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Stopping fluoridation imperils Queenslanders' dental health

Mandatory water fluoridation introduced by the former Queensland government is being rolled back by some local councils, which have been given the power to decide whether to continue with the public health…

The burden of pain and discomfort, disfigurement and disability from dental decay is very large in Australia. Pete Simon

Mandatory water fluoridation introduced by the former Queensland government is being rolled back by some local councils, which have been given the power to decide whether to continue with the public health measure. There are even indications that some local government councils have moved with remarkable haste to decide to cease water fluoridation at the behest of a vocal, small minority of anti-fluoridationists.

Unfortunately for their citizens, councils may have made their decision without dedicating enough time and resources to become properly informed. And it’s not a decision of no consequence.

The burden of pain and discomfort, disfigurement and disability from dental decay is surprisingly large in Australia because dental decay is so ubiquitous. The ideal solution to such a widespread problem needs to help all of the population. Measures that reach very large numbers of people but require little or no individual effort are best, and they need to save more dollars in averted treatment than what they cost to implement.

Water fluoridation for the prevention of dental caries is an excellent example of such a public health measure. It’s been described as one of the ten great public health measures of the 20th century and is one of only a handful of health promotion measures in Australia that’s cost saving.

The decision to fluoridate is usually made by elected members of government and it’s implemented at the community level. People making the decision need to consider the public good of the measure, balancing the evidence of potential benefit and possible harms.

Queensland’s former Labor government introduced the Water Fluoridation Act 2008, mandating the fluoridation of water supplies across the state. But last year, the current Liberal-National government changed the law so local governments now decide whether to fluoridate water supplies.

The Act was based on research from the 1990s that showed children who were continuous residents of Brisbane had considerably more dental decay than their counterparts in Townsville, which has had fluoridated water since 1964. Not only did a higher percentage of Brisbane children have dental decay, their decay was also more severe.

Research looking at data from across the 1990s in Queensland and South Australia showed that children without access to water fluoridation developed new decay at a higher rate over a three-year period than those who did have access. More recently, research examining the interplay between sweetened beverage consumption and exposure to fluoridated water showed children without the latter had less protection against the former, causing increased tooth decay.

Fluoridation had covered 87% of Queensland before the Water Fluoridation ACT 2008 was changed and it was predicted that the dental decay rates in previously non-fluoridated areas would decrease to levels comparable to those seen in fluoridated Townsville. The drop in decay rate being denied some children in Queensland can be surmised from similar situations elsewhere.

A 2009 report compared the tooth decay rate in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, which fluoridated from 1992, to the Hawkesbury area, which had been fluoridated in 1968. It found that the dental decay rate among five to eight-year-old children in Hawkesbury didn’t reduced much from 1993 to 2003 (2.99 to 2.79 teeth per child), but across the same period in the Blue Mountains, the rate fell from 4.22 to 2.48 per child.

Among eight to eleven-year-olds, the adult teeth decay rate in Hawkesbury children reduced from 1.96 to 1.92 teeth per child, but for the Blue Mountains children, the rate fell from 2.21 to 1.73 teeth.

While the changes to the Water Fluoridation Act 2008 moves the decision closer to the individual community, it doesn’t change the requirement for the decision to be informed and considered. Councils have a duty of care to ratepayers and their children and should seek out and consider the guidance of national health authorities such as the National Health and Medical Research Council, and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.

Guidance about the claims made in the lay media about the benefits and risks of water fluoridation is also available from state health authorities. Unfortunately, the changes to the Water Fluoridation Act 2008 abolished the Queensland Fluoridation Committee, which might have served as a resource for councils making a decision.

Councils have no obligation to publicly indicate that they will consider water fluoridation or when that might occur. And local governments don’t bear the cost of decommissioning fluoridation plants and can eliminate an ongoing operational cost of water fluoridation. But ratepayers and the state government (and possibly the federal government in the future) will carry the cost of preventable dental decay.

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349 Comments sorted by

  1. Peter Kington

    Raconteur, ideas man and food whore at Self Employed

    As an individual, I'm not bothered by fluoride being in my water - that is to say, I'm not swayed by the argument that over my life I'm going to consume enough fluoride-poison that it'll kill me.

    But I do and always have, had a great sense of unease that the government sees fit to medicate me without my consent.

    I'm sure it comes down to dollars - it's probably cheaper to load up our water supply with fluoride than it is to better educate kids and their parents (who must bear ultimate responsibility…

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    1. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Peter Kington

      I would suggest that this measure (fluoridisation of the entire water supply) to reach one part of the population (children) as a prevention is an easy way out that avoids proper education on dental health, eating habits and food choices. Wouldn't it be much better to remove (or make access harder) the foods that cause dental decay and run school programs (possibly paid for by the industries that produce decay-promoting foods/drinks) to educate the target group and their parents? No, this is much easier and instead of changing habits, it adds another commercial opportunity for private business and erodes individual responsibility and rights.

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    2. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Peter Kington

      Peter Kington - the only way that fluoridation could be construed as forced medication is if it were either secretly introduced into the town water, could not be filtered out, or there were no alternative sources of water.

      We all know there is fluoride in town water. We have the options of using a water filter or drinking bottled water.

      Very few people have the benefit of a dental nurse in the family. It is much more effective and cost-effective to protect everyone's teeth, with a relatively easy opt-out for those who believe the conspiracies or choose not to cooperate with public health measures.

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    3. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Yes - it's an "easy way out" that is cost-effective, safe and works, Suzy Gneist.

      In no way does water fluoridation "avoid proper education on dental health, eating habits and food choices". How would it? Everyone knows that fluoride is no antidote for poor dental hygiene - it just adds a layer of protection.

      Why should it be one of the other - the best approach is both.

      IF we are worried about adding "another commercial opportunity for private business and erodes individual responsibility and rights.", shouldn't we also do away with compulsory seat belts or driver training?

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    4. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Your comparison is most illogical. A seatbelt is not ingested, untrained drivers on public roads do not just affect one particular section of the public.
      Luckily, I am an educated person and although I am on tank water, am able to make choices so my children's and my own teeth are protected through good food and regular dental visits. For the wider population: Yes, if only the approach covered was both, but that's not what I'm seeing. Far simpler to resort to the cheapest and easiest option (and…

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    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul,
      As a manager you would be accustomed to benefit:cost analysis. While I agree that family responsibility is the best approach in a perfect world, the world is not perfect. The fluoridation of water supplies is cheap and efficient (and cannot be realistically described by writers here as a convenient way to dispose of industrial waste).

      When you quote Prof Menkes as "rather more risky than previously thought", your argument is much strengthened if you give a couple of widely accepted papers…

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    6. david menkes

      associate professor

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey asks for widely accepted papers of fluoride harms, correctly pointing out that "data convinces (sic) better than words". For starters, here are two in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals:

      1. Cheng KK, Chalmers I, Sheldon TA. Adding fluoride to water supplies. BMJ 2007;335:699-702. This one attempts a balanced review, and points out that caries rates are declining in the West, irrespective of fluoridation.

      2. Choi AL, Sun G, Zhang Y, Grandjean P. Developmental fluoride neurotoxicity…

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    7. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to david menkes

      With all due respect, Professor Menkes, you are arguing that water should not be fluoridated to 0.7 ppm because of the health problems that could arise if it is fluoridated at more than twice that level.

      Having worked in water treatment plant, I can assure you that operators and supervisors are not such clueless gits as to let that sort of excursion continue for long enough as to be a problem, and I recommend that the professor go down to his local WTP and have a chat with the people there.

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    8. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Perhaps you are unaware of work showing the benefits to adult teeth of low levels of fluoride?

      Benefits of fluoride in drinking water (Science Alert)
      www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20130503-24123.html
      5 days ago ... For the first time researchers have demonstrated that fluoride in drinking water cuts tooth decay in adults.

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    9. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Peter Kington

      "I'm sure it all comes down to dollars" - perhaps it would be cheaper to pull all teeth at age 30 and supply dentures?

      Or, perhaps everyone who objects to fluoridation could install a rainwater tank? Now, that would be environmentally beneficial.

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    10. david menkes

      associate professor

      In reply to David Arthur

      hello David. To clarify: I am arguing that a small effect on children's IQ is likely at 0.7-1.0 ppm given the dose response curve apparent in Choi et al's study. Until the existence and magnitude of this potential harm is clarified, one could argue (by the precautionary principle) that even a small deleterious effect on IQ across millions of children is worth avoiding. Note this argument is rather similar to the one that enabled us in the West to eliminate lead from petrol. Small effect but huge implications when applied across populations.

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    11. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, I suggest you trawl through hundreds of fluoride papers over many years like I have before you lecture me about Paracelsus, which I've tried to educate people about for 30 years or more.

      But you're right, and in this case, the dose 'does' make the poison.

      Benefit, risk and harm are, of course, fundamental tenets of pharmacology. If relatively toxic pharma, like a cancer chemotherapy drug, causes adverse effects it may be worthwhile to save a life, but you should recognise that in the case of water fluoridation, millions of people are being exposed and even a very small adverse effect at the population level can cause widespread harm. Tooth caries is important, but not deserving of such risk taking, especially when the exposures (dose) are well outside established safety factor limits designed to protect the public from such variable exposure effects in large populations.

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    12. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to David Arthur

      Of course I'm aware of it. Without reading the full paper, it seems to me that this is poor evidence by evidence-based epidemiological standards -- a somewhat basic cross-sectional study.

      In the nutrition sciences, this would be eaten alive by critics.

      I've yet to read the full paper, but for a start, let me know if it was controlled for fluoride toothpaste or diet or treatment -- if you understand the significance of that.

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    13. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to david menkes

      Thanks for that, Prof Menkes.

      Humans evolved in Africa's Rift Valley, where naturally-occurring fluoride levels are relatively high due to volcanic geology.

      I once read that life expectancies of terrestrial mammals may be limited by their dental health; could you comment of the role of longitudinal (generation to generation) cultural transmission made possible by our ancestors starting to live long enough for children to be taught by their grandparents?

      Regarding the dose-response curves for IQ compare to the dose-response curves for fluoridosis? We are told that fluoridosis is not an issue at water fluoridation at 0.7-1 ppm.

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    14. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      The news release states that the study looked at data from a random sample of 3,800 Australians aged 15 and over, so would have compared outcomes for people with fluoridated water to this without fluoridated water.

      I have a vague understanding of the relevance of confounding factors to data analysis, but the news release makes no specific mention. Instead, it reports that "results show that adults with more than a 75% lifetime exposure to water fluoridation have significantly reduced tooth decay (up to 30% less) when compared with those with less than 25% lifetime exposure."

      Like you, I'm interested by that qualifier "up to".

      I live in one of those Qld regions that stopped voted to fluoridation ASAP - as it happens, this area has elected candidates standing for One Nation in the past, so I'm now drinking tea (no sugar) all day long.

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    15. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to David Arthur

      "so I'm now drinking tea (no sugar) all day long."

      Well of course, David, that's how the lolly and soft-drink makers want you to feel in fluoridated areas -- safe in your bed at night, protected from the ravages of wanton sugar-driven enamel depletion.

      "Pass us another 2 litres of Kola-Cola." Only 50 cents a litre if you buy a six pack.

      Oh well, there's always the Katter Party ;-).

      Look, here's what you do: Add half a t-spoon of sugar to your tea, and brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste one extra time per day for protection.

      I guarantee it'll save 0.0001 of a tooth surface over ten years.

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    16. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Disordered logic there, Suzy Gneist.

      As an "educated person" who makes "regular dental visits", why do you disagree with the dentist. Are you "educated" in dental health, or any other area of health care.

      What evidence is there that having fluoride in the water encourages poor dietary habits. I challenge you to produce any evidence of any link between the two. Ironically, those ruining their teeth with sweet drinks and juices could do better in more ways than one by reverting to tap water…

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    17. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      You are spot-on Geoffrey.

      People in other parts of the world who get fluoride toxicity get it from high-fluoride water sources - related to volcanic soils. All natural water sources contain minerals - that's why people value "mineral water".

      In Australia, we get the benefit of town water that has the optimum levels of chlorine and fluoride to balance safety with benefit. And yet we complain.

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    18. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      I'm not in a fluoridated area, and I'm not sure what the reference to Katter-loons is about; I'm pretty sure the Katter Party watches the speeches of General Jack D Ripper (from "Dr Strangelove") before every branch meeting.

      Here are a couple of alternatives to water fluoridation I thought of while referring to Wikiquotes for Gen Jack D Ripper.

      Option 1: a national free dental health service, funded by a consumption tax on confectionery and sugared beverages.

      Option 2: mandated minimum fluoride content in confectionery and sugared beverages.

      Any thoughts?

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    19. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to david menkes

      david menkes - Australian has had town water fluoridation for decades. I am yet to see, hear about or read of one single case of even dental fluorosis - let alone fluoride toxicity, from Australian town water.

      The second paper you cite (Choi et al, a meta-analysis) looked at papers published in the Chinese literature, comparing children in areas of high (natural, soil-derived) fluoride with areas of (naturally) lower fluoride.
      (anyone can read it here http://cof-cof.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Choi-et-al-Developmental-Fluoride-Neurotoxicity-A-Systematic-Review-and-Meta-Analysis-Environmental-Health-Perspectives-20-Jul-2012.pdf

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    20. Peter Kington

      Raconteur, ideas man and food whore at Self Employed

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue Ieraci - your summation of my comment is incorrect.

      I did not use the term, "forced medication". My point was that I am being medicated without my consent and as a hospital clinician you would well know that informed consent must always be sought from the 'patient'. Unless dictated by a court, any type of treatment is on an opt-in basis.

      Also, you have also selectively recounted my family experience. At no point did I indicate my sister was the person who taught me good oral hygiene…

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    21. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to David Arthur

      So does brushing and flossing. Probably just as well, at least according to my dentist.

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    22. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Luckily I also have an educated dentist who promotes dental hygiene as a better line of defence against tooth decay. And I don't disagree with him on this.
      I don't know how you conclude that I was suggesting that "fluoride encourages poor dietary habits" that is a very 'disordered' understanding of what I've said. No, the poor dietary habits are one, significant, cause for dental decay and poor dietary habits are not at all alleviated by adding fluoride to drinking water - so one major cause is…

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    23. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to david menkes

      ON the contrary, David Menkes - lead has no beneficial effect on the human body, but well-documented toxicity from environmental exposure.

      As an academic psychiatrist, have you seen or heard of any one single case of either dental fluorosis or fluoride toxicity resulting only from the consumption of Australian town water?

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    24. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul Rogers - in the "hundreds of fluoride papers over many years" that you have apparently trawled through, how many cases were reported of fluoride toxicity resulting only from town water in Australia?

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    25. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Peter Kington

      I paraphrased you, Peter Kington. You said "government sees fit to medicate me without my consent."

      You are not being medicated against your consent. You are fully aware that there is fluoride in town water. You can filter it or avoid it. (Did you formally consent to the chlorine?)

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    26. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      "As far as I know the fluoride used in drinking water is not checked for impurities "

      Ms Gneist - have you ever wondered how the fluoride concentration in town water is monitored? Or the chlorine level? Or the coliform count?

      You can look up a detailed analysis of your local water supply, for example: http://www.sydneywater.com.au/Publications/Reports/TypicalWaterAnalysis.pdf

      That report details the concentration of a wide range of organic and inorganic chemicals, including fluoride and sodium (the only constituents of sodium fluoride).

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    27. david menkes

      associate professor

      In reply to David Arthur

      Interesting point, David Arthur.

