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UK Against Fluoridation

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Alaska - Pro-fluoride campaign nets $151,623

Pro-fluoride campaign nets $151,623
Proposition backers far outspend others in Juneau election
The intense debate over fluoridated water has resulted in a stunning amount of campaign spending, but one Juneau Assembly race has triggered some serious fundraising as well. Fluoride backers, funded by dental groups, have so far spent more than $150,000 backing a measure to restore fluoridation.
"Holy cow, that's more than a decade worth of Assembly races," said local political observer and former mayoral candidate Brad Fluetsch. The campaign spending amounts were in the final disclosure statements filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission seven days before the election.
With the American Dental Association picking up most of the tab, Citizens Promoting Dental Health has bought television ad time in $50,000 blocks, along with paying $35,000 in TV and radio production costs and $13,500 for dental association survey research.
Citizens Promoting Dental Health also received a $5,000 contribution from the Alaska
"Holy Smokes, I had no idea," said David Ottoson, a Juneau natural foods grocer who opposes water fluoridation, when he heard about his opponent's campaign amounts.
Ottoson called the spending an "outrageous attempt to buy an election."
"No, we are not trying to buy an election, but information is power," said Dr. Carolyn Brown, chairwoman of Citizens Promoting Dental Health. Still, Ottoson said he didn't think it would work. "I still think they're going to lose," he said.
Brown said she wasn't worried about the fairness of the spending gap either.
"They would have done it, and we did it," she said. Citizens for Safe Water, a group opposing fluoridation, has raised a little more than $5,000. It sought to maximize free media with letters to the editor and newspaper and radio appearances.
Citizens for Safe Water paid $678 in travel expenses to bring fluoride opponent Hardy Limeback to speak in Juneau, where his talk was covered on radio and in print.

Ireland - Parties bite back on fluoride issue

Parties bite back on fluoride issue
Sunday, September 30, 2007
By Joe Oliver
Ulster's chief medical officer will have his work cut out to re-ignite the debate over fluoride in tap water.
Dr Michael McBride (right) recently called for "informed public discussion and debate" on the issue after warning that the level of tooth decay among 12-year-olds here was almost THREE TIMES the national average.
But he still has some way to go to persuade the major political parties to follow in the footsteps of the Republic and introduce a programme of water fluoridation.
The two major parties are opposed to it - although the DUP believes all available evidence should be examined. But Sinn Fein remains implacably opposed, claiming links have been made between fluoridation and cancer, neurological impairment and bone pathology. A party spokesman added: "The chemical used in fluoridation contains 22 contaminates including lead, arsenic and uranium, which are poisonous and believed to be behind the high rate in Ireland of irritable bowel syndrome."
A DUP spokesman said the party had been reluctant to see fluoride added to the water supply, recognising the views of individuals opposed to what they regard as being medicated without their consent.
"However, there is undoubtedly research indicating positive health benefits and we have a responsibility to examine all the up-to-date information," he said.
The SDLP has no firm policy on fluoridation and the Ulster Unionist Party, while opposed in the past, would also examine any new scientific evidence. But Alliance spokesman Ian Williamson told us: "Our policy is that we are against the fluoridation of the water supply. We believe it is important that the individual is allowed to decide for themselves."
The controversy is expected to be aired in the Assembly and Dr McBride has the support of the British Dental Association.
But local environmentalist Walter Graham said yesterday: "Ulster said 'no' to fluoridation in 1996 when 25 out of 26 local councils gave it the thumbs down. Given continuing health concerns, it is not an issue that needs to be revisited."


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Alaska - What I learned on the Fluoride Study Commission

My turn: What I learned on the Fluoride Study Commission
As a member of the city Fluoride Study Commission, I would like to share some of the thoughts and conclusions that resulted from over two years of careful study of the water fluoridation issue. Our review convinced me that programs that provide topical application of fluoride to the teeth are more safe and effective in preventing cavities than the fluoridation of drinking water.
It is clear that fluoride is beneficial in protecting teeth from cavities when it is applied directly to the surface of the tooth, and that fluoride taken internally such as in drinking water provides little if any benefit. It also became clear to me that the dental community is interested in protecting the teeth of disadvantaged youth through the use of fluoridated water. In fact, the notion that water fluoridation helps protect the teeth of poor children is the most powerful argument in its favor.

While I appreciate the sincerity of this argument, an important point is being overlooked: That the risks of fluoridation fall disproportionately on poor children. And those risks are not trivial.

Fluoride is a potent chemical that has demonstrated negative health effects on a number of body systems. Multiple scientific studies show that even in modest concentrations, fluoride can impact brain development and IQ, impair kidney and thyroid function, contribute to bone pathology, and inhibit enzyme systems. These health effects are of special concern for infants and children because chemicals are up to ten times more toxic to children since they are smaller in size and their developing organs are more vulnerable to the effects of toxins.

One group especially at risk is formula-fed infants. Last year the Center for Disease Control and the American Dental Association both issued an advisory to parents of bottle fed infants recommending they not use tap water to mix their infant formula. The reason: To protect infants against excessive fluoride consumption. Studies show that low-income families are more likely to feed their babies formula, and it goes without saying that families who are struggling to make ends meet can hardly be expected to purchase bottled water to mix with infant formula.

To compound this situation, in the case of infants, there is no benefit whatsoever to fluoride. It has been conclusively established that the decay preventing properties of fluoride come from application directly to the teeth. Since infants don't have any teeth, there is no benefit to them from taking fluoride. No benefit. Only risk. A risk that falls disproportionately on the least advantaged.

This example illustrates two primary problems with water fluoridation: That fluoride works to protect teeth only when applied to the tooth surface, and that there is no way to regulate the dosage so it is appropriate to the recipient.

Perhaps a more insidious problem is that the fixation on water fluoridation prevents us from thinking creatively about other ways to help protect our children from tooth decay.

If we are to be serious about protecting kids' teeth, we need to consider alternatives that target those who need protection. For example, a topical fluoride varnish could be applied twice a year to every elementary school student in the Juneau school district for less than it would cost to fluoridate the water. Another idea that could be explored is having kids brush their teeth in their classrooms at school after snacks and lunch. This alone would be beneficial, and would also instill good habits of dental hygiene that will last a lifetime. Perhaps local dentists or businesses would be willing to donate the toothbrushes and toothpaste for such a program, in which case it would cost the school district nothing. Programs such as these are the type that our entire community could get behind as they would ensure that populations at risk would be protected through the use of topically applied fluoride without haphazardly fluoridating everyone, including vulnerable groups like infants who shouldn't get any fluoride at all.

We all want our children and our community to be as healthy as possible. By combining our shared commitment to this goal with a little common sense, we can develop solutions that will unite our community rather than divide it.

• Jamie Bursell served on the city Fluoride Study Commission from 2004 to 2006. She is a Juneau resident and proud mom of two boys

Alaska - Another doctor against fluoride in the water

My turn: Another doctor against fluoride in the water
My opposition to water fluoridation was solidified when I read the National Academy of Sciences 2006 report "Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA's Standards." This report finds that fluoride is less safe than previously thought, and that the federal Environmental Protection Agency's safety limit on fluoride in water should be lowered. Specifically, it said that levels of the cavity fighting substance currently allowed under federal water-safety rules cause dental fluorosis, a mottling of the tooth that is a cosmetic problem in mild to moderate forms, and in its more severe form actually can cause cavities.
Infants should receive no fluoride. The American Dental Association now recommends that formula for infants be made with distilled (nonfluoridated) water to "reduce the risk of fluorosis" (ADA position paper on Nov. 8, 2006). This places a burden on those parents unable to breastfeed their infants.
A narrow "therapeutic margin" is doctor talk meaning that the amount of drug that helps is very close to the amount of drug that can cause harm. In the old days we use to treat asthma with a drug called theophylline. Because the amount of theophylline that helps asthma is very close to the amount of theophylline that is toxic it was a difficult drug to prescribe and eventually as better drugs were found it was phased out.

Dr. J. William Hirzy of the EPA has stated, "The difference between the levels of fluoride causing toxic effects and the levels added to water to prevent tooth decay is vanishingly small and deeply troubling."

Given all we now know, it is time to phase the medication fluoride out of our water. Medicating our water supply does not allow us to control dose.

However, on a positive note, Proposition 2 has focused a lot of energy on kid's teeth in Juneau. I would like to take some of this energy and work together as a community to encourage:

• All kids in Juneau to have a dental home.

• All dental offices to accept Denali Kid Care.

• All medical and dental offices to provide reasonable cost fluoride varnishes.

• The city of Juneau to hire a dental hygienist to provide fluoride varnishes and dental education to our highest risk preschool children at HeadStart, St. Vincent's, the Glory Hole, the AWARE Shelter, and other social service agencies.

• Juneau Public Health to publicize that they have fluoride supplements available for free for children who receive their comprehensive well child health screening services at the health center.

• SEARHC to publicize that they can provide dental care to all Denali Kid Care recipients.

• Juneau School District to periodically evaluate adherence to its Nutrition Policy (Adopted June 2006).

• School district to encourage all students to brush or rinse after lunch and snacks.

• School district to hire a dental hygienist to work with our school nurses to teach kids how to brush and floss and to provide fluoride varnishes for those kids without a dental home.

• Juneau stores to remove candy from check out lines (where it is often tempting to children).

I am uncomfortable with water fluoridation because it is like writing a prescription that says, "Fluoride some unknown amount." Vote no on fluoridating Juneau's water but yes on taking care of Juneau's teeth.

• Monica Gross is a pediatrician and Juneau resident.

