Fluoride Paranoia and Betteridge’s Law

By George Johnson | February 15, 2013 5:48 pm

Crystals of fluorite. Wikimedia Commons.

I’m already dreading the orchestrated wave of emails I’m bound to receive after writing here about fluoridation. I’ve been through this before.

It was just last summer when I picked up the local newspaper and learned that my hometown was planning to end the longstanding practice of fluoridating its water supply. Fluorite crystals and other minerals containing fluoride ions occur naturally in the earth. By adding a few tenths of a milligram per liter of drinking water, Santa Fe — like cities across the country — was bringing the fluoride level up to the threshold recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for preventing cavities in children. Why would anyone object to that?

At first I thought this was just some weird Santa Fe thing. In addition to having a strong scientific community — with institutions like the Santa Fe Institute and the School for Advanced Research — the town has a small core of New Age followers who are quick to embrace all the latest obsessions. It took years to get wifi in the public library, and cell phone reception suffers because every proposed new microwave tower is delayed by citizens who fear the invisible waves.

But I quickly found that we were not alone. One of the largest counties in Florida had recently stopped fluoridating its water after demands from Tea Party enthusiasts who insisted that fluoridation was “part of an agenda that’s being pushed forth by the so-called globalists in our government and the world government to keep the people stupid so they don’t realize what’s going on.” Anti-fluoridation testimonials could be heard on TV evangelist Pat Robertson’s “700 Club,” along with endorsements for miraculous vitamin supplements and prophecies about the coming End Times.

When you get far enough out on the edges, the political spectrum takes a half twist and becomes a Möbius strip. The editor of a publication called Natural News thinks fluoridation is part of a sneaky plan by the government to help chemical corporations dispose of their toxic waste. Just dump it in the drinking water and tell people it fights cavities. That may sound like a parody on the Colbert Report, but this factoid continues to circulate. At a hearing in Santa Fe, a resident blamed fluoridation for her grandson’s autism. Another woman called it “one of the greatest scientific frauds done to the unsuspecting public.”

It seemed like a bad dream, as if the country had been transported back to the 1960s when fears of fluoridation were part of the mindset of the far right — along with a certainty that the Federal Reserve System is controlled by the Illuminati, that the Universal Product Code is the Mark of the Beast, and that laetrile (suppressed by an unholy alliance between the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA) is a miracle cure for cancer. Fluoridation was one more tool in a Strangelovian plot to scramble our minds and pollute our precious bodily fluids.

I began writing about the phenomenon in my online journal, The Santa Fe Review. That is when the emails started filling my inbox. They came from people who get their information not from the Centers for Disease Control, which considers fluoridation to be one of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements of the 20th century or from the American Dental Association or the American Public Health Association. All three institutions unequivocally support maintaining a measured amount of fluoride in drinking water. The readers I was hearing from put their faith instead in a propaganda website called The Fluoride Action Network. Search the Intenret for the word “fluoride” and that is one of the first items to pop up.

I suspect that Melinda Wenner Moyer is hearing from the same people after the publication of her piece this week in Slate called Does Fluoride Make Your Kids Dumb? Since my post yesterday, Medusa’s Stare, I’ve learned that my rule of thumb about rhetorical question headlines (that the answer is almost always no) is sometimes called Betteridge’s Law, after Ian Betteridge, a British technology journalist. Here is another case where it applies. (The subhed of the Slate story is “Don’t trust the influential doctor who says yes.”)

That leaves what to me is the more interesting question: why is this reaction to fluoridation, smoldering for so long, experiencing a resurgence? Is it entirely a matter of extremist politics and New Age paranoia? Or is there the hint of a scientific basis? Ms. Moyer suggested the possibility toward the end of her article. I’ll be thinking and reading about that over the weekend and then reporting back.


This is part 1 of what has become three posts:

Fluoride Paranoia and Betteridge’s Law

Fluoride Paranoia, Part 2

Truthiness with Numbers

  • http://www.subgenius.com/pam1/pamphlet_p1.html jesus_loves_you

    You believe the government? I feel sorry for you.

    • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

      The fact the government sometimes tells untruths does not mean the government always tells untruths. Remember NASA’s 2012 debunking?

    • Charles Brown

      Fine, don’t *believe* the government — you don’t need to. Investigate the evidence backing each claim and come to your own conclusion. What *evidence* do you have that using fluoride to provide a positive benefit to teeth and bones is outweighed by the supposed negative effects at the level prescribed? Independent scientists acknowledge publicly that fluoride at very high levels is problematic, but at the levels introduced into the water supply, negative effects are swamped by the benefits to human health. Outside of vaccines, which you’re probably also terrified of forthe same reason, it’s one of the greatest achievements in public health — in the entire history of mankind — extending our lifespan and increasing our quality of life. Vaccines have saved millions upon millions of lives since their introduction, and are the biggest reason humanity has conquered the parts of nature that were keeping us in balance. Don’t be terrified of vaccines, be terrified of a world without vaccines. You’d likely be dead.

      If fluoride is so awful, why is it awful? Through what physical mechanism does it work to modify cell chemistry and gross human behavior?What data do you have to back this claim? If a harmful mechanism is proposed, what do learned people who understand cell chemistry and human physiology think of this data and the way it was derived? Does it stand up to scrutiny or does the data fall flat on its face? Repeated measurements and studies — from groups within and outside the government — have not been able to verify these claims but countless experiments and papers have shown them to be without merit. Why does the general public still fall for this argument?

      It probably starts with your response to this article – government bad, anything that comes from it — worse. Fine, you’re free to believe that. However, you’re not free to imagine pretend physics that controls minds and call it established fact. The world works in knowable ways — the entire point of science is to discover these ways so that reliable predictions can be made about the domain of study. When something is proposed that flies in the face of what is known about how the world works, scientists LEAP at the chance to test it, to find something new about the world, to make a reputations for overturning established knowledge. With the fluoride alarmism, this never happened…

      Opposition to fluoridation and its wild arguments were tackled by the scientific community when my parents were children in the 50s. But the distrust persisted on the right, was eventually discarded as nonsense, and now is flourishing on the left, and continues to infect the discourse over public health. The distrust is driven by ignorance of science, data, method and outright mistrust of anything government does to improve quality of life. The fear is kept alive by ignorance and the fear that comes from it. It isn’t rational.

      When one side can provide data backing the argument that fluoride alarmism is nonsense, and the other side just has bellicose rhetoric and flawed methodology on their side, why would you choose to believe the alarmists? Please, show me data that proves your point. We’ve all been waiting, but it somehow never comes.

      Show me why, don’t tell me why, and demand I conform, despite evidence to the contrary. Convince me.

      • http://www.facebook.com/james.reeves.12576 James Reeves

        14 Nobel prize winners, the U.S. EPA’s own 1700 scientists and researchers are joined by 4400 professionals, (www.fluoridealert.org), including hundreds of dentists, hundreds of doctors, and other medical researchers who have signed a petition calling on governments everywhere to stop fluoridation and avoid cancer, thyroid & pineal gland damage, broken hips from brittle bones, lowered IQ, kidney disease, arthritis and other serious health problems.

        See Dr. Paul Connett’s book, “The Case Against Fluoride,” for 1200 studies (over 80 pages), including 24 to show a reduction of IQ in children and a 2006 study by Dr. Elise Bassin, DDS, Harvard University published in a cancer journal to show a fivefold increase in bone cancer in young people who have consumed fluoride in their drinking water.

        Interestingly, A recent report from Harvard University confirms the other 24 studies (now 36 studies) that shows drinking fluoridated water lowers childrens IQ.

        • Keith Kloor

          The fluoride debate raged anew several years ago, when Orac chastised a fellow ScienceBlogger for allowing his blog to be hijacked by an anti-flouride activist.