      Unsure how traditional societies differ in this regard, but NZ Maori were said to have nearly perfect teeth prior to European colonization. Now they are among the worst in the country (due to diet apparently, combined with generally poor dental hygiene) and are put forward as one main reason why the NZ Ministry of Health is keen on fluoridation -- to reduce health inequalities!

      As to fluorosis, I gather that mild-moderate fluorosis rates around 10% are seen in most fluoridated communities, but this is accepted as a fairly benign 'cost' of the measure.

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    28. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Good for you, Ms Sue, enjoy your town water. In case you missed it, I am on rain water, I filter this and I have access to excellent natural spring water for drinking. For health issues, I use my own judgement after drawing on specialist advice and weighing options and consequences :)
      If Australia has so little problem with drinking sanitised water with additives, I don't understand why most make such a fuss about recycling drinking water from sewerage as most European countries do. But that's another subject...

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    29. Delete this account as requested!

      logged in via email @iinet.net.au

      In reply to Peter Kington

      Yes, the government should not medicate our water. Remove the chlorine too as our right to cholera is inalienable.

      What about those areas where fluoride already exists in the water? Especially as it is usually in much higher concentrations than it is added - should it be left in there or removed?

      You cannot learn to increase your fluoride consumption, delivery by water is the best possible method and water is a utility that should be delivered by government.

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    30. david menkes

      associate professor

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, with respect, your reading of my post and the literature I cite is very selective. It would appear that you've long since made up your mind on this topic. A wonderful quote from Tolstoy comes to mind, which I'll share if you wish.

      Regarding fluorosis, it is common in most fluoridated communities, and exists on a continuum. For example, the mild variant appears at a rate of 15% in NZ (Oral Health Survey 2009) -- a mainly cosmetic concern it seems. More severe cases are associated with pitting and definite dental pathology (seen in USA which has higher F- in water and also toothpaste). But for you to insist that it simply doesn't occur in Australia beggars belief.

      My PhD? Neuropharmacology...for my sins. But I did observe and indeed researched the intense activity of F- on neuronal signalling systems; this may provide the mechanism for how it could disrupt synaptogenesis and thereby compromise neurodevelopment and later IQ.

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    31. Peter Kington

      Raconteur, ideas man and food whore at Self Employed

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Chlorine is there to make it potable.

      In fluoridation, water is being use as a carrier agent to achieve a medical outcome - two different things.

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    32. david menkes

      associate professor

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, with respect, you've again taken my comments out of context. The point about Pb is that it appears to share with F- neurotoxic effects at low doses -- and may result in subtle but widespread IQ deficits. These would scarcely be discernible at the middle of the distribution, but would be expected to markedly affect the proportions of those at the tails (less very bright, more very dim).

      As Cheng et al (BMJ, 2007) point out, there have been no RCTs of fluoridation, so evidence of both benefit and harm is more difficult to demonstrate. But the smoking gun is there...and the precautionary principle applies. Of course there's no free lunch with any widely used medication, and fit comes down to balancing benefits and harms. For fluoridated populations, the issue may come down to how much of a IQ deficit would be acceptable to gain a modest decrease in caries.

      regards
      dm

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    33. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, seriously, there will be dentists reading this and cringing at your suggestion. Dental fluorosis of cosmetically significant type is well known if not prevalent in Australia. The York review in the UK put it at about 10-12%. We have a similar fluoridation system here.
      There are plenty of papers on dental fluorosis in Australia, but I don't know of any national survey. Perhaps Prof Spencer can enlighten us.

      And I trust fluoride toothpaste will not get most of the blame because you can't have it both ways.

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    34. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to david menkes

      Thanks for that, Professor. My understanding is that Maori live on largely volcanic country, and are as closely related to ancestral Rift Valley hominids as myself. I'd have expected much of NZ to have reasonable natural levels of fluoride

      I also understand that Europeans had reasonable dental health until the introduction of white flour and sugar; the suggestion that revolting French peasants should eat cake had clearly malicious intent.

      Mild-moderate fluorosis is not health-threatening, typically requiring the consumption of ~10 L of water per day containing 1 ppm fluoride, and inadequate calcium intake.

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    35. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, I've done your work for you on dental fluorosis.

      J Public Health Dent. 2012 Spring;72(2):112-21. Association between infant formula feeding and dental fluorosis and caries in
      Australian children. Do LG, Levy SM, Spencer AJ.

      "Children in fluoridated areas had higher prevalence of very mild to mild fluorosis."

      Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2008 Jun;36(3):210-8. Changing risk factors for fluorosis among South Australian children. Spencer AJ, Do LG.

      "Prevalence of fluorosis declined significantly from 45.3% to 25.9% . . . Early toothpaste use, *residence in fluoridated areas* and fluoride supplement use were the risk factors in 1992/1993."

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    36. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to David Arthur

      Hi David, that reply may have been allocated to the wrong comment. I was only making the point - as you do too I believe - that fluoridisation is not the only solution to the problem and that other options exist and in a democratic society it should be possible to allow for differences of practice and opinion which some here seem to have issues with.
      I would like to see research findings applied to companies that are then taxed (or similar) to cover the detrimental effects of their products and deal with their 'externalised costs' (health, environment, etc) - instead we are made to pay to support their profits with publicly funded measures to minimise harm. I want this issue to be moved into the bigger, more uncomfortable picture and deal with the underlying problems rather than make cosmetic decisions and present these as either/or options.

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    37. Philip Robertson

      Naturopath

      In reply to david menkes

      You are correct David. As a health practitioner in Geelong Victoria, Professor Spencer's article does not properly address the problems of patients having adverse side effects from water
      fluoridation.

      Many of my patients are being made ill via suffering from fluoride toxicity since the
      water in Geelong was fluoridated in 2009. While I initially used to tell patients the same
      story many dentists and doctors tell that fluoridated water has no medical side
      effects, once I started to have…

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    38. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Thanks Ms Gneist.

      My understanding is that, many years ago, regional variation was observed for dental health many years ago in the United States; dental health was generally better in areas that obtained their water supplies from groundwater, particularly on groundwater with moderate fluoride content, than areas that relied only on surface water - which is generally low in fluoride.

      The major mineral in tooth enamel - the material which is destroyed in tooth decay - is calcium hydroxyapatite…

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    39. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      " I don't understand why most make such a fuss about recycling drinking water from sewerage "

      I don't either. It's just as illogical as fearing fluoride.

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    40. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to david menkes

      No, david - you cited two papers, I reviewed both of them, How was that "selective"?

      I don't have a personal opinion here - I follow the evidence. None of the anti-fluoride people on this thread have been able to cite even one single case report of fluoride toxocity from town water in Australia. After decades.

      It is your side that maintains an ideological stance, contrary to the evidence. How many more decades without a single case do you need before changing your stance?

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    41. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      from the first reference:
      "Infant formula use was associated with higher prevalence of fluorosis in nonfluoridated areas but not in fluoridated areas. Type of water used for reconstituting infant formula in fluoridated areas was associated with caries experience."

      lol

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    42. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue Ieraci,

      It seems to me the problem is that you are unable to follow the evidence and the subtleties of the debate. Endlessly repeating mantras with little meaning is not good scientific debate.

      We clearly prove you wrong -- on dental fluorosis, and the metabolism of fluoride (previous discussion) for example -- yet you ignore it and continue on with mantra.

      It doesn't' work, and it detracts from a useful discussion.

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    43. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Except that not all disagreements are automatically based on fear. Mine certainly isn't. Objections can be rational, ethical, emotional or even cultural to be valid.

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    44. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul Rogers - you didn't do the homework very well. You missed this bit: "A total of 375 and 677 children participated in the 1992/1993 and 2002/2003 rounds respectively. Prevalence of fluorosis declined significantly from 45.3% to 25.9%. Reduced use of fluoride supplements and increased use of 400–550-ppm children F toothpaste were the most substantial fluoride exposure changes. "

      So, incidence of fluorosis decreased over the period. Early use of full-strength toothpaste and use of supplements…

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    45. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to David Arthur

      "Many of my patients are being made ill via suffering from fluoride toxicity"

      Phillip Robertson - what is your evidence for that statement? WHere are the cases reported?

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    46. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      No, Paul, I keep repeating because you never answer - you DON'T prove me wrong - as evidenced by the lack fluoride toxicity in our community.

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    47. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Ms Gneist - what is the chemical composition of your spring water? How often do you have it analysed?

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    48. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      In mg/l:
      Bicarbonate 175.00
      Chloride 34.00
      Calcium 27.00
      Sodium 23.50
      Magnesium 19.50
      Potassium 0.50
      Chlorine free
      pH 7.1
      Since this water is sold through a local business, the quality is regularly checked.
      Does this information make my opinion more valuable in your eyes?

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    49. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      OK Sue, I'll try again. I've already made it clear that in Australia there have been very few studies of the adverse effects of fluoride. If you want to know what I'm referring to, take a look at the studies reviewed in the US EPA (2010) review document for it's latest reference dose (acceptable daily intake) for combined water and diet -- 0.08 mg F/kg/day. That's only 5.6 mg total fluoride/day for a 70 kg person.

      http://water.epa.gov/action/advisories/drinking/upload/Fluoride_dose_response.pdf

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    50. Stephen Humphry

      Associate Professor, Educational Measurement at University of Western Australia

      In reply to David Arthur

      As has been pointed out elsewhere, it is not necessary for the levels to be twice as high for humans to ingest twice the total mount of fluoride. All that is necessary is for people to drink large amounts of water relative to a reference amount. Drinking large amounts of water obviously occurs for various reasons such as hot and humid climates, high exercise levels, and less common reasons such as diabetes insipidus and polydipsia.

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    51. Philip Robertson

      Naturopath

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      To Sue Lerasi,

      Most of the clinical evidence for the many cases is in my clinical
      practice files.

      However when side effects have become potentialy fatal for a patients, such
      as when a patient has such severe asthma when drinking fluoridated
      water and they are not expected to live if drinking the water, then
      hospital tests have been done in conjunction with the Victorian
      Asthma Foundation.

      The evidence in one such case thus exists not just in my clinical records but
      also…

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    52. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Stephen Humphry

      Thanks Prof Humphry.

      I assume your remark "As has been pointed out elsewhere, it is not necessary for the levels to be twice as high for humans to ingest twice the total mount of fluoride. " was in response to my writing:
      "Mild-moderate fluorosis is not health-threatening, typically requiring the consumption of ~10 L of water per day containing 1 ppm fluoride, and inadequate calcium intake."

      As it happens, I did first year chemistry, and so am quite well aware that mass of solute = concentration…

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    53. Stephen Humphry

      Associate Professor, Educational Measurement at University of Western Australia

      In reply to David Arthur

      Hi David,

      Apologies for not being clearer, I was actually replying to your comment as follows:

      "With all due respect, Professor Menkes, you are arguing that water should not be fluoridated to 0.7 ppm because of the health problems that could arise if it is fluoridated at more than twice that level."

      The point is that it does one person can easily ingest several times as much as another person, let alone twice as much. I hadn't seen your comment regarding 10 L of water per day at 1 ppm. I agree that it will be very unusual for someone to consume that much. However, my comment was intended to have reference back to the evidence cited by David Menkes.

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    54. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to David Arthur

      We don't get fluoride from water alone. You have to look at estimated total intake, compare that with the reference dose, and possibly incorporate a safety factor as well.

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    55. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      OK - I accept that you might have an emotional objection to fluoride. But not rational.

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    56. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      No - but your comment that it has a chloride concentration of 34.00 while being "chlorine free" puzzles me.

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    57. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul Rogers - you keep repeating the same (invalid) argument. Saying it again doesn't make it any more correct.

      You keep saying that we don't see the bone changes of fluoride toxicity because we don't do "studies" - but radiologists look at literally thousands of XRays of bones every day, and are trained (and clinically obliged) to report on all the abnormalities - not just whether there are fractures or not. Are you suggesting Australian radiologists don't have the training to pick up subtle changes in bone? If they aren't, then who is?

      I don't suggest pathology is regional - I specify Australia because we have a consistent level of fluoridation and similar standards of quality control across our nation.

      I've heard your arguments over and over and over, but you've only been able to show me evidence of fluorosis caused by using full-strength toothpaste in children and F supplement tablets, and no evidence at all of any other changes of Fluoride toxicity. Time to give it away.

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    58. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Philip Robertson

      Philip Robertson - I'll assume that response was for me, although you wrote "Lerasi" and my name is "Ieraci"

      Please explain by what physiological mechanism fluoridated water could cause or trigger asthma, what tests were done, and how the fluoride was isolated as a cause, separately from other substances in tap water.

      Even at toxic levels, Fluoride is not known to cause bronchospasm. Asthma is a condition that combines airway wall inflammation with constriction of bronchial smooth muscle, complicated by bronchial mucous plugging. How does fluoride exposure cause those changes?

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    59. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Thanks Mr Rogers, you are quite correct.

      This is Australia, where volcanic country naturally high in fluoride is relatively rare. That is, here in Australia, we cannot generally rely solely on food for our fluoride requirement.

      There's a 2006 presentation by Loc Do of University of Adelaide on Fluoride exposure, dental fluorosis and caries among South Australian children (ages 0-6), for which the only fluoride sources examined were water supply and toothpaste use. http://www.arcpoh.adelaide.edu.au/news/documents/SADS_presentation_16JUN06.pdf

      ARCPOH is where Prof Spencer (author of this 'The Conversation' piece) works; maybe they know more about fluoride than we mere hoi polloi, and maybe we could accord them some credence?

      Alternatively, we could follow the views of Gen Jack D Ripper (as seen in "Dr Strangelove")?

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    60. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, what's your point -- other than to show that fluoridated water supplies are a risk factor for dental fluorosis, and that fluoridated toothpaste can increase the risk? Dose-response, David.

      Quote: "Exposure to fluoride in water, and toothpaste were the main risk factors for fluorosis."

      Yes, I knew that.

      So, you're suggesting that we don't get 2 milligrams of fluoride (equivalent to 2 litres of fluoridated water at 1ppm) from diet other than water? How do you know this? Have you looked at the data?

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    61. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sure wrote: "Are you suggesting Australian radiologists don't have the training to pick up subtle changes in bone? If they aren't, then who is?"

      I'm suggesting that stage 1 and 2 skeletal fluorsis can look like other diseases of bone, and that it may not be immediately obvious to radiologists who are not used to looking for it. From memory, I did ask you to seek the opinion of a radiologist if you still work in medicine.

      Here is a good example. In these case reports of skeletal fluorosis as a result of tea drinking, the authors say this:

      "Furthermore, fluoride excess should be considered in all patients with a history of excessive tea consumption, especially due to its insidious nature and nonspecific clinical presentation."
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17550752

      Non-specific clinical presentation is the problem, and in these cases, the clinical presentation was more overt than the even less obvious early stages.

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    62. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      I understand that you, @Sue, make assumptions about other's motives and in my case like to attribute 'emotional objections' which are not based on my reality but which re-inforce your own – if you'd picked 'ethical' I could have agreed with you :)

      On your second comment: I am not at all surprised that answering your questions with the data you request does not change your view of a person's credibility or an issue. It also highlights the gridlock of these discussions between worldview factions…

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    63. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      These cases were consuming excessive amounts of tea (20cups/d) and consequently had fluoride intakes around a hundred times what would be considered normal. In most of the cases there symptoms resolved when they stopped drinking so much tea. Paul please stop trawling the internet.
      R

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    64. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Sure Richard, but the tea cases are well known -- to me at least and I don't need to 'trawl'. Cases exist at much lower exposures than 20 cups.

