fluoridation – bringing out the worst in people

In the run-up to our local Council elections and the associated (non-binding) referendum on water fluoridation, I've spent a bit of time on a couple of science-based Facebook pages, discussing the various issues associated with fluoridation. My main interest in doing this is because, frankly, I'm appalled by the misrepresentation and distortion of science coming from some of those on the anti-fluoride side of the debate. (As I've said before, I think it would be excellent to have the discussion around whether individuals should be free to add fluoride to their diet/water on an individual basis – which then leads us to issues such as the question of supporting those who would want to so but cannot afford to. But so far this isn't really happening.)

And what's really amazed (& saddened me) is the huge amount of negativity – &, I must say it, downright aggression – from almost all the anti-fluoridation individuals who also comment there. Apparently those of us discussing the scientific evidence and debunking the misquoting and mispresentation of the same, are variously bosom-dwelling vipers; bought scientists; very ugly people; evil; the worst kind of scientist; and presenting the worst kind of propaganda. One can only sigh & think fondly of the late Margaret Thatcher's take on such behaviour (substitute 'scientific' for 'political'):

I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.

Now, I recognise this is an issue where feelings run high, and where everyone is going to have an opinion. But in instances where much of the 'argument' consists of statements often based on misreadings of the science, combined with that outright rudeness & aggression, then it is a real concern. And yes, I am bothered when opinions unsubstantiated by current scientific understanding are nonetheless presented as fact. For example, on-line and in letters to the editor you'll regularly hear that if we live in a fluoridated area we're drinking highly toxic, acidic industrial waste every time we fill a glass from the tap. And it doesn't seem to matter how often we attempt to put this one right.

In some ways this is characteristic of what I've seen characterised as 'science denialism', and it would be really, really good to understand what leads people to take such positions. And what scientists and science communicators could do about it. The chap in the office next door says I should write a book on it – for some reason he seems to think I have time on my hands! – but first I would need to understand the whys & wherefores. So please feel free to give your opinions here! 

8 thoughts on “fluoridation – bringing out the worst in people”

  • While I haven’t been as involved in this issue, I have to admit elements of it do remind me of other ‘argumentative’ issues like opposition to vaccines or–easily the worst crowd I’ve encountered–those opposing the evidence that XMRV does not cause chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    bosom-dwelling vipers
    I am not acquainted with this species; it seems a marginal ecological niche. I must have missed that episode of Tetrapod Zoology.

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    Well done Grant.
    Google Books will let you read several chapters of Bondeson’s “Cabinet of Medical Curiosities” in Preview mode (allowing the bloggers at Riddled to steal chunks of it from time to time).

  • Steven Misosky says:

