To the Editor:
I am very pleased to hear that Potsdam is considering the possibility of ending water fluoridation. I have studied this issue for over 21 years and was very happy to be part of a team of people that persuaded the Canton Village Board of Trustees to end this practice in February 2003.
The most telling part of this effort was a petition sent to the trustees signed by over 140 members of the St. Lawrence faculty, administration and staff.
I now live in Binghamton, but would be happy to travel up to Potsdam either to give a presentation on this issue or participate in a public debate, if there is any proponent willing to do so. Meanwhile here is a link to an interview I gave recently in the UK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGS8eMWRZnk .
For those new to this issue it is important to know that while this practice is strongly supported by the public health and dental bodies in the USA and a handful of largely English-speaking countries (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK) it has been rejected in the vast majority of other countries. Indeed, 97% of Europe does not fluoridate its water: a few fluoridate their salt. Despite this tooth decay is coming down as fast in 12-year-olds in non-fluoridated countries as fluoridated ones (WHO data available online).
Most European countries recognize that tooth decay is not caused by lack of fluoride but by too much sugar. The USA would do better to study the successful program in Scotland called Childsmile, which puts an emphasis on better education of both parents and children on dental hygiene and diet. The program has proved both cost-effective and successful in increasing the number of children from low-income families who are caries free, without forcing fluoride willy-nilly on the whole population.
Your article mentioned “The 50 reasons to Oppose Fluoridation.” This was written in 2000, and while I believe that most of these reasons remain valid, those who wish to counteract my arguments would do better to review a book I co-authored with two other scientists in 2010, “The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics that Keep it There” (Chelsea Green, 2010).
On the safety of fluoridation I would recommend that people read our summary of over 300 animal and human studies that indicate that fluoride has the potential to damage the brain and at levels currently consumed by children in the USA (http://fluoridealert.org/issues/health/brain )
On effectiveness I would recommend that people read about the 2015 Cochrane Review (the gold standard for meta-analyses on medical treatments) which found no high-quality scientific studies that support the claimed benefits of swallowing fluoride (http://www.newsweek.com/fluoridation-may-not-prevent-cavities-huge-study...)
However, readers don’t need to know much science to reject this practice. Simply put, no government has the right to force medical treatment on an individual without their informed consent, let alone a whole community.
Meanwhile, I urge professors at Clarkson and SUNY to take this issue seriously and review the literature with an open mind.
Paul Connett, PhD