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Draft NHMRC Information Paper: Effects of water fluoridation on dental and other health outcomes submission

ID: 
26
This submission reflects the views of
Individual Background: 
Retired
Personal Details
First Name: 
John
Last Name: 
Watt
Specific Questions
Q1. A) Is the draft Information Paper presented in a manner that is easy to understand? : 
Agree
Q1. B) Please provide details regarding your response to Question 1A: 
Q2. A) Is it clear how NHMRC reviewed the health and dental effects of water fluoridation? : 
Disagree
Q2. B) Please provide details regarding you response to Question 2A: 

The Cochrane review could not find any recent research regarding fluoridation of public water supplies with most papers pre 1975. Given that Cochrane Collaboration review papers are regarded with high esteem due to unbiased and thorough methods, it is surprising that NHMRC chose to use research that was discredited. The Cochrane authors "had concerns about the methods used, or the reporting of the results, in the vast majority (97%) of the studies." It would seem that the NHMRC review panel selected research that presented fluoridation of public water in a positive light.
It is also a concern that "individual studies making up each review were not assessed for quality".

The Cochrane report noted that the fluoridation of public water improved the dental health of children up to 3 years of age. Data for 3 to 12 year old was inconclusive. Beyond 12 years of age, the authors "did not identify any evidence, meeting the review's inclusion criteria, to determine the effectiveness of water fluoridation for preventing caries in adults".

The Cochrane review found 40% of children had dental fluorosis at all levels with 12% having dental fluorosis of aesthetic concern. The draft report suggests this is 12.5%. From the 2013 census, there are approximately 5 million children (below working age) in Australia. If 12% of these have fluorosis of aesthetic concern that equates to around 600,00 children. Should these have corrective cosmetic dentistry at, say $5000 per person, the windfall to the dental industry will be $3,000,000,000 per generation. I have noticed in the Perth metropolitan area that cosmetic dentistry in a booming industry.

February 2016, The Lancet, the world’s oldest medical journal, officially classified fluoride as a neurotoxin alongside lead. With lead, there is no safe level for ingestion. The same consideration should be applied to fluoride. It is worth noting that lead, along with other chemicals, such as asbestos, thalidomide, diethylstilboestrol, and the chlorofluorocarbons were all considered safe and effective by scientists and government agencies similes to NHMRC..

Q3. A) Is the Fluoride Reference Group’s interpretation of the evidence clearly described in the draft Information Paper?: 
Neutral
Q3. B) Please provide details regarding your response to Question 3A: 

If the reviewers were looking for positive outcomes then I can say interpretations were clearly described. On the other hand, negative outcomes were not clearly described.

Q6. Is there any other supporting material relevant to making decisions on water fluoridation in the Australian context that should be considered in the draft Information Paper?: 

There should be consideration regarding the source of fluoride in public water. In Western Australia the fluoride used is an industrial by-product, hexafluorosilicic acid. This by-product is not permitted to be vented to atmosphere, enter any water way, the ocean, or landfill. Yet 97% of household water, containing this industrial waste, enter sewers, gardens,and septic tanks. It would appear that ordinary householders are being used to dispose of this by-product.

Page reviewed: 4 July, 2017