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Water Fluoridation: Fact Sheet
New South Wales Health
Claim: “Fluoride can limit the amount of acid produced, and can also repair damage before it becomes permanent. A constant supply of a low level of fluoride in the mouth is best for this. In this way, fluoride in the water supply acts like a constant ‘repair kit’ for teeth.”
Response: First, health departments promoted the idea that fluoride had to be swallowed to be effective – that turned out to be incorrect. Now, even promoters of fluoridation admit that if there is any benefit from fluoride, it is topical (1). In the words of one leading expert (2) in the field of dental research, “It is well known that fluoride, if it has any benefit, provides its benefit through topical means, by exposing the teeth AFTER they erupt into the mouth, not systemically, through ingestion” (3). Therefore, the claim above from NSW Health is a very slick attempt at backtracking after many years of being wrong about the systemic mechanism of assumed ‘benefit’. Now, instead, they are promoting the illogical idea that the entire body will be exposed to fluoride via consumption of tap water, to achieve a ‘repair kit’ topical effect of fluoride in the mouth. Would you drink your sunscreen (4) to prevent sunburn? Of course not, because you know that: a) this would not work because sunscreen needs to be applied to the skin; and b) it could be potentially dangerous to other (internal) organs and tissues of your body. This is just plain common sense. The same goes for fluoride – now that you know you can apply it to the surface of your teeth in the form of toothpaste, and spit it out; or via mouthwash, and spit that out, why would you want to drink it all day long? Don’t worry, if you follow this line of logic, you are not crazy. In fact, you would be keeping very good company; for example, Nobel Laureate Dr. Arvid Carlsson: “This is against all principles of modern pharmacology. It’s really obsolete… If you drink it, you are running the risk of all kinds of toxic actions. And, of course, there are such actions… This is something you shouldn’t expose citizens to… In modern pharmacology it’s so clear that even if you have a fixed dose of a drug, the individuals respond very differently to one and the same dose. Now, in this case, you have it in the water and people are drinking different amounts of water. So you have huge variations in the consumption of this drug. So, it’s against all modern principles of pharmacology. It’s obsolete” (5). “A constant ‘repair kit’ for teeth” is a public relations/propaganda line, not a logical, scientific statement; and at the very least, you should take offense that NSW Health believes you are too lazy, incompetent or stupid that you cannot take control of your own health in the form of a toothbrush. The next thing you know, these types of nanny state fanatics will be wanting to add other substances to the public water supply to treat you for depression. Oh, that’s right, they already are (6). Where does it end? The answer is, it doesn’t! Fluoridation policy has opened the floodgates whereby, in principle, the public water supply can be used to deliver all sorts of ‘treatments’ to the masses. Here is another thing that NSW Health does not tell you: “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, and it probably reflects use of fluoridated toothpastes and other factors, including perhaps aspects of nutrition” (7).
Claim: “In NSW alone there are more than 50 years of experience proving the effectiveness and safety of water fluoridation.”
Response: This statement holds absolutely no weight, since key health studies have not been done to verify the “safety” of fluoridation in fluoridating nations (8), with many health questions remaining unanswered to this day (9). In fact, much to the surprise of its authors, the York Review (10) found “that in spite of the large number of studies carried out over several decades there is a dearth of reliable evidence with which to inform policy” (11). As for the supposed ‘effectiveness’ of fluoridating public drinking water supplies, the evidence supporting this assumption is very weak (12) (13) (14).
Claim: “Australia has relied on community water fluoridation as its main model of delivering optimal fluoride. This provides universal dental decay and preventive benefit to all individuals regardless of age, gender or socio-economic status.”
Response: Another line of absolute PR-written crap. Here is the truth about the actual evidence underpinning the above claim: “The evidence about reducing inequalities in dental health [is] of poor quality, contradictory and unreliable” (15)… “[there is] little evidence that water fluoridation reduces socioeconomic disparities” (16).
Claim: “An overwhelming weight of scientific evidence supports community water fluoridation as a safe and effective measure in the prevention of dental decay.”
Response: “What is now clear is that, if proposed today, fluoridation of drinking water to prevent tooth decay would stand virtually no chance of being adopted, given the current status of scientific knowledge” (17); “As I intensively studied the literature and performed my own research, the evidence clearly demonstrated that fluoridation is more harmful than beneficial” (18); “There is no adequate margin of safety [with fluoridation] to protect everyone from known harmful effects of fluoride” (19); “The amount of fluoride necessary to cause 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” (20).
Claim: “It has been endorsed by numerous organisations, including the World Health Organisation and the National Health and Medical Research Council.”
Claim: “Water fluoridation has been described by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th Century.”
Response: “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” (24) (25).
Claim: “In NSW water is fluoridated at 1ppm (which is one part of fluoride in one million part of water). There is an extensive testing program in place to monitor the quality of community drinking water supplies.”
Response: This is a deliberate attempt to confuse the issues of concentration and dose – a very common pro-fluoridation tactic (26) (27) (28). Dose is determined by individual daily intake of fluoridated water (29), plus fluoride received from other sources (30) (31). Furthermore, the chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water supplies are industrial waste products of the fertiliser industry, which are laced with many toxic contaminants (32) (33).
FURTHER READING: The Case Against Fluoride (2010).