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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Debate about the science of fluoridation is far from "effectively settled" - Updated

Sir Peter Gluckman: Statement on flouride

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, KNZM FRSNZ FMedSci FRS
Chief Science Advisor
Media release
12 June 2013
“The science of fluoride in water is effectively settled. It has been one of the most thoroughly worked questions in public health science over many decades,” says Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.
In a statement released today on the issue of fluoride in public water supplies, Sir Peter reiterates the scientific facts, saying “it is absolutely clear that at doses used in New Zealand to adjust the natural level to one that is consistent with beneficial effects (0.7-1.0mg/litre), there is no health risk from fluoride in the water.”
So why is there any issue at all?
Sir Peter points to the importance of the values debate around fluoridation, but warns that this should not be misrepresented as a scientific debate. 
“An inherent challenge for any public health intervention is the issue of how to balance the common good with individual rights, but this is a question of societal values not science.” Pointing to the similarities with instituting a seatbelt law, he reminds us that while the benefits of wearing a seatbelt had long been proven, whether to apply the science-based knowledge was a question of societal values.
A second values-based concern that the fluoridation issue raises is whether society can accept using food (or in this case water) as a medium for delivering a proven public health intervention. But just as with iodised salt to prevent cretinism and goiter, the scientific debate is closed and it is purely an issue of values.
Sir Peter warns against the misuse or inappropriate and alarmist use of science as a proxy for such values debates. “It is often easier for those seeking to advance values-based concerns to make the science sound scary or more uncertain than it is. Indeed, it becomes a tactic amongst those who become passionate about their cause,” he says. “Such values debates are critical for a healthy democracy, but they cannot proceed usefully if the debate is taken to be about science.”
Scientists do not have a privileged position within a values debate beyond clarifying when science is being misused – such debates must be resolved through the political process - whether local or nationally.

Here is the riposte of the Fluoride Action Network
© Scoop Media

I think Professor Gluckman is proving to us that most very good scientists know a heck of a lot about one narrow area of scientific inquiry: It is impossible to be a scientific expert in everything which the science advisor to the Prime Minister presumably is trying to be!  And now Professor Gluckman is an expert on fluoridation which he considers "settled"! Few scientists would ever use such words.  Nothing is ever settled in science - in my opinion anyway.

This Youtube video is about a common form of damage done to teeth by excess fluoride and indicates that the tide may be turning in favour of getting fluoride out of municipal water supplies:

While most of the debate over fluoridation is focused on prevention of tooth decay, sight has been lost of the crucial role of the halides, fluorine, chlorine and bromine and their implication in many diseases, including thyroid disease and cancer such as breast cancer.

These halides dominate their fellow halide, iodine, shoving it out of organs like the thyroid and breast tissues and blocking iodine from attaching to cell receptors.

At the same time, iodine has been as good as completely removed from the modern diet. 90% or more of the New Zealand population are very low in iodine, including most children. Low iodine in the presence of increasing environmental contamination by the other halides (fluorine, clhorine and iodine) are one of the best explanations for the epidemic of thyroid and breast disease, to name a few ailments that may be associated with iodine deficiency. 

Fluorine, chlorine and bromine sit on top of iodine on the periodic table.
My interest in the fluoride debate is not so much about the issue of dental decay but from the study of an echelon of exhausted elite swimmers. The common factor appears to be spending many hours soaking in halides, including fluorine.  In my opinion the practice is distinctly unhealthy.