Analysis: Enterprise Endorsement of Fluoridation Sidesteps the Key Points of the Debate

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fluoride-water

The Davis Enterprise on Sunday, in arguing that the addition of fluoride “to our water supply would benefit us all,” cited the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recognizing “community water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” The paper concluded, “It’s time for Davis residents to reap the benefits of fluoride in their water supply.”

The editors of the local paper noted that there has been “considerable debate this summer and early fall about whether fluoride is safe, effective and worth the cost of adding it to Davis’ well water and the water that will flow from the new Woodland-Davis Surface Water Project. We believe it is.”

But, curiously, they cite no scientific studies to support their position.

Instead, they argue, “There’s also been debate about whether Davis needs fluoride, with some opponents downplaying the rate of dental decay among local preschoolers or scoffing at the notion that Davis parents aren’t doing enough to ensure their kids’ health.”

While we agree on this point, we don’t see how that necessitates fluoridation over other approaches.

The paper continues, “Tooth decay is the No. 1 chronic disease among children, says the chairwoman of the Yolo County Health Council’s subcommittee on fluoridation. It causes pain, problems with nutrition, speech issues, lack of concentration, low self-esteem and time away from school.”

They add, “And despite parents’ best efforts, Davis dentists say as many as 25 percent of local preschoolers have untreated cavities. Even with all the advancements in dental hygiene and standards of living over the recent decades, our kids still need help.”

The paper ignores any of the alternative approaches that have been floated, such as mobile dental vans that might do far better at pinpointing the problem and may have a far more profound impact on dental health.

In particular is the concern that, while fluoridation may be placed into the water, unless the intended subjects are drinking that water, it will have little impact.  There was no effort by the paper to address this point.

The paper instead moves into the broader issue that everyone benefits from fluoridation, again without citing any scientific evidence.

Instead, they assert, “Fluoride enhances the body’s ability to rebuild tooth enamel when acid-producing bacteria cause it to decay. This new enamel is actually harder and more decay-resistant than the original tooth surface. Fluoride makes it harder for plaque to stick to your teeth. It also makes it more difficult for bacteria to turn sugar into acid.”

This may be true, but it avoids the more critical question as to whether a small amount of fluoride in the water will achieve this goal.

“Is the proposal going before the Davis City Council on Tuesday affordable? According to initial estimates, fluoridation could cost as much as $2 million in initial capital outlay. After that, the ongoing cost would be less than $2 per month per household,” the paper writes.

“With bids on the joint water project required to come in 20 percent below the engineers’ estimate – upon which Davis’ water rates were based – rates most likely will not have to be increased further to pay for fluoridation. In addition, state and federal grants, along with low-cost financing, are expected to further reduce the cost of the water plant project,” they argue.  “We believe the cost of fluoridation even at the maximum level is easily absorbed.”

They conclude, “LASTLY, FLUORIDATION is worth the cost. The American Dental Association estimates that for every dollar invested in water fluoridation, $38 is saved in dental treatment, missed work and other costs. Or put another way, a lifetime of cavity prevention can be obtained for less than the cost of one detail filling.

“We urge the Davis City Council to say yes to fluoridating our community water supply.”

If fluoridation did as the Enterprise suggests, we might agree, but they fail to cite evidence to that effect.

Contrast the Enterprise‘s stale approach to that of Alan Pryor, who  in an op-ed cites numerous studies and current evidence to argue, “Today, our environment is assaulted with thousands of man-made toxins, from waste heavy metals and organic compounds in industrial air and water discharges; to pesticides released into our food, land and waterways; to airborne transportation-related pollutants.”

“In addition to damaging our health, these chemicals are damaging our environment in a variety of ways, including contaminated food chains, damaged ecosystems and species extinction. The current proposal to fluoridate Davis’ potable water also has the potential to cause serious local environmental harm.”

Mr. Pryor cites several critical points in his counter-argument.

First, he argues that vast quantities of fluoride will be released into the environment – he calculates about 12 tons.  Of that, he argues that “most people drink or consume only about two quarts of water per day. Two quarts of water divided by 168 gallons of water means that the average citizen actually consumes about one-third of 1 percent of all the water that is delivered to our homes each year. That means that of the 24,522 pounds of fluoride that is injected into Davis potable water each year, only about 77 pounds are actually consumed by humans.”

While his concern is where the rest goes, our concern is that this seems to be an extremely inefficient means to deliver fluoride to people.  Imagine if we could somehow tap into that $2 million cost to support mobile dental vans that could go to schools and make sure all of our children are receiving proper dental care.

There is also recent research on the toxicity of fluoride that seems to have been underplayed.

Mr. Pryor cites a 2010 review article that concludes: “This element interacts with cellular systems even at low doses. In recent years, several investigations demonstrated that fluoride can induce oxidative stress and modulate intracellular redox homeostasis, lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl content, as well as alter gene expression and cause apoptosis. Genes modulated by fluoride include those related to the stress response, metabolic enzymes, the cell cycle, and cell-cell communications transduction.” (“Molecular mechanisms of fluoride toxicity,” Barbier O.. Chemico-Biological Interactions: 188, 2010).

