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IT’S TIME TO RECONSIDER FLUORIDATION

Dr. John Hinchcliff
Auckland City Councillor,
15th January, 2007.

Minutes of ACC committee meeting where paper was presented

Download pdf – Time to reconsider Fluoridation by Dr. John Hinchcliff

The practice of fluoridating our city water supply deserves to be reconsidered by our City Council whose members are elected to make decisions which benefit our community. This will be a most controversial issue, and so must involve democratic processes and appropriate expertise which enable us all to both understand and decide appropriately on the issue.

My reading makes it difficult for me to be convinced that fluoridation is in our best interests. Undoubtedly, the fact that my father, who was a well respected chemist, was a staunch opponent has prejudiced my thinking. But the evidence I am encountering leaves me deeply troubled and needing to suggest that we suspend the practice of fluoridation until the volumes of research have been assessed by competent and independent experts.

I sincerely hope that the conclusions I am forming about fluoride are wrong and that we are not harming generations of people. The debate is crucial to all of us.


SOME INFORMATION ABOUT FLUORIDATION

Not all of our communities fluoridate their water supply. In 2001 Onehunga decided to keep their water supply fluoride free. Similarly minded communities which have banned this chemical include Nelson, Blenheim, Napier, Tauranga, Hokitika, Greymouth, Rotorua, Southland, Timaru, Wairoa, Christchurch and Ashburton (the latter two are reconsidering at the moment).

Few nations persist with fluoridation. Only 5% of the world’s population receive this medication. Only Singapore and Hong Kong have 100% coverage. Only ten countries have more than 50% coverage including USA (but only 16% of California), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland.

Nations such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, The Federation of Russian States, France, Austria, Italy, Japan, Korea, Belgium, India, Switzerland, 93% of the United Kingdom, 62% of China, Spain, etc., have considered that the dangers of fluoridated water outweigh the alleged benefits.

Switzerland’s Basle, the centre of drug, chemical and medical industries in Europe has banned fluoridation.

Recently, on September 11, 2006, the US Del Rio City Council heard a retired University Biology Professor detail the research linking fluoride to health problems such as cancer. The Council determined to stop fluoridation contravening the wishes of the Federal Government and Public Health Service to impose “universal fluoridation”. This echoed the resolutions of more than 70 other USA communities.

The US Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry lists fluorine as among the top 20 of the 275 substances dangerous to our health.

The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary describes fluorine as “a poisonous pale yellow gas and is very reactive.” In its simplest form fluorine is a toxic and corrosive gas and to be useful must be combined with other elements. When added to hydrogen it becomes hydrogen fluoride gas and when added to water it becomes hydrofluoric acid.

There are three forms used to “medicate” drinking water. Hydrofluorosilicic acid and silicofluoride are both waste products from fertiliser factories. And there is sodium fluoride some of which has been sourced from “pollution scrubbers” situated in exhaust chimneys of aluminium factories. But 90% of the world’s supply of sodium fluoride destined for water supplies comes from super-phosphate fertiliser factories. And sodium fluoride is the ingredient commonly used in toothpastes, dental rinses, dental gels, anaesthetics, tranquillisers, etc.

References to these substances in medical and legal literature is scarcely comforting. Medics read the following : “Warning: Inhalation Hazard. Inhalation of hydrofluorosilicic received from soaked cotton clothing could cause irreparable lung damage in one minute.” International lawyers read that sodium fluoride must not be used in fertilisers so that pastures, crops and animals are not harmed. Before being inflicted on people for far greater profit it was used to exterminate rodents and insects.

Proponents claim that these compounds have been purified before being added to the drinking water. But it is difficult to interpret this. Each compound is added to our water because of the fluoride factor. And this is the factor in dispute.

Some proponents contend that it is a naturally occurring substance and therefore should be safe. However, there are many naturally occurring poisons that we would not dream of adding to our drinking water such as mercury, arsenic, lead, uranium, etc. Furthermore, the sodium fluoride used to pollute our water is different from the naturally occurring calcium fluoride which does not easily dissolve in water and is not easily retained in the body. Sodium fluoride is a non-biodegradable substance which accumulates in our bodies.

