The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) lists water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th Century. Today, Dublin City Council will vote on whether to remove fluoride from our water supply, and when they do, it will not be because the CDC or the WHO have changed their mind about fluoridation, or because new and compelling information makes it the only choice. It will be because people who believe in angel healing, homeopathy, and chemtrails, have somehow gained the ability to influence public policy.
It never ceases to amaze me that, in matter of public health, the debate is more often informed by people who believe everything they read on the internet. Celebrities with a cause-du-jour and an audience are given more time and attention than scientists, doctors, or even just people who understand basic chemistry, and realise that not all scientific papers were created equal. It leads to invented medical scandals (such as the disproven MMR autism link), and poor decisions (such as the one the council may make tonight), and it’s really past time that it stopped.
The past few weeks have seen a number of claims made about fluoride, and I’ve been doing my best to counter them with evidence as they’ve appeared. Here are some of the most common issues presented to me every time I post a tweet using the word fluoride.
Is fluoride damaging our health?
In brief, all of the best evidence says no. Dental fluorosis is the most common side effect from fluoridated water, and it is almost always solely cosmetic. Lots of claims have been made about fluoride affecting brain development, affecting IQ, affecting bone growth – and all of these claims just don’t really apply to water fluoridation. Studies which claim to show adverse effects of fluoride are typically using concentrations of fluoride far higher than what is permitted in our water supply, and the concentration in our water supply is monitored. In high concentrations, fluoride absolutely can cause significant health problems, but these concentrations are hundreds of times more than what is currently in our water supply.
What about these countries that don’t fluoridate?
There are lots of reasons that a country may not fluoridate their water. In some cases, it is because they fluoridate alternatives, such as milk or salt (e.g. Germany, Switzerland). In other cases, it is because their water is naturally fluoridated (e.g. France, Argentina, Mexico, and many more). In still more cases, it is because the government has decided to approach dental health in a different way. No countries have yet decided to ban fluoridation because the angels told them it was a form of mind control, although Ireland seems to be teetering on the brink of gaining this dubious title.
This country doesn’t fluoridate, and their dental health is fine. What gives?
Systematic reviews (large studies which look at all of the data available) have concluded that water fluoridation results in a fewer children presenting with cavities, decreased decay, fewer missing teeth, and have concluded that it is responsible for significant cavity prevention across the population. But dental health is not a single point issue – many factors affect dental health, and water fluoridation is just one of them. Countries which have excellent dental health without fluoridation also typically have very robust dental health programs, providing free or inexpensive dental care for children, ensuring that they see dentists regularly, thus keeping the cavities down without fluoride.
More studies have also shown that dental health is highly linked to socio-economic status – in other words, families who cannot afford regular dental care, and do not have it provided for them by the state, tend to have more dental problems. Without fluoridation (and given no alternative), these families are disproportionately affected.
Water fluoridation is not a silver bullet for dental health problems, but without a dental health system which allows equal access to effective care (through school programs, subsidised or free care, etc.), it is one of the best solutions we have. Removing water fluoridation without implementing one or more solid alternatives is a recipe for disaster.
It should be my choice to fluoridate. I don’t approve of mass medication.
The mass medication issue is a tricky one, and like a lot of ethical issues, it is far from black and white. You could argue that a government has a responsibility to protect the health of its people, and that it should provide dental health care to do so (because poor dental health affects many areas of an individual’s life). And many people believe that it would be better if a government provided this through improved dental care system, and I’m inclined to agree. Where that cannot be provided, however, what is a government to do? Fluoride has been shown to help dental health, and if you agree that a government has a responsibility to do its best for the health, life, and wellbeing of its people, shouldn’t they use it?
Mass medication is an ethical dilemma– even if it is shown to benefit people, and cause little or no harm. It is a debate that needs much consideration, but it is a debate that deserves better than scaremongering tactics, false information, and outright lies.
(Edit: 1/10/14 – edited to add some some supporting info: in a 1965 court case, the Supreme Court decided that water fluoridation did not constitute mass medication. The term is inaccurate, and designed to scare people, and used here only because it is the term that will be used most often by those who oppose fluoridation. Water fluoridation is water treatment, not mass medication.)
The fluoride debate is an emotive issue, and because of this, it will probably continue to be controversial. The controversy, however, merely makes it even more important that our politicians do not bow to pressure from scare-tactic groups and appeals to emotion, but decide based on the best available evidence. And that evidence is pretty clear – just ask the WHO, the CDC, the ADA…
My name is Jennifer Keane. I studied at Maynooth University where I was awarded my BSc, and then at the Open University, where I received my MSc. I’m passionate about the truth, about science, and about education. I’m the Girl Not Against Fluoride. I won’t pose in my underwear, but I do have my very own superhero costume. It is my graduation robes, because I am qualified.
September 1, 2014 at 10:05 pm
Tonight, the council did not discuss the motion on water fluoridation, as emergency motions and other discussions took them to time, and the meeting was closed at 10pm.
They ran out of time, but this is good news, as it means that you have some extra time! Time to remind your Councillors that fiction, scare-mongering, and lies have no place in public policy. That you want an evidence based debate about water fluoridation. And that there might be a girl against fluoride, but there’s at least one out there who’s is not!