      In any case, I was making a very specific point about the difficulty of diagnosing stage 1 and 2 skeletal fluorosis (these cases are more likely stage 3), and not actual dose.

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    65. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Mr Rogers - you seem quite happy to raise additional factors (ie how do we know how much fluoride we get overall?) then feign confusion when someone answers your attempted dissemblement.

      Allow me to spit it out on the wall so you can read it:.

      In Australia, most of the fluoride we get is via either water supply or fluoridated toothpaste. This is because there's not very much fluoride in most of the country where food is grown, and in most of the water used to irrigate food crops.

      Why is there not much fluoride in the country,and the water? Because much of Australia's food-growing areas are geologically old - fluoride comes up from deep underground via vulcanism. Being relatively soluble, fluoride then gets washed away again in groundwater flows.

      If, after giving the matter some thought, you determine that your fluoride intake is adequate without fluoridated water supply, you can always get yourself a rainwater tank. Now, that would be progress.

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    66. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, no need to spit it out and waffle on about volcanoes, just tell me if you know of any studies that estimate total fluoride intake in Australians - volcanoes or not.

      BTW, don't you eat improrted food?

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    67. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      I avoid imported food where I can; much of it comes from that environmental disaster area known as China, and as European horsemeat.

      I'd go further, and add that a nation that is a net exporter of most if not all food groups, it is utterly perverse that CO2 is emitted so that substandard low quality junk of any sort is imported to Australia from anywhere. Because we cannot be certain of QC practices anywhere in the world outside Australia (NZ reflagging of Chinese-grown vegetables, EU horsemeat…

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    68. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul Rogers - are you a clinician? Do you practice diagnosis and treatment?

      There are many "non-specific clinical presentations" - it is the role of the clinician to narrow down the possible causes, using detailed history, physical examination and appropriate investigations - perhaps imaging or blood tests. ON the basis of this amalgamated data, a provisional diagnosis is made.

      The same thing occurs with subtle bony changes on XRay. You say "stage 1 and 2 skeletal fluorosis can look like other diseases of bone". When you see it, how do you distinguish it from those other diseases? Maybe those "subtle bony changes" are not what you think they are.

      I would suggest it is you who should "seek the opinion of a radiologist" - I already collaborate with them constantly.

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    69. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      My apologies, Ms Gneist - you are correct that dissociated chloride ions are different to chlorine gas.

      Chlorine dissolved in water, however, is not present as Cl2 but, being highly reactive, combines with H20 and is found as HOCl, OCl- and also Cl-.

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    70. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      David Arthur is right to mention volcanoes, Paul Rogers. The majority of fluoride toxicity around the world occurs in volcanic areas where soil fluoride is naturally high - not from fluoridated town water.

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    71. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Dental Fluorosis - visible sign of fluoride toxicity - imperfecttly formed ( hypomineralised enamel ) - now down to 25 % incidence in latest Australian figures ( NSW 2007 CDHS ) after measures put in place to reduce ( 500 ppm children's toothpaste - pea sized amount toothpaste recommendations ) had been up to 50 % in some Australian studies .

      When fluoridation started Dental Fluorosis was not supposed to exceed 10 % . Dental fluorosis is the reason the US Public Health Service is lowering their recommended concentration down to 0.7 mg/L - but we still have it at 1.0 mg in the majority of Australian schemes AND we now also have DOW AGROSCIENCES polluting food with fluoride with thier PROFUME ( Sulfuryl Fluoride ) termite fumigant now allowed to be spayed on foods

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    72. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      With that paper , look at how Adelaide University statified the use of formula use - a baby who had a few supplemental feeds in hospital or while being minded , is lumped in with fill time formula use.

      Additionally, the element of bias, every paper out of Adelaide University in the last 10 years has the one single fluorosis examiner.

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    73. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, so now you're a practising radiologist are you? I asked you to consult a practising radiologist on the diagnosis of early stage skeletal fluorosis. It seems you have not.

      Anyway, doesn't matter because I am doing it. I'll let you know what they say . . .

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    74. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      And yet over a quarter of children have Dental Fluorosis of some level - a quarter of children have signs of fluoride toxicity and it is not going to get less now that we have DOW AGROSCIENCES Sulfutyl Fluoride being allowed to be sprayed on food since 2008 and since some dentists are advising patienst to spit , but NOT rinse their toothpaste - Dr Ginni Mansberg even advised this on national TV a couple of years ago - it feels a bit gritty she said - but you get used to it. What a dis-service to Austalian children.

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    75. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to David Arthur

      Or, perhaps everyone who wanted even fluoride than what they already have in toothpaste , mouth washes, fluoride treatments, fluoride tablets, Dow Agrosciences Profume fumigated foods, could just swallow a bit of their toothpaste as some dentists in mostly fluoridated areas, have been advising - spit , but don't rinse.

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    76. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      Thanks Ms Haines. You write "Dental fluorosis is the reason the US Public Health Service is lowering their recommended concentration down to 0.7 mg/L - but we still have it at 1.0 mg in the majority of Australian schemes."

      That's as may be, but I do know that in the recent Qld attempt to break free of the Dark Ages of rotting mouths, regulation around fluoridation was aimed at 0.7 mg/L F.

      Oh well, back into the Dark Ages of superstition and ignorance, of overlordship by manipulation of mass panic ...

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    77. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      Thankls Ms Haines. The incidence of fluorodosis in epidemiological work from SA shows that there are indeed some people whose mouths are exposed to more fluoride than is required.

      That same work shows that for the vast majority of people, fluoride exposure in the absence of fluoridated water is inadequate.

      Interestingly, swallowing toothpaste is not necessarily the most effective way to ensure adequate fluoride exposure; as Prof Menkes points out, it's topical exposure ie direct contact of tooth with fluoride while it's in the mouth, that is of lasting benefit to teeth that are already formed. Surely you know that?

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    78. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to David Arthur

      David (n/a) NSW, Victoria , Tasmania and the ACT are fluoridated at 1.0 mg/L . NSW and Victoria are the states with the largest population bases. SA is 0.9 mg/l , WA is 0.8 mg/l . Qld is 0.8 mg/l ( not 0.7 as you say ) apart from North Qld - Townsville is 0.65 - lower concentrations because the northern areas of Australia are hotter and people drink more water ( and thus would get the same or higher doses by drinking more water )

      So people in the USA up near freezing cold Canada will now have less fluoride in their water ( 0.7 mg/L ) than people in northern NSW ( 1.0mg/L )

      I find your comment " recent Qld attempt to break free of the Dark Ages of rotting mouths" extremely offensive

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    79. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to David Arthur

      "That same work shows that for the vast majority of people, fluoride exposure in the absence of fluoridated water is inadequate"

      Please give the refererences for one study that shows ingesting fluoride is necessary for life, necessary for good health, necessary for good teeth even.

      With repeated child dental health surveys showing that 50 % of Qld 12 years olds having no tooth decay at all in their permanent teeth BEFORE Anna Bligh forced fluoridation on Qld ( and with very few children taking fluoride tablets ) - it appears that at least 50% of Qld children don't need to ingest fluoride to have perfect teeth.

      Brush it on teeth by all means, if you want to, but don't make the leap that a topical product needs to be ingested as well.

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    80. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Unnecessary belligerence, Paul.

      I said "I would suggest it is you who should "seek the opinion of a radiologist" - I already collaborate with them constantly." How do you turn this into me claiming to be a radiologist?

      I my clinical practice, I review all my own patient's XRays in order to make clinical diagnoses. All the films are subsequently reported by specialist radiologists, as a back-up. For quality assurance purposes, we review all the radiologists' reports. Over thirty years of practice, I would have seen and reviewed the reports of thousands - if not tens of thousands - of XRays. I have never seen the question of fluoride toxicity raised. You say the radiologists just miss it. I say you're making that up.

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    81. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      Merilyn

      You say "25% of kids"

      The Australian Dental Association says "Dental fluorosis can be a significant and unwanted effect on teeth if a child is exposed to high levels of fluoride when the teeth are forming, although instances of severe dental fluorosis are now rare in Australia."

      Who to believe?

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    82. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, you mean "trust me, I'm a CLINICIAN!". And here I'm thinkin' there's only one infallible person on the planet . . .

      Yes I am suggesting early stage skeletal fluorosis is missed. Skeletal fluorosis is not new, being a well-known condition in the aluminium industry. Here are a few papers that suggest that's exactly what occurs.

      “Possibly some cases of pain diagnosed as rheumatism or arthritis may be due to subclinical fluorosis which is not radiologically demonstrable.”
      Cook HA. (1971…

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    83. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      "Wouldn't it be much better to remove (or make access harder) the foods that cause dental decay " - No, obviously it wouldnt be easier to remove all fizzy pop, mcdonalds, kfc, chocolate, chewy lollies, gummies, etc, etc, etc

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    84. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      http://www.arcpoh.adelaide.edu.au/news/documents/SADS_presentation_16JUN06.pdf shows the link between fluoride and dental health.

      Links between poor dental health and heart disease are well known. Poor dental health and other consequences of systemic bacterial infection also include adverse outcomes for joint replacements. www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/dentistry/

      "Brush it on teeth by all means, if you want to, but don't make the leap that a topical product needs to be ingested as well." Excellent comment, Ms Haines. The people funding health care would love to hear from anyone who can ensure population-wide topical oral fluoride exposure without water fluoridation.

      After all, it was fluoride in the Rift Valley water where our ancestors developed significant cultural traditions because adequate dental health allowed adequate survival into old age to pass on knowledge and acquire wisdom. Please review my discussions with Prof Menkes and Paul Rogers.

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    85. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Why is it that non-clinical people, arguing outside their area of expertise, have to invoke arrogance or alleged belief in infallibility against people who are commenting in their area of expertise?

      Paul I know that there is such a thing as skeletal fluorosis - it's well described in papers from China and India, where the natural soil fluoride is high in many areas.

      Radiologists know about skeletal fluorosis - that's how it's picked up. You suggestion that it is present in Australia but just never picked up is silly. What about the Chinese and Indian-trained radiologists working in Australia? Are they all missing it too?

      I don't claim to be infallible. I'm not asking for your trust, I'm just pointing out that, when you suggest that skeletal fluorosis is present in Australia but radiologists are just missing it, my knowledge of how radiologists are trained and work suggests you are wrong.

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    86. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      50% of age 12 kids didn't have decay before fluoridation?

      So you're happy to consign the other 50% of the population to a life of illness and pain? Their permanent teeth have only just FORMED, for goodness' sake, and they're already decaying?

      That's absolutely appalling. Enjoy retirement.

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    87. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to David Arthur

      I dont know about your family, but in mine the kids all started getting their permanent teeth in their mouths from age 5 to 6 years, The WHO international gold standard for comparing child tooth decay is in permanent teeth at age 12 years - good enough for the WHO . WHO data shows that 12 year olds in all western countries ( fluoridated or not ) have a DMFT hovering around 1 - same as Australia ( and Qld before forced fluoridation ) - 50 years ago Australian 12 year had a DMFT about 12 - now it is 1.

      We already have Australia wide very easy fluoride access - more than 95 % of toothpastes sold contain fluoride from 500 ppm for kids right up to a massive 5000 ppm .

      If parents dont teach their kids to clean their teeth and let them drink and eat garbage drinks and foods - NOTHING , will stop those kids having tooth decay.

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    88. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      Some permanent teeth may be 6-7 years old by age 12, but they've got another 70 years to go.

      "If parents dont teach their kids to clean their teeth and let them drink and eat garbage drinks and foods - NOTHING , will stop those kids having tooth decay." These are the kids who need that topical exposure I mentioned to you; don't you think it's about time you started agitating for all soft drinks to contain fluoride at least equivalent to those toothpastes, as I outlined in the "Option 2" proposal I put to Paul Rogers a few days ago.

      Funnily enough, no-one has seen fit to comment on the options i put to Paul. Why not?

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    89. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to David Arthur

      All soft drinks and beers and other beverages made in fluordiated areas contain fluoride - almost as high as the concentration of the fluoride in the tap water used to manufacture them or reconstitute.

      Fortunately the wine I drink has much lower levels ( when I have tested with an Fluoride ion selective electrode )

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    90. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Well, Sue, this is simple is it not?

      As I requested, and seeing that you deal with radiologistis constantly, why don't you ask them this question:

      "How would you detect Stage 1 Skeletal Fluorisis?" Just ask them.

      Doesn't it occur to you that having not seen any cases, as you claim, there are 'three' options:

      1. It does not exist
      2. It is not detectable by radiological examination
      3. The radiologist is not competent to detect it

      All the evidence suggests number 2. Why are you avoiding this issue? Just ask them!

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    91. Paul McCarthy

      lawyer

      In reply to David Arthur

      There's the Russian method of removing bad teeth and replacing them with stainless steel implants, but that requires a large pool of poorly paid dentists who can do the work.

      The old cold war joke was that the Russians always claimed to have invented everything but the Russians really did invent dental implants and the pre-laser version of vision-correcting corneal surgery (radial keratotomy). Doctors and dentists in the Soviet Union were traditionally paid very poorly and the Russians found…

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    92. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      tax them appropriately - double the price and use the tax to fund the treatment ;)

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    93. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, one result of your suggestion would be that CCA and familiars would position themselves as providing a benefit with their soft drinks - I can see the copywriting on the wall: Drink Coca Cola to protect your pearly whites!

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    94. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Suzy - if you read my comment in which the idea of fluoridating junk food is Option 2, you'll see that my Option 1 would be to put a consumption tax on these junk foods to fund Denticare.

      It may even be that the tax would be at such a high rate that junk food manufacturers would look at fluoridating their products in order to bring the tax rate down.

      "Drink Coca-Cola to protect your teeth" - if the General Jack D Ripper lot ever succeed in ending water fluoridation, that may well be necessary. Given the pain, illness and expense that proceeds from poor dental health, drinking fluoridated Coca-Cola would become the low-cost public health preference - if water isn't fluoridated.

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    95. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul McCarthy

      In the film "Dr Strangelove", one of Gen Jack D Ripper's motives for sending his H-bomb-armed B-52's off to bomb these same Russians was his belief that water fluoridation was a Communist plot to weaken the American people.

      I wonder if the same concern is motivating some of our fellow commentators?

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    96. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      These same beverages rot your teeth, showing that reticulated levels of fluoridation are insufficient in these beverages. If water fluoridation ever ends (eg in many Qld regions), then clearly these beverages need to be fortified with much higher fluoride content.

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    97. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      I would love that, unfortunately that would affect our Corporate Overload masters. There isnt a politician in the land who could stand up to coke or McDonalds but it would be great

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    98. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Okay, I did seek the opinion of very experienced radiologists and here are their answers about diagnosing early stage skeletal fluorosis:

      1. "Very nonspecific findings that can also be caused by many other entities, so not possible to be definitive without specific history."

      2. "I am sure a person could have quite significantly elevated levels of fluoride and show none of the characteristic radiographic manifestations of fuorosis. I would say that radiographic positivity would be a late finding."

      We don't know enough about this condition, especially as the dose-response curve is suggestive of effects at doses likely to be common in Australian communities.

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  2. Stephen S Holden

    Associate Professor, Marketing at Bond University

    The problem is that fluoridation of the water breaches individual rights to choose for ourselves. There's no 'opt-out' for those that are strongly opposed. (See 'preaching to the unconverted' here at The Conversation).

    Why not look at an alternative solution that recognises that problem? Why not offer fluoride to people in tablet or other forms? Yes, takeup could be lower, but deliver pills to every address, put them in the supermarket (next to softdrinks!), etc. Or just provide alternative water supplies (a water tank, bottled water) to those that object. See? It can be done!

