Get a load of this stringy piece of gutter slime from Bartley Kives, who calls himself a ‘Reporter’. It seems Tory Shepherd may have met her Canadian match! In his latest column, Bartley goes on a wild rant about “anti-fluoride crazies,” “junk science” and “conspiratorial zeal,” yet he fails to address any arguments put forth by opponents of fluoridation and cites no references, nor makes any case, of his own. It seems that to move up the ranks of the mainstream media these days, you have to dig down deep into a trash can and pull out the mouldiest, smelliest fragments of intellectual excrement you can find. Bartley must be aiming for the top job. It’s rather difficult to rebut something so ridiculous, but in defence of the good citizens of Winnipeg and Calgary, we’ll give it a shot.
Claim: “Without fluoridated water, we’d be a bunch of toothless sugar junkies.”
Response: Fluoridated water is not the answer to the extreme kinds of tooth decay that can be caused by rampant sugar intake, as explained here by a Canadian expert in the field of preventive dentistry.
Claim: “For example, Winnipeg has so far managed to avoid a particularly bizarre form of lunacy that has started to afflict other North American cities: The decision to stop adding fluoride to water.”
Response: After half an article of waffling on about Slurpees, the author finally cuts around to his main target – those who dare oppose water fluoridation. The pro-fluoridation criminal chemical cartel, and their installed priests in the Church of Fluoridation, are obviously nervous enough to launch a pre-emptive strike in the face of growing opposition. Now, to the claim: The author cunningly manipulates the reader by giving the impression that opposing fluoridation is some sort of aberration, a disease inflicted by crazy people for wild reasons. However, if readers were informed that most developed nations, including 97% of western Europe, do not fluoridate their drinking water (for both ethical and medical reasons) – and that their citizens’ teeth are just as good or better than those in fluoridated nations – the author may have a lot more difficulty persuading readers that water fluoridation is “essential.” As noted by Dr. Arvid Carlsson, “Sweden rejected fluoridation in the 1970s… Our children have not suffered greater tooth decay… and in turn our citizens have not borne the other hazards fluoride may cause.” The idea that fluoridation is essential is fundamentally flawed, for as Cheng et al. explain, “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.” The pro-fluoridation media uses this smoke and mirrors tactic as a matter of course; for example, in Wichita KS, the local media forcefully implied that Wichita was “backwards” for rejecting fluoridation (again, deliberately leaving out the aforementioned facts). However, luckily for the people of Wichita, Professor Paul Connett was in town, and he made a special note of all the famous, advanced, cultural cities of the world who do not have artificially fluoridated tap water (see: Video 1, TC 03:00 & Video 2, TC 1:05:48). Thankfully, Wichita rejected fluoridation.
Claim: “In 2011, against the advice of every credible public-health and medical authority, the City of Calgary decided to stop fluoridating its water. The move, apparently inspired by a narrow-minded form of libertarianism, resulted in increased cases of cavities one year later, dentists in Alberta reported this past May.”
Response: Firstly, the author opts for the weak, desperate option of relying on endorsements; endorsements are not a substitute for scientific evidence (see: 50 Reasons #46). Secondly, he lumps all opponents under a narrow political/ideological banner, rather than noting the ethical and scientific points raised against fluoridation by councillors and others in Calgary. Thirdly, the author uses the bogus anecdotal “data” from two pro-fluoridation dentists in Calgary, to suggest that tooth decay has risen in Calgary as a direct result of ending of water fluoridation. The author would have done well to note the words of Dr. James Beck, one of the scientists who campaigned against fluoridation in Calgary: “Now council is urged by two Calgary dentists to reconsider. They claim that the prevalence of cavities in Calgary has increased since fluoridation was stopped. According to the dental officer of health of Alberta Health Services stationed in Calgary, there is no systematically gathered data on the prevalence of cavities since cessation of fluoridation. So we are left to weigh the purported findings or impressions of two dentists taken from their personal practices against the systematic collections of data from millions of patients. That more abundant and more systematically gathered data indicate no substantial prevention of cavities by fluoridated water and no increase in the incidence of cavities after stopping fluoridation, as determined by comparison of cities stopping it with cities continuing it.”
