Gerald Cox and Mary Dodds Suggest the Poison Fluoride Will Aid in the Development of Teeth in Youth

They have a saying in the Mellon Institute that “once a fellow, always a fellow” (1). “By it is meant that we do not lose interest in the former incumbents of fellowships when they enter their donors´ or other companies´ organizations, nor do we lose interest in former donors. The former fellows and donors of the institute have proved to be our friends.”

The outcome of the Nutrition fellowship reminds somehow of the “once a fellow, always a fellow” saying. Still on the sugar fellowship, Gerald J. Cox and Mary L. Dodds (both holders of the sugar chemicals patents) “attained in 1934 results that suggest the existence of a factor which, if present in the diet during a critical period of tooth formation, will aid in the construction of teeth resistant to decay” (2). Research on this mysterious “factor” -which everyone in the sugar business would dream of- was then “continued along broad lines, as a pure science investigation, through a grant from the Buhl Foundation of Pittsburgh” (3). The Journal of the American Dental Association added that “this new fellowship will have the advisory aid of L. H. Cretcher” (4), – another sugar specialist of the Mellon Institute (5). At the IADR meeting at Baltimore, March 13-14, 1937, – a very interesting meeting from several points of view- Cox reported that in rats the diet of the mother during pregnancy and lactation influences the caries susceptibility of the young. “Increased haliver oil, increased Ca and P, high fat diet, or meat diet to mothers caused increased immunity to corn-meal caries in offspring” (6) – which means, any diet low in carbohydrate would probably have the same effect.

What then led Cox to become interested in fluoride?

“This fact suggested to us that the diet during pregnancy and lactation or, in other words, the diet during the period of the formation of the permanent molar enamel of the young rats, influenced subsequent susceptibility to corn meal caries. We accordingly set up a series of experiments to test the effect of various food factors in conferring relative resistance to caries in young rats” (7). Such studies provided another splendid opportunity for combination with a project other Mellon Institute researchers were working on. “The fellowship system of industrial research at the Mellon Institute provided the accident that we were adjacent to the laboratory where studies of industrial uses for XXX liquor were under way” and so, among other substances tested, Cox and his crew supplemented the diet of mothers during pregnancy and lactation with 0.5 gm of XXX liquor (7). XXX Liquor, the “trade waste of the milk industry”, Cox claimed in 1939, was found to be “sufficiently concentrated to be saturated with fluoride from the original milk” (8). In 1941 he explained: “This is a product of the Borden Company obtained as a residue, when all other useful products have been removed from milk” (7). Milk usually has no high fluoride content, but this “XXX liquor” (19, 20) may have contained it, purposely added as specified in a patent granted to the Borden Company (11), claiming “- dry skim milk free from strong alkali and having substantially all of the calcium thereof chemically separated” either as calcium fluoride by addition of soluble fluorides or hydrogen fluoride, or as an oxalate or metaphosphate.

Yet, fluorine around that time had a bad image as the cause of mottled teeth. The public perception of the problem thus had to be addressed and reversed somehow.

“Mothers fed the supplement of XXX liquor bore young with very high resistance to corn meal caries. In April, 1936, at the Washington meeting of the American Institute of Nutrition, George R. Sharpless gave a paper indicating that the addition of aluminum salts to the diet of the rat in which fluoride was present prevented the formation of mottled incisors in rats. This suggested to us that XXX liquor contained aluminum salts, which were preventing the deleterious action of fluorine. Consequently we set up an experiment to produce teeth which were quite susceptible to decay because of the high fluorine content in the mother´s diet during pregnancy and lactation. It was then our intention to add aluminum salts to the diet to prevent the bad effects of fluorine. However, the results of this preliminary experiment were the most resistant teeth that we had observed at that time. … It cannot be said that we sought such results; they came to us in an experiment designed to prove exactly the opposite of what we observed” (7). Cox´s reasonings sound somewhat strange, and his data on caries incidence in the rats fed fluoride -in experiments carried out late in 1936 (7, 8) – were anything but convincing proof of a reduction.