September 1, 2014 at 10:09 pm
go girl! Maybe drop by like minded people at ‘Making sense of fluoride’ Facebook page, when you get sick of the rubbish
September 1, 2014 at 11:00 pm
It is illegal for a doctor or a dentist to force anyone to take a drug or a chemical.
It should be illegal for the government as well. Fluoride should not be added to drinking water, which forces everyone to consume it against their will. It affect the brain (lowered IQ), the bones (fractured hips), the thyroid gland, etc.
The world has learned the truth that fluoridation is ineffective for teeth and dangerous to health, so only 5% of the world and only 3% of Europe fluoridate their drinking water. Data from the World Health Organization shows that the tooth decay rate in Europe is as good or better than any fluoridated country including the U.S., with over 70% fluoridation.
September 2, 2014 at 12:23 am
There is the question of ethics. Forget the semantics of whether or not the industrial ‘by-product’ used in water fluoridation is or is not considered medication or a supplement. We each have the right to informed consent regarding the medications or nutritional supplements we ingest. Water fluoridation strips us of that right. Once fluoride is added to the water supply, it is virtually impossible to escape. While some people can avoid some of the fluoride, some of the time many groups can’t, for example children, low income people, invalids, boarders, hospital patients etc, can’t avoid any. According to the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights “In no case should a collective community agreement or the consent of a community leader or other authority substitute for an individual’s informed consent.”
September 2, 2014 at 2:20 am
Isreal recently banned fluoride from drinking water. There is a problem with people getting too much because of processed foods, toothpaste, and fluoridated water. This was one of the reasons the CDC recommended lowering fluoride from 1.0 to 0.7 a few years ago. Fluoride has been shown to inactivate enzymes. I like my enzymes. I would rather choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and leave out the fluoride. I also like to have the right to choose because from my background in biochem and human biology there are more effective ways to prevent tooth decay than ingesting a waste product of the phosphate fertilizer and aluminum industry.
September 2, 2014 at 5:37 am
Sorry, Jeillie6 the world has NOT learned that. Your bald assertion is made without supporting evidence, and is cotrary toevery proper published statement. Howling at the moon will not bring it to you.
September 2, 2014 at 9:50 am
Where does the fluoride used for water fluoridation come from? During the manufacture of Superphosphate, which is a fertiliser, two very toxic waste gasses are generated. The first one is silicon tetrafluoride and the second one is hydrogen fluoride. In the past these gasses were vented to the atmosphere but were so toxic and corrosive that they caused severe damage to orchards, crops and farm animals. “Airborne fluorides have caused more worldwide damage to domestic animals than any other air pollutant.” – (US Department of Agriculture, 1972.) There has been more litigation for damage to agriculture from fluoride emissions than all other pollutants combined. Regulations were then brought in to require the capture of the gasses in wet scrubbers. Hydrofluorosilicic acid is then formed in the scrub liquor. There are a range of co-contaminants in this waste product including arsenic (carcinogen), lead, mercury and radioactive materials. Some others identified include hexane, methyl alcohol, formaldehyde, methyl ethyl ketone, benzene, toluene, and styrene. Heavy metals such as lead and mercury are present in the phosphate rock. The phosphate rock is mildly radioactive due to the presence of some radionuclides. No emission factors are included for these HAPs (hazardous air pollutants), heavy metals, or radionuclides due to the lack of sufficient data. (EPA Emission Factors 1/95). Nobody knows what other contaminants are in this waste product as it is not tested thoroughly. It is then transported, in it’s raw state, to the water treatment plant and slowly bled into the public water supply. If your community is fluoridated then your water purification plant is also a toxic waste disposal facility for the phosphate fertilizer industry. What people are drinking is a toxic cocktail of untreated air pollution control scrubber liquor. The fluoride ion is more toxic than lead and almost as lethal as arsenic. That’s why it is very effective as a rat poison or insecticide.
September 2, 2014 at 9:55 am
Fluoridation is one big fraud. Official information act requests in various jurisdictions have revealed startling facts. They can’t supply any safety studies. I’m afraid the emperor has no clothes. “Show me the safety studies” (note endorsements aren’t acceptable, nor reviews that haven’t done any physical science or kangaroo/whitewash reviews)
September 2, 2014 at 9:56 am
What do some experts say about fluoridation?
• Dr Hardy Limeback, Associate Professor and Head, Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto, and panel member for the National Research Council report on ‘Fluoride in Drinking Water’ (NRC, 2006)
“. . . we now know that fluoride doesn’t need to be swallowed, that the public has to be informed. They should be told that it doesn’t work by swallowing it.”
• Dr Robert Isaacson, panel member, NRC 2006.
“As far as I can see, there’s no doubt that the intake of fluoridated water is going to interrupt basic functions of nerve cells in the brain, and this is certainly not going to be [for] the benefit of anybody.”
• Dr Arvid Carlsson, Nobel Laureate in Medicine (2000) and official advisor to the Swedish Government.
”Fluoridation is against all modern principles of pharmacology. It’s obsolete. I don’t think anybody, not a single dentist would bring up this question in Sweden anymore.”
• Dr John Colquhoun, former dental health officer for Auckland and former editor of the international journal Fluoride, who on the basis of firm evidence became one of the most articulate critics of fluoridation.
“It is my best judgement, reached with a high degree of scientific certainty, that fluoridation is invalid in theory and ineffective in practice as a preventive of dental caries. It is dangerous to the health of consumers.”
