The Stealth Campaign to Fluoridate Davis Drinking Water

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fluoride-waterby Alan Pryor and Pam Nieberg –

Water, Social Justice, and Environmental Considerations – The last time fluoridation of Davis potable water was considered was in 1990 when the then current City Council rejected the proposals based on citizen opposition. Davis Citizens Against Fluoridation (DCAF) was very recently formed to oppose the latest efforts to fluoridate Davis drinking water. The founders of DCAF include both supporters and opponents of the surface water project. Despite obvious differences between us as to the perceived need for surface water in Davis, we all agree that the current proposal to impose mandatory fluoridation of our drinking water supply is not based on the latest scientific information on the lack of fluoridation efficacy in reducing dental decay and fluoride toxicity.

Further, the campaign to fluoridate our drinking water is now being conducted in a manner specifically designed to seek a hasty approval from the City Council as soon as possible to minimize open and extended public debate. If the controversy surrounding the surface water project showed us anything, however, it is that Davis citizens care deeply about the quality of their water they receive and demand to be actively engaged in the community debate surrounding this issue.

The Rush to Approve Fluoridation without Full Public Disclosure and Debate

Immediately following the Measure I vote in Davis, representatives of Yolo First 5 and Yolo Health Council requested support for fluoridation from members of the the Woodland Davis Clean Water Agency (WDCWA) and the Davis and Woodland City Councils . Printed promotional material promoting fluoridation appeared almost instantly listing a long list of local notables as supporters (including Don Saylor and Helen Thompson). This was followed by a series of appearances by different speakers before the Davis City Council and letters to the editor of the Davis Enterprise – all touting the virtues of fluoridation and asking the City Council to move quickly to approve fluoridation of our drinking water. Since all this paperwork and planning could not have occurred overnight, a concerted effort to coordinate the roll-out of the pro-fluoridation bandwagon had obviously been in the works for some time.

The timing of this slew of public appearances and letters to the editor by the pro-fluoridation forces  immediately after the passage of Measure I was not coincidental. In our opinion, interjection of even the notion of fluoridation of the surface water project would have been detrimental to the passage of Measure I by nudging numerous Yes voters into the “Nay” camp. Because of this, even though the pro-fluoridation forces had their political game plan together for years, they were content to remain quietly poised on the sidelines waiting for the surface water project controversy to play itself out before rolling out their promotional campaign. It was simply good politics to keep their heads low and their plans secretive while the Measure I battle raged. What is very concerning now, however, is the concerted effort and pressure being put on the Council to approve fluoridation quickly in an obvious attempt to circumvent full disclosure to the public and without unhurried open debate on this issue.

For instance, at the City Council meeting on April 9th, the Executive Director of Yolo First urged the Council to approve fluoridation by July of this year. Why the rush? After all, the surface water is not even scheduled to begin flowing until late in 2016 at the earliest (more than 3 years away) and installation of a fluoridation injection system is a minor system addition that can be installed at the far tail end of the construction phase.

The reason pro-fluoridation forces want this issue settled and resolved quickly with a minimum of public debate is because they have learned from decades of experience that a blitzkrieg-like push for quick approval of fluoridation before opposing forces are mustered results in a higher likelihood of approval by the local governing agency.

In contrast, Davis Citizens Against Fluoridation welcomes a full and unrushed open debate on the supposed merits and known problems with fluoridation. Imposing such mandatory city-wide medication demands that extensive debate occur in an open and unhurried manner. The reason we advocate a more deliberate, open, and transparent process is because we believe that the more people understand the paucity of good science supporting the efficacy of fluoridation, the problems associated with release of fluorine into the environment, and the health risks associated with fluoridation, the more likely they are to reject the concept in its entirety. Knowing this, it behooves proponents of fluoridation to push any approvals through as rapidly as possible to short-circuit informed and reasoned public debate. This is a strategy that has been employed by fluoridation supporters for decades.

For instance, in the successful 1995 legislative campaign to make fluoridation mandatory in California (but only if outside funds were provided for both installation and operation of ALL sources of potable water – including all of our wells in Davis if surface water fluoridation is mandated), proponents deliberately set out to try to ram through that bill in as sneaky of a manner as possible. According to the January 1997 issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association, “To make the most of the element of surprise, it was decided to wait until the last possible moment to introduce the legislation. We pretty much knew we’d catch the anti-fluoridation faction by surprise because it wasn’t well known outside of the dental community what was going on. And we didn’t want to give the other side any more time to mobilize than absolutely necessary.

Local supporters of fluoridation have fully embraced this strategy of running a stealth campaign. Indeed, the September 9, 2010 minutes of the Yolo Co Health Council reads, in part, “There was discussion regarding…the need to avoid allowing the anti-fluoride groups time to derail the process before it begins“. Then again in December 9, 2010 their minutes read: “They are updating the materials used in the previous campaign. They want to keep the campaign low key for as long as possible.

The pro-fluoridation forces clearly have had the discipline to keep to their script. They patiently waited through the controversy and debates surrounding the surface water project ballot measure before springing into action and pushing for quick passage of fluoridation immediately upon passage of Measure I.

But if the campaign to bring surface water to Davis showed us anything, it demonstrated that Davisites demand a full accounting of the pros and cons of any measure that affects our well-being. Proponents of fluoridation would like you to believe that all medical professionals support fluoridation and this decision is a no-brainer. Nothing could be further from the truth as the recent damning report from the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science has demonstrated.

For a full discussion of the lack of scientific proof of the efficacy of drinking water fluoridation and the health risks associated with excessive ingestion of fluorine, see Time to Talk about the “F” Word (Fluoride) in the Woodland-Davis Water Project , Davis Vanguard, June 13, 2011.

