Friday, February 11, 2011

Ian Gillespie asks, "What next? Fluoride killing polar bears?" According to The Free Press, the answer may be young children.

Aiming his well-known wit at the anti-fluoridation folk, Gillespie misses mark.
A recent opinion piece by The London Free Press journalist  Ian Gillespie has further muddied the already murky fluoridated waters.

I was very disappointed by his ad hominem attacks on those with whom he disagrees. Instead of using facts to disprove the anti-fluoride position, Gillespie attacked those holding those beliefs. He painted them as crazy conspiracy believers. And in cases where his opponents based their arguments on expert opinions, Gillespie ridicules those experts as well.

Ian mocks London city councillor Denise Brown for suggesting to The Free Press, "If you do any research on the Internet, you’ll find scientists believe there are health risks.”

Click to enlarge.
Ian's witty retort: "And if you do more Internet 'research,' you’ll also discover 'experts' who argue that aliens hijacked the Voyager 2 spacecraft, Paul McCartney died in a 1966 car crash, Elvis Presley is alive and the Apollo moon landing was a hoax."

And if you, Ian Gillespie, do more research you will find the following published by Sun Media, written by Canoe health expert and columnist Dr. Gifford-Jones, and found on The London Free Press Internet site:

"It's shocking that 25% of North Americans over age 43, and 42% of those over 65 years of age, have no teeth!

"(The doctor featured in the article carried by The Free Press) Dr. Judd also believes that the fluoridation of water and the use of fluoride toothpaste is a useless, dangerous biological poison. He says calcium fluoride seeps into enamel, making it weak and brittle, destroying 83 enzymes along with adenosine diphosphatase.

"I couldn't agree more. (Dr. Gifford-Jones writes.) Look at the warning on fluoride toothpaste. Parents are told to watch children under six years of age while they brush their teeth. To be safe, only a tiny amount of toothpaste is used, and none should be swallowed. That should tell you something! In 1974, a three-year old child had fluoride gel placed on his teeth. The hygienist handed him a glass of water but rather than rising out his mouth, he drank it. A few hours later, he was dead.

"If fluoride toothpaste is the answer to dental decay, why is it that 98% of Europe is fluoride-free? Sweden, Germany, Norway, Holland, Denmark and France stopped using fluoridation 29 years ago. These are not backward, depressed nations.

"The sole argument for fluoridation is that it reduces tooth decay. But several studies involving as many as 480,000 children found no beneficial evidence between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities.

"Dr. Hardy Limeback, Professor of Dentistry at the University of Toronto, says children under three should never use fluoridated toothpaste or drink fluoridated water, and mothers should never use Toronto tap water to prepare baby formula."

I want to go on record as saying I am not frightened by the amount of fluoride being put into London's water. I believe dangerous concentrations of fluoride are only found in drinking waters contaminated with unregulated, naturally occurring fluorides. London is very conservative when it comes to the amount of fluoride added to our drinking water.

But many people are concerned. As long as papers, such as The London Free Press, are telling them a young child died from a fluoride treatment, some folk will use bottled water rather than tap and try their best to stay clear of all fluoride -- even that found in toothpaste and mouthwash.

Fluoride, by the way, works topically. Once ingested, as in drinking water, its ability to fight dental caries is curtailed. When I worked at The Free Press I chatted with a professor at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University who told me putting fluoride in water was inefficient. It works topically, he said. But he would not go on record with such a view. The whole issue was simply too emotionally charged.

I expect more from my daily paper and I certainly expected more from Ian Gillespie. The Free Press is a paper sadly in need of some thoughtful editing. This column of Gillespie's should have been spiked. Wait. The spikes left with the editors.

As I said, I am not concerned about the amount of fluoride found in London Ontario tap water. Just last month the EPA in the United States lowered the maximum recommended concentration of fluoride for drinking water. London was ahead of the EPA. Our fluoride level is inline with the new proposed U.S. guidelines.

But, and it is a big but, if you are already frightened by fluoride in your water, the recent move by the EPA does nothing to allay your fears. Learning that after decades of use the correct amount of fluoride to be added to drinking water without causing any health problems is still being adjusted is downright worrisome. These people need their fears addressed in an adult manner. Condescension is not called for nor is it productive.

Gillespie quotes UWO professor Tim Blackmore, who teaches media and information studies:

“Ignorance is a lot easier and a lot more convincing than knowledge. Knowledge takes time, it takes thinking and it takes figuring. Ignorance doesn’t take any of those things. It just takes belief.”

Ian, I think the professor may have been talking about you.

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