Before we get to the Fluoride Action Network’s “impossible dream” of ending fluoridation worldwide we have a smaller “impossible task” of reaching our fundraising goal to finance our 2014 campaign.
We are down to the wire but thanks to so many generous donations we have already exceeded our target for the number of donors and are very well placed to reach our financial target by midnight tonight. That deadline is important for U.S. donors who want their donation to be tax-deductible. So it will be midnight wherever you live.
At 12 midnight (EST) Dec 30, we had raised $109,332 from 648 donors en route to our ambitious goal of $120,000 by midnight Dec 31. This means that today we need to raise another $10,668. That would be very, very daunting if it was not for two very generous pledges. One challenger will give us an extra $1000 if we can reach 700 donations by midnight and the other will double every donation up to a total of $4,000. If we could meet both these challenges – our total would be $119,332 and the other $668 will come very quickly. The race is on!
Ending Fluoridation: An Impossible Dream?
By Paul Connett, FAN Director
Many things appeared impossible once and yet they were eventually made to happen. The fall of the Berlin wall was one. The release of Nelson Mandela was another. As Mandela said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done.” Ending fluoridation after 68 years may also “seem impossible.” So, how close can we get to our “impossible dream” in 2014?
It is not going to be easy
We know that we will be outspent by at least 1000 to 1 by the pro-fluoridation lobby. This lobby includes the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Oral Health Division; the health departments in every U.S. state and the heath agencies in every other fluoridated country. These all use taxpayers’ money to push this practice on their citizens. It also includes the American Dental Association (reputed to raise $100 million a year) and the dental organizations in other fluoridating countries. Surprisingly to some, it now even includes the Pew Charitable Trusts, a multi-billion foundation. Less surprisingly, it also includes the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) an industry-funded group that has never found a chemical it couldn’t defend (including dioxin) and is a long-term and aggressive supporter of fluoridation.
Why do we keep going against such odds?
The extraordinary thing is that we are winning, maybe not as fast as we would like and as I had hoped 17 years ago! But today we are seeing more and more communities questioning this practice and some are even ending it (well over 100 since 2009).
Reason versus powerful PR
In 1996, when I first got involved in this battle I told my wife it was going to be easy. I had read some of the literature and couldn’t believe that any rational person would want this practice to continue once they saw the ethical and scientific arguments against it. Many well-intentioned dentists and public health officials truly believe in fluoridation, but sadly, as far as governments and industrial lobbies are concerned, it is not about winning a rational argument (which we would welcome), it is about tactics engineered by the powerful PR machinery that big money can buy.
This machinery will win them battles but will eventually lead them to lose the war. Ultimately they cannot win without the people and they cannot win the people without the truth. They can win temporarily with their PR, but these will be pyrrhic victories. We have the truth and eventually with patience and integrity we will win the people. We will end fluoridation eventually and we can even have some fun doing it.
Fluoridation is a House of Cards and you can play a hand in its downfall
While the nature of this battle is grim (witnessing the loss of integrity being exhibited by governmental agencies and professional bodies is painful) it’s important to have a little fun along the way. When we released our latest premium – the pack of playing cards featuring an edited version of the “50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation,” Doug Cragoe from Los Angeles humorously responded that the proponents would have a hard time responding with a pack of cards of their own because “you can’t play with a pack that has only one card in it!”
So I pondered, what would they put on that card? They can only argue for one benefit and the evidence for that benefit is very weak. Maybe they could resort to their favorite mantra and repeat on all 52 cards: “It’s safe an effective,” “It’s safe an effective,” …
For promoters it is all about tactics
The huge amount of scientific documentation that FAN and others have accumulated on fluoride’s toxicity and fluoridation’s questionable effectiveness, is very important when approaching independent scientists and others but it amounts to a hill of beans when it comes to dealing directly with fluoridation promoters. For them it is not about rational discourse – that has gone out of the window – it is all about tactics and those tactics are getting nastier and nastier.
Promoters can no longer control the flow of information
In the past one of the proponents’ key tactics was to control the flow of information on this issue – even to hide some very damaging evidence. One of the ways they controlled the argument was to persuade the public to focus on their “authority” rather than any science that could be brought to support their case. They did this by citing a long list of agencies and organizations that endorse fluoridation. Most of these endorsements were made in the 1950’s before any meaningful science was on the table. Another way was to persuade the public, academia and decision-makers that opponents of fluoridation were crazy; well intentioned perhaps but not scientists or experts. That is changing. Here is how.
1) Proponents are unwilling or unable to debate the issue in public. In the rare instances where they have debated, they have not fared well.
2) Proponents have been unable to rebut point by point the arguments in the book The Case Against Fluoride by Connett, Beck and Micklem in the three years since its publication.
3) Proponents have been unable to deal with the mountain of scientific evidence made public on our website ( www.FluorideALERT.org ). Instead they simply resort to calling it “junk science.” Just one of many examples where they have resorted to name-calling rather than rebutting our arguments or evidence.
4) Proponents can no longer hide the sordid collusion between fluoride polluting industries, the US Public Health Service and the key scientists who assured the public for decades about the safety of fluoridation and the “safety” standards designed to protect workers and the general public. FAN will soon be sharing much of this sordid history via the Flash Drive and the interactive online database that we are currently working to complete.
5) With the internet, the science and politics of fluoride can be instantly shared with our supporters around the world. No government site and no professional body has a website that comes close to the wealth of information we provide on the health effects of fluoride, see, for example, the information on our Researchers Page.
6) With the internet, opponents are no longer forced to fight this battle in isolation. We can link together quickly, cheaply and efficiently. We can share ideas on what works and what doesn’t. We can celebrate each other’s victories and we can share the tactics the opponents use when they win.
7) With the internet, we can draw upon the skills and time of many talented members of this worldwide anti-fluoridation network. . One of the most heartening aspects of this campaign is that whenever FAN has asked for special help (e.g. help in translating or accessing papers in foreign languages; help in obtaining historic documents; help with graphic design; etc), people have quickly responded. I can’t say this enough: ours is truly a TEAM effort working on many fronts. We don’t have a large PR firm; but we do have a lot of shoe leather and dedication.
Our task in 2014
Our task in 2014 will be to continue sharing key scientific information (sometimes translating studies in other languages) with citizens and decision-makers calmly and rationally and without distortion.Some of you will be able to do that with every game of cards that you play!
We will win – eventually
We will inevitably win this battle because a) the truth is on our side b); integrity is on our side and c) you can’t write a symphony on one note, or play a game of cards with one card!
It is only a question of when we win and that is where you come in. We will keep doing our very best in 2014 to help more communities win small local victories and large state and national ones – and seek more ways to end this practice worldwide. But we can only do this with your help.
If you haven’t done so already please donate generously and help us reach our goal of $120,000 by midnight your time tonight.
Our “50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation” playing cards have been wildly popular and we offering these at four different donation levels:
1 pack $27
2 packs $52
3 packs $71
4 packs $80
If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation you can either:
- Donate by using our secure online server.
- Donate by sending a check – payable to Fluoride Action Network – to: FAN, 104 Walnut Street, Binghamton, NY 13905. But please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure that your donation is counted in our total BEFORE the Dec. 31 midnight target time. The mail can be slow!
Paul, Ellen, Chris, Michael, Carol, Stuart, Bill H., Bill O., David, and all the other members of the FAN team.