Oppose fluoridation because of known risks

Posted: Friday, September 28, 2007

The fluoride issue should be a straightforward exercise in logic, but instead it has become a polarized argument between us-or-them "sides" that feel very passionate and possessive about their beliefs. It shouldn't be this way. Proposition 2 is a question of research science; it's not about beliefs, it's about what we know:

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We know there is general agreement that the direct application of fluoride to the teeth is significantly more effective at preventing cavities than the ingestion of fluoride.

We know that fluoride exposure has been shown to be the cause of certain health problems (such as fluorosis), and that there is a large body of evidence suggesting links between fluoride exposure and other health problems (such as joint pain, brittle bones, and thyroid trouble).

We know that the American Dental Association recognizes a risk posed to infants from drinking fluoridated water, and recommends that children under one year of age consume bottled water instead.

We know that our first reaction to fluoridation is, "It's OK, we've been doing it for years." But, we also know that our fluoridated toothpaste says to contact poison control if more than a pea-sized amount is swallowed.

We know that the sodium fluoride used until recently in Juneau comes in bags marked with a skull and crossbones. We know that mass medicating means we can't opt out if we want to. We know that none of that feels especially comforting.

So, what we know is that we're talking about a fluoride delivery method that is obsolete, that has known negative side effects, even more suspected negative side effects, and that gives a bad feeling in general when we look at the fine print. My friends, this is just like jury duty, and we, the voting peers, have been presented with reasonable doubt. I want to see the studies that claim fluoridation is harmful proven wrong before we consider putting it back in the drinking water (and with great respect to my favorite dentist, "because my dentist says so" is not proof). Until research shows one side or the other to be correct, we cannot in good conscience accept the risk that fluoridation poses - especially when there's a better way to get fluoride on our teeth. It's plain common sense.

I'm going to go brush my teeth, and vote no on Proposition 2.

Carl Brodersen

Juneau



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