In the last week water fluoridation has made the headlines again, alongside the continuing articles and posts related to SARS-Cov-2 and the rollout of vaccines against it. One of the common features shown by quite a few of those opposed to these 2 public health initiatives (fluoridation & vaccination) is a tendency to claim that those supporting the initiatives in public forums must be paid to do so.
So, I thought it might be worth republishing something I first wrote back in 2013 (especially since the zombie mentioned at the end has – sadly but predictably – been reanimated once more).
Every now & then (well, fairly often, if I’m honest) I join in discussion at the Making Sense of Fluoride page on Facebook. This page was set up to discuss the actual science (as distinct from personal opinions) around what’s become the very fraught issue of water fluoridation, and over the last few weeks the number of anti-fluoride commenters there has increased.
I can now report that – in some folks’ eyes anyway – I have joined the ranks of the Paid Pharma Shills. It seems that those of us who write posts or comments that are in any way positive about fluoride in municipal water supplies must be being paid to do so, cos otherwise, well, we just wouldn’t do it, would we? In vain does one protest that the cheques have yet to arrive!
But seriously, it’s an interesting mindset that believes that people could not possibly hold an opposing view without receiving some sort of kickback for doing so. It could, I suppose, reflect the fact that at least some anti-fluoridation activists seem to be quite big on conspiracy theories (I have yet to see claims of reptilian overlord involvement, but it may only be a matter of time until someone discovers David Icke).
On the same page, we’ve also had a couple of commenters now bringing up the myth that Hitler/the Nazis used fluoride during World War II, either to subdue the populace or to kill (details are a little unclear), thus Godwining the particular thread they’re writing on. In this particular context the intention is quite clearly to label those discussing the actual science around fluoridation as Nazis. And the problem with this implicit comparison is that it’s baseless.
The two ‘sources’ commonly used to support this particular urban myth are Charles F. Perkins’ book “The Truth about Water Fluoridation” and “The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben”, by Joseph Borkin. Both books are available in digital format through Scribd (& the hyperlinked titles will take you there). Because they’re in digital form it’s an easy matter to do a search for terms such as ‘fluoride’, ‘fluoridation’, ‘Hitler’, and ‘Nazis’.
The results? While fluoride/fluoridation is mentioned in Perkins’ book (as you’d expect, with that title), there is no reference at all to either Hitler or the Nazis. Similarly, Borkin’s book has absolutely no reference to fluoride, or fluoridation. None whatsoever.
Another conspiracy theory bites the dust. Or it should. Unfortunately these things seem to be a bit like zombies, with a life all their own.