He notes, “If our water is fluoridated, all of our fluoride-containing waste water would enter our wetlands and into the Yolo Bypass through the discharge from the Davis wastewater treatment plant. Although there would be a dilutive effect as the fluoride dispersed through the wetlands, it would seem incongruous that we try to invite salmon back to spawn in our local creeks and rivers through proper water management in the Yolo Bypass but then make them fend off the toxicity of the additional fluoride presented in our discharged waste water before spawning.”

In conclusion, Mr. Pryor writes, “Even if fluoride were shown to be effective if ingested compared to the proven efficacy of topical applications as is otherwise recommended, it would be far less wasteful and environmentally harmful and far more cost-effective if pharmaceutical-grade fluoride were made available to at-risk populations through fluoride supplements such as drops or pills.”

Increasingly, from both a health standpoint and a political standpoint, we think that is the way to go.  We will see how the council comes down on the issue.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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78 thoughts on “Analysis: Enterprise Endorsement of Fluoridation Sidesteps the Key Points of the Debate”

  1. Growth Izzue

    [quote]it would be far less wasteful and environmentally harmful and far more cost-effective if pharmaceutical-grade fluoride were made available to at-risk populations through fluoride supplements such as drops or pills.”[/quote]

    To which they already are available for free.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    You bring up the same point every single time. You can’t use the straw man argument on me because I don’t support fluoridation, so I’ll ask you this simple question: why do you believe the sins of the parents should be visited upon helpless children?

  3. B. Nice

    ” Imagine if we could somehow tap into that $2 million cost to support mobile dental vans that could go to schools and make sure all of our children are receiving proper dental care.”

    I agree but tapping into that money is the problem in this scenario.

    Besides 5 year olds know how to ride the bus, the could just ask their parents to show them the correct bus route to the dentist office. If their parents won’t tell them then they can ask their teachers. Not only will their cavities be filled but they will escape the “take care of me” mindset so many of our young children have today. That’s the problem with these pre-schoolers today they expect the grown-ups in their life to do everything for them, we are turning them into victims!

  4. David M. Greenwald

    “I agree but tapping into that money is the problem in this scenario.”

    I was being a little something (pick an adjective) – it would be complicated because we couldn’t use enterprise funds to do this.

  5. Growth Izzue

    Who’s going to make sure that parents are making their children do their homework, not smoking or drinking around them, buckling them up and driving safely, making sure they wear their jackets on a cold day, getting them to bed on time, keeping an eye on them while they are out playing, etc……?

  6. David M. Greenwald

    In your opinion, that’s sufficient, but not in mine. Since I agree with you on fluoridation, I would think a mobile dental van, much of which we could fund with medi-cal and grants would be a reasonable alternative and acceptable to you.

  7. B. Nice

    [quote]Once again, we are doing something, fluoride is provided for free in communities that don’t fluoridate their water.[/quote]

    Seriously, if they can ride the bus to the dentist office they could ride it to the pharmacy too…

  8. B. Nice

    [quote]I was being a little something (pick an adjective) – it would be complicated because we couldn’t use enterprise funds to do this.[/quote]

    I realize that, which makes it the sticky part. As has been brought up numerous times, especially by medwomen, while the anti-fluoride crowd argues adding fluoride to the water is not the most effective use of the money, and I agree, is enough community support/interest in getting something more effective going, or is a bird in the hand better…

  9. medwoman

    [quote]But curiously they cite no scientific studies to support their position.[/quote]

    Why would they ? Theirs is an opinion piece just as is yours, You have offered no studies to show that the mobile dental vans ( even if funding were found ) would be more effective, and they would provide service only to a limited population, not the entire community who might desire the service. So, overall, without studies, you really have not demonstrated that this would be a better solution than fluoridation.
    Alan Pryor’s piece is advocacy.
    To compare an opinion piece with advocacy in a critical manner is a little disingenuous.

    [quote]Imagine if we could somehow tap into that $2 million cost to support mobile dental vans that could go to schools and make sure all of our children are receiving proper dental care?
    [/quote]

    Yes, but we can’t. So what you have done is to have compared what is possible within the next couple of years with that which we cannot and will not choose to pay for and which does not address the needs of the entire community. While fluoride is far from a perfect solution, it is a step in the right direction.
    I would much rather see enacted a proven beneficial measure that is imperfect, than no preventive measure which is where this “imaginary solution” will be headed unless someone comes up with a certain, reliable and renewable funding source which I certainly have not seen proposed. Have you ?

    [quote]There is also recent research on the toxicity of fluoride that seems to have been underplayed.
    [/quote]

    Since this issue has been addressed before the WAC, I don’t see how you can consider it to have been “underplayed”. Fluoride occurs in many, many areas of the country and world in much higher levels than are being proposed here without evidence of his speculative “oxidative stress”. Alan’s own quote contains the weakness of his “overplayed” argument.

