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Fluoridation (2)

A couple of submitters made anti-fluoridation pleas during the hearings – one, Libby Boyd, was impassioned to the point of appearing hysterical.

The arguments put were all the same old saws that are trotted out every few years in an endeavour to panic councils into withdrawing fluoride on the grounds that failure  to do so could cause children to die and the aged to develop a range of unpleasant ailments. All this has proven to be total nonsense of course, and it was obvious during the submissions that the two involved had no clue as to the origin of the fluorocylicic acid that is used in the Thames treatment plant, nor any idea as to how it is administered into the water supply.

My very first post was in regard to the threat posed to Thames water supply by action being taken by an action group here in Thames last November. This appeared to be under the auspices of the Transition Thames group who appear to have been captured by this cause.

This is the content of that post – nothing has changed:

Another attempt appears to be under way to remove fluoridation from the Thames water supply. A public meeting was called recently apparently in order to promulgate information designed to create fear and loathing of the practice amongst people, many of whom may be unaware of the reasons why most water supplies in this country were originally fluoridated.

People who are behind this move may be well intentioned, and sincerely believe the information that they are presenting - most of which has been floating around the internet since Adam was a boy, but which has been repeatedly refuted by reputable science. The reason that it gains traction every few years is hard to fathom, but often appears linked to conspiratorial fear of mass poisoning by a malign government. See "The Fluoride Wars" by R. Allan Freeze and J.H. Lehr (2009) for a contemporary review of a wide range of literature on the subject.  Also HTTP:// - website of Prof. David Colquhoun of University College London for some excellent de-bunking of the anti-fluoride arguments.

Pro-fluoride advocates have been slow to defend the practice, often in the belief that somehow common sense will magically prevail. My experience has been to the contrary, having spent seven years while Chief Executive of a Darwin health board servicing Aboriginal communities, and endeavoring to combat extraordinary levels of child caries. The connection between rotten infant teeth (Coke and white bread?), and the subsequent levels of adult renal and other related disease as high as anywhere in the world, was well established. Attempts to introduce fluorocylicic acid (exactly as used in Thames) into community water supplies that were entirely devoid of the element - even more so than New Zealand, were strongly opposed by the NT Health Department, mainly on cost grounds. Paradoxically, the same Department supported fluoridation for the mainly white population of Darwin, while deploring the huge and increasing cost of dialysis treatment for hundreds of Aboriginal patients.

It is specious for anti campaigners to claim that this can all be overcome by encouraging the use of fluoride toothpaste, or tablets - a suggestion that denies socio-economic factors inherent in the failure of such simplistic solutions. Further, mass medication arguments look pretty thin when proponents are reminded of the age-old mass medication inherent in the iodizing of salt. Never mind the the folic acid and bread argument.

Rate-payers are urged to follow the predicable emotionally charged anti-fluoride campaign closely and stand ready to defend fluoride in our water supply. I have no doubt that councilors will be targeted with a view to supporting a referendum on the matter - a thoroughly commendable idea just as long as the anti-fluoride campaigners are not permitted to spread their message to the exclusion of all else through apathy on the part of those in the pro-fluoride camp, who in the main say little.

The normal people of Thames need to be aware of this attempt being made to sabotage our excellent water supply, and to demand a referendum before Council takes any such action.

I say this because it was evident today that there are a number new councillors who appear ambivalent, and easily led along by the emotional claptrap.

It is fascinating to note that a number of these councillors are not even residents of Thames – going by the discussion this morning, at least three would withdraw fluoride tomorrow given the chance.

The Mayor on the other hand showed remarkable diplomacy in suggesting that the matter needed to be referred to the Thames Community Board, and that it was not an appropriate matter for the Annual Plan deliberations. Hopefully it will die there and get put in the back drawer for another ten years, but I suspect otherwise, and that the troops will organise in order to try to influence Board members preparatory to it coming on their agenda.

It will be clear that my experience has put me very firmly in the pro-fluoridation camp. I make no secret of the fact that I will fight any attempt to remove it from our water supply. I simply ask others who believe strongly in the efficacy of fluoride to be prepared to stand up and demand nothing less than a referendum in order to dispose of the matter once and for all.

We owe it to our children and grand-children. The amalgam filled mouths of those us old enough to have grown up without it are surely sufficient evidence as to its effectiveness.

If we not very careful, ignorance will prevail, and well meaning councillors who consider that they have an unlimited mandate will simply pass a motion and the deed will be done. It can happen that quickly - pass a motion today and it will turned off by lunchtime. This is a serious warning to everyone on the Thames water supply.




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