Social Justice and Fluoridation

Another proven succesful strategy employed by fluoridation proponents is to appeal to the social conscience of progressives by claiming that fluoridation is necessary because minority or disadvantaged communities experience far more cavities and poorer dental care than the general population. While it is true that income correlates directly with dental health, there is no evidence indicating that fluoridation of drinking water will solve this problem. Indeed, many cities that have had fluoridated water for decades (e.g Washington DC, Boston, and New York) still see very high dental decay rates in lower income parts of these cities.

The poor dental health in minority communities is due to the simple fact that minority and disadvantaged communities receive a disproportionably smaller share of dental health care across the entire United States rather than due to the presence or absence of fluoride in their drinking water. In other words, minorities or disadvantaged communities simply do not have the same access to dental health care as more affluent communities and thus experience higher caries rates regardless of the level of fluoride in their drinking water. And this is certainly true in Yolo County.

As example, consider the Yol Co. results obtained from a state-required dental assessment of every new kindergarten student prior to entry. In 2010, Yolo Co Health reported the existence of untreated dental decay rates in 16% of screened students in Davis, 27% in Woodland, and 37% in both Esparto and Winters. These ranges closely follow the percentages of minority or disadvantaged children and income levels in these cities; all of which have never fluoridated their drinking water supplies.

The higher percentages are similar in cities that have been fluoridating their water for decades. According to an article entitled “Oral Health Status of San Francisco Public School Kindergarteners 2000-2005” published in the Fall 2006 issue of the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, the percentage of students with untreated caries in San Francisco in 2004-2005 was 29% which was higher than in Davis and Woodland, greater than the national average of 21%, and slightly higher than the California average of 28% in the same years. San Francisco has been fluoridating their water since the 1950s.

Further, such differences in community dental decay rates is a very important parameter when determining whether a community should be fluoridated or not according to researchers – even by those who are otherwise ardent supporters of greater water fluoridation. As reported in a Scientific American article published in January 2008 entitled “2nd Thoughts about Fluoride“,  even Jayanth Kumar, who is director of oral health surveillance and research at the New York State Department of Health and a fluoridation-supporting member of the NAS panel admits that fluoridation may not always be of benefit. Even though he maintains that, “We feel there are enough communities out there with high caries rates to justify additional fluoridation“, he acknowledges that the argument for water fluoridation is not as strong in more affluent areas with good nutrition and dental care saying, “Today it depends on what the caries level is in the community. If the disease rate is low, the return on investment for fluoridation may not be all the great“. That would seem to very accurately describe the situation in Davis.

Many national minority community leaders and groups are also opposed to fluoridation of drinking water in disadvantaged communities.

Andrew Young, former U.N. Ambassador and former Atlanta Mayor, along with Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, Pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Atlanta (both inductees in the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame) expressed concerns about the fairness, safety, and full disclosure regarding drinking water fluoridation in letters to the Georgia state’s minority and majority legislative leaders.

Ambassador Young wrote, “My father was a dentist. I formerly was a strong believer in the benefits of water fluoridation for preventing cavities. But many things that we began to do 50 or more years ago we now no longer do, because we have learned further information that changes our practices and policies. So it is with fluoridation…. We originally thought people needed to swallow it, so the fluoride would be incorporated into teeth before they erupted from the gums. Our belief in the need for systemic absorption was why we began adding fluoride to drinking water.

But now we know that the primary, limited cavity fighting effects of fluoride are topical, when fluorides touch teeth in the mouth. We know that fluorides do little to stop cavities where they occur most often, in the pits and fissures of the back molars where food packs down into the grooves. This is why there is a big push today to use teeth sealants in the molars of children.

We also have a cavity epidemic today in our inner cities that have been fluoridated for decades. So now we know that fluoride’s impacts are primarily topical and are very limited where needed most in the teeth. And on top of this we are learning that fluorides do not simply affect teeth, but can also harm other tissues and systems in the body. So we must weigh the risks to kidney patients, to diabetics, and to babies against the small amount of cavities prevented by swallowed fluorides….

The National Center for Health Statistics says that 41% of 12-15 year old adolescents now have the teeth staining called “dental fluorosis” that shows overexposure to fluorides as a child, and that 3.6% have the very visible moderate and severe forms of the condition. This translates into millions of persons with disfiguring impacts from fluorides. How many of these persons can afford the tens of thousands of dollars to have veneers or other cosmetic dental work performed?

There is growing bipartisan support across the country for halting water fluoridation. Eleven unions of EPA workers, representing 7,000 EPA lab workers, scientists, and others have called for a halt to fluoridation. The recent suggested lowering of fluoride levels in water does not address the fact that we still cannot control the amount of fluorides that sensitive individuals ingest. I am most deeply concerned for poor families who have babies: if they cannot afford unfluoridated water for their babies’ milk formula, do their babies not count? Of course they do. This is an issue of fairness, civil rights, and compassion. We must find better ways to prevent cavities, such as helping those most at risk for cavities obtain access to the services of a dentist.”

Dr. Durley wrote, “The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences has designated kidney patients, diabetics, seniors, and babies as ‘susceptible subpopulations’ that are especially vulnerable to harm from ingested fluorides. Black citizens are disproportionately affected by kidney disease and diabetes, and are therefore more impacted by fluorides…. why we haven’t been openly told that fluorides build up in the body over time (and) why our government agencies haven’t told the black community openly that fluorides disproportionately harm black Americans…

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States. In September 2011, LULAC passed a resolution opposing fluoridation at its annual conference. The resolution states that:

“1) Current science shows that fluoridation chemicals pose increased risk to sensitive subpopulations, including infants, the elderly, diabetics, kidney patients, and people with poor nutritional status.

2) Minority communities are more highly impacted by fluorides as they historically experience more diabetes and kidney disease.

3) Minorities are disproportionately harmed by fluorides as documented by increased rates of dental fluorosis (disfiguration and discoloration of the teeth).”

