THE FLUORIDE ACTION NETWORK
FAN Bulletin #368: VICTORY in New Zealand and thinking out loud.
Oct 8, 2005.
Good news from New Zealand. Over 70% of the people in Greymouth ( a community near Christchurch in the South Island) voted against fluoridation in a referendum (see story below). This despite intense efforts by the District Health Officer to get fluoridation in with the usual "scare tactics" of "your children's teeth are worse than anywhere else." Such claims are always made by the promoters and they often get a lot of help from the local press doing it.
Currently it is happening in at least the following communities: Montreal, Canada; Bellingham, Washington and Queensland, Australia. The promoters use several standard ploys:
1) Local dentists give anecdotal stories of all the baby teeth being extracted under anaestheia (baby bottle tooth decay cannot be counteracted by fluoridation). A picture of such an operation will often open an article in the local paper.
2) "Studies" are cited to show that tooth decay is greater in the targeted community than in a fluoridated one. These "studies" are usually conducted by the promoters and are not peer reviewed and not published. Tooth decay is so contingent on income levels that if these are not tightly controlled in any comparison you can get any result you want.
3) " Public Health" officials proclaim that fluoridation is perfectly safe and that there is no "credible" evidence that fluoride causes any harm at 1 ppm. If they believe this then they are truly deceived, and if they don't believe this then they are deliberately deceiving the public. Check out the health facts at http://www.fluorideAction.net/health. Remember 1 ppm may seem small until you compare it with what nature deemed appropriate for the new born baby. The level added to water is over 100 times higher than the level in mother's milk (less than 0.01 ppm). There is every reason to believe that nature did not want the baby's developing brain and other sensitive tissues (e.g. the thyroid and pineal gland) exposed to the very biologically active fluoride ion.
4) They do their level best to keep both their own supporters and the public away from the literature, resorting instead to citing again and again self-fulfilling prophecies in the form of statements from governmental agencies whose "policy" has been that fluoridation is "safe and effective" for years - regardless of what is found in the literature. Their favorite is the infamous statement made by CDC in 1999 that fluoridation is "One of the top ten public health achievements of the Twentieth century." This piece of scientific rubbish is a total disgrace to US Public Health Service. It was written by one dentist (Scott Tomar I believe) who has now left the CDC! His review was 6 years out of date on health studies and thus neglected many crucial findings. Now of course it is 12 years out of date on health questions. The arguments offered for its effectiveness are embarrassing - see http://www.fluorideaction.net/who-dmft.htm and see also our full critique of this report at http://www.fluorideaction.net/CDC.htm.
5) In short, they use "AUTHORITY" in place of defendable ethical or scientific argument. But it works. It works like advertizing works. It works with lazy people. It works with people who don't want to do their one homework like many newspaper editors and local poltiicians. It is easier to "Believe" one statement from a high official than spend a day reading the literature. It is easier to believe that the people opposed to fluoridation are well-intentioned but a little emotional and flakey than to believe that government health officials have been lying to you for years. (Governments lie about everything else, why is it so hard to believe that they should lie to protect a policy that they have endorsed for over 50 years?).
6) They tell a liberal audience that we have to do this in the name of equity: we have to help the "poor" children. But this isn't equity. It is precisely the parents of poor children who will not be able to afford avoidance measures if they don't want to avoid this "forced medication." Moreover the poor are more likely to have poor nutrition which is well known to exacerbate fluoride's toxic effects. Finally, it doesn't work on the poor any better than the wealthy - that is why we still have pockets of dental decay in US cities that have been fluoridated for years.
7) They tell a "conservative" audience that this policy is going to save lots and lots of money (this is often coupled with savage cutbacks on genuine dental health services). However, such claims ignore the costs of treating dental fluorosis; the cost of treating other health problems caused by fluoride; the costs many citizens have to bear to avoid the poison and also the economics are predicated on the use of industrial grade fluoridating agents rather than pharmaceutical grade ones. No city could afford to use the latter so wastefully, since 99% of the fluoridated water goes nowhere near the teeth.
Fortunately, around the world, more and more people are doing their own homework on this and seeing through the hype and when they do so we get results like the vote in Greymouth (see below) and the ever growing list of people, including many doctors, dentists, nurses and other professionals, signing onto the Online petition http://www.powalliance.org/petition/index.html. The current total is over 6400.
