“Cairns to abandon fluoride program” – The Australian

Source: vahealth.org
Source: vahealth.org

The Australian has published this report on the Queensland community’s decision to stop fluoridating the water.  From the report:

“QUEENSLAND is retreating from water fluoridation, despite warnings from its own health officials and new research showing fluoride helps shield children’s teeth from the damage caused by soft drinks.

The former Labor government overturned the long-held policy that required councils to hold a plebiscite if they wanted water fluoridation, compelling them to act on the issue without community support but with the benefit of state funding.”

The research that this article refers to is a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, entitled, “The dentist’s role in promoting community water fluoridation.”

The Abstract of this study reads:

“Background and Overview Community water fluoridation is an important public health intervention that reduces oral health disparities and increases the health of the population. Promotion of its safety and effectiveness is critical to maintaining its widespread acceptance and ensuring its continued use. Dentists are a potentially important source of knowledge regarding the oral health benefits and safety of water fluoridation. However, few dentists regularly discuss fluorides, and water fluoridation in particular, with patients. The authors aim to describe and discuss the role and importance of dentists’ promotion of public water fluoridation, barriers to dentists’ involvement and some approaches that might influence dentists to promote water fluoridation more actively.”

Fluoridealert.org has already published this response by The Fluoride Action Network criticizing the paper’s authors, Dr. Molly L.R. Melbye and Dr. Jason M. Armfield for recommending that dentists promote water fluoridation:

“It is reckless to urge dentists to tell the public that fluoridation is safe when they are not on top of the literature,” stated FAN director Dr. Paul Connett. “Their qualifications pertain to teeth. They are not qualified to assess what damage ingesting fluoride may cause to the rest of the body.” [Emphasis mine]

According to FAN, Armfield and Melbye encourage dentists to promote the safety of fluoridation based upon this misleading assurance: “There are no known harmful effects from ingestion of water that has had fluoride added to it at or about 0.7–1.2 mg/l. No systematic reviews of the literature have shown any negative health effects from ingestion of water fluoridated in or near this therapeutic range.”

Connett said that this assertion is dangerously misleading because it confuses concentration and dose. Harm has been found at doses that are commonly experienced in populations drinking artificially fluoridated water. Furthermore, it ignores that most basic health studies have not been conducted in countries that practice fluoridation. The absence of research is not the same as absence of harm, he stated. According to Connett, the assertion also overlooks the serious findings reported by the National Research Council in 2006 that subsets of the population — including bottle-fed infants — are exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency’s safe reference dose (0.06 mg/kg of bodyweight per day) by drinking fluoridated water.

FAN is calling nations that still fluoridate their water to end the practice. According to the organization, “it is becoming increasingly clear that fluoridating water supplies is an outdated, unnecessary, and dangerous relic from a 1950s public health culture that viewed mass distribution of chemicals much differently than scientists do today.

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