    [quote]This element interacts with cellular systems even at low doses. In recent years, several investigations demonstrated that fluoride can induce oxidative stress and modulate intracellular redox homeostasis, lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl content, as well as alter gene expression and cause apoptosis. Genes modulated by fluoride include those related to the stress response, metabolic enzymes, the cell cycle, and cell-cell communications transduction.” (“Molecular mechanisms of fluoride toxicity,” Barbier O.. Chemico-Biological Interactions: 188, 2010).

    He notes, “If our water is fluoridated, all of our fluoride-containing waste water would enter our wetlands and into the Yolo Bypass through the discharge from the Davis wastewater treatment plant. Although there would be a dilutive effect as the fluoride dispersed through the wetlands, it would seem incongruous that we try to invite salmon back to spawn in our local creeks and rivers through proper water management in the Yolo Bypass but then make them fend of the toxicity of the additional fluoride presented in our discharged waste water before spawning.”[/quote]

    The article that Alan is quoting is purely speculative with regard to whether or not these “oxidative stressors” have any real world impact at all. “Stressors” in and of themselves are neither good nor bad. Some may be harmful, some may convey a survival advantage. What you will note is that Alan does not offer is any evidence that there is harm to salmon ( or any other wild life ) from exposure to various levels of fluoride. If we are going to make an evidence based decision, which is certainly what we should be doing, I do not think that speculation should be considered as scientific evidence.

  10. ebowler

    Even the fluoride proponents admit that fluoride works topically rather than systemically. The money would be better spent providing fluoridated toothpaste to the city’s children and providing education on dental hygiene. Of course, if the CC really wishes to do something to address the cause of dental disease and obesity, it would consider restricting sales of sugary drinks to children in much the way that we currently restrict sales of alcohol and tobacco.

  11. Growth Izzue

    B. Nice
    [quote]Seriously, if they can ride the bus to the dentist office they could ride it to the pharmacy too… /quote]

    Or they could just get you B. Nice to shuttle them or maybe even more logical their parents could buy fluoridated toothpaste at their grocery store. Even bad parents have to eat don’t they?

  12. B. Nice

    [quote]The money would be better spent providing fluoridated toothpaste to the city’s children and providing education on dental hygiene. [/quote]

    But we can’t use this money for that, where we these funds come from?

    [quote]Of course, if the CC really wishes to do something to address the cause of dental disease and obesity, it would consider restricting sales of sugary drinks to children in much the way that we currently restrict sales of alcohol and tobacco.[/quote]

    And the federal government could stop subsidizing corn production.

  13. medwoman

    ebowler

    [quote]Even the fluoride proponents admit that fluoride works topically rather than systemically[/quote]

    What I have admitted is that regardless of the means of administration, the action of fluoride is at the molecular level. I do not believe that biochemically speaking, the dental enamel reacts fundamentally differently whether the topical application is made by toothpaste or whether it is made by saliva. All drugs work at the local molecular level. This is simply not an argument for which means of administration is more effective.

  14. Growth Izzue

    Davis Enterprise:
    [quote]While water bills likely would increase by a couple of bucks each month, if the council OKs fluoride, the city would not have to restart the rate-setting process, as the rates the council adopted in March still would cover the cost of fluoridation.

    Water rates set by the Proposition 218 process are the maximum amounts a city can charge residents for water.
    [/quote]

    So in turn if we decide not to fluoridate should our rates drop from the proposed rates as it sounds like the cost of fluoridation is already baked in on the Prop 218 schedule?

  15. ebowler

    medwoman, on a prior thread you wrote:

    [quote]the mechanism of action of ingested fluoride is direct application to the teeth, continuously applied by our saliva.[/quote]

    application of a substance directly onto the surface of the tooth is topical application, whether it be via saliva or fluoridated toothpaste

  16. Matt Williams

    David M. Greenwald said . . .

    [i]”I would think a mobile dental van, much of which we could fund with medi-cal and grants would be a reasonable alternative and acceptable to you.”[/i]

    One other (better in my mind) alternative would be to have the mobile van arrive at one school or the other each day and dispense dental treatment to students throughout each and every school day. We do that now with immunizations, why not dental treatment? You would have a captive audience of students who would get their fluoride as part of prophylactic dental care rather than simply as drops . . . and the schools could make it a policy that any child who goes through the school year without getting their teeth attended to gets a report card with every course grade as an “Incomplete.”

  17. Matt Williams

    B. Nice . . .

    [i]”Seriously, if they can ride the bus to the dentist office they could ride it to the pharmacy too… “[/i]

    Far too passive a public health initiative. See my post above for as true prophylactic alternative solution.

  18. Matt Williams

    David Greenwald said . . .

    [i]”Imagine if we could somehow tap into that $2 million cost to support mobile dental vans that could go to schools and make sure all of our children are receiving proper dental care?”[/i]

    medwoman replied . . .

