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View Diary: Who wants fluoride in their beer? (148 comments)

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  •  I do (6+ / 0-)

    Fluoride occurs naturally in many water supplies. In numerous studies of otherwise-similar populations (one with fluoride in the drinking water, the other without), it has been conclusively demonstrated that the former has better dental health than the latter.

    Are you opposed to chlorine in your drinking water too?

    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

    by N in Seattle on Sat May 18, 2013 at 01:43:07 PM PDT

    •  Chlorine degrades into innocuous (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      winglion, 4Freedom, Kevskos

      Components.

      Flouride is an industrial waste byproduct that must be denoted as hazardous waste.

      Apples and oranges

      •  Chlorination can cause (4+ / 0-)

        byproducts which can be cancerous, according to the WHO.

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sat May 18, 2013 at 01:50:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The benefits outweigh the risks (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          winglion, 4Freedom, True North, Kevskos

          There is no medical benefit to flouride in water though. Only if it is applied to the teeth.

          •  Not sure it's that clear cut. (4+ / 0-)

            I remember when this issue came up locally a few years ago it seemed a bit ambiguous, but the weight of the evidence seemed in favor of adding small amounts of fluoride.

            Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sat May 18, 2013 at 02:04:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Take all the fluoride you want (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              winglion

              You can ingest as much fluoride as you think best for your health.

              But anyone who chooses not to ingest fluoride should not be forced to do so by elected officials adding it to the municipal water supply.

              Even if your doctor strenuously urges you to take some medication, it is your right to decide, as a patient, whether to do so or not.

              The city wants no backtalk: they've decided that 100% of the population will benefit--or, maybe less than 100%, but who cares about some minority that might be hurt?--and therefore the entire population will get this medication in their water, like it or not.

              •  I doubt ingestion is going to help much. (0+ / 0-)

                What I've read is that the reason fluoridated water has an effect is not because it's ingested. If you injected the same water into your system, it probably wouldn't have the same benefit as drinking it orally. As for me, I don't need it, but those who don't have access to adequate dental care may benefit from it.

                Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sat May 18, 2013 at 06:30:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  That, in my opinion, is the only logical argument (0+ / 0-)

                against community water fluoridation. Nearly all the other stuff -- the toxic industrial waste bullshit and preying on people's ignorance about dose-response -- are fear-mongering.

                But there is a legitimate question of whether public water supplies should or should not be used to deliver low, but beneficial, levels of substances designed to improve average public health.

                It's a valid question and worthy of a good philosophical discussion.

                The problem is, that question gets drowned out by the anti-fluoridation hysteria, some of which you've propagated in earlier comments to this diary.

      •  Why should we be dosed if we do not want it? (4+ / 0-)

        If you want fluoride go to the dentist and get the real stuff or use tooth  paste and or a rinse.
        The health risks to the rest of our bodies should be researched before inflicting it on the general populace. We deal with enough toxins we do not need any more.

    •  I think we should medicate the entire population (4+ / 0-)

      with mood enhancers to increase cooperation and production. It would cut down on violence, make the job of law enforcement easier, and contribute to better mental health, and a more productive economy. And the way to refute opposition is to declare it a public health issue.  

      I mean, why stop with fluoride?

      /snark

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Sat May 18, 2013 at 02:05:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's sorta jarring to see this diary on the list, (12+ / 0-)

      right above one entitled "War on Science Rages On".  We're a diverse lot, I'll grant that.

      Here's the thing:

      There have been some studies questioning the overall effectiveness of fluoridation in a world where advanced dentistry and fluoride toothpaste are more readily available.  There have been some studies questioning the long-term impact of water fluoridation on the body, especially the kidneys.  There are environmental questions, economic questions (who stands to benefit?) and political questions, and most of them are valid questions.

      But if we apply the same criteria for assessing fluoridation that we do to global warming - like that nifty 97% chart that's been posted around the site - then we recognize that the evidence in favor of fluoridation far, far, far outweighs the concerns.  There's a bit of confirmation bias in the way people slough off the very extensive positive evidence and inflate the somewhat meager negative evidence, but as far as public policy science goes, fluoridation is one of the least scientifically controversial and most well-attested.

      That doesn't mean the anti-fluoridation stance is wrong - some of this is ideological rather than scientific, meaning it's focused on different routes to public health - but it's just not particularly good science, or particularly good public policy, to approach it in this way.