In summary, while it is true that minority communities are greatly disadvantaged with respect to dental health, it is a myth that this disparity is due to the presence or absence of fluorine in their drinking water. The differences are entirely attributable to a lack of access to dental health care providers in these communities and nutitional disparities. Dental health in Yolo County would receive a far greater beneficial impact in reducing caries rates in minority and disadvantaged communities if efforts are focused on increasing preventative dental care to these communities rather than pushing for mandatory fluoridation which does not have proven benefits and carries a variety of medical, dental, and environmental risks.

Other Environmental Considerations

Based on the current recommended maximum level of fluoride to be added to drinking water (0.7 ppm), a reasonable estimate of the total amount of fluorine that would be added to Davis water can be made.

160 gal/person/day per capita water usage in Davis x 68,500 people x 8.34 lb/gallon of water x 0.0000007 (0.7 ppm applied dosage) = 23,354 lbs of fluoride put into Davis water each year – this is almost 12 tons!

Because only 1% of our potable water is actually drunk by people, 99% of this added fluoride is otherwise released into the environment – including our wetlands. This demands that a full environmental impact review be performed before any final decision is made by the Davis City Council.

The Sierra Club has an official national policy of fluoridation which reads as follows:

The Sierra Club understands the historic reason that fluoridation of public water supplies has been promoted and that it may have been historically justifiable (162 million people get fluoride added to their municipal water supply at the recommended level of 0.7-1.2 mg/L). There are now, however, valid concerns regarding the potential adverse impact of fluoridation on the environment, wildlife, and human health.

Therefore, the Sierra Club believes that communities should have the option to reject mandatory fluoridation of their water supplies.

To protect sensitive populations, and because safer strategies and methods for preventing tooth decay are now available, we recommend that these safer alternatives be made available and promoted. If fluoride is added to municipal water supplies, sodium fluoride rather than flourosilicate compounds should be used because the latter has a greater risk of being contaminated with such heavy metals as lead and arsenic.

Before a water supply is fluoridated, there should be a local assessment of the impact on affected aquatic ecosystems. This assessment should examine background fluoride levels and estimate what the levels will be after fluoridation. It should also assess the effect of this increased fluoride on downstream aquatic ecosystems.”

Timeline for Consideration of Fluoridation on Davis

The Davis City Council has put issue of fluoridation of Davis Water before the Water Advisory Committee (WAC) for its recommendation. The Davis Water Advisory Committee usually meets in the Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd., starting at 6:30 PM.

They are scheduled to hear the pros-fluoridation arguments on Thursday, April 25, to hear  the “cons” arguments on Thursday, May 23, 2013, and to decide on a  recommendation for the City Council on Thursday, June 27, 2013.

The matter has not yet been agendized by the City Council.

Alan Pryor and Pam Nieberg are Davis Citizens Against Fluoride

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67 thoughts on “The Stealth Campaign to Fluoridate Davis Drinking Water”

  1. David M. Greenwald

    We will be having other articles from other points of view in the coming days. Rather than just posting links, it would be helpful for discussion purposes to identify your specific objections.

  2. odd man out

    I don’t have any specific objections and remain open-minded on the topic. Just wanted to get some other viewpoints into the mix, including those of local author Robert Carroll of “The Skeptic’s Dictionary” fame.

  3. Frankly

    DO NOT PUT ANY CHEMICALS IN MY WATER OTHER THAN WHAT MAKES MY WATER SAFE AND CLEAN!

    Have you ever tried to purchase toothpaste WITHOUT fluoride? It is difficult. You cannot get away from the stuff. What if my kid drinks 2 gallons of water every day? How would we regulate his fluoride intake? This is just stupid prehistoric nanny do-gooder government overstepping.

    Keep it out of the water.

  4. Davis Progressive

    i was about to label this the tin foil conspiracy of the left until frankly weighed in. i respect alan pryor’s intellect, but he has some work to do to convince me on this.

  5. Nancy Price

    The authors are to be commended for an excellent article. I just returned from Portland, OR where city residents will have the opportunity to vote on fluoridation with the same arguments and viewpoints expressed in the campaign literature as in this article. In the interest of local democracy and in recognition that on such an important matter as this the public has a right to open and informed debate and a right to vote, I deplore the stealth campaign and tactics and would argue against a few City Council members deciding what is best for us.

    There are many social justice issues that impact dental health that should and can be resolved by good community and city policies and programs and would be a better way to spend limited funds.

  6. rdcanning

    There was no “stealth” campaign. The anti-fluoridation folks have reframed good planning as “stealth” tactics. Every campaign for issues such as this (water projects, vaccinations, and other issues of public concern) have groups who plan and line up support before going public. Knowing full well that opposition to fluoridation is out there groups on the pro side plan ahead and “get their ducks in a row.” Does anyone believe that Alan and Pam were caught off-guard or have not been prepared for this themselves? All one has to do is change the names and tone and it could have been written about the anti-fluoridation campaign.

    Any good campaign could be accused of “stealth” tactics. Should we call the lawsuits against the water project “stealth” tactics? How about planning for a run for office? After the candidate declares we usually don’t hear about the “stealth” tactics.

    Lots of planning goes on before public announcements. In this case the opponents of fluoridation attack the process because they don’t have good hard evidence to support their claims. They appeal to authority (Andrew Young) and don’t cite good quality research (because there is none) to support their claims that fluoridation is a scourge.

    The Sierra Club is entitled to its opinion and we should read their position carefully. But it doesn’t make them right. The Club has been on the “wrong” side of issues before.

    As this debate goes forward, we should all be ready for lots of scary accusations, high-toned rhetoric, and citations from one-off studies that are blown out of proportion and cannot be generalized to the current proposal for fluoridation of Davis water.

    Fluoridation of drinking water is a public health issue. Let’s stick to the facts and evidence, not rhetoric and appeals to authority.

  7. dlemongello

    The benefits of Fluoride are TOPICAL. Ingesting it is unhealthy for many. The environment certainly does not need another pollutant put into. The people who push it have some agenda I don’t even understand, but it’s a big fat ego thing. The “I know what’s good for you” people.

