Editor’s note: This is an unedited letter to reporter Marnie Eisenstadt about the story she wrote Sunday on Pulaski’s decision to stop fluoridating its water. Connett gave permission for it to be published.
Marnie, your pro-fluoridation connections are showing. Back in 2005 you wrote a front-page article for the Syracuse Post-Standard (M. Eisenstadt, “How Fluoride Makes a Difference in CNY; Cayuga County Lacks Fluoridation, and Has a Higher Rate of Cavities,” The Post-Standard, December 27, 2005) in which you used an unpublished and un-peer reviewed survey from the NYS DOH (authored by avid pro-fluoridationist Jay Kumar) that claimed that the lower tooth decay in third graders in Cayuga County compared to Onondonga County was due to the fact that Cayuga County was not fluoridated and Onondonga was. Fortunately, Cayuga County didn’t fall for this bit of State propaganda, and remains unfluoridated. When the survey was eventually published and all the data plotted for the state there was absolutely NO relationship between tooth decay in third graders by county and the percentage of the water fluoridated in each county (see pp 40-1) in the book The Case Against Fluoride.
Now you are at it again (see Dec 9, Why Pulaski pulled the plug on fluoridation), i.e. using front-page news articles as an editorial on behalf of your pro-fluoridation friends in the NY State Department of Health and elsewhere. You cite pro-fluoridation dentists in Pulaski; pro-fluoridationist Jay Kumar from the NY DOH and even PEW’s ultimate pro-fluoridationist spin artist Shelly Gehshan, but you made no attempt to get statements from opponents of fluoridation of comparable status. But ultimately, you did us a favor. The statements from the pro-fluoridationists are so over the top than many people – especially those who can read – can hardly take them seriously on a scientific level.
For example, you quote Gehshan as stating that,
“The backlash against fluoride is being fueled by the Web, where it doesn’t take a peer-reviewed scientific study to land at the top of a Google search. Often, anti-fluoride groups are paying to end up first in Web searches because they are selling books and other related products” Her group …is fighting fire with fire: It now also pays to land near the top of Web searches, too, she said.”
Wow! This is utter nonsense. The Fluoride Action Network does not pay to get its site at the top of search engines. We don’t need to. Obviously Pew has to. One only has to compare the quality of the science covered in the two sites to understand why (compare www.FluorideALERT.org with Ilikemyteeth.org.
But Gehshan is right about one thing, when she says that “The more people get information from the Internet that isn’t filtered, the harder it is to move forward.” Yes that’s right the more citizens find out about the health effects being ignored (filtered?) by the ADA, the CDC and PEW the more reluctant they are to participate in a practice that is unethical (it violates informed consent to medication), unnecessary (fluoride works topically not systemically, there is absolutely no need to swallow it); ineffective (the largest surveys and studies indicate little or no difference in tooth decay between unfluoridated communities and countries and fluoridated ones) and risky. There have now been 36 published studies that indicate a lowering of IQ is associated with exposure to fairly modest levels of fluoride, which leave no margin of safety to protect all children in the US. Meanwhile, 41% of children aged 12-15 have dental fluorosis, a visible indication that they have been chronically poisoned.
Marnie, if you are going to cover this story please cover both sides.
Paul Connett, PhD, director of the Fluoride Action Network and lead author of The Case Against Fluoride.