          Here’s an excerpt from Orac’s post (which is well worth reading):

          “If there’s one very strong indicator of a crank, it’s the production of lists of scientists signing “statements” like the one above. For example, there’s the famous list of over 600 scientists against anthropogenic global climate change being circulated by James Inhofe (R-OK), which has been thoroughly debunked, the Perth Group signatories who reject HIV as the cause of AIDS, and the Discovery Institute’s list of scientists who dissent from Darwin or its list of physicians who reject “Darwinism.” If there’s one one major red flag indicating crankitude, it’s compiling lists like this. True, it’s not always a sign of crankitude, but when you examine the list and find out that most of the scientists actually don’t have any expertise in the field in question it’s a pretty good indication.”

          • tom

            Dr Phyllis Muillinex Harvard toxicologist has proven that fluoride is neurotoxic in low doses when she fed it to rats


            These tests with rats should have done before it was ever considred being put in the water you fluoride fanatics are a bunch of ignorant dip-ships

          • Guest

            Dr Phyllis Muillinex Harvard toxicologist has proven that fluoride is neurotoxic in low doses when she fed it to rats


            These tests with rats should have been done before it was ever considred being put in the water you promoting fluoride fanatics and fluoride loving sheep are a bunch of ignorant dip-ships

        • Tom Tito
  • stargene

    Ignorance breeds hatred and suspicion. The USA
    economy switched from manufacturing-based to service-
    based, decades ago. Inevitably, K – 12 education and
    even university scores dropped in science/math and
    other ‘reason based’ knowledge and capacities, which
    were more preferred in industrial cultures. Hence the
    great divide and rise in suspicion towards science and
    so-called eggheads.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cori-Wood/100000510870443 Cori Wood

      I am a biotechnology major and have been interested in and greatly respected all sciences and “so called eggheads”, and I DO NOT WANT flouride in my water EITHER…Its not just ignorant conservatives with no capacity for progressive thought that oppose flouride.

  • RagnarDanneskjold

    People don’t trust scientists, certainly not to be making policy decisions. They don’t trust them for the simple reason that science is unsettled, but finalized decisions are often pushed through the political system. And the news media never helped with all the switches on food: “Eggs are bad. Eggs are good. Eggs are bad, they will kill you. You can eat lots of eggs!” Margarine, butter, fat, salt, etc. have all gone through this, so why are people going to believe scientists who say, no, trust us on this one?

    Also, generally speaking there is negative social mood in society now, post-2000, and trust collapses in all social institutions. What was fringe (left, right or pure wacko) in 1993 could have much more support in 2013. Recall stories such as the Tuskegee experiments, atomic corn flakes, etc. Before, the Tuskegee experiment was a white government doing bad to black citizens. Now it is seen as the evil of science and government in non-racial terms.

    If you come from the science and see the evidence, you will say fluoridation is good. But if you come from a political perspective, the government’s record on science is filled with horror stories. Trust is down, thus the record is gaining in prominence on left, right, and every where else. I don’t think it is any more complex that that, other than the fact that there’s an established myth. And to flip it, if the government were taking fluoride out of water, the same people might well be fighting to stop it. But the lesson isn’t that these people are crazy, it’s that science and government have worked hard at destroying the public trust and natural forces (social mood, greater diversity, etc.) exacerbate the trend.

    • Buddy199

      A large part of the problem is a lazy media that often act as stenographers rather than diligent, objective fact checkers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Avignone/100001760784049 John Avignone

    Sadly, you will be inundated with comments from mucking forons of all flavors. It’s hard to believe that here in the 21st century there are still so many ignorant, scared poopless scientifically illiterate fools ready to feed their irrational fear rather than take dip their toe in reality. Count me among the reality-based community and take heart. It may be an uncomfortably slow process, but the half life of Teh Stupid is far less than that of demonstrable fact.

    • tom

      Dr Phyllis Mullinex Harvard Toxicologists has proven that sodium fluoride is NEUROTOXIC in LOW DOSES when she fed it to rats.

      Your drinking junk science approved brain-cell poison and doing it with an chip on your shoulder Mr “21st Century” Idiot

    • Dave Granger

      Does this mean you’re for fluoridation or against?