FLUORIDE AND TOOTH DECAY

Poison control experts have cautioned that death could result if a twenty pound child consumes one third of a seven ounce tube of enticingly flavoured toothpaste. A spokesman of Proctor and Gamble, manufacturers of the Crest toothpaste, admitted that a family-sized tube “theoretically, at least, contains enough fluoride to kill a small child.”

Printed on the back of tubes of fluoridated toothpaste in the USA are these words mandated by the US Food and Drug ADMINISTRATION (FDA) since 1997: “WARNINGS: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control centre immediately.” This label is compulsory because of the very expensive lawsuits for “wrongful death” occurring as a result of children being poisoned by fluoridated toothpaste.

In New Zealand, the premier brand is Colgate. The Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection toothpaste, available in either a “great regular” or “cool mint” flavours, carries the warning: “Children 6 years of age and under should have adult supervision and use only a pea sized amount”. Another brand of Colgate carries the stark warning: “Do not swallow…..Children under 12 years of age: Use only on the advice of a dentist or doctor.”

In tubes labelled “Colgate Sensitive” and Colgate 12 I found no warning. But the “low fluoride” variety named “Colgate My First”, designed for 1 – 6 year old children carries the words: “Dentists recommend parents supervise brushing with just a pea-sized amount…..and ensure children spit and rinse afterwards.”

The “Total” and “Aim” brands state that for children under the age of six only a “smear” of the substance should be used.

I wonder how many of our parents have read or follow these instructions. How difficult is it to keep tubes for the children and adults separate? And how willing are our children to spit out the nicely flavoured medication after brushing? Is supervision a possibility with children, especially if there are several in the family?

Would it not make so much more sense to use nonfluoridated toothpastes such as “Natural”, Sensydine”, and Red Seal’s “Baking Soda”?

From my reading, the primary purpose given for fluoridating our water is to prevent cavities in the teeth of children aged between five and nine. But, we are told, the poison should be kept “out of reach” of five year olds.

And why are the rest of us required to ingest this substance?

The key issue is whether fluoride does or does not prevent tooth decay in children. Initially, some evidence seemed to justify this assumption. However, experts are claiming that from the earliest days the evidence has been unsubstantiated and questionable. For example, it has been shown that H. Trendley Dean, the dentist who encouraged the US Public Health Service to first introduce fluoridation at the urgings of the Aluminium industry, biased his analysis by wrongfully suppressing results indicating an alternative point of view.

Since then the controversy has raged with more and more reputable scientists becoming serious critics.

The obvious question most people ask is why is it that our dental profession continues to flourish when the promise was made that fluoride would end tooth decay?

A World Health Organisation study has shown that precisely the same trend in the reduction of tooth decay that has occurred in New Zealand, Australia and the USA at the time of introducing fluoride also occurred in those countries which refused to fluoridate their water.

Various reports, such as the landmark article, “The Mystery of Declining Tooth Decay” published by the internationally respected NATURE journal two decades ago (Vol.322, July 10, 1986), have projected that improved dental practices such as teeth brushing, flossing, visits to dentists, improved standards of living, and especially better diets with fruit, vegetables and cheese have made the difference – not ingested fluoride. The NATURE article states categorically: “Large temporal reductions in tooth decay….cannot be attributed to fluoridation.”

Clearly, once again, diet seems to be the crucial factor. Studies of people in primitive societies such as the Ibos in Nigeria, Bedouin in Israel, and Otomi Indians in Mexico, show they seldom, if ever, experience tooth decay.

There is mounting evidence from many surveys which indicate fluoridation of water is unnecessary. For example, the US National Institute of Dental Research in 1986-87 examined 39,207 children aged 5 – 7 years in 84 cities with and without fluoride. They concluded there was no enhancement in the health of teeth where the water was fluoridated. In fact, there was a 9.34 percent increase in decay among the children using fluoridated water.

A study of 20,272 students conducted in 491 areas of Japan revealed a 7 percent increase in cavities in fluoridated communities according to researcher Dr.Yoichi Imai.

