers of radon gas.  We can save lives by educating the public.


Comment 2
As a person who has lost a loved one to lung cancer, I believe that anything we can do to prevent this disease is important and worthwhile.


Comment 3
I think public education is one of the keys to reducing the number of deaths per year from radon induced lung cancer.  Most of the public is ignorant as to even what radon gas is, or if they know, they have their heads buried in the sand. As an example....have you had your home tested ?  How about your workplace ? Your kids school ? How about your parents or children’s homes ?
Fixing the radon concentration problems in buildings is generally quite simple, getting the public to realize there is a problem worthy of attention is the hard part.


Comment 4
Radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer mortality in the United States.  Please see recommendations of the President's Cancer Panel.


Comment 5
Save lives reduce radon gas!


Comment 6
Radon induced lung cancer is preventable.  Test and fix elevated radon levels.  Reducing elevated radon levels results in a communal health risk reduction for everyone living in the structure.


Comment 7
I think that most people dismiss the seriousness of lung cancer caused by radon because they just don't know anything about it. Please spread the word - Learn about radon and test for radon. If elevated levels are discovered fix the problem and live longer!
AND........Quit smoking!
Celia Rajkovich


Comment 8
This has been ignored by most physicians, even oncologists who see lung cancer patients.  Just check the Web site for the cancer docs in your area and search it for radon -- for Markey Cancer Center in Kentucky, radon has four mentions (plus a paper by a guy with that last name -- no joke!) – but they never suggest testing for it.


Comment 9
I agree 100%. The more we can educate people, the more lives we can save. Radon takes too many unnecessary lives.
With more education available we will be able to put the risks in front of people and make them aware of what they don't know. Let's give it the same attention, mold and asbestos have.


Comment 10
Fixing you house for radon is inexpensive compared to lung cancer. If not for your safety, what about for your children?  As a parent, I would do whatever it takes to keep them safe.


Comment 11
Reducing radon-induced lung cancer is an attainable goal.  It is within our reach with a reasonable price tag.  Like polio and TB in this country we could actually make radon-induced lung cancer almost a thing of the past if we address it now.  (And, like most threats, if we do it now, it will be less expensive than if we wait.)


Comment 12
I live and work in Kentucky which holds the record for greatest incidence of lung cancer cases. With radon being the second leading cause of lung cancer and given the multiplicative effects between radon and secondhand smoke - increasing one's risk of having lung cancer, this is definitely a TOP public health priority if we want to move the lung cancer incidence rates downward in our state. Clearly, given lung cancer has a high morbidity rate, that is a number we want to reduce as well. Further, and sadly, these are PREVENTABLE deaths. We know what we have to do - remove radon and secondhand smoke from our air. Everyone deserves to breathe clean air. Radon: Easy Fix. Smart Decision. Test. Mitigate. Save lives.


Comment 13
Radon.  Test, Fix, Save a Life!


Comment 14
It's very sad to think that so many lives are lost to something that is very preventable in most cases.  If measures are taken now to raise awareness and prevent radon-induced lung cancer, think about all the unnecessary deaths that could be saved in the future.


Comment 15
Test for Radon, it is easy, cheap and it may save a life.


Comment 16
As a radon professional I meet people everyday who are concerned and angry that there is not enough being done to promote radon awareness. To not inform people about the risks of radon is morally and ethically wrong. 


Comment 17
The word needs to get out in wider context that Radon is a leading cause of lung cancer!  I agree 100%.


Comment 18
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan are tragic natural disasters; the death toll is rapidly approaching 20,000 people.  But we have a natural disaster that is claiming on the order of 20,000 American lives EVERY YEAR, and that is indoor radon.  Radon receives little attention from our government and the media, but should be a top priority in the prevention of lung cancer.


Comment 19
Very Well Put.  We have many solutions to Radon Gas In Front of our Eyes Today.  What can we do today to Reduce Radon Exposure in Peoples Homes by 50%?  How can we Insulate your Home from Radon Gas?  What Purifiers can Reduce Radon Gas in your Home? 


Comment 20
I totally agree!!!


Comment 21 
Paul Lyman  Deaths from radon exposure are very much preventable.  There are very few cancer causing issues that are preventable. We need to act now.  We need the federal government to enact and fund legislation for real estate disclosure, testing and mitigation.


Comment 22
In the fight against the number one cancer killer, radon education is low-hanging fruit. With very little effort, tens of thousands of lives could be saved.


Comment 23
We strongly agree with this statement.  This is a completely preventable issue.  All it takes is knowledge of the issue itself.  Once people know and understand they will do what is best for them and their families.


Comment 24
Many lung cancers caused by radon exposure can be prevented and the cost of prevention is less than the cost of medical treatment that saves someone from lung cancer death. 


