17 Jul 2013

Opinion: Opposition to fluoridated water is baffling

Opinion: Opposition to fluoridated water is baffling

Christopher Labos is a cardiologist practising in Montreal. He was the 2012 winner of the Quebec Cardiology Association's Young Researcher Award.

In the 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Sterling Hayden explains to an increasingly nervous Peter Sellers that he launched a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union because the fluoridation of the water supply is a communist plot designed to sap Americans of their “precious bodily fluids.”
Now, some 50 years later, a group of similarly minded individuals with equally preposterous notions may have derailed plans to finally bring fluoridation to Quebec on a large scale.
The health minister, Réjean Hébert, seems to be backing down, after 3,894 individuals signed a petition sent to the National Assembly to ban the addition of fluoride to drinking water. This, in and of itself, is not a meaningful event. You can get any number of people to sign a petition about almost anything. But what this petition actually says cannot be left to stand unchallenged.
It asserts, among other things, that the scientific world is divided over the effectiveness of fluoridation. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Canadian Public Health Agency supports it, as does the Institut national de santé publique du Québec and the Canadian Dental Association. The World Health Organization has also published a report on the appropriate use of fluorides for human health.
Fluoride binds with apatite crystals in the dentine (the layer underneath the tooth’s enamel) and strengthens the entire structure of the tooth. Fluoride also makes teeth more resistant to cavity formation and also has some anti-bacterial properties. Reports from the University of York, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and the Centers for Disease Control all support the cavity-fighting benefit derived from water fluoridation....

The York Review did not 

What the 'York Review' on the fluoridation of drinking water really found

Originally released : 28 October 2003
A statement from the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD).
In 1999, the Department of Health commissioned CRD to conduct a systematic review into the efficacy and safety of the fluoridation of drinking water. The review specifically looked at the effects on dental caries/decay, social inequalities and any harmful effects. The review was published on the CRD Fluoridation Review website and in the BMJ in October 2000.
We are concerned about the continuing misinterpretations of the evidence and think it is important that decision makers are aware of what the review really found. As such, we urge interested parties to read the review conclusions in full.
We were unable to discover any reliable good-quality evidence in the fluoridation literature world-wide.
What evidence we found suggested that water fluoridation was likely to have a beneficial effect, but that the range  could be anywhere from a substantial benefit to a slight disbenefit to children's teeth.
This beneficial effect comes at the expense of an increase in the prevalence of fluorosis (mottled teeth). The quality of this evidence was poor.
An association with water fluoride and other adverse effects such as cancer, bone fracture and Down's syndrome was not found. However, we felt that not enough was known because the quality of the evidence was poor.
The evidence about reducing inequalities in dental health was of poor quality, contradictory and unreliable.
Since the report was published in October 2000 there has been no other scientifically defensible review that would alter the findings of the York review. As emphasised in the report, only high-quality studies can fill in the gaps in knowledge about these and other aspects of fluoridation. Recourse to other evidence of a similar or lower level than that included in the York review, no matter how copious, cannot do this.
The full report is available via the CRD Fluoridation Review website. For more information, please contact Paul Wilson.

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