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Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

Mandatory medication not the answer

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On Tuesday night, I spoke at the Lismore City Council meeting, presenting my view that fluoridation of the water is unjust because it overdoses some of us on fluoride and does not effectively treat those whose diets are based on processed, sugary foods and soft drinks rather than fresh food and water; that it is undemocratic because it forces us into ingesting fluoride whether or not we are willing to do so; and that it has the potential to be unsafe, given the fact that mistakes currently occur at dosing plants with regard to dosing our water with chlorine. Prior to my talk, as indicated in the article above, there were a number of other speakers, including Dr Ros Irwin, who listed the numerous ill-effects on the human body that research indicates may be caused by excessive ingestion of fluoride, and three medicos, who presented evidence that children’s dental health benefits from fluoridation of the water.

I was offended by the claims made by the medical fraternity, which included a suggestion that the anti-fluoride lobby was based on ‘emotion and gut reaction’ rather than evidence, a claim that the evidence that fluoride is harmless is conclusive, and the assertion that fluoridation of the water is the most equitable measure across the population – all of which is untrue from my perspective and that of many others. I was most dismayed by the claim of the doctors that there was ‘no evidence’ of harm caused by fluoride – dismayed because that lack of evidence stems from the fact that there have been, to my knowledge, no longitudinal holistic studies of human health impacts of fluoride in the Australian context, and because it chooses to ignore the numerous studies that are indicative of many possible harmful effects.

The very evidence that the doctors used to support their arguments, such as pictures of rotted teeth which would allegedly have been avoided had the water been fluoridated, are very similar, if not identical, to the pictures that my dentist has shown me to illustrate the impact of the sugar/soft drink diet and lack of dental hygiene, regardless of whether or not water is fluoridated. I find it difficult to understand how intelligent people can choose to ignore arguments and evidence that does not support their case, and to accept that water fluoridation is a better alternative than a targeted program of dietary and dental education.

I appreciate the passion and the motive that our councillors have to take measures to care for our children’s teeth, and I am not anti-fluoride per se. I am, however, hugely opposed to the mandatory ingestion of a substance that may well cause harm to some of us; and I am puzzled by the apparent unwillingness to investigate and consider alternative ways of delivering fluoride to those who may need or want it. Despite its support for fluoridation, Council has now proposed a workshop be held to present the arguments for the health benefits or otherwise of fluoride (in the hope of calming the community debate on the issue), and I also have concerns about this, given that the motion for this workshop stated that presenters should be ‘relevant health professionals’… who decides which health professionals are ‘relevant’, given that many of us lack faith in the practice of western allopathic medicine and prefer alternative health practices, and who will ensure that there is an adequate coverage and balance of all the perspectives on this contentious issue?

I’ve noticed  that some of those who are anti-fluoridation have indicated their despair and surrender to the inevitable. To them, I say thank you for standing up for your views, and I ask you to continue to do so – but in a way that engenders respect for your cause. I thank the councillors who listened to and respected all the arguments presented, and I thank all of the councillors for their passion to promote better dental health. But I beg everyone to expand their perception and willingness to take into consideration all the factors that are relevant to this debate, many of which I haven’t touched on in this post. While there is still time before a fluoridation directive is sought from the state government, please remember the numerous times in the past where western medical practitioners have claimed there was ‘no evidence’ for the real causes of disease (for example, it used to be thought that malaria and other diseases were caused by ‘miasmas’) and err on the side of caution rather than than the possibility of harm. There are alternative and far more effective and efficient ways of providing fluoride to those who need it!

Jill Garsden, Lismore

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  1. We agree completely. We don’t need to bathe in fluoride! We don’t want to wash our hair or our koochies in that chemical. It is unwise to mess with Mother Nature and water systems in order to attempt to solve some other obscure issue. There’s plenty of Fluoride in many toothpaste products. People should have a choice and it should not be dumped upon them in this massive application. Ridiculous!