      (Even the Western Europe comparison is telling: given the usual causes of tooth decay, I think the fact that Americans are in parity with Western Europe despite our dietary choices is as much anecdotal evidence in favor of fluoridation here as anything else.)

      It would screw up the flavor of beer made from public water, though.  And that'd be a travesty.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Sat May 18, 2013 at 02:10:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If fluoride is for you (6+ / 0-)

        Nothing is stopping you from getting it from your dentist.

        Why ruin numerous economies and place infants and compromised adults in danger to do so?

        •  Presumes access to a good dentist, no? (8+ / 0-)

          That's roughly why fluoridation became a public health issue rather than a private health issue in the first plate.  I suggested above that it's less of a problem now: there's a salient argument over whether our current health situation (more widespread access to modern dentistry, fluoride toothpastes) has outstripped the need for a broad public policy.  

          I'm not equipped to answer that, but what I find less convincing are science-based arguments that inflate the evidence against it in ways that, were this a different issue, not many of us would be willing to weigh strongly in its disfavor.  It's not putting infants and compromised adults in danger: as per your links, it's putting them at risk of mild enamel fluorosis, or discoloration of the teeth.  It's not ruining numerous economies, whatever that means.  

          (I even scrolled through the massive scientific review that Clean Water Portland is using as the basis for its health claims.  Most of them, like the alleged claims about IQ, are far more tentative and unsure than what that website claims: they come from a handful of studies from China whose methodologies the reviewers were unable to verify.  Worse still, this is the conclusion of the review's summary:

          The committee's conclusions regarding the potential for adverse effects from fluoride at 2 to 4 mg/L in drinking water do not address the lower exposures commonly experienced by most U.S. citizens. Fluoridation is widely practiced in the United States to protect against the development of dental caries; fluoride is added to public water supplies at 0.7 to 1.2 mg/L. The charge to the committee did not include an examination of the benefits and risks that might occur at these lower concentrations of fluoride in drinking water.
          This does not speak well of Clean Water Portland's use of the data.  I'd even say it's damning.)

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Sat May 18, 2013 at 02:56:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is the issue. (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pgm 01, ZhenRen, 4Freedom, True North, Kevskos

            Instead of making actual medical care available the go for the half assed solution. A solution with no real evidence of working yet substantial evidence of harm.

            •  This is the issue: (5+ / 0-)
              A solution with no real evidence of working yet substantial evidence of harm.
              That is the exact opposite of what the research says.  You can make the argument against fluoridation on various terms, but the reason I keep objecting your version of the science is that there is 1. significant evidence of working and 2. very little evidence of harm.  So I find this direction very unconvincing.

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Sat May 18, 2013 at 03:09:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Show me which city has fluoride and (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kevskos, True North

                Provide the data showing a significant reduction after introducing it to the water.

                With links.

                •  That's not how science works: (5+ / 0-)

                  I can provide you individual links to studies that do show this (see Roadbed Guy's link to PubMed above), and I'm sure you can post a few competing studies for all the reasons I laid out above, but the issue we're disagreeing about is how consensus science works, and how that informs public policy.  

                  But if you want individual studies, they're all over the place.  Newcastle and Manchester. Australia. Ireland. Brazil. Hong Kong. (Note that these studies were all published in the last six months.)   Individually these are just discussions of likely evidence that fluoridation of the water supply resulted in a decrease of tooth decay in the population, some are stronger than others (some are just surveys of old data), and each of the studies individually caveats their finding in appropriate ways.  Together, with the mountains of studies confirming similar results, we approach something like a likely consensus that fluoridation does indeed lower the incidence of tooth decay and, at appropriately low levels, has few side effects outside of occasion and mild tooth discoloration.

                  This is light years ahead of the kind of evidence that you're providing, e.g. linking fluoride to IQ, which amounts to a couple of methodologically shaky studies in China.

                  Yet - and this is the complaint I started this thread with - groups like Clean Water Portland will tell you the IQ stuff is solid research, and the benefits of fluoridation are overstated.  That's the opposite of what the available research says.  And that's a real problem.

                  I'll reiterate one last time that I think there is a more defensible argument to be made related to the current state of dental hygiene in this country (the availability of fluoride and access to good dentists, etc.).  But you're not going to win by asserting the science so broadly.  It's just not on your side.

                  Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                  by pico on Sat May 18, 2013 at 05:41:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So it has not been validated either way (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Kevskos

                    Using your logic.

                    Reinforcing my point we are guinea pigs.