Alaska - Engineering consent for fluoridation in Juneau

My turn: Engineering consent for fluoridation in Juneau
What influences a town to poison its own drinking water? Money? "Authority"? Or just the sheer momentum of an outdated con-job by a skilled public relations specialist?
According to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, the American Dental Association has contributed $34,000 to influence Juneau to fluoridate its water. The money is paying for a public relations campaign designed to make doctors and dentists appear authoritative on the safety and effectiveness of a practice that is becoming increasingly indefensible.
Last summer, pro-fluoride money bought signatures at a dollar apiece to put fluoridation on the ballot. Why? Local organizers claimed that they wanted the citizens to have a chance to vote - as if the Juneau Assembly, the mayor's Fluoride Study Commission and all those who testified against it publicly were not citizens.
This is really about something else. It's about the unfortunate investment that dentists, doctors and the public health establishment have in an idea that is no longer credible. It's about the scary liability of admitting that there is no real evidence to prove the effectiveness and safety of adding fluoride to public water. And, it is about the distasteful idea of actually having to address the more complex issues of poor children's dental health. One simply has to look at the real content of the ADA ads to see there is nothing behind them but money, repetition and a "because I said so" attitude.

Edward L. Bernays, Sigmund Freud's nephew, had little respect for the intelligence of the average citizen. Known as the "Father of Spin", he was hired to help the US Public Health Service "engineer consent" (his words) for water fluoridation in New York during the 1950s and 60s. He is the same guy who, while working for the American Tobacco Company, passed out cigarettes to the suffragettes marching in the 1916 New York City Easter Day Parade, calling them "torches of freedom."

In his excellent book, The Fluoride Deception, Christopher Bryson uses a conversation with the PR specialist to convey what Bernays regarded as our unconscious trust in medical authority:

"'You can get practically any idea accepted,' Bernays told me (Bryson), chuckling. 'If doctors are in favor, the public is willing to accept it, because a doctor is an authority to most people, regardless of how much he knows, or doesn't know."
If water fluoridation were truly about medical science, more Juneau dentists and doctors would have attended the lectures by Hardy Limeback last week. As a member of a focused panel on the toxicity of EPA standards for fluoridated drinking water (for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences) Limeback recently completed a two-year review of almost 1,000 qualified scientific studies on the subject. This panel represents the U.S. gold standard of contemporary scientific research.
Where were the "medical professionals" who believe so strongly in Science during those lectures? Maybe a dozen attended, total. Compare this to the 42 local hospital physicians who signed a resolution last fall stating that they supported fluoridation. How are these local physicians going to factor this information into their diagnoses? How will they know how to help patients if they are blind to a toxic substance flowing into our homes through our taps? Where is the control here and how can doctors monitor a remedy for mass medication?
The American Dental Association and The American Medical Association are not scientific research establishments. They are glorified trade unions. Why are the "health professionals" touting them as scientific authorities in the first place?
Given the money and the use of authority in an effort to "engineer our consent," one has to wonder why the vast majority of outspoken public opinion on this subject is still anti-fluoride? Maybe Edward Bernays was wrong. Maybe we are capable of sorting out a complex issue on our own and coming to a reasoned conclusion that protects our well being. Maybe we've actually read the reports, listened to the experts and observed other communities.
Many of us are going to vote no on Tuesday to adding a toxic chemical to our pure Juneau water. It's an idea whose time has come.

• Marilyn Holmes is a Juneau parent and concerned citizen.

Alaska - Study claims fluoride causes cancer in youth

My turn: Study claims fluoride causes cancer in youth
Last month the Empire published a My Turn column on water fluoridation from ABC science columnist Lee Dye which accused "some Juneau residents who posture themselves as public health advocates" as distorting scientific research to "suit their own purposes." Since it was my letter the writer was referring too, I feel I am entitled to a reply.
First, the writer attacked a study by Harvard researchers that found an association between fluoridation and bone cancer in young boys. He asserted that it was only a research paper, and that it was not published under a rigorous peer review process. Wrong. This study by Elise Bassin and three other authors, David Wypij, Roger B. Davis and Murray A. Mittleman, was indeed published last April in the journal Cancer Causes and Control. Here is the citation: "Age-specific fluoride exposure in drinking water and osteosarcoma."
Journal: Cancer Causes & Control, 2006, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 421-428. According to their Web site, Cancer Causes and Control is an international refereed journal. Moreover, while Elise Bassin was a grad student when she wrote her original dissertation on this topic, she is now a clinical instructor in oral health policy and epidemiology at Harvard. I think that qualifies her as a "Harvard researcher."

And what about her mentor, Dr. Chester Douglas? Here is where the story gets really interesting. Douglas was the subject of an investigation at Harvard into whether he suppressed findings of federally funded research into whether fluoride is associated with bone cancer in adolescent boys. The university did conduct an investigation and "exonerated" Douglas.

The only problem is, Harvard never released its report on the Douglas affair. They simply issued a four paragraph statement. Last October, the Environmental Working Group wrote the university a letter asking Harvard to release the full text of their final report. So far, no report has been forthcoming. I wouldn't expect one either, in light of the fact that it was recently revealed that Douglas donated one million dollars to the university's dental school in 2001. Those "connections to a major toothpaste manufacturer" must by mighty lucrative.

"Smacks of a cover up?" I'll say.
Second, Dye suggested that the National Research Council study on Fluoride was not relevant to the issue of water fluoridation because it was only considering whether the current MCL for fluoride, which is 4 parts per million, should be lowered, and it did not make any conclusions about the policy of fluoridating municipal water. Of course I knew that. Anyone who read the report knows that.

However, Dye does not contradict the fact that the report identified numerous studies which indicated that fluoride in low doses does indeed reduce thyroid function, as well as contribute to a host of other health problems. So it's conclusions are indeed relevant to the debate about whether Juneau should fluoridate.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Recently, there were public presentations here in Juneau by Dr. Hardy Limeback. As it happens, Limeback was one of 14 members of the panel that conducted the National Research Council's review of fluoride research. He was a co-author of the final report, and was opposed to fluoridation.

• David Ottoson owns Rainbow Foods and has bought, sold and written about food and health for 20 years. He writes a weekly Neighbors column, Food For Thought.

USA - Corning Fluoride Latest

Corning Fluoride Latest
Ted Fioraliso
September 28, 2007
10:15 p.m.
On Thursday, Kirk Huttleston presented the Corning City Council a petition signed by over 400 people against fluoridating the city's water.
The petition actually calls for a charter amendment -- stripping the city council and water department of their authority to adjust the levels of fluoride in the water.Huttleston says after 15 months, he's excited to be done with his part.
“I"m very excited that council's accepted it, and now we get to find out what's next,” he said. Corning Mayor Frank Coccho said, “I've learned it's a very emotional issue, with many people, and I understand that. And I believe the opponents and proponents of fluoride are evenly balanced from what I've heard. Possibly we'll get that chance -- I don't think in 2007, but in 2008."
The petition will now go to the city's attorney for review. He'll then make recommendations to the board on what to do next.

NZ - Fluoride war on again

Fluoride war on again
FRESH calls for fluoride to be added to Rotorua's water have prompted the city's Fluoride Free Water Group to reunite.
Eight members of the group met this week to discuss what action, if any, they should take to counter efforts by education and health officials to fluoridate Rotorua's water supply. The latest call has come from John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh who says the absence of fluoridation is a form of child abuse.
He was disgusted to hear how bad Rotorua's dental problem was at a meeting between primary and secondary school principals and dental health experts. Rotorua has the worst dental hygiene in New Zealand behind Northland. Neither region fluoridates its water. The city's bad dental hygiene was compounded by a lack of dentists and dental therapists in the city which meant students had to wait two to three months to be seen. Mr Walsh said the only way to help ease the problem was to fluoridate Rotorua's water supply.

However, anti-fluoride campaigners argue a lifetime of fluoride does more harm than good. The Fluoride Free Water Group, led by business people Judith Lee and Martin Sharp, claims fluoride has been linked to cancer and the chemicals used in sodium fluoride are byproducts from phosphate fertilisers. The group also argues fluoridation is "mass medication", denying people freedom of choice.
Mr Sharp said a more effective solution would be to adopt a scheme rolled out in Northland a few years ago. In that scheme, a Maori health provider funded a toothbrushing programme for 1500 primary school pupils in rural Northland and at 17 kohanga reo. The schools had daily brushing sessions in class over five years.
Northland's Maori children had an average of 4.35 rotting teeth each at 5 years old at the start of the scheme. Check-up visits five years on showed that pupils' permanent teeth were free of dental decay.
Mr Sharp said he was prepared to continue fighting against fluoridation for as long as it took to convince people of its harmful effects.

