Verbally Flimzy

Ramblings, Observations and Misconceptions

Some questions to ask yourself before voting for or against fluoride next week

Posted on October 31, 2012

This is a letter I sent to a number of my personal friends, employing them to consider how they will vote on the fluoride issue in Wichita next week. As you probably know, I work in spam prevention, so I am very sensitive to sending bulk e-mails. I debated whether to send this one, but ultimately I decided it was a necessary evil. I hope you will forgive me. I am only sending this to people I know, and because I believe this issue deserves your consideration, if only for a few minutes, as I think this is one of the rare cases where your vote and my vote has such clear-cut, moral implications! Voting NO on fluoride, if it is as beneficial and safe as claimed, would be immoral, as it would be depriving thousands of an inexpensive benefit! Likewise, voting YES on fluoride, if it is as risky as the opponents claim, would also be immoral, as it will be inadvertently harming people! This is not a simple matter of one opinion versus another–it’s an important moral issue. One I hope you are willing to ponder for just a few moments by reading this entire message. It won’t take long, I promise. While political discussions often get heated, and I therefore try to exclude myself from them whenever possible, I believe the issue of water fluoridation is quite a separate thing. This is quite a simple issue, that has the possibility for a clear, scientific, non-ambiguous answer. The question every voter ought to be asking is simple:

  1. Is water fluoridation the best way to fight tooth decay?
  2. Is water fluoridation safe?

Both of these questions ought to have simple, clear, and uncontroversial answers, as provided by researchers. There are no nuances, as there are with other political issues, about whether candidate X’s policies are better than candidate Y’s policies, when you consider the complications of the Chinese socio-economic structure… or whatever. There are two simple Yes-or-No questions to be answered. After you have read the rest of this message, please take a moment to watch this short YouTube video–regardless of how you answer the questions below. I suspect the information in this video will change some of your answers! Wichitans for Healthy Teeth offers the endorsements of over 500 local doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals, as well as endorsements from the ADA, CDC, and other national-level organizations, who all say water fluoridation is both safe and effective. This should be a clear win, and convince you to vote YES to fluoride! HOWEVER, opponents to water fluoridation, such as the Fluoride Action Network make some interesting counter claims. They say “endorsements do not equal science” and that the endorsements from large national organizations, are affected by lobbyists for big businesses, aka “special interests.” They say there are 34 studies that show fluoride, even at very low levels, like those we would add to Wichita’s water, can decrease IQ in children. They say there are thousands of other studies that link fluoride to other possible health effects, such as arthritis, obesity, bone fractures, cancer, and, even INCREASED tooth decay–all at low concentrations, such as would be added to Wichita’s water. Why is this issue, that should be so easy, and so non-controversial, suddenly so controversial? To satisfactorily answer this question is not easy, because it actually does involve politics–not just science. And I suspect that you, like the majority of Wichitans, are not interested in taking the time necessary to fully research the issue. The proponents of fluoridation, like Wichitans for Healthy Teeth, accuse the opponents of “junk science,” and ignoring real studies. They claim there are over 3000 studies on their side. The opponents repeatedly ask the proponents to cite their 3000 studies. The opponents repeatedly ask the proponents where their science is wrong. The proponents play cat-and-mouse like the best politicians. Does that mean they’re wrong? No. But it ought to raise a red flag. I’m not asking you to do a ton of research. I’m also not asking you to take my word for it that water fluoridation is harmful, bad, evil, ugly, unscientific, or any of that. What I am asking you to do is to be honest with yourself before you vote, and answer a few simple questions, to your own satisfaction:

  1. Are you absolutely confident that fluoride will not cause harm to ANYONE–even those with fluoride allergies?

    To vote YES without answering this question “YES” would be immoral; especially for any doctor who has taken the Hippocratic Oath.

  2. Are you confident that fluoride is the cheapest way to reduce tooth decay?

    To vote YES without answering this question “yes” is wasteful. If we have a cheaper way of solving the problem, why spend more?

  3. Are you confident it is ethical to add fluoride to public water, when many people don’t want it?

    To vote YES without answering this question “yes” is unethical, and a violation of your neighbor’s rights.

  4. One side of the debate is peddling misinformation. Are you absolutely convinced that the ADA, CDC, and related organizations, influenced by multi-billion dollar corporations, and with millions, if not billions, of dollars to lose, and a decades-old reputation to lose, are the ones with the least motive to distort the truth?

    To vote YES without answering this question “yes” is simply foolish and naive.

Please consider these three important questions carefully. If you cannot, with absolute confidence, say “YES” to all three questions, I urge you not to vote yes on November 6. However, that doesn’t mean you need to vote NO, either. Abstaining is a valid option! I would not ask anyone to vote NO if they don’t believe fluoride is bad. But I also employ you not to vote YES unless you are absolutely sure that fluoride is completely safe, and medically and economically effective! I thank you for taking the time to read this, and watch the video. I hope you agree it has not been time wasted. – Jonathan For more information: Wichitans for Healthy Teeth (pro-fluoride) American Dental Association (pro-fluoride) Centers for Disease Control (pro-fluoride) Wichitans Opposed to Fluoridation (anti-fluoride) Fluoride Action Network (anti-fluoride) Fluoride Free Kansas (anti-fluoride) Pure Water for Wichita (anti-fluoride)

Filed under: fluoride health Opinion politics public health science