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