Referring to the work of Dean et al. as well as Armstrong and Brekhus, and his own inconclusive experiments in rats (!), Cox suggested in 1939 that “the case should be regarded as proved” (12) and that the “present trend toward complete removal of fluorine from water and food may need some reversal” (13). “Concordant evidence from 3 different approaches, with no adverse data, should be such sufficient proof of the value of fluorine in the prevention of dental caries that means of control of this element in the whole dietary of children should be undertaken. Control of the fluorine content of community water supplies, in most cases by addition of fluorides, provides an attractive means of mass reduction in dental caries, but prophylactic measures through other media, such as bottled waters, milk supply or the judicious use of fluoride-containing medicinals, are feasible” (8). “Furthermore, the prophylaxis could be applied in such a way that the individual would be hard put to escape the treatment” (13).

ALCOA, the largest producer of aluminum and likely the largest producer of the aluminum manufacturing bi-product, fluoride, in America at the time and funded the flawed research. Trendley Dean, the PHS scientist which Cox had based his biased conclusions, admitted under oath that his studies provided no evidence that increased fluoride in the water would reduced tooth decay.

Below is some of Dean’s pertinent data.

CityFluoride PPM% of cavity-free children% with fluorosis
Pueblo, CO0.6372.4
Junction City, CO0.7261.7
East Moline, IL1.51124.5
Monmouth, IL1.75542.1
Galesburg, IL1.85635.1
Colorado Springs, CO2.54167.6

The only unmistakable trend is the one showing dental fluorosis increasing with fluoride concentration, which was expressly what Dean went west to determine.  Black and McKay noted that mottled teeth did not seem to have a higher incidence of tooth decay, and Dean extended those findings, although that was not his job.  A man was specifically assigned to investigate the damage that a particular chemical did to teeth, but somehow concluded that the chemical was instead good for teeth.  To paraphrase Dean’s findings: “As children’s teeth disintegrate, they may have fewer cavities.”  Dean is known today as the “father of fluoridation.”  It has now been admitted by virtually everybody involved with the fluoridation issue, even by Dean himself (given under oath on a witness stand), that his early data provided no evidence that increasing fluoride concentration in the water supply reduced tooth decay.

Dean later became one of fluoridation’s propagandists, but was initially cautious with his suggestion.  Dean’s questionable suggestion regarding the potential dental benefits of fluoride was all that ALCOA-related scientist Gerald Cox (he worked for the Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh) needed to begin proposing that the nation’s water supplies be fluoridated.  In 1937 Cox announced, “It is possible that fluorine is specifically required for the formation of teeth.”[14]  Cox was the first to suggest the compulsory fluoridation of entire communities. Ironically, the PHS spent the ten years after 1931 trying to eliminate fluorine ions from the water supply, given the tooth mottling findings.  Cox partly based his fluoridation suggestion on the work of Gerald Armstrong, who in 1938 published findings that decayed teeth seemed to have lower fluorine content than healthy teeth.  In 1963, Armstrong published a reinvestigation of his 1938 findings, and concluded that his earlier findings were wrong, and that there was no detectable difference in the fluoride content of healthy and decayed teeth.[15]  In summary, the discovering scientists themselves admitted that the two major scientific findings of the 1930s that showed that fluoride might be good for the teeth, and were the basis of later campaigns to compulsorily fluoridate water supplies, were worthless.

Naturally occurring fluoride in the water supply is usually composed of fluorine and calcium atoms. What component of dissolved calcium fluoride might have a positive effect on bones and teeth?  The calcium aspect was ignored, while the fluorine component was obsessively pursued.  The fluoride compounds artificially added to the water supply are sodium fluoride and fluosilicic acid, which are industrial waste byproducts.  By the 1950s, the National Institute of Dental Research (“NIDR”) produced “research” that fluoride polluters used to protect themselves from liability lawsuits.[16]  It was not much different than the AMA- guided “research” between from the 1930s to the 1950s that was used to make health claims for cigarettes.