  8. Mr.Toad

    Let’s vote on it. The opponents will never be satisfied with a council decision to add F to our water from the council so they may as well let the voters decide.

  9. SouthofDavis

    Davis Progressive wrote:

    > i was about to label this the tin foil conspiracy
    > of the left until frankly weighed in.

    The far left and far right have a lot in common, with distrust of government a big one. I bet that the percentage of home schooling bible thumping right wing parents that don’t like fluoride in the drinking water (and don’t vaccinate their kids) is about equal to the percentage of left wing earth worshiping Waldorf school parents that don’t like fluoride in the drinking water (and don’t vaccinate their kids)…

    I just went to the CDC web site and it said (in 2010) that 66% of the US has fluoride in the drinking water so the stuff can’t be that dangerous (I did OK drinking fluoridated water growing up). I don’t really care one way or another if we get it in Davis since if you want fluoride for your kids you can just buy the stuff at CVS (I know most of the pediatricians in town prescribe fluoride drops for little kids).

  10. rdcanning

    dlemongello said: “The benefits of Fluoride are TOPICAL. Ingesting it is unhealthy for many. The environment certainly does not need another pollutant put into…”

    What’s the evidence for the first statement?

    Re. the second assertion, fluoride is a naturally occurring element. I’m not sure why you call it a “pollutant.”

  11. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]DO NOT PUT ANY CHEMICALS IN MY WATER OTHER THAN WHAT MAKES MY WATER SAFE AND CLEAN! [/i]

    So it would be okay to put chlorine in the water, but not fluoride? Just clarifying.

  12. Rich Rifkin

    The scientific consensus in favor of fluoridation is stronger and much, much longer and deeper than the scientific consensus on global warming.

    I don’t really care that much about this issue one way or the other. It would clearly improve the public health.

    Yet, I think there is a fair argument to be made that says, since this is a monopolistic enterprise, consumers who don’t want fluoride (even if they are nuts) should have that choice, and by fluoridating the water you take away their choice.

    Sadly, the nuts who oppose fluoridation–they are all crazy*–go futher than just making a choice argument. They ignore 99.7% of the real scientific evidence and point to some obscure activists whose entire cause is anti-fluoride, in a very similar vein to the relgious crazies who go around doubting evolution and pointing to some obscure nonsense and ignoring actual science ([url]http://www.quackwatch.com/03HealthPromotion/fluoride.html[/url]). [quote] As a public health measure, fluoridation is unusual in several ways. It is a copy of a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is supported by libraries full of articles that document its safety and effectiveness—more so than any other public health measure. It is supported by a variety of health, scientific, and civic groups that could hardly be expected to agree on any other single measure. But most significant, it is the only health measure that is often put to public vote.If you live in a community with fluoridated water, consider yourself lucky. If you do not, don’t let the poisonmongers scare you. Fluoridation is still a modern health miracle. [/quote] *Waaaah, so what if I am calling them names. They are totally insane. It would be dishonest to not call them nuts.

  13. Davis Progressive

    “Yet, I think there is a fair argument to be made that says, since this is a monopolistic enterprise, consumers who don’t want fluoride (even if they are nuts) should have that choice, and by fluoridating the water you take away their choice.”

    no, it doesn’t take away their choice, it just changes it. their choice would be between the tap water that is fluoridates and bottled water which is not.

  14. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”their choice would be between the tap water that is fluoridates and bottled water which is not.”[/i]

    Fair enough. I simply meant that if they don’t want fluoride, they would not have the choice of drinking tap water. Certainly for more money they could buy bottled water.

  15. Frankly

    [i]So it would be okay to put chlorine in the water, but not fluoride? Just clarifying.[/i]

    wdf1: I think my point was clear enough. Chlorine may be required to kill the pathogens that may be suspended in the water. There are other methods, but if Chlorine is required, then I support it. Fluoride does nothing to help clean the water.

    Why not put low dose aspirin in the water? I understand that most doctors recommend it to prevent heart attacks.

  16. Frankly

    [i]no, it doesn’t take away their choice[/i]

    Yes it does. It takes away my choice to have my family ingest tap water not containing fluoride. One of the big problems when teaching young children to brush their teeth is preventing them from swallowing the toothpaste. Now add fluoride to the water and they get a double-dose.

    Here is an idea… take the money that would be spent adding fluoride to the water, and provide free fluoride drops to local residents that need/want them.

  17. alanpryor

    [quote]Sadly, the nuts who oppose fluoridation–they are all crazy*–go futher than just making a choice argument. They ignore 99.7% of the real scientific evidence and point to some obscure activists whose entire cause is anti-fluoride[/quote].

    Sadly, Rich, when you have to resort to calling your opponent crude names, you have lost the objective arguments. Calling the anti-fluoridationists “nuts” and “insane” is another tried and true, but despicable, tactic used by pro-fluoridationalists in every fluoridation campaign in the past.

    Well, here is a just a small partial list of the nuts and crazies to which you refer. There are over 4,000 professionals you have signed the Fluoride Action Network petition to end fluoridation including several Nobel laureates and many with impeccable scientific reputations in academia and government service. The NAS/NRC raised serious doubts about the validity of much of the old flawed research (a lot of which was done in the 50s and 60s). Seven unions of EPA scientists have formally opposed fluoridation of drinking water. All nuts? All crazies?

    So where is this 99.7% of the objective scientific evidence you refer to. I am guessing it is in the same scientific trash bin used to throw away the old research supporting spraying DDT in classrooms and poor neighborhood or that which said asbestos was just a naturally occuring material with no known harmful effects. All of these practices came about during the same time period as fluoridation. Gee, maybe, just maybe, they could be wrong about fluoridation too.

    But regardless of the hard scientific evidence for or against fluoridation (which you have obviously read neither), you demean only yourself and your cause when you stoop to shill unsubstantiated allegations and childish name-calling. Please keep it up. We need all the help you can give us.

  18. Mr.Toad

    How does Rifkin come up with “99.7% of the real scientific evidence?” Is that a made up number? Making up numbers is bad analysis in general and even worse in science.

