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

ID: 
41
This submission reflects the views of
Individual Background: 
Fluorotoxicology researcher
Personal Details
First Name: 
Bernard
Last Name: 
Needham
Specific Questions
Q1. B) Please provide details regarding your response to Question 1A: 
Plain Language Summary

The massive conflict of interest by the majority of members on the panel should have excluded them from being considered in the first place, regardless of their limited declarations. Declaring a potential, real or perceived conflict does not remove the bias which inevitably results from it. Claiming one’s professionalism prevents one from being influenced by ones employment or other source of bias is absurd and a rational person would see such claims for what they are. Utterly bogus.

It is not merely the obvious bias stemming from a conflict of interest that is the only issue but a systemic, institutional bias in the medical and dental community in favour of fluoridation due to a continuous public relations campaign by its promotors over the course implementation.

Any claim that fluoridated water prevents tooth decay is in contradiction to the ongoing claims that millions of dollars per year needs to be spent on remedial dental work to correct for cavities, occlusions and other damage that fluoridation is supposed to prevent. Clearly it is not achieving the stated goal, nor is it cost effective or equitable, as the most vulnerable are being harmed more.

It is apparent from the statements in the Draft Information Paper and the selection criteria for the review that certain assumptions were already accepted as fact and an ideologically driven evaluation was being promoted as an unbiased critical review.

Irrespective of what the panel decided to present in its conclusion the NHMRC does not have the authority to recommend that the community as a whole, or any individual, should be subjected to the interference with their health by the state or anyone else for that matter.

Water fluoridation is a political decision which has been implemented by a political system which has exceeded its authority. The terminology and phrases used with regard to fluoride such as nutrient, deficient, fortify etc. are chosen to imply that the product sourced from industrial plants are equivalent to another substance found in nature and which the average person is lacking and therefore the cause of dental decay.  On these claims it may be hard to argue against the addition of such a substance which allegedly does no harm and only good.

By this process the natural desire of people to be free from the interference of the state is circumvented as the state claims it is merely compensating for an alleged deficiency in the water. Of course this is absolute nonsense and is a product of the public relations industry manipulating the public’s perceptions of the unwarranted medical intervention, which would ordinarily be opposed as an abuse of state authority.

The Paper seems to be overly concerned with appearing to be thorough, impartial, scientific and adhering to processes, to convince the audience that everything was done openly, transparently and above board. So much so that one becomes suspicious of the motives for this preoccupation with saying what is being done when there is ample opportunity to show what is being done. Clearly the authors want the audience to accept their word, that they have done a good job rather than to see for themselves whether a good job was done.

Irrespective of the alleged evidence the only recommendation appropriate for NHMRC to make is one that allows a person, in consultation with their relevant health care provider for dental treatment or other medical interventions, to choose for themselves’ whether or not to take a particular treatment. Mass medication by the state is not something that the NHMRC has the right to recommend.

The FRG supposedly explicitly considered the acceptability to key stakeholders. Who does it consider is a key stakeholder? I consider myself to be a key stakeholder in my own health, in fact the only stakeholder of any significance, and I was not consulted about whether I wanted the state to administer a neurotoxin to me.

In the introduction paragraphs under ‘Tooth Decay’ on page 22 the report authors are proselytizing on the alleged benefits of water fluoridation. They go on to state that tooth decay is the result of diet, therefore nutrition, and lifestyle, therefore hygiene, which are individuals responsibility. They then proceed to advocate that the state be responsible for peoples’ oral health so they don’t have to be. In many ways the state implores us to take responsibility for ourselves. They promote exercise, quit smoking, reduced alcohol consumption and other ways to maintain our individual health, and if we don’t we will have higher individual health costs and also put a strain on the healthcare budget. But here the state says, ‘don’t bother looking after your teeth, we’ll do it for you’.

On page 25 a study from Brazil claimed to show no difference in decay for children exposed to  fluoridated water, then claimed that the factors affecting this non change were nothing to do with fluoridated water anyway but were access to dental care, a lack of adequate health support system and poverty. This is an admission that the claims put forward in support of water fluoridation, that it is safe and effective for all for life and that it reduces inequalities due to socio-economic factors are not accurate. No wonder then that they considered this study “less relevant”.

There seems to be an overemphasis on statistics from the selected studies used to support the water fluoridation hypothesis and yet I have not seen the actually scientific studies demonstrating the actual mode of action, demonstrating fluoride as a necessary component of normal tooth structure and metabolism. Claiming that because fluoride is present it therefore must be necessary is scientific fraud, as it is well known that many toxins are present in the tissues, cells and fluids of the body, are they also claiming these as nutrients?

As stated in the Paper, those most in need of improved dental care are those geographically or socially isolated, from less well educated backgrounds, with a low income and eating a less nutritious diet, high in processed foods. These factors do not require a further challenge to the health from a toxic waste but improved living conditions.

“…water fluoridation did not reduce the gap in the occurrence of tooth decay between the most advantaged and least advantaged groups.” Pg 27 DIP

Another study quoted;

“..making the gap bigger. This study was considered to be of low quality as it did not adjust for known confounders (for example sugar intake, use of fluoridated toothpaste, and family income).” Pg 27 DIP

  “..public water fluoridation appears to offer a dental health benefit across the population…” Does mean that it is acknowledged that it is not a proven fact?

It is common where water fluoridation is introduced for governments to increase dental services to the school aged children which masks the true influence of fluoridation by claiming benefits from better dental services and awareness for the fluoride intervention. No studies can eliminate this kind of systemic bias.

