Author Topic: Fluoridation: Should you be afraid?  (Read 2869 times)

Offline mefree

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Fluoridation: Should you be afraid?
« on: January 17, 2011, 20:46 »
Fluoridation: Don't Let the Poisonmongers Scare You
Bob Sprague
Mary Bernhardt
Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Quote
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in most water supplies. Fluoridation is the adjustment of the natural fluoride concentration to about one part of fluoride to one million parts of water. Although fluoridation is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay, the scare tactics of misguided poisonmongers have deprived many communities of its benefits.

The history of fluoridation in the United States underlines its unique standing as a public health measure copied from a natural phenomenon. In the early 1900s, Dr. Frederick S. McKay began an almost 30-year search for the cause of the staining of teeth that was prevalent in Colorado, where he practiced dentistry. In his investigation, McKay found the condition common in other states, including Texas, where it was known as "Texas teeth." In 1928, he concluded that such teeth, although stained, showed "a singular absence of decay," and that both the staining and the decay resistance were caused by something in the water. In 1931, the "something" was identified as fluoride.

The Public Health Service then took over to determine precisely what amount of fluoride in the water would prevent decay without causing staining. Years of "shoeleather epidemiology" by Dr. H. Trendley Dean traced the dental status of 7,000 children who drank naturally fluoridated water in 21 cities in four states. In 1943, he reported that the ideal amount of fluoride was one part per million parts of water. This concentration was demonstrated to result in healthy, attractive teeth that had one-third as many cavities as might otherwise be expected—and no staining.

The next step was to determine whether water engineering could copy nature's amazing dental health benefit. At several test sites, the fluoride concentration of the public water supply was adjusted to one part per million.

One such test was conducted in the neighboring cities of Newburgh and Kingston, New York. First, the children in both cities were examined by dentists and physicians; then fluoride was added to Newburgh's water supply. After ten years, the children of Newburgh had 58% fewer decayed teeth than those of nonfluoridated Kingston. The greatest benefits were obtained by children who had drunk the fluoridated water since birth. Other studies showed that teeth made stronger by fluoride during childhood would remain permanently resistant to decay. As the evidence supporting fluoridation accrued, thousands of communities acted to obtain its benefits.

Too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, which, in its mildest form, causes small, white, virtually invisible opaque areas on teeth. In severe form, fluorosis results in brownish mottling. However, dental fluorosis is not caused by artificial fluoridation, because the levels are kept low enough to avoid this effect.

In recent years, fluoridation has been reducing the incidence of cavities 20% to 40% in children and 15% to 35% in adults. The reduction is less than it used to be, probably due to improved dental hygiene and widespread use of fluoride toothpaste. Currently, more than 140 million Americans live in fluoridated communities. But 80 million others receive public water supplies that are not fluoridated—thanks largely to the efforts of poisonmongers.

How Poisonmongers Work

The antifluoridationists' ("antis") basic technique is the big lie. Made infamous by Hitler, it is simple to use, yet surprisingly effective. It consists of claiming that fluoridation causes cancer, heart and kidney disease, and other serious ailments that people fear. The fact that there is no supporting evidence for such claims does not matter. The trick is to keep repeating them—because if something is said often enough, people tend to think there must be some truth to it.

A variation of the big lie is the laundry list. List enough "evils," and even if proponents can reply to some of them, they will never be able to cover the entire list. This technique is most effective in debates, letters to the editor, and television news reports. Another variation is the simple statement that fluoridation doesn't work. Although recent studies show less difference than there used to be in decay rates between fluoridated and nonfluoridated communities, the benefit is still substantial. In fact, the Public Health Service estimates that every dollar spent for community fluoridation saves about fifty dollars in dental bills.

A key factor in any anti campaign is the use of printed matter. Because of this, antis are very eager to have their views printed. Scientific journals will rarely publish them, but most local newspapers are willing to express minority viewpoints regardless of whether facts support them. A few editors even welcome the controversy the antis generate—expecting that it will increase readership.

The aim of anti "documents" is to create the illusion of scientific controversy. Often they quote statements that are out of date or out of context. Quotes from obscure or hard-to-locate journals are often used. Another favored tactic is to misquote a profluoridation scientist, knowing that even if the scientist protests, the reply will not reach all those who read the original misquote.

Half-truths are commonly used. For example, saying that fluoride is a rat poison ignores the fact that poison is a matter of dose. Large amounts of many substances—even pure water—can poison people. But the trace amount of fluoride contained in fluoridated water will not harm anyone.