    [i]”Yes, but we can’t. “[/i]

    If we did it with a roving van at the schools we could add the $2 million to our School Taxes.

  19. Growth Izzue

    Matt:
    [quote]If we did it with a roving van at the schools we could add the $2 million to our School Taxes. [/quote]

    Yeah, great idea, like our school taxes aren’t already high enough.

  20. Frankly

    [i]why do you believe the sins of the parents should be visited upon helpless children?[/i]

    Just curious, what percentage of these people being denigrated as having such lousy parenting skills that they would not ensure that their children brush their teeth and take advantage of the free dental care provide them, are uneducated, English-illiterate, immigrants?

  21. David M. Greenwald

    “One other (better in my mind) alternative would be to have the mobile van arrive at one school or the other each day and dispense dental treatment to students throughout each and every school day. “

    That was my original thought.

  22. David M. Greenwald

    “Just curious, what percentage of these people being denigrated as having such lousy parenting skills that they would not ensure that their children brush their teeth and take advantage of the free dental care provide them, are uneducated, English-illiterate, immigrants? “

    I don’t know, but my nephew’s mother doesn’t fall into that category. One of the problems is that we have a meth epidemic in this county and that bleeds into Davis as well. That’s not necessarily an immigrant population.

  23. Frankly

    Here is the way I look at it. If you are poor, uneducated and illiterate and are a parent and you don’t have enough sense to tell your kids to brush their teeth or take advantage of the free dental care, then there are probably a whole lot of things you are doing or not doing that will damage your kids beyond their dental problems.

    If you are a meth addict (and probably poor too) are a parent and you don’t have enough motivation or brain cells functioning to tell your kids to brush their teeth or take advantage of the free dental care, then there are probably a whole lot of things you are doing or not doing that will damage your kids beyond their dental problems.

    What we are talking about is breaking the cycle of crappy family circumstances so that next generation becomes self-sufficient, well-functioning members of society.

    So, how do you do that?

    You do it with education.

    I would cut out some of the useless junk humanities and the junk science from the public school curriculum and replace it with “Life Skills” classes. Teach kids personal hygiene and healthy eating habits. Teach them how to use a computer and to balance a checkbook and how to prepare a tax form. Provide a class on parenting… and teach them the responsibilities of a good parent so they recognize where their own parents are screwing up their lives.

    We spend HOW MUCH money fighting the war on poverty, on hunger… and now this new war on lack of adequate health care? There is also a movement to fight a new war on unhealthy food. We ban plastic bags, and wood burning fireplaces. We move more and more away from an environment of freedom and choice with a population of people having a common tacit sense of morality and personal standards and we try to FIX EVERYTHING about them that we see as inadequate.

    This approach is wrong. It is that soft bigotry of low expectations. People, especially children, generally rise to the expectations surrounding them. By attempting to solve all of their problems for them you are training them that this is what you expect. You are, in fact, helping them be locked into the same cycle of poor choice and dependency needing your liberal orthodoxy to help “save” them.

    Teach the people to do for themselves and you creating a lasting solution that multiplies because they then teach their children the same.

    Teach them that others will do for them what they will not do themselves, and that too will multiply.

  24. medwoman

    Matt and or David

    A few questions
    1) how are you estimating the actual costs or your proposals ?
    2) who is going to purchase and operate the planned dental out reach vans ?
    3) how much does each cost to purchase and or lease ?
    4) How much does it cost to outfit them appropriately ?
    5) How many would be needed to meet the needs of our school children alone understanding that if you are a preschooler or out of school, you derive no benefit .
    6) Who do you envision staffing these vans. Who will provide their salary, benefits and malpractice insurance
    7) How much to provide and ensure a driver ?
    8) And finally what makes you think that funding such a proposal would be acceptable to those in the community who simply have no interest in the community beyond economic factors ?

    I could be wrong, but I suspect that given all of these considerations you are unlikely to come in at the same price as fluoridation and are serving a potentially more limited portion of the population all of whom would chose by virtue of drinking or not drinking the tap water whether or not they want to avail themselves of the protective effects of fluoride.

  25. Robb Davis

    While I do not agree fully with how he frames the issue, I think Frankly makes a useful suggestion about the role of education in dealing with personal health and hygiene concerns. I am NOT claiming that education alone will solve health problems but I think it could help.

    I grew up in a rural school district in Eastern PA–a very conservative area of the country. At all levels of education we had life skills training that ranged from dental hygiene to family planning. That’s right, we talked about contraceptives as early as the 6th grade. We were also taught how to handle a gun safely (lots of hunters in our area) and about personal finance. I recall that I learned about dental floss–and how to use it–in school. I took that knowledge home and asked my parents to buy floss (they had no idea what it was or how to use it). I also remember my mom coming home from a PTA meeting at which the introduction of a family planning curriculum was discussed. She was nervous about it but also said something like: “I wish they had done this when I was in school, my mom never talked to me about these things.”

