Clean Water Newport is responding to the article from fluoridation proponents in News Lincoln County, on Sunday October 11. It contains many incorrect and misleading statements. Rather than try to rebut all of them, we’ve chosen a few that typify the inaccuracy of the entire statement regarding fluoridation’s safety, effectiveness, cost effectiveness and ethical problems. Our complete statement to the City Council (which contains three full pages of rebuttals) can be accessed at the city’s website no later than this Friday.
First, we’d like to be clear on where we stand:
Currently, every citizen of Newport has a CHOICE of whether to ingest fluoride or not. We strongly recommend that no one do so, but if individuals or families want to, they have that right. But it’s unethical to force those people who don’t want fluoride to consume it through the public water supply, especially low-income families who can’t afford to buy un-fluoridated bottled water or expensive water filter systems. Well-meaning people can, and do, disagree on fluoridation itself. But there should be no disagreement on everyone’s inherent right to choose what to put in their bodies.
Moreover, it’s completely unnecessary to add fluoridation chemicals, which can contain lead and arsenic, to Newport’s water.
The simplest, most effective ways to prevent cavities are already well known: Avoid sugar and processed foods, especially soft drinks; brush your teeth at least twice a day; floss; and get regular professional dental check-ups.
Low-income families that aren’t covered by regular dental insurance are covered by Newport’s progressive safety net system. For children ages 3 – 5, Head Start provides dental care, including varnish. These services are also provided through the Oregon Health Plan at Advantage Dental. Finally, Newport schools also provide dental services on-site, including dental sealants and supplies. These services are especially valuable for those families who have scheduling or transportation difficulties. It makes far more sense to encourage and facilitate using these systems than it does to add fluoridation chemicals to the water.
Here are two examples of incorrect statements:
Regarding fluoridated toothpaste, the label says to use only a pea-sized quantity of toothpaste for kids under age 6 and the FDA requires this statement: “If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away”).
In an attempt to downplay the toxicity of fluoride, the pro-fluoridationists state: “the same FDA warning can be found on toothpastes that do not contain fluoride.”
This is simply wrong. The FDA requires the warning on fluoridated toothpaste only (http://fluoridealert.org/issues/dental-products/toothpastes/), as demonstrated by one look at the label of Tom’s of Maine fluoride-free toothpaste, which has no such warning.
Then there’s this statement, which in seven words actually contains two falsehoods: “Fluoride is a nutrient, not a medicine.”
According to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, a drug is a substance “intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals.” (http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title21/chapter9/subchapter2&edition=prelim)
Any other definitions of drugs (or medicines) found in dictionaries are essentially the same – they include prevention.
Obviously, the whole point of fluoridation is to prevent dental caries, which the American Dental Association itself identifies as a disease. (http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Member%20Center/FIles/article_10reasons.ashx)
A nutrient is a substance required for growth, development and maintaining health, or as defined succinctly by a medical dictionary, “a constituent of food necessary for normal physiologic function.” (http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Nutrients) Fluoride doesn’t qualify for any aspect of these definitions, unlike real nutrients like vitamin D, calcium and iodine.
You’ll never find fluoride as an ingredient in a multi-vitamin, nor will you find it in the nutrition section of any store. Although we often have traces of it in our bodies from environmental exposure, that doesn’t mean we need it. The FDA, Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences have all concluded fluoride isn’t a nutrient. (http://fluoridealert.org/studies/essential-nutrient/)
These are only two examples out of many. To get accurate information, go to Clean Water Newport’s Facebook page and send an e-mail to City Council opposing it before October 19 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for taking the time to get the facts straight.
Susan Andersen, ND
Chair, Clean Water Newport