A Prince George dentist is surprised and angered his name is being used in support of a class action lawsuit alleging the city’s fluoridated water is the cause of a degenerative tooth disease.
In his most recent filing at the Prince George courthouse, Kevin Millership says two people are seeking to be plaintiffs in the action and a further 20 potential plaintiffs have been identified “through the office dental records” of Dr. Larry Anderson.
The news came as a surprise to Anderson when he was reached Thursday and he went on to say he remains a supporter of fluoridated water.
“I would be for fluoridation and not against it,” Anderson said. “In the 1960s, Dr. Jack Ham did a study here in town that irrefutably proved fluoride is a cost-effective method of reducing cavities. It’s proven and the side effects are minimal if there are any.
“All these activists who are trying to take it away from us are using scare tactics of poor science that’s unproven.”
Anderson suspects the reference is a result of a phone conversation he had with Millership, who is alleging the city’s fluoridated water has led to “objectionable” fluorosis in as many as 10 per cent of Prince George’s population.
Anderson said a patient had asked him to call Millership to confirm whether her dental trouble was due to fluoride.
“I said it was not and he proceeded to ask me if I had seen fluorosis in my practice and I said ‘yeah, over 30 years I’ve probably seen 20 cases,’ but there is no correlation as to whether it is due to fluoride in the water of Prince George or if it is misuse from a different place or if they’re even from a different place than Prince George.”
Given he sees about 3,000 patients a year, Anderson said the number of fluorosis cases he has come across is “miniscule.”
Anderson said he never gave Millership permission to use his name.
“He is taking this totally out of context, saying that it is due to excess fluoride in Prince George and I never gave him information as such,” Anderson said.
He said a large portion of cases thought to be fluorosis, which causes mottling of the tooth enamel, are actually due to metabolic upset.
“They’re getting confused between the two,” Anderson said.
Fluorosis is usually due to misuse of fluoride from other sources, Anderson also said.
“Say a mother gives a youngster a toothbrush with adult toothpaste for the whole length of the toothbrush and he starts swallowing it,” Anderson said. “Well, we advise against that all the time.”
Millership is sticking to his guns.
“If Prince George did not add fluoride to its water system the 20 patients that Dr. Anderson treated for dental fluorosis fluoride poisoning …would not have needed the treatment or would not have needed as intensive a treatment,” Millership said.
If each dentist in Prince George came across 20 cases, it adds up, Millership also said, and noted that if there are 50 dentists in the city, that works out to 1,000 cases.
He also said that one of plaintiffs in the class action spent almost $50,000 in treatments for her dental fluorosis and while most was covered by her dental insurance, she still had to pay $10,000 out of her own pocket.
“Her teeth will need further treatment and cost tens of thousands more over her lifetime. Who pays? Her for now, but I contend that the City of Prince George will have to pay later because it caused the damage by drugging her with fluoridated water as a child,” Millership said.