USA - Rise in childhood cavities

By Mary Ann Fergus
September 28, 2007
Katelyn Patthana confidently slid into a chair to have her molars sealed, no big deal for a 7-year-old who had lived through a dental horror story. The suburban Chicago second-grader's tooth decay was so severe two years ago that dentists extracted six teeth, crowned two and filled five.Katelyn was among a growing number of preschoolers with cavities, creating concern among dentists and parents who hoped that brushing and avoiding candy were enough to silence the drills. But with continual snacking and the use of nonfluoridated bottled water on the rise, experts say parents have to be even more vigilant."There's plenty of new cavities coming through," says Dr. Nicola Hill-Cordell, a Chicago area pediatric dentist. "At least once a week, you get a new kid who is less than 2 with a cavity."
Tooth decay A growing number of preschoolers are developing cavities, creating concern among dentists and parents who hoped that brushing and avoiding candy were enough to silence the drills. But with continual snacking and the use of nonfluoridated bottled water on the rise, experts say parents have to be even more vigilant. Nationwide, nearly 28 percent of children ages 2 to 5 had at least one cavity, based on a federal survey covering 1999 to 2004. That represents a 4 percent climb from the previous survey, the first significant statistical increase in 40 years.
Nationwide, nearly 28 percent of children ages 2 to 5 had at least one cavity, based on a federal survey covering the years 1999 to 2004. That represents a 4 percent climb from the previous survey, the first significant statistical increase in 40 years, said Bruce Dye, lead author of a National Center for Health Statistics report on oral health released this year.The federal government first assessed tooth decay in the 1960s. After widespread efforts to put fluoride in tap water led to declining cavity rates in the 1970s, tooth decay among preschoolers leveled off in the 1980s - until now.Hectic family lives often leave little time for cooking and preparing fresh vegetables and fruit, Dye said. Trying to avoid sugary drinks, parents often turn to convenient bottled water, but it doesn't necessarily contain the fluoride that dentists once fought for in tap water.The American Dental Association has long recommended use of fluoridated water and hygiene products such as fluoridated toothpaste."Toothpaste is a significant way of delivering it, but water is an additional way and it's cheaper," said Dr. Indru Punwani, executive director of the Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentists. "This is one way to ensure you are getting fluoride to the child - to the poor, young and old. It's one more source."Experts also attribute the surge in cavities at least partly to the fact that many immigrants have never been exposed to tooth decay prevention measures."In many cultures, you do not go to a dentist until you get a toothache and they take it out and that's it," said Punwani.Born in Laos and raised in the United States, Seng Patthana said no one warned her against putting Katelyn to bed each night with a bottle of calcium-fortified orange juice. The working mother said she thought it was a healthy choice for a growing toddler who didn't like milk."It was shocking," said Patthana of the cavities. "I thought at least it had calcium. I wasn't thinking the sugar is sitting there overnight on her teeth."The most recent NCHS report, released in April, did have some good news on the cavity front. It showed a decline in tooth decay overall among older children compared with the previous survey covering 1988 to 1994.Decay in the permanent teeth of those 6 to 11 years old decreased from 25 percent to 21 percent; among adolescents, those 12 to 19, it dropped from 68 percent to 59 percent.But the report also documents several disparities along ethnic, racial and economic lines.Three times as many poor children had untreated dental disease compared with their more affluent counterparts, according to the report. Thirty-one percent of Mexican-American children ages 6 to 11 had cavities in permanent teeth, compared with 19 percent of non-Hispanic white children.About two-thirds of Medicaid children did not receive dental care in 2005, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data.The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the first dental visit by a child's first birthday or with the appearance of the first tooth.Requirements that would have preschool or primary pupils show proof of a dental exam are largely a symbolic gesture, experts say."I think it's the step in the right direction. ... But given dental decay's progression, it's too late," Punwani said. "By the time the average child starts kindergarten, one out of three already have tooth decay."With extensive cavities comes the need to find the right treatment and pain relief plan for children, some under 2 years old.The pain-relief methods vary, depending on dentist and family preference.Some dentists use more natural methods, treating the child with a local anesthetic and plenty of positive reinforcement.A more complicated case, such as Katelyn's, generally requires an outpatient hospital visit with general anesthesia.Seng Patthani and her husband, Khamphone, say they have cut down on sweets and now serve milk or water with meals to daughters Katelyn and Kaylee, 5, who also had several cavities."It was an ordeal," Seng Patthani said. "And it's expensive. It's better to prevent it."
Mary Ann Fergus writes for the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago is fluoridated: NYSCOF

Friday, September 28, 2007

USA - York Water Co. neutral as fluoridation debate grips dentists, lawmakers

York Water Co. neutral as fluoridation debate grips dentists, lawmakers
KATHY STEVENS The York Dispatch
Article Launched: 09/27/2007 10:46:45 AM EDTFamily First Health dental director Dr. James Patsis checks the teeth of Gloria Langs of York...«1»In its 150 years in business, The York Water Co. has not fluoridated one drop of water.
But that is expected to change next year when the county's primary water purveyor begins to serve 1,600 households in West Manheim Township, which earlier this year sold its water system to the company.

If some state lawmakers have their way, the move to fluoridate could be a sign of things to come. More than half of York Water Co.'s customers opposed fluoridation in ongoing surveys the company conducted.
But those residents might not have a say should lawmakers OK a bill that would mandate fluoridation of community water supplies statewide.

Company president and CEO Jeff Osman said he could not speak on behalf of customers surveyed about the issue, but said he assumes they are aware of an
ongoing debate about fluoridation.

Won't join debates: West Manheim Township's water has been fluoridated for decades, and the water company agreed to continue the practice. Osman says the company will not participate in fluoride debates.
"We're in the business of purifying and distributing water. We are not experts in public health," Osman said, adding the company is neutral on the issue. "We look to the experts to make that decision."

The decision could hinge on passage of proposed legislation that cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's claim that community water fluoridation is one of the "10 most significant public health achievements of the 20th century."

Bill supporters say fluoridated public water is the cheapest and most effective method of curbing tooth decay. Through legislation, they aim to mandate fluoridation in community water statewide.

But a faction of dentists, doctors and environmentalists argue fluoridation does more harm than good. In recent weeks, 600 fluoride opponents petitioned Congress to halt fluoridation of public water supplies. Days later, another group filed a formal complaint against the CDC, claiming officials downplayed dangers of fluoridation.

They argue that too much fluoride causes discoloration of the teeth and also causes skeletal fluorosis, which is a bone disease caused by excessive consumption of fluoride via inhalation of dust or heavily fluoridated water. Skeletal fluorosis is problematic in India and China, where the World Health Organization estimates 8.7 million people are afflicted.

Aspirin analogy: Backed by the American Dental Association, the majority of dentists say fluoride opponents are using scare tactics, insufficient data and over-the-top examples to further their cause.

They argue that fluoridation of public water is the best way to combat the growing incidence of tooth decay that ruins smiles and eventually costs thousands to repair.

Aspirin makes a good analogy, says Dr. Craig Pate, director of York Hospital's Dental Center. Take two for a headache, it works; take too many, it will make you sick.

The same is true for fluoride. Pate says water must be tested for naturally existing fluoride before fluoride is added. Optimally, fluoride level should be 0.8 to 1.2 parts per million, according to the CDC. Those levels, he said, should be maintained and can be if water is monitored.

Pate and colleague Dr. James Patsis, dental director for Family First Health, sat recently in a new nine-chair facility on South George Street. They say even with recent additions of low-cost dental centers, low-income and uninsured children will wait on average three months for a dental appointment.

The men said there aren't enough dentists willing to take Medicaid in part because it doesn't cover costs for care. That means children often go without basic dental care such as exams and cleanings.

That's why dental students who've worked in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia comment about extreme tooth decay of the York County children they examine. Fluoridated water in those areas reduces tooth decay, Pate said.

Pate and Patsis have long worked with patients who have limited access to dental care. They do their best to treat children, but say too often the dental problems are extensive enough to require surgery.

10 patients every morning: Pate says every morning 10 patients await care at the Dental Center, each of them referred the night before from York Hospital's Emergency Department.

"Fluoride is a very effective way to curb the problem," Pate said. "It's just a no-brainer."

Fluoride opponents disagree. They point out that fluoride added to community water is not under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration as is pharmacy-grade fluoride found in toothpaste, oral rinse and tablets.

Fluoride added to water is a byproduct of manufacturing a phosphate fertilizer called fluorsilicic acid. It is stored in cooling ponds prior to being sold and shipped to cities and states nationwide. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency oversees the storage and transport of this phosphate by-product because it is considered hazardous waste.

That's one reason Dr. Donald Robbins of Exton, Chester County, opposes fluoridation. Robbins has worked in general dentistry since 1975. By 1980, he said he'd begun to see first-hand the effects of fluoride and began to rethink his stance on the standard practice of fluoridated water and fluoride treatments. Robbins is among a few dentists statewide who, along with the other signers, petitioned against water fluoridation.

Excess a problem: He points to studies that note too often infants and children receive one to four times higher fluoride doses than is safe for their body weight. The excess is partly blamed on use of fluoridated water to mix baby formula, powdered milk and other foodstuffs.

The CDC recommends using non-fluoridated water for such uses when given to infants and young children. The high doses cause discoloration of permanent teeth before they break the gum line.

Pate and Patsis revert to the aspirin analogy and reiterate their stance that fluoride's benefits far outweigh risks.

"A lot of individuals just can't afford the care," Patsis said. "Whether parents are really rich, or really poor, with children their feelings are the same: They want their children to be well."

State Rep. Eugene DePasquale supports mandated fluoridation and says he relies on the broad consensus that it is helpful in preventing tooth decay.

"Obviously, you don't want to take too much fluoride," DePasquale said. "The key is trying to find a healthy balance."

-- Reach Kathy Stevens at 505-5437 or kstevens@york dispatch.com.
Dental health professionals advise the public to research fluoridation of community water and provide these online references: www.health.gov/environment/ReviewofFluoride; www.fluoridealert.org. Additional information is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.

USA - Corning - Fluoride Referendum Unlikely In 2007

Fluoride Referendum Unlikely In 2007
Last Update: 9/27 10:52 pm

Last Update: 9/27 10:52 pm
Voters in Corning will probably have to wait until next year to vote on whether fluoride should be added to Corning's drinking water.
Fluoridation opponent Kirk Huttleston submitted petitions to Corning City Council Thursday night calling for the referendum to block fluoridation. He had more than 400 signatures from registered voters. 306 signatures are needed. However city officials say the petitions have to be reviewed by the City Attorney to determine if a local law has to be passed to put the question before the voters.

