Achenbach all huff and puff

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At AFAM, we’ve been letting the pro-fluoridation garbage build up of late, unchallenged, but sometimes such an approach leads to an intolerable stench. Eventually, the trash must be taken out. The stench, in this case, comes from none other than National Geographic. One wonders why NatGeo has been forced to lower its standards to such an extent, but never mind, let’s take a quick look at this little turd of an article.

Let’s extract the actual arguments for fluoridation (if they could be called that). Not surprisingly, amongst all the waffle, the case made for fluoridation is so flimsy there is not much to say in response.

– Fluoridation continues to incite fear and paranoia, as depicted in Stanley Kubrick’s movie, Dr. Strangelove.

Connett, Beck & Micklem answered this old pro-fluoridation dead horse in their extensively referenced book, The Case Against Fluoride:

“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.”

Thus, Achenbach is really scraping the bottom of the barrel by digging up and deploying this most uncreative of all pro-fluoridation lines of attack. Christopher Hitchens once said, to an opponent:

“You give me the awful impression, I hate to say it, of someone who hasn´t read any of the arguments against your position ever.”

This seems to also apply to Joel Achenbach.

– Opponents didn’t like the idea of the government adding “chemicals” to their water. Actually fluoride is a natural mineral.

Achenbach, are you saying that the compounds used to fluoridate drinking water are not actually “chemicals”? Or do you just want your readers to stay away from the ugly facts about the actual source and nature of these products?

– A cheap and safe way to improve dental health for everyone, rich or poor, conscientious brusher or not.

Let’s leave aside the breach of Informed Consent inherent in such a measure, and focus on the claim that everyone benefits from fluoridation. The York Review found otherwise:

“There was little evidence to show that water fluoridation has reduced social inequalities in dental health… The review team was surprised 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.”

The evidence of ‘benefit’ from water fluoridation is actually very weak. However, more importantly, when we consider the biochemistry of fluoride and the molecular mechanisms of fluoride toxicity – together with the many unanswered research questions – we arrive at an unacceptably narrow margin of safety.

But don’t rely on National Geographic to tell you about any of this.


Author: AFA Mildura

Administrator, Anti-Fluoridation Association of Mildura

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