    As a child, I took fluoride in tablet form because my parents believed in its value (thank you Mum and Dad) while the WA govt and/or local authorities did not. And I did the same for my son when he was young here in Queensland, because the water was not fluoridated.

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    1. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Stephen S Holden

      We've had that argument Stephen and the medical view was that adding fluoride to water at low doses was the most effective way of reaching all in the population, and that the public health benefits trumped any concerns about individual objections. There is still some "opt out" for those who are strongly opposed by the use of filtration, as I am sure you are aware.

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    2. Eric Ireland

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Stephen S Holden

      The problem with offering fluoride to people in tablet or other forms is that those who are most likely to need it (those with poor knowledge of good dental health practices) will probably be least likely to use it. Children should not be disadvantaged because their parents are ignorant or lack the motivation to fluoridate their water.

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    3. Stephen S Holden

      Associate Professor, Marketing at Bond University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Thanks Geoff, I've thought through your implied objection - and my opinion remains the same. Indeed, I think that if there were a group that strongly objected to chlorinated water, most of us would happily allow them to opt out and be much less righteous about what they "ought" to do. In fact, there are some - perhaps the same ones as the anti-flouridators - who meticulously filter their water, or drink rainwater to minimise chlorine. Is there a problem with that? Isn't that exactly the solution I have proposed to address different individual preferences?

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    4. Hugh McColl

      Geographer

      In reply to Stephen S Holden

      Stephen, your 'opt-out' arrangement ("...offer fluoride to people in tablet or other forms") implies that fluoride would not be added into town water and that people who wanted it could add/ingest their own. The same would apply with chlorine wouldn't it? There would be no chlorine in the water and those who thought their water might need sterilizing could add their own poison. Do you see the problem with this? If no chlorine is added (mass medication or not) town water cannot be guaranteed to be 'potable'.

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    5. Peter Kington

      Raconteur, ideas man and food whore at Self Employed

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I think these are two different things.

      The theory goes that chlorination makes potentially unsafe water safe for human consumption.

      Using drinking water to mass administer fluoride is to use water as a carrier agent. The addition of fluoride to drinking water doesn't make drinking water any safer.

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    6. Stephen S Holden

      Associate Professor, Marketing at Bond University

      In reply to Hugh McColl

      Yes, I see the difference - and it was perhaps the one alluded to be Geoffrey Sherrington above.

      My concern is about 'universal' policies based on a presumed weighing of costs and benefits that do not (cannot) account for individual preferences.

      I am also concerned about the righteousness that tends to characterise these debates which seems indefensible and unhelpful.

      Indefensible because what is 'true' is not as transparent as the debaters like to make out (The only true wisdom is to know we know nothing: Socrates). This inevitable uncertainty undermines the justification for paternalistic policies. Is QLD right not to flouridate, or is the rest of Australia right?

      Unhelpful because opt-in / opt-out options often allow people to meet their personal preferences. That is, who's right and wrong can continue to be debated at the same time as accommodating people's choices.

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    7. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Stephen S Holden

      Stephen Holden - you seem to have this issue back-to-front.

      Of course there is opt-out: water filters, bottled water.

      As far as safety goes, however, it is much safer to control the level in town water than to leave all individuals to take their own supplements. Did you know that the cases of dental fluorosis (essentially harmless dental discolouration) that occurred in past decades in children were from taking tablet supplements, prior to town water fluoridation?

      Across the world, toxic…

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    8. Delete this account as requested!

      logged in via email @iinet.net.au

      In reply to Stephen S Holden

      Public health is not a personal choice. It's like immunisation, it's a bigger issue than one persons poorly researched and informed choice.
      No amount of libertarian thinking can make that untrue unless you're happy to bear the eventual, catastrophic results of this.

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  3. Hugh McColl

    Geographer

    Within a few days of the Queensland government rule relaxation Cairns (pop.150,000) dropped out of fluoridation because, they said, it would save the council $300,000 per year. No other explanation necessary, it's only about the money. Townsville (pop. 200,000) has said it will not be changing, in fact it will not even consider consulting its residents.

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    1. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Hugh McColl

      Cairns actually cited mass medication as a major reason for stopping. The Local Govt Assn of Qld Policy is that without the express consent of the community, fluoridation sis unethical mass medication - same official policy as the Qld Govt had before she forced fluoridation on 4 million Qlders - good thing she got booted out !

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  4. Shaun King

    Designer

    This article tops the pile for being a one-sided propaganda article written for and by the dental profession.

    I find it incredulous that people in the 21st century still believe tooth decay has anything to do with oral hygiene.

    It's like believing witches are spreading disease.

    And flouridation, as the comments rightfully expressed, is a forced government medication, with no opt-out (unless you have your own tank). And the weight of evidence mounting against the long-term benefits of flouridation…

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    1. david menkes

      associate professor

      In reply to Shaun King

      don't mean to sound paranoid, but the logical, grammatical and spelling errors in Shaun's letter suggest that he is attempting to discredit the evidence-based arguments against fluoridation (above).

      Incidentally, rates of decay are decreasing around the Western world, irrespective of fluoridation, and there is some evidence that improvements in diet are responsible.

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    2. Shaun King

      Designer

      In reply to david menkes

      David, my brain wasn't quite awake. Had a late night, and when i read the article, my thoughts were still swimming between my dream state and the waking state.

      Grammar n spelling r irrelevant when u'r having a conversation.

      Dunno where u get the idea that i'm attempting to discredit the evidence-based arguments against flouridation. The evidence is plain for all to see with a little enquiry beyond the latest colgate advert.

      Dig into where the toothbrush and toothpaste came from. An experiment in vanity, then taken on to be factual. Like so many of our medical myths .... lies become truths when you tell them long enough.

      So much for an intelligent, modern civilisation. We're more superstitious than we've ever been.

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    3. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Shaun King

      Shaun,

      your claims, really need to be supported by some credible peer-reviewed links.

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    4. Hugh McColl

      Geographer

      In reply to Shaun King

      Shaun King, it is a dubious claim to make that the dental profession know some thing "... and always have". How do you 'know' what anyone 'knows', let alone a whole profession of which I assume you are not a member? No dentist I ever visited told me that fluoride doesn't work but to use it anyway. And as for your claim that tooth decay starts from the inside (like impure thoughts?) - I have a mouth full of fillings from my teenage years (grew up on a farm with tank water) but I have nearly all my natural teeth and they're still in reasonable shape deep down. By your logic they should have been gone long ago, possibly taking my jawbone with them.

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    5. Mark Amey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shaun King

      Shaun, teeth don't usually have bone inside them!

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    6. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Shaun King

      Wow - dental conspiracy theory!

      So, the dentists are conspiring to get people to do something that REDUCES their workload and income. How weird is that?

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    7. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Shaun King

      (Shaun King must be a "designer" of dentures.)

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to david menkes

      David,
      Is it a possible that food grown with fluoridated water is a factor? I simply do not know. However, study of this type is often complicated by an inability to recognise and correct for external variables, some of which can act in non-linear or perverse ways.

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  5. Christoph Rupprecht

    Geographer

    Interestingly, the article does not comment on the large number of countries that stopped fluoridation (continental Europe, Japan etc.) or alternatives to water fluoridation such as salt fluoridation. I wonder why?

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    1. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Christoph Rupprecht

      It IS a good question and the answer seems to be due to public opposition in Europe etc.

      Whether that opposition is soundly based is another question though.

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    2. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Christoph Rupprecht

      Christoph,
      What is salt fluoridation?

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    3. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I assume he means like salt iodisation - which has been beneficial in areas with low natural iodine in soils. (Both iodine and fluoride occur naturally in soils, in widely varying concentrations).

      Incidentally, the avoidance of iodised salt in favour of boutique salts has caused a bit of a re-emergence of iodine deficiency.

      Oh - and about Europe: not an area where people generally like controls over health-related habits. Witness the delays on controlling smoking in restaurants.

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    4. Eric Ireland

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      According to Wikipedia, in Switzerland they fluoridate salt.

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  6. Jim KABLE

    teacher

    I was a boy in the 1950s in Tamworth NSW which had one of the first water fluoridation schemes in the country as I recall - certainly there was a longitudinal study underway - I recall several visits to my school (West Tamworth PS) checking our teeth - we knew it was something special. I am now nudging 64 and still have most of my teeth - maybe in part good food as a child (little candy/sweets/soda pop in those days)- strong encouragement from my mother re brushing of teeth - and dental visits on a regular check-up basis ever since. But I don't discount the privilege of the far-sighted of my childhood town in having the water we drank fluoridated!

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  7. Darryl O'Bryan

    Plumber

    In order to understand the roll of government you need to look at one of the basic functions of government as required by the people. The most basic of functions is that they install a standard applicable across the board with regard to MEASUREMENTS. The regulations in most States is one part per million of Fluoride into the potable water supply, so PEOPLE insist by hook or by crook that the devices that the water authority are using do strictly comply with the regulations because if you do not then…

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  8. Dave Phillips

    logged in via Facebook

    Calcium Fluoride comes from the earth and is naturally occurring. Sodium Fluoride is a hazardous by-product of the fertilizer, aluminum and nuclear industries. Sodium Fluoride is anywhere from 30-120 times deadlier than Calcium Fluoride.

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    1. Eric Ireland

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dave Phillips

      True, but as with most things, the dose makes the poison. The dose of sodium fluoride you get from drinking fluoridated water is so much lower than the LD50 that it's probably irrelevant.

      I think what is relevant is the concentration of fluoride (ions) in the water. You want just enough flouride to prevent tooth decay, but not enough to cause fluorosis. Sodium fluoride is more soluble in water than calcium fluoride, so you don't need to add as much to get the same effect.

      NB I'm not sure about this, correct me if I'm wrong, someone..

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    2. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Eric Ireland

      Eric, acute toxicity is not the issue with water fluoridation. Chronic and delayed toxicity is (if you understand the difference).

      Ad David Menkes has pointed out, the safety factors for skeletal fluorosis and possibly child neurobehavioural effects from fluoride ingestion (water and all forms), are far too close to the effect level and this defies every professional tenet of human toxicological safety, especially considering the wider non-target population (adults) and the non-lethal effect (caries…

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    3. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Dave Phillips

      Dave - fluoride is fluoride. If the attached sodium were toxic, the human race would have been doomed before we evolved.

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    4. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Eric Ireland

      Calcium is bi-valent - hence CaF2. Sodium is uni-valent - so NaF.

      When each dissociates, CaF2 yields two F ions, NaF yields one. It is the fluoride concentration that is measured, so it all comes out in the wash (so to speak).

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    5. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mia Masters

      turns out this is just another one of the many open access pseudo journals which have sprung up over the last few years. These journals work at the fringes of medical literature. Its not indexed by medline.

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    6. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Dave Phillips

      Thanks Dave.

      From which page did you copy and paste that?
      wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_does_Sodium_Fluoride_come_from
      www.ask.com/Q/where-does-sodium-fluoride-come-from

      "by-product of ... aluminum ... industries" Wrong. Sodium fluoride isn't a "by-product" of the aluminium industry, it is used by the aluminium industry. The British Fluoridation Society explains how the furphy you're promulgating arose (http://www.bfsweb.org/facts/tech_aspects/chemsmanufac.htm)

      "The aluminium industry…

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    7. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Hardly. Medline will get around to it, providing some vested interest in the dentistry 'industry' doesn't put up a wall.

      BTW, The journal is indexed with Caspur, CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure), EBSCO Publishing's Electronic Databases, Genamics JournalSeek, Google Scholar, Index Copernicus, National Science Library, OpenJGate, SCOLOAR, SIIC databases, Summon by Serial Solutions, Ulrich's International Periodical Directory.

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    8. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      There are hundreds of these so called journals popping up. They are a scam. They accept any old rubbish on a fee to publish basis. No one takes them seriously.

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    9. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Wow, that's a feeble response. I've already responded to that above. The review looks quite professional to me. Why don't you try to rebut the evidence they present, such as skeletal fluorosis at water levels down to 5ppm and possibly lower.

      The authors are practising professional dentists, in case you didn't notice.

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    10. Eric Ireland

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul, I understand the difference between acute and chronic toxicity, but Dave was obviously talking about acute toxicity when he said that "Sodium Fluoride is anywhere from 30-120 times deadlier than Calcium Fluoride". I agree, acute toxicity is irrelevant to this discussion.

      Are we experiencing increased incidence of sketetal fluorosis in Australia as a result of fluoridation?

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    11. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Eric Ireland

      Yes Eric, I agree -- the issue of calcium versus sodium fluoride is irrelevant in this context.

      Regarding skeletal fluorosis, Sue Ieraci and I had a robust discussion on a previous forum article. Look it up if you like.

      Do a search on 'Australia' and 'skeletal fluorosis' on PubMed and you will see that there is nothing -- we've not done the research so we would not know, and the effects are subtle enough to be missed or construed as another adverse bone effect.

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    12. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul is right "Sue Ieraci and I had a robust discussion on a previous forum article"

      Paul Rogers was unable to point to one single case of fluoride toxicity resulting from Australian town water. He still can't, and nor can anyone on this thread.

      So - decades of fluoridation, millions of people - where are the cases. (Paul says we just don't diagnose them. "We've not done the research so we don't know". Except, trained radiologists look at films of bones by the millions...So - where are they?)

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  9. robert roeder
    robert roeder is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired

    Adding a poison to our water supply does not sound like a great idea. Fluoride is used in rat poison and insecticides. When ingested it forms hydrofluoric acid in the stomach which causes health problems. Long periods of usage may result in Fluorosis which weakens bones and teeth. The recommended level of 4 parts per million can easily be exceeded due to faulty management by Councils Fluoride tooth paste or high levels in local environment.
    As others have stated having a choice in this matter should be our right.

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to robert roeder

      robert roeder - please refer us to even one single case of fluorosis or fluoride toxicity occurring as a result of town water in Australia.

      Our stomach cannot function without the appropriate concentration of hydrochloric acid. Spilt on the skin, though, in concentrated form, it burns. And yet hydrogen, combined with oxygen, forms water. Chemistry's neat, isn't it.

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    2. Hugh McColl

      Geographer

      In reply to robert roeder

      Robert, you don't have a problem with the 'poison', chlorine, being added to the water. You know it is there, you know it is poisonous (it's a WMD!) and yet you have no qualms about drinking it down, concentration unknown. Why is that?

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    3. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to robert roeder

      Robert,
      I used to be co-owner of a large lab where we used several litres of concentrated hydrofluoric acid a day. This was early 1970s. It was some years later that I found publications giving dose effect. One paper claimed that death had resulted from skin exposure of approximately one square inch, washed off very quickly. I then realised how close to a major problem I had been, several times.
      Hydrofluoric acid cannot be assumed to have the same health implications as say a dilute solution of sodium fluoride, which is quite benign.
      Given the years I worked among stray fluoride vapours, my teeth were poor. My childhood-teen years were unfluoridated. My top teeth were removed last year. Since then, the problems of infections not previously experienced and the difficulty of adapting to dentures have been a curse. If you have doubts about fluoride, my personal experience would be to go with the mainstream and try to avoid the discomfort of life post-65.

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  10. Eric Anderson

    Eternal Student

    I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

    Have you never wondered why I drink only distilled water, or rain water, and only pure grain alcohol? Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?

    You know when fluoridation first began? Nineteen hundred and forty-six. 1946. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Eric Anderson

      Eric,
      How I wish I could have written "Dr Strangelove" and left a lasting legacy with implications far ahead of the times. It must be one of the most memorable movies made, though my photography and other interests put "Dr Zhivago" up there too, because I fell in love with the eyes of Julie Christie. Oh heck, more than her eyes.