September 4, 2014 at 4:55 am
Limeback’s biggest issue is with his unsubstantiated claim that fluorosis caused by water fluoridation is a huge aesthetic problem and quality of life issue for people. He frequently argues that American dentist overtreat fluorosis with full veneers of the anterior teeth which results in expenditures up to $10,000. He fails to provide documentation of his claims. It’s based on his own personal experience with one of his patients who dissed his conservative treatment and chose to go to a classmates office down the street for veneers. Flushed him out on this on Open parachute or a similar blog. And he’s talking about all fluorosis except severe which doesn’t occur at water fluoridation levels.
There were three fluoridation opponents on this Committee, Limeback, Thiessen, and Issacson. All three were ardent fluoridation opponents years before the 2006 review, expressed their opinions during the review, and have been publicly outspoken since that time. There is nothing new there. Of note is the fact that all three signed off on the final recommendation along with the other 9 members of this committee. Once again, the final recommendation expressed but two concerns…..risk of severe dental fluorosis and bone fracture with chronic consumption of water with a fluoride content of 4.0 ppm or greater. No mention of thyroid or any other concerns.
Additionally, in order to clarify his position on fluoridation which antifluoridationists had attempted to skew, Dr. John Doull, Chair of this 2006 NRC Committee on Fluoridation, made the following statement in March of 2013:
“I do not believe there is any valid, scientific reason for fearing adverse health conditions from the consumption of water fluoridated at the optimal level”
—John Doull, MD, PhD, Chair of the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council 2006 Committee Report on Fluoride in Drinking Water
It is interesting to note that Dr. Carlsson opposed fluoridation of water as it is a violation of modern pharmacological principles,. It is also important to note that the incidence of dental caries was the same in Sweden as compared to fluoridated countries such as the USA.
Colquhoun is a joke
he simply took from school dental clinics the treatment records, in which caries diagnoses were not standardized. The examined children were treated by different school dental nurses, who were untrained in epidemiological survey methods, not standardized in their interpretation of diagnostic criteria, and not calibrated to an expert examiner in their examining techniques. The examiners were likely to have had their own criteria for what constituted a cavity and what teeth required restorative care. Worse still, Colquhoun made no effort to ensure that the children actually resided in either the fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities, but analyzed the data simply on the basis of the district in which the school was located, not where the child lived. Subsequently, it was shown “that 38 percent of the 12-13 year-old children who attended school in Onehunga, the low social class area described by Colquhoun , actually lived in high social rank areas in Auckland, districts that received fluoridated drinking water. This confounding of residence and fluoride histories produced serious misclassifications and severely compromised Colquhoun’s data, and hence his conclusions” .
September 2, 2014 at 9:56 am
Fluoride poisons the bacteria in your mouth. It inhibits the enzymes that breed acid producing bacteria. Problem is that if you swallow it, it poisons your whole body. That’s why it is very effective in pesticides and rodentcides. Rather than swallowing it just use toothpaste and then spit it out and rinse. This way you’ll get the benefit without poisoning your whole body.
Fluoride is not an essential nutrient for your body. If you were to consume zero fluoride your entire life, you wouldn’t suffer for it. There’s no such thing as fluoride deficiency. Fluoride is highly toxic to human beings, even more so than lead.
September 2, 2014 at 9:58 am
Case histories and peer reviewed research shows that fluoride can cause harm even at low levels. People can experience toxicity symptoms from drinking fluoridated water or using fluoride tablets. Symptoms include neurological problems, headaches, skin irritation, gastrointestinal pain and symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation) urticaria, pruritus, stomatitis, chronic fatigue, joint pains, and polydipsia (Waldbott 1956, 1958, Feltman 1956, Feltman and Kosel 1961, Grimbergen 1974, Petraborg 1977, Spittle 2008, reviewed by NRC 2006). Patients were often unaware that their drinking water contained fluoride. Symptoms improved with avoidance of fluoridated water and returned with consumption of fluoridated water or with experimental challenge with fluoride and confirmed by double blind testing. Doctors aren’t trained to suspect fluoride, so patients may be treated for side effects when all that is needed, is avoidance of fluoridated water.
The Feltman and Kosel study was published in the Journal of Dental Medicine and received funding from the US Public Health Service, Department of Health Education and Welfare, Washington DC.
For those of you who are unsure about fluoride and don’t have much time, do a search for the online video “Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation”. It’s 28 min long and really well worth watching. It features a Nobel Laureate in Medicine, scientists from the National Research Council review on fluoride as well as dentists and doctors.
September 2, 2014 at 9:59 am
I’m amused to see the standard anti-fluoridation tropes being trotted out here. Maybe the people who say Europe’s rate of dental caries is no worse than that of the US, don’t realise how much of Europe is fluoridated. Maybe the people who make emotive appeals to “toxins” don’t realise that this is fallacious. Maybe the people who rail against the “forced” medication of populations have never heard of vaccination (or perhaps they are anti-vax too as belief in one conspiracy theory appears to predict belief in others).
Fluoridation is overwhelmingly proven to be safe and effective. Believe in bullshit, not so much.
