*UPDATE: Dr. Connett responds*
The mainstream media has dropped yet another one of its fluoridation turds, and left it in the Sun to dry. Anonymous Editorial smear pieces on fluoridation opponents are a dime a dozen, so why do we care about this one in particular? Let’s just say we randomly selected The Hartford Courant for a quick slapping, just to keep the game going. In the Editorial, Anti-Fluoridation Movement Still Misguided: Still crazy after all these years (July 3, 2013), we see the usual bark with no bite; the age old ad hominem bait and switch tactic whereby the author can conveniently avoid addressing the actual arguments of opponents, and assume ignorance on the part of the reader. Let’s examine this particular turd a little closer, shall we?…
Claim: “In the mid-1950s, a group called the Keep America Committee denounced the fluoridation of water as a Communist plot to weaken America. Several years later, in the movie “Dr. Strangelove,” an obviously insane military officer raged against fluoride, calling it a “foreign substance … introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual.”
Response: “Opponents are “conspiracy theorists.” This was true of one faction of the anti-ﬂuoridation movement in the 1950s, whose members believed that ﬂuoridation was a “communist plot,” as parodied in Stanley Kubrick’s famous movie Dr. Strangelove. However, even in those early days many reputable scientists were opposed to ﬂuoridation on scientiﬁc grounds and many more on the very rational grounds that it is unethical to deliver medicine through the public water supply, because it removes the individual’s right to informed consent to medical treatment. Today, there are still conspiracy theorists around, as there are in almost any ﬁeld, but most opponents are increasingly well informed” (Connett et al. 2010, p. 256).
Claim: “Last week, a small anti-fluoride group held an informal hearing at the state Capitol… The one person who spoke, Paul Connett, a retired professor of chemistry from St. Lawrence University, cited numerous studies that he said showed the dangers of fluoridation. More credible science says otherwise.”
Response: No wonder the ‘genius’ who cooked up this turd of an Editorial chose to remain anonymous – it was to avoid becoming the punch line of a joke! Surely, the very least the author could have done is to mention which studies Dr. Connett was referring to, and why they can be dismissed. Perhaps the anonymous author would less insult the intelligence of readers by offering an independent, detailed and fully referenced review of The Case Against Fluoride – a book co-authored by Dr. Connett in 2010, which includes over 80 pages of citations. But that would only happen in an ideal world, where trash journalism doesn’t reign supreme. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world (at least in the context of the fluoridation issue).
Claim: “Fluoride, which occurs naturally in some water systems, has been shown to play an important role in reducing tooth decay in children and tooth loss in adults.”
Response: Firstly, the author fails to distinguish between naturally-occurring fluoride in water, and artificial fluoridation programs (see: Connett et al. 2010, p. 246), using industry waste. Secondly, the evidence for ‘benefit‘ is very weak indeed.
Claim: “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls fluoridation one of the 20th century’s 10 great public health achievements. The World Health Organization and the American Public Health Association have declared fluoridation to be both safe and effective.”
Response: This one is comical, truly. The anonymous author’s ignorance and desperate clinging to authority is on display here, and it is nothing short of pathetic. Firstly, regarding the CDC statement, “Not a day goes by without someone in the world citing the CDC’s statement that fluoridation is “One of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th Century” (CDC, 1999). Those that cite this probably have no idea how incredibly poor the analysis was that supported this statement. The report was not externally peer reviewed, was six years out of date on health studies and the graphical evidence it offered to support the effectiveness of fluoridation was laughable and easily refuted.” Secondly, endorsements do not represent scientific evidence (see: 50 Reasons, #46; Citizens are Being Misled).
Claim: “The state Department of Public Health estimates that every dollar invested in water fluoridation saves about $38 in averted dental care costs.”
Response: Didn’t they teach you critical analysis at journalist school? If so, then why did you not examine the source of this figure? Of course, the answer is obvious – you are sucking down whatever the authorities tell you, which is the exact opposite of what a journalist – or indeed a scientist – should be doing. If you had looked into it, you would know that, “This statement is taken from another report written by members of the Oral Health Division of the CDC… Grifﬁn et al. inﬂated the beneﬁts of ﬂuoridation and ignored the costs of any side effects, including the one effect no one can deny, dental ﬂuorosis. Cosmetic veneer treatment for ﬂuorosis costs upward of $1,000 per tooth. The CDC authors also allowed a loss of earnings of $18 an hourfortime off work to get a dental ﬁlling. Not all people lose pay when they get dental treatment, and certainly children don’t” (Connett et al. 2010, pp. 249-250).
Claim: “From both a medical and a monetary perspective, fluoridation makes sense.”
Response: You asked for it… CLICK HERE.
Whoever wrote this Editorial is obviously smoking too much fluoridation zealot grass. If they truly believe that they have in some way embarrassed Dr. Connett, or the anti-fluoridation movement in general, then they are in for a rude shock – as they have done nothing more than expose themselves as ill-informed industry lackeys. If they would like to confirm how childish their ‘arguments’ are, then they only need to read The Case Against Fluoride (2010), which has well and truly exposed, analysed and refuted such pro-fluoridation propaganda tactics. In other words, they are well behind the game. Try harder, fellas. 🙂