In India research led by Professor Teotia over thirty years, and based on 400,000 children, concluded that tooth decay is enhanced by a deficiency of calcium and an excess of fluoride. Decay increases by 27% when the usual one part per million (1ppm) fluoride is added to the drinking water.

Dr. Steelink, of Arizona University’s Chemistry Department, described in 1992 a survey of 26,000 school children in Tucson which showed also that the incidence of decay increased when fluoride was added to water. He concluded: “The more fluoride a child drank, the more cavities appeared in the teeth.”

A prominent Biochemist, Dr John Yiamouyiannis, concluded on the basis of an analysis conducted by the Canadian National Institute of Dental Research involving 40,000 children that fluoride did not prevent teeth decay. He stated: “The only safe or optimum dose of fluoride is none at all.”

Are these and all the other reputable scientists misleading us?

SOME AUTHORITIES

Our authorities who promote fluoridation should be able to provide for us the names of leading scientists who can provide research based rebuttals.

But it will be a difficult task. It seems that more and more highly respected scientists are joining the ranks of the disaffected. The following are some more prominent critics:
+ Dr Arvid Carlsson, Pharmacologist, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology said in 2000 that adding fluoride to water “is against all principles of modern pharmacology. It’s obsolete…I think those nations that are using it should feel ashamed of themselves.”
+ Dr Ludwig Grosse, Chief of Cancer Research, US Veterans Administration stated: “The plain fact [is] that fluorine [noting that this is significantly different from fluoride ion used in the water supply and toothpaste] is an insidious poison, harmful, toxic and cumulative in its effects, even when ingested in minimal amounts.”
+ Chief Justice John Flaherty of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania judged: “The evidence is quite convincing that the addition of sodium fluoride to the public water supply at one part per million is extremely deleterious to the human body.”
+ Dr Professor Albert Schatz, renowned scientist, discoverer of streptomycin, a cure for tuberculosis, and some bacterial infections, simply stated: “Fluoridation….is the greatest fraud that has ever been perpetrated.”
+Dr Charles Gordon Heyd, past president of the American Medical Association, exclaimed: “I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs. Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long range basis. Any attempt to use water in this way is deplorable.”

And we should add to the list none other than one of Auckland’s most popular Mayors, Sir Dove-Myer Robinson. I have been loaned by a former fellow councillor a copy of “Robbie’s” carefully and neatly annotated book critical of fluoride entitled: “The American Fluoridation Experiment” by F.B.Exner,M.D. and G.L.Waldbott,M.D., published in 1957. His leadership of the citizens opposing fluoridation earned him considerable odium and the label of being eccentric.

CONVERSIONS

People who have been both advocate and critic are often able to provide most penetrating assessments. They have seen and understood all the arguments, and have been pilloried by both sides.

In 1999, Dr Hardy Limeback, Head of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University in Toronto, President of the Canadian Association for Dental Research and formerly Canada’s leading advocate of fluoridation changed his mind. He apologised to his colleagues and students for having “unintentionally” misled them. He cites as “proof positive” the comparison between two Canadian cities: “Here in Toronto we’ve been fluoridating for 36 years. Yet Vancouver – which has never fluoridated – has a cavity rate lower than Toronto’s”. He found that Torontonians have double the amount of fluoride in their hip bones as people living in Montreal – another fluoride free city. His article “Why I am Now Officially Opposed to Adding Fluoride to Drinking Water” is essential reading.

In New Zealand there has been a similar change of mind. Dr John Colquhoun, formerly Principal Dental Officer with the Auckland Department of Health, and Auckland local body politician, travelled internationally as a staunch advocate of fluoridation. As Chairman of the national Fluoridation Promotion Committee, he carried significant influence, and to the considerable consternation of the Mayor, Sir Dove-Myer Robinson, persuaded the City Council of Auckland to fluoridate the water.