Comment 25 
I greatly dislike having to tell never-smoker lung cancer victims that they have high radon levels in their home.  Yet I have to do this several times a year.  It is so simple to test for radon!  Why not do it???


Comment 26
As a measurement tech in the Lake Tahoe region it is important that area homeowners be aware of the elevated levels of Radon that NEHA has reported in this area.


Comment 27
We have scientists and research projects studying radon, and we could use more.  But we have not used Madison Avenue type marketing to sell the findings to the public.  Get the data right and then hire an ad agency to convince people to take action.  Our current problem is not lack of science, it is lack of marketing. 


Comment 28
I am still surprised at the number of people that have not heard about radon. And the number of people who don't understand what radon is or where it comes from. We need more informing of the public. I just installed a system in a doctors home after his wife died of lung cancer and he told me he didn't know what radon was till it was too late to save his wife's life. We need more and better ways to get this in front of the public before it is too late for another person. Every home should be tested now.


Comment 29
The costs to treat lung cancer are staggering. A lifetime of savings, planning and dreams can vanish painfully and quickly crushing it's victims and families forever. Radon testing and reduction techniques are cheap, available now and can reduce radon induced lung cancer. Increased public awareness and legislation to require testing homes for radon as part of an occupancy permit or sales contract is needed.


Comment 30
Radon kills more people than drunk drivers.  It is the second cause of lung cancer after cigarettes ... and it can be controlled.  We need education to make people aware.


Comment 31
Radon awareness levels need to be raised. Everybody knows and agrees that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Most people do not know that radon is the primary leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. Most people do not know that second hand smoke is the third leading cause and is banned in a lot of public and private places. We need to make the connection somehow. Raise the awareness levels and make the link. Maybe a slogan would help, something like NO SMOKING, NO RADON, NO LUNG CANCER!



Comment 32
According to radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. Why we are not protecting our kids and children from it? If you are over 18 and don't care I totally understand, but if you're a parent and you're not doing anything about radon after being informed about're not a good parent!....


Comment 33 
We need cutting edge research on radon exposure at all levels. We also need thorough investigation of the synergistic risks associated with other environmental toxins such as tobacco smoke. The fact that we do not have a biomarker for radon exposure is a critical gap in the science. Please prioritize radon research at all levels: basic science, clinical and translational research, behavioral science, and policy research.


Comment 34 
I totally agree, I lived in Canada all my life I’m 52 years old the first time I heard the word Radon was 2 years ago. The only reason I found out about Radon gas is from an association in the US emailing me and asks me if I would like to take a course on Radon gas. More should be done to educate people on Radon gas. Government on both sides of the borders should take a closer look at this; they have thousands of Canadians and Americans dying every year from something that can be prevented.


Comment 35
being in the radon mitigation business for almost 23 years has lead me to believe that a homeowner's investment in a radon mitigation system pays great dividends; protection for loved ones from a known class a carcinogen and drier atmospheric conditions in lower levels of homes.


Comment 36 
Radon awareness is a crucial public health issue that should have its informative roots in both public education as well as Realtor education. Too many Realtors downplay the importance of this Class "A" carcinogen.


Comment 37 
Radon has been forgotten or ignored as a serious environmental problem for too long.  Anything we con do to increase concern and action will be a positive.


Comment 38
I serve the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic as its director of environmental health.  Recognizing radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer mortality in the United States, and as the leading environmental cause of cancer mortality in the United States, the American Lung Association strongly supports measures to reduce exposure to radon and its decay products to protect public health.

Although indoor radon gas is recognized to cause between 8,000 and 40,000 excess lung cancer deaths in the United States annually, the number of homes in the country in which radon occurs at elevated levels is higher now than when the first significant public work on this problem began in the 1980’s.  Clearly, we as a nation must do much more even to begin to solve the problem of lung cancer induction resulting from exposure to radon and its decay products. 

We encourage NIEHS to become a strong leader in the Administration's work to rediscover and act on the importance of the radon issue, with a clear goal of making meaningful progress to reduce the country's population's exposure and risk in the near future.


Comment 39
Recognizing that radon is a significant world health issue, in 2009, the World Health Organization recommended that the reference level for radon be 2.7 pCi/L, which is lower that the USEPA action level of 4 pCi/L. NIEHS needs to take a leadership role in research and development of this environmental problem, to better understand and address the full range of radon related health risks.


Comment 40
Why can the media not see how important this problem is? They blast about everything else, much less important than Radon! The word needs to be out there every time you pick up a paper or read news on the computer! Radon kills! About 22,000 people a year. I'm so shocked at how many people don't know about the seriousness of Radon Gas! A simple fix and not very expensive if you consider how much lung cancer costs. Let's all get together and get the word out.


Comment 41
More people need to be made aware of this serious health concern.  Our politicians should be more involved in funding advertising that would let the public know about radon and the dangers it imposes on the public at large.  Most people do not know what it is or how it affects them.  Why can't all homes be tested prior to being sold?


