Saturday, 7 July 2012

Cairns Post Letters from the Wingnuts #5 (Fluoridated dollars)

The anti-fluoridation crowd, while small (the majority don't really care one way or the other, and many don't even know about it), is very vocal and motivated. I would be curious as to how many such letters are rejected for publication by the Cairns Post. On Friday this week Monica Mesch's letter was published:
I fully support Bill Kilvert (Cairns Post 29-6-12) in what he says about the safety of silicoflourides put into our water supply. I've done the research.

Bill Kilvert's poorly thought out letter was the subject of my Cairns Post Letters from the Wingnuts #4. It was an amusing letter, in part for trying to play on people's fear of the Chinese. Fully supporting what Kilvert wrote doesn't bode well.
Not only is the safety of these fluorides an issue, but the cost blowout of Anna Bligh's $35 million four-year water fluoridation roll-out, has now risen to more than $110 million. That doesn't include the burdening cost to regional councils and ratepayers for its ongoing implementation and maintenance.
The safety of the fluorides is only an issue because of the conspiracy- and fear-mongering campaigns of the anti-fluoridation lobby and conspiracy theorists. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a good starting point for examining systematic reviews of the literature. Fluoridation, at the levels proposed for our water supplies, is safe and effective.

The second part of the paragraph is at least a little more reasoned. It is entirely possible that the implementation has been poorly managed and costs have increased. A little googling fails to confirm the figures, with one source suggesting $75 million cost. Proper oversight of the implementation program is certainly required to ensure costs are contained.
Around 99% of fluoridated water is flushed down our drains or used for irrigation, so when you consider that only 1 per cent of this money is directly targeted for its intended use, the prevention of tooth decay, it just seems like economic suicide.
This is, of course, specious reasoning. That most of the fluoride would not be used for drinking does not make it a poor economic proposition. The cost of implementation should be compared to the cost of dental and medical treatments that are rendered unnecessary. For example, the CDC estimates that for each dollar spent on fluoridation, $15 in dental expenses is saved in small communities and $18 in large.1 Far from economic suicide, this seems a pretty good return on investment.
I hope that LNP members will see the light and vote for a halt to water fluoridation at  their LNP Convention on July 13. Contact your local MP if you agree.
I hope that LNP members look to respected medical and scientific bodies for advice, and implement the most cost effective solution. This would be appear to require a well-audited fluoridation program. Contact your local member if you agree.

1. Griffin SO, Jones K, Tomar SL. An economic evaluation of community water fluoridation. J Publ Health Dent 2001;61(2):78–86

Correction: This post originally misidentified the letter as appearing in Thursday's paper, when it was actually Friday.

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