                    •  Again, that's not how science works. (5+ / 0-)

                      There is no such thing as "validated" by the standard you want.  Plain water can't be "validated" by science.  Did you know drinking too much water puts you at risk of hyponatremia, even death?  That's not even counting the number of people who drown every year.  What exactly is the health/safety threshold you need?

                      I refer you back to the very first comment I made in this post: the opposition to fluoridation is primarily ideological, not scientific.  That's fine, and you can make a case that way.  But when you start invoking science - as you did in the diary, and continue to do in the comments - your arguments don't hold much water.

                      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                      by pico on Sat May 18, 2013 at 07:39:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  What research are you referring to? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kevskos, Horace Boothroyd III

                Have you looked solely at research on teeth, or have you looked at the much wide range of scientific research on the effect of fluoride on the rest of the body?

                This stuff does not go with laser like precision to the teeth.

                •  I'll give it a fuller read when I get home later: (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jessical, N in Seattle

                  from a quick scan, some of it seems interesting, some of it seems silly, and a lot of it relies on the review I cited above by the NRC.  I'll sit down with it later.

                  Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                  by pico on Sat May 18, 2013 at 08:22:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Okay, a few thoughts: (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Catte Nappe, N in Seattle

                  I'll start with the good.  First, for an advocacy site, they do a much better job citing their sources than others (I got a headache trying to research claims from an anti-GMO site earlier this year); they're using much better sources than most, and in general, they do a reasonably good job of explaining some of the deficiencies of the studies they're using.  For me this is the gold standard of good science writing: recognizing that studies have limitations, and being clear about the scope of those limitations.  So by and large, I'm impressed with the site's handling of the science.  Obviously I haven't had time to read every study cited in here, but I'm willing to take them more seriously because they're at least shown a willingness to treat the science more seriously.  

                  I do have some criticisms, though.  First, and possibly because it's an advocacy site, it's trying so hard to undercut fluoride at every opportunity that it runs into problems.  For example, on the one hand we reference studies that topical rather than consumed fluoride is what protects teeth, and on the other, we have a section on fluoride and bone density that's actually about direct fluoride treatment rather than consumed fluoride.  What is the relevance of that, given that clinical trials were unsuccessful, and no one actually supports direct fluoride treatment for bone fractures?  It can't be a relative statement about fluoride safety, because consumption isn't the same as direct treatment (as the site itself acknowledges in re: dental care.)  It starts getting into what I said above about confirmation bias: anything that can be construed bad about fluoride is included, regardless of relevance, because this is first and foremost an advocacy group.

                  Second, I have the same concern above about using the NRC data so concretely, given that the NRC itself gives a heavy caveat about the levels of exposure studied and the actual exposure (especially now, post-2011 drop in fluoridation level).   Sura 109 cited the famous Paracelsus quote above, and it's a good warning to consider when gauging the health/risks of chemicals.  For comparison's sake, in a comment above Horace cited chlorination of water as a "benefits outweigh the risks" case, but you'd never know that from a similarly brief scan of recent studies.   Turns out chlorine can do nasty things to your body, and if that's what you're focusing on, it looks like a barrage of danger, and how could anyone possibly support this? (but fwiw, I agree with Horace).

                  So in sum: if I have time later today I'll revisit the site and track down the original of some of these studies to get a sense of how well they're being communicated, and I do think it's doing a reasonably good job in some respects, but I reserve the right to keep these doubts in mind.  Thanks again for the link!

                  Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                  by pico on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:12:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  When I was in school I remember we had (5+ / 0-)

          fluoride rinses.  We would be given a sealed cup which we would then open and 'rinse and swish' until spitting the contents back into the cup.  That would solve the problem of non-access by students without good dental coverage without having fluoride in the drinking water.

          •  That'd be a reasonable solution to (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AaronInSanDiego, pgm 01, N in Seattle

            assuage some of the concerns, sure.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Sat May 18, 2013 at 05:52:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fluoride is offered (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Horace Boothroyd III

              in pill form to the children in this county, and it is free.  This has been the case all along.  Multnomah County's school fluoride program

              You can order Pootie Pads here. Pooties love them!

              by Sara R on Sun May 19, 2013 at 01:41:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not everywhere, it isn't. (0+ / 0-)

                In the state of Louisiana, for example, it's only available to a list of qualified schools, usually a combination of non-fluoridated water and high incidence of poverty.