Claim: “Fluoridation may in fact be the greatest public-health success story of the past century.”
Response: This is a sloppily rehashed version of the dubious CDC/OHD claim of 1999. “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.” 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” (also see: video, TC 1:16:43).
Claim: “But fluoridation has also served as a lightning rod for conspiracy theorists, who declared it a Communist plot in the 1950s at the height of the Cold War. Anti-fluoride sentiment seemed to recede in the ensuing decades but is now back with a vengeance, with the tinfoil-hat crowd employing social media to perpetuate the 60-year-old fiction that fluoridation is a public-health threat.”
Response: On the point of conspiracy theories, as Connett, Beck & Micklem clarify, “Claim 37: 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.” As for health risks, many have not been resolved scientifically; and subsequently, credible scientists continue to express concerns. For further research, we recommend FAN’s Health Effects Database and this discussion on margin of safety. You may also wish to view this recent presentation from risk assessment expert and NRC Panelist, Dr. Kathleen Thiessen.
Claim: “At the concentrations added to North American water supplies, fluoride can at worst cause a occasional cases of fluorosis, a cosmetic discoloration of teeth. Weighed against the widespread prevention of tooth decay, especially among impoverished children unable to afford dental care, this is more than an acceptable risk.”
Response: This claim is misleading on a number of levels. Firstly, it confuses concentration with dose, another typical pro-fluoridation tactic and an easy trap for a ‘Reporter’ blinded by arrogance and peer pressure. We frequently caught Victoria’s former Chief Health Officer using this shifty tactic. For instance, in 2009: “Why does Dr. Carnie continue to perpetuate the elementary confusion between concentration and dose of fluoride? While engineers can control the concentration of the fluoride added to the water supply no one can control the dose people get each day. This will depend on how much water they drink and how much fluoride they get from other sources” (for background, refer to: Articles/Media). Secondly, this claim dismisses dental fluorosis as “just a cosmetic effect,” when this effect is caused by systemic damage from fluoride. In fact, dental fluorosis is a biomarker of overexposure to fluoride and when considered in this context, takes on a whole new dimension. Refer to our Queensland Health rebuttal for additional discussion about dental fluorosis; and also see Key Critical Questions (Q. #9). Thirdly, the claim about “impoverished children,” whilst emotive, is not supported by good evidence. For instance, the York Review team found that, “The evidence about [water fluoridation] reducing inequalities in dental health was of poor quality, contradictory and unreliable.” According to Professor Sheldon, “There was little evidence to show that water fluoridation has reduced social inequalities in dental health.” And in general, the evidence for the effectiveness of water fluoridation is incredibly weak.
Claim: “But the anti-fluoride crazies, armed with junk science and conspiratorial zeal, engage in propagandist efforts to convince mainstream politicians they could maybe save a few dollars by cutting off the fluoride tap. This madness has succeeded even in Calgary, home to a mayor widely regarded as progressive and intelligent — but apparently helpless to prevent bad policy decisions.”
Response: Ah, just another lazy day at the office for someone pretending to be a journalist; in response: “Claim 23: Opponents of ﬂuoridation use “junk science.” The epithet “junk” is rarely deﬁned and almost entirely subjective. It tends to mean scientiﬁc data that the speaker considers (1) inconclusive or (2) inconsistent with his or her personal prejudices. “Junk” is not a term that is used in respectable scientiﬁc discourse, but it crops up frequently when science impinges on politics, big business, or the law, where conﬂicts of interest lead to mudslinging.” Fluoridation politics is especially dirty, in this respect. As for Calgary, we once again refer readers to the wisdom of Dr. Beck.
Claim: “Yet the lunacy of the anti-fluoridation movement has yet to infect this city council, much to the relief of Manitoba’s dentists and public health officials.”
Response: If these dentists and councillors do their research – independent from the propaganda of the pro-fluoridation mafia – they will quickly learn, “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” (further discussion @ video TC 0:46:13).
Claim: “Given the high rate of child poverty in this city, we can be thankful for the continued flow of fluoride ions from our taps.”
Claim: “But in the meantime, we still need the damn stuff. Case in point: Just last week, for the 14th year in a row, Winnipeg was declared the Slurpee Capital of the World.”
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