Faulty Arguments on Fluoride

Here’s a letter to the editor from the Rutland Herald:

A response to Robin Miller and Joanne Calvi (Letters, Oct. 2).

One way to respond to this letter is by grouping its faulty arguments into categories. Here we go:

Imperfect logic: Miller and Calvi say fluoride is in most water sources, so it’s just a matter of adjusting it to an “optimal level.” But fluoride is a neurotoxin, so an optimal level would be zero. Fluoride is not a nutrient but a drug. The Food and Drug Administration says so.

Clever use of language that assumes a non-existent truth: “Fluoridated water is the first line of defense against tooth decay for all Vermont residents,” Miller and Calvi say. This assumes fluoridation is effective. Proof of that is lacking. Yes, even after 70 years of fluoridation, proof of its safety and effectiveness is lacking. The first lines of defense against tooth decay are brushing your teeth, good nutrition, limiting sweets and visiting the dentist. The chemical solution is a myth. Epidemic tooth decay in low-income fluoridated cities like Detroit have shown this.

Relying on the prestige of government in the face of contrary or at least unsettled science: Miller and Calvi quote the CDC and the surgeon general to convince us fluoridation is swell. This nonsense started with the Public Health Service endorsement of fluoridation in 1950, before the trials of fluoridation had even been completed. The Public Health Service at that time was overseen by a former top lawyer for Alcoa Aluminum, a company with a vital interest in polishing fluoride’s tarnished image.

The false authority of oft-repeated statistics: The $38 savings per dollar invested in fluoridation is not a fact but a claim, one that has been challenged with detailed and precise calculation. It assumes no harm and resulting expense from fluoridation, such as staining of the teeth and lowered thyroid function.

Concealing an ugly reality in a lofty mission statement: The authors of the letter say, “Our (the Vermont Department of Health’s) mission is to protect and promote optimal health for all Vermonters. …” To do that we in Rutland are using toxic waste from the phosphate fertilizer industry as a source of fluoride for our water. To do that we ignore an important principle of toxicology: A small percentage of people will have adverse effects from a toxic substance even if most of the population is resistant. To protect all Rutlanders, we need to remove a substance that will harm some.

Please consider signing the petition to get fluoridation on the ballot in Rutland in March.

JACK CROWTHER

Rutland

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