Editor’s note: This commentary is by Jack Crowther, of Rutland, who is retired. He worked as a journalist and in corporate communications.
On March 22, Joint Resolution Senate 26 by Sen. Peg Flory of Rutland was introduced into the Vermont Senate and referred to the Health and Welfare Committee.
The resolution, which I drafted and which was fine-tuned in Legislative Council, aims to put the state of Vermont in a neutral position on public water fluoridation, in contrast to its present role of promoting fluoridation.
Neutrality would allow the state health department to be an honest broker of information on fluoridation rather than unabashedly selling it as a public health measure.
Vermonters are entitled to the truth about fluoridation, including its unproven effectiveness, its health risks and its obvious violation of informed consent.
Three years of study of fluoridation have made me a strong opponent of the measure, but the resolution permits the state to be neutral, neither for nor against, while the departments of health and environmental conservation conduct a study on the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation.
Among the points made in the “whereases” of the resolution are the following:
• The scientific foundation for fluoridation has been and remains insufficient, when current standards for human therapeutic treatment are applied.
• A recent study in the prestigious Cochrane Review failed to confirm the effectiveness of fluoridation, illustrating one reason why water fluoridation remains a matter of public debate.
• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has declared fluoride, for the purpose of preventing tooth decay, to be a drug. By putting fluoride into the water supply a municipality engages in mass medication of its population in violation of informed consent, a cornerstone of medical ethics.
• Scientific evidence points to the likelihood of harm to a portion of the population from the ingestion of fluoride in the combined concentrations found in drinking water, foods, beverages, pesticides and toothpaste.
• Civil rights advocates Andrew Young, whose father was a dentist; the Rev. Gerald Durley; and the League of United Latin American Citizens have all challenged and oppose the validity of fluoridation as a benefit for the poor.
• The fluoridating chemicals municipalities use most frequently are hazardous waste byproducts of the phosphate fertilizer industry and lack sufficient guarantees of purity and safety.
Although it was trimmed from the final draft of the resolution, my original version notes that “most community-fluoridated water winds up being discharged from sewage plants into the waters of the state, with uncertain effects on their ecology.” The fact that fluoridation degrades the quality of Vermont’s waters is a point that should come up during any state review of fluoridation.
In their zeal to promote fluoridation, the dental profession and the state Department of Health fail to acknowledge the above issues.
With the Department of Health, one can only speculate on what pressure is felt from the federal government, which provides a large share of funding for state programs. The federal government is a forceful advocate for fluoridation.
J.R.S.26 offers a unique opportunity for us to put the brakes on the misguided practice of fluoridation, currently imposed on more than 200 million Americans. While I’m sure Sens. Flory and Claire Ayer, chair of the Health and Welfare Committee, have no desire to be flooded with rubber stamp emails, sincere expression of views on fluoridation would seem appropriate.
Contact information for the senators and the Health and Welfare committee is easily found at the Vermont Legislature’s website: legislature.vermont.gov.
• Original article online at https://vtdigger.org/2017/03/28/jack-crowther-fluoridation-bill-offers-pause-study/