September 2, 2014 at 10:01 am
Fluoridation’s role in the decline of tooth decay is in serious doubt. The largest survey ever conducted in the US (over 39,000 children from 84 communities) by the National Institute of Dental Research showed little difference
in tooth decay among children in fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities (Hileman 1989). According to NIDR researchers, the study found an average difference of only 0.6 DMFS (Decayed, Missing, and Filled Surfaces) in the permanent teeth of children aged 5-17 residing their entire lives in either fluoridated or unfluoridated areas (Brunelle & Carlos, 1990). This difference is less than one tooth surface, and less than 1% of the 100+ tooth surfaces available in a child’s mouth. Large surveys from three Australian states have found even less of a benefit, with decay reductions ranging from 0 to 0.3 of
one permanent tooth surface (Spencer 1996; Armfield & Spencer 2004).None of these studies have allowed for the possible delayed eruption of the teeth that may be caused by exposure to fluoride, for which there is some evidence (Komarek 2005). A one-year delay in eruption of the permanent teeth would eliminate the very small benefit recorded in these
Reduced IQ is not the only neurotoxic effect that may result from fluoride exposure. At least three human studies have reported an
association between fluoride exposure and impaired visual-spatial organization (Calderon 2000; Li 2004; Rocha-Amador 2009); while four other studies have found an association between prenatal fluoride exposure and fetal brain damage (Han 1989; Du 1992; Dong 1993; Yu 1996).
September 2, 2014 at 10:53 am
You appear to embrace the usual ‘anti fluoride’ rubbish; your post looks like the usual cut&paste . You wrongly assert that fluoride’s role in the reduction of tooth decay is in serious doubt, so can you tell me why there isn’t one scientific community on this planet that agrees with your somewhat eccentric opinion?
Please leave Big business or corrupt government conspiracies out of this. Unless you are of corse a ‘true believer’ – oh….allcaps do not help get a point across – just reinforces the stereotype.
September 13, 2014 at 9:53 pm
So why don’t YOU leave your conjecture out of it and post something substantiated by science? I can’t even begin to describe your ineptitude.
September 2, 2014 at 11:31 am
I see you have nothing intelligent to add. Also you’ve shown your dishonesty saying I use allcaps. Your response typifies supporters of fluoridation who have been exposed. Nothing like facts to ruin a beautiful theory. What a laugh you appealing to authority and endorsements. That made me chuckle. You’ve lost all credibility. Au revoir.
September 2, 2014 at 11:45 am
THEY ARE POLLUTING OUR PRECIOUS BODILY FLUIDS!
There, that’s all anti-fluoridation rhetoric in a nutshell.
September 2, 2014 at 11:49 am
Aha, another one with nothing intelligent to add.
September 2, 2014 at 11:53 am
I’ve never met a supporter of fluoridation who has any sort of scientific integrity or logical consistency. They shoot themselves in the foot so may times its just not funny anymore. Show me the Randomised Control Trials that include in depth safety studies. Good luck with that because there aren’t any. I’m afraid fluoridation is a giant hoax and nothing more than pseudoscience.
September 2, 2014 at 11:54 am
Peter: I spend enough time dealing with cranks to be fully aware that cranks define “intelligent” as “ideologically consonant”. I doubt you will consider any in the reality-based community to have anything “intelligent” to say under that test.
What’s really staggering is that the rhetoric from anti-fluoridationists has remained essentially unchanged since Dr. Strangelove. That film was made in the year I was born, half a century ago.
September 2, 2014 at 11:59 am
I didn’t say you used allcaps, I was trying to avert the almost inevitable 🙂
I see you are unable to answer my simple question and diverted.
The question is still there Peter…
September 13, 2014 at 9:54 pm
You are nothing short of a troll. I wish I had some MIAK to do away with you.
September 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm
IF you have never met a supporter of fluoridaton that has any scientific integrity you should find it very easy to answer my question!
September 13, 2014 at 9:55 pm
I’d love for you to post some links. I really would. I bet that for every link you do post, I can post two that say otherwise. You’re exactly what’s wrong with the world today.
September 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm
The Centers for Disease Control writes that “It is not CDC’s task to determine what levels of fluoride in water are safe” The CDC also reports the following: “In the earliest days of fluoride research, investigators hypothesized that fluoride affects enamel and inhibits dental caries (cavities) only when incorporated into developing dental enamel…” but now CDC admits that: “Fluoride works primarily after teeth have erupted…” CDC also admits that “The prevalence of dental caries in a population is not inversely related to the concentration of fluoride in enamel, and a higher concentration of enamel fluoride is not necessarily more efficacious in preventing dental caries.” and “Saliva is a major carrier of topical fluoride. The concentration of fluoride in ductal saliva, as it is secreted from salivary glands, is low — approximately 0.016 parts per million (ppm) in areas where drinking water is fluoridated and 0.006 ppm in nonfluoridated areas (27). This concentration of fluoride is not likely to affect cariogenic activity.”
Interpretation: Swallowing fluoride does not reduce tooth decay. Topical fluoride hardens outer tooth enamel but there’s no evidence that these fluoride-hardened teeth have less cavities. Ingested fluoride does cause dental fluorosis; but politics played a role in downgrading dental fluorosis from an “adverse effect” to a “cosmetic one.”
Fluoridation is a Proven Failure in the US
September 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm
Peter, when you say “I’ve never met a supporter of fluoridation who has any sort of scientific integrity or logical consistency.”, the problem is that you measure scientific integrity and logical consistency by how well they agree with your beliefs.
