Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fluoridation of the water supply

Above is a link to hour one of a recent Red Ice interview with Dr. Paul Connett, a chemist and retired university professor who specialized in environmental chemistry and toxicology, and who presents some cogent arguments for examining the consensus view (in the United States) that fluoridation of the water supply for the general public is safe and effective for the prevention of dental cavities.

One of Dr. Connett's strongest arguments is the observation that, even if we grant the premise that fluoride is a medically or dentally beneficial substance, the delivery of a medical agent through the water system creates a situation in which there is absolutely no supervision over the amount of the dosage (some individuals may drink gallons of water each day, others very little), and there is absolutely no way to adjust for the bodyweight or other factors of the individual being dosed (tiny infants may be exposed to dosages completely inappropriate for their system and level of development).

He also argues that some recent research strongly suggests that the ingestion of fluoride provides no systemic benefit: fluoride might not go through the body to strengthen the teeth from the inside, the way water fluoridation proponents have argued as one of their main reasons for introducing it into the water supply.  While fluoride applied topically (to the teeth from the outside, through toothpaste or oral rinses) might be beneficial, if fluoride does not act systemically, then there is no need to ingest it.  Individuals who need or want fluoride for topical application can easily obtain it for themselves and monitor the amount they apply.

Further, the introduction of fluoride into the water supply removes individual choice -- fluoride becomes a mandated treatment, rather than a choice left up to individuals and families.  This fact alone shows that fluoridation of the water supply does violence to the free will of men and women and thus represents a violation of human rights which everyone should reject.  The fact that this violation is perpetrated on behalf of a substance of questionable efficacy makes it even worse, but even if fluoride were found to be of unquestioned value, the forceful administration of this chemical to every member of society whether they will it or no would represent a grave injustice, in addition to the medical problems of dosage already discussed.

One of the most troubling aspect of this topic is the fact that the defenders of the status quo (the proponents of the fluoridation of the water supply, particularly in the United States where the practice is extremely common) engage in the ridicule of those who question fluoridation, rather than in honest debate and examination of the arguments for and against the practice.  This type of behavior would seem to be extremely unscientific, and even suspicious.  Such tactics have been discussed in previous posts, such as "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists," and "Read Dr. Daniel Botkin's article, 'Absolute Certainty is Not Scientific'."

Dr. Connett further points out that he is more than happy to engage in public debate over this issue, but that this offer is very rarely accepted by those who prefer to ridicule from afar.  Doesn't an issue of this importance deserve more scrutiny, and public debate?

Because this question of fluoridation is one that impacts a huge number of people every day.  As Dr. Connett points out in his Red Ice interview, fluoridation of the water supply does not just impact those who choose to drink several glasses of water from the tap each day: it impacts the water which is in just about every canned or bottled beverage we consume, whether ice tea, beer, soda (which often contains genetically-modified ingredients to boot), as well as the water that is used to make a huge variety of other foodstuffs from sauces to soups and everything in between.

And, don't forget that if you cook at home and you make pasta using your fluoridated tapwater, or make rice using fluoridated water, or boil potatoes or corn or artichokes, then you are consuming fluoride every time you do so.  If you go to a restaurant and order spaghetti, or sushi made with rice, then those items are probably made using fluoridated water, if you live in a place where the water supply is fluoridated.  In fact, it is incredibly difficult to avoid ingesting more fluoride than you want to think about, once the government starts putting it into the water supply, even if you go to great lengths to avoid drinking it straight out of the tap. 

A topic of such importance deserves open and honest debate and careful examination and analysis of the evidence, not obfuscation, name-calling, and marginalization of anyone who dares to question the dominant paradigm.

Here is a link to the website of the Fluoride Action Network, an organization which also opposes the mandatory fluoridation of the water supply.  The site contains numerous embedded videos with arguments against mandatory fluoridation, including the video below from actor Ed Begley, Jr.