Fluoride fight will continue
By Rutland Herald | on March 22, 2017
Here’s what I would have said at the Proctor Town Meeting, had outsiders been allowed to speak:
“Fluoride is a drug, recognized as such by the Food and Drug Administration because it is used to treat disease, tooth decay. It is not a nutrient; the body does not need it to thrive.
“ By fluoridating the public water supply, we are medicating an entire population, ignoring the principle of informed consent, your right to take or not take a drug based on your own convictions.
“Not only is fluoride a drug, but it is administered in an uncontrolled way. If you drink five quarts a day, you get five times the dose of a person who drinks one quart a day.
“Fluoride toothpaste is a different story, applied to the surface of the teeth and spit out. No one forces you to use it.
“The effectiveness of fluoridation remains unproven, 67 years after its endorsement by the U.S. Public Health Service in 1950. Western Europe is 97 percent unfluoridated, yet their tooth decay rates are comparable to ours. How do they do it without fluoridation?
“Fluoride is a health risk. More than 40 percent of American adolescents have some degree of dental fluorosis, a spotting, staining and mottling of the teeth caused by overexposure to fluoride.
“Research has raised legitimate concerns about fluoride’s role. It may interfere with thyroid function, increase bone fractures, harm kidney function, reduce IQ and cause other illnesses. Granted, more research is needed, but drugs are not ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ Until they are shown to be safe, we need to avoid them.
“Proctor must decide if fluoridation is a reasonable risk to yourselves and your children and an acceptable sacrifice of informed consent in return for a questionable and perhaps nonexistent reduction in tooth decay.”
Proctor did decide. Voters decided to keep fluoridating. The debate will continue.
Proctor, Rutland, Vermont
It is truly unfortunate that the Proctor Town Meeting voted March 6 to continue fluoridation of the town water supply. Since only a tenth or so of registered voters turned out, here are my remarks of that evening. My husband is a retired dentist and an opponent of fluoridation due to his belief it is an unsafe and ineffective practice. Due to his age, however, he was unable to be at the meeting to explain his views.
You probably know that fluoridation is endorsed by the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control and many other prestigious agencies and organizations. They constantly tell us that fluoridation is “safe and effective,” “safe and effective,” “safe and effective.” How could all these organizations be wrong for the nearly 70 years that fluoridation has been approved as public policy in this country? The answer is not so surprising. It comes down to the needs of American industry, the need to protect its operations and profits by making us think that fluoride is not only safe but good for you.
Fluoride is essential to industries like aluminum and steel, manufacturing and chemicals. During the Cold War, it was used for nuclear weapons. But it’s always been dangerous – dangerous to workers and dangerous to crops and livestock and people near factories using fluoride. Did you know that in l948 in Donora, Pennsylvania, 20 people died when a temperature inversion trapped pollution from a zinc smelter operated by U.S. Steel? Did you know that fluoride was the likely cause of the deaths, but that the U.S. Public Health Service wrote a report that glossed over evidence pointing to fluoride? Were you aware that, at the time, 1948, hundreds of potential lawsuits loomed over the wartime industries that had spewed tons of fluoride into the air as American struggled to defeat Germany and Japan?
We can talk about fluoridation being ineffective and a neurotoxin and a violation of informed consent. That’s a necessary conversation. But we also need to understand the reason we have fluoridation in the first place, and it comes back to industry. Just as industry profited from leaded gasoline and tobacco while covering up their hazards, so, too, has it profited from fluoride while concealing its hazards. Eventually the truth will be known, and fluoridation will pull a longoverdue disappearing act.