Second thoughts on fluoride

Q: Which one is the pioneer? A: The dude with the arrow in his back.

At City Council on Feb. 12, three of us had the audacity to question the dogma of a fluoridated water supply. I haven’t been spanked so hard since my daddy had a belt in his hand. The good news is: We have seen those with the bows, and they are not savages. They love this community. They are thoughtful, professional, respectful, dedicated and passionate. They protect the health of this population, and believe it is best for us to have fluoride in our water. They showed up (en masse) to defend that belief, in service to the greater good.

In one analogy, we got massacred at the OK Council Corral. However, it was just the first skirmish, and here we still stand. We cannot go away; we are obliged by conscience. We have seen the opposition, and it is impressive. Most were amicable, neighborly, scholarly in defending their turf. Only a few arrows were launched. Dr. Dunn said we used “junk science.” Perhaps Scientific American did also, since their eight-page article this month, “Second Thoughts on Fluoride,” said that a 2006 report by the National Research Council “concluded that fluoride can subtly alter endocrine function, especially in the thyroid,” as well as [listing] other numerous health concerns.

In another analogy, the process of social-scientific consensus took one step forward on a long journey. For example, in 1864, after Ignaz Semmelweis, M.D., had doctors wash their hands after cadaver dissections and before delivering babies, deaths from “childbed fever” dropped dramatically, but he was ostracized and it took 25 to 30 years for hand washing to become medical standard-of-care. In 1928, after George Papanicolaou, M.D., scraped cells from a cervix [in an attempt] to decrease cancer deaths, he was vilified, and it took 25 to 30 years for Pap smears to become the medical standard-of-care. In 1982, after Barry Marshall, M.D., showed that ulcers were caused by H. pylori infection rather than just stress, he was ridiculed, and it has taken 25 to 30 years for curing ulcers with antibiotics to become the medical standard-of-care (while Marshall won the Nobel Prize in 2005).

In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, it is noted that new ideas are first ignored, then ridiculed, then vehemently attacked, then finally accepted as obvious, and then claimed to be the establishment’s own all along. It looks like the fluoride story is just now moving from ridicule to attack, so it’ll get more intense soon. It is the nature of things, even among goodhearted folks.

Declassified documents confirm that fluoride got into our water supply due to the 1943 politics of defusing the liability of fluoride toxicity generated from the Manhattan Project in creating the atomic bomb. Sorry to sound like a left-wing (or right-wing), conspiratorial nutjob, but sometimes history is odder than fiction.

For over 50 years, mercury in teething powders caused pink disease or acrodynia, killing one-in-500 babies, before the mercury was removed in 1948. How long will we wait to remove fluoride from our water? Since I practice “anti-aging medicine,” I plan to be around to see it happen. How about you?

— James Biddle, M.D.

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4 thoughts on “Second thoughts on fluoride

  1. Once again, this argument is based specifically on the pros and cons of a particular chemical, fluoride, rather than on the proper role of government. I’ve not heard enough of the latter.

    I really don’t care if fluoride is good for me. Why can’t the government simply make water and let me decide whether or not I want to put fluoride on my teeth? Vitamins are good for me. Should the government add these to the water supply? Anything else?

    I consider this another case of creeping paternalism. And I oppose that.

  2. Rob Close

    should be put to a referendum. lasts weeks article implied that it was the only way we’d get a direct vote on it – and city council isn’t a bunch of biologists, or even real scientists for that matter.

    unless you count a mail-in psychology degree.

  3. Plucking Chickens

    At the risk of sounding like a devotee, a while back I grew very weak and tired, went to several traditional MD’s and was told that although I was happy as a clam, I was clearly suffering from depression and needed XYZ drugs. A friend suggested Dr. Biddle’s practice and after a thorough two hour interview and a battery of tests, I was diagnosed with a simple treatable thyroid condition. That was my introduction to thoughtful, open-minded, common sense medicine.
    Fluoride is a product, and as such, I’m sure it is backed by a lobbying organization, probably several. In our current oligarchical state, I can’t imagine that the fluoride industries of the world will give up this cash cow without a huge fight.

  4. quotequeen

    We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.
    Oscar Wilde

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