GENRE: Email thread
TO: ABC Audience & Consumer Affairs; Various email Bcc list
AUTHOR: Sandy S
DATE SENT: Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 7:18 PM
TITLE: Re: Biased reporting by Catalyst (ABC) re: Fluoridation (THREAD)
STATUS: Thread of responses
UPDATES: Please post all updates and comments in the LEAVE A REPLY section below.
|to:||ABC Corporate_Affairs6 <Corporate_Affairs6.ABC@abc.net.au>|
|cc:|| Media Watch <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
1. ORIGINAL LETTER
To: Audience & Consumer Affairs
From: Sandy S
Subject: Biased reporting re: Fluoridation
Date: 09/08/13 01:03
Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by Sandy S
ABC program: Catalyst
Response required: true
Date of program: 8-8-13
Contact type: Complaint
Subject: Biased reporting re: Fluoridation
Whilst I must commend you on the excellent segment about the contribution of sugar hidden in packaged foods to the escalating global obesity rate, the propagandist presentation of the issues of fluoridation were its antithesis. Glaringly obvious in the juxtaposition of these two topics in the same show is the fact that the biggest contributor to the rise in caries is sugar consumption, yet this was not mentioned. Instead we were led to believe by the Hawaiian shirted and infamous Michael Foley that caries develop because of some kind of fluoride deficiency, and that a little ‘systemic topping up’ every day is supposed to ensure fluoroapatite forms in tooth enamel like the old Mrs Marsh commercials.
I’m so sick to death of the corruption of science by big industry agendas. The science is prolific that fluoride toxicity is escalating. Only half the fluoride of chronic fluoridated water consumption is excreted and the fluoride accumulates over time. This has very adverse effects on the brain and other organs because it is a systemic poison. It was admitted that fluoride is a poison, but somehow justified that in small amounts it’s okay. What kind of lunatic statement is that?
How do you know what that fluoride is doing to every other cell in the body beside the tooth enamel when industrial grade fluoride chemicals (hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride) have never been proven safe for ingestion? What’s worse is that they are used in the water supply as an unapproved drug with the intention of achieving a therapeutic prophylactic effect. NHMRC have qualified their recommendation by repeatedly stating in each review that there are not enough quality studies and they cannot make a conclusion about safety of consumption over time for people in population subgroups that may be sensitive to fluoride such as people with kidney disease.
How do you know how much fluoride people are ingesting when they can drink any amount of this medication without restriction, and also absorb fluoride from dental products, drugs and the food supply via the halo effect?
How can you dare to show the image of a very white set of teeth to imply fluoride gives you perfect teeth when fluorosis of the teeth has become so common? Why did you not show pictures of what fluorosis looks like? You did not present any information about the damning evidence against fluoridation. Instead of informing people about the studies showing the relationship of fluoride consumption with the lowering of IQ, Hawaiian shirted Foley just glossed over these facts as though they were someone’s imaginings. You did not contradict any of his propaganda with the evidence that is now so readily available. What about the recent Harvard meta analysis on the neurological effects of fluoride on children? http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/fluoride-childrens-health-grandjean-choi/ There is so much to choose from and you had NOTHING. Unbelievable!
Why didn’t you show the caries statistics of each state if you wanted to prove that fluoridation lowers caries? You compared Townsville with Brisbane using Hawaiian shirted Foley’s skewed statistics. It’s not a 45% difference at all. One quarter of a tooth surface is not statistically significant and in fact in all comparisons from around the world there is no statistical difference between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities in the prevalence of caries. The only time the difference becomes greater is in the 5-6 year old age group because in fluoridated areas tooth eruption is delayed by a year, and so there are less teeth to measure and compare in the fluoridated areas. This difference disappears as children get older. The reason tooth eruption is delayed is because fluoride deposits in and affects the pineal gland which regulates our body clock. Yes, this little ‘systemic top up’, as referred to by Hawaiian shirted Foley, affects quite a lot more than the enamel. But you have censored all that data.
Why didn’t you show the statistics for Tasmania? They are the first Australian state to be fluoridated and after 60 years they have the worst caries rates in Australia.
And you call this science?