However, Colquhoun’s subsequent research involving tooth decay statistics of 60,000 12 – 13 year old children revealed there was no difference in children’s teeth in fluoridated communities. In fact, in major fluoridated cities there was a detectable greater incidence in cavities. This, in addition to the worrying incidence of dental fluorosis, convinced him that he was mistaken. His subsequent research led him to link fluoridation also with both an increase in hip fractures and a form of bone cancer.

In 1986 this New Zealand whistle-blower also exposed a classic case of research fraud whereby the Ministry of Health claimed to have proved that fluoridated Hastings had 60% less cavities than nonnfluoridated Napier. However Napier has had less decay than Hastings.

Dr Colquon’s article published in “Perspectives in Biology and Medicine”, in 1997, “Why I Changed My Mind About Water Fluoridation” is more essential reading.

Another convert is the Canadian Dr Richard Foulkes, formerly Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology at the University of British Columbia. In 1973, as an advisor to the British Columbia authorities, he recommended mandatory fluoridation. The authorities did not follow his recommendation. Almost twenty years afterwards he discovered that the teeth of children from non-fluoridated area were as healthy as those from fluoridated areas. He stated: “A child’s brain is vulnerable to damage from fluoride even before birth and the result can be lowered IQ… Fluoride in drinking water may react with aluminium to cause Alzheimer’s disease.”

The earliest conversion I have encountered was that of Dr Robert Mick of New Jersey. He promoted fluoridation with enthusiasm until his research on sodium fluoride convinced him to change his mind in the late 1940’s.

Dr Mick was ordered to conceal his research. Dr. Foulkes was pilloried for “promoting the quackery of anti-fluoridationists”. Dr Colquhoun was sacked and widely denounced. Attempts were made to prevent him from publishing his research. Dr Limeback has been cautioned.

TOXICITY RESEARCH

More than 1,100 scientists employed by the US Environmental Protection Agency publicly countered the position held by their authorities and denounced this substance as toxic. One of them, Dr Robert Caxton, in 1992, said on CBC TV that fluoridation was “the greatest case of scientific fraud of this century, if not of all time.”

Many studies, such as the recently published and long awaited 576 page report by the US National Academics Research Council and sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency, give clear credence to the belief that fluoride not only fails to protect teeth but that it should be outlawed as a toxic substance.

This report has endorsed many previous reports such as that of the US Public Health Service published in 1993 which claimed that some segments of the population are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of fluoride. These include “postmenopausal women and elderly men, pregnant women and their fetuses, people with deficiencies of calcium, magnesium and /or Vitamin C, and people with cardiovascular and kidney problems.” And none of these people are deriving any benefits from fluoridation.

In 1998 scientists from the US Environmental Protection Agency declared the research which established the Maximum Contaminant Level allowable was “fraudulent”. And, recently, the US National Academy of Sciences determined that the allowable limit for fluoride in city water supplies should be reduced “immediately” to prevent children suffering from both dental and skeletal fluorosis as well as increased bone fractures.

Dr Limeback has stated categorically that “fluoride should be banned” because of dental fluorosis which is a staining, mottling and pitting of teeth: “In Canada we are now spending more money treating dental fluorosis than we do treating cavities. That includes my own practice.”

Let us grant for the moment that there is some possibility fluoride will counter cavity creating bacteria in children’s teeth by strengthening the enamel. However, during this time, while the enamel is being formed, experts are saying that the fluoride causes dental fluorosis. This destruction of the enamel creates the condition for a subsequently increased rate of cavities.

Moreover, Dr Limeback claims research reveals dental fluorosis is the earliest symptom of skeletal fluorosis which is a “debilitating condition that occurs when fluoride accumulates in the bones making them extremely weak and brittle.” Furthermore, unlike dental fluorosis, the skeletal manifestation does not become apparent until the onset of a crippling condition.

Dr Limeback explains that during our formative years fluoride can “alter the basic architecture of human bones”. It impedes the proper formation of collagen and collagen-like proteins not only in the teeth but also in the bones, skin, muscles and cartilage. This, he claims, is the reason why there are twice the number of hip bone problems than in fluoride free cities.