Since your beliefs are objectively wrong, you automatically exclude the reality-based community. This is of course perfectly normal behaviour for cranks: it helps them with the cognitive dissonance caused by inconvenient facts.
Unlike cranks, science responds to new evidence by understanding and adapting theories. That process has led to a clear understanding that fluoridation is safe and effective.
September 2, 2014 at 9:08 pm
Show me the RCT’s and safety studies ! lol
Caught you out with the allcaps telling porkies. Typical.
September 2, 2014 at 9:48 pm
Go ahead and remove fluoride from your water. If it’s that concerning to you, $400 ish for an under-the-counter filter isn’t bad. You probably spend that on supplements like silver colloide in one month.
The real concern here is the children who will suffer when fluoride is removed from the water. Children in lower socioeconomic conditions will suffer unnecessarily at the hands of the anti-fluoride movement. What is the physical and emotional toll to these children experiencing ongoing and constant tooth aches? How does it effect their development, sleep, ability to concentrate and learn, etc….?
Who picks up the tab for the increase in paediatric dentists, anaesthetists, nurses, surgery rooms, etc… needed for the increase in dental surgeries? Already dental surgeries are the number one day procedures being done in Canadian paediatric hospitals. I say this as a mother AND tax-payer!!!
I understand the ethical concern of mass medication but the anti-fluoride groups are yet to introduce any sensible alternatives to minimize the impact of removing fluoride from the water supply.
September 13, 2014 at 9:58 pm
There are children in every non-fluoridated country in the world who are considered poor. Their teeth are no worse than the poor kids from fluoridated countries. Please don’t speak without researching the facts.
September 2, 2014 at 9:51 pm
By the way Peter, this is a fluoride supporter who is not accepting Big Pharma, Big Gov, Big Biz (or whatever) bribes. I am a concerned mother, tax-payer, and world citizen passionate about protecting the world’s most vulnerable: children!
September 2, 2014 at 10:16 pm
If only there was a body that assessed this evidence and provided authoritative information. Oh, wait! http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/safety/systematic.htm
September 2, 2014 at 11:30 pm
I see comprehension is not your strong point – 🙁
And diverting yet again to avoid my simple question!
Or perhaps not so simple for you, as I am sure you know the answer.
I suppose it can’t be easy holding such a dogmatic position when it conflicts with reality, data and well, every scientific community in the world.
September 13, 2014 at 9:57 pm
I see evidence is not your strong point. Kindly do the world a favor and get off the internet.
September 3, 2014 at 7:16 am
Thanks for your concern. Most of the world manages just fine without fluoride. Some have ways of supplementing fluoride without violating individual choice but many (and they have better teeth than fluoridated countries) don’t use any fluoride supplementation.
Never give babies fluoride. They will exceed the maximum dose according to the EPA and CDC. That is a scientific fact. The EPA lists fluoride as having substantial evidence of being a developmental neurotoxin. The fluoride ion is more toxic than lead and only slightly less than arsenic. You may be too young to remember but the authorities swore blind blue that low amounts of lead were safe. The rest is history. Nothing wrong in trusting the authorities but double check. A Whistle-blower at the CDC is currently revealing fraud at the CDC regarding links to Autism and the MMR vaccine.
September 3, 2014 at 11:25 am
Can you show me where the CDC and the EPA recommend never giving babies fluoride? The only source I can find for this is on sites of questionable quality.
Also, I’d be careful about jumping to any conclusions about the MMR vaccine – that paper has already been retracted due to significant concerns about bias, etc.
September 3, 2014 at 9:21 am
Great post. One comment- you seem to accept the characterisation of fluoridation a s”medication.” I would see this is a very emotive word, used by antis as propaganda to conjure up images of evil Nazis doing experiments on prisoners. Surely this is not medication, since municipal fluoridation does also mean reducing levels where the naturally occurring rates are high, and would be better seen as a mineral supplement, or mineral regulation?
September 3, 2014 at 11:28 am
Interesting comment! A few people have asked me this. To be honest, I used the medication word largely because I was trying to note and counter common arguments against fluoride, and that is the terminology they use, though I can definitely see an argument for not using it too.
I’ve been sent some good links too, for reasons why it should not be referred to as medication, which I will likely share in future posts on the topic. For the sake of journalistic integrity (such that it is!) I’ll leave my post intact though 🙂
September 3, 2014 at 9:41 am
Peter’s silence and inability to engage speaks volumes.
On the issue of ‘choice’, the anti-fluoridationist canard of ‘forced’ medication is disingenous. It is repeated ad-nauseum and thoughtlessly.
In a civil society, many activities are regulated by the State for the benefit of the many. Although considered patriarchal by the more libertarian minded, most people accept State interference because regulation often seeks to protect the more vulnerable in society.
Examples of this would be compulsory seatbelts, vaccination programmes, gambling regulation, smoking bans etc. The list is long.
The salient point is that individual still have a choice not to wear a seatbelt or continue to smoke etc.
The costs of these choices are higher than compliance/acceptence of the regulated behaviour involved. Nevertheless, the choice is is still there.
We all live in a society which carry costs for nearly everything.
When fluoridated water is concerned, a person my opt for bottled water, filtration or other means.
The costs are not prohibitive.