  19. JustSaying

    So, the kickoff to the “no on F” campaign primarily is an attempt to demonize the “yes” folks, their motives and their actions. And, the responses already include sarcastic comments and suggestions that the article writers are just plain ignorant.

    For an issue that has so much scientific research over decades, can’t we focus on arguing over the facts of the matter and the broader issues of government intrusion into our affairs?

    *Admission: I don’t drink Davis water, haven’t since my initial opportunity in the 1970s, but use it for all other purposes. I’m looking forward to getting drinkable water piped in from Woodland before I die.

  20. biddlin

    “Let’s stick to the facts and evidence, not rhetoric and appeals to authority. ” In the People’s Republik Of Davis?
    “Let’s vote on it. The opponents will never be satisfied with a council decision to add F to our water from the council so they may as well let the voters decide. “
    “Yes, let’s vote on everything. In fact, let’s do away with the city council and just go to a town hall system. “
    Much more likely scenarios. Davis, you are my muse.
    Oh Alan, please enlist Michael Harrington to your cause .
    Biddlin ;>)/
    “*Waaaah, so what if I am calling them names. They are totally insane. It would be dishonest to not call them nuts. ”
    ROFLMAO. How do I get Rifkin’s frequent abuser’s pass, Don ?

  21. David M. Greenwald

    “So, the kickoff to the “no on F” campaign primarily is an attempt to demonize the “yes” folks, their motives and their actions. “

    Alan was a big yes on I person, so I’m not following you.

  22. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Sadly, Rich, when you have to resort to calling your opponent crude names, you have lost the objective arguments.”[/i]

    Alan, then I guess you win! But if you do, so do the nutjobs who think the scientific consensus on evolution is wrong, too.

    I’m sure you and the other nuts will sidestep this question, but I will try: How would you be physically harmed by drinking fluoridated water? And please cite a peer-reviewed article in a known scientific journal which supports your argument and which, since its publication, has not been repudiated by follow-up studies.

    Because you, Alan, winner of the argument in your own nutty mind, likely won’t answer my question, I invite anyone to explain how their health will be physically harmed by fluoridation and cite a scientifically credible source.

  23. Rich Rifkin

    AP: [i]”So where is this 99.7% of the objective scientific evidence you refer to. I am guessing it is in the same scientific trash bin used to throw away the old research supporting spraying DDT in classrooms …”[/i]

    I will sidestep a debate on DDT and get to the consensus of science. This comes from The Institute from Science in Medicine (April, 2012: [quote]Declared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be one of the ten greatest publichealth achievements of the Twentieth Century, community water fluoridation has been under attack by a small band of critics since its inception. [b]The scientific consensus over fluoridation’s health benefits, safety, social justice, and economies has been firmly established over six decades[/b] of widespread use in the United States and elsewhere. Nevertheless, anti-science critics have never relented in their opposition — recycling previously disproven charges of harm, inventing new ones out of whole cloth, misrepresenting scientific facts and research, exaggerating risks, understating benefits, inappropriately invoking the precautionary principle, and accusing public health officials of corruption, conspiracy, and ‘mass medication’ of whole populations.[/quote]

  24. Rich Rifkin

    [edit] fluoride occurs naturally in drinking water. What varies is the amount. The scientific consensus has proved beyond all doubt the public health benefits which come from a certain level, and when community water supplies are fluoridated, the amount of fluoride added brings the quantity up to a level which best promotes public health. Here again is a quore from The Institute from Science in Medicine: [quote]Community water fluoridation (CWF) is an adjustment to the amount of [b]fluoride that occurs naturally in all water supplies[/b] to a safe level that is optimal for dental health and safe for overall health. Scientific studies have established that CWF lowers the rate of tooth decay by 20-40% in children, over and above the effect of toothpaste and other sources of fluoride.2 Moreover, it benefits all residents of a community, regardless of age and socio-economic status.3 CWF is remarkably economical for community water systems serving 1,000 people or more. For such communities, every dollar spent on CWF on average saves $38 to $80 per year in dental treatment.4,5 To look at it another way, for the cost of a single small tooth restoration, an individual can be protected for life.

    Thousands of reliable scientific studies have established the safety of CWF at the levels of optimal fluoridation. After decades of observation and examination, reviews by major scientific organizations have found there is no epidemiological evidence for any other threat to public or
    individual health associated with CWF.[/quote]

  25. rdcanning

    Alan, appeals to authority (40,000 petition signers including Nobel laureates) don’t hack it. A Nobel Prize doesn’t guarantee scientific accuracy or objectivity. Remember they gave a Nobel Prize to the guy who invented prefrontal lobotomies!

  26. Frankly

    [I]How would you be physically harmed by drinking fluoridated water?[/i]

    At a minimum it is known to stain teeth.

    However, that is not the point.

    Why not out vitamins in the water. How about birth control pills? Weight loss supplements would be great too. You can claim any number of chemicals, supplements and compounds are generally good for people, so why not add them all? Why water… why not pump milk through the system since it would help solve our hunger problems.

    Approximately 1 percent of the population is known to be allergic to fluoride. There are estimates that this number in fact is higher, and increasing.

    Ninety-seven percent of western Europe has eliminated fluoride from drinking water on the grounds that it mandates compulsory medication.

    Ingesting fluoride has minimal benefits… it is better administered topically.

    Just because we have been doing it does not mean that it is still the right thing to do.

  27. JustSaying

    “Alan was a big yes on I person, so I’m not following you.”

    Sorry about the confusion, David. “F” is for “fluoride,” not Measure I.

    In spite of my discouragement about how Alan and Pam (and, in responding, Rich) have kicked off another battle in a negative way, I have to admit I got a chuckle out of Growth Izzue’s quip on smoke police and bag banners.

  28. David M. Greenwald

    JS: I took your previous post to mean that you saw this as an extension of the No on Measure I campaign, hence my response that Alan was actually in favor of it.