Mayor Frank Coccho says he's confident it will and that would push any referendum back to next year.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fluoride unnecesary - even dangerous

Fluoride unnecesary - even dangerous
By: Jemma Macera
I was very upset by your article on fluoride [Sept. 19, "Fluoride Solutions for Parents"]. The truth is that it weakens muscles - namely it was weakening my heart - and my only use was in the toothpaste. In the 10 years or more that I have been off any fluoride, I have had one cavity - this month actually.
European countries don't use fluoride, I am told. My Italian father had excellent teeth. How about another article on the other side of the issue?
-Jemma Macera

USA - Residents express alarm as the deadline nears for fluoridation

Water fluoridation deadline nears for Malibu

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Residents express alarm as the deadline nears for fluoridation of Malibu's drinking water.
By Ruth Lundi / Special to The Malibu Times
Some residents are in an uproar over the Metropolitan Water District's decision to begin the process of adding fluoride to Malibu's and Topanga's water supply beginning Oct. 7, and some Malibu residents, questioned in a random sampling, had no idea that their water is about to be fluoridated.
State law signed in 1995 by former Gov. Pete Wilson mandated that all public water supplies with at least 10,000 customers be fluoridated. The law did not provide funding to public utilities, so several water agencies held off fluoridation. However, under pressure from local public health officials, the MWD board made the decision in 2003 to fluoridate Southern California's tap water. The MWD received a $5.5 million grant from the California Dental Association Foundation, in conjunction with the California Fluoridation 2010 Work Group, to cover the capital costs of planning, designing and purchasing equipment to begin the process of fluoridation. Although Malibu receives its water from Los Angeles County Waterworks District 29, the district purchases all its water from the West Basin Municipal Water District, which in turn purchases its water from the MWD.

Fluoridation opponents say studies raise concerns about the safety of ingestion of fluoridated water on certain segments of the population, most notably infants and children, who ingest more tap water. They believe that implementation of the fluoridation program should be delayed in order to further study the effects of fluoridation on "at risk" members of the public.

The National Research Center released a comprehensive review on March 22, 2006 of the Environmental Protection Agency's standards regarding fluoride levels, which stated that the current accepted standard should be lowered to reduce the risk of skeletal fluorosis, a bone disease caused by excessive fluoride consumption, and bone fractures. In addition, an April 2006 Harvard study established a link between a rare bone cancer in adolescent boys and fluoride ingestion.

Dr. David C. Kennedy, past president of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, stated, "Water fluoridation delivers a drug to infants that if prescribed by a doctor would be gross malpractice."
Fluoridation supporters say these claims are inflammatory and untrue, and that fluoridation is perfectly safe and has been the topic of unprecedented favorable research over the last several decades.
Dr. David F. Nelson, MS, fluoride consultant to the Office of Oral Health, California Department of Health Services, states that "over 60 years of use and thousands of credible peer-reviewed studies tell us that community water fluoridation is safe," and fluoridation is universally supported by all major U.S. health organizations and that none have withdrawn their support of fluoridation as a result of the NRC and Harvard findings.

After reading an in-depth article in the Topanga Messenger, activist and Malibu local Valerie Sklarevsky became concerned. She pointed out that 95 percent of toothpaste not only contains fluoride, but a warning label with instructions to call a poison control center should accidental ingestion by children occur. She said she feels it's a contradiction for the government to tell us fluoride is safe if products containing it are deemed poisonous.

Malibu resident Cindy Emminger agrees. She would like to see the fluoridation process stopped altogether. Emminger questions the safety of the fluoride additive, hydrofluosilicic acid, itself. "People with diabetes, kidney problems or AIDS, and especially babies and children are at risk for side effects" from the use of fluoride, Emminger said. "Water consumers cannot be expected to know the risks.

"What makes me mad is that they are putting something in the water that doesn't have FDA approval for cavities. No manufacturer of the hydrofluosilicic acid will state that their product is safe and effective for preventing tooth decay."

Emminger said she is concerned because the studies that the fluoride supporters stand on were performed in the '50s and '60s, and in light of the 2006 NRC and Harvard studies, she said fluoridation bears closer scrutiny. She fears children will pay the price. "In the last fifty years, we've seen our children struggle with an increase in bipolar, cancer, behavior issues and learning disabilities."

Sklarevsky agrees. "Our country is poisoning itself," she said. "We have to be more aware of what is going on. We the people have to say 'no.'"

Emminger said people need to ask more questions. "People ask more questions when they're buying a car. This is going into their bodies." Most mainstream experts disagree. Although it publishes specific guidelines for the preparation of infant formula to lessen the amount of fluoride babies swallow, the American Dental Association states: "Bottom line: Nothing in this [the 2006 Harvard] study should deter the public from continuing to enjoy the proven health benefits of optimally fluoridated water."

The American Medical Association "urges state health departments to consider the value of requiring statewide fluoridation (preferably ... fluoridation of all public water supplies...), and to initiate such action as deemed appropriate."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the fluoridation of drinking water among the 10 greatest public health achievements in the U.S., stating: "Fluoridation safely and inexpensively benefits both children and adults by effectively preventing tooth decay, regardless of socioeconomic status or access to care."

In a random sample conducted at Cross Creek Shopping Plaza, most residents when questioned about the imminent fluoridation of their tap water were not aware of the MWD's decision. However, some expressed their reservations about it.

"There's really not enough testing done," said Mike Nangle, father of Jesse, 5, who has autism. Because of his son's condition, he tries to stay abreast of environmental issues. Nangle said he doesn't think it's fair that those who oppose fluoridation are labeled as conspiracy theorists. "It doesn't seem like there have been many long-term studies on it."

Malibu resident Beth Dorn adamantly opposes fluoridation. She grew up in New York City, where fluoridation had no effect on her cavity-ridden teeth. "If you just brush your teeth every day you won't get cavities," she said. "It all builds up and causes damage. People just don't bother to do any research on it. People are clueless about what's going on with health issues."

Kay Furgurson is one resident who is not opposed to the fluoridation. "All in all, it is a good idea if it helps the teeth," she said. "We have always had such poor teeth in my family, so I guess I'm a little sensitive on the issue."

Malcolm Jenkins said it depends upon what kind of fluoride they are using, as all fluorides are not created equal. "I see that there is more and more being done in the city that is not in the best interests of the citizens."

Implementation of fluoridation is scheduled to begin Oct. 7, according to Edgar Dymally, MWD's Senior Environmental Specialist, and is scheduled to be complete by Nov. 26.

USA - Mechanical failure caused the fluoride to keep running

Much of Ohio County Under Boil Water Advisory
Posted: 5:50 PM Sep 26, 2007
A At least half of Ohio County remains under a boil water advisory as of Sept. 26, after a main line break at the Perdue Water Plant.
The plant serves about 2500 customers. The break has been repaired and the system flushed, but water samples are still being tested at the lab. In the meantime, affected residents are being told to boil their water. Officials with the Ohio County Water Department say a mechanical failure caused the fluoride to keep running once the water was turned off last week. Walt Beazley said the fluoride was above normal but never reached a hazardous level.

USA - Local Fluoridation Foes Vow to Fight Tooth and Nail

Malibu Surfside News
Local Fluoridation Foes Vow to Fight Tooth and Nail
• Commission Approves $20 Million Oral Health Plan that Would Include Malibu and BY ANNE SOBLE
A $20 million Oral Health Community Development Project developed by the Los Angeles County First 5 Commission that will allow communities to fluoridate their water supply to ostensibly prevent tooth decay, especially in young children during their first five years, has just been approved.
But critics of the plan question the science on which it’s based and say they will fight the forced imposition of additional use of the chemical in the local water supply.
A campaign against the increased fluoridation of local water has picked up speed after a flurry of letters to the editor expressed concern about the First 5 package.
The OHCD funds will supplement existing fluoridation efforts of the Metropolitan Water District in areas throughout Los Angeles County, including Malibu and Topanga. Project opponents from both communities are joining forces to ask local Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who spearheaded the project, to reverse his action.
Critics are currently creating an umbrella group to address ways to convince Yaroslavsky and oth­er county officials that the plan is not only unpopular but raises serious issues related to public health and scientific validity.
Some of these Malibu and Topanga groups and individuals have sent a letter to Yaroslavsky, described in detail on page 4, that they hope will begin a dialogue.
The case for increased fluoridation comes mainly from the federal Center for Disease Control, which contends “dental caries is still the most common preventable chronic disease in the U.S., and tooth decay is the number one reason that children miss school.”

Yaroslavsky said, “Today’s commission approval of my oral health initiative means that thousands of kids in Los Angeles County will grow up with healthier, stronger teeth. In addition, their families will avoid the inconvenience of unnecessary trips to the dentist for fillings, extractions and other painful and entirely avoidable procedures.”

“First 5 L.A.’s Commission believes oral health to be a critical part of the overall healthy growth and development of a child,” said Jonathan Fielding, Director of the Department of Public Health and Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “We are excited about this project, which is such an important investment in the well-being of our children,” he added.
The OHCD funding will be available to interested cities over the course of three years.
Eligible applicants have to demonstrate their capacity to execute and maintain fluoridation in their communities. First 5 L.A. monies will fund the infrastructure needed for water to be fluoridated.
First 5 L.A. is a child advocacy organization created by California voters that “invests tobacco tax revenues in programs that improve the lives of children prenatal to 5 in Los Angeles County. First 5 L.A. champions health, education and safety issues benefiting young children and their families.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

California - Corning Fluoride petition to be presented Thursday

Fluoride petition to be presented Thursday
September 25, 2007
• Corning may vote on fluoridation
CORNING – The Corning City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to accept petitions calling for a referendum to block fluoridation of the city’s water supply.
Mayor Frank Coccho said he scheduled the meeting at the request of Kirk Huttleston, who organized the petition campaign.
Huttleston said Monday he hoped to present the petition today during a council workshop on design standards for downtown projects. He said more than 350 people have signed the petition – more than the 306 necessary to force a referendum.
The petitions will go from the city to the Steuben County Board of Elections, which will determine if there are enough valid signatures to schedule a referendum Nov. 6.