Similarly, in his book “Fluoride: The Aging Factor”, Dr Yiamouyiannis affirmed: “While no one is going to die from drinking one glass of fluoridated tap water, just as no one will die from smoking one cigarette, it is the longer-term chronic effects of glass after glass of fluoridated water that takes its toll in human health – and life.” And, with other commentators, he argues that there is a greater incidence of torn ligaments, arthritis, premature aging of the skin, chronic fatigue, intestinal upset and osteoporosis in areas of water borne fluoride poisoning.

In 1992 Dr William Marcus, while employed as Chief Toxicologist in the US Environmental Protection Agency, dared to disclose his research that established connections between fluoride and hip fractures and carcinogens. He was fired for his indiscretion.

Dr Elise Bassin, a clinical instructor in Oral Health and Epidemiology, did research for her doctorate at the Harvard School of Medicine. Her findings, suppressed for four years until 2004 and published online on 14th October 2006 in “Cancer Causes and Control”, the official journal of the Harvard Centre for Cancer Prevention, show “pre-adolescent boys who drink fluorinated water are at a seven-fold increased risk of osteosarcoma, an often fatal bone cancer”…. “diagnosed before age 20.”

Dr Bassin’s findings endorse those of the National Institute of Health and the New Jersey Health Department in 1992 which similarly detected increased levels (three to seven times higher) of bone cancer in boys who drank and bathed in fluoridated water.

Between 1991 – 1993 the US National Cancer Institute, the New Jersey Department of Health, and the Safe Water Foundation presented research to demonstrate that osteosarcoma was significantly greater in men exposed to fluoridated water.

Research presented in 1992 involving more than 30 experiments on animals suggested fluoride is toxic to brain tissue causing a reduction in learning and memory capabilities. Also, a UNICEF study has documented reduced cognitive ability and higher rates of mental retardation because of fluoride toxicity.

Dr Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon and former editor of the Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons contends fluoride can cause and enhance the development of Alzheimers, Parkinsons and Lou Gehrig’s diseases. There is a report by the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility in 2000 describing such neurotoxic effects.

Until the 1970’s, European doctors used fluoride to treat hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) often by bathing patients in fluoridated water. Now, allegedly, with water-borne fluoride there is an increase in hypo-thyroidisim (underactive thyroid) causing serious problems especially for women over forty, such as heart disease, weight gain, fatigue and muscle pain.

Various studies have been conducted which establish that fluoride can weaken the immune system and cause immune deficiency diseases. For example, in 1985, Japanese researchers connected such diseases with as little as 10% of the amount of fluoride used in their water supply. A similar study yielded a similar result in Russia. And, in a Court case in Scotland, both sides of the debate finally agreed that fluoride does weaken the immune system.

Research by highly reputable laboratories such as the Argonne National Laboratories, the Battelle Research Institute and Proctor and Gamble have found an “iron-clad link” between fluoride and cancer in rodents. With research involving humans all they are claiming is that there appears to be an association with gastric, lung, liver and bone cancers.

The defenders of the faith should be able to reassure us that allegations in the recently published US National Research Council Report are not cause for any concern. For example, should it bother us that:
“Fluoride can stimulate secretion of acid in the stomach, reduce blood flow away from the stomach lining, dilate blood vessels, increase redness in the stomach lining, and cause desquamation of the GI tract epithelium” (pp231 and 236)?

And what do the protagonists say about such statements in the US Physicians’ Desk Reference as:
“In hypersensitive individuals, fluorides occasionally cause skin eruptions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, or urticaria. Gastric distress, headache, and weakness have also been reported. These hypersensitive reactions usually disappear promptly after discontinuation of the fluoride.”

How should a City Councillor respond, especially one who is not a scientist? Can it all be nonsense, or scaremongering for some strange reason, or hype, or some conspiracy? Should we pass by on the other side? Or is it our responsibility to respond?

But there is more.

PEDIATRIC PROBLEMS

Particularly worrying studies relate to reduced fertility, birth defects and pediatric problems. The US Department of Health and Human Services stated in 1991 that “The effects of fluoride on the reproductive system merit further investigation.” Professor Howard, a toxico-pathologist at the University of Ulster, has challenged “the dubious practice of mass medication via the water supply”…. “particularly for the unborn and infants”.

