Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Why changed my mind about fluoridation

In principle I don't like people adding stuff to mass medicate. For example I don't support fortifying flour with vitamins/minerals, which could seem at odds with my pro supplementation stance. However when you legislate mass medication, what you do is get the lowest cost product added into food. This lowest cost my have poor bio-availability and poor dose control. Fluoridation is especially problematic as it cannot be easily or inexpensively removed from water supply (you have to goto serious industrial water treatment to even have a chance). Therefore unlike chlorine you can't get rid of it once it is in the water.

This combined with a miss reading of analysis data (a risk being dyslexic) lead me to believe that fluoridation for water supplies was inappropriate. This was because I miss read the basal level of fluoride in the Waikato River and that dose level was higher than it actually is.

So in sitting down to write an article for a magazine about why fluoridation was wrong, I actually came to change my mind. The two key bits of information are:

The original study. This is the key study which demonstrated the effect of fluoride in water supplies. Each data point was the kids average cavities in that city. (Schutte, Trace Elements book)

Clarification of dose levels. I unfortunately got confused with units/levels, so thought that the fluoridation level was 10 units, so clearly over medicating, hence my opposition. At this high levels you could get impacts in young bottle feed infants, and older people who have spent decades accumulating fluoride into bone structures. However the NZ health regulations state the level is 0.7 - 1.0 PPM. Clearly this is the appropriate region compared to the graph.

Hence my change of heart!

So I do publicly declare that I support fluoridation in NZ water supplies. If you have data to argue otherwise I am always open to debate :) Let the data speak.......

PS for those who worry about the basal level of the Waikato river, it does have a reasonably high level, I do believe due to the geothermal power stations putting "waste" water into the river. This waste water is the condensed steam that is not pumped back into the ground, or vented to the atmosphere. (It is also a major source of arsenic which pollutes the down streams water supplies!) There is measurement systems in the Hamilton water treatment plant that monitors the fluoride level in what is effectively real time, and only doses the appropriate amount of fluoride to bring it up to the appropriate level. (For those paranoid people I have actually seen this equipment working with my one eyes)       

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