Gummy vitamins, gummy teeth?

Gummy vitamins, gummy teeth?
A growing number of kids between the ages of 2 and 5 are getting cavities, Mary Ann Fergus in today's Chicago Tribune.
But while it's easy to blame bottled water--which generally doesn't contain fluoride--we shouldn't let gummy vitamins off the hook.
These sugary, gooey candy look-alikes can add up to increased cavities, pediatric dentist Mary Hayes of Resident bacteria on our teeth eat the sugars in the gummy vitamins. When they're done feasting, they excrete acid on the teeth, leading to decay and cavities. "Gummy-type vitamins are more likely to sit on or between the teeth longer where the bacteria can thrive," said Hayes, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association. "It only takes about 20 minutes for bacteria to start excreting acids."

1 Attached comment
Once again, instead of placing the blame squarely on parents -- where it indeed should rest -- any other possible "cause" is being held responsible. Use some common sense, and BRUSH the child's teeth!! Teach them good brushing habits -- after snacks and every meal, and, when they are older, flossing -- which is just as important to overall good oral hygeine. One or two gummy vitamins a day (my son gets one, as he eats a fairly diverse, fresh variety of foods) won't cause cavities. Not brushing, and loading up on products with high fructose corn syrup (it's in everything, folks -- even your BREAD!!) are more likely culprits. Posted by: Tracy Sep 25, 2007

NZ - Health bosses to take action over children's teeth

Health bosses to take action over children's teeth
26.09.2007 By ALISON BROWN
SCHOOL dental services in Rotorua and Taupo are being revamped as health bosses take action on children's rotting teeth. The Lakes District Health Board is planning to overhaul the way dental services are provided to children and teens. Plans are under wraps but options on the table include sending children to "super-clinics" or treating them in high-tech mobile dental caravans. The move follows revelations that all 30 dental clinics across the district are unfit for modern dental practice. Of major concern are health and safety issues around infection control and the security of dental therapists working alone. The clinics are based at schools across the district and are owned by the Ministry of Education. There are 21 clinics in Rotorua, one in Reporoa, six in Taupo and two in Turangi.Twenty-two dental therapists work out of the clinics, employed by the health board, providing oral health care to primary and secondary school children as well as pre-schoolers. Until recently, children were also treated at two mobile dental caravans but one caravan has been taken out of service. Lakes District Health Board chairman Stewart Edward said none of the clinics was "business compliant", with major issues around health and safety. That has been cited as a major reason why the number of dental therapists working in schools is declining nationally."More modern facilities will help with recruitment," Mr Edward said. "If we don't do something about our clinics now, the whole system will implode." Earlier this year, the Government announced it was making $100 million available for health boards wanting to upgrade school dental services in their regions. Funding would be granted after health boards submitted business cases, outlining ways they would revamp their services. Lakes submitted a draft business case to the ministry in June and received feedback last month. The health board is now consulting with school staff, boards of trustees and principals about its plans. Keith Wright, portfolio manager for the board's referred services, said feedback from schools was being taken on board. Further work was needed to evaluate the risks and benefits of all options before plans were finalised. However, it was likely dental facilities would continue to be a mix of on-site clinics and mobile caravans, he said. "Children will continue to have a dental health service and no changes will be made until an alternative is in place to meet their needs."For several years, Lakes has ranked as among the worst areas for children's rotten teeth. In the past 10 years about half of all 5-year-olds in Taupo, where water is fluoridated, have had decay-free teeth. That compares with 39 per cent of 5-year-olds in Rotorua, on average, where water is not fluoridated. The health board and various agencies, including Primary Health Organisation Health Rotorua have campaigned unsuccessfully to persuade the Rotorua District Council to fluoridate the city's water supplies. Health authorities claim fluoridation is the safest and most cost-effective way to reduce tooth decay, regardless of socio-economic status.Lakes District Health Board member Rob Vigor-Brown asked the council to consider holding a binding referendum on fluoridation in tandem with next month's local body elections. However, councillors voted 7-6 against a referendum in June. This week, John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh joined the calls for fluoridation. He said students were reluctant to visit dental clinics and pumping fluoride in the water would improve their dental health without them realising it.

Alaska - Don't throw the baby teeth out with the bath water of fear

My Turn: Don't throw the baby teeth out with the bath water of fear
The people who will gain the most from a Yes vote on Proposition 2 on Oct. 2 are children. This is especially so for those among us whose families are poor and without access to doctors and dentists. When Proposition 2 passes, Juneau will resume safe and effective prevention of tooth decay. The element, fluorine, is present widely in all of earth's crust as the fluoride ion. Small amounts are present in all of earth's water sources, including Juneau's. The U.S. Public Health Service has measured water levels of fluoride since 1950. This research confirms levels between 0.7 and 1.2 parts per million (ppm) prevent tooth decay and the cosmetic condition, dental fluorosis. Numerous research publications continue to show the safety and effectiveness of these fluoride levels in water. Research continues to show the natural fluoride levels in the oceans range between 1.2 and 1.4 ppm. Because many communities like Juneau have lower natural levels, supplemental fluoride added as a public health measure provides effective and safe tooth decay prevention.
Great grandparents and some grandparents of our children lived (and still live) with severe tooth decay and dentures before water fluoridation started in the 1940's. Extensive research by dental and public health scientists since show water fluoridation to be the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. It is a peer-reviewed and evidence-based scientific measure that extends tooth decay prevention through the natural occurrence of fluoride in earth's crust and oceans.
Adults and senior citizens also benefit by continued water fluoridation where natural levels are below the 0.7 to 1.2 ppm range. Numerous research articles show the best prevention of tooth decay is achieved by drinking fluoride in the water from birth through life. Sodium fluoride tablets prescribed by dentists and doctors are safe and effective from 6 months to 16 years for children who live in communities with low natural fluoride levels and without water fluoridation. Topical fluoride in toothpaste and rinses provide further tooth decay prevention for children and adults. There is abundant proof that fluoride at natural levels and accurate doses is safe and effective. The American Dental Association's recent recommendation was that fluoridated water not be used only for infants (birth to 1 year old) who are fed with powdered formula. This does not apply to breast fed infants and those receiving pre-mixed liquid formulas. It is safe and effective to give fluoride drops and tablets in the prescribed, correct dose starting at 6 months of life.
Children remain dependent on adults for access to oral fluoride prescriptions and dental treatment. Many children live with families who have no means or access for such prescriptions or dental care. Please vote Yes on Proposition 2 to resume Juneau water fluoridation for all citizens, especially for all children.
• George W. Brown is a pediatrician and Douglas resident.

He forgets to mention that the natural calcium fluoride found in nature is different from the impure waste they commonly use.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Alaska - Keep Juneau's water fluoride-free

Keep Juneau's water fluoride-free
DERRICK SNYDER For the Juneau Empire
One of our many privileges here in Southeast Alaska is access to an abundance of pure and excellent fresh water. I'm happy to enjoy this water straight from the tap without added fluoride. I'd be grateful if you would help me continue to do so by voting no to water fluoridation on Oct. 2.
Nobody wants kids to get cavities. Just like you, I want all kids to grow up strong and happy. But the best way to keep kids from getting cavities is to teach them how to brush properly with a fluoride toothpaste. If you're really concerned with your kid's oral hygiene, this is a safer and more effective strategy than municipal fluoridation.
Fluoride is a poison and a medicine. That's why it kills or inhibits the bacteria that cause cavities. That's why it tells you on the toothpaste tube to spit and rinse, and to call poison control if a large quantity is ingested. Brushing your teeth is chemotherapy.
Even the Center for Disease Control, one of this country's biggest proponents of water fluoridation, admits that the only benefit to be accrued from fluoride is topical rather than systemic. This means that to receive any benefit from a fluoridated solution, it has to have direct contact with the surface of the teeth. Hence, the effectiveness of brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. The only possibility fluoridated water has to deliver any benefit is inasmuch as it touches the teeth during the act of drinking. Thereafter, there is zero benefit to be gained systemically, that is, via digestion and through the bloodstream.
It's like the mosquito repellent DEET. Its only benefit is topical, not systemic. If you rub it on your skin, you might deter a few bugs. If you drink the stuff, the mosquitos are going to have you for a picnic.
Unfortunately, there is potential harm to be had from fluoride. After all, it is a poison. It accumulates in bone tissue. At higher concentrations (greater than 4 ppm), it can cause skeletal fluorosis and other diseases. Proponents of municipal water fluoridation suggest administering fluoride into our water supply at a concentration (1 ppm) sufficient to provide a topical effect to teeth, yet still low enough so that the systemic effect to the human body is essentially negligible.
In other words, the challenge is to administer a known poison at a concentration low enough to have no damaging effect on human bodies, yet high enough to provide a benefit to oral hygiene. What's the dosage level? Does it vary from person to person? What about the cumulative effect? What about people who are more sensitive to the damaging effects of fluoride than the general population?
In the Juneau voter's information pamphlet, the statement in support of having fluoride added back in to our water supply actually claims that fluoride is a nutrient.
Hold on. That's a lie, folks. Fluoride is not necessary to human life. Fluoride isn't an essential mineral, and it's not found in any vitamin, amino acid, fat or carbohydrate molecule. Fluoride is a nutrient like lead is a nutrient.
In my mind, to my thinking, what it comes down to is this: If you want fluoride in your water but I don't, then you should add it to your own water. Leave my water, the general water supply, alone. If you really believe that drinking fluoridated water is going to have a significant, positive effect on the health of your family, then go out and buy yourself a bottle of fluorosilicic acid (that's the form commonly added to municipal supplies). Put a couple drops in gallon jugs and keep them cold in your refrigerator, and fill up some smaller bottles to take with you when you go out.
After all, if I wanted my water to taste like lemon, but you didn't, I wouldn't suggest we pour lemon flavor in the reservoir. That would be an unwarranted presumption upon your good nature, and downright unneighborly. I'd just add it to my own glass.
Juneau is a terrific place and has a lot going for it. Please help keep our water clean by voting no to water fluoridation on Oct. 2