There is no morality in fluoridation. It is mass medication and a heinous crime against humanity. Get out of the 60’s mentality and catch up with the rest of the world – PLEASE! The comparison with seat belt rules is so old and hackneyed I’m surprised Hawaiian shirted Foley hasn’t come up with anything new in his arsenal. Seat belts are a safety precaution and doesn’t harm: Fluoridation has no precautionary principle and many people in the population can easily accumulate toxic levels. Yes, arsenic is a poison too, and in small doses over a number of years you can destroy organs and life. Fluoride is not a nutrient and in fact inhibits vital nutrients such as magnesium and iodine: A shortage in magnesium and iodine is associated with heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, mental illness and osteoporosis. Just a ‘systemic top-up’? No thanks!
Councils and water authorities are given the job to administer a medication with no medical qualifications to anyone regardless of their health status or sensitivities, and people can consume as much as they like without any monitoring of side effects. Fluoride was used in the 60’s to treat hyperthyroid. Now we have the mass dosing of a population with an anti-thyroid medication. And you seem to think this is okay? Where is your moral compass?
Most of the rest of the world has ceased fluoridation because of the damning science that has emerged over the years. You cannot control the dose and people are being over-exposed.
This was just a sad dusty old propaganda piece. Nothing new. Very disappointing.
2. On 20/08/2013 3:22 PM, ABC Corporate_Affairs6 wrote:
Dear Ms Sanderson,
Thank you for your email regarding the story on water fluoridation broadcast on Catalyst on 8 August 2013.
Your concerns have been assessed by Audience and Consumer Affairs, a unit which is separate to and independent of content making areas in the ABC. Our role is to investigate complaints alleging that ABC content has breached the ABC’s editorial standards.
Given the issues raised in your complaint, I have assessed the program’s compliance with the impartiality and accuracy standards set out in the ABC Code of Practice (http://about.abc.net.au/reports-publications/code-of-practice-2013/). I have considered the issues set out in your complaint, reviewed the Catalyst segment, and sought and considered information from the program team.
This Catalyst segment examined the controlled addition of fluoride to drinking water to improve dental health. It focused on the Australian experience and particularly the different approach taken to decisions about water fluoridation in Queensland compared to other states. It noted that water fluoridation has been controversial in Australia and particularly in Queensland where decisions about fluoridation are made by individual councils. In some areas, residents’ concerns about the toxic properties of fluoride have been a factor in decisions not to proceed with water fluoridation. The program then examined research on the safety of water fluoridation.
The ABC’s editorial standards include the following:
2.1 Make reasonable efforts to ensure that material facts are accurate and presented in context.
2.2 Do not present factual content in a way that will materially mislead the audience. In some cases, this may require appropriate labels or other explanatory information.
Your complaint includes allegations that the segment included inaccurate information and omitted to include relevant information, such that the information presented was misleading. I have considered each of the relevant issues set out in your complaint below.
a) The segment did not mention that the biggest contributor to the rise in caries is sugar consumption; it suggested that caries develop from fluoride deficiency.
As explained above, the focus of this segment was the controlled addition of fluoride to drinking water to improve dental health. There are many causes of poor dental health, including diet, as you suggest. However, these causes of poor dental health were not the focus of the program and it was not misleading for the program to omit coverage of these matters. The segment briefly explained how fluoride works to improve dental health in the following passage:
So it’s clear that water fluoridation works. But, how exactly? Teeth are the hardest substance in the body, primarily made up of a mineral called ‘hydroxylapatite’. Fluoride, either in water or toothpaste, gets absorbed into the tooth enamel and forms a new, stronger mineral called ‘fluorapatite’.
Dr Michael Foley
And that stronger mineral is then more resistant to the acid that causes tooth decay. Remember Mrs Marsh used to talk about, ‘It gets in like liquid gets into this chalk’? … Well, she was right. It strengthens the enamel, makes it much, much more resistant to acid. With fluoridated water, of course, you get both – you get the systemic benefit for little kiddies, and you get the much greater topical effect. You’re always getting a little bit of a top-up. It’s like a little fluoride treatment lots and lots of times during the day to make your teeth stronger.
This passage makes it sufficiently clear that fluoride offers protection against tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel and making it ‘much more resistant to acid’. This explanation does not suggest that caries develop because of a ‘fluoride deficiency’ and it is not misleading.
b) The segment omitted to mention that the NHMRC have qualified their recommendation by repeatedly stating that existing studies are insufficient for firm conclusions to be drawn, particularly for people in population subgroups who may be sensitive to fluoride.
