As a medical doctor, I find it heartening as I travel throughout New South Wales and Queensland to find so many enlightened and educated people on the contentious subject of artificial water fluoridation. Unfortunately, it appears that your medical, dental and public health entities have co-opted the argument, and continue to pressure for this practice.
Let’s take a closer look at where we are now, and where we can and should be going, with our dental and total health.
In Canada, we tired of the constant barrage of ‘safe and effective’ so we asked Health Canada for safety studies. They refused. We then sought to find out about the studies they relied on for fluoridation under the Freedom of Information Act and, after 1.5 years, Health Canada got back to us and admitted that they had none. Not a single safety study was to be found!
The situation is similar here in Australia, as industry and government have no incentive or motivation to do extensive long-term studies when they can glibly throw out ‘trust us, it’s safe’ and move on to the next issue.
Babies in particular are subject to excessively high doses of fluoride when infant formula is made with fluoridated water. Mother Nature appears to have the upper hand here, as breast milk, the healthiest way on the planet to nurture babies, has as little as 1/200 the dose as does fluoridated water.
Swallowing fluoride is admitted to be mostly ineffective and that any effects are primarily topical, even by the heavily biased Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA.
Ingested, the volatile fluorine ion readily crosses the placental and blood-brain barriers, and has access to every cell, organ and body system. There are now more than1,000 studies showing potential harm. These include calcification of the ‘seat of the soul’ pineal gland in the brain, highly significant decrease in IQ of 4–7 points in kids, thyroid enzyme toxicity, heart and kidney damage, thickened but weakened bone, and increases in cancers such as sarcoma in young boys.
Of particular note is the marked increase in fluorosis, or damage to teeth themselves, mostly in children.
The promise that we would never see fluorosis levels anywhere near 10 per cent in fluoridated areas have been broken. Now, we are seeing white or brown mottling, and in severe cases broken and disfigured teeth, in ever increasing numbers. The extensive NHANES population study in the USA revealed an alarming 57 per cent of teens have varying degrees of fluorosis, which is also an indicator that damage is being done not only to teeth but to all body organs and systems.
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, comprising of dentists, researchers, MDs, and toxicologists, has come out very strongly against water fluoridation. A search of their papers and studies is edifying yet frightening.
Where we can, and should, go
Fluoridationists often pressure and advocate for public votes such as plebiscites and referendums on whether to fluoridate our otherwise safe water supplies. In most developed countries, health authorities have access to large sums of money to produce high-quality ads and promotional materials and are therefore confident that they can get their message out much more readily than grassroots-funded opponents. However, the vastly underfunded opposition has produced victories in hundreds of cities, communities and municipalities, of particular note my city of Calgary in Canada, and Portland in the USA.
The most important aspect of plebiscites is that we have no right to vote on whether or not to medicate our neighbours. The decision to mass medicate should be undertaken by those elected to make policy decisions.
In Calgary, in 2011, city councillors made a bold decision based not solely on science, as they are not scientists, but on the morality and ethics of mass medicating their entire constituency with a highly toxic chemical, without control of dose or dosage, without follow-up, and without informed consent.
What, then, can we do for our babies, children, the poorest and most vulnerable?
1. Stop all fluoridation, and use the monies currently allocated for fluoridation supplies and infrastructure to educate and provide basic dental services to vulnerable groups.
2. Institute programs based on the hugely successful ChildSmile program in Scotland. That country allows no water fluoridation, and has pioneered amazing programs since 2001 that have resulted in much healthier teeth in kids and teens, better overall oral health, and vastly improved total body health – decreased obesity, less diabetes and a host of other benefits.
3. Extensive education programs to elucidate all ages, from toddlers to the elderly, on the huge importance of brushing, diet, fresh fruits and veges, and a marked decrease in sugar consumption.
We can, and should, be improving the health of all our constituents, not just abdicating to highly contentious mass medication. We can do so much better!
♦ Robert C Dickson, MD, CCFP, FCFP, is a community physician in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and is the founder of Safe Water Calgary (www.safewatercalgary.com). He is currently travelling in eastern Australia.