Portland just voted again to not fluoridate its public drinking water. This is treated as something of a joke in the eyes of the establishment. In the media, viewing water fluoridation as “a communist plot” is the time-honored smear against conservatives to show how insane and paranoid they are. (Another one was a refusal to trust banks, but that doesn’t sell as well since 2008.)
Portland had to fight off a city newspaper, The Oregonian, that openly campaigned for fluoridation. This followed illegal stealth lobbying of the city council, which the Oregonian tried to spin as a popular uprising against the anti-fluoridation heritage of the city. The lobbyists claimed there is a “growing dental health crisis in Oregon”—leaving out the fact that most of the state is fluoridated and Portland’s cavity rates are lower than the rest of the state.
The newspaper, despite obvious bias, posed as the arbiter of facts, claiming that the allegation that Portland’s cavity rate was comparable to the fifteenth lowest cavity rate in the country was spurious because “You cannot directly compare state data to city data.” Yet the Oregonian never had a problem with such discrepancies in making claims for the other side:
“More than 35 percent of Oregon third-graders have untreated tooth decay, according to five-year-old CDC numbers. Compared to other states, which have different reporting periods, Oregon ranked fifth-worst.”
One might wonder how a lack of fluoridation and an alleged (probably falsely) increase in tooth decay can attract so much lobbying power and money. Beside the head start, the unanimous support of the City Council, and the lobbying of the city newspaper, pro-fluoridation forces raised three times the money for their campaign as the opponents raised. What is so important, out of everything that might be considered “wrong” in Portland that fluoride gets this much backing?
If you think it is about tooth decay, you are simply not looking critically at the data. The case that fluoridation works is extremely weak, at best. Most Western nations have resisted fluoridation, yet their cavity rates have fallen steeply over the same period of time that the Centers for Disease Control pretends that fluoridation reduced cavity rates in the US. Here is one small sampling of the data (click on image to enlarge).
Beyond this, the science makes no sense. In no other area or aspect of medicine, do medical “experts” throw away all concern about dosage. That alone makes the entire program a matter of junk science. It is bad enough that so much fluoride is put in candy flavored tooth paste that young children often swallow, exceeding the FDA’s recommended daily allowance—without even considering what is in their faucet water.
Beyond all this is the basic American law issue: how is it the government’s job or right to force medicine onto the populace? Forget about toxicity risks or even the fact that there is no evidence that it does any good. Where does government get the right or the responsibility?
Much was made of the young and poor children in Portland getting cavities. Why not simply start a fund to give elementary school students a fluoride rinse at the beginning and end of the school day—one that they could be trained to spit out rather than swallow? Why force tooth brushing adults to have fluoride in their water if your target is poor children? I suspect that if the schools actually started requiring children to take medicine, that would open up all sorts of civil rights issues.
Fine, but those same issues apply all the more to tampering with the water supply.