Fluoride Damages the Thyroid, Report Shows

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- There is clear evidence that small amounts of fluoride, at or near levels added to U.S. water supplies, present potential risks to the thyroid gland, according to the National Research Council's (NRC) first-ever published review of the fluoride/thyroid literature.(A)
Fluoride, in the form of silicofluorides, injected into 2/3 of U.S. public water supplies, ostensibly to reduce tooth decay, was never safety-tested.(B)
"Many Americans are exposed to fluoride in the ranges associated with thyroid effects, especially for people with iodine deficiency," says Kathleen Thiessen, PhD, co-author of the government-sponsored NRC report. "The recent decline in iodine intake in the U.S. could contribute to increased toxicity of fluoride for some individuals," says Thiessen.
"A low level of thyroid hormone can increase the risk of cardiac disease, high cholesterol, depression and, in pregnant woman, decreased intelligence of offspring," said Thiessen.(C)
Common thyroid symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, fuzzy thinking, low blood pressure, fluid retention, depression, body pain, slow reflexes, and more. It's estimated that 59 million Americans have thyroid conditions.(D)
Robert Carton, PhD, an environmental scientist who worked for over 30 years for the U.S. government including managing risk assessments on high priority toxic chemicals, says "fluoride has detrimental effects on the thyroid gland of healthy males at 3.5 mg a day. With iodine deficiency, the effect level drops to 0.7 milligrams/day for an average male."(E) (1.0 mg/L fluoride is in most water supplies)
Among many others, the NRC Report cites human studies which show -- fluoride concentrations in thyroids exceeding that found in other soft tissues except kidney -- an association between endemic goiter and fluoride exposure or enamel fluorosis in human populations -- fluoride adversely affects thyroid and parathyroid hormones, which affect bone health
"If you have a thyroid problem, avoiding fluoride may be a good preventive health measure for you," writes Drs' Richard and Karilee Shames in "Thyroid Power."(F)
Over, 900 Physicians, Dentists, Scientists, Academics and Environmentalists urge Congress to stop water fluoridation until Congressional hearings are conducted. They cite new scientific evidence that fluoridation is ineffective and has serious health risks. (http://www.fluorideaction.org/statement.august.2007.html)
Please sign the petition and Congressional letter to support these professionals http://www.fluorideaction.net/
"Fluoride can harm bones, teeth, kidneys, the brain and more," says lawyer Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation.
References: http://tinyurl.com/39d3q8 Contact: Paul Beeber, 516-433-8882, nyscof@aol.com http://www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscofNYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation

NZ - Dentists shunning Rotorua

Dentists shunning Rotorua
DENTISTS are in short supply in Rotorua because dental school graduates with hefty student loans are attracted to bigger money in larger cities and overseas.Rotorua's oral hygiene is among the worst in the country and dentists blame bad diets, smoking and the fact the city's water supply is not fluoridated.There is also a shortage of dentists which has led to an average waiting time for appointments of four to six weeks for secondary school students and adults. Even in an emergency, people are not seen immediately and there is no guarantee of being seen within a few days. Some people are referred to Tauranga and Taupo for faster treatment.Rotorua principals and dental health experts are calling for the city's water to be fluoridated as one way to protect the population's teeth, given the poor level of dental hygiene and the lack of services available.Their call is supported by Bay of Plenty Medical Officer of Health Dr Phil Shoemack who said if Rotorua children brushed their teeth twice a day, improved nutrition and regularly visited a dentist, their oral health would still be worse than elsewhere because the water in Rotorua was not fluoridated. He said fluoridation was the best way to improve oral health.There are 15 dentists working privately in Rotorua plus one community dentist at Tipu Ora and another supporting school dental services.Lakes District Health Board chairman Stewart Edward, who is also a dentist, said another four in the city would help reduce waiting times. In the last year, two dentists had died and one had moved to Australia. None was replaced.He acknowledged Rotorua's poor oral health was an issue that needed to be looked at and said it was due to bad, high sugar diets and smoking plus the fact the city's water supply was not fluoridated.He said fluoridation was a "no brainer" because it would improve oral health.Rotorua currently had a full complement of dental therapists for its 21 clinics but finding replacements when needed could be difficult."The number of people training in dental therapy has dropped in recent years and many of the dental therapists employed are in their late 40s or 50s."Many dentists and therapists in Rotorua were likely to retire in the next 5-10 years, Mr Edward said. [New] graduates were not coming through because other, larger, centres were more attractive.Studying to become a dental therapist or dentist costs an estimated $16,000 to $33,000 and with such big loans to repay, graduates headed elsewhere where they could earn more money. Not all later returned to New Zealand.

USA - Survey finds big holes in little kids' dental care

Survey finds big holes in little kids' dental care
By Mary Ann Fergus Tribune staff reporter 12:06 AM CDT, September 25, 2007 Katelyn Patthana confidently slid into a chair to have her molars sealed, no big deal for a 7-year-old who had lived through a dental horror story. The Gilberts 2nd grader's tooth decay was so severe two years ago that dentists pulled six teeth, crowned two and filled five.Katelyn is among a growing number of young children with cavities, creating concern among dentists and parents who hoped that brushing and avoiding candy was enough to silence the drills. But with continual snacking and the use of non-fluoridated bottled water on the rise, experts say parents have to be even more vigilant. "There's plenty of new cavities coming through," says Dr. Nicola Hill-Cordell, a pediatric dentist in Hoffman Estates. "At least once a week, you get a new kid who is [younger] than 2 with a cavity."Nationwide, nearly 28 percent of children ages 2 to 5 had at least one cavity, according to a federal survey covering 1999 to 2004. That represents a 4 percent climb from the previous survey, 1988 to 1994, and the first significant statistical increase in 40 years, said Bruce Dye, lead author of a National Center for Health Statistics report on oral health released this spring. The federal government first assessed tooth decay in the 1960s. After massive efforts to put fluoride in tap water led to declining cavity rates in the 1970s, tooth decay among preschoolers leveled off in the 1980s—until now. Hectic family lives often leave little time for cooking and preparing fresh vegetables and fruit, Dye said. Trying to avoid sugary drinks, parents often turn to convenient bottled water, but it doesn't necessarily have the fluoride that dentists once fought for in tap water.The American Dental Association has long recommended use of fluoridated water and hygiene products such as fluoridated toothpaste."Toothpaste is a significant way of delivering it but water is an additional way and it's cheaper," said Dr. Indru Punwani, executive director of the Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentists. "This is one way to ensure you are getting fluoride to the child—to the poor, young and old. It's one more source." Experts also partly attribute the surge in cavities to the fact that many immigrants have never been exposed to tooth-decay prevention measures. "In many cultures, you do not go to a dentist until you get a toothache and they take it out and that's it," Punwani said. Born in Laos and raised in the U.S., Seng Patthana said no one warned her against putting Katelyn to bed each night with a bottle of calcium-fortified orange juice. The working mother said she thought it was a healthy choice for a growing toddler who didn't like milk."It was shocking," Patthana said of the cavities. "I thought at least it had calcium. I wasn't thinking the sugar is sitting there overnight on her teeth."The most recent National Center for Health Statistics report, released in April, did have some good news on the cavity front. It showed a decline in tooth decay overall among older children compared with the previous survey covering 1988 to 1994.Decay in the permanent teeth of children 6 to 11 years old decreased from 25 percent to 21 percent; among adolescents 12 to 19, it dropped from 68 percent to 59 percent. But the report also documents several disparities along ethnic, racial and economic lines.Three times as many poor children had untreated dental disease compared with their more affluent counterparts, according to the report. Thirty-one percent of Mexican-American children ages 6 to 11 had cavities in their permanent teeth, compared with 19 percent of non-Hispanic white children.About two-thirds of Medicaid children didn't receive dental care in 2005, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data for that year. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit by their first birthday or with the appearance of the first tooth.An Illinois law passed two years ago requires kindergartners, 2nd and 6th graders to show proof of a dental exam in order to attend school, but experts say it's largely a symbolic gesture."I think it's the step in the right direction . . . But given dental decay's progression, it's too late," Punwani said. "By the time the average child starts kindergarten, one out of three already have tooth decay." With extensive cavities comes the need to find the right treatment and pain relief plan for children, some younger than 2. Punwani sees some of the most complicated cases as head of the University of Illinois at Chicago pediatric dental clinic, where as many as 30 children a day are treated on an emergency basis.The death of 5-year-old Diamond Brownridge, who was over-sedated in a Chicago dentist's office last September, was "an aberration," Punwani said. Still, a state law recently passed as a result of her death promises to strengthen guidelines for dental equipment, monitoring and the training of dental assistants during sedations. The pain-relief methods vary, depending on dentist and family preference. Some dentists use more natural methods, treating the child with a local anesthetic and plenty of positive reinforcement.A more complicated case, such as Katelyn's, generally requires an out-patient hospital visit with general anesthesia. Seng Patthana and her husband, Khamphone, say they've cut down on sweets and now serve milk or water with meals to their daughters Katelyn and Kaylee, 5, who also had several cavities two years ago. "It was an ordeal," Seng Patthani said. "And it's expensive. It's better to prevent it."mfergus@tribune.com

Monday, September 24, 2007

Alaska - Flouride opponents host dental expert at talks

Flouride opponents host dental expert at talks
Nationally recognized critic says additive is dangerous to humans
michael penn / juneau empire

Flouride fighter: Hardy Limeback, chairman of Preventve Dentistry at the University of Toronto, readies his presentation Friday as Mary Alice McKeen takes a sip of bottled water.

