The community I live in is under threat from anti-fluoride activists. As a scientist and educator and citizen this is a concern. Cities work best when the decision makers are kept honest by citizens. As a responsible and knowledgeable member of my community I sent the letter below to the Mayor and City Council. Interestingly, the Editor of the local paper made the same point, that the Council would be best to follow Health Department advice.
My message: Please as sustainability advocates be involved.
On the Fluoridation of our drinking water.
I would like to say how pleased I am to live in a city with leadership that provides water to health authority guidelines. Specifically, I am please the the city council has followed the advice of the health authorities and fluoridated the water.
My concern is that recently your council has come under pressure from a vocal and misinformed group (Fluoride action group, FAN) who claim to know better that the dentists and Doctors.
I am scientifically trained, with a PhD in chemistry and I teach in here. An important part of my teaching is encouraging postgraduate students to critically use the scientific literature. I particularly warn my students to beware of the biases of activist organizations such as FAN. Professional and academic sources are, as a general rule, stronger and more reliable.
The thing is, when campaigners such as these use the scientific literature, they do so selectively, looking for the tiniest note that supports their position. The question their research seeks to answer is, “What can I find, that can be used (twisted) to help our case?” In contrast, when the health authorities us the literature, they look at all the information. Their question is, “On the balance of all of the information, what is the best for our communities?” Additionally, the professionals have the knowledge and skills to make a judgement, amateurs do not!
The City Council has a responsibility, I expect legally; as well as morally and practically, to provide water to “best practice.” That is what you have been doing. Please continue to follow the guidance of the appropriate health authorities. Tell the campaigners to approach the Health Department and to discuss their concerns with them. And continue to fluoridate our water.
Just one final point. I was brought up drinking rainwater. No fluorine. My teeth are consequently filled with fillings; my children’s teeth are pretty much filling free. Thank you for this.