If you have been following the health news recently you will have seen the debate in the newspapers about Hamilton’s decision to stop fluoridation of the water supply. The Health Minister Tony Ryall was quoted in an NZ Herald article as saying, ‘there was no doubt science pointed to the fact that there were benefits to families for fluoridation, and it was safe’ he also said, ‘we should look to dentists and district health boards’ and watch out for a campaign of ‘misinformation’ from the Fluoride Action Network. Numerous members of our medical elite have expressed grave concerns. Sir Peter Gluckman, the PM’s science advisor has said ‘the science of fluoride in water is effectively settled’, which is what people tend to say when they have no wish of actually having the debate. There have even been calls from some, i.e. Councillor Penny Webster, suggesting that fluoridation of drinking water be ‘taken out of the hands of councils and given to central government’.
Elected officials in positions of power are often quoted in media without any critical examination of their credentials beyond the post that they hold. A simple check indicated that our health minister is a former bank analyst and Penny Webster a former farmer, neither have any science or medical qualifications and therefore their opinions are most likely driven from the agenda of the health bureaucracy.
The disturbing part of all this, if you read between the lines, is the level to which we are being ruled as opposed to being governed. The vote by Hamilton’s council was a real slap in the face to the Ministry of Health, to the dental lobby, and to the government. The frantic attempts to shut down the debate by Sir Peter Gluckman, expressions of shock and outrage, the accusations of misinformation, subtle threats that such decisions should be removed from councils (i.e. taken out of our hands) and given to central government, are the reaction of an autocratic Orwellian bureaucracy that does not tolerate democratic intrusions to its rule. But that’s what the Hamilton councillors did, they listened to doctors, dentists, scientists and other health experts over 3 days, most of whom were against fluoridation. The District Health Board was not able to prove that it was safe or even effective in drinking water.
The health bureaucracy is not happy being undermined by a council, and this appears to have resulted in personal attacks on the credibility of anti-fluoride campaigners, such as oncologist (cancer specialist) Dr Goodwin. She is quoted by the NZ Herald as stating that she believed she was singled out because Waikato Hospital was “aggravated that I opened a private practice and am speaking against them because they were bullying their staff about fluoride”. Clearly there are a number of prominent professionals in the medical area that disagree with Sir Peter Gluckman’s arrogant claim that the debate is over, science is settled; professionals who are prepared to put themselves on the line and tell the truth.
Fluoride – The Risks
Fluoride is a poison, plain and simple. It is an ionic compound containing fluorine, the single most reactive element we know of. It should never have been added to drinking water at any concentration. It’s the long term effects of constant exposure that we need to be concerned about.
Here is a brief list of health effects:
Kidney Disease – people with renal insufficiency are at much greater risk of skeletal fluorosis, a bone disease. Fluoride in animal studies can also damage kidneys at doses similar to those in drinking water
Cancer – studies have linked fluoride to an increase risk of bone cancer, especially during the growth spurt years.
Heart Disease & Hypertension – fluoride has been associated with higher blood pressure and damage to the heart and arteries
Brain – 37 human studies linking moderately high fluoride exposure to reduced IQ. A 2012 Harvard University ‘meta-analysis’ of studies examining the link between fluoride and IQ found that 26 of 27 studies demonstrated reduced IQ in children. The average IQ difference between high and low levels of fluoride consumption was a whopping 7 points! When you consider the average human adult IQ is 100 you will hopefully start to understand the significance of this. Any reduction in intelligence is an absolutely unacceptable consequence of fluoridation.
Dental Fluorosis – Fluoride can change the colour of teeth; mild cases cause white streaks and severe cases brown stains, pits and broken enamel. A CDC study (United States Centre for Disease Control) found 41% of children aged 12 to 15 had it to some degree.
This is just a small selection of fluoride risks which also include links to arthritis, hypersensivity, thyroid dysfunction and numerous other diseases.
Purported benefits of fluoride:
The only reason to fluoridate water is to protect teeth by supposedly hardening the enamel. Recent studies show it doesn’t really get in to teeth. In fact it affects only the very thinnest outer layer of the enamel. Caught on the back foot, fluoride proponents are now trying to find some other explanation as to as to how it might work such as claims it makes teeth too slippery for bacteria to stick. It is safe to say we have been and continue to be misled on the science and benefits of fluoridation. And while I’m at it, Mrs Marsh was also wrong; fluoride does not get into teeth ‘like liquid gets into this chalk’.
Below is a graph made with data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), taken from a Scientific American article, January 2008. The graph is absolutely clear, there is a list of countries that fluoridate water supply and countries that don’t. Spot the difference. The graph demonstrates that ALL countries have demonstrated a decline in numbers of fillings and decayed teeth since the 1960’s, whether they fluoridated their water or not!
I hope this brief article gives you some insight to the political as well as scientific aspects of fluoridation. It is clear that despite damming evidence demonstrating virtually no benefit for drinking fluoride in water or using fluoride tablets (a practise quietly stopped as evidence proved in the 1990’s there was no benefit), and despite significant evidence of harm – central government has no plans to back down. The graph above really says it all. All countries in the West have experienced a similar decrease in tooth decay since the 1970’s, whether they fluoridate their water or not. If there is real risk in fluoridation and no or extremely minor benefits, then it must be stopped.
Full credit to Hamilton City Council for showing us the way, they looked at the evidence from numerous professionals and made a well informed decision. As to Health Minister Tony Ryall’s comments that we should look to district health boards and dentists for advice, he is really saying we listen to an organisation that bullies intimidates their own staff into not speaking out, and if you do you are likely to suffer personal attacks. Asking dentists for advice on fluoride is laughable, they are hardly going to undermine faith in their own profession considering they have been indoctrinating us for decades that fluoridation of water is safe and effective, not to mention that they haven’t exactly been up front about mercury leaking from so-called ‘silver fillings’ (another health risk). Not much chance of finding the truth there (read article on mercury here). I should point out there are some good dentists and medical professionals who are against the misinformation and are speaking out.
I think we are going to see a major campaign to ‘educate us’ on the benefits and safety of fluoride. If we start looking at the evidence and thinking for ourselves, it will undermine the power of the health bureaucrats and we might start to question other practises, such as the benefits of the HPV vaccine (more soon), and that could not be tolerated. Data from this article came from Scientific American, Live Science, World Health Organisation and the Fluoride Action Network ….which has a more complete graph of than the one shown above. Their graph has many more countries, and the trend is identical to this one from Scientific American. If there is any small benefit to using fluoride, well, we get fluoride from many food sources. All those other countries on the graph that don’t fluoridate their water seem to be getting by just fine. It pays to be extremely wary of low dose toxins that we take in on a lifetime basis. Adding fluoride to drinking water is compulsory medication by stealth, and as such is completely unethical.
Daniel King, MSc (hons)