The program posed the question ‘So what is the latest science on the adverse health effects? Is there cause for concern?’. It then referred to the NHMRC report in the following passage:
In 2007, Australia’s top research body, the National Health and Medical Research Council, released a major report on water fluoridation.
Professor Michael Moore
They reviewed 5,500 papers, and, on the basis of the papers of the highest quality, concluded that there was no association between fluoridation and illness. When you’re looking at it from the position of a research scientist, it’s very hard to understand the objections that people place in the presence of fluoride in water supplies. There are so many studies saying that it’s safe when it’s used properly.
The NHMRC report concluded that previous systematic reviews indicated that water fluoridation at levels aimed at preventing dental caries has little effect on fracture risk; that there is no clear association between water fluoridation and overall cancer incidence or mortality; and that there is insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion on other possible negative effects. On this latter point, the NHMRC report noted that the most recent systematic review examined 25 studies and considered them all to be of low quality.
On the basis of its review, the NHMRC recommended that water be fluoridated in the target range of 0.6 to 1.1 mg/L, depending on climate.
The program’s reference to the NHMRC report was in the context of whether the latest science indicated any cause for concern in health risks posed by controlled water fluoridation. The NHMRC report was briefly and accurately summarised as indicating that the latest science did not give cause for concern. The program did not present factual content in a way that would materially mislead the audience.
The program made reasonable efforts to ensure that the material facts relevant to the NHMRC report were accurate and presented in context by relying on its own assessment of the NHMRC report, as well as the assessment given by Professor Michael Moore in the program. Professor Moore is Vice-president of the Australasian College of Toxicology & Risk Assessment and is eminently qualified to summarise the NHMRC report findings.
While I note your suggestion that the NHMRC report included specific cautions about people in population subgroups that may be sensitive to fluoride, such as people with kidney disease, I was unable to identify any relevant references in the NHMRC report. A search of the document for ‘kidney’ identified only one reference to a study by Singh et al which considered the prevalence of kidney stones. In relation to this and two other more recent studies on other possible negative effects of fluoride, the NHMRC report observed: ‘the additional studies do not suggest an increased risk of other adverse events with the level of fluoridation used in Australia (~1 ppm). The study of Singh et al (2001) involved fluoride concentrations that would not be observed in water in Australia’.
c) The segment omitted to mention the recent Harvard meta analysis on the neurological effects of fluoride on children.
In response to this aspect of your complaint, the program provided the following information:
“The recent Harvard meta analysis, which can be viewed here http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/ehp.1104912.pdf analysed 27 papers on fluoride neurotoxicity. 25 of these research papers were conducted in China and the other two were in Iran. Fluoride as a compound is naturally found in plants, rocks, soil, air, food and in very low levels, in almost all fresh water. Parts of the world, including parts of China, Iran and India, naturally have very high fluoride levels. This fluoride is not added to the water supply in a controlled manner. In some cases, these nations are also affected by potential fluoride contamination, which can reach the air and water supplies through coal burning and aluminium smelters, for example. Very high, and uncontrolled fluoride consumption, can be dangerous. This was pointed out in our story where Professor Michael Moore stated: ‘It goes back to one of the fundamental precepts of toxicology – the dose makes the poison. You take a lot of it, you get poisoned. If you take the right amount, it keeps you well. Have too little, you’ve got a problem.’
But, it would be misleading to compare naturally high levels of fluoridation found in China, to the controlled addition of fluoride that we experience in Australia.
Support for the program’s observations about the different circumstances in China and Iran is found in the World Health Organisation’s 2006 publication, ‘Fluoride in drinking-water’ (http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/fluoride_drinking_water_full.pdf). The lack of reference to the recent Harvard study did not mislead the program’s audience
d) Dr Michael Foley cited skewed statistics; the difference in dental caries between Townsville and Brisbane is not 45%. The program should have included caries rates for Tasmania, the first Australian state to be fluoridated and showing the worst caries rates.
This reference occurred in the following passage:
In a 1996 study, the teeth of children in fluoridated Townsville were compared with those in unfluoridated Brisbane, and the difference was clear.
Dr Michael Foley
On average, there was about 45% less decay in the Townsville children than what there was in the Brisbane children.
