GENRE: Email letter
TO: John Timmer
AUTHOR: Daniel Z
DATE SENT: Thu, May 23, 2013 at 10:30 PM
TITLE: Attn. John Timmer, Re. Your article (May 23 2013)
STATUS: Awaiting response
UPDATES: Any updates should be posted in the comments section below
CLAIM: The treatment of drinking water with trace amounts of fluorine has a clear, positive effect in preventing tooth decay… The campaign against fluoridation put up a website that said (contrary to evidence) that fluoridation doesn’t actually work.
RESPONSE: Actually, the evidence for systemic benefit is very weak ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=FRIdsxT3IGc#t=2773s ). When the University of York conducted their systematic review, for example, the authors concluded, “We were unable to discover any reliable good-quality evidence in the fluoridation literature world-wide” ( http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/fluoridnew.htm ).
CLAIM: The evidence in favor of fluoridation’s benefits is so strong that the CDC has named it one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the past century.
RESPONSE: “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” (CDC, 1999). 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 The report was not externally peer reviewed, was six years out of date on health studies and the graphical evidence it offered to support the effectiveness of fluoridation was laughable and easily refuted”( http://www.fluoridealert.org/news/fluoridation-gamble-fails-the-test-of-time/ ).
CLAIM: It also plays a bit on chemophobia, calling the treatment an “industrial byproduct” and focusing on the tiny amounts of trace contaminants that come with fluorine.
RESPONSE: In 2012, a respected University of Western Australia public health expert stated, in the peer-reviewed Public Health Ethics that, “The fluosilicic acid brands used in artificially fluoridating… water supplies are known to be contaminated with lead, arsenic and mercury—major public health hazards for which no safe level exists” ( http://afamildura.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/public-health-ethics-2012-awofeso-phe-phs016.pdf ). He also concluded that water fluoridation cannot be adequately justified on ethical grounds. The Journal of Hazardous Materials confirms that this chemical is indeed a “waste material” of phosphate fertiliser ( http://afamildura.wordpress.com/fluoridation-chemicals/ ).