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OpEd - Sonoma County Fluoride Advisory Committee Meeting Review

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OpEd - Sonoma County Fluoride Advisory Committee Meeting Review

By Ray Morgan

Last Tuesday (Jan 27, 2015) was a public meeting of the FAC (Fluoride Advisory Committee) at the Sonoma County Health Dept. This committee is the next step in the county’s headlong journey down the path of adding more things to the mix in order to save the public from itself. It was noted that not one Dr. was on the committee who was opposed to fluoridation, and although there was an interesting mix, it was a stacked deck as far as a fair conglomerate of community oversight. Of the approximate thirty people from the public at large, who took time during the middle of their workday to attend a boring government meeting, not one public attendee voiced desire to add fluoride to the water.

The Health Dept. again, held up the poor Latino community as their reason for needing this. They trotted out the usual presentation and used skewed and biased stats to make their case for adding chemicals to our water. They neglected to mention that Healdsburg, which has fluoride, has one dentist per 450 people, whereas Santa Rosa has only one dentist per 718 persons. (2010 census, Ca. registry of dentists), meaning the town with fluoride has more dentists that the one without. Logic would indicate that the town with fluoride in their water would have much fewer dentists because the water additive worked. This is not born out by this simple count of dentists versus population. They then tried to show that there were fewer cavities, by almost a whopping 4%, amongst Healdsburg kids, and claimed that was a significant difference. Although a 5% difference can be called significant in statistical terms, 48% of kids with bad teeth, is not a good amount where there was fluoride to supposedly fix their dental woes. There was no taking into account the affluence or dental culture, nor that the Latino people in question are from a culture where drinking the water is not good for you.

Last Thursday, in response to the meeting that the Press Democrat did not cover, the Press published an opinion piece that was as close to propaganda as I have seen in our paper. The writer stated that the added fluoride was a “natural element”, which it is not. She was alluding to calcium fluoride. The fluoride to be added is a Chinese supplied industrial chemical that is primarily used for insecticide and in the smelting of aluminum, and is produced through the process of making fertilizer. Sodium Fluoride. The opinion also used post WWII anecdotal evidence as supportive. The education and proliferation of tooth products and explosion of dentists after the war was a huge factor in the dental hygiene of our country and had nothing to do with fluoride in the water supply.

The writer portrays fluoride as the cure all for bad teeth and yet states clearly that topically applied fluoride through the use of toothpaste was responsible. She also stated that two thirds of Americans have fluoridated water, yet there is still a lot of dental decay out there. She uses terms like improvement when she talks about fluoridating as if further degrading our clean water with adulterants is a good thing. She claims it saves money and lists states that have extremely poor people. Medicaid dental is less where they dose the water she says. Toothpaste and toothbrush sales in this country are huge. Why would they be huge if fluoride works so well in mineralizing teeth against decay.  Mostly because it does not work very effectively.

I am a full advocate of topical application of medically approved fluoride treatments coupled with education to help prevent dental decay. The picture that accompanied the slanted piece was of a kid being attended to by a dental hygienist. It did not show a Latino kid throwing away his candy in favor of sneaking a drink of tap water while his grandmothers’ back was turned.

Fluoride Banned in Countries World-Wide

Many modern, well educated, first world countries with excellent medical industry have banned this practice: Austria (Toxic fluorides have never been added to the public water supplies in Austria.), Belgium (The main reason for that is the fundamental position of the drinking water sector that it is not its task to deliver medicinal treatment to people. This is the sole responsibility of health services), China (where we would get sodium fluoride from to put in our water, fluoridation is banned: “not allowed”), Czech Republic (fluoridation represents an untargeted form of supplementation which disregards actual individual intake), Denmark (toxic fluorides have never been added to the public water supplies), Finland (There are better ways of providing the fluoride our teeth need), France (Fluoride chemicals are not included in the list of chemicals for drinking water treatment), Germany (Federal Ministry of Health against a general permission of fluoridation of drinking water is the problematic nature of compulsory medication.) Hungary (Stopped fluoridating for technical reasons ), India (The Indian government has been working to remove the fluorides from drinking water sources to alleviate skeletal fluorosis), Israel (the potential damage to public health and environment from fluoridation may be greater than the benefits from decreased dental cavities), Japan (The 0.8 -1.5 mg regulated level is for calcium fluoride, not the hazardous waste by-product which is added with artificial fluoridation), Luxembourg (the drinking water isn’t the suitable way for medicinal treatment), Northern Ireland (Fluoridation ceased at the two locations for operational reasons), Netherlands (there was no legal basis for fluoridation), Norway (the conclusion was that drinking water should not be fluoridated), Scotland (rejected plans to add fluoride to the nation’s water), Sweden (Drinking water fluoridation is not allowed in Sweden),  Switzerland (In April 9, 2003, the City Parliament of Basel, Switzerland voted 73 to 23 to stop Basel’s 41 year water fluoridation program. Basel was the only city in Switzerland to fluoridate its water, and was the only city in continental western Europe, outside of a few areas in Spain).

These countries are not behind the curve. They are ahead of simplistic thinking that does not work as advertised.

In 2013 the city of Portland Oregon decided against fluoridating its water. The people deciding to not put more chemicals into the water supply to address particular medical concerns are not stupid backward thinking yokels who rally behind every conspiracy theory to come along. They are educated mindful persons who see fundamental flaws in the leap of judgment to medicate the masses for the supposed benefit of the few.

There has to be a better way to address the issues of poor dental hygiene than medicating entire populations with unregulated dosages of an industrial insecticide.

How about, let’s take the 8.5 million that was proposed initially, and rig out a couple of Dental RV’s, complete with a dentist and hygienists and a presentationon how to take care of your teeth and a barrel full of toothbrushes and take it on a continual school road trip to educate these poor low income folk who don’t know what they’re doing with their teeth. How about we address the cause of the problem instead of a knee jerk reaction to pacify the broad brush industrialists who want their sales and the politicians who want easy flashy campaigns to pin their ribbons on and let’s do the harder more effective thing.  Tax sugar and use the money to fund dental programs for the people.

Well, that’s not easy nor does it allow those in power to wash their hands of the issue and pay lip service to their constituents about what a great job they did to implement a one shot fix all, even if it didn’t do what it was supposed to. But, it does focus on the root of the problem; sugar. The bad teeth of low income Latinos, or anyone else for that matter, is not lack of fluoride in the water they drink. It is the enormous amount of sugar in practically everything we consume. If tooth decay is a public detriment then sugar as its cause should be subject to a sin tax as with tobacco and alcohol. These funds could pay for any dental program one could conceive and Sonoma County could be a national model of how to positively address a health problem without cramming some totalitarian plan for medicating every man woman and child with substances they don’t need want or would approve of if they knew what they were getting.

Sonoma County Supes, are you listening?

The next Fluoride Advisory Committee Meeting is February 24th - 10 at the Sonoma County Health Department, Public Health Labratory, 3313 Chanate Road, Santa Rosa