"Experts" are commonly quoted. It is possible to find someone with scientific credentials who is against just about anything. Most "experts" who speak out against fluoridation, however, are not experts on the subject. There are, of course, a few dentists and physicians who oppose fluoridation. Some of them object to fluoridation as a form of government intrusion, even though they know it is safe and effective.

Innuendo is a technique that has broad appeal because it can be used in a seemingly unemotional pitch. Some antis admit that fluoridation has been found safe "so far," but claim that its long-range effects have "not yet" been fully explored. The waiting game is a related gambit in which antis suggest that waiting a bit longer will help to resolve "doubt" about fluoridation's safety. No doubt, some antis will continue to use this argument for a few hundred more years.

A few antis have offered a "reward" for proving that fluoridation is safe. During the 1970s, a $100,000 offer required the pros to post a bond "to cover any costs which the offerers of the reward might incur if the proof is deemed invalid." The offer did not state who would judge the evidence, but it was safe to assume that the antis themselves would have appointed the judges. If a suit had been filed to collect the reward, the court might have ruled that the offer was a gambling bet that should not be enforced by a court. Such a suit would have required at least $25,000 for the bond and legal fees. Even if it had been won, however, there was no assurance that the money would have been recovered from the individuals who sponsored the reward. Most of them were elderly and scattered widely throughout the United States and Canada.

Since the scientific community is so solidly in favor of fluoridation, antis try to discredit it entirely by use of the conspiracy gambit. The beauty of the conspiracy charge is that it can be leveled at anyone and there is absolutely no way to disprove it. After all, how does one prove that something is not taking place secretly? Favorite "conspirators" are the U.S. Public Health Service, the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, and the aluminum industry. Apparently, in the minds of the antis, these groups could all be working together to "poison" the American people! Years ago, conspiracy claims would work primarily with the very paranoid. But modern-day government scandals may make them seem realistic to a wider audience.The "slippery slope" claim is a related gambit. "This is only the beginning!" the antis wail. "First they will add fluoride, then vitamin pills, and the next thing you know it will be birth control pills!" Who "they" are need not be specified.

Scare words will add zip to any anti campaign. Not only the more obvious ones like "cancer" and "heart disease," but also more specialized terms like "mongoloid births" and "sickle-cell anemia." Ecology words are also useful. Calling fluoride a "chemical" (rather than a nutrient) can strike fear in the minds of many Americans who fear we are already too "chemicalized." The fact that water itself is a chemical and the fact that responsible use of chemicals is extremely helpful to our society will not reassure everyone. Fluoride is also called "artificial" and "a pollutant," which is "against nature."

Faced with the fact that fluoridation merely copies a natural phenomenon, the antis reply that "natural" fluoride differs from "artificial" fluoride—a "fact" as yet undiscovered by scientists.

Suggesting alternatives is another common tactic. Here the antis propose that the community distribute free fluoride tablets to parents who wish to give them to their children. The suggested program sounds "democratic," but it will not be effective from a public health standpoint. Most parents are not motivated to administer the 4,000+ doses needed from birth through age twelve. The plea for alternatives is often made by a "neutral" individual who sounds like he will support an alternative program if water fluoridation is defeated. Don't bet on it. Such advocacy is almost always a propaganda ploy.

Once fluoridation has begun in a community, antis can resort to the "cause-of-all-evil" gambit—blaming fluoridation for everything that occurred after it started. An example of this tactic, one that backfired on opponents, took place in Cleveland on June 1, 1956—when fluorides were to be added to the city's water supply. That day, the phone calls began: "My goldfish have died." "My African violets are wilting." "I can't make a decent cup of coffee." "My dog is constipated." Although the basis of such complaints is emotional rather than physical, this time fluoridation's innocence was beyond question. Last-minute problems had delayed its start until July!

much more at http://www.quackwatch.org/03HealthPromotion/fluoride.html
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 13:58 by mefree »
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Offline sekh

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Re: Flouridation: Should you be afraid?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2011, 13:53 »
I agree.

I just would like to point out the great big typo in the topic title; "Flouridation" sounds like some weird new-age thing, like "the Da Vinci code", or "Scientology".
Of course one must be afraid of the Big Scary Flouridation Ploy. _[:o

Drinking water fluoridation, on the other hand, sounds quite sensible to me. I think more people will read the topic if they realize it's not about some new conspiracy theory.

Love, Sekh
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Offline mefree

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Re: Fluoridation: Should you be afraid?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2011, 13:59 »
Thanks. FIFY
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
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Offline ethercat

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Re: Flouridation: Should you be afraid?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2011, 23:38 »
I just would like to point out the great big typo in the topic title; "Flouridation" sounds like some weird new-age thing, like "the Da Vinci code", or "Scientology".
Of course one must be afraid of the Big Scary Flouridation Ploy. _[:o

Drinking water fluoridation, on the other hand, sounds quite sensible to me. I think more people will read the topic if they realize it's not about some new conspiracy theory.

