Fluoride Action Network

London: Compelling arguments warrant another look at fluoride

Source: The London Free Press | March 7th, 2011 | By Joe Belanger
Location: Canada, Ontario

Well, that explains an awful lot, especially the IQ score.

I’ve been drinking fluoride for more than 50 years and the results are obvious, as I’m sure many of London’s politicians would agree. So many of them think they’re so much smarter than me and you.

But, wait . . . they drank the same water I did. You, me, them . . . everyone did.

And what a bunch of dopes we must be for having accepted the wisdom of most of the world’s health officials and a good chunk of the scientific community for all these decades.

But now there’s a movement afoot to stop addition of fluoride in treated drinking water because of its health effects on small children from birth to about the age of four.

The Fluoride Action Network says the benefits of fluoride in fighting tooth decay don’t outweigh the potential negative health impacts — especially on babies until they reach the age of four years — including dental fluorosis, brain damage, lower thyroid function, bone damage and a fatal bone cancer known as osteosarcoma.

Those were some of the findings presented by Dr. Paul Connett to a crowd of about 370 at the Wolf Performance Hall at the Central Library Wednesday.

Connett makes some compelling arguments, noting there’s no measure of how much fluoride people are consuming from the tap and other sources, such as toothpaste. His arguments are based on the findings of a 2006 U.S. National Research Council study.

Connett argues, “If you put something in the water, you have to protect everyone. If you can’t protect everyone, you shouldn’t put it in the water . . . How many teeth would you have to save to justify one child dying of osteosarcoma?”

Connett says it’s “outrageous” Health Canada is not checking the dosage.

However, it seems disingenuous for Connett to argue that to fluoridate water requires informed consent, as doctors require from patients for treatments, since fluoride is a medicine. Society, represented by an elected government, opted to have fluoride added, not unlike the addition of chlorine, a poison, to kill bacteria. Society decided the greater good outweighed individual rights.

Still, it’s hard not to acknowledge Connett makes a compelling argument. We have to remember that it was people not unlike Connett who sounded the alarm on the impacts of many things on human and environmental health that national and international health officials said were safe. Think of thalidomide and the deformed babies produced by the pregnant women who used it. Think of DDT and the disappearance of the bald eagle from most of Ontario.

This is a growing movement. The cities of Calgary and Waterloo have already decided to stop adding fluoride.

A movement does not make it science. It’s a point of view, albeit based on some science, but it’s hardly conclusive.

And because children are the focus of the debate, it can be emotional.

Health officials around the world continue to support its use, recommending moderate use of 0.7 parts per million. If children are getting too much, then health officials should take steps to control the intake of fluoride from other sources where it is deliberately added. Parents, too, should be monitoring their child’s intake.

Fluoride is a mineral found in rocks and soils that helps to harden teeth and prevent tooth decay among children and adults. It is found naturally in water in some parts of the world.

To act so quickly on this issue as they did in Calgary and Winnipeg seems to be knee-jerk, putting the dental health of children needlessly at risk.

The benefits of fluoride have been scientifically proven. The Centre for Disease Control calls it one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

The fact is there are negative impacts associated with just about everything we consume, especially in excess.

Yes, Connett makes a compelling argument on an issue that can deliver a strong emotional reaction.

But I am not convinced this city or this country should ignore the opinions of the majority of the world’s health-care experts and stop adding fluoride.

Regardless, Connett has planted a seed of doubt and, I’d suggest, done everyone a favour by getting this issue on the front burner.

We must press politicians and health officials, especially Health Canada and similar organizations globally, to take a hard look at the use of fluoride.

It’s too late for my IQ, but not my grandchildren’s if, in fact, fluoride is not the answer to fighting tooth decay.