                According to your link, Multnomah County offers the pills to 108 of the 175 public schools in the county, and supports water fluoridation as a way of phasing out the pills.

                Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                by pico on Sun May 19, 2013 at 02:33:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's not the way I read it. (0+ / 0-)

                  They'll phase out the pills if flouridation is implemented.  That's not an endorsement.

                  You can order Pootie Pads here. Pooties love them!

                  by Sara R on Sun May 19, 2013 at 02:51:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Check out their FAQ: (0+ / 0-)
                    Doesn’t the County’s fluoride tablet program in schools do enough?

                    No. Fluoride tablet programs are used in this and other communities where the water is not fluoridated at optimal levels. But the effectiveness of tablet programs is limited. There is a challenge to consent and compliance. Many schools do not participate. And the school program also does not reach all members of the community who would benefit from fluoride. Water fluoridation reaches all members of a community and helps prevent tooth decay in children, but also in adults and the elderly.

                    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                    by pico on Sun May 19, 2013 at 03:16:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  The problem with your comparison (5+ / 0-)

        is that not all science is as settled as people think, and when it comes to medicine, nutrition, and human physiology, it is one of the most complex, controversial fields with a great deal of conflicting evidence regarding many issues surrounding diet. Medical science is also to a degree corrupted by corporate science that serves two very different masters, one of public health interests and one of creating profit, and it is very difficult to separate these interests. And medical science is often reductionist, and willingly would submit the complexities of human physiology (which often eludes reductionism) to the results of studies which deliberately isolate body systems, as if these systems exist in a vacuum and don't have extremely complex interrelationships.

        Most fields of science, such as climate science, truly are independent and serve the public interests. No one is going to get rich from that field, and there aren't any known conflicts of interest among legitimate climate scientists.

        But with medicine, this isn't always true.

        The bottom line is I won't trust my health to medical authorities, without careful consideration, and I want to have the right to think independently and make my own choices when it comes to dietary consumption.

        My body is not public property.

        A lot of medical and dietary science has turned out to be erroneous, and there is still much disagreement and lack of consensus on many issues. For example, modern American scientists often still support use of pesticides which other countries have outlawed. We use a pesticide on strawberries that Canada won't permit in their country, thus American strawberries can't be exported to Canada.

        We should allow people to make their own choices whenever possible when it comes to what they consume.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Sat May 18, 2013 at 03:42:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree completely. Good comment. n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  Purpose of fluoride is to medicate without consent (4+ / 0-)

      Chlorine is put into the water to make to safe to drink.

      Fluoride is put into the water to medicate the entire population, whether individuals consent to it or not.

      The argument for fluoride is that it treats a health condition, not that it makes water safe.

      But even if your doctor recommends medication, you have the right to make the final decision for yourself.

      The city does not give you that choice: some elected people compel you to take this medication and they decide on the dosage.

      Moreover, the amount of the medication put into the water is based on the average person consuming an average amount of water. Anyone who consumes more than average gets a larger dose than even the city council members intended to prescribe (and administer to you).

      That includes infants who drink formula reconstituted with municipal water, who get a whopping great dose of fluoride; people who are more active (workers, athletes, soldiers); and people with illnesses like diabetes, causing them to consume more water than average.

    •  Portland doesnt have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III

      chlorine in its drinking water

      Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

      by 6412093 on Sat May 18, 2013 at 08:37:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh...that's not correct (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        N in Seattle

        You can get a little background on it here:

        The Portland Water Bureau treats Portland's water with chloramination. This process starts with chlorine to disinfect the water. Next the city adds ammonia to ensure that disinfection remains adequate throughout our distribution system. New federal regulations are being developed and may require additional treatment processes by 2013.

        The Portland Water Bureau also adds sodium hydroxide to increase the pH of the water to reduce corrosion of plumbing systems. This treatment helps control lead and copper levels at customers' taps should these metals be present in the customers' home plumbing.

        Portland's water is currently not filtered. The Bull Run source meets the filtration avoidance criteria of the 1989 Surface Water Treatment Rule and has had a waiver from the requirement to filter since 1991.

        ...cue the anti-fluoridation hacks with claims that chlorine and ammonia are deadly, toxic gases and that sodium hydroxide is a corrosive, hazardous waste....
        •  Thanks for the correction (0+ / 0-)

          I'd been told different several years ago by folks who sold fish for aquariums and ponds, who'd I think would know better.  They said ammonia was added.

          Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

          by 6412093 on Mon May 20, 2013 at 10:26:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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