Hysterical Over Fluoride

I can finally feel confident in my opinion regarding fluoride for Watsonville, as expressed in last Tuesday’s blog: holding an opinion contrary to the LA Times usually means you’re right! Last Friday, the lead editorial in the LA Times stated “We suspect what’s fueling today’s outrage is the same phenomenon that propels “tea party” rallies around the country: a profound distrust of government.” http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-fluoride19-2010feb19,0,1049873.story
Apparently, “a profound distrust of government” should not stand in the way of government forcing unwanted medication on the citizenry. The people of Watsonville must be “acting stupidly” in their efforts to stop mandatory fluoridation of their water supply.
As I noted in my comment to last Tuesday’s blog, I concur with the philosophy that “It’s unethical to force a medication onto people,” as voiced by Dr. Anne Marie Helmenstine. And here’s one big reason why: we are all different! My wife has a food allergy to cilantro. Weird, huh? If she eats the smallest bit, she gets violently ill. Like most of you, I can eat all the cilantro I want with no side effects. And we have all heard of the ban on peanuts on air planes, due to the sensitivity of a small portion of the population to peanuts. Again, probably like you, I can eat all the peanuts I want without any adverse consequences. “Normal” things are known to have adverse effects on some people.
In a restaurant or on a plane, the consumer has a choice: I can choose not to eat something placed in front of me. This is much less so when it comes to the drinking water supply – everybody must drink the same water, or opt for bottled water, at much higher cost.
Are some people more sensitive to fluoride than others? To my knowledge, there are no studies on this topic, so there is no conclusion one way or the other. But many of the existing regulations are based on the sensitivity of a small segment of the population to a natural constituent in the water supply. Nitrate is a good example. At elevated levels, nitrate is known to interfere with oxygen uptake in very young children – less than 6 months of age – but is not harmful to others at those same levels. The regulation is in place to protect a very small fraction of the population.
The fluoride regulation has the potential to cause harm to a small portion of the population. Admittedly, that’s speculation on my part, but it is certainly not without precedent. So why would we add a substance to our water supply – at considerable cost! – without knowing the full story? The LA Times shrugs off all of Watsonville’s nay-sayers as engaging in “hysteria.” But there are plenty of valid reasons to oppose fluoridation – including the cost.
The LA Times concludes their editorial with the same suggestion that I did in last Tuesday’s blog: dispense toothpaste instead. Unfortunately, the Times didn’t do the math: it would be far cheaper – and likely far more effective – to do this rather than to fluoridate. And there would be zero risk to anyone who might be sensitive to fluoride. Or maybe my “profound distrust of government” is making me hysterical.

2 Responses to Hysterical Over Fluoride

  1. avatar Steve McLean says:

    Another thought: nitrate is used by many people — especially older Americans — to combat certain heart ailments. Perhaps we should REQUIRE nitrate addition to the water supply as it would provide a significant public health benefit for a segment of our population? Or what about Vitamin C? Or any other essential nutrients? It doesn't take much to see the utter nonsense behind fluoridation of public water supplies.

  2. avatar Steve McLean says:

    I received an e-mail today from the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation. You can find them at http://www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof/. I don't know anything about this organization, but a short look at their web site shows a lot of references to technical papers and news stories on this topic. Interesting among these is yesterday's news release stating "The California Dental Association (CDA) joins a growing list of researchers, dental and health organizations advising against regularly mixing infant formula with fluoridated water to avoid discoloring babies' developing teeth (fluorosis). But little effort is made to inform the public, reports the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. (NYSCOF)"
    So if the California Dental Association is against it, why does the California Department of Public Health continue to promote this questionable practice?
    And why did I not read about this today in either the LA Times or the LA Daily News?

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