Mt Isa to vote on fluoridation: unfortunately the media is doing a poor job

The North West Star gives us an example of poor reporting, although this isn’t their shame alone; looking at the reporting on serious science-policy topics over the past four years, I’ve seen it in most media time and time again.

But while Mt Isa discusses whether or not to fluoridate their water supply, it is interesting to note that Jasmine Barber twice mentions fluoridation as “medication of the city’s water supply” in her article – once on her own and the other as a quote from the infamous Merilyn Haines. It simply doesn’t stand up to a thorough investigation.

For instance, we have many natural sources of fluoride exposure and it is also common in some foods and especially tea. Would Merilyn or Jasmine attempt to say that the Earth itself or tea manufactures are “medicating” us? Why is it different when added to our drinking water when no-one calls it “medication” to add chloride to render drinking water safe?

The term “medication” used by the anti-fluoridation movement is too slippery, requiring many if’s and but’s, for any dictionary definition.

More importantly, fluoridation has long been proven safe and effective.

Looking at an Aussie example, the NSW Child Dental Health Survey, 2007, found that 13% more children were completely free from dental caries in fluoridated areas than in non-fluoridated areas (page 27), where there was only an additional 3% increase of discernible signs of fluorosis (page 39). Fluorosis is of cosmetic concern only, where poor dental health is not only cosmetic, but also can lead to serious health issues.

I hope when Mt Isa votes, the local community look beyond the unreasonable fear and doubt mongering of Ms Haines and  QAWF and to the capital cities of the other states – all with several decades of water fluoridation. In these cities, the population isn’t riddled with bladder/lung or bone cancers or stupidity/lower IQ or a waste land devoid of hydrangeas. These cities are doing well and the children have an additional measure of dental health protection that is proven to be effective and costs the communities next to nothing. These cities enjoy what is considered one of the top ten public health achievements of the twentieth century.

In short, this is what the vote is for in Mt Isa; No = standing up for debunked alarmist anti-fluoridation propaganda. Yes = enjoying the benefits of public health improvements with a wealth of scientific evidence to back it up. No = high dental health expense and eroded smiles. Yes = helping to protect the teeth of Mt Isa’s children.

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4 thoughts on “Mt Isa to vote on fluoridation: unfortunately the media is doing a poor job

  1. This article is nothing but pro-fluoride propaganda and is disgustingly biased!
    We are not just our teeth! A öne size fits all”, blanket approach to dental care, without taking into consideration the impact on general health and well-being, or the environment, is where the real “Junk Science” lies.
    All for a 13% improvement on dental caries?? Oh please!! It doesn’t require rocket science to work out the glaring faults in this whole plan.
    Shame on you Moth!

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    1. What a flagrant, bombastic belch of personal opinion!

      This article, as are all my articles on fluoride, is nothing more a than pro-science post and the result of actually taking anti-fluoridation advocates seriously and then referring to the real scientific literature for comparison – only to find the anti-fluoride arguments wanting.

      If you cared to look through my media on the subject – there’s even a link to it at the top of the page – prior than jumping on the rant, you would know that I’ve covered your suggestions of criticisms.

      Fluoridation is an excellent blanket approach, which has been proven safe and effective. This includes safe to the surrounding environment (links to these are even directly in the article itself).

      That isn’t a 13% improvement, please read prior to rant; “found that 13% more children were completely free from dental caries in fluoridated areas than in non-fluoridated areas” -> this means 13% extra completely free from caries, disregarding the full improvement which would include an overall reduction of caries, which is harder to ascertain with as much confidence, but clearly would go above and beyond the 13% quoted.

      You’re right – rocket science is definitely not required here. But for the article, the willingness to read and refer to citation would be helpful and for a deeper understanding, some tertiary level of training in biology / physiology, epidemiology and public health are useful.

      It’s mere personal opinion to state “glaring faults” without actually referring to any in support of your claim.

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    2. If you won’t take any notice of Merilyn Haines and the Queenslanders for Safe Water Air and Food, perhaps you haven’t seen the video “Professional Perspectives” or even taken note of our own Government Regulatory Authority, the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
      They have put up a warning on Fluoride on theri website since October 2012 (quote):
      “Fluoride supplements (drops, tablets) should not be taken during pregnancy.
      The labelling of fluoride supplement products should include advice consistent with the following:
      · *This product should only be used on the advice of a dentist.
      · *Do not use if pregnant.”

      Why aren’t we given the same warning for fluoride in our drinking water supply. The professionals, like Professor Robyn Boase, Professor of Dentistry and Indigenous Oral Health at James Cook University, Cairns tell us to use the same concentration of drops as in water flulridation, without any mention of the above, except to avoid overdosage.

      There’s so much these academics are obvously not aware of or not teling us.

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      1. I’ll approve this one, but if you continue in such doubt mongering, don’t expect more comments to go through.

        Yes, it is doubt mongering. Why? You confuse correlation with causation to propagate unreasonable fear for something that you, yourself, have been convinced to fear – an invasive “meme” if you will.

        The tablets are not the same as water supply.

        They state you shouldn’t have energy drinks when pregnant when many have no more caffeine in them than coffee or tea; but how much coffee and tea do pregnant women drink without concern?

        In short, the experts err on the side of caution with pregnancy, as they should. Yet there is copious studies on fluoride exposure from places where water fluoridation is applied and where people have local environmental sources. These latter studies anti-fluoridation advocates wave frantically to scare the crowd, but have no relevance on the former studies which time and time again prove that it can be applied safely to water supplies with measurable improvements on dental health.

        Everyone is exposed to some fluoride through their toothpaste, food and drink, and sometimes even atmosphere. When pregnant it is just good measure to avoid intake of substances that can be avoided just to be super cautious. An expecting mother may have other sources of fluoride unknown to the health experts and so taking supplements is an avoidable risk. Studies and basic population data (say, comparing the rest of Australian capital cities to Brisbane before 2008) illustrate no concern for health impacts from very low level exposure to fluoride via drinking water.

        The academics are aware and if you cared to read the scientific literature and reviews by various health bodies, you would know this. We don’t fluoridated for no reason, but due to very strong evidence. They are telling us – look at WHO’s website, or CDC’s or any other expert health body with a statement on drinking water fluoridation.

        The claim that they are not telling us something fringes ever so close to conspiracy theory ideation… Especially when the opposite is so obvious to anyone who cares to fact check.

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