Letter | What about the experts who say no to fluoride?

FELLOW townsfolk, although we’re likely all sick of hearing about it, one of the truly remarkable facts about sodium fluoride is how much we are getting already. It has hundreds of industrial applications, including fertiliser and pesticides, and its popularity as a dental product is due to decades of successful industry marketing and advertising. 

When we started using it, we lived in a simpler time when the public knew little about long-term effects, where fluoride came from, and what else was in it. Not so anymore. I remember with fondness the toothpaste ads with Mrs Marsh showing us all how fluoride got into teeth, like blue liquid into a stick of chalk she held up for the camera. It’s a gimmick to sell a product. It’s not Mrs Marsh’s fault.  

The Australian Food Standards show the levels of sodium fluoride in our food and drink. This is a problem because it means we are likely getting way too much in us already. The upper limit we are allowed is 4mg ingested per day. Above that even NSW Health admit it’s a risk. 

Get this – four cups of standard tea and you’re over that limit. Stack three beers on that and you’re at 6mg. Top that with a serve of chicken nuggets and you’re headed for 14mg. Why add a heavy metal contaminated version of it to the water? 

If the science was settled and experts united then almost 5000 professionals (dentists, doctors and scientists) from all over the world would not have signed an international agreement to stop fluoridation (fluoridealert.org has the list). Plenty of expertise in Australia as well, including former head of the ADA South Australia, Dr Andrew Harms, and Dr Mark Diesendorf, Professor at NSW Institute for Environmental Studies. Dr Geoff Paine’s work is 50 years strong on the subject. None of these men look scary or say anything frightening unless you fear their expert opinions and experience with fluoride. They don’t represent industry or government either. 

Dental industry representatives’ opinions and anecdotes are not proper scientific survey data, and certain pro-fluoride proponents have been peddling questionable statistics about our town’s dental problems.

Council was asked at the June 19 meeting whether it has received any scientific survey data to support the claim that Oberon’s children have exactly twice the dental caries and twice as many hospital admissions that surrounding towns’ children have, and how this is scientifically linked to a lack of fluoride and not poor diet and poor dental hygiene.

The council voted down a resolution to postpone the vote for the purpose of conducting a thorough survey of Oberon’s actual real-time dental problem, instead opting to rely on the generic 2007 NSW dental health survey for this information.  

Twenty-nine council areas in Queensland have removed fluoride from their water supply since the government mandate was lifted in 2013. According to the NSW Water Unit, 19 council areas in NSW have had documented dosing issues with their fluoridation systems (including overdose incidents), and a host of technical problems.

These are yet another cause for concern as council (and hence the ratepayer) could foreseeably be liable for unforeseen running costs and health problems linked to fluoride overdoses.

Chris Freeman