  • Oleg

    I guess there is much similarity between predicting resurgence of fluoridation paranoia and predicting the onset of acute psychosis in schizophrenic patient.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.reeves.12576 James Reeves

      Only 5% of the world and only 3% of Europe fluoridate dringking water.

      Fluoride is neither a nutrient nor essential for healthy teeth. No adult has ever walked out of their doctor’s office with a prescription for the fluoride drug because it is deadly poison and the body has no known use for it. It is never included in any multi-vitamin formulation. Drinking it to prevent tooth decay is as foolish as drinking sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Every fluoride toothpaste tube carries the warning “if swallowed, call a poison control center immediately.”

      As a top scientist and the premier international authority on fluoride, last year Dr. Paul Connett’s published his most recent book “The Case Against Fluoride.” It contains over 1200 studies (80 pages) and sound scientific reasoning showing the ineffectiveness and dangers to health including cancer, thyroid & pineal gland damage, broken hips from brittle bones, lowered IQ, kidney disease, arthritis and other serious health problems.

    • Uleg

      Seriously, “the land of the free”: freedom to what, deposit something in your neighbours’ water? If those who foisted this seemingly scandalous chapter of history upon us all were sincere about their concerns, they might have been concentrating on, firstly, rigging simple apparatuses to provide themselves, and their families, with those benefits of water flouridation you, and those like you are so confident exist, while allowing the science to become proverbially “bomb-proof,” or paranoia-proof, before affecting water supplies on a massive scale, as was done. What is really funny, though, is your employment of such specialized words to elucidate your complex conceptual point, although your idea is one which could easily be understood by the densest of simpletons. If flouridation has helped persons teeth without harming their health, otherwise, may remain to be seen (unlikely, in my opinion), that it failed to make you actually as intelligent as you certainly attempt to appear, I wager, is clear as day!

  • Buddy199

    Seems like whenever you scratch just beneath the veneer of civilization people are the same as they were 10,000 years ago.

  • Nathan

    You know what keeps teeth and bones healthy? Lettuce. And Spinnach. Stop dumping extra foreign chemicals in our foods.

    • Aquila Aer

      Is it because of iron?

  • RogerSweeny

    The late political ecologist Barry Commoner had as one of his 5 principles, Nature is always right. Since nature doesn’t fluoridate most water, fluoridation must be wrong. Besides, the Precautionary Principle says not to do anything until you can prove it’s not a bad idea, so fluoridation fails to pass the Precautionary Principle.

    Anyone who sympathizes with people who oppose GMOs or fracking for those reasons can hardly be surprised by people who oppose adding fluoride to the water people drink.

    • JamesC

      That’s ridiculous logic. You know what else nature doesn’t do? Nature doesn’t cook its food. Nature doesn’t wear clothes. Nature doesn’t build cities and highways and computers and satellites.

      We stopped being a part of “nature” a long time ago, and now instead of adapting to our environment, we adapt our environment to us. Nature doesn’t produce highly sugary foods for us, but we like to eat them, so we make them ourselves and we fluoridate our water to prevent cavities.

      Nature doesn’t make toothpaste either, Roger, so why don’t you stop using that?

      • RogerSweeny

        I didn’t say I agreed with the logic. I implied it was the same logic. If you want to demonize people who oppose fluoridation as anti-science yahoos, you have to do the same to people who oppose GMOs or fracking (or who ever use the term feng shui seriously).

        • http://www.facebook.com/mpaulworkman Michael Workman

          I’m not sure it’s the same logic. There are logical, scientific, moral and social reasons other than the aforementioned principles to oppose (at least selectively) GMOs and fracking. For example, the migration of transgenes has been an issue, and the USGS has linked fracking to seismicity.

          • RogerSweeny

            There are always logical, moral, and social reasons to oppose anything. And very little is without risk to someone. Migration of transgenes has been discussed and studied as a problem but I know of no actual evidence that it is. Injection of fluids does cause small earthquakes sometimes, so you test beforehand and stop if real problems are developing (and don’t do major fracking along the San Andreus Fault).