LoL.  even spelled correctly, to some people, it is a conspiracy theory.  Just look at the number of results for a google search on fluoride and "mind control": About 1,190,000 results.

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Offline mefree

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Re: Fluoridation: Should you be afraid?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2011, 16:41 »
Pinellas County Commission votes to stop putting fluoride in water supply
By David DeCamp, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CLEARWATER — Pinellas County will stop adding fluoride to its drinking water, ending a cavity-fighting effort that riled critics of Big Brother government despite decades of advocacy by dental and medical experts.

After three hours of polarizing debate, the County Commission voted 4-3 Tuesday to halt fluoridation to about 700,000 residents of the county and most Pinellas cities.

Residents in St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Dunedin and Belleair will not be affected.

Public notices will go out this fall, and the practice will end shortly afterward.

The vote came despite pleas from a dozen dentists and health officials who told commissioners that fluoride reduces dental illness while lowering costs to the county for dental care for the needy.

Fluoridation costs the county about $205,000 a year.

Pinellas County began adding fluoride to its water in 2004. Before that, it was the largest water supplier in the eastern United States that did not fluoridate its water.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the practice, which dates to the 1940s, one of the greatest public health achievements of the century. Federal and global agencies and medical groups say it is healthy with the right dosage, despite recent red flags.

"Fluoride is safe, efficient and cost-effective," said dentist Christopher Beach of the Pinellas County Health Department.

But critics seized on recent concerns about too much fluoride having side effects on young children and tea party-style fears of forced government medicating. Some speakers Tuesday compared it to Soviet and Nazi practices and warned of cancer, reduced IQ and deteriorating bones.

"Fluoride is a toxic substance," said tea party activist Tony Caso of Palm Harbor. "This is all part of an agenda that's being pushed forth by the so-called globalists in our government and the world government to keep the people stupid so they don't realize what's going on."

more at http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/article1195147.ece
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
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Offline mefree

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Re: Fluoridation: Should you be afraid?
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2013, 09:45 »
From Consumer Health Digest:
Quote
Pulitzer Prize awarded for fluoridation editorials. The Tampa Bay Times has won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of ten editorials that ran after the Pinellas County Commission moved to stop putting fluoride in the community's water supply. The paper's editors described what happened this way:

In October 2011, the Pinellas County Commission turned back the clock. The commission, pressured by antifluoride zealots and tea party conservatives, abruptly voted to stop adding fluoride to the drinking water. The commissioners ignored established science and the public health, and in January 2012 the Pinellas water system suddenly became one of the nation's largest without fluoridated water. More than 700,000 residents no longer benefited from what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls one of the nation's greatest health care advances. Tampa Bay Times editorial board went on mission to correct this travesty. With original reporting and persuasive arguments, Tim Nickens and Dan Ruth educated readers and delivered a clarion call for action on behalf of those who need fluoridated water the most: the poor families and the children of Pinellas County.

These editorials produced profound results. In a rare occurrence, voters in November ousted two incumbent commissioners who had voted to stop adding fluoride in the water and replaced them with two candidates who pledged to add it back. In their first meetings after the election, the new commissioners fulfilled their pledge. Another incumbent who was not on the ballot also switched his vote and supported fluoride. A County Commission that had voted 4-3 a year ago to stop adding fluoride voted 6-1 to resume adding it to the drinking water in March 2013.

When fluoridation is under consideration, most media outlets assert that their role is to provide a forum for news and discussion and not to educate their audience. Some provide supportive commentary, but very few assume a proactive educational role or see any need to limit the flow of false information offered by fluoridation opponents.
Consumer Health Digest http://www.ncahf.org/digest13/13-20.html

Tampa Bay Times article with links to editorials
http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2013/links/pulitzer/

Thank-you Tampa Bay Times!
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
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Offline wynot

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Re: Fluoridation: Should you be afraid?
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2013, 09:52 »
 ^o: ||O|| C{{O}}2 C{{O}} L-O-: :::-O-:::

A monster blow for sanity, against the forces of darkness! Me Like!

'til;
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Jacob Riis

Offline snippy

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Re: Fluoridation: Should you be afraid?
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2013, 16:07 »
^o: ||O|| C{{O}}2 C{{O}} L-O-: :::-O-:::

A monster blow for sanity, against the forces of darkness!

 <--:D--> :-D^\^\