    Maybe times have changed. Maybe they have not changed as much as we think. It is not always only the children from “uneducated” families who may need information on these things. The question is whether we value these things enough to include them in the standard curriculum of all students. In Davis, I am doubtful.

    As to the idea of “mobile clinics” or other programs talked about here: I have no doubt we could find some funding to create such programs but the rub is ALWAYS going to be how to sustain them over the long term.

  26. Growth Izzue

    [quote]And finally what makes you think that funding such a proposal would be acceptable to those in the community who simply have no interest in the community beyond economic factors ?
    [/quote]

    Wrong, wrong wrong, that’s so wrong. Many of us in the community have already shown interest by paying our taxes to fund programs like Medicare, Medi-Cal and Obamacare that supply free fluoride for the underprivileged. We just don’t believe that one should have to hold one’s hands to get them to use what is being given to them at the cost of others.

  27. gordonite

    Completely agreeing with Frankly today. Education. Completely disagreeing with medwoman, she’s just being obstinate and her lists of tedious questions are an attempt to disguise it.

    Additionally, I agree that the unknowns of where the excess fluorides go, how they accumulate, and to which organisms they will become toxic outweigh some shiny teeth.

  28. alanpryor

    Matt: re
    [quote]One other (better in my mind) alternative would be to have the mobile van arrive at one school or the other each day and dispense dental treatment to students throughout each and every school day.[/quote]
    Spot on, Matt! And if they have free time we could send it to the Senior Center too.

  29. alanpryor

    To medwoman:
    [quote]Matt and or David: A few questions [/quote]
    Councilmember Lee had an intern who has done a thorough analysis of costs of providing the mobile van and running it based on recent experience in Napa/Sonoma. Obviously details of who will operate the equipment and how they would be reimbursed needs to be worked out but based on real world local experience, this CAN be done for less than the costs of water fluoridation and it will almost certainly be more effective in reducing caries ratesfluoridation.

  30. medwoman

    Robb and Frankly

    I agree with you both that education is probably the most important factor in establishing healthy behaviors. I would like to share my experience with this in the Davis public schools. Every year for nine years I offered to volunteer to give a health ( not even specifically women’s health)
    Presentation to my children’s classes, or any group of students that the school deemed appropriate. I made clear that I was willing to have the complete presentation vetted by whatever individual or group they felt was appropriate. The answer was the same each year. The individual teachers were excited to have me come. Each year the school leadership
    Either principle or higher nixed the idea. Why ? Apparently there had been protestations from parents who did not want their children exposed
    to a gynecologist even if none of the presentation was reproductively oriented!

    A false assumption is being made here. That is the assumption that the private and public health care community neglect education. This again raises a false dichotomy. Fluoridation proponents are all for education. We are the same folks who provide most of it. We just favor fluoridation as well.

  31. B. Nice

    “We just don’t believe that one should have to hold one’s hands to get them to use what is being given to them at the cost of others.”

    We really need to stop holding pre-schoolers hands, it teaches them dependency, (let them figure out how to get to the store on their own and get their own damn fluoride, it would be good for them!).

  32. B. Nice

    “Here is the way I look at it. If you are poor, uneducated and illiterate and are a parent and you don’t have enough sense to tell your kids to brush their teeth or take advantage of the free dental care, then there are probably a whole lot of things you are doing or not doing that will damage your kids beyond their dental problems. “

    Yeah, these kids are so screwed why bother helping them at all. What were thinking being born to parents who aren’t able to take care of them anyway?

  33. Growth Izzue

    B. Nice
    [quote]We really need to stop holding pre-schoolers hands, it teaches them dependency, (let them figure out how to get to the store on their own and get their own damn fluoride, it would be good for them!). [/quote]

    Quit playing naive, it’s getting old. You know I’m talking about the parents of the children.

  34. Growth Izzue

    Being that Davis has never had fluoride in its water nobody has yet to show any studies or stats that our children have anymore problems with dental caries than communities that do fluoridate. Secondly, where’s the proof that these so-called bad parents aren’t accessing topical fluoride through drops or toothpaste and that their children suffer from dental health problems more than other families in the community?

  35. Frankly

    [quote]Yeah, these kids are so screwed why bother helping them at all. What were thinking being born to parents who aren’t able to take care of them anyway?[/quote]

    I think you chance your moniker from B. Nice to B. “something else”.

    Come on now, if you are not going to respond intelligently to the full content and context of a post, and only cherry pick something that you can flaunt to inflame emotions, then you are not really being all that nice are you?

    It is the simple “feed a fish vs. teach to fish argument.”

    There is a nuanced but absolutely factual difference in the outcome of these two approaches…

    I have hired and developed young people throughout my professional life. Let’s say that one of these employees comes to me with a roadblock problem. I listen and then tell them what to do to solve the problem. I feel good about myself for being so helpful for this single transaction.

    Now say I listen and ask “what do you think you should do?”, and then coach the employee to come up with his own right answer. Then maybe I provide him some training if the thing is beyond his current skill set. Now the employee feels good about being able to help himself this time and forever.