    Apparently you suck at researching the science. Find out what the stuff is that they’re adding to the water, and then tell the people to stay calm and polite about being poisoned. And if you’re too lazy to do the research then at least look at what so many experts in the field are saying.
    Only three chemicals are certified for fluoridation: sodium fluoride, hydrofluosilicic or fluosilicic acid, and sodium silicofluoride (the latter silicofluorides), according to the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).
    “…the most common contaminant detected in these products is Arsenic…,” reports NSF. “The other significant contaminant found…is Lead,” they report.
    Here’s sodium fluoride: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_does_Sodium_Fluoride_come_from#slide=2&article=Where_does_Sodium_Fluoride_come_from
    Calcium Fluoride comes from the earth and is naturally occurring. Sodium Fluoride is a hazardous by-product of the fertilizer, aluminum and nuclear industries. Sodium Fluoride is anywhere from 30-120 times deadlier than Calcium Fluoride.
    Here’s what they’re really using, and it’s even worse:
    Fluorosilicic Acid: A Mixture of Dozens of Elements and Compounds
    By James Robert Deal J.D.
    Assisted by Richard Sauerheber Ph.D.
    December 28, 2012
    “This so-called fluorosilicic acid is actually composed of many elements and compounds. NSF has reported that various tanker loads of so-called fluorosilicic acid have contained and therefore can be expected to contain the following elements and compounds: fluorosilicic acid, fluoride ion, hydrogen fluoride, lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, chromium, copper, thallium, selenium, and barium. NSF admitted in 2008 that some tanker loads emit beta radiation.”
    Supreme Court Justice J.P. Flaherty – former Chairman of the Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences – in a 1979 letter to the Mayor of Auckland, N.Z. “…the evidence is quite convincing that the addition of sodium fluoride to the public water supply at one part per million is extremely deleterious to the human body…. Prior to my hearing this case, I gave the matter of fluoridation little if any, thought but I received quite an education, and noted that the proponents of fluoridation do nothing more than try to impugn the objectivity of those who oppose fluoridation.”
    Jim Maxey, D.D.S., BS Degree in biology. “Medical and dental groups were consistently opposed to fluoridation throughout the 30’s and 40’s. Pressure from industry groups caused an abrupt about-face in 1950. Since that time, the USPHS and the ADA have consistently suppressed any evidence which contradicted their support of fluoridation. These groups have consistently lied about the results of studies, and dismissed all controversy as settled.”
    Fluoridation “is against all principles of modern pharmacology. It’s really obsolete. No doubt about that. I mean, I think those nations that are using it should feel ashamed of themselves. It’s against science.” – Dr. Arvid Carlsson, Pharmacologist and Novel Laureate in Medicine (2000)
    “fluoridation … it is the greatest fraud that has ever been perpetrated and it has been perpetrated on more people than any other fraud has.” – Dr. Professor Albert Schatz, (Microbiology), co-discoverer of Streptomycin, the cure for tuberculosis and numerous other bacterial infections.
    Dr. J. Sumner, PhD, Nobel Prize in Chemistry: “Fluorides are very poisonous substances … We use them in chemistry to poison enzymes, those vital agents in the body. That is the reason things are poisoned: because the enzymes are poisoned and that is why (we) die.”
    D. Hill, BA (Eng), MSc, P.Eng, C.Eng, F.B.C.S., Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary; consultant to government and industry; 36 journal articles; 2 patents “The most recent evidence suggests it is not particularly beneficial, and certainly not safe.” Fluoride Risks: Medical, Moral, Economic, Legal and Political Issues
    Hundreds of millions of dollars may be wasted annually on children’s fluoride treatments by dentists. Typically given once or twice a year at routine checkups, the treatments do nothing to reduce cavities in kids, says a study of insurance records. Journal of Public Health Dentistry
    Dr. Geoffrey Smith, Dental Surgeon, New Scientist, May 5, 1983 “Dental Fluorosis, no matter how slight is an irreversible pathological condition recognised by authorities around the world as the first readily detectable clinical symptom of previous chronic fluoride poisoning. To suggest we should ignore such a sign is as irrational as saying that the blue-black line which appears on the gums due to chronic lead poisoning is of no significance because it doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort.”
    Terrence A. Messerman, DDS, FIAOMT, Past President, The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology: “It’s time that this practice, which began with The Manhattan Project, be revealed for what it truly is: a travesty against the health of the public.“
    Alfred A. Siess, Jr., BCE, MBA, Environmental/Economic Consultant (Ret. Engineering Executive), Lehigh Valley, PA: “When I studied fluoridation, as a Civil Engineering student 52 years ago, very little was taught about the effects of Fluoride… In my opinion, those “professionals” who advocate fluoridation of the public water supply as “safe” and “effective,” where the whole body of scientific evidence shows it is neither, should lose their professional license and should NOT be shielded from civil suits or criminal liability where fluoridated water causes damage.”
    John L. Wilson, Jr., MD, CEO Great Smokies Medical Center of Asheville, Past President, American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), Past President, Great Lakes College of Clinical Medicine (Currently the International College of Clinical Medicine), Director, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, Advisor, American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology, Asheville, NC : “It is way beyond the time that the arcane practice of intentionally infusing a known neurotoxic and carcinogenic substance into the public drinking water supply be terminated. This abhorrent practice must simply cease.”
    Fluoride increases uptake of other poisons[Aaluminium Fluorine-based SSRI drugs Synergistic toxicity quotes.] “Fluoride makes your body absorb extra aluminum. And where does the aluminum go? Your brain. And what metal shows up alarmingly in the brains of Alzheimer’s victims? You guessed it.”-William Douglas MD
    “It is of doubtful legality; it offends deep convictions concerning doctoring without consent; it is against the medical tradition of care for the individual; against the function of a public water supply; against sane economics; against the considered opinion of eminent nutritionists, biochemists, physiologists, pharmacologists, allergists, toxicologists; above all, it is against natural caution and common sense.”
    Dr. C. G. Dobbs, Prof. of Microbiology, Univ. of North Wales, Associate Royal College of Science, formerly at King’s College, Univ. of London.
    I could go on like this all day. So, get a clue and help stop the poisoning!

  • Alison Campbell says:

    You might want to research the actual science yourself, rather than relying on Mr Deal’s take on it. Your comment on CaF being ‘natural’ & thus good for us is an example of the naturalistic fallacy. And on the issue of ‘contamination’, the HFSA used for community water fluoridation has levels of As that are well under the recognised safe level for water supplies, and in Hamilton much lower than what we’d get from drinking untreated river water.

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