minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Jun 14 18:23:17 EDT 2005

Minor rant alert.

Otter wrote:

>In the USofA, perfect teeth tend to be more common in the children
>of baby boomers, who profited from flouridated water.

That's debatable.  That people profit from fluoridated water, I mean[1].
It may or may not be good for their teeth

"the largest and most comprehensive study, one done by
dentists trained by the National Institute of Dental Research, on over
39,000 school children aged 5-17 years, shows no significant
differences (in terms of decayed, missing and filled teeth) among
caries incidences in fluoridated, non-fluoridated and partially
fluoridated communities"

but it may be not-so-good for other parts of the human machine.

There's a whole lot of research in various fields that might seem to
indicate its being perhaps not a universally good thing: placentally
administered flouride in the dosage that is deemed OK to put in our
drinking water produces hyperactive infant rats, for instance.  Fluoride
appears to inhibit the absorption of some of the B-vitamin complex.  It's
been implicated in thyroid malfunction.  There's some evidence that it may
increase the likelihood of brittle bone diseases in the elderly.  A few
specialists seem to think it may be carcinogenic (bone cancer in particular
gets mentioned).  It certainly has a bad effect on kidney function if the
kidneys are already malfunctioning slightly in some particular ways.

Oh, and it may discolour one's teeth.  That's a well-known effect, for as
much as 20% of the population.

Luckily we do still have human control samples available because there are
places where this chemical is not administered in random dosage to entire
populations, so it is still possible to do research on its effects.  There
are a fair few interested parties who'd like that not to be the case.
There are a lot of people with financial interests in selling a toxic
by-product of their metal-works, rather than being obliged by law to
dispose of the stuff by some other means than dumping it in rivers -- above
a certain concentration fluoride in the water kills fish, so that got
banned early.  (The Norwegian government is seriously concerned about its
effects on their wild-life in general, and is carrying out long-term
studies, one of which my son has been involved in -- great fun taking
ice-core samples, apparently, and a good excuse to ski around and get paid
for it.)

Fluoride was grandfather-claused in the USA because it had been on sale
over the counter for quite a while -- so it must be ok to put it in
toothpaste and drinking water, right?

What it used to be sold for was as a rat-poison.  I am told it was quite
good for that purpose.

I'm not saying fluoride is necessarily *bad* for people, I'm saying that I
think the jury might still be out on its being universally *good* for them
-- certainly I wouldn't use either word without a lot of qualification, and
certainly I wouldn't myself advocate its compulsory administration in
uncontrolled dosage to entire communities, which is what fluoridating water
supplies amounts to.

But then I wouldn't advocate the compulsory administration in uncontrolled
dosage to entire communities of any chemical all of whose effects are not
known.  Make that any chemical, full stop.  It's the "compulsory" that


[1] Some people do, of course: it is certain that the people who sell the
fluoride to the water companies profit from flouridated water.

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