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  11. Alex Cannara

    logged in via Facebook

    Wow, and here I thought we in the US were the only ones to elect ignorant and inconsiderate folks to represent us!

    The fluoride danger myth is so 1950s.
    ;]

    Tell your govt. to say to all insurers, it's ok to charge more to (or not cover) folks who don't get fluoride in their water..

    $ is more powerful than any dummy lobby. And we have some anti-child-vaccination folks we could send down too, if you want some truly destructive individuals
    ;]

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "And we have some anti-child-vaccination folks we could send down too..." - NO - PLEASE - you've already sent at least one - more than enough! ;-)

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  12. Susan Costello

    Public Servant

    Congratulations to those Councils who are no longer adding this toxic chemical to the public water supply. Why have so many European countries refused to add fluoride? Look at the Scandinavian countries. There are no reports of their people having higher dental cavities than those who fluoridate. I have lived overseas for twenty years with no fluoride in my drinking water and have no dental problems. If you are wanting to add it to protect children, I suggest you add it to fizzy drinks. Better still, give out fluoride tablets at lunch time.

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Susan Costello

      "Give out flo=uoride tablets at lunch time"

      Susan Costello - did you know that the cases of dental fluorosis that used to occur were from ingestion of tablets? Did you also know that dental fluorosis does not occur from Australian town water.

      As far as European habits go, how many European nations have controlled smoking in public places, or gone to plain packaging?

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    2. Susan Costello

      Public Servant

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Many European countries have banned smoking in restaurants and open spaces but that is not the issue being discussed here. Try to keep on topic. Fluorosis is a danger to children from over supplementation which would occur if tablets were taken in conjunction with fluoridated water. Stop poisoning the public water supply and use tablets to the required level.

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    3. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Susan Costello

      You don't seem to get it, Susan COstello.

      Tablets are a LESS reliable method, MORE prone to error - either not taking them or taking too much. This problem has been solved by water fluoridation, at a tightly controlled concentration.

      You are the one who gave Europe as an example. Their tardiness in doing anything about smoking is an illustration that we shouldn't wait for Europe to act before we do sensible things.

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  13. Mark Shaw

    Health Media

    What about the canaries in the coal mine?

    While some of you are advocating the vaccination, fluoridation and irradiation of the rest of us with the argument it is for our common good, the poor buggers who have less than a perfect immune system or suffer from some other sensitivity are being palmed off as neurotic when all they need for good health is to be left alone and not be bombarded with the flotsam and jetsam of the 21st century.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mark Shaw

      Mark Shaw,
      So what about the caries in the coal mine?
      I'm leaving this subject now to concentrate of some concepts needing more rigid thought and less scaremongering.
      Cheerio then, and enjoy this:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhGSYvub9R4

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  14. Riddley Walker

    .

    Well, it's all very well for you scientific expert types to tell us what for, but we are not fooled nosiree.

    Flouride is poison, it's just a profit making from the aluminium industry to poison us, and it is used for mind control to make us all socialists. The goverment just wants us to drink poison waste and control our minds.

    Queenslanders are too independent minded to fall for those tricks, you southern scientists can't pull the wooll over our eyes.

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  15. tim mande-jones

    doctor

    What about the $ dollar cost? Who has to pay the dentist when your children get caries. How many of those anti-flouridationists want the government funded dental care scheme? Being realistic all taxpayers will pay so a vocal minority can have there individual right to no flouride upheld. If they would like to pay for all the increased dental costs then I have less objection to stopping flouride.......No I hear you say you won't pay,so you want us taxpayers to pick up the tab. My right to have my taxes well spent has just gone out the window.

    And just to be clear the cost of flouride is trivial compared to the dental costs.

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    1. emilija fuller
      emilija fuller is a Friend of The Conversation.

      dental therapist at FlossFirst

      In reply to tim mande-jones

      Congratulations to Dr Spencer, he has created a real conversation about a very important topic.
      If you are drinking tea or beer both contain NaF, your skeletal system as well as your teeth will have benefitted.

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  16. Peter Sommerville

    Scientist & Technologist

    John,
    You have stirred a hornets nest, but if one is dispassionate about the evidence you are right. The anti-fluoridation lobby has been discredited long ago - I am amazed to see the same old garbage being regurgitated.

    Fluoridation is a very simple and extremely effective means of reducing dental caries. The problem now of course is the increase in the use of bottled water. Why people would waste their money purchasing plastic bottles filled with water of dubious origins is a constant cause…

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    1. david menkes

      associate professor

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      I agree fully with Peter Sommerville about two things. First, that dispassionate appraisal of the evidence is essential to resolve the fluoride debate; second that bottled water is a shocking waste of time, resources and money (at least in Western countries with potable reticulated water).

      However, his statement that the 'antifluoridation lobby' has been discredited long ago and keeps regurgitating 'the same old garbage' suggests that he hasn't read the above discussion (and peer-reviewed scientific references) which indicate rather a lot of relevant new data. That is not to say that those on the other (anti F) extreme aren't guilty of the same. Indeed, extremists on both sides are prone to very selective use of 'facts' and are thus anything but dispassionate.

      Perhaps too many of us have decided a stand on this issue based on politics rather than science --rather reminiscent it seems to the climate change debate in today's Conversation.

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    2. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to david menkes

      David,
      I am a scientist and I was intimately involved in the introduction of fluoride into the Melbourne water supply during the 70's. I go one step further - I designed the metering system used to control the dosage rate.

      I am well familiar with the science supporting and opposing the application of fluoride as a preventative measure. I don't intend to spend hours arguing the point, but I have also read most of the commentary to which you refer.

      I put it quite bluntly - the opposition argument…

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    3. Stephen Humphry

      Associate Professor, Educational Measurement at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Peter, you say:

      "I am a scientist and I was intimately involved in the introduction of fluoride into the Melbourne water supply during the 70's ... I put it quite bluntly - the opposition argument was and is crap. The title of Professor does not add weight to your opinions - as that is what they are - it is time people such as you are called out. I hope you don't drink tea. And certainly I hope you don't imbibe bore water."

      The fact that you are a scientist who was intimately involved in the…

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    4. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      "The title of Professor does not add weight to your opinions.."

      Especially when the Professor is an academic psychiatrist, whose pharmacology PhD is in psychotropic medication.

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    5. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Peter - suggest you contact Prof Spencer at ARCPOH - I believe their 2 day Fluoride Workshop held last year -( in August I think ) had a paper that showed drinking bottled water made no difference to tooth decay.

      Additionally the 2004 publication by Armfield & Spencer ** comparing South Australian childen who had always consumed non - public water ( tank water or bottled water to children who had always consumed fluoridated public tap water found NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE in tooth decay…

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    6. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      Merilyn,

      I could happily cherry pick the literature too. And quite clearly you have a partisan position on this.
      It is a constant source of amazement to me why people such as you expend so much time and effort on fighting something that is clearly not harmful and clearly beneficial.

      What surprises me is that you have not jumped on the band wagon to oppose another preventative water treatment - chlorination. The risks exceed those of fluoridation but the benefits pale the risks.

      The fact is we have always to weigh the benefits against the risks. That is life.

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  17. Joan Bennett

    logged in via email @aetlimited.com.au

    So, do Queenslanders have worse dental health than the rest of the country? For example, South Australia has had fluoridated water for over 40 years. Is SA’s dental health better than that of Queensland? I assume diet and lifestyle would be fairly similar, so the only determining factor would be the water…

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    1. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Joan Bennett

      You can see a 2007 survey and comparison here:

      http://www.arcpoh.adelaide.edu.au/publications/report/statistics/pdf_12/13854.pdf

      Look for Tables 2.4 and 2.5. Yes, Queensland has statistically higher tooth decay than SA and other fluoridated states, but it's a mean difference of a fraction of one tooth per person -- not even a whole tooth difference.

      Even so, there are possible social and climatic variables that cannot be ruled out.

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    2. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      At a population level that's a lot of teeth. Population in Qld under 15 about 1 million at .5 a tooth each is 500K teeth. At $100 per filling thats around $50,000,000 cost to the state.

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    3. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Probably a better comparison is the article from 1996 comparing Brisbane and Townsville which shows a 50% difference in DMFT at age 12..
      Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
      Volume 20 Issue 6 (Dec 1996)
      Caries experience among children in fluoridated Townsville and unfluoridated Brisbane
      Slade, G. D. and others

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    4. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Richard, you do realise that if a child in a fluoridated area has one tooth with two tooth surfaces decayed, and a child in a non-fluoridated area has one tooth with three tooth surfaces decayed, or variations on that theme, then that is 50% difference?

      I know this study has been widely misrepresented. I have not seen the dataset. The difference is apparently less than a few tooth surfaces per child between Townsville and Brisbane. How stats are presented can mislead.

      That study reported on tooth surfaces, of which there are about 128, more less in children.

      Anyway, it seems to be a very small difference and not much different to the national survey numbers I posted. Look up the data and let me know.

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    5. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Okay, I tracked down a summary:

      The study concluded that: "a difference of 0.25 DMFS probably constitutes a minor effect at the level of an individual patient in the age range studied here. Nonetheless, it is axiomatic that community water fluoridation is not an intervention applied to individual patients and therefore it is appropriate to interpret the practical significance at a population level."

      Yes, I'm aware that there will be individuals who have greater decay and may be helped by fluoride, but ultimately, the population differences are small.

      Also, I'm sure the benefits of fluoridated water have been widely misrepresented and misunderstood by the general public (like you).

      Hey, why not ask Prof Spencer for his interpretation?

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    6. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      you conveniently omitted the rest of the paragraph in your quote:
      "The findings shown in Figure 1 provide an
      indication of the community-wide benefit. For
      example, if the 201 084 children aged 5 to 15 years
      in Brisbane were to achieve the benefits of fluoridation
      apparent from this study, there \,,'ould be
      approximately 300000 fewer surfaces \\i.th caries
      experience in the deciduous and permanent dentition.
      This would represent substantial cost sa\ings in
      addition to the other benefits to children, who
      would need fewer fillings, and to other age groups
      not considered in this study."

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    7. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Richard, three things.

      1. You assume the data are valid and causal. Most dental epidemiology is weak evidence, as reported in the UK York University analysis and review.
      http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Fluoride/Documents/crdreport18.pdf

      FYI, these are the 'Designations of Levels of Evidence' that the NHMRC recognises, see Appendix B:

      http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/cp30.pdf

      The differences of a fraction of a tooth per person is small and easily confounded…

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    8. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      cherry picking again.
      The systematic review you quote actually says the studies were quite good.
      "The best available evidence (level B) from studies on the initiation and discontinuation of water
      fluoridation suggests that fluoridation does reduce caries prevalence, both as measured by the
      proportion of children who are caries-free and by the mean dmft/DMFT score."
      "The studies included for Objective 1 were of moderate quality (level B),"

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    9. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Well no, you're wrong. Level B in the UK system is not strong evidence as the York analysis concludes:

      "Again, however, the studies were of moderate quality (level B), and limited quantity. The estimates of effect could be biased due to poor adjustment for the effects of potential confounding factors."

      Incidentally, I would not even regard the Townsville study as level B.

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    10. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Level B is as good as you get with population wide interventions.
      Another study from Australia which is worth considering is
      "Dental Caries and Fluoride Exposure in Western Australia" P.J. Riordan J DENT RES 1991 70: 1029
      Compares Perth to Bunbury.

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    11. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      "it's a mean difference of a fraction of one tooth per person -- not even a whole tooth difference."

      Paul - you do know what "mean" means? Let's assume the data are normally distributed. That means that some people would have no tooth decay, and some lots - not that the amount is perfectly evenly distributed across the entire population.

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    12. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul Rogers now questions the causal relationship between fluoride and reduction in tooth decay, but wants us to believe that there are undiagnosed cases of fluoride toxicity that radiologists looking at XRay changes are calling something else? Which is the "weak evidence", Paul?

      I am interested in your motivation for arguing strongly in this area. For me, it is the general issue of the (mis)application of health science knowledge - but I participate on almost all of the health-related threads. I seem to see you argue most vehemently about fluoride. Why the special interest?

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    13. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Not good enough if you want to expose 20 million people to treatment, most of which are not the target population.

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    14. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      The Slade Spencer Townsville vs Brsbane 1996 publications ( data from mid 1990 to mif 1991 ) was the study Anna Bligh used to force fluoridation on 4 million Queenslanders - Qld Health even put ads in the newspapers claiming that Townsville children ( fluoridated ) had 65 % less decay than Brisbane children - TRUE - EXCEPT the 65% equated to 0.17 of one tooh surface on average ( at age 7 ). For children aged 6 to 12 years the average difference was 0.23 of a tooth surface ( for a lifetime exposure to fluoridated water ) These results were similar to other studies said the authors.

      The old saying " Lies, damn lies and statistics ( particularly thge use of percentages ) holds true.

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    15. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, actually, I don't dispute the causal relationship between fluoride and reduction in tooth decay, and I said so. The biological and biochemical basis is sound.

      I do question the relevance of some epidemiological studies on water fluoridation, which are weak, and on the balance of risk in relation to the benefits.

      This is a numbers game, and as David Menkes has described well, the risk assessment does not stack up in favour of water fluoridation. Questioning his professional adequacy, with…

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    16. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      "That means that some people would have no tooth decay, and some lots - not that the amount is perfectly evenly distributed across the entire population."

      Would you think I did not :-) Already made that concession elsewhere.

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    17. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      Merylin, I must admit I'd lost some interest in water fluoridation issues until the infamous Bligh Government Townsville 65% press release.

      That was such outrageous misrepresentation and misinformation that I could hardly believe that it was coming from an elected Labor government in modern times.

      Keep up the good work.

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    18. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Joan Bennett

      Joan , if you wish to email us ( info@qawf.org ) , we will send you graphed data from the 2004-2006 NAOHS showing clearly that Queensland adults do not have more tooth decay than adults in other states ( in nay age group )

      In fact there is little difference between then unfluoridated Qld , or the heavily long term fluoridated states . the ACT does do a little better, possibly because of their socio- econonimic advantages.

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    19. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      I'm going to call you out on this one Merilyn, because the data you quote doesn't show this at all especially in the 15-34 year age group.

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    20. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      "are you retired or at work making all these posts?"

      Neither. You can track my clinical shifts by when my posts pause, if you are that interested, Merilyn.

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    21. Tim Lubcke

      Research Officer at Monash University

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      Qld, firstly, isn't entire fluoride free. You love to remind us of Townsville's long history with fluoride.

      Secondly, relying on adult data is difficult at best. Think about it; Qld has a long history for higher than average population growth - especially around the SE (ie Brisbane and the Gold Coast). Where did these people come from? Do you expect your readers to assume they all came from non-fluoridated areas? And yes, socio-economics certainly plays a role.

      When these factors are accounted…

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    22. Tim Lubcke

      Research Officer at Monash University

      In reply to Tim Lubcke

      Richard brought the following to my attention; "Table 20 p29 using the % above TF0 which is indeed 25%, but not what is considered noticeable (>TF2)."

      So this is where the 25% comes from? Children with what is considered unnoticeable fluorosis are at "psychological harm," as you remind us Merilyn?

      If this is the case, why are you apparently so enthusiastic about the mental health of children, while focused on an unnoticeable tooth discolouration while Aussie kids are noticeably growing fatter by the day? No, this argument is a ruse simple because Merilyn must attach fluoridation of water supply.

