Onus on government
Thanks for the chutzpah Doug Reckord (Letters, 7/4). After attempting to overwhelm readers with upwards of 20 unsubstantiated claims lauding the merits of fluoride, Doug hypocritically goes for gold by condemning opponents of the poison by claiming that they offer no evidence to support their position.
As far as I’m concerned, it shouldn’t be left up to the community to convince government that it’s wrong to add poison to our water supply, but rather the onus should be on government to convince the community that what it wants to do is absolutely risk free.
Next time Doug wants to put some “facts” on the table, perhaps he could also include the value of income now enjoyed by the likes of foreign-owned aluminium producers such as Alcan after they managed to convert a high cost fluoride poison waste disposal process into a highly profitable line of business, through clever marketing?
John Richardson, Wallagoot
Support for fluoride
Recently your paper published a story with an irresponsible headline that showed three local dentists and a doctor had joined forces with anti-fluoridation activists.
The story neglected to mention that professional associations representing thousands of doctors and dentists (the Australian Dental Association and the Australian Medical Association) publicly support fluoridation of water supplies.
The Australian Dental Association states:
“Community water fluoridation continues to be the most cost-effective, equitable and safe means to provide protection from tooth decay and has been successfully utilised in Australia for more than 50 years.”
That advice is consistent with every peak dental, medical and scientific body in Australia.
Perhaps the local media could survey all the general practitioners and dentists in our district so that readers could more accurately gauge the views of those professions rather than just presenting the views of those individuals aligned with anti-fluoridation lobby groups?
Doug Reckord, Kalaru
At a time when the practice of water fluoridation is being rejected by the majority of western countries, it is astonishing to me that the Bega Valley Shire Council would be considering potential fluoridation of its water supplies.
Water fluoridation would be forcing whole communities to ingest a medicine, irrespective of individual consent, and with many of the residents deeply opposed to fluoride consumption. Even individual doctors are not permitted to compulsorily medicate their patients in this way.
Whether you personally attribute credibility to the pro-fluoride or anti-fluoride side of the argument, it is unquestionably a divided issue and must therefore remain a matter of personal choice for a much more important reason.
There is a fundamental principle at stake here. That is “the right of an individual to retain personal responsibility over his or her own life and his or her health”. If you start to let this principle slip, where does it stop?
I find it morally offensive therefore to see any members of the council considering this deeply vital principle as so trifling that they would make it subservient to the dubious issue of whether water fluoridation is a good thing.
In any event, doesn’t research advise that fluoride is better applied topically to the tooth surface (ie. like toothpaste) for maximum effect versus being systemically ingested (ie. drinking) where there is an endless list of potential hazards to other organs and general health?
On the subject of what I am describing as the subservient issue, whether fluoridation is harmful or not, it is worth noting here what we surely all know already. Wherever there is commercial gain riding on the outcome of scientific research, we see unreliable and conflicting information presented, debated and lobbied, and this prevails for many decades beyond the time when independent research first provides evidence of potential harmful side-effects of the commercial product.
Furthermore, it should be noted that in the early 1950s when water fluoridation was first accepted in the USA (effectively creating a huge market to sell the hazardous fluoride waste product produced by the phosphate fertilizer industry) it was also the era of the mainstream denial of the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, and a time when anyone who held the view that all food and diet impacted health or disease in some way, was to be regarded by mainstream medicine as either an unscientific simpleton or health crank.
As the Hippocratic principle embodies, “First do no harm”. For Councillors to serve that principle, I cannot see how they could do anything but reject water fluoridation on the basis of; 1) Upholding the most important democratic freedom of “the right of an individual to retain personal responsibility over his or her own life and his or her own health”, and 2) Declining water fluoridation on the grounds that whilst one side cites research indicating the benefits of strengthening teeth, there is much research that indicates that it simultaneously harms the body when ingested systemically.
The final straw in making it a “No” to fluoridation is that compared with drinking fluoridated water, there simply are more effective ways of getting a higher quality of fluoride applied to teeth topically, where it is more effectively absorbed. This method is voluntarily accessible to only those who wish to use fluoride, meaning that everyone can have their cake and eat it too (or not).
In closing, I would say that I respect enormously the amount of hard work each councillor does individually, and their obligation to follow their own conscience. I am certain however that I will not genuinely respect, nor vote again for any councillor that would undermine such an important democratic principle as “the right of their constituents to retain personal responsibility over their own lives and their own health”.
Doubtless there are many others who would hold this principle as dear, and as the primary issue, regardless of their particular views on fluoridation itself.