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Fluoride-wise, it ought to be two strikes and you’re out

Sunday, Nov. 28, 1999

By John Machado
Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh, PA

There’s a dangerous move afoot in the Pennsylvania legislature to mandate fluoridation of water supplies throughout the state. HB 939 is dangerous two ways: First, it would be a mandate. Second, it would add fluoride to drinking water in spite of evidence that such an additive causes more harm than good.

This bill is a despotic and unwarranted piece of legislation that’s designed to force a toxic substance on many people who don’t understand it, don’t want it or shouldn’t have to deal with it.

The entire history of fluoridated water is suspect. Some would have you believe that it is a miraculous stroke of good fortune that something with the power to curb tooth decay happens to be the material that is the corrosive by-product of the aluminum and fertilizer industries. It’s shipped in rubber-lined trucks to participating cities and towns. Are we lucky or what?

Other folks would prefer to believe that an industry stuck with heaps of hazardous waste cleverly ‘invented’ a way to get rid of their junk and make a buck on it to boot. Would that make every proponent of this fluoridation idea an evil schemer? You might wonder so when Edward Bernays, U.S. pro-fluoridation public relations expert, declares that: "A re-definition of ethics is necessary ... the subject matter of the propaganda need not necessarily be true."

This guy had previously made my ‘worry list.’ He’s the Nixon staffer who said: "It is the inherent right of government to lie to the people."

As with all philosophical adventures, good, bad and misguided, some of the passionate advocates are true believers, some are victims of their own wishes and dreams and others may be deliberately opportunistic. That might begin to explain the rush to fluoridation.

But, what about the rush to legislate directives which force each municipality to conform? What is the motivation? The sponsors, of course, will tell you that it’s their concern for the public health. Why not, then, outlaw French Fries or mandate vitamin C across the state? Do we lack clinical proof that, on average, we are obese and need help and that foods fried in - catch this word - fat have a lot to do with that?

There are the folks who say that fluoride is toxic trash and nothing more, that the whole story of beneficial effects on teeth is a charade. What do we do with them? Have they no rights?

There are those who say that all rules should be made at the most local of levels possible. What of these voices in the night? And, what of the data comparing two cities in New York state over 50 years and concluding that the only difference in fluoridated communities and non-fluoridated communities is twice the dental fluorosis in the communities with treated water?

A study by dentists trained by the National Institute of Dental Research verifies the experience in Newburgh and Kingston, New York: more harm than good.

Toxicology experts warn that all fluoridation programs and plans should be discontinued. Political experts warn that people should be wary of legislators who ignore documented scientific proof and seek to impose unnecessary rules on those outside their jurisdiction.

In this game, two strikes should be plenty.

Last modified: 9 September 2001

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