Comment 42
There is nothing worse than false security.  They are killing us on a daily basis.  I used to assume that when I walked into a public building, that the environment was safe for me and my family.  Recently I was called in to do a radon mitigation on a federal facility and another mitigation on a state facility.  Both of these buildings were discovered to be high in radon by a concerned employee bringing in a simple charcoal test kit.  While mitigating these buildings, I discovered there was no fresh air being brought into the buildings and the carbon dioxide levels were high.  These problems are now being corrected.  We should not have to wonder when walking into a public facility whether the environment is safe.  I would urge congress to pass legislation that all public facilities be tested for radon and carbon dioxide by a qualified person yearly.


Comment 43
In addition to research on other types of cancer, we need to understand if radon related cancers respond to different treatments, if there are ways to screen for radon related damage and early detection for those who have developed cancer.  We are all working to reduce future exposures, but we can't erase the past exposures people had had to date.


Comment 44
Radon is a serious issue and people should be informed on where it comes from and the risk.


Comment 45
Radon is real, and it kills.  We need to prioritize research to understand the onset and treatment of radon induced lung and other cancers, as well as those from the combined exposure to radon and tobacco smoke. We also need more public health champions to educate the public about radon:  TEST, FIX, SAVE A LIFE.


Comment 46
Testing (and mitigating if necessary) your home, school, or work environment is an easy way to promote living and working in a healthy environment and reduce or eliminate dangerous exposure to this radiological gas.  Just like protecting yourself in an X-ray lab, nuclear lab, or nuclear power facility, so should one at their own home.  It's a "no-brainer"!


Comment 47 
Testing and mitigation is very important.

I have been exposed to very high radon levels before I knew anything about radon. I have been battling Lung cancer for the past 4 plus years due to such high exposure..... PLEASE test your home. It is easy to do and it can save your life, and the ones you love.

God Bless


Comment 48
No disrespect but I don't understand why there needs to be a study on this.  Cancer caused by radon is very serious and it is horrible that more people don't know about it.  I think it just needs more publicity but there's already a solution to have your homes tested for radon and, if the levels are too high, have a mitigation system put in to lower the levels (I had this done on my home).  So to me, this needs a public service announcement regularly broadcast on T.V. and more publicity but does not need a study.


Comment 49
Radon gas can be remediated by installing inexpensive equipment on any building. Inasmuch as this issue affects so few people, I submit that research on Chemical Sensitivities/Intolerances (affecting more than 3 million people) should receive more attention and more funding. After trying to find a house where I would not be exposed to pesticides used in lawn care for 25 years, I find it a very simple task to remediate radon. SJ


Comment 50
Radon awareness is very low among the general public. This is a shame considering more people die from radon exposure than from drunk driving annually.


Comment 51

I have been involved with radon testing and mitigation over 23years.  I know ten families that have lost a loved one from radon exposure.  Public needs to be more aware of the problems caused by radon gas.


Comment 52
As a radon mitigation provider for the last two years I have seen a large increase in positive testing results in my area of service. I would advise those thinking of testing to do so now.


Comment 53
Of course we need to continue researching Radon Gas Exposure and it's complications. Anyone voting that they don't agree, hasn't suffered the loss of a loved one to cancers that have no cure. I firmly believe Radon not only causes Lung Cancer, but it also contributes to all types of cancer.  With more research, answers will be found.


Comment 54
As a radon professional that has lost two family members to cancer I strongly agree. Test it, fix it, save a life!


Comment 55
I'm a radon professional. Cancer has taken two of my friends just this year after fighting the brave battle. No one knows why they got their cancers. Yet we know that radon causes lung cancer and is PREVENTABLE. We need more awareness. We also need more research so that we understand the full health implications of radon.


Comment 56
When we inhale radioactive particles from the decay products of uranium (radium) those particles go through the alveoli (air sacs) in our lungs and into our blood stream and our lipid tissues and bones.  As radon gas decays, it turns into polonium, bismuth and lead; that is what is found in the sub-cortical areas of the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Alzheimer’s disease has doubled in the last 25 years to a number of 4.5 million Americans.   With the tightness of energy efficient homes and tighter homes equal higher radon levels.  The geographic distribution of Parkinson’s disease mortality is considerably higher in states with greater radon potential according to some research published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences.   There are an estimated 1.5 million Americans with Parkinson’s disease with 60,000 new cases each year.

However, until wider research can be performed concerning the correlation of radioactive radon gas exposure with  Leukemia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other cancers such as brain, thyroid, esophageal, and pancreatic, people will not pay much attention to the fact that radon gas exposure results in the deaths of about 22,000 people in our nation each year. 