  29. Barbara King

    I think many Americans, who are largely unaware that most other countries don’t fluoridate and that the dental decay rate in unfluoridated countries went down at rates similar to ours over the decades, start out as default fluoridationists. So here are four pieces that provide a context in which to view the unsettled science of fluoridation.

    If you can read only one, it should be this January 2008 Scientific American article “Second Thoughts about Fluoride.” It is a well-balanced piece that presents a thorough, easily understood introduction to the biochemistry of fluoride and the history of water fluoridation and disputes about it. http://www.waterloowatch.com/Index_files/Second Thoughts About Fluoride, Scientific American Jan-08.pdf

    The next piece “Why I am Now Officially Opposed to Adding Fluoride to Drinking Water,” is by Dr. Hardy Limeback, BSC, PhD, DDS, the now-retired former head of preventative dentistry at the University of Toronto. It includes a reference list, organized by sub-topic, of his sources.
    http://www.fluoridealert.org/articles/limeback/

    This next piece is the 29-minute video “Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation.” It contains statements from a variety of experts on water fluoridation–including three scientists involved in the National Research Council’s 2006 review on fluoride–about why they oppose the practice. It is an informative overview of the science behind opposition to water fluoridation.
    http://www.fluoridealert.org/fan-tv/prof-perspectives/

    This last piece is a twenty-minute video summary of ten facts about fluoride that are useful when considering water fluoridation. The link below also includes an accompanying flyer that covers much of the same material and has a list of references for those who like to see the data for themselves.
    http://www.fluoridealert.org/fan-tv/10-facts/

  30. Barbara King

    Sorry, it looks as if the links won’t work, and I don’t know how to make them work here. But copying and pasting the links in the url line of your browser should work fine.

  31. rdcanning

    Barbara King said: “…most other countries don’t fluoridate and that the dental decay rate in unfluoridated countries went down at rates similar to ours over the decades…”

    Can you share where the evidence for this is? Thanks.

  32. Rich Rifkin

    I notice that neither Alan nor any of the other anti-fluoride folks have answered my question. Not one of them. So apparently they just have no answers. I’ll see if their silence continues.

  33. Rich Rifkin

    By the way, Alan cited in his article above a link to another of his articles which then goes to a dentist named Hardy Lineback. Unfortunately, Hardy does not have an actual scientific basis for his claims either. This again comes from the The Institute for Science in Medicine: [quote]Hardy Limeback is a Canadian dentist who teaches the University of Toronto and who has opposed fluoridation since 1998. He seems to have changed his support for fluoridation [i]after losing a bid for the presidency of the Canadian Dental Association[/i]. He repeatedly makes the scientifically unfounded claim that, “In Canada, we are now spending more money treating dental fluorosis than we do treating cavities.” He often asserts that fluoride has cumulative toxic effects that can be ‘catastrophic,’ although he cites scientific evidence that actually [b]does not[/b] support that assertion.[/quote]

  34. Rich Rifkin

    Don: I have you on “ignore.” I’d rather you did not censor me. But if you like to censor me, so be it. This will have to be a one-sided argument. The Alan Pryor group cannot stand up to a real debate.

  35. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”If you can read only one, it should be this January 2008 Scientific American article “Second Thoughts about Fluoride.” It is a well-balanced piece …”[/i]

    Three problems, there, Barbara.

    First, the article you reference is from 2007, not 2008.

    Second, your link failed. Try this link ([url]http://www.waterloowatch.com/Index_files/Second Thoughts About Fluoride, Scientific American Jan-08.pdf[/url]).

    Third, Fagin’s article is based on the work of the National Research Council’s 2006 study, which I am sure you never read. Because if you had read it, you would know that its conclusions don’t support Dan Fagin’s contentions in that “balanced” (LOL) article.

    See this ([url]http://www.scienceinmedicine.org/policy/papers/AntiFluoridationist.pdf[/url]): [quote]The National Research Council (NRC) is a group of distinguished experts that issues independent reports to improve government, decision making and public policy. In 2006, the NRC issued a report on fluoride. Anti-fluoride groups often cite the NRC’s report when they try to raise fears about community water fluoridation, but these groups’ statements misrepresent the NRC’s findings. Although the report’s title cites “drinking water,” the NRC produced a summary of its report, reiterating the focus of its concern, i.e. people living in areas of the United States with natural levels of fluoride in water that are at least double or triple the level used to fluoridate a public water system. As the NRC itself stated, [b]“it is important to note that the safety and effectiveness of the practice of water fluoridation was outside the scope of this report and is not evaluated.”[/b][/quote] Note: If you don’t respond, I will just assume Don is removing all comments by anyone who even bothers to reply to my posts. Now that sure makes for a nice conversation.

  36. Barbara King

    RD: Here is a link to some WHO data on the DMFT rates in 12 year olds of various countries. http://www.mah.se/CAPP/Country-Oral-Health-Profiles/According-to-WHO-Regions/

    DMFT = Decayed, Missing, or Filled permament Teeth

    So far, the easiest to access source of data on who does and doesn’t fluoridate are these two (If WHO has a list I can’t locate it today, sorry.) So here are two alternative sources. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoridation_by_country
    And, for those who are willing to take a look even if this is on fluoridealert.org, look here: http://www.fluoridealert.org/content/bfs-2012/

    They do provide their sources, so one can easily check to see if the data really is there and really does say what FAN says it does. So far, when I have spot-checked their facts and sources, things do hold up.

  37. Barbara King

    Rich:

    First: The hard copy I have of the January 2008 Scientific American has the fluoride article on page 74. Perhaps you found an e-copy that came out in 2007?

    Second: Yes, the part of my link that came through blue does not work, but if you copy-paste the entire url http://www.waterloowatch.com/Index_files/Second Thoughts About Fluoride, Scientific American Jan-08.pdf
    then you do get to the article, which has the date January 2008 on the bottom of each page.