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  18. Mia Masters

    pensioner

    To derive the benefit of fluoride on the tooth enamel, it does not need to be ingested. Most of the toothpastes available already contain fluoride. If there is a need for a higher exposure of the teeth to fluoride, let's increase the fluoride in the toothpastes so anyone concerned that they are not getting enough of this 'dental cure' can use it any time they brush their teeth.
    Just had a glass of tapwater. You should do the same and observe how much contact (exposure) there is between the teeth and the water.

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    1. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Mia Masters

      Dentists are now recommending and selling toothpastes that contain a massive 5000 parts per million - five times as much as standard toothpaste in use since the 1970s - for the " topical effect " while still claiming that fluoridated water at 1part per million has a "topical effect " - it is crazy !

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  19. Philip Robertson

    Naturopath

    As a naturopath working in Geelong Victoria, Professor Spencer in this article omits any
    serious discussion on what citizens in a fluoridated community can do once they become ill
    from the fluoridated water. When real clinical studies show patients are becoming sick, it is
    simply not good enough to quote from authorities in Australia who say this just shouldn’t be
    happening. It simply is occurring.

    Even though many Geelong residents work with industry exposure to fluoride and thus
    recognize…

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    1. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Philip Robertson

      The study you refer to was published in 1961 and used dosages well above what would be considered today.

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  20. Axel White

    logged in via Facebook

    The question we should be asking is whether we can guarantee without a doubt that not one person in the community will be adversely affected by water fluoridation, if this isn't the case than water fluoridation is unethical.

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    1. Shaun King

      Designer

      In reply to Axel White

      Good to see so many comments based on common sense. Something severely lacking in our current scientificly correct society.

      500 years ago it was taboo and irresponsible to contradict the religious viewpoints of the time ... now the same goes for scientific evidence.

      If you don't agree with the "evidence", then you're an idiot.

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    2. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Axel White

      "guarantee without a doubt that not one person in the community will be adversely affected"

      Axel - we can't guarantee that for any area of life - be it walking, taking Panadol, swimming, acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, eating, childbirth, driving in motor vehicles, getting a massage, having sex, even sleeping. Should we abandon all these other things too?

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    3. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Where would those Risk Assessments and Health Impact Statements and Environmental Impact Statemenst be exactly ? We did a Freedom of Information search on NSW Health to get any " NO documents found " NSW health will not reply to a question asking that that mean none were were done and if so, what did NSW Health reply on - just the recommendation from the NHMRC that says that the evidence suggest that it is beneficial for reducing caries. Qld Health , Tasmanian Health - they haven't done any Risk Assessments either.

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  21. David Horwood

    Science Writer at Technical Writing Services

    As is typical of fluoride advocates, Professor Spencer fills more space presenting the benefits of fluoridation than he does in describing its harms. But he did at least use the ‘H’ word. It is a short article so perhaps Spencer was relying on NHMRC reports to do the job for him.

    Readers of NHMRC reports on fluoridation will indeed find numerous harms considered. The generic technique used for every harm then requires that counter evidence is presented and, fortunately for the fluoridation program…

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to David Horwood

      David Horwood - we know about the pathology of fluoride toxicity - it's seen in people who live in areas where the ground water contains a high fluoride concentration (mostly volcanic soil areas) and people who have taken too much supplemental fluoride in tablet form.

      Please show us the cases of fluoride toxicity in Australians who have consumed fluoridated town water, in the absence of supplements.

      Those on this thread who oppose fluoridation of town water invoke scientism, fraud, arrogance…

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    2. David Horwood

      Science Writer at Technical Writing Services

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Hello Sue

      I was sure you'd get around to me eventually, on your regular turbulent rounds. My sense is that you hope to find out much of what you want to know about fluoridation from this forum alone. The subject is too big for that. I’ve been on the case for 15 years. It’s taken a lot of effort, consuming weeks of my time. Yet I’m still not across the subject. Maybe nobody is.

      I doubt the wisdom of tackling your questions in detail. What reading have you done? Are you familiar with the harms…

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    3. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to David Horwood

      hello, David

      Here you are back with many more paragraphs, but no new information.

      You talk to me of reading - but your misinformation is what results when one does reading outside one's area of expertise.

      I have done more than just read fluoride studies. I've read anatomy, physiology, pathology, toxicology, renal medicine, neurology, pharmacology, research methods, critical review of the literature, AND many fluoride studies. In addition, I've practised health care for thirty years, including looking at thousands of XRays and blood tests.

      After all that, I haven't seen, heard or read about ANY case of fluoride toxicity resulting just from Australian town water.

      Means a bit more than just reading stuff.

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  22. Merilyn Haines

    Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

    Once again we see very little difference in adult tooth decay between adults who have spent most of their lives in fluoridated areas and non- fluoridated areas. From Adelaide University's new publication on data from the 2004 - 2006 National Adult Oral Health Survey we see that adults aged 45 years to over 90 years old who have had neglible exposure to fluoridated water have on average 21.75 teeth with experience of decay while those with prolonged exposure ( >75 % of their lifetime ) still have…

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    1. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      At a population level what seems a trivial difference is actually very important. As for fluorosis studies have shown that it is more prevalent in unfluoridated areas due to over dosing with supplements..

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    2. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Richard wrote: "As for fluorosis studies have shown that it is more prevalent in unfluoridated areas due to over dosing with supplements.

      That's wrong and demonstrably so. It is quite ridiculous. This sort of comment raises certain 'flags'. See Dean et al for a start.

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    3. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      And when the differnce goes the other direction ( 2000 , 2001, 2002 Qld Child Dental Health Surveys ) showing Townsville children having more tooth decay in their permanent teeth than chiildren from the then unfluoridated Gold Coast ( every child in school dental service sampled ) , North Brisbane . Bayside - several unfluoridated Qld Health Districts - that gets ignored and the tiny difference in the chspen studies get extrapolated to try and make a case that fluoridation will save billions, no never any mention of the collateral damage from fluorosis.

      Prof Spencer - exactly when are you going to publish the adult dental fluorosis from the 2004- 2006 adult survey - you have had the data for 7 years now .

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  23. David McRae

    Health Promotion professional

    Dear Prof Spencer, you make some extraordinary assumptions in this blog about fluoride administration via the kitchen tap.

    In the 5th paragraph you claim that the decision to fluoridate is “implemented at the community level”. If only that were so; it is what most community activists cry out for, and are always denied.

    Across Australia fluoridation is implemented by central water supply authorities, at the order of central, or sometimes local government. Where is the “community” in that…

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to David McRae

      David McRae - do you have evidence of fluoride toxicity resulting from town water fluoridation in Australia?

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  24. Merilyn Haines

    Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

    Sue Ieraci commented: - "Merilyn You say "25% of kids" The Australian Dental Association says "Dental fluorosis can be a significant and unwanted effect on teeth if a child is exposed to high levels of fluoride when the teeth are forming, although instances of severe dental fluorosis are now rare in Australia." Who to believe?" ( Sue - I would believe the people who have Moderate Dental Fluorosis )

    Sue , I have already given you the reference to check out fro the latest NSW data - the 2007…

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    1. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      This happened to me, I have always drunk tap water that is flouridated my whole life and now I am 27 and ...oh wait, no, I'm fine

      Ohh you retiree's are fun "Global warmings not real, flouride is bad for you, Evolution is a myth"

      Havent ya'll screwed up the planet enough yet, or is it going to be like this until you all pass away, like in 10-15 years, maybe then we can get on and deal with real problems

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    2. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Hs, ha, ha, good one Michael.

      'Software Tester' . . . is that Xbox or PlayStation?

      BTW, why don't you take a survey of The Greens to see what they think about water fluoridation. You're a supporter aren't you?

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    3. Merilyn Haines

      Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Never been able to get The Greens in Qld interested - even Greens within the Greens can't get action.

      Seems that they have a couple of high profile doctors who love fluoride and they don't want to upset them - so they hide behind their " If we dont have consensus , or near consensus , we don't have a policy " With over 5 tonnes of toxic waste ( imported from China ) being injected into drinking water every week at the Mt Crosby - Holts Hill fluoridation plant - you think that would get them interested ?

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    4. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      Ditto: "If you have nothing sensible to contribute - perhaps you shouldn't be on this Forum."

      but please tell us more about how flouride is evil and part of a government mind control regieme

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    5. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      "why don't you take a survey of The Greens to see what they think about water fluoridation. You're a supporter aren't you" - ahh no im not a supporter, im un-affiliated.

      As far as im aware the greens party are not against flouridation - do you know something I dont? or are you talking about green members? - surely there are Labour and Liberal supporters who have a similar view right?

      I dont understand what your point is. Ohh and its utilities, logistics and corporate financial systems that I test

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    6. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Michael Shand

      "Ohh and its utilities, logistics and corporate financial systems that I test"

      Logistics? What? Not LOGISTICS?

      Everyone, stand and genuflect. We have a LOGISTICS tester on the forum!.

      (You probably worked with Queensland Health payroll.).

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    7. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      "Logistics? What? Not LOGISTICS?

      Everyone, stand and genuflect. We have a LOGISTICS tester on the forum!." - what the hell is your problem, its a job and no I have never worked in queensland

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  25. Merilyn Haines

    Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

    Prof Spencer - exactly when are you going to publish the adult dental fluorosis rates from the 2004- 2006 adult survey - you have had the data for 7 years now . It was taxpayer money that paid for the survey.

    You have the residential histories from the questionairres ( hopefully you can distinguish exposure before 8 years of age ) - really by now we should be able to see the adult dental fluorosis rates for those who have been exposed to fluoridated water in childhod, to those who weren't exposed .

    Dental fluorosis is collateral damage of fluoridation - the incidence in heavily fluoridated Australia should be published.

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  26. Merilyn Haines

    Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

    Below - This is not so much a research grant as a $900, 000 contract with Qld Health - half of the Qld children being looked at already live in fluoridated Townsville.

    "John Spencer is the recipient of a research grant from Queensland Health establishing a baseline in child oral health to evaluate changes after the implementation of the Queensland Fluoridation Act 2008"

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  27. Philip Robertson

    Naturopath

    Sue Iraci,

    You have made the same request to a number of
    correspondents to “The Conversation” to give just
    one case of a patient getting harmed by fluoridated
    water which is documented well enough medically
    to be accepted by authorities and this I will later do.

    But I will first give a general answer to “The Conversation”
    here as I am sure many people including yourself would also
    like to know some of the specific symptoms my patients
    have experienced.

    As I mentioned…

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Philip Robertson

      Philp Robertsn,

      You start with "You have made the same request to a number of correspondents to “The Conversation” to give just one case of a patient getting harmed by fluoridated water "

      The you give a long dissertation about industrial exposure to fluoridated compounds, and a child who was taking fluoride tablets. There is no pathophysiological mechanism for fluoride to cause asthma. If there were, wouldn;t these cases of asthma arise in areas of high natural fluoride in soils - such as areas of India and China? Why don't they?

      And you still haven't given any evidence of even a single case of fluoride toxicity occurring from Australian town water. Not one.

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    2. Daniel Zalec

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      @Sue Leraci

      Dear Sue,

      I'm not a scientist or medical expert, but I can direct your attention to the two statements below:

      1. "It is desirable to explore in a rigorous fashion whether the vague constellation of symptoms which are claimed to result from ingestion of fluoridated water can be shown to be reproducibly devel- oped in these “susceptible” individuals. These claims are being made with sufficient frequency to justify well-designed studies which can properly control for subject and…

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  28. Paul McCarthy

    lawyer

    It's a good thing for the natural folk that fingers don't get tooth decay because if they did, the netizans and computer geeks of the world would have mandated fluoridation everywhere.

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  29. Merilyn Haines

    Medical Laboratory Scientist ( retired ) at Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc

    HEALTH RISK ALERT

    Dentist in Cairns getting hysterical - telling parents to get their children to SWALLOW their toothpaste!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-15/fluoride-removal-to-cost-cairns-a-great-deal-more/4575486?section=qld

    .......Associate Professor Boase ( An associate professor of preventative dentistry at James Cook University) says parents will need to take extra precautions to help their children avoid tooth decay.

    "Cut down on sugared drinks and use a fluoride toothpaste…

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  30. Tim Lubcke

    Research Officer at Monash University

    I'm not at all surprised that Merilyn Haines is all over the comment board here!

    At least she went to the effort of actually commenting, I guess, compared to her simple cut-and-paste job on my blog, after which I found nothing by silence to my continuing effort to address her claims and demonstrate erroneous suggestions (all of which is collected here; http://newanthropocene.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/to-journalists-reporting-on-fluoride-in-qld/ )

    I also caught Merilyn being interviewed along…

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    1. Mia Masters

      pensioner

      In reply to Tim Lubcke

      "as I've not read through all the comments) expect a cloud of angry anti-fluoride trolls in this tread"

      and

      "I can only conclude her's is ideologically based"
      and

      "I received emails from individuals asking me to critique her here also" (Really!?)

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    2. Tim Lubcke

      Research Officer at Monash University

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      You should listen to her in the ABC interview - she shouts over Dr Foley when he calls her out on the science by actually bringing the paper in with him to demonstrate she's wrong.

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    3. Tim Lubcke

      Research Officer at Monash University

      In reply to Tim Lubcke

      tread = thread. typo... but I don't get your point. I make statements based on evidence that I also provide. I do not in regards to the emails as I'm not certain that it is right for me to do so. You can disregard that point entirely without changing the overall arguments being made, based again, on the evidence provided.

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    4. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Tim Lubcke

      Tim Lubcke, the NSW paper does indeed report around 25% of children with dental fluorosis (DF), counting stages TF 1-4, in the 8-12 age groups in fluoridated areas. Yes, very mild DF also occurs in non-fluoridated areas as well, etiology unknown, but perhaps toothpaste or even other sources of fluoride.

      I understand that the very mild cases might not be cosmetically significant, nevertheless you are being disingenuous in your criticism.

      The critical data are this. In the non-fluoridated areas…

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    5. Tim Lubcke

      Research Officer at Monash University

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Excuse me? Bombastic? Please refer to my material that my initial post refers to and you'll see I've paid close attention to the science. I even go to the effort of reading the papers Merilyn refers to.

      Are you referring to this 2007 NSW survey? http://www0.health.nsw.gov.au/pubs/2009/cdhs_2007.html

      (note to all, Peter makes the claim that the survey indeed says something, provides no quotes, no page references and no links to back it up... and he accuses others of not arguing the science…

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    6. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tim Lubcke

      I think he was referring to Table 20 p29 using the % above TF0 which is indeed 25%, but not what is considered noticeable (>TF2). ie just playing with the stats.

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    7. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Tim Lubcke

      OK Mr Lubcke, now I have a better idea of who I'm dealing with. You don't even know what a meta-analysis or systematic review is, or recognise the significance.

      Of course it's 25% fluorosis, stage 1-4. It doesn't need to be discernible. Can't you even read the stats?

      Don't waste my time. And I suggest you apologise to Ms Haines.

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    8. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      I'm not playing with anything . . . they ARE the stats.

      I've stated the qualifications about cosmetic significance, and I repeat:

      "The critical data are this. In the non-fluoridated areas, the most severe form, TF4, was non-existent, and the moderate TF3 incidence was 13-16 times less frequent in the non-fluoridated regions than in the fluoridated regions."

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    9. Tim Lubcke

      Research Officer at Monash University

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      "OK Mr Lubcke, now I have a better idea of who I'm dealing with"

      Who do you think you are? Do you wear a cape?