    The employee in the first example has not necessarily developed. He has been given a fish to eat for that day.

    The employee in the second example has developed and can now feed himself as a competent and confident fisherman.

    And don’t tell me you want to do both. It does not work that way. Either you are taught to fish, or you are taught to expect others to feed you.

  36. alanpryor

    To medwoman re: Costs of mobile clinic
    [quote]Then put it out there Alan so that the true start up and maintenance costs can be assessed[/quote]
    Brett Lee made the proposal to alternatively fund a mobile clinic in lieu of fluoridation in a recent Op-Ed. He showed me the numbers but I did not copy them down. I will leave it to him to provide that information to the public.

    That said, I do not believe the citizens of Davis should be held hostage of the question of drinking water fluoridation. That is, if we don’t fluoridate then we have to have a mobile clinic. That presupposes that fluoridation is effective at reducing caries without adverse side-effects. I do not believe that is the case at all. My belief is that we should not fluoridate because it is ineffective, has proven and associated adverse side-effects, it violate our freedom of choice and informed consent, it is an environmental disaster, and it violates our trust in public policy. The City should not do anything to our water except ensure it is sanitized to prevent communicable diseases and remove any toxic substances. It should be sufficiently pure that NOBODY has to buy bottled water. That is what was promised by our leaders when they endorsed the surface water project and promoted the positive election vote.

  37. Robb Davis

    Medwoman – You wrote:

    [quote]A false assumption is being made here. That is the assumption that the private and public health care community neglect education. [/quote]

    I am not making this assumption. The point I was trying to make is that in my experience our public school system would be a good place to engage students on these issues. After all, education is only as good as our ability to engage the key learners in the process of learning key skills. I am frustrated to hear about your experience and this is why I wrote that I am not sure Davis is open to this. This is not only because of the issue you raise but also because, I suspect (perhaps wrongly) that many parents would view this kind of education as a waste of valuable class time. Teachers out there, please forgive me–I know the pressure you are under to deliver a certain content in a constrained time period. I just wonder how my school was able to do it when I was a kid…

  38. Frankly

    The argument that these parents are too ignorant to take advantage of the public benefits already available and will be expanded under Obamacare is the same that has caused the Obama administration to blow out the original cost estimates with an arm of certified application advisers to help hold the hand of these adults.

    Any of you with any experience in Federal government programs know that participation is key for protecting the program and the job security of the all those (both public and private) making money off of it.

    So don’t worry… Obama is personally going to take the hand of these ignorant and uninformed people to walk them to the promised land of a more giving nanny government that will ensure they have access to quality dental care.

    The net result will be far fewer subjects for a bleeding heart.

    That is why the bleeders are going to have to learn to do math to supplement their emotional arguments.

  39. Frankly

    Robb – Sorry.

    I was referring to this..

    GI: [i] Should we all pay for a live in home monitor for every bad parent?[/i]

    David: [i]Your argument is because we can’t do everything, we shouldn’t do this?[/i]

    And other comments that the parents don’t know about, or will not use, the services already available.

    And B. Nice’s snarky comment that we are uncaring people that would not want to hold that kindergardner’s hand and instead send him out to the forests and deserts to fend for themselves.

    Obamacare includes an army of these advisers that are supposed to help the ignorant and confused successfully acquire their new free stuff.

    So, Obama will hold their hand… and we are paying for it… dearly.

    So we don’t need to put fluoride in the water because Obamacare was passed and is the law of the land and it includes enough hand-holders.

  40. Barbara King

    The City of Davis just sent out an amended agenda for the Davis City Council meeting of Oct 1, 2013. It moves the fluoridation item from 8:00 PM to 7:10 PM. It also says public comments will be limited to 2 minutes, and folks are encouraged to keep it to 1 minute if possible.

    The agenda posted on the city site has not been updated yet, but the City Clerk says that will be done very soon.

  41. tleonard

    [quote]The City should not do anything to our water except ensure it is sanitized to prevent communicable diseases and remove any toxic substances. It should be sufficiently pure that NOBODY has to buy bottled water.[/quote]

    Absolutely. The assertion of the fluoride supporters that we who oppose fluoridation can just buy bottled water is galling on so many levels. I have a family of six. The municipal water supply is there to serve my family. Saying that I can purchase bottled water and I therefore have a “choice” is disingenuous. I am given a “choice” only if the city additionally supplies unfluoridated municipal water to my home via separate plumbing lines.

  42. gordonite

    I should clarify, medwoman, I don’t want to come off as terse.

    Asking those questions are reasonable and everyone here would benefit from their answers. However, when you direct them at Matt and David, then use the lack of readily available answers as a pro-fluoridation argument, they come off as only rhetoric and your asking them seems insincere, and therefore obstinate.

