There are people who fear fluoride because they get very mixed messages from the media about fluoridation's value and it's dangers. These concerned readers don't have to look farther than the pages of Sun Media and the QMI news group.
According to Canoe health expert and Sun Media columnist Dr. Gifford-Jones, the fluoridation of water is useless and fluoride toothpaste is a dangerous biological poison. This newspaper columnist said in a Quebecor Media distributed story that several studies involving as many as 480,000 children found fluoride provided no protection against tooth decay.
Gifford-Jones even went so far as to raise the spectre of childhood death in his column. He claimed a 3-year-old died after swallowing fluoride at a dental office.
Gifford-Jones argues many European countries do not fluoridate their water and yet have have rates for dental carries that are comparable to ours. He fails to mention that many large European countries fluoridate salt and milk.
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Some of those opposed to fluoridation are extreme; No doubt. But many others are simply people old enough to remember lots of half researched stories in the media which were written in support of stuff that later proved to be bunkum.
If you believe in fluoridation, then you accept the arguments for putting fluoride in tap water. If you are concerned, often the answers do not seem so convincing — especially as the answers keep changing.
According to online information which I downloaded just today and published by the Ontario Dental Association, the maximum acceptable concentration of fluoride in the United States is 4 ppm and in Canada 1.5 ppm. This huge divergence of opinion as to what is safe causes concern in those opposed to fluoridation. (Many would argue that the ODA is wrong, and way on the high side, when they claim 4 ppm is acceptable in the U.S.)
Last month the EPA in the States, along with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), lowered the recommended maximum acceptable level for fluoride in tap water to .7 ppm.
The joint HHS/EPA announcement only fanned the flames of doubt in the fluoridation opposition by stating: "The new EPA assessments of fluoride were undertaken in response to findings of the National Academies of Science (NAS)" in order to avoid the unwanted health effects from too much fluoride.
Moves such as this make fluoride opponents worry that adding fluoride to our water may be a decades old practice but it is still not one that is totally understood. For them this is not good enough.