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UK Against Fluoridation

Thursday, April 14, 2016

UK - Something in the water: is fluoride actually good for cities?

Modern equipment for adding fluoride to mains water supplies.Something in the water: is fluoride actually good for cities?
Newcastle adds fluoride to drinking water. Hull does not. More than 50 years since it became a default health intervention, why does the debate rage more fiercely than ever?
As a public health researcher who examines sensitive subjects such as sexual health and teenage pregnancy, Stephen Peckham is used to robust debate.
But when his research questioned whether cities should be adding fluoride to their drinking water, Peckham, director of the Centre for Health Service Studies at the University of Kent and a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Toronto, wasn’t ready for the poisonous attacks that followed.
“Nothing prepared me for the ferocity around fluoridation,” says Peckham. Over a 25-year academic career he has written or co-authored more than 150 papers, chapters and books. His work is cited in another 1,300 papers. Yet his research on water fluoridation will not, he has been told, be published in the main dental health journals.

When Scientific World published his paper on ingested fluoride in 2014, the journal was dismissed as “shonky” and a “bottom-feeder”. When the more reputable peer-reviewed Journal of Epidemiological and Community Health published Peckham’s research on fluoride and hypothyroidism last year, one dental school professor said that it “beggars belief that they should be able to say that in a reputable publication”, while a professor of medicine said it was “irresponsible for the paper’s peer reviewers to not have asked the authors to tone down their conclusions”. Science blogs accused him of “statistics-hacking” and cited him as an example of “how to lie with statistics”.
“It’s very difficult,” Peckham says. “I’ve been hugely and personally attacked by scientific bloggers in different countries. But that’s the difficulty of trying to work in this area, so I just keep my head down.”.....................
....................The most recent plans to fluoridate a city’s water, in Southampton, were debated for five years before being abandoned, despite being endorsed by Public Health England and a high court ruling in 2014. The UK government continues to back mass fluoridation of tap water to cut tooth decay – yet as recently as February, the health minister responsible for dentistry, Alistair Burt, said he was “perfectly convinced by the science”, but admitted that MPs will never vote for it.

To see the story of our successful battle in Southampton to stop fluoridation   

...................So what should our cities do? Follow Newcastle’s long history of fluoridation, or Hull’s reluctance to take on the doubters? Both sides, it would seem, lack the killer evidence to substantiate their claims.
Or should they take notice of Glasgow’s pragmatic compromise, a city where infant teeth-brushing and dietary initiatives are already paying measurable dividends? As any parent will tell you, you have to choose your battles. For the sake of our health – dental or otherwise – maybe our cities should do the same.


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