The program has provided me with a copy of the 2006 Slade et al study comparing caries rates for children in Townsville and Brisbane. The abstract notes:
“Caries rates were significantly lower (P< 0.01) among children in Townsville than in Brisbane, both in the deciduous dentition (according to age, 32 to 55 per cent fewer tooth surfaces affected) and permanent dentition (20 to 65 per cent fewer tooth surfaces affected).”
The program has advised that Dr Foley used the ‘on average’ 45% less decay figure to approximate these ranges, and that Dr Foley was also relying on the results section of the study, which included:
“The values per child of 2.01 deciduous and permanent tooth surfaces with caries experience in Townsville children and 3.69 surfaces in Brisbane correspond with 45 per cent fewer surfaces being affected with caries in Townsville than in Brisbane.”
There was no inaccuracy in the program’s use of the 45% figure. In any event, the program made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy by seeking comments on the study’s results from Dr Michael Foley who is Director of the Brisbane Dental Hospital and well-qualified to comment on this area. The use of the phrases ‘on average’ and ‘about’ ensured that viewers were not misled.
The program has advised that it used the Brisbane / Townsville study to illustrate the difference in dental caries because the two cities are in the same state and it is preferable to compare like with like, to minimise the risk of confounding factors such as temperature and water consumption rates. The program has also provided me with references to other studies comparing dental caries in different regions and which come to similar conclusions.
Your complaint alleges that the segment was a ‘propagandist presentation’ and failed to ‘present any information about the damning evidence against fluoridation’. I have considered these aspects of your complaint against the editorial standards for impartiality, specifically:
4.1 Gather and present news and information with due impartiality.
4.2 Present a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented.
4.5 Do not unduly favour one perspective over another.
The principles which accompany the ABC’s impartiality standards make clear that assessing the impartiality due in given circumstances requires consideration of a range of factors, including (amongst other issues) the degree to which the matter to which the content relates is contentious, the likely audience expectations of the content and the type, subject and nature of the content. The principles identify the hallmarks of impartiality as including a balance that follows the weight of evidence, fair treatment, open-mindedness, and opportunities over time for principal relevant viewpoints on matters of contention to be expressed. Impartiality does not require that every perspective receives equal time, nor that every facet of every argument is presented.
In this case, it is relevant to note that the segment was featured on Catalyst, a program which deals with scientific issues and which audiences expect to take an evidence-based approach. The program clearly identified the subject of water fluoridation as contentious – especially in Queensland – and included interviews with State MP Stephen Bennett (Member for Burnett) and Mal Forman (Mayor of Bundaberg Regional Council) to highlight the strength of views in local Queensland communities and the challenges faced by local councils in making decisions about water fluoridation. The program also included vox pops filmed on the streets of Bundaberg, with almost every person featured expressing concern about water fluoridation and nominating the poisonous character of fluoride. This point was also reinforced in footage of Merilyn Haines, a member of the anti-fluoride lobby, addressing a public meeting.
In this way, the program made the point that the ‘poison message’ was of significant concern to people who oppose water fluoridation and set out to answer two questions: a) what is the latest science on adverse health effects?; and b) is there cause for concern? To answer these questions, the program interviewed two experts in the science – dentist Dr Michael Foley and toxicologist Professor Michael Moore. As pointed out by the program team above, Professor Moore explicitly noted “one of the fundamental precepts of toxicology – the dose makes the poison. You take a lot of it, you get poisoned. If you take the right amount, it keeps you well. Have too little, you’ve got a problem.” The program narration noted that “getting the dose right with water fluoridation is critical”. It then went on to consider the most relevant research findings. The research which is most relevant deals with controlled water fluoridation, preferably at the same general level as is recommended in Australia. The two studies specifically referenced were the 2007 NHMRC study discussed above and a 2011 Harvard University which looked at the link between bone cancer and water fluoridation. The NHMRC review was very comprehensive. However, at the time it was conducted the picture in relation to cancer and water fluoridation was somewhat uncertain. The 2011 Harvard University study clarified this and concluded that there was no significant association between bone fluoride levels and osteosarcoma risk.
The overall conclusion from the program was that the latest science does not show a link between controlled water fluoridation and adverse health effects. That the program came to this conclusion does not indicate a lack of due impartiality or an undue favouring of one perspective over others. The program took an evidence-based approach and demonstrated a balance that followed the weight of evidence, duly favouring the results of significant and credible scientific research and experts in the fields of dentistry and toxicology.
