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UK Against Fluoridation

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

FluorideAlert Newsletter

Rick North: Why I Trust FAN
I’m a volunteer activist from Portland, OR and I’ve seen first-hand how indispensable FAN is to this great cause of ending fluoridation.
My background includes a 21-year career with the American Cancer Society, the last five as the executive vice president of the Oregon Division.  Later, I worked for over seven years as founder and director of the Campaign For Safe Food program for the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. I retired almost five years ago.
I’m not a doctor or scientist, but have worked with them for nearly 40 years and am familiar with medical and scientific methods. I’m also privileged to have a wide variety of professional colleagues all over the country who advise me on technical questions beyond my knowledge.
For most of my life, I thought fluoridation was fine. Nobody wants cavities, and if the federal government and organizations like the American Dental Association and American Medical Association supported it, that was enough for me. And it’s all I’d ever heard from the media. 
About eight years ago, a friend called and asked me to take a look at the science on fluoridation. I looked carefully at the arguments of both sides and was amazed – and very concerned – by what I found. The evidence against fluoridation from every perspective – safety, effectiveness and ethics – was overwhelming. It was easy to change my mind.
FAN was my main source of information opposing fluoridation. Two huge points they made stood out. First, most nations have rejected it. Currently, out of 196 countries, only 24 have it and only 10, like the U.S., for more than half their population. FAN not only revealed this but provided quotes from European health officials citing their health and ethics concerns.
I also discovered the National Academy of Sciences 2006 report, Fluoride in Drinking Water, considered the most comprehensive, authoritative resource ever written on the toxicity of fluoride. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It said fluoride was either a definite or potential health risk for fluorosis, brain functions, bone cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid disease and others. When you read statements like “Fluoride is therefore an endocrine disruptor . . .” and “. . . it is apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with functions of the brain. . .” it gets your attention.
What grabbed me the most was the question of fluoride lowering IQ. FAN’s information was extensive, delving into the details of every study finding developmental impairment, now numbering 49. But it went even further, providing links to the few studies that didn’t find an association, showing both sides of the story for anyone wanting to investigate further. FAN had done its homework and done it well. 
And then I looked at the other side’s arguments, led by the American Dental Association’s “Facts on Fluoride.” Written in 2005, this is STILL on their website.  ADA said there was no harmful causal relationship between fluoridation and intelligence. It cited only two studies, one from 1986 and one from 1995. They ignored (and continue to ignore) all the more recent studies – both animal and human – finding links to brain damage and IQ.
The quality and quantity difference between the two websites was striking. It was crystal clear that FAN was the go-to authority on the subject and that the ADA’s information was outdated and slanted. (To be fair, and in contrast to their website, one of the ADA staff has been quite helpful in tracking down some recent statistics.)
Since then, I’ve helped inform state legislators and served on the executive committee of the successful 2013 Portland campaign. I’ve done a lot of writing, public speaking and debating. I’m a stickler for accuracy. Like anyone, I’ll occasionally make mistakes, but I never want to make statements that go past the science. The movement’s credibility and my personal credibility mean everything to me.
Most of what I read on the subject is in plain English. But some information is technical science or statistics, for which I don’t have training. This is where advice from scientists like Chris Neurath and Paul Connett has been essential. Many times they’ve told me that a scientific study that supports our argument isn’t very well done and I shouldn’t cite it. Or, I shouldn’t use language that implies the science is stronger than it is.
Bottom line - they don’t always tell me what I want to hear. This integrity is FAN’s heart. 
The great website, the scientific studies, Paul and Michael Connett’s inspired speeches, the tracking of international efforts, the videos and the indispensable support for individual campaigns all over the country – all are reasons that I donate to FAN and urge you to do the same.

And as much as any other reason is this: I can trust them. That’s the foundation for everything else.


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