This opinion piece was written by Peter Griffin, a science and technology writer. Griffin should have a lot of credibility as he is the founding director of the Science Media Centre and founding editor of Sciblogs.co.nz. In August 2019 Griffin wrote an opinion piece on the Green et al. paper published in JAMA Pediatrics. He called it “one observational study that doesn’t establish cause and effect…” He obviously didn’t read the references (Valdez Jiménez, 2017; Das & Mondal, 2016; Bashash, 2017 and 2018; Choi, 2015; Lu, 2000; Zhao, 1996; Xiang, 2003). Nor did he read the second Canadian study by Till, 2020). In his article below he writes blissfully unaware of the neurotoxicity of fluoride and the latest Mother-Offspring fluoride studies. Wittingly or not, he is the face of “the lapdog” for the government’s fluoridation agenda. (EC)
OPINION: Back in 2015, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? hailed fluoridation of water supplies as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
It is up there with vaccination, motor-vehicle safety and family planning as one of the things that have most improved people’s health, saving billions of dollars in medical costs as a result.
According to the CDC, fluoridation has led to a 25 per cent reduction in tooth decay among children and adults in the US. The impact is considered to be at least as significant here. A 2004 study compared tooth decay in children aged 5 years and 12 years living in Wellington, which had fluoridated water, and Christchurch, which was unfluoridated? at the time.
The recorded severity of dental decay was 30 per cent lower for the Wellington five-year-olds and 40 per cent lower for the Wellington 12-year-olds.
So the people of Upper Hutt, Porirua,? Wellington City, Stokes Valley and Manor Park are right to be angry as they learn that they’ve been drinking unfluoridated water. The fluoridation systems were quietly switched off as long ago as May last year.
A review of fluoridation in the region also found that the failing fluoridation system, installed decades ago, has been under-dosing those of us living in the region for at least four years. It’s one thing to know you are not getting the dose you need and make sure you use fluoridated toothpaste regularly to make up for it.
It’s another thing entirely to remain oblivious to the fact that you probably aren’t getting enough exposure to fluoride to protect your teeth through the community water supply. It’s a less dramatic sign of the decay of our public water infrastructure than torrents of water and sewage erupting from broken pipes beneath Wellington streets.
But it’s a failure equally serious. It’s hard to know what the impact of this failure of planning and infrastructure will be. Dental decay is cumulative over time. But given the clear evidence of fluoridation’s benefits, even a temporary pause in dosing could have negative impacts.
While using fluoridated toothpaste allows the majority of us to get enough fluoride topically to help protect our teeth, there’s a good reason we add fluoride to the water supply. Kids can be fickle teeth brushers. Poor kids have higher rates of tooth decay, as do M?ori.
We had turned a corner on fluoridation. The Government made the right call to have the Ministry of Health take over responsibility for it, bringing a uniform approach to fluoridation across the country. The anti-fluoride campaigners lost their years-long battle to stay fluoride-free in parts of the country.
The fluoride failure in Wellington undermines that progress. I can only hope similar unreported lapses haven’t hit other regions too. The case for fluoridation remains stronger than ever. We fail the most vulnerable in society by letting incompetence stand in the way of public health.
*Original article online at https://www.stuff.co.nz/science/300543615/serious-failures-in-wellingtons-fluoride-system