Should you be dissatisfied with this response, you may be able to pursue the matter with the Australian Communications and Media Authority, www.acma.gov.au.
Head, Audience and Consumer Affairs
3. FINAL RESPONSE
Dear Ms McLiesh
(CC Sally Virgoe) OPEN LETTER
Thank you for your response below. I am not satisfied that you have addressed the issues of bias as you state.
It is not in the interests of the community to air a programme like Catalyst, which holds itself out to fairly present science-based information which the greater public trusts to be true, whilst engaging in strategic omissions of crucial information which then skew the final conclusions reached. It was not a fair presentation of the facts or of what the issues actually are that are driving the anti-fluoridation movement in Australia.
1) Why did you not bother to interview professional experts such as scientists Merilyn Haines,
Professor Mark Diesendorf https://research.unsw.edu.au/people/associate-professor-mark-diesendorf or
Associate Professor Niyi Awofeso http://med.unsw.edu.au/people/associate-professor-niyi-awofeso
or a myriad of other professionals that have spoken out about the dangers of fluoridation as the dose of the therapy cannot be controlled?
You showed some small soundbites taken out of context from Merilyn Haine’s presentation to council, but there was no framework or argument to accompany those soundbites.
The other random vox pops from the streets of Bundaberg showed people understood fluoride to be a poison, which is the reason for their opposition to fluoridation, but nothing more was presented. The whole counter argument was omitted. Why are people objecting to a poison being dosed to the drinking water supply? How could this be balanced?
What was glaringly missing from your programme was any attempt to allow the rationale of the anti-fluoridation movement to be aired. The viewer was given the impression that for some reason only Queenslanders objected to fluoridation. Even the tone of voice of the female presenter had a condescending tone in her voice when she said, “But not in Queensland,” thereby implying that there is no opposition to fluoridation in any other state. The fact of the matter is that there is an Australia wide coalition of anti-fluoridation activists that are working in cooperation to try to overturn this antiquated and dangerous public therapeutic treatment. There are communities in every state actively trying to cease fluoridation as a public policy. Here is just one example of the activist movement in other states: http://afamildura.wordpress.com/
There are also two independent court actions underway in NSW in the Environmental Court challenging the legality of local councils building fluoridation plants which expel a large amount of the industrial waste fluoridation chemicals (sodium silicofluoride and hexafluorosilicic acid), as only 1% of tap water is consumed and 99% of the fluoridated water is released into the natural waterways and environment. In fact, in all the countries of the world that remain clinging on to this outdated practice of fluoridation, covering about 5% of the world’s population, there are ever stronger emerging activist groups dedicated to the cessation of fluoridation. These community groups are now working cooperatively to share information.
2) This leads to another major issue that was completely missed, and all the more astounding because it was missed by a science programme. It was stated by Michael Foley and his partner Michael Moore, (who have been touring Queensland as a team to speak to councils about why they should fluoridate), that: 1) All fluorides are the same, and that, “You’re always getting a little bit of a top-up,” and 2) “You take a lot of it, you get poisoned. If you take the right amount, it keeps you well. Have too little, you’ve got a problem.” These sweeping statements are not what one would expect from so-called professionals – regardless of what titles they may hold. A title does not automatically mean they have it right.
Firstly, all fluorides are not the same and inferring that industrial chemicals like silicofluoride chemicals are the same toxicologically as calcium fluoride, which naturally occurs in surface waters, is extremely misleading and irresponsible. Here is a chemistry lesson for the programme producers of Catalyst:
According to Roholm's toxicology research on fluorine intoxication pertaining to various inorganic fluorides: H2SiF6 (Fluorosilicic Acid) is "25 times MORE lethally toxic than CaF2 (Calcium Fluoride)" Page 3 of 9 Enviro Management Services report
Secondly, the inference that we must have a small amount of poison for good health is equally as damning. Is a small amount of lead good for you? What about a small amount of radioactive radon? These, by the way, are some of the listed contaminants in water fluoridation chemicals. Is Michael Moore saying that you could package these elements (poisons) up in small amounts in tablets and sell them as supplements for ‘good health’… because if you, “Have too little you’ve got a problem?”
