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UK Against Fluoridation

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Pro-fluoride argument seems to be based on 1930s observation

Pro-fluoride argument seems to be based on 1930s observation
To the editor:
The stage was set when the Maine College of Art in Portland organized an artists’ retreat at the Henry and Marie Clews Chateau and Villa in LaNapoule this past May. A dozen of us arrived at the villa Monday afternoon after flying all night from Boston to Nice.
We dragged ourselves and our luggage to our rooms in the villa or across the narrow side street to rooms in the stone chateau and returned to the villa library for an orientation.
The tall, handsome manager of the Clews estate, charming enough to manage a castle, introduced us to schedules and expectations. Continental breakfast between 8 and 9 o’clock, dinner at 7. Don’t leave windows open for wind and rain. Close coded gates to the chateau and villa. Turn out the lights. Any questions?
I had to ask, “Does the water here have fluoride?” He stared at me. I buy gallons of spring water at Hannnaford in Kennebunk because I heard that the fluoride in our tap water is toxic waste from a couple of fertilizer plants in Florida.
Not knowing whether he understood the question, I simply asked if it was all right to drink the water. He frowned and I tried to soothe the apparent insult by telling him that the water at home was undrinkable due to fluoridation.
“The water is good,” he said.
I didn’t know if he thought my question was stupid or rude, but I hoped he thought I was just clowning around. After the orientation, we retreated to our rooms to shower, nap, organize our stuff, drink the water. At seven o’clock we gathered around the long table under the high vaulted ceiling in the chateau dining hall where a buffet dinner was served by the young kitchen staff.
When we finished dessert that first evening it was 9 o’clock. I was the instructor’s assistant at the retreat by virtue of her stroke, and being the older couple, we trundled back to our room as soon as possible. As we lay in bed savoring our dinner I thought about the water. It was so easy to fill a glass from a coldwater faucet in the villa kitchen or our bathroom. Good water, public water, pure, unfluoridated, French tap water, in contrast to the nuisance of buying gallons of spring water at Hannaford, then buying more and more green plastic CLYNK bags to recycle the crushed plastic water jugs, all this to avoid swallowing the fluorosilicic acid the water district adds to our tap water.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not death on fluoride. A few years ago, my dentist’s hygienist offered to paint my teeth with a fluoride varnish. It wasn’t expensive, maybe $20, and she said it would be good for my teeth which had been going south, or wherever teeth go when they’re extracted. Flossing was getting easier, but my teeth were still being challenged with decay, so I said sure and she varnished my teeth. Since then, I haven’t had a cavity or toothache. Nothing. But that’s not the issue. The issue is that the last thing my dentist told me before his hygienist applied the fluoride treatment was, “Don’t swallow.” Like the warnings on all fluoride toothpaste, he said, “Don’t swallow.”
So why does the American Dental Association and the National Institute of Dental Research want us to swallow fluoridated water, fluoridated coffee, fluoridated beer and the various other foods prepared with fluoridated water? The logic escapes me.
The weight of the pro-fluoride argument seems to be based on a consensus that began with a Coloradodentist who, in the 1930s noticed that his patients who had discolored teeth had fewer cavities. The source of the discoloration was the natural fluoride in their drinking water.
From the preventive effect of fluoridated Colorado water came the fluoridation of water supplies in New York and Michigan in the late 1940s.
The reported results of fluoridation were always positive, disputed mostly by the John Birch Society on the grounds that such fluoridation was a conspiracy to medicate the American public without regard for our Constitutional rights or the neurotoxic effect of fluoride on our brains. The argument was settled withStanley Kubrick’s Oscar nominated film “Dr. Strangelove.”
The film, a parody of the folly of nuclear war, was a vehicle for Sterling Hayden’s brilliant performance as Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, a paranoid madman who single handedly fought off military attempts to prevent him from sending American bombers into Russia causing the Russian secret weapon, MAD, the Mutually Assured Destruction defense system, to automatically activate and wipe out all of human civilization to the tune of “We’ll Meet Again” at the end of the film.
As Hayden’s General Ripper fired his Browning machine gun at his own attacking troops and armed the coded radio transmitter to send the American bombers into Russia, he explained to Peter Sellers’s bumbling British attache that he was invading Russia because the Communists were poisoning the precious bodily fluids of the American public with the fluoride they were adding to our public water supply.
That parody of the John Birch Society’s attempt to keep fluoride out of our public drinking water portrayed anyone who opposed water fluoridation as a blasphemous fiend who would end civilized life on earth rather than eradicate tooth decay. Massachusetts, the medical center of the world, then fluoridated its water and the consensus was established.
Just before the Maine gubernatorial election in 2002, a dentist lobbied the boards of selectmen in York,Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Arundel and Biddeford Pool to put a referendum on their ballots proposing that fluoride be added to our public water supply for the purpose of preventing cavities. Simple enough.
The bill was put on the ballots, we voted for it. The Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water Districtwas mandated to fluoridate our water supply.
Since then, the EPA has reported that fluoride is more acutely toxic than lead. In the 1980s, the ForsythSchool of Dentistry tested the effects of fluoride on rats and found that rats that ingested fluoride were stupider than rats that did not. The scientist who ran the tests was fired and forbidden to publish the results of her tests, but she did publish and the word got out.
In 2014, the management of our water district, being aware of these and other hazards of fluoride, went to our selectmen to put the same referendum on the town ballots for public reconsideration. At the selectmen’s meetings, the district management’s presentation was drowned under the protests of a vocal choir of dentists.
Our selectmen refused to put the referendum on the ballot. For the past dozen years we’ve paid $20,000 a year for the fluorosilisic acid we put in our water, but since the American Dental Association and the National Institute of Dental Research call fluorosilisic acid a medical grade of fluoride, it’s probably not really toxic waste.
Today, the only way the referendum can be put on our ballots is by petition, signed by 10 percent of the voters of the towns in the water district; 3,100 signatures are then notarized, submitted to the towns’ clerks for verification and sent to the Secretary of State to count the number of signatures.
I fear that even though the forces against fluoridation have gathered the 3,100 signatures and the town clerks put the referendum on the 2016 ballot, the wording of the referendum, “Shall fluoride be added to the public water supply for the intended purpose of reducing tooth decay?” is so benign that voters may still support fluoridation and we’ll ingest fluoride for the rest of our lives.
What the referendum doesn’t ask, what needs to be asked of the voters is, “Do we want to spend $20,000 a year to put toxic waste in our drinking water?”
French tap water reminded me how good the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells water used to be before we fluoridated it, which is why French tap water pisses me off.
Alec Ferguson
Kennebunkport

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