            Some opponents of GMOs and fracking are just super-cautious, as are some opponents of fluoridation. But most of the ones who remain today have the mindset I set out in my original post. I suspect they feel, at some level, that GMOs and fracking and fluoridation and teaching evolution take away the specialness (some would say the sacredness) from Nature (or, as some would say, the Creation).

            How dare we try to move a gene from one species to another where it doesn’t belong. How dare we say that one species evolved into another. If we say that everything is just chemical reactions resulting from some random process, doesn’t that open the way to doing anything to the poor earth, the only earth we have?

            GMO and fracking opponents tend to be on the same team, as do opponents of fluoridation and teaching evolution. The two teams look down on each other. But they have a lot in common.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dwayne.stephenson Dwayne J. Stephenson

            You’re wrong. The problems with fracking are tied up with the problems of regulation, and the possibility of people losing access to clean wells, and the guys who could set their tap water on fire sure make a case that, at the very least, the businesses involved need to figure out to do what they’re doing without damaging underground water systems.

            Significant (non quacky) issues surrounding GMO are really about patent rights, and what sorts of intellectual property rights companies should have at their disposal. It’s a complicated issue that pits the interests of farmers against the interests of biotech firms, and involves metaphysical questions about what can constitute property.

            Fluoridation fears are just another variety of nonsense that a certain strain of individual with some hallmark card level ideas about the distinction between the natural and artificial is moved by, same with cellphone paranoia and all manner of other nonsense. You relegate substantive issues into this bin at the peril of people simply not taking you seriously.

          • RogerSweeny

            I agree. There are problems with any new technology. Heck, there are problems with any existing technology, especially when it is implemented poorly. Bad things happen early and, if the technology is to be useful, they have to be dealt with and modifications have to be made. From what I understand, this has happened with fracking. I don’t think that most people who oppose fracking are looking at it dispassionately. They are passionately opposed and take incidents from its early day and conclude that this is the way it will always be. After all, it is yet another rape of the Earth.

            Similarly, I believe that most of the opposition to GMOs has little to do with property rights. For years, seed companies have induced mutations and sold the seed, retaining exclusive rights to it. Ninety-nine out of one hundred of the people who oppose GMOs didn’t care.

            There are scientific reasons to be concerned about fracking or GMOs, just as there are scientific reasons to be concerned about pretty much anything we do. However, the emotion that fuels the opposition of most people has little to do with science.

          • RogerSweeny
  • mshaw1089

    The ADA also support mercury amalgam fillings. Need I say more?

  • mshaw1089

    The larger debate is whether our government should force-medicate us. The government will let you starve or freeze on a street corner and hospitals (in the US) will escort you out if you don’t have insurance. Fluoride is the only medication that everyone will get whether they want it or not. And it only prevents tooth decay which is cosmetic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/christine.didur Christine Didur

      tooth decay affects everything in your body. Try eating without teeth.

  • mpmuno

    My hypothesis is that three things come together to make fluoridation a target. First, it has worked so well that people have forgot what it was like to suffer from tooth decay. Second, it pervasive, and so is a natural target of those looking for things to blame for problems that they perceive as pervasive. Third, fluoridation is implemented by the government, so raises the ire of the two kindred spawn of anti-government counter-culture movement from the 60s: New Agers and Tea Partiers.
    The elements also are seen in skepticism about microwaves, power lines, and vaccines.
    The thing is, fluoridation paranoia is hard to dislodge, because it is basically a poor implementation of the scientific thinking that makes humans successful. Real scientific thinking requires a lot of knowledge about things like physics and biology, and is hard to obtain. Paranoia gives its owner a sense that they have that understanding, and is only a Google search away.
    The evidence that fluoridation works is unambiguous. Keep up the fight. The media often distorts scientific evidence to hook viewers with the latest health fads (and counter-fads). Someone needs to be a filter…

  • http://www.facebook.com/christine.didur Christine Didur

    Speaking as a very “sensitive” human, what affects me doesn’t necessarily affect the rest of the population but I am really curious about the science. How does one prove NO harm? After reading the comments, I GUESS I should read the studies, but I know clean drinking water is an international luxury.