What gives the anti fluoridationist the right to deny the vulnerable in society access to an effective and safe public health initiative? What is more disconcerting, is that most pretend that this is an issue that involves ‘freedom of choice’
September 13, 2014 at 9:48 pm
Jesus effin’ Christopher. Do you ever counter someone’s opinion with scientific facts?
You really love reading your own tripe don’t you?
Excuse me while I barf.
September 3, 2014 at 10:02 am
Epic fail. You’ve shot yourself in the foot again and conveniently ignored my previous post. Anyway, as you are struggling I will repeat that section “While some people can avoid some of the fluoride, some of the time many groups can’t, for example children, low income people,invalids, boarders, hospital patients etc,can’t avoid any.” So there you go. As for the examples you’ve given -I could not think of more absurd examples. Congratulations on causing fluorosis in millions of children ! Funny how most countries manage just fine without water fluoridation. An inconvenient fact for those with religious fluoride fanaticism. I suppose my comment will bring out all the “science” tin hatters full of woo ! Still waiting for a coherent argument. I won’t hold my breath.
September 3, 2014 at 10:21 am
Peter: It is you who are missing the point. Yes, it is unlikely that most people will avoid fluoridation. That is rather the point: it is an intervention that catches the poor, by design.
Middle-class delusional whackloons who believe that fluoridation is part of some sinister conspiracy to pollute their precious bodily fluids, can easily afford filters and opt out of the public health measure.
The majority of cases of fluorosis, incidentally, occur quite naturally. But I am sure you are well aware that many places have natural fluoride levels well in excess of the levels used in treated water.
September 3, 2014 at 10:28 am
So…Peter would would support a 5 year old child’s choice not to wear a seatbelt
It pretty evident the mentality involved here 🙁
September 13, 2014 at 9:50 pm
Hey, look at that! A personal attack instead of a factual argument. How many times are you pathetic in these comments?
September 3, 2014 at 12:01 pm
Scientist Says EPA Safe Water Fluoride Levels Must be Zero
Press Conference Friday, September 5, 11 am in DC
New York – September 2, 2014 — New evidence indicating that EPA should lower its safe fluoride level goal in public drinking water systems to zero, will be presented by former EPA senior risk assessment scientist, William Hirzy PhD, at the Fluoride Action Network’s (FAN) 5th Citizens’ Conference and Lobby Day on Fluoride, September 5 – 8, at the Crystal City Hyatt Regency Hotel in Crystal City, VA. A press conference on September 5 will provide a preview (details below)
While Israel has ended fluoridation last month (see Newsweek article) the EPA Office of Water continues to shamelessly drag its feet on this issue. In 2006, after reviewing fluoride’s toxicity, the National Research Council told EPA it should lower fluoride’s current maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) of fluoride in drinking water to protect health. But, after over 8 years, EPA has failed to do so.
Dr. Hirzy says, “It’s possible EPA is under political pressure to save the US fluoridation program, which is the addition of artificial fluoride chemicals into water supplies purportedly to reduce tooth decay. However, there is sufficient evidence to prove fluoridation can be harmful to health and should be stopped.”
The Safe Drinking Water Act requires the EPA to develop an MCLG for fluoride and other contaminants in drinking water. The MCLG is the level estimated by the EPA to be protective of the whole population (including the most vulnerable) from known and reasonably anticipated health effects.
Nineteen studies indicate that fluoride interferes with animals’ learning and memory and 39 studies indicate an association between fluoride exposure and lower IQs in children. Chinese medical researcher, Professor Quanyong Xiang, will discuss his work at the FAN conference showing that fluoride lowers IQ at modest water concentrations after adjusting for lead and arsenic levels and controlling for iodine exposure.
According to FAN director Paul Connett, PhD, “Professor Xiang’s visit to DC could not have come at a better time. Promoters of fluoridation distribute misleading and inaccurate information to the media and to decision-makers on the IQ studies. There are few researchers in the world better qualified to set the record straight on this critically important research than Quanyong Xiang.”
Dr. Hirzy will present a risk assessment for developmental neurotoxicity based on Xiang’s work and the work of researchers at Harvard School of Public Health who published a meta-analysis of 27 neurotoxicity studies, 26 of which showed lower IQs among children exposed to higher fluoride levels than control children exposed to lower levels.
A media conference is scheduled for 11 am on Friday Sept 5th at the home of Dr. Hirzy, 506 E Street, N.E. Washington, D.C., where Xiang, Hirzy and Connett will present a short summary of this issue and respond to questions.
For more information about the FAN conference please go to this link:
SOURCE: Fluoride Action Network
September 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm
Oh no…the krazies are out in in force, replete with their cut ‘n’ paste spam
September 5, 2014 at 9:51 am
Aye. Anyone who appends loaded words is a nutter – like WDDTY always referring to “statin drugs” instead of statins, and the Fluoride loons referring to “fluoridation chemicals” rather than fluoride.
September 4, 2014 at 1:58 am
You, Dentists, and other F Promotors go on about the optimal dosage of about 1 part per million. The average adult ingests 2 litres of water per day.
I have spoken to an underground mine worker who said he drinks 5 litres of water per day, and he knows others who drink 10 litres of water per day.
Now can you you do some math, and work out the difference between dosage (concentration) and dose.
Now add in fluoride ingested from food, beverages, toothpaste etc, through the skin and through the lungs.