Much is made of the differences between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities with regard to so called socio-economic disparities and that fluoride is responsible for reducing these alleged differences, but what is ultimately important is the actual level of decay and its cause.

Published conclusions of studies evaluated don’t necessarily reflect the data or analysis of those studies.

Much is made of the alleged poor dental health of indigenous people and it may be noteworthy that at the time of European contact and for some time after the teeth of the local inhabitants were generally good and only deteriorated after been exposed to processed western foods.

The comments about the source and conclusions of many of the studies selected, even by the [NHMRC has removed defamatory information] could not justify the broad spectrum approach of mass medication with a known toxin such as is advocated by a recommendation of water fluoridation.

Tooth extractions may be the result of patients not being able to afford to have a tooth filled. It may also be the opinion of the dentist that the tooth cannot be saved due to the level of decay or perhaps even that the tooth is not able to be reconstructed due to fluorosis ( enamel hypoplasia). Also extractions can damage other adjacent teeth which may then need extracting but which were previously not decayed.

Delayed tooth eruption is relevant to the evaluation of water fluoridation as it artificially skews the statistics because the teeth are not exposed in the mouth to the destructive effects of processed food and beverages.

The FRG have completely missed the point about dental fluorosis in claiming that it is mild and only those with moderate fluorosis would, perhaps, object. Fluorosis is evidence of a metabolic disorder as a result of the body not being able to eliminate enough of the ingested fluoride and it subsequently damages the tooth during formation by fundamentally interfering with the mitochondrial function. If this is happening to calcifying tissue such as teeth then why would one assume that it is not happening elsewhere in the body.

Since fluorosis is a form of enamel hypoplasia resulting from oxidative stress in the endoplasmic reticulum of ameloblasts, what of the fate of fluoride in other cells?

Much of the comment in the Paper was of an ideological nature demonstrating a predisposition toward fluoridation. Terms and phrases such as:

  • “optimal”,
  • “aesthetic concern”, 
  • “relevance to Australian context”,
  • “dose response (in relation to water only, not serum)”, 
  • “dental function”,
  • “function of teeth”,
  • “non-fluoridated (defined as lower than current Australian guideline levels)“,
  • “insufficient evidence”,
  • the use of “definitions”,
  • the inclusion by the FRG of “additional considerations”,
  • “emphasis”,
  • “strength of the conclusions”,
  • “confidence”,
  • “More emphasis is placed on study findings which are relevant to Australia”,
  • “function of teeth”,
  • “interpreted”.

This is clearly a document intended to be used to convince the public that those States that continue to fluoridate are being guided by a scientific argument, unfortunately there is very little genuine and valid science to back up these claims.

Initially I considered doing a thorough point by point critique of the Draft Information Paper, then I realised that this may be used to tweak the wording to present a more convincing argument in support of the stated conclusion. Instead I will reserve those comments for use in challenging the finding as presented in this sham review. I should not be surprised that it is written from a biased point of view but it amazes me that even when you know people are watching, you still stock the FRG with pro-fluoridationists, and determine the selection criteria to exclude any studies that could be used to discredit your argument.

Then there is the issue of only allowing public consultation via an online questionnaire. Is the FRG so afraid of finding out what the public really think?

It should be pointed out in any report on water fluoridation that those involved in promoting or administering water fluoridation are protected from prosecution if it is ever found to cause harm. In some jurisdictions it is not permitted for councils to hold elector pols to determine if those ratepayers even want fluoridated water. In at least one State it is not permitted to bring civil action or criminal charges before the court over water fluoridation. One wonders if the implicit trust engendered by pro fluoridation lobbyists would be forthcoming from the public if they knew this information. No matter what declaration of conflict of interest you may make or what you may do to conceal the perception of bias you cannot be trusted because you can’t be held accountable nor can those who rely on your recommendations.

The countries that impose water fluoridation on their public, mainly English speaking western industrialised so-called democracies, have a long and sordid history of suppression of intellectual dissent. It is no wonder then that no one dares criticise this policy from within the official ranks. In fact certain positions in health departments or water corporations require the applicant to support the government policy of water fluoridation, therefore to voice opposition would be in direct violation of the employment conditions. This demonstrates the claim of active suppression of facts, opinions and ideologies which contradict the ruling elites dogma. Once again this is not something which the public are made aware of and which may influence their acceptance of the claims of safety and effectiveness.

The notion that it would be unethical to deprive someone of the opportunity to be duped into consuming a toxic waste is an example of the perverse ideological dogma prevalent in the politico-medico bureaucracies.

In conclusion I find that this Draft Information Paper is yet another whitewash of the scam perpetuated for the benefit of the fluoridating industries, the dental and medical professions and the psychiatrists who dreamt up this absurd notion in the first place. This DIP document represents a waste of time and taxpayers money and another lost opportunity for genuine health reform.

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?: 

Additional studies for consideration: 1. Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity Philippe Grandjean, Philip J Landrigan Lancet Neurol 2014; 13: 330–38 Published Online February 15, 2014 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S1474-4422(13)70278-3 2. The Impact of Fluoride on Ameloblasts and the Mechanisms of Enamel Fluorosis A.L.J.J. Bronckers1, D.M. Lyaruu1, and P.K. DenBesten2* J Dent Res 88(10):877-893, 2009 3. Stress Response Pathways in Ameloblasts: Implications for Amelogenesis and Dental Fluorosis Megan L. Sierant 1,2 and John D. Bartlett 1,2,* Cells 2012, 1, 631-645; doi:10.3390/cells1030631

Page reviewed: 4 July, 2017