  • Danny Stewart

    I like to consider myself a rational and skeptical human being. I like to weigh up the various perspectives and come to a sensible and credible conclusion.

    On thing is clear. Fluoride would appear to prevent tooth decay when applied topically. The good thing about this is that I can choose to do this.

    The systemic use of fluoride, on the other hand, is an entirely different kettle of fish.

    It is the only thing added to the water to treat the end user and I simply have an issue with this. Water corporations are able to do something to entire populations that a doctor cannot do to a single person…that is administer a medicinal intervention without the informed consent of at person.

    The dose is not controlled. I may be standardised at 1ppm but who dictates how much we drink? Can an adult drink as much as a child etc…

  • Voices Intern

    More than 3,000 studies or research papers have been
    produced about fluoridation and fluoride. After all of these studies, if
    there were any evidence of these supposed harms, we would know about it by now. Two facts are clear: Americans have been drinking fluoridated water
    for over 65 years, and there is overwhelming evidence showing it is both safe
    and effective.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Billy-Budd/100003992472444 Billy Budd

    NYSCOF quoted a 2001 CDC document. Newer statements from the CDC, including a video of ADM Bailey, head of the CDC’s oral health division, clearly state that the systemic effect of fluoridation is important. The CDC’s 2001 report was written before Singh (2004) published results of the exquisite study in Australia that quantified the PRE-eruption or systemic effect. Another proof of the systemic effect is Kumar’s 2009 paper showing fluorosis in 1st molars protects them from caries NYSCOF certainly is on record that fluorosis is a systemic effect.

    Also the studies which show an adult effect in groups with childhood fluoride exposure are reasonable evidence – eg, Kobayashi (1992), and Neidell (2010).

    The CDC has not changed their 2001 document because the minor systemic/topical point is unimportant to the report’s conclusions on fluoride and fluoridation’s use in the US.

    It is important to read what CDC said in the 2-3 paragraphs that addressed this matter –

    see: http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/guidelines/index.htm

    NYSCOF uses this small quotation to make an argument that the CDC’s guidelines do not support.

    The statement was intended to help readers understand topical benefits, not to prove there were no systemic benefits. Many studies show water fluoridation’s effectiveness. Those conclusions are not dependant on the details of the physical mechanism causing the benefits.

    There is always an reason why arguments like this are not reasons for opposing fluoridation. If they were valid and sufficient, scientists would abandon the practice. The overwhelming professional support fluoridation enjoys is because of the huge literature supporting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cori-Wood/100000510870443 Cori Wood

    Actually, I believe this resurgance is a result of a 2 things. First, with the internet here now, there are plenty of websites and info on the web stating facts about flouride, but also some exaggerations about it, as well as honest to goodness, concerned discussion. The second reason, is that a new generation of people, MY generation (I am 29 yrs old), are becoming aware of the NEGATIVE effects of flouride, which I as well believe are REAL. Flouride is a known carcinogen. Did you know this? If its so safe, why does it state on the bottles and tubes of toothpaste and mouthwash, that if you swallow more than a LITTLE bit, to contact poison control immediately?? You might argue that lots of things can become poisonous in larger than recommended amounts, but come ON. If you swallow even a SMALL amount of flouride it is ADMITTEDLY bad for your entire body. Why do you not understand this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Etienne-Manderscheid/4301233 Etienne Manderscheid

    You imply that only tea-partiers, conspiracy theorists and ignorant people are concerned about fluoridation. I’m none of those (I’m getting my PhD in neuroscience) and I’m concerned about fluoride in the water as well. You present no facts either for or against fluoridation. The least you could do is contribute something to the discussion by doing some a little research. I just did a little digging around on my own and I found this meta-analysis of 27 studies, conducted by Harvard’s school of public health and a Chinese university, finding a large negative correlation between fluoride exposure and IQ. You should read it:


    Of course correlation is not causation, but this is very concerning at the least! I’d love you to reply on the scientific merits of your position.