If the data supporting fluoridation is analyzed, it quickly becomes evident that all the pro-fluoridation people have in their favor are highly uncertain statistics.  The theories are conflicting, as is the data.[17]  Although fluorine is found in bones and teeth, so are other elements that nobody says are essential for health (and even toxic), and more than 80% of fluorine given to humans and animals in experiments is immediately excreted.[18]  The same mechanisms that supposedly protect teeth also cause tooth mottling.  It is quite the double-edged sword.  Even giving the pro-fluoridation forces the benefit of the doubt regarding their statistics, their data on the benefit of fluoride amounts to one tooth per mouth, which is not an exciting benefit.[19]  It is an alarmingly small benefit when the undeniable harm caused by fluoride is considered.  Benjamin Disraeli said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”  Pro-fluoridation data is a classic case of statistical gamesmanship.  Even if the motivation of most pro-fluoridation researchers were not suspect, their empirical and statistical methods are.  Many astute criticisms have been leveled at the methods of fluoridation researchers regarding uncontrolled variables, omission of pertinent data, mathematical errors, and outright bogus science.[20]

Among the giants of the early days of fluoridation research were Trendley Dean, Gerald Cox, Frank McClure, Harold Hodge, Edward Largent, Wallace Armstrong, and David Ast.  Dean’s and Cox’s relationship to ALCOA was evident, and Largent was the most visible member of the research teams at Kettering Laboratories at the University of Cincinnati, funded by ALCOA and several other fluoride-polluting companies.  Largent was a consultant for Reynolds Aluminum.  McClure was one of fluoridation’s greatest cheerleaders, who worked for the industry-influenced NIDR.  Armstrong was a comrade-in-arms with Dean and McClure, promoting fluoridation.  Hodge had a sinister relationship to the fluoridation issue, discovered through declassified U.S. documents, which also tainted Ast. 

Dean was not the first person to suggest that fluoride might be good for teeth.  It was suggested as early as 1892, as it was detected in bones and teeth, although experiments in the 1920s disproved the notion.[21]  It had not yet been established that fluoride caused “tooth mottling,” but already scientists were trying to see if fluoride might be good for teeth.  There were health disasters happening throughout the industrialized world due to fluoride, but a handful of ALCOA-influenced/funded scientists pursued how fluoride might be good for health. They and their corporate sponsors eventually prevailed, as money speaks loudly in America, and corporations are considered people with “free speech” rights.

Although the industrial scientists’ well-paid efforts were important, it was up to a lawyer to literally ram fluoridation down the American public’s throat.  In 1947, ALCOA’s lead counsel, Oscar Ewing, was named to head the Federal Security Agency (“FSA”), which later became the U.S. Health, Education and Welfare Department (today it is called the Department of Health and Human Services, or “HHS”).  Ewing went on the ALCOA payroll in 1944 at a salary of $750,000 per year, which was astronomical for the time.  The FSA oversaw the PHS, and the same year that Ewing began at the FSA, he initiated a national fluoridation project through the PHS, which helped to build a bandwagon for fluoridation in the absence of any credible scientific data.  At that time, there were two cities undergoing water-supply fluoridation tests: Grand Rapids, Michigan and Newburgh, New York.  The tests were to run for ten to fifteen years to collect data.  Ewing began campaigning for a national fluoridation program when those tests were only two years old, and no significant data was available or even possible.  None other than Edward Bernays, the “father of public relations” and one of the greatest propagandists of all time, designed Ewing’s public relations campaign for fluoridation.  Bernays also designed the campaign by the American Tobacco Company to addict American women to tobacco, and Joseph Goebbels used Bernays’ work in his Nazi propaganda campaigns against the Jews.[22]

Eventually, the fluoridation results for Newburgh and Grand Rapids were partially published and largely have been ignored ever since.  Although there was no measurable decrease in tooth decay, Newburgh boys had twice the incidence of skeletal deformities and a higher tooth-mottling rate as compared to the unfluoridated control group in nearby Kingston.  Seeing how Newburgh fared, Kingston has successfully resisted having its water supply fluoridated ever since.  Other Newburgh data was noteworthy, although largely suppressed: Newburgh developed one of the highest heart disease rates in the USA, and girls came to puberty earlier than the control group.  The heart disease rate in Grand Rapids doubled after the first five years of the fluoridation experiment.[23]

‘The case should be regarded as proved.’ In a historic moment in 1939, the first public proposal that the U.S. should fluoridate its water supplies was made – not by a doctor, or dentist, but by Cox, an industry scientist working for a company threatened by fluoride damage claims.”

“Almost overnight…the popular image of fluoride – which at the time was being widely sold as rat and bug poison – became that of a beneficial provider of gleaming smiles, absolutely safe, and good for children, bestowed by a benevolent paternal government. Its opponents were permanently engraved on the public mind as crackpots and right-wing loonies.” 


