The city council of Hamilton, a small city of about 150,000 population 100kms south of Auckland (some people live in Hamilton and commute to Auckland by car daily) has just announced that in 2 weeks they will STOP adding fluoride to everyones water supply.
The council will save almost $1,000 a week by doing so. Obviously the dental associations are up in arms, claiming that dental health will suffer. Possibly it well, but having perfect teeth when you are 80 years old, won’t help you much, if you die of cancer at 55.
At first I wondered why the council would continue to fluoridate the water for the next two weeks instead of stopping immediately, but it was explained that it was to use up existing stocks. Long ago, I heard that the fluoride that is added to drinking water is considered a toxic waste. It is not allowed to just be dumped at normal rubbish dumps and must pay huge fees for special toxic waste disposal. With more and more of the stuff being produced as a byproduct of the petrochemical industry, producers have to get rid of it somehow. What better way than to dilute it and send it away in everyone’s drinking water. You can even charge money for supplying it !
Much is made of the fact that a couple of half-arsed studies have shown a co-relation between fluoridated city water supplies and better dental health outcomes (when compared to, often poorer country areas, with un-fluoridated water). However I think you will find that home ownership will improve dental health as much if not more than fluoride.
In the longer term, person’s buying a basic home are usually better off financially than those renting longterm. Also remaining in the same place for many years encourages people to link with their local community, including services such as local doctors’ and dentists’ practices.
I would like to see some genuine and proper scientific studies about the efficacy of fluoridation in and of itself, where the other factors (well known for their effects on public health) such as income and wealth, health insurance (or not), home owners or tenants, are accounted for.
The question should be asked “Is fluoride really good for dental health, or have all the studies to date, effectively just been comparing wealthier people with their own homes in stable communities, to poorer more mobile populations of rental tenants, who get less community, and therefore health and dental support ?” The second question to ask is “Whether any improved dental outcomes are worth any side-effects (such as any increased risk of cancers etc)”.
I am glad that more and more New Zealand councils are making the decision to stop forcefully medicating their residents, whether they want it or not. Any folks that want MORE fluoride than they get in toothpaste, can just get supplements and take them as they see fit. (Note that an item on Hamilton’s fluoridation was on TV3’s Campbell Live tv show tonight 5 June 2013)
ADDITIONAL… On the TV One Breakfast Show on Thursday 6 June, they interviewed a GP representing a group who supported fluoridating water supplies. Mention was made of an earlier interview (I didn’t see) with a person speaking against fluoridation. However the presenters, Toni Street especially, seemed to be coming across as very strongly pro-fluoridation. In future, a little bit more neutrality and objectivity please Toni.