These industrial fluorides are by-products of aluminium and phosphate processing and are certainly not naturally occurring. They are artificially created by man. The raw material is a ‘produced’ poison that is combined with water at a certain ratio (1ppm concentration) as prescribed by government to produce a manufactured water product delivered to the consumer via the householder’s tap, with the sole stated intention being to prevent caries. By this very admission the process of fluoridation is for therapeutic treatment and prophylaxis, yet the TGA have not caught fluoridation as one of their listed treatments and do not monitor its safety. NICNAS do not have any jurisdiction over regulating the chemical safety of fluoridation chemicals. This has all been confirmed via FOIs.
The biggest problem with fluoridation is that dosage of the treatment cannot be controlled and no independent authority is checking how much fluoride people consume from all sources, or how much is being accumulated in the tissue cells of the body over time with chronic fluoride consumption, as only 50% is excreted. Once the main drinking water supply is dosed with fluoride chemicals there is what is called ‘The Halo Effect’, whereby foods are processed using fluoridated water. Fluoride does not evaporate when the water is boiled, but instead concentrates in the remaining liquid. A cup of black tea can contain up to 8mg of fluoride because tea leaves have a propensity to accumulate fluoride if present in the ground water. Therefore beverages and processed foods using fluoridated water can concentrate fluorides even more. Medications now also use fluorides as preservatives. Fluorides are used as pesticides to fumigate produce warehouses, and fluorides of course are used in very high concentrations in dental products which can inadvertently be swallowed.
Michael Moore said, “You take a lot of it, you get poisoned.” Why did you not ask him after he made that statement, “How much is too much?” “Do you know how much people are consuming?” “What happens if you get too much?”
Why did you not ask him what the symptoms of fluoride toxicity are? Fluorosis is rampant now, and despite people’s perception that fluorosis presents only as white or brown stains or pits in the tooth enamel, fluorosis has also been defined by medical professionals around the world as contributing to a large number of illnesses from thryoid suppression (hypothyroidism) to IBS symptoms (as fluoride when it mixes with hydrochloric acid in the stomach forms hydrofluoric acid) to diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, bone deformity, skin rashes and more. Yet, not one word about fluorosis – ever on the increase in all fluoridated populations. See what Dr Susheela has to say about fluorosis – which she has scientifically studied for over 30 years and written about in medical text books: http://www.shiatv.net/view_video.php?viewkey=58573df0f94a372dca9d
3) There was no mention in your report of Australian safety regulation of fluoridation exposures. How would Foley and Moore and the fluoride lobby know if fluoridation was safe for all members of the community regardless of how much they consume? They can’t possibly know or make this kind of assurance of safety. The 2007 NHMRC was a sham and a whitewash which contained many flaws. It was not generally a quality review, as they cherrypicked the older data that supported their premise and ignored the newer quality studies that did not support their premise. Please see the attached excerpt from the 1991 NHMRC Review which actually addressed the need to monitor quantity consumed and effects on sensitive population subgroups such as young children and people with kidney disease. Also attached is an FOI document which shows health authorities were concerned about toxic effects to population subgroups enough to request that the 2007 Review cover the effects of fluoridation on people with kidney impairment as they could have, “As much as three times the normal retention rate. ” Despite this concern, in the end the Review requirement was deleted! This is a smoking gun. What has happened to our investigative journalists?
4) You did not cover the issue of bio-medical ethics in relation to fluoridation. Please see the attached published documents to help your own research.
There is so much information now about the toxic effects of chronic fluoride poisoning that it is inexcusable to plead ignorance these days. There are excellent high quality studies available and you would find them if you bothered to look – instead of blindly accepting the unfounded assurances of the fluoride lobby that fluioridation is “safe and effective.” Clearly it is not. It cannot possibly be that because the dose is not controllable. There is no margin of error and no precautionary principle employed.
The public seem to know a lot more about fluoridation and its effects than the programme producers of Catalyst. Rather than a ‘head-in-the-sand’ approach, it would be very refreshing if your programme or another ABC investigative programme such as 4 Corners would cover the real issues. Fluoridation has become more of a political issue than a scientific one. At the very least, if Catalyst is not permitted to present an unbiased presentation of both sides of the argument, then the programme should not cover it at all. But to present the issue as a ‘fait accomplis’ of science and that fluoridation is proven as ‘safe and effective’ is a lie and a very dangerous one at that.
In conclusion, I recommend that your producers make themselves more familiar with the political history of fluoridation, its health effects and bio-chemical effects as discovered in studies by scientist Phyllis Mullenix: