Wichitans for Healthy Teeth was invited to multiple events during Dr. Paul Connett’s visit to Wichita. Rather than actually attend any of these events, Wichitans for Healthy Teeth predictably initiated a smear campaign against him, using their web site to post some questions for Dr. Connett, rather than asking in person when they had the chance. Their questions can be found here on their web site, as well as below, with Dr. Connett’s response is below:
“Every human being and every scientist is capable of making mistakes and I have certainly made my share over my scientific and activist career. However, the charge that I have deliberately misled the public is a very serious one and should not be made lightly. I value my scientific credibility greatly and I am not happy when it is besmirched in public, especially by those who have a partisan axe to grind.. Thus I challenge Wichitans for Healthy Teeth to provide any example in my five presentations in Wichita over the three day period (October 29th through 31st) or any statement in the meticulously documented text that I co-authored The Case Against Fluoride (Chelsea Green, 2010) that they can demonstrate to be “deliberately misleading.” If they cannot do this then I believe that this organization owes me a public apology – and it needs to be issued before the November 6th ballot measure on fluoridation.”
-Paul Connett, PhD • November 4th, 2012
Your group, the Fluoride Action Network, sent an e-mail message last year claiming that fluoridation’s role in the decline of tooth decay “is in serious doubt.” Haven’t you read the 2010 study from New York State showing that low-income kids in non-fluoridated areas needed 33% more fillings, root canals, and extractions than those in fluoridated areas? Aren’t you familiar with the 1995 Illinois study calling fluoridation “the dominant factor” in the decline of decay???
The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) stands by its claim that the role of fluoridation in the decline of tooth decay is in serious doubt. Unlike Wichitans for Healthy Teeth, FAN does not base this conclusion on two cherry-picked studies. FAN bases this conclusion instead on a wealth of data including (1) a seminal study published in the journal Nature which unequivocally reaches this same conclusion (Diesendorf 1986), (2) comprehensive data from the World Health Organization showing that countries with NO water fluoridation programs have just as low, and often lower, rates of tooth decay than countries with widespread fluoridation programs, (3) dozens of large-scale, modern studies (including the largestdental health study ever conducted in the U.S.) showing NO difference in decayed, missing, or filled teeth among children in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas; (4) the results of a multi-million dollar NIH-funded studywhich shows that children with higher fluoride intake do not have significantly less tooth decay (Levy 2009); (5) the concession by the Centers for Disease Control that fluoride’s primary benefit to teeth is topical, not systemic (ergo, there is no need to swallow fluoride), and (6) the fact that four studies have recently reported that tooth decay continued to decrease in communities after fluoridation was terminated. It is irresponsible, let alone unscientific, for Wichitans for Healthy Teeth to continue to claim, in light of this evidence, that fluoridated water will have a large effect in preventing tooth decay.
Your website claims that 97% of Western Europe has “rejected fluoridation.” Isn’t it misleading to say this when more than 80 million Europeans receive fluoride’s benefits through salt, milk or water fluoridation? Shouldn’t you inform your web visitors that Germany and Switzerland — where salt fluoridation is widely used — have among the lowest rates of tooth decay in all of Europe???
In terms of western Europe’s approach to fluoride, the key fact is that 97% of its population is not forced to drink fluoride in its water — which is what Wichitans for Healthy Teeth is aiming to do here in Wichita. Although some European countries allow salt fluoridation, most do not. Only five western European countries have any salt fluoridation. (Milk fluoridation is only used in very small pockets in Europe, reaching less than 1% of the European population.) On the Fluoride Action Network website, a complete list of which countries fluoridate their water and salt is provided, along with thelatest tooth decay data from the World Health Organization. As this data shows, countries with no water and no salt fluoridation (e.g., Denmark, the Netherlands) have just as low, or lower, tooth decay rates than countries with widespread water and/or salt fluoridation programs (e.g., Germany and Switzerland). Has Wichitans for Healthy Teeth ever told its website visitors this fact?
Earlier this year, you spoke to the editors of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and explained why you want that city to end water fluoridation. The newspaper wrote afterward that your argument’s “aren’t based on much more than anecdote, conjecture and studies that aren’t particularly relevant to the U.S. practice of community water fluoridation.” Shouldn’t Wichita make a decision on fluoridation based on documentation rather than speculation???