    Third: I have indeed read parts of the NRC report on fluoride in water. It is available online here: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11571

    Of special interest to me is the section on susceptible subpopulations, which starts here: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11571&page=350

    Yes, the purview of the report is the MCL, not water fluoridation, but some of the issues raised in the report have implications for the lower-than-MCL levels used for water fluoridation. Some of these implications were raised by the chair of the NRC committee in the Scientific American article.

    I hope i answered all your questions, If i missed something, do repost what I missed.

  38. Mr.Toad

    Was the response to my question about the origin of Rifkin’s 99.7% figure deleted or is he yet to respond? My guess is it was a rhetorical devise but it seems he should know better than to make up numbers.

    Personally, I don’t care much one way or another. We get it in our toothpaste anyway but anti-F has been associated with right wing nuts going back to the John Birch Society in the 60’s further confirming that the progressives of Davis are more like old style Republicans than they are willing to admit. On the other hand, the nature of science is to have an open debate, that is always willing to consider new information, so, rather than be dismissive of critics describing them as nut jobs I think we should have an honest debate on the issue.

  39. Alan Miller

    “fluoride is a naturally occurring element” — so is uranium.

    I just came back from the meeting, not realizing it was a “pro” only meeting. I was there for about 20 minutes. The audience was filled with doctors and dentists with green-drop pro-flouride stickers, all of whom knew what was good for everyone else using science. The “we know better than you” attitude was creepy. The spoke of the “good of the masses” over individual choice; when confronted about a citywide vote, the person questioned cited state policy, obviously uncomfortable with such a vote.

    I can’t believe this is even being discussed today. It’s bad enough we treat all water as potable drinking water, then use most of it for non-potable purposes. Now we flouridate everything, including our wetlands, gardens, children? They cited pasteurization. Now you can’t buy juice that isn’t pasteurized in a store, instead of being given the choice.

    Government, offer a choice, do not mandate. Keep unnecessary chemicals out of our water.

    Something was not right about the religiosity displayed by the pro-fluoride group. I can’t put my finger on it, but something besides the goodness-of-their-hearts is driving this. Does anyone know what it is?

  40. medwoman

    [quote]The timing of this slew of public appearances and letters to the editor by the pro-fluoridation forces immediately after the passage of Measure I was not coincidental. In our opinion, interjection of even the notion of fluoridation of the surface water project would have been detrimental to the passage of Measure I by nudging numerous Yes voters into the “Nay” camp. Because of this, even though the pro-fluoridation forces had their political game plan together for years, they were content to remain quietly poised on the sidelines waiting for the surface water project controversy to play itself out before rolling out their promotional campaign.[/quote]

    This view of the nefarious intent of the “stealth” pro fluoridation campaign was thoroughly and eloquently
    debunked by Helen Thompson at this evening’s WAC meeting. This was a scheduling issue totally out of the control of the proponents of fluoridation who I am sure would have been happy to make their presentation sooner but whose presentation was deliberately delayed until after the I vote was complete.

  41. medwoman

    [quote]Something was not right about the religiosity displayed by the pro-fluoride group. I can’t put my finger on it, but something besides the goodness-of-their-hearts is driving this. Does anyone know what it is?[/quote]

    Yes, I think I do. A friend who knows that I am in favor of fluoridation asked me to day if I am passionate about this issue. My answer was “no”, I am not passionate about the fluoridation of our water. What I am passionate about is an evidence based approach to public health policy and that decisions be made of the basis of the best available evidence and only after a careful and objective assessment of the risks and benefits. After having read the information suggested by Barbara King, and a number of other peer reviewed articles, I found the evidence in favor of fluoridation to far,far out weight the unproven, theoretical risks, or the realistic risks associated with fluoride levels many times higher than is being proposed. So no, I am not passionate, nor do I have any religiosity about this issue. But I do believe after a careful weighing of the best evidence and pros and cons that it is the best choice for our community.

  42. medwoman

    [quote][quote][quote]Government, offer a choice, do not mandate. Keep unnecessary chemicals out of our water[/quote]

    Two questions:
    1) What choice would you recommend the government offer to those who cannot afford to buy supplements or
    dental care ?
    2) Since fluoride occurs naturally in our current water supply at a level of 0.1 to 0.3 mg/l, and since the current proposal would be to raise that level to 0.7 mg / l, a value that has been shown to be protective against cavities and has never been shown to be deleterious to human health, who gets to decide that this is an “unnecessary”
    addition to our water ?

  43. medwoman

    [quote]The audience was filled with doctors and dentists with green-drop pro-flouride stickers, all of whom knew what was good for everyone else using science.[/quote]

    Another question. Who would you anticipate would turn up at a pro fluoridation meeting but health care professionals who have a direct knowledge of the subject at hand. Is it not reasonable to expect that people who do something for a living will have a greater knowledge of a subject than those from different professional backgrounds ? Would you really want to go to a dentist who did not know more about teeth than you do ?
    Do you consider “using science” a bad thing ?

  44. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]Ninety-seven percent of western Europe has eliminated fluoride from drinking water on the grounds that it mandates compulsory medication. [/i]

    But on the other hand, much of western Europe provides socialized medicine with dental care for children, often through the schools. That hasn’t happened in the U.S. (I suppose it’s the teachers’ union’s fault, huh?), so fluoridation makes more sense.

    I’m still researching, here, if Obamacare is supposed to provide children’s dental care. If it does provide children’s dental care and you believe in Obamacare, then maybe you have a good argument that there shouldn’t be fluoridation. But fluoridation ultimately might be cheaper than children’s dental visits if you want to argue against Obamacare.

  45. dlemongello

    When you go to the dentist fluoride is topically applied to the teeth. If ingesting fluoride were the effective method for it’s use the doctor would prescribe an ingestible form, but she/he does not do that. Meanwhile, our environment will not benefit by being polluted with it and neither will our bodies. “It’s been done since the 50’s”, OMG spare me, maybe we should test some more nuclear bombs out in the desert.

