By Lora Grindlay

America's leading anti-fluoridation scientist brought the great fluoride debate to Vancouver this week.

Ohio's Dr. John Yiamouyiannis claims there are between 30 and 50 fluoride-related cancer deaths every day.

"The importance of fluoride in the States has resulted in the chronic poisoning of 130 million Americans," Yiamouyiannis, who's been studying fluoride's effects for over 20 years, told The-Province.

Fluoride only reduces tooth decay when topically applied to teeth and not when swallowed, he says. But swallowing it over a long period of time causes cancer, he says.

He's on a tour to drum up funds for a court case against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Public Health Service. Procter & Gamble Co. and the American Dental Association for what he calls fraudulent research.

Don't swallow dental claims, says scientist

He spoke in Vancouver this week to denounce fluoride in drinking water as a means of preventing tooth decay.

Vancouver's water isn't fluoridated but 10 percent of B.C.'s municipally-supplied water is, including that in Kamloops, Kelowna and Prince George, says Len Greenall of Burnaby's Health Action Network Society.

Data from National Toxicology Program research, released in April, says fluoride may cause cancer.

But Dr. Yiamouyiannis told The Province the NTP research was "whitewashed and obscured" and evidence he obtained through the Freedom of Information Act linking fluoride and cancer was eliminated.

University of B.C. dental professor Jack Hann counters: "At present there's not a shred of evidence there is a cancer link."

About 10,000 Vancouver students are on a fluoride supplement program. Health Minister John Jansen, city council and the city's dental consultant all say there are no plans to change.

"If you took too much of many substances it could have a harmful side effect," says Malcolm Williamson, the city's dental consultant.

He says the provincial health department is constantly evaluating studies and so far the benefits of a fluoride supplement program outweighs the dangers.

Health Action Network Society.

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