  43. ebowler

    [quote] Saying that I can purchase bottled water and I therefore have a “choice” is disingenuous.[/quote]

    I completely agree. Unless the fluoridation proponents can come up with a way to get bottled water to come out of my shower, which is where my greatest exposure to fluoride would occur as a result of water vapor inhalation, bottled water will do nothing to solve the problem.

  44. Growth Izzue

    [quote]What levels of fluoride exposure are harmful to birds and mammals?

    In birds, laboratory tests were carried out on European starling chicks to determine at what levels fluoride would affect their growth or be lethal. In the case of 1-day-old laboratory chicks, growth rates were significantly reduced at 13 mg fluoride/kg and half of the chicks died within the next 24h when administered a fluoride dose of 50 mg/kg body weight. That figure dropped to 17 mg/kg body weight for 16-day-old nestlings.

    In mammals, the lowest concentration of fluoride in food to cause dental fluorosis was 35 mg/kg food in wild white-tailed deer. Fluorosis has also been observed in cattle and sheep, with dairy cattle having the lowest tolerance value at 30 mg/kg feed or 2.5 mg/litre drinking water.

    Symptoms of fluoride toxicity include emaciation, stiffness of joints and abnormal teeth and bones. Other effects include lowered milk production and detrimental effects on reproduction. Near smelters, animal lameness has also been observed.
    [/quote]

    Being that most of the fluoridated water discharge will end up in wetlands and the river has the effect on wildlife been considered? I know that the salinity levels in the wetlands from our treatment plant discharge was a major reason why we had to switch from wells to river water.

  45. B. Nice

    [quote]I think you chance your moniker from B. Nice to B. “something else”.[/quote]

    I know, you guys have pushed me over the edge on this one…my dark side has taken over.

  46. B. Nice

    [quote]And don’t tell me you want to do both. It does not work that way. Either you are taught to fish, or you are taught to expect others to feed you.[/quote]

    I’m all for teaching the parents to “fish”, I just don’t want their children “starving” in the meantime.

  47. B. Nice

    [quote] Quit playing naive, it’s getting old. You know I’m talking about the parents of the children.[/quote]

    I’d go with sarcastic over naive, I’ve has this same debate with you so many times I thought I’d mix it up a little, maybe add some comic relief. Oh, and I am talking about the children, but I think I’ve made myself pretty clear on that point.

  48. SouthofDavis

    Alan wrote:

    > My belief is that we should not fluoridate because
    > it is ineffective, has proven and associated adverse
    > side-effects, it violate our freedom of choice

    As one of the few people that is pro choice on EVERYTHING I find it funny that most people are just pro choice on the things they like and don’t think people should be able choose things they don’t like (you can have a choice about fluoride in the water, but NO choice when it comes to having a fire on Christmas Eve or you can choose to own a gun, but have NO choice when it comes to carrying a fertilized egg to term)….

  49. Frankly

    SOD – I challenged Alan the same previously, and I think he came back with a reasonable answer. He is against putting anything into the environment that isn’t natural and already there. That is a consistent position and I respect it even though I disagree with him over the extent of impact with plastic bags and woodsmoke.

    My position is more libertarian and cost-benefit. I want to maintain our own choice for how we live our lives and not have this minority of do-gooders that think they know what is better for all of us telling us what we can and cannot do.

    But if you want to touch on irony, most of these folks pushing this control to tell us what we can or cannot do… freak out when someone else tells them what they can or cannot do if it is a freedom THEY value… even if it can be proven that their position harms people. There is your inconsistency.

  50. Growth Izzue

    [quote]But if you want to touch on irony, most of these folks pushing this control to tell us what we can or cannot do… freak out when someone else tells them what they can or cannot do if it is a freedom THEY value… even if it can be proven that their position harms people. There is your inconsistency. [/quote]

    Like killing babies in the womb?

  51. B. Nice

    [quote]There is your inconsistency.[/quote]

    The inconsistency I see is people freaking out about what from what I’ve seen are innocuous levels of fluoride but have no problem the widespread use of pesticides in our public area’s. Alan is consistent in this regard.

  52. Frankly

    Yes, like that.

    And telling them what they can and cannot do in their bedrooms.

    And tell them that only different-sex adults get to marry.

    And telling them pay their taxes to fund wars that are ALWAYS to protect us or others in the world from tyranny.

    And telling them that they cannot wear baggy and sagging pants and a hat turned sideways.

    Telling them that they must say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the Star Spangled Banner and respect the flag.

    Telling them that they must accept Christmas decorations in public spaces.

    And telling them they cannot were the hijab or a burka through the airport security.

    And telling them that we are going to listen to their phone conversations and read their emails going in and out of areas known to sponsor terrorism.

    Telling them we are not going to try terrorists in a court of law and we are keeping Gitmo open for business.

    And telling them we are going to stop and frisk people of certain demographics knows to be at greater risk for carrying weapons and using them in gun crimes.

    And telling them Americans have the right to own firearms.

    And telling them we are going to profile people of certain demographics having a much higher likelihood of being a criminal or terrorist.