    • byGeorgeJohnson

      The original story I am commenting on, in Slate, was about that study. Please also see my following post, “Fluoride Paranoia, Part 2.” The China data concerns high levels of fluoride — naturally occurring or from coal burning.

      • tom

        Dr Phyllis Mullinex Harvard Toxicologists has proven that sodium fluoride is NEUROTOXIC in LOW DOSES when she fed it to rats.

        Get it the hell out of the public water supply..,,,

        Your a complete idiot calling everyone paranoid while you drink literal brain-cell poison.

        • byGeorgeJohnson

          This, sadly, is what passes for intelligent commentary among the anti-fluoridation cult.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roger-Faulkner/1059666184 Roger Faulkner

    I hate to see all the activist energy going to fight Fluoride, GMO foods, etc. when there are really dangerous things going unchallenged; I would put man-made hormone mimicking chemicals, phosphate depletion, and bioaccumulating elements (lead, mercury, cadmium) in that latter category.

    I love the fact of citizen activism, but to me it reminds me of a bullfighter who distracts the bull with a red cape…do you seethe analogy?

  • http://twitter.com/CuriousColin Colin Copeland

    This is an interesting debate. In Canada, when I was a child in the 70’s and 80’s, it was considered the thing to do to put flouride in the water, and to give children flouride drops. My parents did not think this was needed ( after all, they were fine without it!), where as all my friends had the drops, and drank the enhanced water. I did not get the drops, and due to travelling, did not drink the enhanced water either.
    I am the only person I know who avoided this, and at age 35, am the only person I know who does not have any / has never had any teeth issues, cavities, or gum disease of any kind.

  • krocko

    Fluoride in water is not necessary or healthy. http://www.fluoridealert.org/studies/caries04/

  • Warrior4Spirit

    Some day the overwhelming majority of people will see the truth of fluoride, and the harm it does to the human body at any level. Until then many of us cannot just get up and move from our forced water fluoridation. After a lot of research I choose an excellent whole house fluoride filtration system, the FluorideMaster. It is a more reasonable option than the whole house reverse osmosis systems. Its not perfect, but at less than $1,100 it is reasonable. It uses a large amount of bone char, which does an excellent job with typical municipal water. It has a 6 month money back guarantee. The FluorideMaster after-the-sale support has been very good. Maintainance is straightforward and not a burden, time-wise or money-wise. I recently added a second system for my kitchen sink to virtually eliminate all fluoride. Our family makes sure we supplement with Lugol’s Iodine (potassium iodide) so any fluoride we absorb from any source does not have much chance to occupy cellular receptor sites and cause problems.

  • sera

    Ask why 98 percent of Europe and Japan has illegalised artificial flouridation. Oh, and sodium fluoride IS NOT NATURAL. That would be calcium flouride, which occures in trace amounts in nature. The sodium flouride added to city water is a toxic byproduct of industry. Even if it were “natural” thats not a valid argument, so is lead, arsenic and bubonic plauge.
    I don’t want that crap in my water and it is VERY hard to filter out.


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Whether a subtle new pattern shows up in an experiment on the Higgs boson, an epidemiological report about a suspected cancer cluster, or a double-blind trial purporting to demonstrate ESP, it can be maddeningly difficult to distinguish between what we see and what we think we see. "Fire in the Mind" takes a look at the big questions behind today’s science news.

About George Johnson

George Johnson writes about science for the New York Times, National Geographic Magazine, Slate, and other publications. His nine books include The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery (August 2013), The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, A Shortcut Through Time, and Fire in the Mind. He is a winner of the AAAS Science Journalism Award and has twice been a finalist for the Royal Society science book prize. Co-founder and director of the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop, he can be found on the Web at talaya.net. Twitter @byGeorgeJohnson.


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