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UK Against Fluoridation

Monday, April 27, 2009

FLUORIDE ACTION NETWORK newsletter

FLUORIDE ACTION NETWORK
http://www.FluorideAlert.Org

FAN Bulletin 1066: Report from Connett's Louisiana visit
April 27, 2009
Last week I spent four days in Louisiana - two days in Lafayette and two days in Baton Rouge. This was my second trip to Louisiana since the state legislature passed a mandatory fluoridation bill in 2008. My first trip was last October where I spoke on both zero waste and fluoridation at the annual conference organized by LEAN (the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, one of the best organized state environmental coalitions in the country).

Here is a short diary of last week's events, which were co-sponsored by LEAN and Citizens Opposed to Fluoridation (COF) in Lafayette.

Monday April 20. Lafayette.

My visit got off to a cracking start when the Lafayette newspaper (The Daily Advertiser) ran an article on top of the front page entitled Fluoridation debate revived. The article discussed a motion being prepared by City-Parish Council chairman Purvis Morrison asking for state representatives to repeal the mandatory fluoridation bill. The article pointed out that the installation of the fluoridation equipment would cost $654,200 and another $530,000 annually to run the system. The article plugged the meeting where I was to speak the following evening.

In the afternoon, I was featured on a one-hour live program on a public access cable TV station station (AOC). AOC has already showed the FAN DVD "Professional Perspectives on Fluoridation" several times. For this live program I was interviewed by Dr. Jim Reeves, a retired Professor of Engineering, who has been leading the charge to keep fluoridation out of Lafayette. In the evening I had dinner with COF members along with the president of the local chapter of the Sierra Club as well as a peace activist Vic Hummert (and his wife Rose), who I have known for over 20 years.

Tuesday April 21, Lafayette.

We had a very early start. I was driven over to a local radio station KPEL for a live interview at 6:30 am with Robert Burton. Then at 9:30 am I went (via phone) on a popular statewide radio call-in program hosted by Moon Griffon. At noon with both Dr. Jim Reeves and local political strategist par excellence, Carroll Baudoin (his group Concerned Citizens for Good Government has also been very helpful in helping COF get this issue on the radar screen), we made a joint appearance on a local TV program "Meet Your Neighbor" (Channel 10). In all these media appearances the hosts very generously promoted the lecture I was to give that evening.

Before that lecture, again with Jim Reeves and Carroll Baudoin, and other members of their respective groups, I went to the local council officers and met the mayor's assistant and received a certificate making me an "Honorary Cajun"!

At 6:40 pm I testified before the City-Parish Council in support of the motion opposing fluoridation in Lafayette, but had to leave before three dentists spoke against the motion. We learned later that the motion passed 8 to 1.

It is interesting to note that even though three dentists were willing to speak solo in support of fluoridation at this council meeting not one of them, nor any one else in Lafayette in favor of fluoridation, was prepared to debate me at the public meeting that same evening, even though they were invited to do so.

The 7:00 pm lecture took place in Hamilton Hall on the local University campus. In all about 100 people attended this meeting, representing a very large cross section of the community. It included students and professors from the University; citizens who had fought off fluoridation in Lafayette 20 years ago as well as many people - both young and old - new to the issue. I spoke for about 90 minutes and my presentation was followed by a lively question and answer session. Again we got very nice coverage in the local paper.

I was most impressed with the local group COF who had put these events together at fairly short notice. I was also gratified to see how much interest the local media is taking in the issue.

Wednesday April 22, Baton Rouge

On Wednesday morning, I set off with Jim and Carroll to Baton Rouge. Our first port of call was the local Public TV station where I had an in-depth taped interview for statewide airing. Both the interviewer and the cameraman were very interested in the topic and I think we will get a fair shake with this program. It will air statewide possibly in two parts.

In Baton Rouge we were joined by Mark Galasso, a musician, photographer and son of a prominent educator in Baton Rouge. Mark is extremely upset by the way this practice is being forced down Louisiana citizens' throats and is doing everything he can to help get the law rescinded.

In the afternoon, we met up with Mary Lee Orr, and Kathy Wascomb, the director and lobbyist for LEAN respectively. We first met with the director of the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Alan Levine and three other members of his department. We explained our concerns about the mandatory bill and all listened very attentively but I was shocked at how little they knew about the fluoridation issue. No one on the staff claimed to have read the NRC (2006) review. They agreed to review any literature we sent them and get the response of the Louisiana Dental Association. We got the distinct impression that they were prepared to let the dentists lead on this issue.

After the DHH we went to the Department of Environmental Quality and spoke with the deputy director (and two of his staff) who has very good relations with LEAN and was more than willing to listen and stands by ready to help if he can find a way of doing so.

Everywhere we went Carroll and Jim handed out copies of FAN's new DVD "Professional Perspective on Fluoridation." What a tool that is proving to be.

Thursday April 23, Baton Rouge

At 9:30 am I appeared on another popular radio show and those interested can listen to my 12 minute interview. This will only be posted for a few more days so if you have trouble getting this please contact Mark Galasso at mark@Galassophotography.com who may be able to help with a different format.

The only other event that day was a very long and thorough interview with the local Baton Rouge newspaper.

All in all, I count this a very productive (and enjoyable) trip, not only helping with the local battles in Lafayette and Baton Rouge but also in getting the message out statewide. Watching how well LEAN is organized my only regret is that I did not contact them earlier while the mandatory bill was being quietly slipped through the legislature. Had I done so I think we would have had a much better chance of defeating it. But at least, two major cities are not allowing this mandatory bill to impose fluoridation on them without putting up a major fight.

While I was away two important developments took place.

An excellent article came to light that was published last October in Integrated HealthCare Practitioners, a Canadian publication. The article is entitled Motherhood, Apple Pie and Fluoridation: A Critical Evaluation of Fluoridation Practices in Canada , by Dr. Brian McLean, BSc, DDS. It looks as if we have found another well-informed dentist with the courage to speak out on this issue. I am sure Dr. Hardy Limeback will be delighted to get this moral and intellectual support from another member of his profession - up till now he has received little from that quarter but abuse. He should remember what Schopenhauer said. "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

Paul Connett

PS: Don't forget to get as many people as you know to visit FANs web site where they can order our latest DVD "Professional Perspectives on Fluoridation" online. Please let us know if you are able to get this shown on your local public access cable TV station.

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