US academics voices fluoride fears
By ANDY PARKS
"SWALLOWING fluoride makes about as much sense as swallowing sun tan lotion." So says Dr Paul Connett, Emeritus Professor at St Lawrence University in New York, who was in Lismore on Monday as part of his Australian tour to talk about the effects of fluoride.
Dr Connett is a world-renowned speaker on the health effects of fluoride. He says the evidence is overwhelming fluoride has an effect on reducing tooth decay when it is applied 'topically', that is directly to the surface of the tooth, not when consumed in drinking water.
"We've never done this for any other medicine. We never use the water supply to mass medicate the population. It just doesn't make sense," he said.
Dr Connett was addressing a crowd of about 70 people at the Lismore Workers Club concerned about the Lismore City Council's decision to introduce fluoride into the town water supply. He told the crowd on Monday night it could lead to teeth, bone and brain damage.
"There are 30 studies showing that fluoride damages the brain in animals and 18 studies that show it can lower the IQ of children. The National Research Council in the US, the most prestigious research panel in America, has just completed a three-year study and they have reported cases in India and China where there is a high level of fluoride occurring naturally in the water of people with crippling bone damage."
Dr Connett believes there is a much higher correlation between tooth decay and income levels. "With that goes diet, attention to brushing teeth, taking kids to the dentist. All of that goes up with the standard of living," he said.
He says there has been a steady decline in tooth decay around the world.
"The majority of European countries are not fluoridated and their teeth are just as good if not better," he said. Dr Connett said only seven countries in the world had over 50 per cent of the population with fluoride in their water. They are Australia, New Zealand, the US, Malaysia, Singapore, Columbia and Israel.
John Irving, project manager for the Teeth for Health program with the North Coast Area Heath Service, said water fluoridisation was like 'a repair kit for your mouth'.
"Fluoride at one part per million in the water gets into the bloodstream and into the saliva when you swallow it. It then constantly washes over teeth and re-mineralises the enamel," he said.
He said fluoride was the 13th most common element on earth and that chlorine and other chemicals were added to water in the purification process.
"This is one of the big public health breakthroughs, having a reliable water supply dramatically cuts down public health risks," he said.