GENRE: Email letter
TO: Various email Bcc list
AUTHOR: Daniel Z
DATE SENT: Tue, May 7, 2013 at 9:46 PM
TITLE: ‘Mad at decision’ Dr John Christensen: Rebuttal
STATUS: No response
UPDATES: Please post all updates and comments in the LEAVE A REPLY section below.
I hope this email finds you well. In a recent article you are quoted in support of fluoridation (1). Some of the points you make require rebuttal:
a) “the most studied public health measure ever”
According to the authors of the York Review (2000), “Given the level of interest surrounding the issue of public water fluoridation, it is surprising to find that little high quality research has been undertaken” (2); “We were unable to discover any reliable good-quality evidence in the fluoridation literature world-wide… As emphasised in [our] report, only high-quality studies can fill in the gaps in knowledge about these and other aspects of fluoridation” (3). Dr. John Doull (NRC Report (2006) Panel Chair) pointed out similar issues in an interview with Scientific Americian (Jan. 2008), stating, “when we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this [fluoridation] has been going on” (4).
As appropriately noted by Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology Professor, Dr. Paul Connett, “Even the most basic studies have not been done. For example, no comprehensive survey of fluoride bone levels has been undertaken to see if some people are reaching damaging levels. Nor has there been a monitoring program of fluoride levels in people’s blood and urine. More seriously, studies have not been done on a number of childhood conditions using the severity of dental fluorosis as a biomarker of exposure. All of these failures to do the obvious allow fluoridation promoters to say, “We have been fluoridating the water for over 60 years and we don’t see any health problems”, yet if you don’t look, you don’t find” (5).
b) “one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century”
As Connett also highlights, “Not a day goes by without someone in the world citing the CDC’s statement that fluoridation is “One of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th Century. Those that cite this probably have no idea how incredibly poor the analysis was that supported this statement. The report was not externally peer reviewed, was six years out of date on health studies and the graphical evidence it offered to support the effectiveness of fluoridation was laughable and easily refuted” (5).
c) “a nutrient which naturally occurred in water”
Firstly, fluoride is not a nutrient (6-8). Secondly, the chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water (i.e. NaF, Na2SiF6, and H2SiF6) do not occur naturally, but are waste products of industry (9). Thirdly, “natural” does not necessarily mean “good” or “safe.” Arsenic and other toxins also occur “naturally,” but have no “safe” dose (10). Incidentally, H2SiF6 has been shown to be contaminated with small amounts of arsenic (10). And since you brought it up, “naturally-occurring” fluoride has been a scourge in numerous countries (11). Furthermore, those who perpetuate the elementary confusion (12) between concentration (of fluoride per litre of water) and dose (depending on how much water people drink and how much fluoride they receive from other sources) seem to have no basic toxicological common sense (13).
d) With a 20-40% reduction in tooth decay
As noted by Connett, Beck & Micklem (2010), “In chapters 6–8, we examined in detail the evidence for fluoridation’s benefits and found it to be very weak. Even a 20 percent reduction in tooth decay is a figure rarely found in more recent studies. Moreover, we have to remember that percentages can give a very misleading picture. For example, if an average of two decayed tooth surfaces are found in a non-fluoridated group and one decayed surface in a fluoridated group, that would amount to an impressive 50 percent reduction. But when we consider the total of 128 surfaces on a complete set of teeth, the picture—which amounts to an absolute saving in tooth decay of a mere 0.8 percent—does not look so impressive” (14). Further illustrations of this point are freely available (15-16).
(6) http://www.fluoridealert.org/uploads/proponent_claims.pdf (Claim #3)
(14) http://www.fluoridealert.org/uploads/proponent_claims.pdf (Claim #19)