  53. B. Nice

    Frankly your list of grievances implies that you support a VERY dictatorial government, (a much more so one that adds fluoride to the drinking water in an attempt to improve dental health).

  54. Frankly

    B. Nice – Dictatorship? How so?

    You mean those top-down decisions to ban me from enjoying the convenience and utility of plastic bags?

    You mean those pending top-down decisions to force me to ingest fluoride chemicals from the drinking water?

    You mean those pending top-down decions to make me find room in my over-priced small lots to find room for ANOTHER “green” waste container?

    You mean those pending top-down decisions to ban my fireplace?

  55. B. Nice

    “B. Nice – Dictatorship? How so?”

    Creating laws that keep that ban people from getting married, implying that it’s okay to treat people differently under the law because of the way the look or dress, implying that it should be okay to invade people’s privacy by monitoring their communication, holding people prisoners for indefinite amounts of time without filing charges, forging people to say the pledge of allegiance, not allowing people to practice freedom of speech by burning a flag.

    It almost seems like the only people you think deserve the freedoms granted under our constitution are the ones that look like you, dress like you, and share your religious and ideological beliefs.

  56. Frankly

    [i]It almost seems like the only people you think deserve the freedoms granted under our constitution are the ones that look like you, dress like you, and share your religious and ideological beliefs.[/i]

    Nice try B. Not Nice.

    I want everyone to have as much freedom as possible. So stop banning things. Stop forcing people to have to accept unwanted cultural change. That culture was here first. Stop force-medicating the population.

    Educate to influence outcomes. Incentivize to influence outcomes. But let people make their own choices and decisions for how to live a good life. Leave us alone and let us enjoy the freedoms that so many have fought and died to protect.

    But to be free, we first have to be safe from premature death.

    So stop opposing what we need to do to keep us all safe from premature death.

  57. B. Nice

    [quote][quote]Educate to influence outcomes. Incentivize to influence outcomes. [/quote]

    In general I agree with you on this, but I also think bans are necessary/appropriate at times. When practices are human rights violations (slavery, child labor etc.), when substances are harmful to other or the environment, (DDT, mercury etc), or when alternatives are available that provide minor inconveniences but serve proportionality greater good. (like banning the plastic bags given out by stores for people to bring their grocery’s home in).

    [quote] But let people make their own choices and decisions for how to live a good life. [/quote]

    I agree with you on this up to the point were people’s own choices for how to live good life infringe upon others abilities to do so. What if you had neighbors that decided to live a good life meant they had 10 dogs that barked constantly or blared music all night? Wouldn’t you want laws in place to protect your rights not to have to be exposed to this?

  58. biddlin

    “That culture was here first.”
    Really ?[img]https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSPl4uhxdYl6Dev6MY__6qKgpyEBYlymqE62IOs2Xe5ZB6gQ9hF[/img]

  59. Frankly

    [i]I agree with you on this up to the point were people’s own choices for how to live good life infringe upon others abilities to do so.[/i]

    I agree with that too. So explain how you fit fluoridating the water into this argument?

  60. B. Nice

    “I agree with that too. So explain how you fit fluoridating the water into this argument?”

    When did we start talking about fluoride again? We went off that topic many posts ago…i

  61. Frankly

    [i]”That culture was here first.”[/i]

    A culture that defined “marriage” as a religious and legal union between a man and a woman.

    A culture that values the traditional family as the gold standard for procreation and raising of children to well-functioning adults.

    A culture that values a delineation of male-masculine and female-feminine behaviors and traits that are the basis of male-female relationships and healthy sexuality for heterosexual people that still make up 90-95% of the population.

    We could have honored these things – and hence protected the freedoms of others to maintain their cultural definition of marriage – while ensuring equal legal protection for gay couples in a strengthening of laws surrounding civil unions.

    It gets to material harm and the existence of alternative. A separate but equal civil union would have materially solved the problem without causing harm to others’ freedom to hold to a cultural norm of different-sex marriage and man-woman parenting.

    Likewise, there are alternatives to getting fluoride to people that absolutely need it without causing harm to others’ freedom to be delivered fluoride-free water.

  62. Frankly

    [i]Cultural norms have and always will evolve and change[/i]

    Not fundamental ones like the definition of marriage. You are talking thousands of years of culture. Certainly hundreds of years if you are talking about the US.

    Those things don’t change unless they are corrupted.

  63. B. Nice

    [quote]Not fundamental ones like the definition of marriage. You are talking thousands of years of culture. Certainly hundreds of years if you are talking about the US.[/quote]

    What do you mean thousands of years? Different cultures have different “definitions” of marriage.

    Western definition of marriage started as a business transaction when fathers would sell their daughter to the highest bidder, luckily we have moved beyond that, not very long ago divorce was not allowed, for 80 years in this country polygamy was recognized as marriage. The culture of marriage is evolving.

    Are you saying allowing a broader definition of term marriage is corrupting it. If anything has corrupted marriage it’s allowing divorce.

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