The decision about whether to force people to consume fluoride in their tap water for the rest of their life should absolutely be made based on documentation, not speculation. That is why FAN has made the findings of over 1,000 peer reviewed studies available on its website at http://www.fluoridealert.org/researchers/health_database/. This documentation shows that many of the beliefs upon which water fluoridation was launched in the 1950s have been proven false. For example, in contrast to what dentists once assured the public: (1) fluoride is not an essential nutrient, (2) fluoride’s primary benefit to teeth comes from topical application, not ingestion (there is no need to swallow it), (3) infants should NOT receive fluoride supplements of any kind (whether fluoridated water or fluoride drops), and (4) relatively low doses of fluoride can affect many tissues in the body besides the teeth, including the brain, the bones, andthyroid gland. We hope that Wichitans for Healthy Teeth will examine the hundreds of studies which document these facts. Also, rather than relying on the opinion of a newspaper editorial in Wisconsin, we believe the opinion of Dr. John Doull (the esteemed toxicologist who chaired theNational Research Council’s three-year review of the scientific literature on fluoride’s toxicity) should carry far more weight. According to Doull:
What the committee found is that we’ve gone with the status quo regarding fluoride for many years—for too long, really—and now we need to take a fresh look. In the scientific community, people tend to think this is settled. I mean, when the U.S. surgeon general comes out and says this is one of the 10 greatest achievements of the 20th century, that’s a hard hurdle to get over. But when we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this [fluoridation] has been going on. I think that’s why fluoridation is still being challenged so many years after it began.
Over the last year, the largest hospital system in Sedgwick County had more than 3,200 patients seek treatment for toothaches and other dental problems–many of these were preventable. By opposing water fluoridation and not offering any viable alternative strategy, are you saying that Wichita should simply accept the fact that these kinds of emergency dental visits will continue?
No one disputes the very real problems that high levels of tooth decay can cause, particularly in low-income communities. The idea, however, that adding a cheap industrial chemical to the water can prevent the oral health crises being experienced in disadvantaged communities is as illusory as it is insulting. These communities need dental care (i.e., over 80% of dentists refuse to treat Medicaid patients), not toxic fluorides. Indeed, the simple, unavoidable fact is that oral health crises are occurring in virtually every large metropolitan area in the U.S. — the vast majority of which have fluoridated their water for 30 to 50 years. In fluoridated Cincinnati, the City’s Dental Director has stated that the level of tooth decay in the city is “absolutely heartbreaking and a travesty. We have kids in this community with severe untreated dental infections. We have kids with self-esteem problems, and we have kids in severe pain and we have no place to send them in Cincinnati. People would be shocked to learn how bad the problem has become.’” Does Wichitans for Healthy Teeth reveal these inconvenient facts to its visitors? If decades of water fluoridation has proven incapable of preventing oral health crises in fluoridated areas across the country, why should Wichitans think it will prevent an oral health crisis in Wichita?
Water fluoridation is endorsed by the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mayo Clinic, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Institute of Medicine and other widely trusted organizations. Can you name one well-known, reputable medical/health organization that opposes water fluoridation?
While many medical organizations in the U.S. have endorsed fluoridation, the fact remains that the majority of developed countries have not been convinced by these endorsements. In Sweden, the parliament rejected an effort to fluoridate water based on the detailed recommendation of a Nobel Prize winning scientist (Dr. Arvid Carlsson). Today, there are more people drinking fluoridated water in the U.S. than the rest of the world combined. Although fluoridation has become a sacred cow in the U.S. medical community, a number of health and scientific organizations have begun speaking out against the practice. Perhaps most notably, the Union of Scientists and Professionals at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Headquarters Office, which represents over 1,500 scientists at EPA, has gone on record as opposing water fluoridation due to concerns about fluoride’s health effects. According to the Union, “In summary, we hold that fluoridation is an unreasonable risk.”
Your website cites anti-fluoride research from Dr. John Yiamouyiannis and praises him as a man “of true honor and integrity.” Don’t your website’s visitors deserve to know that Dr. Yiamouyiannis wrote a book falsely claiming that HIV does not cause AIDS???
Dr. Yiamouyiannis (“Dr. Y”) was widely regarded, by both pro- and anti-fluoridation scientists, as having a brilliant mind. While FAN does not endorse or promote Dr. Y’s views with regard to HIV and AIDs, his work on fluoride speaks for itself. Rather than engaging in character assassination, Wichitans for Healthy Teeth would better serve the interests of Wichitans by acknowledging and responding to Dr. Y’s analysis of the largest national oral health study ever published in the U.S. This study found no difference in decayed teeth among children who had grown up in fluoridated or non-fluoridated communities.