But always, when one sees how pathetic the promoters' arguments actually are, one is left wondering why. Why are they so hellbent on fluoridating every last unfluoridated city, town and village in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland in Australia? Why are they trying to do the same in New Zealand? Why is the Blair government attempting to force the issue through by indemnifying the water companies from liability? Why the huge push in the US? Why is the CDC throwing its credibility to the winds by supporting mandatory fluoridation in state after state, without waiting for the NRC to report back on their review of the toxicology of fluoride in water? Why do they keep going back to the same towns again and again, even after they have said no so many times - like Bellingham and Spokane, Washington and like Worcester, Massachusttes? Why are they doing all this when they can't defend their position in open public debate or even answer opponents's questions in writing (see http://www.fluorideAction.net/50reasons.htm)
Why can "they" not simply take no for an answer? Why must "they" fluoridate everyone?
Here is one thought. Maybe they know (or suspect) that fluoride causes damage - serious health damage and that they know that their stalling approach of not looking for it in any meaningful way -cannot last indefinitely. Sooner or later the "definitive" study on depression of thyroid function; on the ramifications of accumulating in the pineal gland; on the lowering of intelligence; on bone fractures; on osteosarcoma or other cancer; on arthritis; on oxidative stress; on hypersensitivity and on Alzheimer's disease, will force its way into the literature and will not be ignored by the media. At that point there will be HUGE liabilities for the ADA, for the toothpaste manufacturers; the chemical suppliers and possibly the officials who failed to exercise due diligence. So stall for as long as you can and hope you are out of office when the sword actually falls. The ADA seems to have adopted this approach with mercury amalgams.
But why fluoridate everyone? If you fluoridate everyone you have no controls of a significant size to do meaningful epidemiological work. As long as you have large communties of similar demographics in the same country this policy is vulnerable to good scientific research. So don't do the research, instead get rid of the controls, so no one can ever do the research! Is that waht is going on?
Such a thesis is consistent with the strange situation in Australia , New Zealand and Ireland, which all have been fluoridated since the 1960s and yet their governments have never seen fit to do any meaningful (if any) health studies - only endless surveys on tooth decay. It is also consistent with the UK's Medical Research Council Committee's strange recommendations in 2002 for future research. They put a higher priority on investigating people's psychological reactions to dental fluorosis than research on the brain; the pineal gland; the thyroid gland; the kidney or the reproductive system! They don't want to find out, do they? Meanwhile, while they stall the appropriate research (simple stuff like measuring the levels of fluoride in our urine, blood and bones to correlate with the health concerns; like using dental fluorosis as a biomarker for children's exposure to investigate lowered IQ etc), make it is as difficult as possible for anyone ever to find out by getting rid of the controls.
Sorry this is much longer than I anticipated. I have really been thinking out loud with the "Why?" question. What do you think? Why are they so hellbent on fluoridating EVERYONE?
Residents say no to fluoridated water
Oct 8, 2005
Residents in part of the West Coast have voted overwhelmingly against adding fluoride to their drinking water.
The result of the referendum means people in Greymouth and outlying areas will join eight other towns and cities around the country that do not use fluoride
Opponents are delighted but health professionals are dismayed, saying locals health will continue to suffer.
Over 70% of the 6,000 votes were opposed to the plan to fluoridate the water.
It is a result that has dismayed Principal Dental Health Officer of Health Dr Martin Lee.
"The oral health of West Coasters is among the worst in the country which puts them amongst the worst in Australasia," says Lee.
About 60% of New Zealanders drink fluoridated water.
The Greymouth council decided five months ago to fluoridate, partly because the local hospital treat 80 children every year under general anaesthetic and a quarter of adults do not have their own teeth.
But opponents forced a backdown, saying fluoride had serious side effects.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says it was a campaign that had an element of emotion to it.
"There was a lot of people who had drawn a line in the sand and definitely hardened opinions on either side," says Kokshoorn.
Lee says he is frustrated because the decision had nothing to do with science or evidence-based healthcare. "It's all about politics of fear and unfortunately real people suffer as a result."
However Greymouth residents it seems are willing to take the gamble.