  46. medwoman

    delemngello

    [quote]When you go to the dentist fluoride is topically applied to the teeth. If ingesting fluoride were the effective method for it’s use the doctor would prescribe an ingestible form[/quote]

    This is true. Adam’s comment is also true. This is because either means of providing fluoride is effective. The reality is that when fluoride is ingested it is incorporated into our saliva which constantly bathes our teeth causing there to be continuous topical application. The problem for economically disadvantaged children is that they, for economic reasons, or because their parents may be medically unsophisticated, frequently do not have access to dental care. The Communicare dentists are unable to keep up with the cases of cavities in the underserved population that do make it into their office.

  47. medwoman

    Alan Pryor stated that the pro fluoridation group is attempting to

    [quote]to minimize open and extended public debate. [/quote]

    I found this a rich irony given that at last night’s WAC meeting, the only side attempting to stifle discussion were the members of the opposition, including Mr. Pryor. The circumstance was that one of the previously listed speakers was removed from the list because of a scheduling conflict. When the speaker did arrive, her name had been removed from the speakers list to allow for an alternate. The original speaker did arrive, but only spoke during the comments section. Although this situation was explained, and although several members of the WAC had questions regarding this speaker’s area of expertise, Mr. Pryor and company were adamant that she not be allowed to answer questions on this technicality. Although this is a valid point of order, it is hardly a testimony to their desire for open and extended public consideration.

  48. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]Ninety-seven percent of western Europe has eliminated fluoride from drinking water on the grounds that it mandates compulsory medication. [/quote]

    Yet another rich irony. Frankly, who is known for frequently bashing the “nanny, socialist states” of Europe is now implying that we should do as the Europeans do. Also, while your statistic may be accurate, I would be very interested to know where you got the idea that it was “on the grounds that it mandates compulsory medication”.
    I find it much more likely that it is because they have chosen alternative means of provision of fluoride to their entire population through free dental care or in some cases through alternative delivery systems such as adding fluoride to the salt supply.

  49. Frankly

    [i]Yet another rich irony. Frankly, who is known for frequently bashing the “nanny, socialist states” of Europe is now implying that we should do as the Europeans do. [/i]

    Not at all medwoman. I was merely pointing out the how your respected like-minded thinkers across the ocean have shut off the fluoride spigot into their drinking water. And, if you paid any attention to the REASON they did so, it does not have anything to do with socialized health care. It is a moral issue. You don’t put drugs or supplements in the water because your are forcing medication on the entire population. Frankly, it is Orwellian. My problem with the socialist politics of low work-ethic old Europeans notwithstanding, they are smarter and more advanced than us on many issues.

    I don’t have a problem dispensing fluoride supplements to low income new mothers and children (although I bristle at the inference that these people are also too ignorant to take care of themselves), but it is CLEARLY immoral to use our drinking water as a drug delivery system. Certainly it is convenient, but it is just plain wrong on so many levels. Give the population all the fluoride you want to, just don’t use the water system (the same one we all pay for) as a drug dispensary.

  50. Davis Progressive

    frankly: you need to read the comments in the other article by some of the low income kids, i think it puts your comment in perspective – it’s not that they are too ignorant to take care of themselves, it’s that they don’t have access to actual medical care.

  51. wdf1

    Frankly: (European socialism & lack of fluoridated water) [i]And, if you paid any attention to the REASON they did so, it does not have anything to do with socialized health care. It is a moral issue.[/i]

    Not exactly. It is also because they have found alternatives, including fluoridating their salt supply and providing socialized dental care. I think many conservatives would be as morally outraged at those alternatives.

  52. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]All you need is toothpaste and toothbrush and use it twice a day.[/i]

    That’s a fine argument, but I do volunteer work with elementary kids from low income families in Davis, and I frequently see instances of poor dental hygiene — gingivitis & plaque. Can’t say that I know the instance of cavities in these kids, though. It does tell me that they probably don’t brush regularly.

    Would you propose making teachers responsible for dental hygiene, as a solution, so that you can avoid this argument?

  53. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]if you paid any attention to the REASON they did so, it does not have anything to do with socialized health care[/quote]

    While I agree that most European countries do not fluoridate their water, I have not researched, on a country by country basis their rationale for choosing not to do so. Have you ? If so, I would like to see the evidence that your stated REASON is correct.

  54. medwoman

    wdf1

    [quote]Can’t say that I know the instance of cavities in these kids, though. It does tell me that they probably don’t brush regularly. [/quote]

    I also do not know the comparative incidence of cavities in the high versus low income groups in Davis.
    However, I am willing to accept the opinions of our local dentists who presented last night at the WAC in favor of the fluoridation of our water supply since they are simply unable to keep up with the sheer volume of need for expensive dental work in the lower economic groups.

  55. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]I don’t have a problem dispensing fluoride supplements to low income new mothers and children (although I bristle at the inference that these people are also too ignorant to take care of themselves), but it is CLEARLY immoral to use our drinking water as a drug delivery system. Certainly it is convenient, but it is just plain wrong on so many levels. Give the population all the fluoride you want to, just don’t use the water system (the same one we all pay for) as a drug dispensary.[quote]

    I also would have no problem with this approach. However, in order to make this happen, would you actively stand by me in supporting that we pay for these supplements with our tax dollars ?
    I would also bristle at the implication that these people are “too ignorant” to take care of themselves. However, this was truly an “inference” that you made and not at all my implication. There are many people who are not aware of the potential benefits of fluoride. This makes them lacking in one particular piece of information which is in no way a derogatory comment. We all are lacking in certain useful pieces of information. That does not make us ” too ignorant to care for ourselves”.

  56. medwoman

    [quote]it is CLEARLY immoral to use our drinking water as a drug delivery system[/quote]

    I could not disagree more. Your ” using our drinking water as a drug delivery system” is my ” optimization of a naturally occurring mineral” to maximize benefit while avoiding risk.

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