Opponents of adding fluoride to Juneau's water supply ramped up their offensive last week, bringing in a national expert to lecture Thursday and Friday nights to drive home their point that fluoride is dangerous to the human body.
Hardy Limeback sat on the 12-member National Research Council that looked into the toxic effects of fluoride in drinking water. The panel, which is part of the National Academy of Science, reviewed hundreds of peer-reviewed, published studies on the harmful effects of fluoride on the body.
Limeback is a dentist and associate professor at the University of Toronto, where he chairs the Preventive Dentistry Department. He has a doctoral degree in biochemistry.
"There's a groundswell of scientists who are opposed to putting this in the water," Limeback said. "There's so much new science out there that should be weighed, versus the so-called benefits, which have declined."
George Brown, a pediatrician, was one of a few doctors who attended the lecture. Brown said Limeback's research is valuable, but he is still in favor of resuming fluoridation until the community has another way of assuring effective preventive dental care for children whose families cannot afford it.
"(Limeback) is very knowledgeable. He is a research scientist and he's raising a lot of issues that are important. I listened, I learned something, I respect the man and I respect the viewpoint," Brown said. "I'm coming from the point of view that to say no fluoride is necessary is just as extreme as to say it's not toxic at all, and more research needs to be done."
The maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water is 4 milligrams per liter, a standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1986. At levels higher than that, water is considered contaminated. Where fluoride is added to water, it is usually at .7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter. Fluoride also occurs naturally in many water supplies.
Limeback said that since fluoride accumulates in the body, it's not the concentration that is important. It's the overall dosage, or the overall amount that people swallow, that matters.
So while the mainstream medical establishment still believes there is a safe concentration that can be achieved in drinking water, Limeback said those who drink it continually may build up toxic levels in their bodies. He does believe fluoride is beneficial if it is used directly on teeth, like it is with toothpaste.
Carolyn Brown, an obstetrician and chairwoman of the pro-fluoridation group Citizens for Dental Health, said the bottom line is that fluoridation provides public health benefits.
"The preponderance of evidence supports having fluoride in the water as a benefit to public health. For those few people who simply cannot abide having fluoridation in their water, there are any number of (water filtration) systems that are available that will take it out," said Carolyn Brown, who is married to George Brown.

Limeback was originally invited to Juneau to give a continuing education lecture to Bartlett Memorial Hospital staff. Bartlett's continuing education committee did not accept him, so arrangements were made to lecture to the general public.

He said he was disappointed that most of the medical profession in Juneau did not come to the lectures, and that critics who call his point of view "junk science" are "terribly ignorant."

Most dental programs in America do not have a course on fluoride toxicity, he said, so most dentists do not know its harmful effects on the body.

Alaska - Sound science favors water fluoridation

My turn: Sound science favors water fluoridation
Choice involves the anticipatory idea of several possible actions and reactions. Our current personal and community decision-making about the initiative to fluoridate Juneau's community water supply suggests this is critically so.
With passionate views on both sides of the discourse, it is reasonable to ask, "How do I decide? What criteria shall I use?"
Given that fluoridation of our water system is a public health and personal issue, our considerations of the evidence-based science involved with these decisions are important for our families and community.
Just what "science" are we talking about? Are our deliberations based on evidence-based science, pseudoscience, sound science, or junk science? All of these terms are bantered across the divide. It appears clear to most scientists that evidence-based science is ever-evolving and can be depended upon for decision-making.

Definitions of these terms as used by the generally accepted scientific communities must be considered. Evidence-based science (sound science) is supported by a credible author with a science background, credentials, and (hopefully) not a huge ax to grind with the world. Studies are dated, peer-reviewed, published in acceptable scientific journals, and replicable by other scientists. There is clear differentiation as to human versus animal versus test-tube study. There is clear documentation as to science-controlled, randomized and statistically valid investigations over "anecdotal" stories or opinions.

Pseudoscience (also called "junk science") has less clear definitions and has been defined as conclusions that use low quality data such as testimonials, anecdotal information, and single case reports without statistical verification.

Why does this matter? Decision-making about fluoride in our water supply must have a base of credible science. Available publications and Internet communications contain both science-based information and pseudoscience (unsubstantiated opinions) that have minimal to no merit. It is critical that we read and choose carefully our sources upon which to rely. The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Public Health Service, American Medical Association, and American Dental Association represent credible sources. Juneau medical doctors and dentists work closely with their parent state and national professional organizations to provide the most accurate and science-based information and care for patients and the community.
Science-based evidence indicates that optimal water fluoridation is safe and is effective in preventing dental decay and adverse oral health. Erroneous and misconstrued pseudoscience taken out of context will not provide the information we need for decision making about optimal water fluoridation.
I encourage you to respect the scientific, evidence-based facts that support community water fluoridation. I will be voting yes on Proposition 2 and encourage you to vote yes on Proposition 2 on Oct. 2.

• Carolyn V. Brown is a medical doctor who has practiced medicine for more than 45 years and who lives in Douglas.

You can feel safe with fluoride, especially now that "Commies" are out of the picture.

Sunday, September 23, 2007
Bodily fluids fine with fluoride
You can feel safe with fluoride, especially now that "Commies" are out of the picture.
I was shocked to learn that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is going to start putting fluoride in our water. No, I'm not shocked that they're going to add the fluoride. What's shocking to me is that they didn't start doing it long ago.
As reported in the Register last week, the MWD, which supplies about half of Orange County's water, plans to start adding fluoride to the water this fall to help strengthen people's teeth and fight tooth decay – especially in kids. Actually the water already contains tiny amounts of natural fluoride, but the MWD plan will spike it up a tiny bit more, to the optimum level of just under 1 part per million.

Once again, that's under one part per million – which means that for every part of your tap water that is fluoride, there are about 999,999 parts that aren't. If you're among the Orange County residents who will get the fluoridated water (some will and some won't) you won't see it or taste it, any more than you can see or taste the other substances – arsenic, aluminum, manganese, you name it – that are also found in almost infinitesimally small quantities in tap water.

As I said, I'm surprised that it took the water guys so long to get around to this. After all, fluoridation of municipal water supplies to improve dental health has been around for six decades. In fact, about two thirds of the people in the U.S. already drink fluoridated water; for many Americans, it's as common as using artificially "iodized" salt to prevent iodine-deficiency afflictions such as goiters.

And it's not as if there's a lot of debate over the benefits of fluoridation among the medical/scientific establishment. The American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – it's hard to find any group of guys in white smocks with multiple diplomas on the wall who don't think fluoridation is one of the best things since latex gloves.
There is, however, one relatively small group on whom fluoride in the water does have an obvious deleterious effect. Fluoride seems to drive conspiracy theorists a little bit nuts. Of course, that's nothing new. Back in the 1950s fluoridation was denounced by some as a Communist plot to – as a character in the 1964 film "Dr. Strangelove" put it – "sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids…. A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual…. That's the way your hard-core Commie works."

But now that the Commies are pretty much relegated to the ash heap of history, the conspiracy theorists have turned to other, equally sinister culprits. Some say fluoridation is a plot by the U.S. government to exercise a form of "mind control." Others believe that Big Business interests see fluoridation as a way to dispose of an industrial waste product by conveniently dumping it into the water supply.

In fact, the story about the fluoridation plan on the Register Web site elicited just such comments. "There are … vast reports of Nazis experimenting with fluoride for population and mind control," one reader wrote. "They are going to poison us," another reader declared – although it's hard to imagine just how the Metropolitan Water District would benefit from poisoning its customers, unless it was to thin out the thirsty herd in preparation for an expected drought.
"I've heard them all," says Dr. David Nelson, a fluoridation consultant for the California Department of Public Health – who, by the way, promised me that he is neither a Communist nor a member of any secret subversive society. "It has morphed from a Communist plot to a government conspiracy to something that causes all these terrible diseases. It's all balderdash. We've been doing this for 60 years… and it's the right thing to do."

Meanwhile, dentists in the trenches – or rather, in the mouths – generally swear by the idea."It's extremely beneficial," says Dr. Paul Reggiardo, a pediatric dentist in Huntington Beach – which, incidentally, has been fluoridating its water for decades. Dr. Reggiardo, who also assured me that he's not a Communist or a subversive – in my experience, few dentists are – added that, "The vast body of (scientific) evidence is overwhelming as to the benefits" of fluoridation, as well as to the absence of negative effects.
Now, don't get me wrong here. Too much fluoride, like too much of anything, can be bad for you. I can also understand why some people are cautious about things being added to their water – and if they want to change the policy and the law, they're welcome to peacefully rise up and do it.But in the meantime, beware of wild conspiracy theories and half-baked Internet claims. Sixty years of experience tells us that a tiny splash of fluoride in the water can help us, not hurt us.
And our precious bodily fluids will be just fine.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7953 or GLDillow@aol.com

NZ - School leader says kids suffering dental 'abuse'

School leader says kids suffering dental 'abuse'
A secondary school principal says the absence of fluoride in Rotorua's water supply is a form of child abuse.
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said he was disgusted to hear how bad Rotorua's dental problem was at a meeting between primary and secondary school principals and dental health experts.
Rotorua has the worst dental hygiene in New Zealand behind Northland. Both regions do not fluoridate their water.
A factor in Rotorua's bad dental hygiene is a lack of dentists and dental therapists in the city which meant students have to wait two to three months to be seen. Alternatively, they were being told to travel to Tauranga or Taupo for faster care. "To me that is just a totally unacceptable situation," Mr Walsh said. Mr Walsh said the only way to help ease the problem was to fluoridate Rotorua's water supply. Not doing so was a form of child abuse, he says. "I think we're cutting our children short. "It's like getting into a third world country." He felt students were reluctant to visit dental clinics or doctors, so pumping fluoride in their water would improve their oral health without them realising it.
"My major priority is really to persuade council to put fluoride in the water." Mobile dental clinics parked at each high school until all students were seen would also be a good idea. Mr Walsh and his family moved to Rotorua from Auckland where water is fluoridated four-and-a-half years ago.
Before then, none of his children Liam, 14, Fintan, 11, Eamon, 7, and Orla, 4, had any dental problems. However, Fintan and Eamon have had fillings despite them brushing twice a day and Mr Walsh giving his children fluoride tablets. He said nothing compares to fluoridated water. Medical officer of health Dr Phil Shoemack agreed and said he has been campaigning for the council to fluoridate Rotorua's water for years. "It seems to be a controversial subject ... I've never fully understood [why].
"To me its far from being controversial," he said. Dr Shoemack noted Taupo children's teeth were in much better condition than those in Rotorua.
"Taupo gets fluoridated water, Rotorua doesn't," he said. Dr Shoemack said children should brush their teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, improve nutrition and regularly visit a dentist to improve their dental hygiene.
He did not recommend fluoride tablets because they did not do as good a job as fluoridation. Both Mr Walsh and Dr Shoemack could not understand why the Rotorua District Council had not already fluoridated the city's water supply. "I think its something that should be on the local body election agenda, it's such an important issue," Mr Walsh said. Rotorua District Council utilities and operations manager Eric Cawte said councils had the authority to make a decision to fluoridate the city's water supply.
If that was made by the Rotorua council then he would be in charge of implementing it, but admitted it would not be an easy process.
"We would have to design and purchase some equipment to put it in," he said. Although it would take some time before it would be under way in Rotorua, Mr Cawte said there were a lot of councils that were fluoridating water and equipment was available.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

USA - Dallas, TX, is fluoridated:NYSCOF

Each year we are able to care for over 2,000 children, but today the need is even greater. Our goal is to reach 15 percent of DISD students, approximately 9,000 - who are without a dental home. We need your help to achieve this goal.

No child's health, well-being, education or economic future should be compromised by oral disease. With the help of committed volunteers and donors, we can extend dental services to more children in our community.

Dental problems are a major reason for school absences in Dallas.
Over 51 million school hours are lost nationwide to dental problems each year.
Tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease in children--5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever.
Of the estimated 164,000 students enrolled in DISD, approximately 114,800 were at or below poverty level.
Nationally, 55% of students living at or below poverty level have significant dental problems.
Only 10% of Mexican American children and 11% of African American children have dental sealants on molars--a proven prevention for tooth decay.
Fluoride varnish applied to early tooth decay can stop or reverse the process for only pennies per child.
Please help us. If you would like more information about The Children's Oral Health Center of Dallas, contact us at 214-827-1724. We are a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization. Your donations are fully tax deductible.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

California - Water agency to fluoridate

Water agency to fluoridate
Chemical credited with preventing tooth decay will be added to about half O.C.'s supplies.
Orange County residents, especially children, can expect healthier teeth and fewer cavities over the coming years, water officials say.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is bringing its system up to par with other regions with its decision to add fluoride to Southern California's water supply.
The MWD will start bringing fluoridation systems online at its five massive filtration plants over five weeks starting next month. One of those is the Robert B. Diemer Plant in Yorba Linda, which supplies about half of Orange County's water; it will start introducing fluoridated water into the system Nov. 19.
Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach are the only communities in Orange County that have fluoridated water."With adding fluoride, Southern California is really playing catch-up with other cities throughout the nation," said Bob Muir, a district spokesman.The district spent $5.5 million on chemical-injection equipment to add fluoride to tap water and keep it at the 0.7-milligrams-per-liter level that is considered optimal for building of tooth enamel and preventing cavities.
According to the American Dental Association, it costs about $1 annually to fluoridate water for the typical family. For every $1 spent, the Dental Association estimates fluoridated water prevents $38 in dental bills.
Dr. Eric Handler, a pediatrician and public health officer for the Orange County Healthcare Agency, said that fluoridating water is integral for the formation of healthy teeth in kids.
"It's been shown to be effective in preventing tooth decay," Handler said. "If I can pull a quote from the Centers for Disease Control, 'Fluoridation is one of the 10 great public health developments of the 20th century. It's a major factor in the decline of tooth decay.' "
However, for some fluoridation has been a controversial issue since the practice began in force in the 1940s.
"People aren't voting for fluoridation," said Jeff Green, the national director for San Diego-based Citizens for Safe Drinking Water.
Green said the fluoride process might even be bad for people, as he believes there hasn't been a conclusive study to support its use. He added he mistrusts the chemical manufacturers.
Though Metropolitan provides a lot of Orange County's water, the agency's move to fluoridation doesn't mean every tap in the county will be spitting out water with an optimal level of fluoride. That makes the number of customers who will start receiving fluoridated water hard to pin down.

In south Orange County, some water districts get 100 percent of their water from the MWD.
"Whatever Met gives us, we get," said Larry Dees, director of operation for the Moulton Niguel Water District.
However, most north Orange County cities get MWD's soon-to-be-fluoridated water – in addition to utilizing water from ground wells that don't go through fluoridation systems. Parts of those cities will get fully fluoridated water most of the time, while others will get mostly unfluoridated water most of the time.
Water officials Mike Payne, Trudi Loy, Leon de los Reyes, John DeCriscio, Edgar Dimally, Mike Ebbing and Darcy Burke were also interviewed for this story.

Contact the writer: 714-704-3706 or atownsend@ocregister.com

Irish medical news

The fluoridated water question
By Dr Andrew Rynne
VOICE Ireland’s ongoing question for the Irish Medicine Board is a simple and straightforward one: how come the IMB allows this State to add what it sees as an unlicensed medicine into the people’s drinking water supply?

I mean to say that would seem to be a fair enough sort of question. The IMB is after all the State-funded watchdog in this area. It has the power and the resources and the authority to prevent unlicensed medicine being offered to an unsuspecting public. And let us be fair about this too. By and large our IMB does an excellent job of safeguarding us from unlicensed impostors.

Look at St John’s Wort capsules for example. Where are they now? They are gone for all time, banished. With one mighty sweep of the powerful arm of our IMB, every shelf in every health food store right across the land has been swept bare of all products containing hypericum, the active ingredient of St John’s Wort. Likewise Ginkgo is gone, banished it seems for all time by the all-powerful Medicines Board. It matters not at all that these ancient herbs grow freely in your average back garden and that with a little ingenuity a fellow might brew up a hypericum tea or a pure Ginkgo leaf extract.

Nor does it seem to matter that medicinal forms of these herbal remedies are freely available one click away on the Internet. No, all the IMB did was clear the health food stores of these products and let the devil take the hindmost after that.

So what about IMB’s answer to the simple question posed by Robert Pocock of VOICE about fluoride not being licensed by it and therefore, by its own definition, surely an illegal medicinal product? I have the IMB’s answer here in front of me dated some time back and headed: Re: Hydrofluorosilicic acid in drinking water.

The second paragraph of this letter is quite extraordinary, and reads: “Having considered the matter, the IMB does not consider tap water to meet the definition of a medicinal product under Article 1 of Directive 2001/83/EC as amended.”

That’s fine, except that nobody ever said that tap water was a medicinal product in the first place and introducing this red herring here is surely misleading.

It should hardly be necessary for one to have to point out the following to the IMB but apparently it might be: a medicinal product usually comprises two components – the active ingredient and excipients. Excepients are inactive substances used as carriers for the active ingredient to aid in the manufacture and absorption of the medicinal product.

So, taking the medicinal product that fluoridated drinking water most certainly is, given to humans to prevent the disease, dental caries, the excepient is tap water and the active ingredient is hydrofluorosilicic acid.

Together, I would contend, they are a medicinal product and in this case uniquely an unlicensed medicinal product and therefore an unauthorised medicinal product and no amount of obfuscation or shoals of red herrings will alter that fact.

Elsewhere the IMB has argued that since fluoridation is provided for by legislation, then it cannot be illegal. The Oireachtas enacted the Act allowing for the fluoridation of Irish drinking water in 1960 almost 40 years before the IMB came into being.

Many things, like St John’s Wort and Ginkgo, were legal then and seem to be illegal now. Moreover the statutory instrument under which the IMB draws its powers seems to allow for no exceptions on the bases of historical legislation, nor should it.

Fluoridated drinking water seems to be a no-go area for the IMB. It would be nice if the IMB would just come out and say that, rather than seemingly introducing shoals of red herrings and in my opinion seemingly ducking the issue at every hand’s turn.