Now tell me sight unseen what is the DOSE of everybody drinking fluoridated water in the USA, Australia, NZ, Ireland, Canada etc.
Ingested fluoride accumulates in the body and not just in the teeth.
1% of people are sensitive to fluoride.
1% of people are sensitive to peanuts, for that reason we do not put peanut products in the water supply.
As a matter of fact, there is only one thing put into water to treat humans, toxic fluoride, if you do not mention the fluoride contaminants of Arsenic and multiple heavy metals.
I think the Israeli Health Minister got it right.
If some Dentists still like their patients to ingest water with an accumulative poison, for life, then they can give it away for free, but do not put in everybody else’s water, full stop
September 4, 2014 at 4:51 am
Researcher “Embarrassed” by Fluoride Cancer Claim
August 28, 2013
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently rejected a petition against fluoride by researcher William Hirzy. The petition had claimed an increased risk of cancer from a type of fluoride used to supplement water that has too little of the naturally-occurring mineral. Hirzy, who recently left his position at American University, told LiveScience.com that he was “embarrassed” by the errors in his petition.
September 13, 2014 at 9:45 pm
Grasping at straws eh? Do some research.
September 5, 2014 at 11:25 am
All the “fluoride lovers” – I wonder how much your NWO bossess are paying you for this lies. I’ve studied chemistry for 5 years and read tons of informations about fluoride in the water and I know for sure that F isn’t “good for you”. Our government is a puppet in the hands of murderous NWO satanists and that’s the only reason they don’t want to remove this poison from our water. Supporting their lies is a support of their murderous satanic depopulation agenda!
September 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm
Hurrah! The “Pharma Shill Gambit”! No argument with cranks is complete without them playing this most easily debunked of all the cards in their hand.
September 5, 2014 at 4:19 pm
Wow, you would think after 5 years you would know something! Lol!! I see rather than provide any specifics you want us to trust that you are some type of expert…hmmm.
Not really how science works is it?
‘Fluoride lover’, ‘satanic’,’puppet’,’murderous’…the naked vitriol that oozes from your post automatically disqualifies you from the possibility of any rational discussion.
This may help;
Science Works! How the Scientific Peer Review Pro…: http://youtu.be/N-gzM8bsbpg
September 13, 2014 at 10:01 pm
Oh so you DO know how it works? Interesting that you still don’t know how to apply that knowledge. POST THE SCIENCE, NOT THE OPINION. Feckin’ loser.
September 14, 2014 at 1:46 am
More allcaps and abuse?
Zach, you are beginning to get quite nasty now aren’t you…
September 10, 2014 at 3:04 am
Public Health is about treating a population, not an individual. Some people, who don’t understand this fact, have a difficult time with the idea of adjusting the existing level of fluoride concentration in a public water system upwards or downwards to the 0.7 ppm level that is considered optimal for dental health. Fluoridation is egalitarian access to oral health.
Yes, someone is going to feel inconvenienced when fluoridation is implemented. In the late ’60’s, Seattle, WA, USA went through a contentious fluoridation campaign over fluoridation. Today, when I visit my daughter in Seattle, I go out to dinner with her and see folks drinking fluoridated tap water, standing in line at Starbuck’s to buy a latte made with fluoridated water, and drinking many local microbrews brewed with fluoridated water, and no one gives it a second thought.
The personal choice issue has been strongly articulated here in the comments, but I would like to respond to that by sharing a quote by Dr. John Harris of the U. of Manchester in the U.K:
“We should ask not are we entitled to impose fluoridation on unwilling people, but are the unwilling people entitled to impose the risks, damage & costs of the failure to fluoridate on the community at large? When we compare the freedoms at stake, the most crucial is surely the one which involves liberation from pain and disease.”
I work 2 days a week volunteering dental care to mostly low-income children. They didn’t get to choose who their parents are or what socio-economic class they were born into. Who advocates for them, Peter?
Charity is not a health care system, and if we lived in a perfect world, we wouldn’t need safety net dental clinics or fluoridation.
We don’t live in that world…………………….
September 12, 2014 at 12:04 pm
No child in Ireland is too poor to have access to toothpaste. Adding a known poison to the water won’t change their lives for the better. If you really are DDS then I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of people in this country that drink the tap water every day and yet have completely wretched teeth. If someone isn’t brushing, no amount of flouride will help.
September 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm
This is strange – you don’t seem to have read the thread and to have understood what public health if you is.you say that ‘no child in ireland is too poor to have access to toothpaste’.
I don’t live in Ireland but I am pretty sure that children do not walk around supermarket aisles purchasing toothpaste. There are many social dynamics involved that prevent children accessing toothpaste. Where I live in New Zealand, on the lower socio-economic scale, there are parents who would rather spend their weekly wages on alcohol, gambling or drugs than on food for their chileren – let alone toothpaste!
This doesn’t even address those poorly educated or simply ignorant of the importance of good oral health.
Whenever I hear the tired old argument that you put forward, it never ceases to amaze me that such arguements are always made by people with the resources and education where they should know better.
The irony is palpable.
September 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm
You do realize of course that the level of tooth decay in fluoridated areas is the same as non-fluoridated areas right? You surely realize as well that those non-fluoridated areas have the same type of people you mention above as well right?
You also of course realize that fluoride as a treatment for teeth need only be topical right? You must also realize that multiple, accredited sources show fluoride to be a NEURO-TOXIN right?