Dr A.K Susheela, of the India Institute of Medical sciences in New Delhi, published as far back as 1986 an extensive, government sponsored research programme which showed that “high levels of fluoride in drinking water are clearly associated with birth defects, still births and early infant mortality.” As a consequence of this exposure millions of Indians were afflicted with skeletal fluorosis which significantly interferes with the formation of the bones. In response the Indian government constructed defluoridation plants to supply clean drinking water.

A later report by Dr Susheela et al in 2005 described “well-defined hormonal derangements in children drinking water with 1.1 – 14.3 mg/L of fluoride.” The concentration of fluoride imposed by fluoridation in New Zealand is 1.0mg/L (one milligram per litre usually expressed as 1ppm or one part per million).

One research paper states that bottle-fed newborn babies are receiving a dose of fluoride as much as 700% higher than the maximum safe limit declared by the World Health Organisation.

Various medical authorities have questioned the practice of giving fluoride to infants and especially to babies under six months. But how can you avoid it if it is in their food, drinks, and bath water?

The Canadian Dental Association has stated: “Fluoride supplements should not be recommended for children less than three years old.”

On the 9th November, 2006, in an email “alert”, the American Dental Association reversed its policy of supporting fluoride without qualification by giving new guidelines. These stated both that fluoridated water should not be mixed into concentrated formula or food for babies aged one year or younger, and that “Children should stay away from fluoride toothpaste for two years.”

This “alert” endorsed the findings of the US Food and Drug Administration (October 2006) and the US National Research Council Report (March 2006) which expressed significant concern that fluoridated water can lead to babies being overdosed with fluoride.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has judged, that to protect babies, the fluoride levels in our water supply should be near zero. Dr Simon Beisler, past president of the American Urological Association has claimed: “It is now clear that fluoride is a potentially harmful substance when present in the drinking water in any amount.”

Dr. Limeback, from Toronto, goes further stating categorically that “Children under the age of three should never use fluoridated water. And baby formula must never be made up using tap water. Never.” We must stop “poisoning our children.”

THE CHALLENGE

Such examples from the accumulating body of research challenge us to hold to account those promoting this highly dubious practice of using what so many scientists deem to be a poisonous substance to mass medicate our water supply. Certainly, the protagonists should have at their disposal research that can demonstrate such allegations as these are false. They should be able to demonstrate to us
that fluoride is a medically safe nutrient and not a toxin,
that there are no harmful side effects,
that fluoride does not accumulate in our bodies,
that there are genuinely beneficial effects, and
that the amount used is a scientifically determined safe dose of fluoride for people of all ages, and especially babies.

We should also be reassured that the authorities know precisely what our total intake of fluoride is – from all fluoride based products such as insecticides, fungicides, cigarettes, tranquillisers, dental gels, industrial pollution, tea leaves (which accumulate more fluoride than most other plants), Prozac, Teflon pans, tranquillisers, soy infant formula, as well as toothpaste and water. And we should note that boiling water fortifies rather than cancels the presence of fluoride.

Research published in 1991 by the US Public Health Service showed the total daily consumption of fluoride was 6.5 milligrams – a level in excess of the amount known to cause the third stage of skeletal fluorosis. This must be an average amount because the doses we receive relate to many variables only two of which are the many different levels of water we each consume daily and the type of toothpaste we use. Surely, any medicine has to be controlled and tailored to meet the differing ages and stages of the patients for whom it is prescribed.

Is there any convincing argument to vindicate the belief that it can be good medical practice to compulsorily prescribe and medicate everyone, regardless of our medical situation, with such a dubious chemical?

It would be a matter of historical interest to learn why fluoride was introduced. To what extent has it been driven by a multi-million dollar profit focused industry?

And how could such a prestigious body like the American Medical Association rest easily after admitting in 1965 that they had “not carried out any research work, either long-term or short-term, regarding the possibilities of any side effects”? Does it not worry them that so many scientists around the world are providing research establishing that this chemical does not inhibit tooth decay? Are they not concerned that their reputation is being dented with each research that connects fluoride with another serious illness?

