Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Cairns Post Letters from the Wingnuts #7 (Bringing me a dead horse)

Possibly the most eye catching of the recent flurry of letters from the anti-fluoridation crowd band of cranks would be this delightfully incoherent gem from Margaret Phillips, who previously appeared in my Letters from the Wingnuts #6:
In reference to P. Dickinson, ex councillor Mareeba shire.

Her own dental problems came from poor nutrition and inadequate dental hygiene when she was a child.
Yes, many dental problems do indeed come from inadequate hygiene. With perfect dental hygiene there would be no caries. It's not a perfect world, thus fluoridation can help.
Her story is not unique but hardly scientifically researched, even if well meaning.

Hello Pot. May I introduce Kettle? Pam Dickenson's letter, published on Saturday, described her time on Council in Mareeba and the time she spent researching before a vote on fluoridation, and commented on how much easier it is to find information now. Dickensen was both right and wrong on this point - while the reports of well respected scientific bodies are easily available, for many people they are hidden by the vast amounts of poor quality information spread by conspiracy nuts and fearmongers.
Dentists will tell you that fluoride is in tooth paste so it can harden tooth enamel topically.
Yes, and they're right. They also tell you that fluoride in drinking water helps protect against caries, particularly in those whose dental hygiene is imperfect. Sure I like to joke about dentists being sadists (I remember one dropping a drill into my cheek), but, believe it or not, all those professional dental groups that support fluoridation are not trying to kill you.
Fluoride damaged internal organs do not improve tooth health, but make life a lot more difficult.
Heck, there goes my "fluoride damaged internal organs are wonderful, so we should start mega-dosing the water supply with fluoride" argument, and I was so hoping to see fluoride sludge on tap. I don't think that's the intention of the Department of Health though, and fluoridation at the levels proposed is not going to damage internal organs.
There are so many industries which pollute with fluoride gases that it is hardly in short supply.
Is she suggesting we should be getting all the fluoride we need from breathing? There is, of course, some environmental fluoride in some water supplies. The natural fluoridation levels are measured and, if necessary, are then supplemented to bring them up to a level which has been supported as safe and effective through systematic review of the literature.
Water fluoridation is unnecessary, is overdosing us all with toxins, and wrecking one of the most pristine water supplies in the world.
Oh no! The dreaded generic toxins! Cranks seem enamoured with the word toxin, and it pops up in their websites and literature far too often. But if I was to believe the products on websites and, depressingly, even in the local chemist, those toxins can be removed by shoving candles in your ears or by shoving coffee up your... um... having coffee enemas. In a not so very odd coincidence, many of the anti-fluoride websites are also AltMed websites.

Ms Phillips trots the word toxin out here to sound scary. We need to remember that substances can have different effects at different doses. Your vitamin tablets can be toxic if you overdose. At the levels proposed, extensive systematic reviews of the literature have suggested that water fluoridation is safe and effective, and it is for this reason that it is supported by many highly respected medical, dental, scientific and health bodies.
Those who support it should be flogged.

Being a rather peaceful person, I do hope the only thing to be flogged is a dead horse, and I would prefer if people like Ms Phillips would stop dragging it onto the Letters page of the Cairns Post. Alas, I suspect the anti-fluoridation dead horse will be one that I shall have to flog on a regular basis.

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