Despite his quest for facts, most of Rob Watson’s disparaging comments (letters, January 30) about my earlier letters to The Echo on fluoridation are hardly factual:
1. He says that the fluoride used in water fluoridation is produced by fractional distillation produced to high quality. Fact: Much of the hydrofluorosilicic acid used to fluoridate water in Australia has come directly from Geelong’s Incitec Pivot superphosphate fertiliser plant where wet-scrubbers capture toxic fluoride waste products that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The resulting water slurry is sent directly to water treatment plants. The other major sources of fluoride that are added to Australian water are sodium fluoride and sodium silicofluoride sourced from Chinese industry’s waste.
2. He fails to recognise NSW Health’s inaccurate assumption that the results of controlled studies for topical fluorides such as toothpaste, varnish, and sealants are applicable to water fluoridation. Fact: This comparison of totally different mechanisms is scientifically unsound.
3. He then erroneously states that I cited the Harvard meta analysis as hard evidence for my case. Facts: Since almost no solid research has been done in the US or Australia, the Harvard researchers had to use what was available (mostly from China), in hopes of spurring additional research. Their data was sound enough to be published in a US peer-reviewed journal by the federal government, and although far from perfect, it sounds warning bells.
4. He states that people have been drinking fluoridated water for 60 years with no visible harms, hence it’s safe. Fact: The requisite research on safety has never been done.
5. He ignores the fundamental fact that the burden of proof regarding the effectiveness and safety of any intervention falls on those proposing the intervention, not those opposed to the intervention. This has never been done and much data now calls the assumptions that were made with little science, over 70 years ago, into question.
John W Travis, Byron Bay