Don’t even try.
September 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm
I always know I have hit a nerve when I get a response that clearly ignores what I have said.
And yours is a particularly good exemplar.
Diverting the subject is the most common yet most obvious strategy used by anti-fluoridationists.
Using allcaps is another- as if the recipient is unable to understand, this added emphasis will truly hammer in the intended meaning.
And reading your reply Zach, certainly haven’t FAILED Zach.
Sadly, nor have you surprised.
Bravo – next time, if you wish to have an intelligent discussion rather than a silly rant that seeks only to vent your frustration, try to engage your antagonist by actually engaging with the issue at hand.
September 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm
And avoiding the factual argument I presented is the surest sign of someone who has just been shut down on every level. Congratulations. Do your homework next time.
September 13, 2014 at 5:09 pm
I would also like you to paraphrase the part of my response that “diverted” any attention from the subject.
You’ve clearly gotten lost in your own ego and only managed to argue my points with an attempt to sound like a second rate food critic. Please refrain from responding to my arguments with anything less than FACTUAL INFORMATION.
Also, don’t blame others for the failure you are greeted with in the mirror each day. It’s not my fault you didn’t try hard enough………..
September 13, 2014 at 11:08 pm
Zach, Zach, Zach,
I sense a little agitation.
Another very common behaviour of the ‘anti-fluoridationist’ is to begin to get aggressive and personal.
“Also, don’t blame others for the failure you are greeted with in the mirror each day. It’s not my fault you didn’t try hard enough………..”
I see you are on track here. Next I guess the aggression will increase, more diversion/ad-hominem attacks and then…abuse?
Again with the allcaps – I mean really?. Habit?
So you want me to show you where you went off track and diverted?
No need to paraphrase though, that would simply be too condescending.
Just have a look at my post above where I explained to you why CWF was public health issue (you implied dental decay could be solved with children buying toothpaste’
Your next post ignored this subject completely & asked me 3 questions.
But to elaborate as you seem to be under a misapprehension. I, and I am assuming most if not all people who are in favour of CWF, understand that solving the problem of dental caries must involve a multi faceted approach that acknowledges the importance of the many factors that contribute to good oral hygiene.
CWF plays only a part. This is where you and other anti-fluoridationists constantly get it wrong. Why do you do this? Where do you get the inference that cwf should be the only form of combating dental caries?
This assumption always astounds me partly because I have never heard this position put forward ever, but it is so stupid!!
Anyway, I see you have included the obligatory “Harvard” studies whilst ignored the copious studies that support the lack of effect CWF has on IQ. Biased?
So more ad hominem or are you going to degenerate into outright abuse?
September 14, 2014 at 11:44 am
And I see that you have again failed to support your argument with links to accredited, scientific studies that show fluoride as being harmless. Again you just want to hear yourself talk instead of coming up with facts. Congratulations on your continued display of close minded ignorance.
September 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm
You seem very proud of your educational accomplishments without noting that you didn’t make them in chemistry, biology, dentistry, or medicine. You fail to understand that the level of fluoride in the water doesn’t change for a small child or an overweight adult. You clearly haven’t done the reading that is required to fully, and intelligently assess the topic. If you do some real digging through scientific journals, you will surely find that this article has done nothing but make you look like an uneducated fool.
In the future, you may want to rely on factual information rather than uninformed opinion when writing an article that may actually sway the minds of people who are too lazy to do the research themselves.
September 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm
My primary degree is a double honours degree in computer science and biology. This is noted on my “about” page. My masters degree comprised of three major topics, the first an in-depth study of brain development and the effects of various chemicals (in particular addictive substances) on the brain. I think it would be quite hard to argue that I am an uneducated fool, given these facts. I am proud of my accomplishments because I worked hard to get them. I didn’t buy a certificate in a made up course online, or invent them.
If the best argument you have against the points I’ve made is a personal attack, I think it is clear who is the fool here.
September 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm
If you’re so well versed in chemical biology then you wouldn’t have written this article in the first place.
September 13, 2014 at 1:30 pm
October 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm
the harm causing potential of chemicals is much greater than herbs or food items. the conflicting results definitely show that science lacks in certain information about the the behavior of such substances when administered in quantities different from naturally occurring strength and duration. the conflicting results further indicates lack of knowledge about the universal rule governing such behavior. caution ! is necessarily the right attitude in such circumstances. what are the hazards fluoride can stochastically capable of causing is documented by homeopathy in exhaustive manner. that includes cancer or pre cancer condition of breast too.
October 7, 2014 at 11:03 pm
Hello Ms Keane,
I am curious why you have edited out some chunks in your otherwise excellent piece, and why you deleted my comment. As a reminder, it read … QUOTE …
Great, well reasoned article. I love your final sentence, “she awoke from her slumber to a world where belief doesn’t trump evidence (or lack thereof), and all was well”!
Pity however that it conflicts with something you said earlier – “Climate change is real”.
Unless by “Climate change” you mean that the climate changes over time, as it has always done. If, however, you are defending the notion that the world is getting inexorably warmer (ha!) due to human emissions of CO2 (ie not due to the 97% of CO2 which the rest of nature emits or due to any other natural phenomena), then you are dipping your toe back into “a world where belief trumps evidence (or lack thereof)”!
Which is it?
T o n y