  2. Jill – this ‘debate’ has been toing and froing for decades now. I have experienced your feeling of despair but from the other side. I despair of the ‘holistic’, ‘alternative’ and quasi-science evidence that has been touted by the anti-fluoride lobby and despair that proper science will be shovelled under the carpet in favour of quasi-science and emotional pleadings. It is not an question of people’s ‘feelings’ carrying the same weight as the scientific evidence readily available that show the undisputed fact that the incidence of dental caries diminishes drastically when infants, children, pregnant women and the general population drink fluoridated water.

    Public Health authorities deal with community health and, in this case, community oral health. They don’t deal with individuals’ sense of offense because they are making decisions in the best interests of the community.

    Despite your final sentence – ‘There are alternative and far more effective and efficient ways of providing fluoride to those who need it!’, it is well known that water fluoridation is the cheapest, most efficient and socially equitable way of delivering fluoride to the community.

    You cite your dentist as providing photos of brown stubbed teeth being consistent with a modern first world diet. Unfortunately, this sugary, salty, processed, soft take-away food delivers poor nutrition and doesn’t exercise teeth, gums or jaws in the way that my generation of people were able. Mushy dosed-up food has become the norm in our sort of world and that is more difficult to combat because of the capitalistic verve that sweeps our cultures. Better by far to ensure dental health by strengthening tooth enamel.

    Such diets are here to stay and the only responsible action that local government bodies (I do wish Public Health was dealt with by State Governments with the benefit of a professionally trained bureaucratic staff) can take is the advice of the sciences. The jury has been in for a long time on this issue.

    The only concern of opposing groups is like your issue. You don’t want herd or community or mandatory health directives. And yet, you will accept the current additives to your reticulated water supply to keep chemical reactions with delivery systems to a minimum and to ensure there are no pathogens in that water supply. All those additives are delivered to the water with no query or dissent. It is only because of legislation that fluoride has even become an issue.

    Try researching community areas where fluoride occurs naturally in the water supply; talk to dentists from those areas; check the very small incidence of dental decay in the communities.

    Finally, there is no creditable data to support the anti-fluoridation stance. There is the human rights and ethics issue, that is true. It holds no water for me. I have a public health mentality not an individuated one that bucks all authority for its own sake.

    Fluoridation is dosed at between 0.6 and 1.2ppm in Australia depending on ambient temperature that is monitored with delivery adjustments made on a 24 hour basis. The toxic level of fluoride for a 154 lb human is 7 to 8 gr. The range delivered by water doing is as safe as any food you may ingest.

    I can understand your passion. I care more about community health.

    • Veronica Veronica… are you being sponsored all this seems so lacking in credibility the only thing that makes any sense is that you are ‘astro turfing’ getting dollars per word.

      No-one with any science savvy is that passionate about 1950’s science. Has to be money.

      Veronica said… “”There is the human rights and ethics issue, that is true. It holds no water for me.”” Says it all really … thanks for the admission.

  3. Veronica, where are you getting your statistics from? WHO stats show little to no difference in Fluoridated communities to non. (non F meaning not naturally occurring and not in salt). Surely the debate ends here?
    An Australian survey of 12yo teeth from Townsville to Brisbane 1996 (non fluoridated at that time) found a miniscule difference of one tooth surface out of 128 surfaces. that’s hardly significant. That’s a lot of money and scientific power to back such a little finding. that’s a big compromise for a community that has people with F sensitivities amongst them.. That’s a big compromise for people who have impaired kidneys and hyperthyroid issues.
    despite the surveys findings in 2007 Queenslander’s where told that Brisbane had a 65% higher rate of tooth decay than Townsville! What an erroneous distortion! how did they think they would get away with such a lie? Why did they need to distort in the first place?
    http://info.gladstonerc.qld.gov.au/meetings/20130618/attachments/Fluoride%20-%20Atta%205.pdf pp 21 to 23
    no quasi science here, just facts.


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