Media release – 22 February 2013
Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Claim: “The far-reaching effects of water fluoridation ensure all children are habitually exposed to at least one preventive oral health measure.”
Response: Firstly, the evidence for the ‘benefits’ of water fluoridation is very weak. Secondly, the evidence for water fluoridation reducing inequalities in dental health has been found to be of “poor quality, contradictory and unreliable.” Thirdly, even if water fluoridation were as beneficial as claimed, it would still be illogical. While we’re at it, let’s also add some ADHD drugs to drinking water to calm kids down during school hours; a bit of lithium to lower their chances of committing suicide; and some blood pressure medication for grandma and grandpa too – you know, to ensure they are “habitually exposed” all through the day to the “far-reaching effects” of all these substances. Dosage control? Ah, who cares about that. The more everyone drinks, the better. Never mind about the potential Alzheimer’s risk for the old folks; the neurological development of the young; the effects on endocrine function; or those with potential hypersensitivity reactions. Fluoridation is “completely safe and effective,” because the Royal Australasian College of Physicians said so.
Claim: “The RACP affirms community water fluoridation as the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health.”
Response: Really? Well, this guy must be a non-member: “It would appear that the effectiveness of artiﬁcial water ﬂuoridation in the 21st century is at best questionable.” This guy too: “Large temporal reductions in tooth decay, which cannot be attributed to fluoridation, have been observed in both unfluoridated and fluoridated areas of at least eight developed countries over the past thirty years. It is now time for a scientific re-examination of the alleged enormous benefits of fluoridation.” And perhaps these guys as well: “Although the prevalence of caries varies between countries, levels everywhere have fallen greatly in the past three decades, and national rates of caries are now universally low. This trend has occurred regardless of the concentration of fluoride in water or the use of fluoridated salt.” Learn more about modern fluoridation studies and the comparative data.
Claim: “Many scientific reviews provide strong and compelling evidence that community water fluoridation is not only an effective and cost-saving method for reducing tooth decay but it is regarded as one of the ‘top ten’ public health interventions of all time.”
Response: Curious. This review concluded, “We were unable to discover any reliable good-quality evidence in the fluoridation literature world-wide,” whilst this report identified a multitude of unresolved health issues, and another has been described as one of the worst reviews of all time. Visit our Reports / Reviews page to learn more about each. As for the ‘top ten’ claim, this is laughable, when one considers its background and source.
Claim: “There are consistent socio-economic and ethnic inequalities in oral health status in New Zealand and water fluoridation benefits all people regardless of circumstance.”
Response: “The evidence about reducing inequalities in dental health was of poor quality, contradictory and unreliable.” Ibid.
Claim: “One of the best things about community water fluoridation is that everyone benefits simply by consuming food and drink prepared with fluoridated water.”
Response: The next time you visit the beach, be sure to drink your sunscreen, because drinking fluoridated water makes just about as much sense. Learn more.
Claim: “RACP reiterates that fluoride is a naturally occurring substance.”
Response: “Natural does not necessarily mean good. Arsenic, like ﬂuoride, leaches naturally from rocks into groundwater, but no one suggests topping that up. Besides, there is nothing “natural” about the ﬂuoridating chemicals, as they are obtained largely from the wet scrubbers of the phosphate fertilizer industry” (Connett, Beck & Micklem, p. 246).
Claim: “Community water fluoridation, at the optimal level of 0.7-1.0 ppm, is therefore a supplementary health measure.”
Response: “0.7 mg/L is not adequate to protect against known or anticipated adverse effects and does not allow an adequate margin of safety to protect young children, people with high water consumption, people with kidney disease (resulting in reduced excretion of fluoride), and other potentially sensitive population subgroups” (Thiessen 2011, p. 5); “The amount of fluoride necessary to cause these effects to susceptible members of the population is at or below the dose received from current levels of fluoride recommended for water fluoridation. The recommended Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for fluoride in drinking water should be zero” (Carton 2006, p. 163); “The dose of fluoride cannot be controlled. Fluoride as a drug has contaminated most processed foods and beverages throughout North America. Individuals who are susceptible to fluoride’s harmful effects cannot avoid ingesting this drug. This presents a medico-legal and ethical dilemma and sets water fluoridation apart from vaccination as a public health measure where doses and distribution can be controlled. The rights of individuals to enjoy the freedom from involuntary fluoride medication certainly outweigh the right of society to enforce this public health measure, especially when the evidence of benefit is marginal at best” (Limeback 2000).
Claim: “RACP is aware that the Fluoride Action Network of New Zealand (FANNZ) is hosting a visiting anti-fluoride academic from the United States to speak in areas where water fluoridation is currently being debated. The potential impact these events and the generated media coverage will have on public knowledge and perspectives on water fluoridation is concerning.”
Response: An alternative viewpoint; counter-arguments; tough questions… OH THE TERROR OF IT ALL!!! The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!! Someone is daring to question our authority!!!! We must stop this person from speaking! [Who are they so scared of? Well of course, Dr. Paul Connett – and if we were promoting fluoridation, we’d be scared to debate Dr. Connett too :-)] Seriously though, if the promoters of fluoridation in New Zealand/Australia were truly as confident as they project themselves to be, then they would have absolutely no trouble debating Dr. Connett (live, video recorded and uploaded to the Web) and defeating his arguments. Alternatively, they could offer a scientific response to his co-authored 2010 book. Instead, they run scared. What are they so afraid of? That’s the million dollar question. Furthermore, why should anyone be expected to believe them based on their “authority” alone, when they are not prepared to defend their views in detail?
Claim: “To help the public make an informed decision on the topic of water fluoridation, the RACP encourages public health agencies and the Ministry of Health to promote the multitude of quality information and research that is publicly available.”
Response: In return, we submit Connett, Beck & Micklem 2010 for wide public consideration; a book which thoroughly critiques the “available” information and offers detailed counter-arguments to pro-fluoridation claims. We also recommend these Research Databases.
Concluding remarks: We remind readers that there are no scientific authorities; no such thing (Krauss a; Krauss b). Therefore, no one should believe the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, just because they are “the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.” This means diddly squat. The facts remain that water fluoridation policy is based upon poor quality evidence, whilst numerous health issues remain unresolved – and no matter how many press releases the Royal Australasian College of Physicians disseminate via the pathetic, unquestioning mainstream media, these facts hold true. The resulting questions are tough, and so they bloody well should be. We will not be intimidated by medical thuggery; and neither should you.