  1. Weidlein E.R.: “Various results of being researchful”, Science 82 (Dec. 13, 1935) 553-562;
  2. “Reports: Research at Mellon Institute during 1934-35”, Science 81 (May 3, 1935) 436;
  3. McCollum E.V., Orent-Keiles E., Day H. G.: “The newer knowledge of nutrition”, New York 1939, pp. 275-278;
  4. “New Research on Nutrition at Mellon Institute”, JADA 22 (1935) 1084;
  5. “Investigate Industrial Uses for Sugar”, Scientif. Amer. 145 (Aug. 1931) 128-129;
  6. Cox G. J.: “System of study of experimental dental caries as related to nutrition” (Abstr), J. dent. Res. 16 (1937) 302;
  7. Cox G. J., Matuschak Levin M.: “Resume of the fluorine – caries relationship”, IN F. R. Moulton (ed.) “Fluorine and Dental Health”, AAAS Meeting, Dec. 12, 1941, Dallas, Texas, publ. Washington 1942, pp. 68-73;
  8. Cox G. J., Matuschak M.C., Dixon S. F., Dodds M. L., Walker W. E.: “Experimental Dental Caries. IV. Fluorine and its relation to dental caries”, J. dent. Res. 18 (1939) 481;
  9. Ansbacher S., Flanagan G. E., Supplee G. C., assignors to The Borden Company, New York: “Concentration and isolation of water-soluble vitamins”, US Patent 2,186,314, filed Feb. 1, 1936, patented Jan. 9, 1940;
  10. Supplee G.C., Flanagan G. E., assignors to The Borden Company, New York: “Process of making vitamin- containing material”, US Patent 2,006,699, filed Dec. 16, 1930, patented July 2, 1935;
  11. Salzberg H. K., assignor to The Borden Company, New York: “Soluble dried solids of milk and method of producing the same”, US Patent 2,181,003, filed Jan. 11, 1936, patented Nov. 21, 1939;
  12. Cox G.J.: “Dental caries and domestic water supplies”, J. Am. Med. Assn. 113 (1939) 1753;
  13. Cox G. J.: “New knowledge of fluorine in relation to dental caries”, J. Am. Water Works Assn. 31 (1939) 1926;
  14. See Waldbott, Burgstahler, and McKinney’s Fluoridation, The Great Dilemma, pp. 61-63.
  15. See Kaj Roholm’s Fluorine Intoxication, pp. 64-65.  Cited in Joel Griffiths’s “Fluoride: Commie Plot or Capitalistic Ploy,” Covert Action, Fall 1992.
  16. See H. Ost’s “The Fight Against Injurious Industrial Gases,” Z Agnew Chem, Volume 20, 1907.  pp. 1689-93, and Roholm, pp. 36-41, cited in Joel Griffiths’s “Fluoride: Commie Plot or Capitalistic Ploy,” Covert Action, Fall 1992.
  17. See Kaj Roholm’s “The Fog Disaster in the Meuse Valley: A Fluorine Intoxication,” Journal of Industrial Toxicology, Vol. 19, 1937, pp. 126-137, cited in Joel Griffiths’s “Fluoride: Commie Plot or Capitalistic Ploy,” Covert Action, Fall 1992.
  18. See Robert J. Lillie’s “Air Pollutants Affecting the Performance of Domestic Animals,” US Department of Agriculture Handbook No. 380, August 1970, p.41, cited in Joel Griffiths’s “Fluoride: Commie Plot or Capitalistic Ploy,” Covert Action, Fall 1992.  See Anne-Lise Gotzsche’s The Fluoride Question: Panacea or Poison?, chapter 6.
  19. Reproduced in John Yiamouyiannis’s Fluoride and the Aging Factor, p. 99.
  20. See John Yiamouyiannis’s Fluoride and the Aging Factor, p. 94.
  21. See W.D. Armstrong and L. Singer’s “Fluoride Contents of Enamel of Sound and Carious Human Teeth: A Reinvestigation.”  J. Dent. Res., 42:133-136, 1963, cited in Waldbott, Burgstahler, and McKinney’s Fluoridation, The Great Dilemma, p.84, n.24.
  22. See Christopher Bryson’s The Fluoride Deception, chapter 14, pp. 176-183.
  23. See Waldbott, Burgstahler, and McKinney’s Fluoridation, The Great Dilemma, pp. 61, 80-81.


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