      (note again, rather than address the valid points raised, such as the non-comparability between China and Australia due to different exposures, he resorts to personal attack. It's called ad hominem and a cheap sleight of hand)

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    10. Tim Lubcke

      Research Officer at Monash University

      In reply to Tim Lubcke

      In Paul's own words; "I understand that the very mild cases might not be cosmetically significant"

      I wrote above to Merilyn, that I believe this concern regarding apparently rampant (unnoticeable) fluorosis for the sake of mental health is entirely a ruse. Otherwise such people would be far more motivated about the very noticeable fattening of Aussie kids than they demonstrate regarding fluoride.

      Holding onto "25%" is obviously essential as no other numbers the anti-fluoriders have is quite…

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    11. David Horwood

      Science Writer at Technical Writing Services

      In reply to Tim Lubcke

      Referring to posts by Merilyn Haines, Tim Lubcke writes:

      ‘The most damning always occurs when one actually looks at the papers she quotes. They are either weak claims or claims that the authors themselves DON'T support. The classic cases being her osteosarcoma claim, which relate to Bassin et al (2006) ... The researchers behind the Bassin paper do not believe they have established a link between fluoridated water and osteosarcoma...’

      Perhaps I’m slow, but I can’t see what Mr Lubcke is getting…

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  31. rachael watkins

    Nurse

    On a personal level, I would rather my children have a filling than them have even the slightest chance of reducing their IQ, skeletal problems and a chance of dental flourosis. The risks appear to be alot greater than the benefits. Thats just my opinion and I know many disagree.
    If flouride in drinking water doesnt prove to do any lasting damage, well a child may at the worst have an extra filling, But what if flouride in drinking water does contribute to these problems? Your child may not have…

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    1. rachael watkins

      Nurse

      In reply to rachael watkins

      I meant to say in the second paragraph that if flouride in drinking water doesnt prove to do any lasting damage then no problems, The people who drank non flourinated water might have an extra filling. But what if ........

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    2. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to rachael watkins

      so you would rather accept the junk science of Merilyn than the advice of actual experts in the field.

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    3. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      But Richard, you've not made one substantial scientific contribution to this debate, and you've been unable to respond to well-constructed criticisms of your "experts".

      No wonder people reading this will decide against water fluoridation. The risk-benefit is somewhat clear.

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    4. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      I'm not an expert in this area and neither are you or Merilyn. I prefer to take the advice of experts.
      To quote from the York systematic review:
      "The best available evidence suggests that fluoridation of drinking water supplies does reduce caries prevalence,"

      and from the NHMRC systematic review:
      "The existing body of evidence strongly suggests that water fluoridation is beneficial at reducing
      dental caries." http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/eh41a

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    5. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Ah, Richard, a straw man.

      This is a risk-benefit analysis, as Rachael Watkins has elegantly pointed out, and you have decided to obfuscate or ignore the main tenor of the discussion. Probably both.

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    6. rachael watkins

      Nurse

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      I dont see it that way. I have read the articles and opinions, combined this with my personal life experiences and love for my family and made an informed decision.
      It shouldnt be one against the other, its about educating people so they can make the right decision for them and their families.
      There seems to be too many unknown factors involved to be 100% sure that its worth the risk.
      I just think we should be very careful.
      There needs to be Merilyns in the world to question these powers that make decisions for us without even asking our opinion.
      Can u imagine a world without any questioning of, authority or studies with agendas. Scarey!

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    7. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      So what is the main tenor of the discussion? I thought it was about fluoridation.

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    8. rachael watkins

      Nurse

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Really? Have you read and listened with an open mind? It seems really obvious to me. I now think its not even a matter for discussion, its more of a matter of how do we stop it. Queensland may be backwards on some things, but they are forward on this one.

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  32. Lisa Hodgson

    Director

    The trouble is that *experts do NOT agree that Fluoride is completely safe to consume in drinking water, nor that the benefits outweigh the risks. Also that lay people such as myself have access to both sides of the story. Why should *experts such as Dr. Paul Connett be ignored? "Dr. Paul Connett is a graduate of Cambridge University and holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Dartmouth College. Since 1983 he taught chemistry at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY where he specialized in Environmental…

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    1. rachael watkins

      Nurse

      In reply to Lisa Hodgson

      Amazing summation of the conversation. What a logical intelligent man. Understands the mechanisms that put it all into play and the reasons that its still going on and wants to educate us all to now stop it. Thanks Lisa, I only listened to the first hour but i will get his book. I am beginning to feel so passionate about this i am going to email my local MP and start educating my friends, family and work collegues. This appears to be madness caused through ignorance.
      I think the conversation site is amazing. Keep up the opinions everybody!!!

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    2. Lisa Hodgson

      Director

      In reply to rachael watkins

      You're very welcome Rachael, it's pretty hard to argue against his credentials and his logic. Sad that all the pro Fluoride commenters here will probably avoid listening to it as it might cause them to rethink their dogmatic position. IMHO Dr Connett has convincingly argued that the 'precautionary principle' should definitely apply to Fluoridated water - it should be ceased immediately.

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    3. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Lisa Hodgson

      Dr Connett proceeds to mis quote study after study. He even implicates the prominent public health researcher Sir Iain Chalmers in his deception. I suspect he also believes in Chemtrails. He actually reminds me a lot of Lord Monckton and Ian Plimer. I expected a lot more science and a lot less rhetoric from a scientist.
      I only hope his book has a little more substance to it.

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    4. Lisa Hodgson

      Director

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Richard,

      please provide examples of Dr Connett misquoting and why you think he has misrepresented the science. Assertion is not argument. Nor do your suspicions support your assertions. Hot air does not equate to logic.

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    5. David Horwood

      Science Writer at Technical Writing Services

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Mr Hockey, 'The Case Against Fluoride' by Connett, Beck and Micklem was published about 2.5 years ago. It seems strange to me that in that time you have not got around to reading it, and can express only a "hope" about what it contains. What it contains is easy to find out.

      I will pay close attention to your summary of the book's errors of fact or interpretation. We all need to know where the authors have gone wrong.

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    6. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Horwood

      I was referring to his video. I can't comment on his book. He would do better justice to his cause if he stuck to the science and left the conspiracy theories alone.

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  33. David Horwood

    Science Writer at Technical Writing Services

    The relevance of 36 studies on IQ/neurotoxicity has been questioned on this forum. Here’s an example from Tim Lubcke:

    ‘Looking at a review study of Chinese studies (where they have higher exposure to fluoride from air, water and food sources) is not a fair analogy to the situation in Australia with water fluoridation…’

    Mr Lubcke cited no data for exposure relevant to the studies, nor did he explain how such exposure would invalidate the studies and the meta-analysis of 27 of them by Anna L…

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  34. Diana Buckland

    logged in via Twitter

    WATER FLUORIDATION/POLLUTION IS AN ABSOLUTE FRAUD - NOT SAFE AND NOT EFFECTIVE.

    I sent this email to a Professor of Dentistry in Queensland who promotes water fluoridation/pollution and her advice re: toothpaste in ABC article referred to hereunder:-

    I wish the following information to be considered by you.

    Comprehensive  Report - Damning Evidence against Water Fluoridation/Pollution    
    Download Full Report >
    http://fluorideinformationaustralia.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/report-water-fluoridation-pollution-must-end-diane-drayton-buckland-independent-researcher-14th-january-2013.pdf

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    1. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Richard, you shoot yourself in the foot each time you post here. For a start, Connett clearly won that comments debate. I was astounded at this comment from Armfield:

      "Connett's reference to the January 2008 article in the "highly respected journal Scientific American" is an attempt to beat up the credibility of the article. Scientific American . . . Connett's reference is to a personal opinion published within a personal opinion and does not constitute evidence."

      The Scientific American article…

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    2. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      You seem to be reading a different article to me. Dr Connett was totally owned by the author.
      BTW I agree with the quote by Dr Doull what he says is very reasonable, however you are reading to much into it ie confirmation bias.

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    3. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Yes, we can probably agree that Doull wants more targeted research. However, he would have done the numbers and noted the warning signs in the dose response data -- as many of us have done.

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    4. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Its also worth noting that the NRC report 'FLUORIDE IN DRINKING WATER' which has been often quoted here was looking only at fluoride concentrations above 2mg/l. I quote from the report:
      "Addressing questions of artificial fluoridation, economics, risk-benefit assessment, and water-treatment technology was not part of the committee’s charge."

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    5. David Horwood

      Science Writer at Technical Writing Services

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      I'm not sure what you're getting at Mr Hockey. Consider the words 'looking only.' It's well known that the NRC was tasked with investigating the adequacy of EPA standards. That's one sense of 'looking only.'

      There's another. Some of your readers might think you mean that the report did not consider (look at) evidence gained from water with fluoride concentrations less than 2 mg/L. Thus they might think you mean that little or nothing relevant to water fluoridation can be found in the report.

      I'm sorry if this query seems pedantic, but you might be surprised to know that some fluoridation advocates hold that view. If that's not your position, why did you bring it up?

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    6. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Horwood

      I can only quote what is stated in the report:
      "The committee’s conclusions regarding the potential for adverse effects from fluoride at 2 to 4 mg/L in drinking water do not address the lower exposures commonly experienced by most U.S. citizens. Fluoridation is widely practiced in the United States to protect against the development of dental caries; fluoride is added to public water supplies at 0.7 to 1.2 mg/L. The charge to the committee did not include an examination of the benefits and risks that might occur at these lower concentrations of fluoride
      in drinking water."

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    7. David Horwood

      Science Writer at Technical Writing Services

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      You’re on safe ground there Mr Hockey. The NRC’s formal conclusions do not stray into water fluoridation in any place I’ve seen. Nor should they. But a more useful question is: Does NRC 2006 contain information relevant to fluoridation?

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Dental Association, thought so. Toward the end of 2006 both organisations placed messages on their websites advising carers to avoid fluoridated water for diluting concentrated infant formula. Information…

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  35. Olga Martine

    logged in via Twitter

    Excellent site. I enjoyed the site very much. Your experience about dental health that you say is very effective, I think. You will be pleased to know that we have recently merged and acquired two beautiful dental practices, now Occidental and I think we will be able to apply your experience what I acquired here. Thank for giving me a happy moment.

    <a href="https://sites.google.com/site/bayridgebrooklyndental/">dental office Brooklyn</a>

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  36. Tim Lubcke

    Research Officer at Monash University

    I've also been compiling a list of standard replies to typical anti-fluoridation arguments that simply do not stand up to critiquing; http://newanthropocene.wordpress.com/anti-fluoridation-arguments/

    What has interested me most is getting to the root of Ms Haines's "25% of children in fluoridated areas get fluorosis.." argument. Amazingly, she forgets to mention that, using the same method she does to get that number, 16.8% of children in non-fluoridated areas also get fluorosis - meaning that…

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  37. Denis Morcombe

    Risk Engineer

    I have issue with the introduction of this industrial poison into my water supply. The fluoride introduced by Council is NOT the naturally occurring fluoride the "academics" waffle on about. What is introduced is industrial waste and it's easier and cheaper to force-feed it to the gullible public than to dispose of it appropriately.

    I am one of those who react physically to this industrial poison. I become very lethargic and suffer constant and at times, debilitating headaches.

    Council will NOT assist me by providing me with reverse osmosis filtratin equipment.

    These so-called "academics" who support the introduction of this poison use science which is flawed. In any other scientific field their research and "findings" could arguably be classified as being scientific fraud particularly when one takes note of the fact they are paid to provide findings which are "friendly" to those providing the funds.

    Disgraceful.

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  38. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Wow. Had no idea the US wasn't the only place where some folks think fluorination is evil but chlorination is ok. Here, it's an odd combo of religiosity and conspiracy theorizing that fluorination of drinking water is unnatural, ineffective and conspiratorial.

    Chloramine in drinking water is ok, though, despite it killing pet fish. Oh well, as the old farmer said: "No substitute for human stupidity".
    ;]

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    1. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Hello Alex. Yes, you are correct; there is 'religiosity and conspiracy theorizing' in the water fluoridation debate, but the serious scientific debate encompasses toxicological risk assessment, and you should not confuse the two.

      Incidentally, your comparison of chloramines (and other water disinfection byproducts), and fluoride in water treatment does not make any sense at all from a risk management perspective. We know the substantial hazards to human health of the contamination of water with pathogens and the need for treatment.

      On the other hand, fluoride provides a very modest benefit, perhaps only a fraction of a tooth surface per child, yet with the potential to cause a range of adverse effects, including in populations that derive no benefit at all.

      I think that old farmer had you in mind.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Sorry Paul, but yours and others' statements against ordinary fluorination make no sense too. For example, what does this mean?...

      "We know the substantial hazards to human health of the contamination of water with pathogens and the need for treatment.

      Are you suggesting all the cities in the US and elsewhere that fluorinate their water supply do it "pathogenically"?

      You know you can't be serious about all that.

      So what is your point? Cities in the US have been doing it for years…

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    3. david menkes

      associate professor

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, I'm afraid you have misunderstood Paul rather completely. He is referring to the microbial pathogens in water that are usefully controlled by chlorination. Water fluoridation (NOT fluorination as you repeatedly call it, see http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fluorination) is instead the addition of fluoride to drinking water to treat people and their dentition.

      The key points are that water fluoridation is only modestly effective (chiefly in people who eat/drink a lot of sugar and don't…

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    4. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, look, I like and agree with your contribution to the global warming debate, but you seem a little out of your depth here.

      Pathogen: "A bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease."

      You were making a foolish comparison between water treatment for protection from potentially fatal water-borne diseases with chlorine, chloramine etc, and fluoridation for a very modest protection from tooth decay. I was using the word 'pathogen' in a formal, scientific sense as used in…

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paulo, I know what "pathogen" means, which is why I was confused by what you were writing before.

      There's no relation to fluorination for dental health.

      As for our mutual "one rat studies", if you count your kids that way, the point is you apparently don't know what the natural; content of your drinking water is. Maybe you don't realize what's in it, including natural fluoride, that has indeed helped your own 'rats'. Maybe your 'rats' dentist has done as for our 'rats' -- topical fluoride…

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    6. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to david menkes

      David, sorry for my slip of the keys in using fluorination, because I've been dealing with making nuclear salts. I understand what Paul was saying, and remain in disagreement.

      But, the gist iof what you say about fluoridation of public water is: a) that your bad dental behavior makes it useless, and b) fluoridation is akin to drugging the public silently.

      On a), you must realize the intractable nature of that as argument.

      On b) do you disagree with required vaccination for children? Some…

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    7. david menkes

      associate professor

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, I'm unsure whether your repeated failure to follow my argument is willful or not. My childhood in a fluoridated area is anecdotal and irrelevant to the debate; I added it only as a personal note given you've also lived in the same distant small town.

      Fluoridation of community water supplies is most certainly drugging the public, but that doesn't make it necessarily inappropriate. There are situations where that may be justified, but fluoridation doesn't pass muster for a variety of reasons…

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    8. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to david menkes

      David, you're "unsure whether your repeated failure to follow my argument is willful or not." -- what argument? You mean the two off-the-wall points I highlighted above? That you don't care for your teeth is an "argument"?

      Then we have: "My childhood in a fluoridated area is anecdotal and irrelevant to the debate; I added it only as a personal note given you've also lived in the same distant small town." -- which means what? You lived in Palo Alto and ruined your teeth despite its fluoridation…

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    9. david menkes

      associate professor

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, I'm afraid you still don't get it. I'll break it down for you:
      a) lumping the scientific and ethical arguments against fluoridation with those of climate deniers is fatuous. For the record (3), the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is overwhelming -- and rather more serious than dental health.
      b) both sides of the fluoridation argument have evidence to support their views, and what is considered 'oddly unscientific' is a matter of opinion. At both extremes the views take on a religious…

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    10. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to david menkes

      "I'll break it down for you:" -- gee, thanks for the patronizing effort there David!