Comment 57
As an environmental health and safety professional for over 25 years, I am amazed and concerned how little progress has been made in the prevention of radon-induced lung cancer through additional research or regulatory controls. The evidence of induction of lung cancer and synergistic affects with smoking is profound and consistently sited within all of the recognized authorities dealing with public health(WHO, CDC, ALA, EPA, HPS, ICRP, APHA).  NIEHS should include radon as a priority for further research in the interest of public health.


Comment 58
I agree!  As with most tragedies - everyone says - Not In My House!! How sad when that is not the case - especially when it's so easy to test and fix.  It's the best way to avoid cancer risk - MUCH easier than changing your genes, exercising "enough", and reducing everything questionable from your diet (changes every day).  I've watched several loved ones deal with cancer and I would do anything to prevent others from the struggle and loss.  So easy to test and fix, please protect your family TODAY.


Comment 59
Recently I was called for a mitigation bid. I was met at the door with “My wife was just diagnosed with lung cancer”. She never smoked and was not exposed to 2nd hand smoke.  They built the house 14 years ago. They did not test for radon even though they had to mitigate their old house when it sold.  The house tested 30 pCi/L. 30’ish couple with a young child. A lot of people don’t understand the health risk.


Comment 60
One of the biggest problems is the radon maps are out of date and it is sometimes hard to convince people to test and then fix.  The maps were made almost 20 years ago.  They need to be updated!  Anymore, anybody can go online and there are the maps and this gives many people a false sense of security.  One thing this does is it eliminates one step in an escrow and agents do not want anything more to make buyers aware of.


Comment 61
As Radon is odorless and tasteless it makes it all the more crucial to educate others as to its effects on us, the promotion of lung cancer, and the need to test.  


Comment 62
As a radon induced lung cancer survivor, I know only too well the importance of having everyone test their home for radon and spreading the word about the dangers of radon.


Comment 63
Prevention is the only way to stop the onslaught of lung cancer which kills more that all other cancers-160,000 will die in 2011 from lung cancer.  Test every home for radon. Get rid of radon if it is present as it is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.


Idea 14: Reuniting environmental health

Every year, evidence builds suggesting that many of the most significant disease threats from the environment arise from exposure to both chemical and biological agents and to interactions between them. NIEHS must build capacity and activity in the environmental aspects of infectious diseases, including interactions between chemicals and the microbiome, modifications of infectious bacteria in ecosystems due to industrial activities, and interactions between climate change, nutrient loading, chemical pollution, and infectious diseases.

I agree--Very well put


Idea 15. Study of radon, mold, pesticides, nuclear, & electrical exposure

Mark Russell
3 28 11


I would like to see more study done in the following areas of:

  • Electrical Transmission Lines
  • Radon Gas
  • Mold
  • Pesticides
  • Nuclear Exposure


Many Environmental Toxins cannot be Changed or Solved Today.  What can we do today is to prevent 20% of these Problems?  What can we do the prevent 40% of these Problems.  What can we do to Eliminate these problems?


1) What Illnesses can be linked to the High Levels of Electrical Discharges?

2) What are the Solutions?

3) What is the Preventative Medicine for the People living close by?

4) Can we bury the Electrical Transmission Lines 20 foot below Ground and would that solve our Problems?



1) What Illnesses can be linked to the High Level of Radon Gas?

2) What can you do to prevent Radon Exposure if you live on Toxic Land?

3) How do you know your land has Radon before you buy the Land?

4) What is the Preventative Medicine for People that are living with Radon Exposure?

5) Can you build Air Purification System in your home to eliminate 95% of the Radon Gas?


1) What Illnesses can be linked to the High Levels of Mold?

2) What can you do to stop the Mold Exposure?

3) What are Preventative Medicines to Stop Mold?

4) Can you put most Molds in Hibernation bellow 45

Humidity by installing a De-Humidifier?


1) What Illnesses can be linked to the Use of Pesticides?

2) What Illnesses do the Workers in the Farm Fields have?

3) What Illnesses does the Community within (1) miles have?

4) What Illnesses do the Family Members of the Workers in the Farm Fields have?

5) How do we prevent the Spread of Pesticides in the Water System and the Community?

6) Would a simple dust mask help the farm workers?

7) Would a simple Shower Trailer help the farm workers wash off all the Pesticides?



1) What Illnesses can be linked to Three Mile Island, Chernobyl & Now Japan?

2) What Breathing Equipment could be installed in your home?

3) What Preventative Measures can we take?

Idea 16: What is the role of BPA in promoting breast and prostate cancer?

Estrogen-like compounds clearly play a role in breast cancer development.  They likewise play an important pro-inflammatory role in prostate cancer development as well.  Given that BPA mimics the activity of estrogen, what role does human exposure to BPA play in breast and prostate cancer development?  If shown to play a carcinogenic role, should not BPA be completely banned from consumer products and not just from baby bottles?

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