Surely, we are entitled to be given hard evidence proving that this practice of adding the allegedly purified by-product of a toxic industrial waste to our water supply has not been a mistake.

Given the research available in the medical world we might expect that fluoride will fail a rigorous testing regime and earn the dubious distinction of being recognised as another unacceptable poison. Products such as asbestos, lead, beryllium, DDT, 2,4,5-T, hydroflurocarbons and freons were commonly used before being proscribed or severely curtailed because of toxic side effects. Is it not the case that fluoride should be added to this list?

Clearly, as soon as possible, we should seriously reconsider our use of this substance in our toothpaste and whether we should be entitled to enjoy the same unpolluted fresh water as those living in Onehunga.

LEGAL ISSUES

There are now legal reasons, as well as the crucial health related arguments, for ending this programme.

On the 31st March, 2004, the European Parliament (Directive 2004/27/EC) determined that all substances eaten or drunk be classified either as food or medicine. Pro-fluoridationists have elevated this toxic substance by referring to it as a “wonder nutrient”. But when fluoride is added to water to protect teeth it is obviously not a food but a medicine. Consequently, it must be subjected to the stringent tests required for the registration and licensing of safe medicines. But until the medicinal purposes have been validated, should it be legal to use sodium fluoride as a medicinal intervention?

Secondly, Article 5 of the “Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with Regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine” states clearly that “An intervention in the health field may only be carried out after the person concerned has given free and informed consent.” Have the authorities that have imposed this unnecessary toxin been interested in the ethics or legality of informed consent?

Thirdly, in the Local Government Act 1974 066, we read [392 Pollution of water supply – Every person commits an offence against this Act who (a) Directly or indirectly pollutes or causes to be polluted water supply…..in such a manner as to make the water a danger to human health or offensive.” Are we, the local authorities who fluoridate the water in breach of this article?

COUNCIL’S RESPONSIBILITY

As a City Councillor I am deeply concerned that we are inflicting on our citizens, without their permission and with the pretence of providing medication, a substance that is becoming increasingly notorious as an unnecessary toxin?

I can not imagine how we, as a Council, could defend ourselves in any action involving this scientifically suspicious, apparently unethical, and probably illegal form of mass medication?

Is there not some lesson to be learned from the recent history of the tobacco industry?

My judgement is that we must have strong evidence to prove there is significant benefit or we must end our dalliance with this fad which pretends to medicate our citizens as soon as possible.

However, as indicated, we should provide the proponents with the democratic opportunity to answer all the questions and defend their practice. We should subject their answers and the arguments against fluoridation to a full literature search and review by a respected research scientist. Then there should be a full review conducted by a panel of professional experts, as well as a public referendum conducted with a competently structured, carefully stated and factually accurate questionnaire. This process would enable the Council to exercise its governance role responsibly on the basis of research based knowledge.

Perhaps somewhat perversely, after all my hours of research, my sincere hope remains that the profluoridationists will be proved right and the increasing numbers of us who have become critics will be proved wrong — because our families, friends and ourselves have been subjected to this substance for so long.

But in the meantime, mindful of the overwhelming research-based and peer-reviewed literature on the toxicity of fluoridation, and to err on the side of caution, we should endorse the wisdom of Onehunga and implement a temporary ban on the fluoridation of our water supply.

MOTIONS FOR THE AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL

That a competent researcher be appointed to review the available evidence and literature. This will be the basis for an assessment by a panel of experts including, for example, a dentist, nutritionist, epidemiologist, ethicist, and public health expert. The panel will report back to the Council and the people of Auckland for a policy determination.

That, as a precaution, Council will require that the practice of fluoridating our water supply cease until such time as the final policy determination has been made.

That, a referendum will be held, if at all possible, in association with the election in October 2007.

That, Council will request government to forbid the sale of toothpaste containing sodium fluoride, fluoridated mouth rinses, fluoride tablets, and fluoride treatments given by dentists.

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