      " lumping the scientific and ethical arguments against fluoridation with those of climate deniers is fatuous." -- your argument is fatuous, David, that was why I drew the analogy you seem sensitive about.

      "both sides of the fluoridation argument have evidence to support their views, -- and the medicos & scientists have written so many more papers than the antis that the antis must be right, eh David? Yes…

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    11. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex,

      David Menkes has provided an accurate and elegant summary of reasons to oppose the fluoridation of water supplies -- and he is very qualified to do so.

      You, on the other hand, have submitted incoherent rants, and it is clear you have blundered into this discussion looking for an easy target while at the same time displaying your inadequacy in even the fundamental tenets of biomedicine, let alone pharmacology and toxicology.

      Unlike the global warming debate that you insist on referring…

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    12. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Nice try {PPaul, but remeber, the facts are freely available by the hundreds of authenticated reports. As I've said, I don't care to convince you or David of anything. I only care to handle you both the way any fact-avoiders on any topic should be handled -- with facts for everyone else to see.

      You can believe what you want, but don't expect a free ride in misleading others. Allowing that would indeed be unethical and worse.

      But keep showing everyone else here that you could as well make a great compatriot for the likes of Monckton.
      ;]

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    13. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to david menkes

      David, have you actually read Awofeso(2012) ? For a start the journal it appears in says its peer reviewed but it doesn't appear in pubmed nor have an impact factor. There are also many important references missing from this review. The fact that it also has only one author suggests that it is an opinion piece and should not be seriously considered.

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    14. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Pressure? From Alex?

      Richard if you had ever been in a genuine scientific debate about such matters you would realise that guys like Alex are not where the pressure comes from. It comes from reasoned, well-argued, experienced people who have a knowledge of the subject and who can construct an argument based on subtle differences in interpretation based around the logical analytical dissection of established knowledge.

      For a start, to settle on the "Newanthropocene" site as your knowledge base is a clear indication of your lack of familiarity with the debate, such is the poor quality of the argument there. (Want me to choose a decent pro-fluoridation site for your?)

      But then, I guess you and Alex fall into the same category.

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    15. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      "David Menkes has provided an accurate and elegant summary of reasons to oppose the fluoridation of water supplies -- and he is very qualified to do so."
      How is he qualified? He is a Prof of Psychiatry. Sort of asking an electrician to look at your plumbing.
      R

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    16. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      I wouldn't worry, Richard. David & Paul have already shown everyone here they've lost whatever argument they thought they had -- just read their desperate phrasing: "guys like Alex", etc.

      Those are the last, desperate hopes in flailing argumentation,
      ;]

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    17. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Hockey wrote: "How is he qualified? He is a Prof of Psychiatry. Sort of asking an electrician to look at your plumbing."

      Oh dear, more foot-in-mouth from Richard. I suggest you look it up, Richard. Actually, I should have said he is 'eminently' qualified to do so.

      For a start, it looks to me like you don't have any idea what training a 'psychiatrist' requires. It's a medical specialty, Richard, understand what that means? There's more.

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    18. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Our arguments are clearly stated and expounded in the thread - in some detail. You and Richard don't have an argument, which is clear for all to see.

      Yep, "guys like Alex" . . . of minor consequence, but it does help to get the message across.

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    19. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      There you go again, Paul...

      'Yep, "guys like Alex" . . . of minor consequence, but it does help to get the message across.'

      The world of fact, logic & propriety According to Paul!
      ;]
      Everyone has the idea now, ol' boy.

      PS, when will we have a report back from you that you've contacted all the people getting natural fluoride and warned them that nasty old Ma Nature is "drugging" them?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Groundwater-fluoride-world.svg

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    20. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Some recent evidence on benefit of F from someone who actually IS an expert in this area.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2925001/
      " The odds ratios for higher caries prevalence in areas with negligible fluoride compared with optimal fluoride were 1.34 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29, 1.39) and 1.24 (95% CI 1.21, 1.28) in the deciduous and permanent dentitions, respectively."
      R

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    21. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      Richard, we went through this in the thread earlier. Look at Table 2: "Caries prevalence and mean number of decayed, missing, and filled teeth of 5- to 15-year-old children in Australia, by water fluoridation status, age, and dentition, 2002."

      The differences are a few tooth surfaces and a fraction of a whole tooth per child and 2-3 teeth involved. When you consider 24 teeth in total, this is about a 2% difference, even less in some age groups.

      So you want to treat 20 million people with fluoridated water for a 2% improvement, nothwithstanding the known adverse effect of dental fluorosis, which occurs in about 8% at cosmetic levels in fluoridated areas, and considering that evidence of skeletal fluorosis and possibly neurobehavioural effects at current exposure levels has not been resolved.

      In addition, these cross-sectional studies are not strong evidence-based resources. They rank low on the scale of epidemiological evidence.

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    22. Richard Hockey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul, Looking at means can be misleading particularly when the data are not normally distributed that is why they used Poisson log-linear regression modeling.

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    23. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Richard Hockey

      It's irrelevant. I used the author's final analysis, after statistical analysis. It's still only 2% or less difference for a full head of teeth -- fluoride or no fluoride.

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    24. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Well then, Paul, that just leaves you a few hundred other studies showing significant benefit to read & try to negate -- get to work, you who seeks the truth!
      ;]

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    25. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Want to see me do it, Alex? :-). Don't tell me I've got you thinking?

      I don't dispute that fluoride exposure of various types protects against tooth decay to some extent. The biological basis is sound. Even so, the magnitude of benefit reported in most contemporary studies is quite modest and similar to that found in Australian studies -- even beyond the one we discussed above.

      Others dispute the relevance of much water fluoridation epidemiology because high-grade evidence is lacking, and…

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    26. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Sure, Paul. You've caused so much added CO2 emissions from the power needed to run all these networked msgs back & forth, make a contribution by studying the hundreds of papers with "high-grade evidence" of fluoride benefits.

      But first, remember, you were going to contact all those countries where fluoride is naturally high in water and make sure their health depts knew they were allowing their populations to be "drugged" by Ma Nature.

      Remember, Paul? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Groundwater-fluoride-world.svg

      And there are just so many published studies that support fluoridation, despite your interpretation of the Queensland report and your dear Nigerian prince W. Get to work.
      ;]

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    27. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, truly, debating with you is like trying to explain quantum physics to a 3-year old.

      What's your point about countries with high natural fluoride in water? You think I don't know about that? You think those populations don't have endemic and epidemic dental and skeletal fluorosis public health problems?

      Well they do. In China, India and the Rift Valley the problems are overwhelming in some regions. Your logic is substantially juvenile. Are you saying that because these 'high-fluoride' countries have such serious public health issues that it's okay to add fluoride to our water supplies -- for a small benefit to children's teeth?

      What's your point?

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    28. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul you';re just sooo superior! Have you ever gotten a degree that required QM?

      Recall your class in argumentation -- "read/listen to the opposition's words and answer those."

      Fuorosis exists. So does groundwater arsenic poisoning. No one is arguing that no limits should exist for any consumed chemical.

      Your idea of facts around Aussies' getting fluoridated water has so far been a couple of mediocre (at best) statements & reports,while hundreds of reports from around the world show benefit from optimal amounts of fluoride in civil water supplies.

      Everyone else listening to you waste our time here, can see that. And everyone can see that no one's trying to convince you of anything. Just as with climate deniers and other fact avoiders, I relish their crafted statements, because it offers opportunity to inject facts.

      The the "point" Paul. And all here know you know it.
      ;]

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  39. Merilyn Haines

    Committee member - Fluoride Action Network Australia Inc

    Alex Cannara - aren't all your posts plugging forced water fluoridation in Australia as being safe and effective really more to do with having us believe that Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors would be safe and effective in the USA where you also plug for these ? Shades of the Manhattan Project and the fluoride connection all over again as exposed in BBC journalist Christopher Bryson's The Fluoride Deception ?

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      What? You do understand, as all Aussies I know do, the meaning of "irrelevant", right Merilyn?

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    2. Merilyn Haines

      Committee member - Fluoride Action Network Australia Inc

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      So - you touting for Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors has nothing to do with you touting for forced water fluoridation in Australia ? It isn't that you would do anything to protect fluoride and try to claim that fluoride is safe, safe, safe at any cost ? Nothing at all heh !

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      Do desperate words like these ever work for you, Merilyn?

      Carbon is in pencils. Does that mean your use of pencils means you support coal power?

      You must be getting a glimmer now, right? everyone else is.

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    4. Merilyn Haines

      Committee member - Fluoride Action Network Australia Inc

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      You are changing the subject Alex. Please just tell us why you are so interested in tooth decay in Australia and touting forced fluoridation while you are touting for fluoride reactors at the same time without a connecting agenda. Not desperate, just curious as to why you are on even on this site , what your agenda really is.

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Merilyn Haines

      Gotta love the imperious tone!

      I care about all people with teeth, Merilyn. Don't you?

      What does any other fluoride chemistry have to do with fluoride for teeth? But it looks like you're desperate enough to try anything, eh?
      ;]

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  40. Diane Lorna Drayton Buckland

    logged in via Facebook

    Dear people of Queensland and Australia,

    What these slick users of propaganda from the Fluoridation Cartel mean is -
    Stopping fluoridation imperils Dentists' wealth

    Australia wide in dental crisis after widespread fluoridation Australia wide for decades first commencing Beaconsfield Tasmania in 1953  and USA also in dental crisis after up to 67 years of water fluoridation/pollution first commencing Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1945 (also in dental crisis).  It’s a no-brainer - dangerously corrosive…

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  41. Diane Lorna Drayton Buckland

    logged in via Facebook

    From 1982
    THIS SAYS IT ALL:-
    It is a scientific disgrace that a well organized lobby of the American Dental Association ever managed to stampede American legislators into ignoring the highly technical but very cogent objection to fluoridation.

    Continue:-
    From 1982 Former NIH (National Inst. of Health) scientist opposed to fluoride

    Statement by James B. Patrick, Ph.D. at the Joint Congressional Committee on Health and Appropriations Against the Inclusion of Fluoridation in the Preventive…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Diane Lorna Drayton Buckland

      Gotta love those caps!

      In the US, we've actually studied and revised earlier fluoridation, via science -- amazing, eh?

      FDA, NIH, etc. "are proposing to reduce the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water to the lowest end of the current range, 0.7 milligrams per liter of water (mg/L), from the previous recommended maximum of 1.2 mg/L."

      Now why would the ADA be for, or against, something that improves or doesn't, their patients' health and probability for asking for paid services? Seems like an odd conspiracy theory, eh?

      Perhaps not fluoridating would make more $ for ADA members, and our most cherished source of lobbying -- the US Chamber of Commerce?

      I'll bet they're involved in our more pressing public health problem -- arsenic in Calif. wines!...
      http://gravertech.com/PDF/MetSorb/cs/WineCountryCaseStudy.pdf

      Hope Aussies can avoid both fluoride & arsenic problems.
      ;]

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  42. Diane Lorna Drayton Buckland

    logged in via Facebook

    As a Professor and Health Researcher I find pro-fluoridationists’ characterisation of those opposed to fluoridation as "quacks"or other derogatory names offensive.

    My work is supported by the UK Department of Health, I am a member of the UK Faculty of Public Health and have a number of funded research projects from the National Institutes for Health Research in the UK.

    I have consistently opposed fluoridation policy due to the poor evidence base on its effectiveness, genuine concerns about…

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  43. Diane Lorna Drayton Buckland

    logged in via Facebook

    Wall Street Journal says Dentists Are Big Political Players and do all they can to preserve their monopoly." Huge donations to secure their political agendas.
    They boasted the largest single health-care PAC in 2008, gave nearly $13 million to state and local politicians in 2010, raising the question: What do dentists want? Alicia Mundy has details on The News Hub. Photo: Reuters. http://live.wsj.com/video/why-dentists-are-big-political-players/4ADDACA4-8F50-43D4-B694-D541A38FBF3A.html#!4ADDACA4-8F50-43D4-B694-D541A38FBF3A

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Diane Lorna Drayton Buckland

      Fine Diane. I've had no family member ever suffer stained teeth from fluoridation, so if you consider it a problem, proceed to oppose it.

      It's a bit odd that you support an argument against something even your villains in dentistry think has no value. All industries have formidable lobbies, so that again is an odd way to support rejection of a procedure that can be scientifically evaluated.

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  44. Diane Lorna Drayton Buckland

    logged in via Facebook

    Australia wide in dental crisis after widespread fluoridation Australia wide for decades first commencing Beaconsfield Tasmania in 1953 and USA also in dental crisis after up to 67 years of water fluoridation/pollution first commencing Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1945 (also in dental crisis). It’s a no-brainer - dangerously corrosive hazardous waste pollutants & co-contaminants have no place being dumped in the peoples’ water supplies & hence also contaminating entire food chain. All State Gov's…

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  45. Diane Lorna Drayton Buckland

    logged in via Facebook

    Dentists and WHO experts have predicted a very large caries increase ('a tide of caries') after termination of fluoridation.49
    Analyses of the data, however, reveal a significant DECREASE in dental caries (caries decline) after suspension of water fluoridation in Japan,49,54 in the Netherlands,55 in Prague,49,56 in the German Democratic Republic,49 and elsewhere.

    Never has any real increase in dental caries been observed after water fluoridation was discontinued.

    Furthermore, many fluoride…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Diane Lorna Drayton Buckland

      All fine, Diane, if studies are done well. However, as someone with an advanced degree in statistics, a way of communicating the dangers of drawing conclusions from correlations over time is to recall strong, but irrelevant correlations ion real data.

      The correlation between number of pirates and climate change is a funny one, but the correlation between increased gum disease and the introduction of dental floss suggests thinking is needed.

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  46. Diane Lorna Drayton Buckland

    logged in via Facebook

    Water Fluoridation (pollution) chemicals:-

    Hydrofluoric Acid - Acutely toxic chemical
    http://www-esh.fnal.gov/CourseHandout_Mat/Hydrofluoric_Acid_Safety_Handout.pdf

    Explaining the truth about “water fluoridation” and the phosphate mining industry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEZ15m-D_n8&feature=share

    FLUORIDATION CHEMICALS
    http://afamildura.wordpress.com/fluoridation-chemicals/

    Fluosilicic Acid. TOXNET profile from Hazardous Substances Data Base http://www.fluoridealert.org/pesticides/fluosilicic.acid.toxnet.hsd.htm

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  47. Nick McHale

    logged in via Facebook

    1) The fluoride that is used in drinking water is not naturally occuring. It is a CHEMICAL BY-PRODUCT of the fertilizer industry. It is so toxic that there is virtually no safe way to dispose of it except to put it in barrels and keep it in a safe place much like nuclear waste. So how is it safe to put in drinking water or to drink?That is just the start

    Hydrofluorosilic acid (sp?) and all fluorides contribute to the calcification of the pineal gland which is in charge of many brain functions…

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    1. Nick McHale

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Nick McHale

      One thing i missed. Fluoride is only to be used as a TOPICAL (directly on teeth) solution. there is NO benefit from ingestion. Read up on it they have known this for over 50 years and lied to us the whole way.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Nick McHale

      What blast from the past! Diane claims HF is relevant, wonder how her fluoridation company keeps it from dissolving its storage containers and the town's plumbing!?
      ;]
      Nick says fluoridation chemicals used in water supplies aren't "naturally occuring".

      So various molecular combinations of sodium, silicon and fluorine are never seen in nature? Really? Never in seawater?

      Then just argue for your water companies to use NaF -- lots of it in seas.
      ;]

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