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Saturday, February 09, 2008

The fluoride state

As the Government finds more and more ways to curtail our liberties, the Health Secretary chips in with his own brand of interference in the way that we live our lives. The problem, as Ben Goldacre points out in his Guardian Bad Science column, is that there is no evidence that the addition of fluoride to our water supply will have the beneficial effects claimed for it:

The reality is that anyone making any confident statement on fluoride speaks way beyond the evidence. In 1999 the Department of Health commissioned the centre for reviews and dissemination at York University to do a systematic review of fluoridation and its effects on dental health. Little new work has been done since. In the review, 3,200 research papers, mostly of very poor quality, were unearthed. The ones that met the minimum quality threshold suggested there was vaguely, possibly, around a 15% increase in the number of children without dental caries in areas with fluoridated water, but the studies generally couldn't exclude other explanations for the variance. Of course, the big idea with fluoride in water is that it can reduce social inequalities in dental health since everyone drinks it. But there isn't much evidence on that either.

So when the British Dental Association says there is "overwhelming evidence" that adding fluoride to water helps fight tooth decay, it is in danger of stepping into line with Ripper. And when Johnson says fluoridation is an effective, relatively easy way to help address health inequalities, he is really just pushing an old-fashioned line which says complex social problems can be addressed with £50m worth of atoms.

I have argued before that fluoridation is a cop-out, which enables government to avoid dealing with the real problems in our dental services and in health education. Now it seems that the arguments being deployed in favour of this mass medication are unproven as well. And then there is the downside:

But since I'm in the mood for scaremongering, let's not forget the potential harm. A study from Taiwan found a high incidence of bladder cancer in women from areas where the natural fluoride content in water was high. It might have been a chance finding; but it could be real.

The problem is one of small effect sizes. Fluoride and bladder cancer would be a pig to research as the effect size is small, the exposure runs over half a century, and the outcome - bladder cancer - takes a lifetime to reveal itself. Welcome to the finer details behind "more research is needed". And the numbers can get very scary, very quickly: in the UK a 10% increase in risk would give you 1,000 extra new cases of bladder cancer a year.

This move must be resisted at all costs.
Even if the suggested move was a slight benefit with no potential risks...I'd still oppose it. It allows the government to claim it's tackling a problem when in reality they're just ignoring it.

More money needs to go into dentistry, that's the way to solve our oral health issues, not by putting stuff in our water!
Modern science shows that adding fluoride chemicals into water supplies is ineffective at reducing tooth decay, harmful to health and a waste of money.

for more info

fluoridation 101

Fluoridation News Releases

Tooth Decay Crises in Fluoridated Areas

Fluoride Action Network http://www.FluorideAction.Net

Fluoride Journal http://www.FluorideResearch.Org
Why do NHS dentists make you visit every 6 months or get struck off?
If this silly practice was hit on the head there would be room for everyone.

Penyffordd district

still 2000 vehicles a day speeding in Penyffordd in the heart of traffic taliban country.
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